Friday, December 29, 2017

Book Review: It's Never Game Over by Cristina G #reviews @authorcristinag

Author: Cristina G.
Publisher: Independent
Pages: 145 ebook/268 paperback
Genre: Nonfiction/Self-Help


It’s the end of the year but you have the impression it’s the end of your life?
Start the New Year with a plan. Don’t make a resolution, make a habit!
Whatever your situation might be now, you have the power to change it.
  • Depression can be overcome.
  • You can lose weight and find love.
  • You can heal and transform your life.
Believe you’re happy, and you’re half way there.



Book Review:

What I found interesting as I dived into It's Never Game Over by Christina G is that this book started out as a book for writers. According to Cristina, it had started out being a short book that she was going to give out for free, but as she started writing, she discovered she couldn't get everything that needed to be said and thus, It's Never Game Over was born as a self-help book for not only writers but everyone!

The author believes that everything we do or not do is a decision and we must zone in on those time wasters so that we can get done what we need to do. Every time you complain about something, you're not taking responsibility for your life. I'm waving my hand to this one because I am terrible at this. I'd rather take it and sweep it under the rug than take responsibility and take care of whatever it is that needs my attention.  The author gives this example: "The writer who sold 800,000 copies of his books didn’t procrastinate, didn’t watch the ceiling for years complaining that it’s difficult to find someone to believe in them (I’m guilty), publish and get noticed. The success doesn’t come overnight." Whoa. 

And this struck home for me: "If you didn’t like it when your parents complained without doing anything to change their situation, why do you act exactly the same?"

Think about that for a minute.

It's Never Game Over is the best pick me up for anyone who feels like they just accept what life has in store for them instead of making that change. Cristina writes from the heart and finds the knowledge to explain to us that while we are human, there are ways out of every situation that is common sense but we have to be smart about it. Just don't give up. I highly recommend it and give it five book trees!

Tuesday, December 26, 2017

Guest Post from Richard Monts, author of Constitutional Renaissance


Title: Constitutional Renaissance
Author: Richard Monts
Publisher: XLibrisUS
Genre: Political Science/Government
Format: Ebook
Have you had enough? When will the United States government stop growing? All constitutionally enumerated activities should have been in place long ago. There should be no more expansion in scope, yet there is. What we have now is an overbearing out-of-control central government—expanding far beyond constitutional limits—imposing on member states’ sovereignty. The result is a reduction in competition among states, a stifling business environment, and citizens and businesses suffering under complex taxation and regulations. On top of that, a litigious environment depresses economic activity further. There is an alternative! This book presents one that is very business friendly, establishes competition among the states, and provides a positive environment for the individual to strive for their potential while honoring the genius of the Constitution.

How can United States government continue to expand without accompanying change to the Constitution of  the United States? During Affordable Care Act discussions, I had heard enough. I endeavored to find out for myself what United States government role is intended to be. Inquiry resulted in a book, Constitutional Renaissance.
Watching the direction, we are being taken, I have become concerned for the future of this great country. This concern has prompted me to found the Constitutional Renaissance Institute to promote discussion and  thought on the Constitution and on my suggested alternative to our expanding large central United States government. I know of no other suggestion of an alternative to big central government, we seem to be resigned to the inevitability of it.

To Realize our potential there must be a positive business environment. Without wealth it is very hard to achieve potential. Part of the mission of the Institute will be promoting a mechanism that provides the best environment in the world for business. It is described in more detail in the book Constitutional Renaissance. Regulations, taxation and litigation must be reviewed and modified as indicated to have the best environment for business. This mechanism coordinates economic activities nationally without the involvement of United States government.

United States government is too complicated, too intrusive requiring too much energy to navigate. We need disciplined government that stays within its constitutional role. In short, States take care of their internal affairs and United States government takes care of external affairs. There should be very little overlap, if any. This position is based on the intent of the Constitution. It is not based on what interpretation is in vogue.
Human character has not changed since the writing of the Constitution. Therefore, the Constitution is as valid today as when it was written. It means the same thing now as when written. The Constitution is the legal datum for our country, it does not change with time--unless we change it through amendment process. If the Constitution is interpreted differently over time we will not know where we will end up. It is up to the current stewards as they come and go to be true to it. It is the duty of every generation to hand this country off intact to the next generation. As citizens strive for their potential, building on past generations, the country improves in an endless cycle. There is no need for the various parts of government to change or expand roles.
(The statement above refers to the Congress of the confederate government, but it is applicable to the Congress of the federal government of today too.)

