Tuesday, June 14, 2022

BLOG TOUR - Inkyard Press / YA Summer 2022 Blog Tour: Breaking Time by Sasha Alsberg

Hiya, Booknerds! I was lucky enough to be selected to be a host for the Inkyard Press - YA Summer 2022 Blog TourAs such, I will give you some details about the interesting books as well as their lovely authors. 

And you also get a BOOKISH BONUS: 

*A delightful morsel of excerpt can be found below*

ABOUT THE BOOKS:





BREAKING TIME by Sasha Alsberg

Publisher: 
Inkyard Press
Release Date: June 14, 2022
Genre: Young Adult Romance
Pages
352

THE STORY:
Fate brought them together. Time will tear them apart.
When a mysterious Scotsman appears out of nowhere in the middle of the road, Klara thinks the biggest problem is whether she hit him with her car. But, as impossible as it sounds, Callum has stepped out of another time, and it’s just the beginning of a deadly adventure. 
Klara will soon learn that she is the last Pillar of Time—an anchor point in the timeline of the world and a hiding place for a rogue goddess’s magic. Callum is fated to protect her at all costs. A dark force is hunting for the Pillars, to claim the power of the goddess—and Klara and Callum are the only two standing in the way. Thrown together by fate, the two have to learn to trust one another and work together…but they'll need to protect their hearts from one another if they're going to survive. 
BUY LINKS:  Amazon | Barnes & Noble | IndieBound







EXCERPT:

Excerpted from BREAKING TIME by Sasha Alsberg, © 2022 by Sasha Alsberg, used with permission from Inkyard Press/HarperCollins.

Callum

1568

“Thomas!” Callum yelled as he left the pub. The wall of crisp night air dizzied him, causing him to stumble over cobblestones that seemed to shift beneath his feet. Drunken laughter muff led as the door slammed shut behind him. 

“Where the hell are ye?” he shouted. His voice echoed through the deserted streets. 

No answer came. 

Lanterns flickered along the main road, setting the heavy fog aglow. In a wee town like Rosemere, the slightest whispers could be heard a mile away. They carried farther than that, Callum knew; the windows around him were shuttered, but candles burned low just inside. How many prying eyes watched from behind the slats? How many would speak of his friend, the disgraced fighter, in hushed voices at tomorrow’s market, over bread bought with the coin they’d won betting on him mere weeks earlier?

Callum clenched his fists. The whole pub had shouted and jeered while Thomas got pummeled that night. Sounds still rang in Callum’s ears: the thud of fist and flesh, the sickening crunch of bone. It was the third time this month that Thomas had lost—only the third time, in two years of fighting.

Brice would be angry.

Master, keeper, devil, father. Brice MacDonald was all of these things to Callum and Thomas. Whatever Brice’s wrath tonight, Callum could not let Thomas face it alone. Not when Thomas had looked after Callum for so long, raised him up from a nipper as well as a real older brother would.

But he would not abandon Thomas like his mother had abandoned him.

The thought sobered Callum. He called again, lowering his voice to a taunt.

“Thomas! You owe me three shillings!” Thomas could usually be drawn out with a jab.

Callum paused, straining his ears for a response but was met with unease instead. An owl watched from its perch atop the baker’s roof, golden eyes unblinking against the dark night sky. The shining orbs fixed on him.

He tore his gaze from the bird and walked on, moving away from the firelight and into shadow.

Even more worrisome than Brice was the fact that Thomas had given Callum his most treasured item earlier that night: his notebook, small sheaths of vellum bound in leather. When he first began carrying it around, Thomas claimed to have stolen it from the apothecary when he went in for a poultice. 

He had kept it on him, always, and had never let Callum lay eyes on what was inside. Yet he had pressed it into Callum’s hand, just before the match tonight. He said something to Callum when he did, but his words were inaudible within the roar of the pub. Then after, he disappeared from the pub without even a goodbye.

Now Callum was wandering the streets, alone.

It was unlike Thomas to behave so strangely, to lose so badly. The Thomas he knew—boyish and rowdy, tough as leather but never mean—had fallen away with the autumn leaves these past months. Instead of spending evenings at The Black Hart Inn, weaving stories he’d learned as a child of selkies and sailors for red-cheeked barmaids until the sun rose, Thomas began to disappear for days, weeks at a time—stretches too long for Callum to explain to Brice. He took a beating or two for it, too. When Thomas returned, he was sullen, sometimes violent, and consumed by a strangeness Callum had no words to describe. His eyes stared but did not see, as distant as stars burning in his skull. If he spoke at all, he told tales of the demons that terrified them as children: like the Sluagh, spirits of the dead who wandered in flocks, flying around the sky like soaring reapers and stealing souls, flesh hanging off them like blackened rags. Or the bean-nighe, banshees, messengers from the Otherworld and omens of death, who lingered in lonely streams, washing the clothes of doomed men. Normally Callum heard of such dark creatures within the stories of heroes, but Thomas’s stories didn’t end in life…but death. He fixated on that fact, as if it were coming for him.

I saw her, he’d said of the bean-nighe. I refuse to die. 

It worried Callum, but just as his worry morphed into confrontation, Thomas would come back to himself. This was enough to comfort Callum as he watched Thomas return to tales of ancient heroes and kings. Maybe he accepted his relief too soon since the nights of those stories were fewer these days, and more often Thomas’s speech would turn dark again. He would speak of strange visions, of men who leaped from one world to the next.

They’re coming, Cal, you’ll see. It’s as simple as stepping through a veil.

Who’s coming, Thomas? What veil? Callum asked, and Thomas would laugh.

It was no tale that Callum knew. He’d warned Thomas not to tell it. He didn’t like the wary looks it earned him. It was one thing to be a bard who told these stories for a living, but it was another thing to speak like a madman of evil spirits and fairies as if they were tangible things away from the lyrics of a song or the pages of a book.

Callum reached the end of the main road—the turn for Kelpie’s Close. If you wanted trouble, you found it in Kelpie’s. The narrow backstreet edged Rosemere like a blade pressed against the town’s throat.

A chill clung to his skin. Here, there were no lanterns to light the way, his only guide sparse slivers of moonlight. The wind picked up suddenly, lifting his hair and reaching under his woolen cloak. He tried to shake off visions of the Sluagh hovering above him, raking their cold fingers down his neck.

“It’s as dark as the Earl of Hell’s waistcoat,” he mumbled.

Callum reached for the dirk tucked under his arm and found the carved handle concealed under layers of wool, feeling a sting of guilt. It was Thomas’s knife. Callum had slipped it away from him before the match, worried about what his friend might do in the crowded pub if he got enough drink in him. He tapped it, drawing enough strength to plunge into the darkness.

“Scunner!” he cursed, meaning it. “Where are you?”

A cry pierced the quiet.

Callum’s heart pounded as he followed the sound farther down the alley. He pulled the dirk from under his arm, certain now that he’d need to use it.

“Thomas?”

Unease, cold and metallic, crept up his spine. The alley appeared empty—strange, for this time of night—but the silence was thick, alive with a feeling Callum couldn’t name. He pushed on, deeper into the gloom. “Thomas?”

Another strangled cry, ahead.

Callum broke into a run.

A single lantern flickered a short distance away, casting a wan glow over a lone figure slumped against the wall. A sweep of red hair, bright even in the dim alley.

“Thomas, ye bastard, do ye ken what—”

The insult lodged in his throat. Thomas lay on the ground, his legs splayed at sickening angles. Blood seeped through his shirt, blooming like ink on paper. Callum rushed to his friend and knelt beside him. He dropped the dirk and pressed his hands against the deep slice that marred his friend’s torso. A knife wound.

“Dinnae fash, Thomas, dinnae fash,” Callum repeated, voice tight and panicked. He glanced up, searching for friend or foe, and found no one. “We’ll be back to the pub before Anderson kens we havna paid our tab.” 

Thomas stared up at him with glassy blue eyes. With each shuddering breath, more blood spilled through Callum’s fingers. He ripped the cloth stock from his neck and pressed the fabric onto the wound. It did little to stem the flow of blood. Within a few heartbeats, the cloth was soaked through, red and dripping.

If he pressed any harder, would it be doing more harm than good? Should he call for help, though it might draw the attacker? Callum hadn’t a clue. He wished suddenly, ferociously, that he’d had a proper mother, one whose wisdom he could call upon to calmly guide his hands. However, Thomas was the only family he had.

His only family was dying.

Thomas opened his mouth, but instead of words, a wet cough came out, splattering red across his pale face.

“Dinnae move, Thomas,” Callum shushed him. His uncertainty gave way to desperation, burst from his throat. “Help! Help us!”

His words dissolved into the night air, leaving behind only a tightness at the center of his chest. If he hadn’t taken Thomas’s dirk, he would have been able to defend himself, he wouldn’t be dying in Callum’s arms—

Thomas gasped, but it seemed as if no air reached his lungs.

Lowering his head, Callum gripped Thomas’s hands, though his own were shaking. “I will find the man who did this, I swear—”

Then the world flipped sideways. A blow had hit Callum like a runaway carriage, throwing him against the alley wall opposite Thomas.

Pain exploded along his ribs. Grasping the mossy wall for purchase, he struggled to his feet and wiped blood from his eyes, scouring the darkness for his attacker—and found no one.

“Show your face,” he growled.

A cruel whisper cut through the quiet. “Are you certain?”