The Institute is not aligned with any political ideology. It is the intent of the Institute to encourage application of libertarian to liberal ideas as is appropriate for the intended task. What is being proposed is to move governance, as much as possible and constitutional, from a nebulous complex central government to as-local-as-is-possible government. Competition improves the breed, this goes for government too. By removing overlaying central government from domestic governance and having the states handle their own domestic issues puts competition in play thus improving governance. This should result in the best environment for both business and for individual citizens.
 This country has tremendous potential, if only big intrusive government would get out of the way so it could be realized. Three quarters of the people of this country think we are on the wrong path. The only difference between the two parties is one goes down the left side and the other the right side of the same path. It is still the wrong path. We need to think anew for solutions to an out of control United States government. We are on the wrong path. Now is the time to make corrections and return to course, a course prescribed by the Constitution.
Founding of the Constitutional Renaissance Institute is motivated by the belief that it is individual citizens realizing as much of their potential as possible that, in the aggregate, makes a great society. Government affects us all, get it right and we all do better, get it wrong and we all suffer. The key to our potential is respecting the Constitution of the United States ("...its only keepers, the people."--George Washington). We all are in this together, working together we can realize the potential that is in all of us--"We the People of the United States."
Mr. Monts has been concerned about continued expansion of the United States government since the Kennedy administration. He deferred to others, constitutional and legal experts galore, for the correct interpretation of the Constitution. He assumed they were right. During the Affordable Care Act discussions, he had heard enough. He determined to answer two questions to his own satisfaction. First, what is the role of the United States government? Second, what is the best environment for the individual to realize their own potential? After reading the Constitution and other contemporary writings, using his own common sense, putting intellectual integrity and honesty before ideology, ignoring case law, using correct meanings of critical words, he had his answers. The results are in this book.

Thursday, December 14, 2017

A Bookish Conversation with 'A Wanted Man' Robert Parker

Robert Parker is a new exciting voice, a married father of two, who lives in a village close to ManchesterUK. He has both a law degree and a degree in film and media production, and has worked in numerous employment positions, ranging from solicitor’s agent (essentially a courtroom gun for hire), to a van driver, to a warehouse order picker, to a commercial video director. He currently writes full time, while also making time to encourage new young readers and authors through readings and workshops at local schools and bookstores. In his spare time he adores pretty much all sport, boxing regularly for charity, loves fiction across all mediums, and his glass is always half full.

His latest book is the crime/thriller, A WANTED MAN.



Author: Robert Parker
Publisher: Endeavour Press
Pages: 307
Genre: Crime Thriller

It’s down to fathers and fatherhood.

Ben Bracken, ex-soldier, has just got out of Strangeways.

Not by the front door.

With him, he has his ‘insurance policy’ – a bag of evidence that will guarantee his freedom, provided he can keep it safe – and he has money, carefully looked after by a friend, Jack Brooker.

Rejected by the army, disowned by his father, and any hopes of parenthood long since shattered, Ben has no anchors in his life.

No one to keep him steady. 

No one to stop his cause…

The plan: to wreak justice on the man who had put him in prison in the first place. 

Terry ‘The Turn-Up’ Masters, a nasty piece of work, whose crime organisation is based in

But before Ben can get started on his mission, another matter is brought to his attention: Jack’s father has been murdered and he will not rest until the killers are found.

Suddenly, Ben finds himself drawn in to helping Jack in his quest for revenge.

In the process, he descends into the fold of
Manchester’s most notorious crime organisation – the Berg – the very people he wants to bring down…

This action-packed and fast-paced story will keep you turning the pages.
Manchester is vividly portrayed as Ben races around the city seeking vengeance.



What first inspired you to write or who inspired you?

Sunday afternoons watching cartoons and matinee movies with my Grandad, before I realized he had a pretty wonderful set of bookshelves hidden in the front bedroom. They were full of crime, adventures, thrillers, mysteries, you name it. Cups of tea and stories with Grandad – that’ll be where it all came from.

At what age did you know you wanted to be a writer?

Age 6, although it could possibly be earlier. I knew very definitely at that point that telling stories was what I wanted to do, and that’s just what I did, working predominantly in the ‘preposterous dinosaur fiction’ genre as I recall.