The man emerged from the shadows as if he had been one with them. He wore a dark black cloak, in stark contrast to his unkempt, pale hair. Deep set in his face, a pair of amber eyes seemed to emit their own light. Callum’s gaze was drawn to a glinting shape in the man’s hand.

A dagger, dripping with blood.

Thomas’s blood.

Callum’s heart pounded like a war drum in his ears.

The man sighed. “Move along. Unless you’d like to meet the same fate as your compani—”

Callum lunged forward, cutting off the man’s speech with a guttural cry, striking with the speed of a viper.

The man ducked. He whirled around as Callum charged again. He overreached with the arc of his knife, and Callum used the moment to surge upward with a punch. His fist took the assailant in the chin—

And the force knocked Callum back.

He stared. A blow like that would have laid out the toughest fighter, yet the man stood and smiled, rubbing his chin with a gloved hand.

“I’m going to have fun with you,” the stranger whispered. “I like a man with a bit of fight in him. It’s more fun to play with your prey, don’t you think?”

Callum didn’t see the blow coming, only felt the pain searing across his temple as he was thrown to the ground again. 

He lifted his head, vision blurring. He blinked it clear, took in his friend’s ashen face. The sight flooded Callum with rage.

Whoever said to never fight with anger fueling your fists was a fool. Thomas’s best fights had been powered by emotion. Callum wasn’t fighting for money now. Or for Brice. He was fighting for Thomas. Because Thomas was—

“Stay down, little man,” the attacker’s voice hissed.

Callum dragged himself to his feet. His body, corded with muscle from a lifetime of training, screamed for him to stop. Instead he stood, swaying.

“I dinnae believe I’m going to Heaven,” Callum said, raising his fists once more, drawing strength from the familiar ache that radiated through his arms. “But I cannae wait to bring you to Hell with me.”

Lunging forward again, Callum poured everything he had into a single strike. He swung, landing the punch more out of luck than skill, half blinded by blood and dirt.

The man merely flinched, then caught Callum easily by the throat. A grin curled over his face.

How could that be possible?

“My, my, you are a feisty one,” he hissed.

The man lashed out, and pain flared along Callum’s torso. He released Callum and stepped back, red-tinged silver shining in his fist.

Callum touched his side, and his fingers came away wet with blood. He watched as crimson spread across his shirt. He tried to take a step, only to crumple to the ground beside Thomas, whose head rested limp against his chest.

Callum had never feared death, but now as he looked into its eyes, terror seized him. 

“Many thanks for the entertainment,” the man said.

To Callum’s horror, he bent low, holding a vial to the spreading pool of Thomas’s blood. He was gathering it.

“If you’ll excuse me, there’s one last Pillar I must find.”

Pillar?

The unearthly amber eyes melted into darkness as his opponent backed away and turned, disappearing into the shadows once more. Softly hissed words echoed in the alley. Àiteachan dìomhair, fosgailte dhomh, Àiteachan dìomhair, fosgailte dhomh…

The words the man spoke were Gaelic, but Callum’s fading mind couldn’t make out their meaning. A dark, mist-like substance rose from the ground and curled around the man’s feet, nearly indistinguishable from the dim of night. Like a sudden fog had rolled in.

Callum sputtered a curse, lacking the strength to spit. He tried to lift himself, but with each breath, pain flared in his side like a web of fire.

“I’m sorry, Thomas,” he croaked. Tears fell freely down his face, mingling with blood and sweat. He pressed his forehead against his friend’s. Grief washed over him at the still-warm press of his skin.

Thomas was gone, and Callum would soon follow.

A shiver raked his body. His eyes drifted shut.

Take me already, he pleaded to the darkness.

And the darkness answered.

No, not the darkness—Thomas’s voice, a memory now, though it was solid as stone.

“Get up, scunner.”

The warmth of the words turned electric, spreading through Callum’s body like wildfire. His eyes shot open and he gasped, breathing in a shock of cold air still sharp with the smell of blood. His fingers found the dirk he’d dropped earlier.

Grief and agony and pain and rage lifted Callum onto his feet, thrumming in him as he charged after Thomas’s murderer, knife raised and eager for flesh. He grabbed blindly, finally grasping a handful of fabric—the man’s cloak. Turning, the man’s eyes widened, making two white rings of surprise in the dark. Callum’s hand grabbed the man’s neck and aimed his dirk at the pale slash of his throat.

Suddenly, they froze. Callum could not move. His hand remained around the man’s neck, the tip of the dirk pressed against his vein. Light flowed around them. It’s not time for sunrise, he thought. Dimly, he noticed markings along the man’s collarbone. Knots carved into his skin.

The man cried out—not in pain, but in anger—but then, the cry was stifled by a rush of silence, so thick Callum thought he might drown in it. His stomach turned violently as the ground seemed to drop out from under him, forcing him to squeeze his eyes shut. He was falling, flying, falling.

I must be dead in the alley. The man must have killed me. This must be death.

A bright glow burned against his lids. He closed his eyes tighter and welcomed whatever might follow, only hoping he’d find Thomas there. A wall of light had formed above, descending as if the sun were pulling him through the sky. His body rose into its searing embrace.

He waited for the long drop to the ground, but it never came.

Callum kept soaring.

Not just through the street.

Not to death’s embrace. 

But somewhere else.

Leaping to another world, like the man in Thomas’s story, Callum thought.

So he leaped. 

ABOUT THE AUTHORS:


Sasha Alsberg is the #1 New York Times bestselling coauthor of Zenith, the first book in The Androma Saga. When Sasha is not writing or obsessing over Scotland, she is galavanting across social media with her two dogs, Fraser & Fiona. Sasha lives in London, England.

Social Links: Author website: https://www.sashaalsberg.com/ Twitter: @sashaalsberg Instagram: @sashaalsberg Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/sasha.alsberg
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/15100575.Sasha_Alsberg


Happy Reading!

Thursday, June 9, 2022

BLOG TOUR - Harlequin Series Summer Rom-Com 2022 Blog Tour: A Proposal They Can't Refuse by Natalie Caña

Hiya, Booknerds! I was lucky enough to be selected to be a host for the Harlequin Series Summer 2022 Rom-Com Blog TourAs such, I will give you some details about the interesting books as well as their lovely authors. 

And you also get a BOOKISH BONUS: 

*A delightful morsel of excerpt can be found below*

ABOUT THE BOOK:




A PROPOSAL THEY CAN'T REFUSE by Natalie Caña

Publisher: 
Harlequin
Release DateJune 7, 2022
Genre: Adult Romance
Pages
336

THE STORY:
“My Big Fat Greek Wedding” but make it Latinx when a Puerto Rican chef and an Irish American whiskey distiller are blackmailed into a fake relationship by their scheming octogenarian grandfathers.
Ain’t nobody got time for octogenarian blackmail, especially Kamilah Vega. Convincing her parents to update the family’s Puerto Rican restaurant and enter it into The Fall Foodie Tour is quite enough on her plate, muchas gracias. And with the gentrification of their Chicago neighborhood, the tour looks like the only way to save the place. Too bad her abuelo made himself very clear; if she wants to change anything in his restaurant, she must marry the one man she can't stand: his best friend’s grandson.
Liam Kane spent a decade working his ass off to turn his family’s distillery into a contender. Now he and his grandfather are on the verge of winning a national competition. Then Granda hits him with a one-two punch: he has cancer and has his heart set on seeing Liam married before it’s too late. And his Granda knows just the girl... yup, you guessed it, Kamilah Vega.
If they refuse, their grandfathers will sell the building that houses their businesses, ruining all their well-laid plans. With their legacies and futures on the line, Kamilah and Liam plan to outfox the devious duo, faking an engagement until they both get what they want. But the more time they spend together, the more they realize how much there is to love. Soon, they find themselves tangled up in more than either of them bargained for.
BUY LINKS:  Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Bookshop.org







EXCERPT:

Kamilah Vega stomped up the short entryway and yanked the heavy glass door open with more force than necessary. A strong wind, the type only ever experienced in Chicago, grabbed a hold of the door and pushed it back so roughly that it made a loud bang. The front-desk secretary jumped and gave her a dirty look, but Kamilah barely noticed. Her attention went immediately to the two bodies slumped in the love seat outside the director’s office. 

She tried her best to keep the anger out of her voice because she already knew how the two troublemakers in front of her would react to it. “What did you do now?” 

That garnered an immediate and very predictable response of “Nothing” from both occupants. It was a lie, of course. It always was whenever these two started claiming innocence in unison. 

Kamilah rubbed both hands over her face and let out the type of deep and weary sigh that someone should let out at midnight after a hard and long day—not at eight thirty in the morning. She dropped her hands. “Don’t you think it’s time to stop with the shenanigans? You’re eighty years old, Abuelo.”

Her grandfather gasped in outrage at the mention of his age and scowled at her. His salt-and-pepper hair was sticking up all over the place like a fuzzy baby monkey, making him look adorable despite the baleful glare.

Looking decidedly more put together, even in his tattered denim overalls and faded flannel, Abuelo’s roommate and best friend gave her his own version of the stink eye. “You’re only as old as you feel,” Killian replied in his deep Irish brogue.

“And that means what? That you two feel twelve?”

Before they could answer, the door to the office opened, and there stood Maria Lopez-Hermann, the director of Casa del Sol Senior Living. “Hello, Kamilah. I’m glad you were able to come on such short notice. I know you were probably in the middle of morning prep at the restaurant.”