Do you take notes when reading or watching a movie?

I used to, but then I realized I was just being a bit over-zealous and wasn’t really enjoying what I was reading or watching anymore! I love books and movies so much that I didn’t want anything to get in the way of that.

Has writing always been a passion for you or did you discover it years later?

Always, without doubt. I’d make my own books as a kid, and was never ever far from a pen and a scrap of paper – something which is still the case now. I have so many notebooks, all filled with all manner of gold and garbage (mostly garbage).

Can you name three writing tips to pass on to aspiring authors?

Write from your gut, enjoy yourself, and don’t you dare give up.

Do you let unimportant things get in the way of your writing?

Sometimes I can procrastinate as though my life depended on it, other times the words overflow. I tend to hold onto some control though, but there is one thing that I can’t dictate – the behavior of my kids! Sometimes they pick the worst moments to redecorate the living room in Sharpie – that said, I would never class my kids as unimportant. They always come first.

What hours do you write best?

Entirely depends! Sometimes in the dead of night, but I’ve noticed that early to mid afternoon is sort of my prime time.

How often do you write?

As close to everyday as I can, but I’m realistic enough to know that some days it just doesn’t work out. When there’s a deadline, or I set myself a target, I don’t let anything derail that.

Are you an avid reader?

Yes, I sure am.

What are you reading now?

The Forsaken by Ace Atkins, which is the fourth Quinn Colson book. The attitude and elegance of this series mesmerizes me every time, and the characters feel like family.

What are you currently working on?

Well, I’ve completed the next two books in the Ben Bracken series, and ruminating on direction of the fourth while I’m halfway through a standalone novel (as yet untitled). The standalone represents a bit of a departure for me I think, as it focusses on more of a pure mystery. Kind of letting my imagination wander with this one, and it feels good!

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Navy Seal Promise Book Blast & Enter Giveaway!

Author: Amber Leigh Williams
Publisher: Harlequin Superromance
Pages: 384
Genre: Romance

He made a promise he intends to keep.

Harmony Savitt is off-limits for navy SEAL Kyle Bracken. Not only is she his best friend's little sister, she's also a single mother and the widow of a fellow SEAL killed in action. This soldier needs to keep his distance. But something between them has changed…

Despite the new complicated feelings he has for Harmony, when his family comes under attack, there's no one Kyle trusts more than her to help him get answers. When that threat extends to her and her daughter, though, he vows to protect them…even if it means putting his own heart on the line.

Amazon | Barnes & Noble

Kyle swung the door open. "Inside."
"No kiss this time?" Harmony asked, testing him. Her chin was high.
"That's right." He spoke quietly enough that it didn't carry into the lobby when he said, "You want to know something I'm afraid of?"
"What've you got, superhero?"
"That whatever's happened between us tonight wiped out everything that came before it. Is that what you want?" he asked.
"Are you kidding me?" For the first time, he saw the nerves behind her brave front. Her chin quavered even as she jabbed him with her finger. "Why do you think I didn't say anything before? You think I want to lose my best friend?"
He didn't reply.
She lifted her shoulders in a helpless shrug. "But I the end of the day...I'm not half as noble as you are." 

Amber Leigh Williams is giving away a $25 Amazon Gift Card!

Terms & Conditions:
  • By entering the giveaway, you are confirming you are at least 18 years old.
  • One winner will be chosen via Rafflecopter.
  • This giveaway ends midnight December 29.
  • Winner will be contacted via email on December 30.
  • Winner has 48 hours to reply.
Good luck everyone!


a Rafflecopter giveaway


Amber Leigh Williams is a romance writer who lives on the US Gulf Coast. She lives for beach days, the smell of real books and spending time with her husband and their two young children. When she’s not keeping up with rambunctious little ones (and two large dogs), she can usually be found reading a good book or indulging her inner foodie. Amber is represented by the D4EO Literary Agency.