Kamilah didn’t bother telling Maria that after closing the night before, she’d slept through her many alarms and was late to work. Now, thanks to the two hooligans next to her, she was going to be very, very late. Her employers wouldn’t care about her excuses. It didn’t matter that they were her parents. Kamilah was a Vega and an employee, so her main responsibility was to the family restaurant. Always.

Maria motioned for them to enter her office, and they filed in. Kamilah purposely let Abuelo and Killian sit in the two chairs in front of Maria’s desk, while she stood behind them, a hand on each of their shoulders. It was the same stance her mami had taken the time she and her cousin Lucy had got in trouble for skipping gym class for two weeks.

Abuelo crossed one leg over the other and tucked his hands under his armpits, while Killian leaned back, spread his legs wide, and let his arms hang over the short back of the barrel chair. Kamilah once again marveled at their ability to look summarily unconcerned while she was sweating bullets, and she hadn’t even done anything.

Maria took a seat behind her desk and interlocked her fingers, resting them on top of her desktop calendar. “I thought I had made myself clear after the bird incident that being banned from pet therapy would be the least of your worries if there were any more pranks pulled.”

Kamilah closed her eyes and shook her head. It was a variation on what she’d said right before giving the Devious Duo a monthlong suspension from bingo for starting an illicit gambling ring; before that, there was a security-enforced curfew after the strip-poker fiasco. “What did they do now?” she asked, well aware that it was the third or fourth time she’d asked the question that morning and had yet to get a response.

“This morning we had two residents with high blood pressure show alarmingly high readings after breakfast. We did some investigating and found that Mr. Kane and Mr. Vega had snuck into the cafeteria last night and replaced the decaffeinated coffee grounds with fully caffeinated espresso.”

“Abuelo!” Kamilah exclaimed.

“They don’t have any proof it was us,” Killian interjected. “They just want to blame us for everything that happens in this godforsaken prison.”

“Prison,” Kamilah scoffed. “You two have more freedom than anyone else in here.” It was true. Because of their relatively good physical health and stable mental health, Abuelo and Killian didn’t require as much care as many of the other residents. It was more as if Casa del Sol were their college dorm rather than their senior-care facility. It didn’t help that the two tended to view the senior-living center’s strict rules as friendly suggestions.

“Your feelings aside,” Maria continued, “we do have proof. The cameras that we installed in the cafeteria and kitchen caught very clear images of you both.”

Abuelo softly damned the cameras. “Condenados cámaras.”

But Killian had other concerns. “You hear that, Papo? Freedom,” he harrumphed.

“They won’t even let me drink café con leche,” Abuelo added. “They give me light brown poop water and call it coffee.”

“It’s decaf with a splash of coconut milk, and your doctor says it’s better for your heart,” Kamilah pointed out. Abuelo’s doctor also said his congestive heart failure was very treatable as long as he took his meds, stuck to a heart-healthy diet, and remained relatively active. Of course, Abuelo paid him no attention.

As if on cue, Abuelo made a noise of disdain. “Ese doctor no sabe na’. Cuando me duele el pecho, me pongo un poco de Vaporú y ya.”

Kamilah sucked her teeth more at the claim that his doctor knew nothing than at the miraculous healing quality of Vicks VapoRub. All Latinx people knew Vaporú was the cure for everything from a common cold to heartbreak.

Abuelo looked at the director of the complex with petulance. “And when are you going to start serving carne frita con mofongo?” Abuelo continued, because apparently he was on a roll. “I’m sick of eating all these steamed vegetables like a damn rabbit.”

Maria leaned forward. “Mr. Vega, if you are so unhappy with Casa del Sol, you are welcome to find another living facility to reside in.”

Kamilah jumped in before her hardheaded grandfather could ruin the best thing he had going for him. “Maria, could I talk to these two alone for a few minutes before you lower the hammer?”

Used to their antics, Maria nodded her head and left the office.

Kamilah sank to her haunches between their chairs and waited until both men looked at her. “You guys have to stop this,” she said in her voice of reason tone. She placed a hand on each of theirs. “I don’t have time for you to be staging weekly high jinks like you’re the Little Rascals. I can’t be here all the time making sure that you don’t get kicked out.”

Abuelo turned his face away. “Nobody told you to come act like our mother.”

Killian nodded. “We are grown men.”

“Bullshite,” a deep voice sneered from too damn close, startling Kamilah right as she felt a presence looming over her.

A girl who grew up on the West Side of Chicago and with four tormenting older brothers knew to strike first and ask questions later.

“Not today,” Kamilah declared in her You-Messed-Withthe-Wrong-Bitch voice, spinning around in her crouched position, morphing into famous Chicago heavyweight champion Ernie Terrell, and swinging her fist at her would-be attacker’s crotch.

The moment her fist connected with the very sensitive part of the man’s anatomy and she heard his pained “Son of a bitch,” she knew she’d made a grave mistake.

Oh dear God, no. Not him. Please don’t let him be here.

Meanwhile, Tweedledum and Tweedledee laughed their asses off like a pair of demented hyenas.

When he fell to his knees, Kamilah suddenly found herself face-to-face with the exact man she’d just prayed wasn’t there.

Big, broad, and brooding, Killian’s grandson didn’t resemble him in the least. Where Killian had a round face and wide nose with a bit of a hook at the end, Liam looked like something conjured out of the tie me up and spank me books her sister-in-law was always reading. His face was all sharp angles, set off by dark stubble, a stern mouth, and cool eyes.

“What is wrong with you?” He wheezed. “You can’t just go around dick-punching people.”

The hyenas laughed harder.

Kamilah’s jaw dropped. “What’s wrong with me?” she asked, incredulous. “What’s wrong with you, coming up on me like that? You don’t sneak up on a woman and expect not to get junk-punched. Especially not a woman born and raised in Humboldt Park.”

His French-blue eyes narrowed under dark brows. His nostrils flared while he inhaled deeply. That was Liam speak for I’d really like to tell you off right now, but not going to engage.

Kamilah saw that look often. Whatever. He pissed her off too.

“She has a point, lad,” Killian said, the amusement still thick in his voice. “You deserved that whack to the wanker.” He stood and pulled his grandson to his feet.

Kamilah found herself once again eye level with Liam’s crotch. She quickly stood and turned away from him, her face flushing with embarrassment. She met Abuelo’s gaze.

He arched his brows. “Nena, aren’t you going to apologize to him?”

“Me? Apologize to him?” Kamilah let out an incredulous bark of laughter. “He should apologize for sneaking in here and scaring me.”

“He didn’t sneak. The door was open.”

Kamilah didn’t answer. She should own up to her part and apologize, but her pride wouldn’t let her. Pride was the only thing protecting her from Liam. She couldn’t let it go now.

Liam stared, expressionless. Then he ignored her comment completely. “Granda, what did you do now?”

Kamilah hated when he ignored her.

Killian opened his mouth, but Liam cut him off. “And don’t say nothing, because I know you better than that.”

Before Killian could come up with a story, Maria walked back into the office. “They threw away all of the decaf coffee and replaced it with Café Bustelo espresso.”

“What the hell, Granda? You are willing to get kicked out of this place over coffee? Seriously?”

“It’s not the coffee. It’s the principle,” Killian replied, his nose in the air.

Liam threw up his hands and let out a sound of exasperation. “What principle? That the people you pay to take care of you actually take care of you?”

Killian crossed his arms. “You don’t get it because you’re young.”

“I don’t get it because it’s nonsense. Granda, where do you plan to go if you get kicked out? You sold your house to move in here with Papo.”

At the mention of the house he once shared with the love of his life, Killian’s face fell. That had been his wife’s dream house, and Kamilah had always suspected that he hadn’t really been ready to sell it.

“If you get thrown out, you can’t live with me, Granda.”

That was too much. Kamilah certainly wasn’t in agreement with their troublemaking, but Liam didn’t have the right to speak to his grandfather that way. Not after all Killian had done for him. “Because God forbid Super Loner Liam has to allow someone into his hermit cave.”

He turned on her. “Excuse me?”

“I’m saying that if they did get asked to leave, which we don’t know is going to happen, it wouldn’t kill you to let your grandpa move in with you. That’s what family does.”

“I was referring to the fact that he can’t walk that many stairs anymore, but I guess, as the almost thirty-year-old woman living with her parents, I should take your word on that other stuff.”

Kamilah scowled. He didn’t have to bring up her living situation like that. “It’s interesting, isn’t it? It’s like it’s not a big deal for us, because I’m not a miserable person who is extremely difficult to be around.”

Liam scowled at her. “Don’t you have somewhere to be? Like, off making someone else’s day shitty?”

Rude. Her pulse sped up. “I usually would, but since I already started with you, I can check it off my to-do list and it’s not even ten o’clock. Thanks a bunch.” She added a sweet smile.

“Glad to be of service.”

“Would you two just get a room already?” Killian said. Liam turned his dark look on his grandfather, and she made a disgusted noise.

“What?” Killian shrugged. “All I’m saying is you two fight like a couple.”

“Yeah.” Abuelo added his two cents. “You should just get married already.”

There was a beat of silence, and then both octogenarians’ eyes lit with the same mischievousness. The kind that had no doubt led to all of them being in their current situation.