Wednesday, December 6, 2017

Interview with Owen Sypher, author of The Song of Solomon

Owen L. Sypher is a devoted servant of the Lord. At eleven years old, he started a spiritual journey to discover and understand God and his word.
In 1979, he received the baptism of the Holy Ghost. Since then, he has had fellowships with the same group. Song of Solomon is his first book.
You can visit his website at   
What’s inside the mind of a Bible book author?
My mind is full of a love of the word of God.  I like to meditate and think about God’s word most of the day.  I like to try and see how does the word of God work in my life.
What is so great about being an author?
People is impressed when you say you are an author, that is nice but the greatest thing is knowing that what I wrote can potentially help a lot of people get a closer walk with the Lord.
When do you hate it?
When I am tired and have writer’s block, and when I have a self imposed deadline or goal to reach.
What is a regular writing day like for you?
When I am thinking about a verse, I take the verse and just think about that one verse or setting from morning to night, sometimes for a few days and just let the Lord stir up scriptures. I try to always have a pen and paper with me so that when an idea comes I can write it down even if I discard the idea later.  If I don’t write it down I tend to forget the idea. Then I transfer it to my rough draft that I am doing which I go over  several times later on in the process.
How do you handle negative reviews?
I realize not everyone is going to like my books, I look at the star rating and read what they have to say about it. I try to see if there is anything positive said about my book and dwell on that. The negative part I try to use to see if I could have improve my book anyway, or my writing style so when I write another book it will be better.
How do you handle positive reviews?
I get real excited about positive reviews, they are like a pat on the back for a job well done.      
What is the usual response when you tell a new acquaintance that you’re an author?
First response is usually surprise, you wrote a book? And then it gives me an opportunity to discuss my book with them, and to explain the wonderful things that are found in the word of God.
What do you do on those days you don’t feel like writing? Do you force it or take a break?
I usually take a break from writing, sometimes I waste my time playing a game on the computer.  I had to force myself to write at the end because I had my own deadline of when I wanted the book done and published by, but this was in the finishing process.
What would you do if people around you didn’t take your writing seriously or see it as a hobby?
It is ok if they don’t take it seriously; I had to do it because it is what I felt like God wanted me to do.  I did not get much encouragement or discouragement while writing my book people were just neutral on it until after it was written.
Some authors seem to have a love-hate relationship to writing. Can you relate?
Yes I can the most beautiful thing about writing this book is that I feel like I have imparted some words of wisdom to this world that will help people.
The worst part about writing is that it can be very time consuming especially if you have a full time job also.
Do you think success as an author must be linked to money?
No the true success is if you impart something of value into your readers lives to where they can improve or have a better life.  Money is just a small part of the equation.
What has writing taught you?
The most important thing it has taught me is that I can start a long term project and finish it.  This is important to me on a personal level; I grew out of writing this book.
It also taught me that I do have knowledge that I can pass on to future generations in the form of this book. Also that people wanted to hear what I had to say.
Leave us with some words of wisdom.
That is a tall order to leave words of wisdom, but I will try.
Write about things you are passionate about, and describe it in your own way. Speak from the heart.  Do your homework so you can be more detailed about what you are writing about.
Enjoy the process it will have it’s ups and downs but stay focus on your goal of finishing.
I have enjoyed writing this book.
God Bless
About the Book:
Author: Owen Sypher
Publisher: Litfire Publishing, LLC
Pages: 308
Genre: Religion/Bible Studies

The book of Song of Solomon is a spiritual book full of allegories or pictures where God used the natural to show the spiritual. By using the keys of understanding found in the Bible the author has unlock the hidden meaning of the book of Song of Solomon.
The book of Song of Solomon is about the love that Jesus has for his bride. When looked at from this angle a lot of the verses makes more sense.


Amazon * Barnes & Noble

Wednesday, November 29, 2017

Book Feature: Home Coming by Charles Lansford and Irene Nickerson

Title: Home Coming
Author: Charles Lansford and Irene Nickerson
Publisher: XLibrisUS
Genre: Coming of Age
Format: Ebook
Homecoming is that surreal feeling that a soldier has when he has returned home. For our heroes, each is facing new challenges, hopes, and fears. Ti is worried about what the shape-shifter major told him. He wonders what other secrets might be hiding in the shadows and what dangers they might hold for his family. Beary and Crew have returned home to build a new warship to face the growing threat to the Bearilian Federation. It is one that is pointed directly at his family like a dagger to his throat. Angelina and Octavious have discovered that old enemies have joined in the vendetta against their family. Old secrets may surface. Old threats may appear. All the pieces are now in place. It has been a month since everyone has returned.