You know what? Let’s get back to the reason we are here.” She faced Maria. “They may not look it, but I know Abuelo and Killian are sorry for the danger they put their fellow residents in, and next time they will think more about the consequences before they do something so incredibly stupid.”

Maria let loose a world-weary sigh, much like the one Kamilah had released earlier. She gave a small eye roll while shaking her head because they both knew Kamilah was full of shit. “Their cafeteria privileges have been revoked for the next two weeks. Prepackaged paper-bag meals will be sent to their apartment, or their families will have to provide their meals for them.”

“Is that supposed to be a punishment?” Abuelo asked.

“With the stuff they serve here, it feels more like a rew—”

Kamilah covered his mouth with her hand. “That seems totally fair.” In her head she was freaking out because she just knew she was going to be the one providing said meals, and she did not have the time for all that. “I’ll make sure they get fed.” She felt Abuelo’s mouth curve behind her hand, and she saw Killian’s pleased smile. “Don’t get too happy,” she warned. “You think they denied you? Just wait to see what I have in store. When I’m done with you, you are going to wish you could eat rabbit food.”

They were completely unfazed by her threats. Probably because they knew Kamilah was a crème brûlée—right below a crackly hard surface, she was really just pudding.

Echoing her thoughts, Liam scoffed. “As if you aren’t going to end up making them three-course meals complete with dessert.”

Kamilah fought the urge to stick her tongue out at him like a six-year-old. Instead, she ignored him. “I have to go to work, but for the love of God, please behave yourselves today,” she begged the duo of deviants.

She was almost positive she heard Killian mumble, “We make no promises.”

Excerpted from A Proposal They Can’t Refuse by Natalie Caña. Copyright © 2022 by Natalie Caña. Published by MIRA Books.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:




Natalie Caña writes contemporary romances that allow her to incorporate her witty sense of humor and her love for her culture (Puertominican whoop whoop!) for heroines and heroes like her. A PROPOSAL THEY CAN'T REFUSE is her debut novel.

SOCIAL LINKS:
Author website: http://nataliecana.com/services-and-pricing
Twitter: @NatCanaWrites
Tik Tok: @nataliecwrites




Happy Reading!

Monday, June 6, 2022

Review: Daughter of the Pirate King by Tricia Levenseller


*Warning: This review may contain spoilers. Read at your own risk.

Publisher Feiwel and Friends
Release Date: February 28, 2017 
Pages: 311
Source: Audiobook 

THE STORY:

There will be plenty of time for me to beat him soundly once I’ve gotten what I came for.

Sent on a mission to retrieve an ancient hidden map—the key to a legendary treasure trove—seventeen-year-old pirate captain Alosa deliberately allows herself to be captured by her enemies, giving her the perfect opportunity to search their ship.

More than a match for the ruthless pirate crew, Alosa has only one thing standing between her and the map: her captor, the unexpectedly clever and unfairly attractive first mate, Riden. But not to worry, for Alosa has a few tricks up her sleeve, and no lone pirate can stop the Daughter of the Pirate King. 
BUY LINKS: Goodreads


RATING:

ONE-WORD REVIEWSWASHBUCKLING

OPENING LINE:

I hate having to dress like a man.



REVIEW:

DAUGHTER OF THE PIRATE KING definitely gives me FABLE + Pirates of the Caribbean vibes.

“𝐸𝓋𝑒𝓃 𝒶 𝓂𝒶𝓃 𝓌𝒽𝑜’𝓈 𝓈𝓅𝑒𝓃𝓉 𝒽𝒾𝓈 𝓌𝒽𝑜𝓁𝑒 𝓁𝒾𝒻𝑒 𝒶𝓉 𝓈𝑒𝒶 𝒽𝒶𝓈 𝓇𝑒𝒶𝓈𝑜𝓃 𝓉𝑜 𝒻𝑒𝒶𝓇 𝒽𝑒𝓇 𝓌𝒽𝑒𝓃 𝓈𝒽𝑒’𝓈 𝒶𝓃𝑔𝓇𝓎. 𝐵𝓊𝓉 𝓃𝑜𝓉 𝐼. 𝐼 𝓈𝓁𝑒𝑒𝓅 𝓈𝑜𝓊𝓃𝒹𝓁𝓎. 𝐿𝒾𝓈𝓉𝑒𝓃𝒾𝓃𝑔 𝓉𝑜 𝒽𝑒𝓇 𝓂𝓊𝓈𝒾𝒸. 𝒯𝒽𝑒 𝓈𝑒𝒶 𝓌𝒶𝓉𝒸𝒽𝑒𝓈 𝑜𝓋𝑒𝓇 𝓂𝑒. 𝒮𝒽𝑒 𝓅𝓇𝑜𝓉𝑒𝒸𝓉𝓈 𝒽𝑒𝓇 𝑜𝓌𝓃.”

I don’t usually read seafaring books but I enjoyed this one. This is always my fourth book by Tricia and I love her writing style. The story was interesting and kept my attention.

Alosa is the daughter of the infamous pirate king who rules the seas. Instead of with love and affection, she was raised on a pirate ship with torturous training and no support.
Though it made her into a fierce, clever, capable pirate captain it also made her yearn for her father’s rarely given approval. And she is willing to go to any length to please her cruel father. Including allowing herself to get captured but a ruthless, bloodthirsty pirate captain and his brother. All in order to get a piece of the treasure map her father wants most.

“𝐼 𝒶𝓂 𝓂𝑒 𝒷𝑒𝒸𝒶𝓊𝓈𝑒 𝐼 𝒸𝒽𝑜𝑜𝓈𝑒 𝓉𝑜 𝒷𝑒 𝓂𝑒. 𝐼 𝒶𝓂 𝓌𝒽𝒶𝓉 𝐼 𝓌𝒶𝓃𝓉. 𝒮𝑜𝓂𝑒 𝓅𝑒𝑜𝓅𝓁𝑒 𝓈𝒶𝓎 𝓎𝑜𝓊 𝒽𝒶𝓋𝑒 𝓉𝑜 𝒻𝒾𝓃𝒹 𝓎𝑜𝓊𝓇𝓈𝑒𝓁𝒻. 𝒩𝑜𝓉 𝐼. 𝐼 𝒷𝑒𝓁𝒾𝑒𝓋𝑒 𝓌𝑒 𝒸𝓇𝑒𝒶𝓉𝑒 𝑜𝓊𝓇𝓈𝑒𝓁𝓋𝑒𝓈 𝓉𝑜 𝒷𝑒 𝓌𝒽𝒶𝓉 𝓌𝑒 𝓌𝒶𝓃𝓉.”

The slow burn between the main character, Alosa, and her LI was the bee's knees. There was tension, banter, and when he told her how he felt about her *swoon* So sweet. I hope we get to see their romance blossom and LI grow into his own.

“𝐻𝒶𝓈 𝒽𝑒 𝒷𝑒𝑒𝓃 𝒸𝑜𝓃𝓈𝒸𝒾𝑜𝓊𝓈 𝒶𝓉 𝒶𝓁𝓁?” “𝒴𝑒𝓈. 𝐻𝑒 𝓌𝑜𝓀𝑒 𝓊𝓅 𝑜𝓃𝒸𝑒 𝒶𝓃𝒹 𝓁𝑜𝑜𝓀𝑒𝒹 𝒶𝓉 𝓂𝑒 𝒻𝓊𝓃𝓃𝓎.” “𝒟𝒾𝒹 𝒽𝑒 𝓈𝒶𝓎 𝒶𝓃𝓎𝓉𝒽𝒾𝓃𝑔?” “𝐻𝑒 𝓈𝒶𝒾𝒹, ‘𝒴𝑜𝓊 𝒹𝑜𝓃’𝓉 𝒽𝒶𝓋𝑒 𝓇𝑒𝒹 𝒽𝒶𝒾𝓇.’ 𝒯𝒽𝑒𝓃 𝒽𝑒 𝒻𝑒𝓁𝓁 𝒷𝒶𝒸𝓀 𝒶𝓈𝓁𝑒𝑒𝓅.”

I’m curious to meet Alosa’s mother in the sequel, DAUGHTER OF THE SIREN QUEEN. What her role will be in the plot to gain all of the pieces of the elusive treasure map. I’m also dying to know how Alosa ended up with her father after he and his crew never ran into the sirens again after that one, uh, encounter…

“𝐼 𝓁𝒾𝓋𝑒 𝑜𝓃 𝓉𝒽𝑒 𝒸𝓊𝓈𝓅 𝑜𝒻 𝓉𝓌𝑜 𝓌𝑜𝓇𝓁𝒹𝓈, 𝓉𝓇𝓎𝒾𝓃𝑔 𝒹𝑒𝓈𝓅𝑒𝓇𝒶𝓉𝑒𝓁𝓎 𝓉𝑜 𝒻𝒾𝓉 𝒾𝓃𝓉𝑜 𝑜𝓃𝑒.”

I will definitely be reading the sequel in the near future. I recommend DAUGHTER OF THE PIRATE KING to anyone who is a fan of seafaring heists, pirates, sirens, and strong-willed heroines.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR:




Initially from a small town in Oregon, Tricia now lives next to the Rocky Mountains with her bossy dog, Rosy. She received her degree in English Language and editing and is thrilled that she never has to read a textbook again. When she’s not writing or reading, Tricia enjoys putting together jigsaw puzzles, playing volleyball, playing OVERWATCH, and watching shows while eating extra-buttered popcorn.



Happy Reading!

 
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