Tuesday, November 28, 2017

Book Feature: A Tangled Web by Mike Martin

Author: Mike Martin
Publisher: Booklocker
Pages: 338
Genre: Mystery

Life is good for Sgt. Wind­flower in Grand Bank, Newfoundland. But something’s missing from the Mountie’s life. Actually, a lot of things go missing, including a little girl and supplies from the new factory. It’s Windflower’s job to unravel the tangled web of murder, deceit and an accidental kidnapping that threatens to engulf this sleepy little town and destroy those closest to him. But there’s always good food, good friends and the love of a great woman to make everything better in the end.

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“Life doesn’t get much better than this,” said Winston Windflower. The Mountie looked over at his collie, Lady, who wagged her tail at the sound of his voice. If dogs could smile, she smiled back. His world was almost perfect. He had the love of a great woman and a good job as a Sergeant in the Royal Canadian Mounted Police patrolling one of the lowest crime regions in the country. Plus, the weather had been mild so far, at least for Newfoundland in early December, and that meant no snowstorms with forced overnighters at the detachment. Life was very good indeed.
He had good friends, including Lady, who was amongst the best of them. And he had a child on the way. His wife, Sheila Hillier, was pregnant and at the clinic for her three-month checkup. He was waiting to hear how both Sheila and the baby were doing. His Auntie Marie had told him the baby was a girl, and if anyone knew about these things, it was his Auntie. She was a dream weaver, an interpreter of not just dreams but of messages from the spirit world. Windflower had recently spent a week with her and his Uncle Frank, another dream weaver, to learn more about the dream world.
Interpreting dreams was part of his family’s tradition. But it was an imperfect tool that gave information, not always answers. Perhaps the most important thing he learned was that dreams do not predict the future. Instead, as his Auntie told him, “Dreams tell us about our past, what has already happened. They also point to actions we should take if we want to get the right result in the future and to the signs all around us that we need to follow.”
Windflower was contemplating that piece of wisdom when he noticed a very distraught woman get out of her car outside the RCMP detachment in Grand Bank. She ran towards the front door. He walked out to meet her, but the administrative assistant, Betsy Molloy, beat him to it.
“There, there now, Molly. What’s goin’ on?” asked Betsy as she put her arms around the other woman and guided her to a seat in the reception area.
“It’s Sarah, she’s gone,” said the other woman between sobs. “I told her to stay close by the house where I could see her. I went out back to put the wash on the line. When I came in, she was gone.”
“Okay, Mrs. Quinlan,” said Windflower as he knelt down beside the two women. “How old is Sarah?” He didn’t really need to know how old the girl was. He wanted to help the mother calm down so she could give them as much information as possible.
“She’s going to be six next month,” said Molly Quinlan. “She’s growing up so fast. But she’s still such a little girl. And now I’ve lost her. Brent is going to kill me.” She started sobbing again.
“What was she wearing so that we can help find her?” asked Windflower, trying to get information but also trying to help Molly Quinlan feel useful.
The woman stopped crying and said her daughter was wearing jeans and a favourite t-shirt. “It was pink and had sparkles. She said it made her feel like she was a princess. And she had her light blue jacket on with a hood.”
Windflower smiled. “I’m sure she’ll show up soon. But let’s go over to where you last saw her, and we’ll start looking. She can’t have gone far. Leave your car here, and come with me. I’ll drive you over.” The woman smiled weakly at Windflower through her tears and allowed him to take her arm and guide her to his Jeep outside the door.
He returned inside to give directions to Betsy. “Get Constable Smithson in here. I’ll call Frost and get him to come in from his rounds.”
Betsy nodded her agreement, and Windflower went outside to drive Molly Quinlan home.
Meanwhile, it turns out, Sarah Quinlan was fine, perfectly fine. She had wandered a little way from home in the centre of town. She was going to go down to the nearby brook to feed the ducks. She knew better than to go into the water, but she couldn’t see any reason why she couldn’t just look. She’d done it before, and nobody seemed to mind. As long as she didn’t stay away too long, everything was okay.
Sarah had that great fearless attitude of a child who grew up in a small and very safe community. She knew most of her neighbours, and they all watched out for her. She also had the natural curiosity of little children, especially when she saw something new. The truck parked on the roadway above the brook was new, so Sarah went to take a closer look. Even better, the back door of the truck was open, and there was a ramp leading inside. This was certainly worth a closer inspection.
Sarah Quinlan was having fun exploring the back of the large truck when she heard a loud, rumbling noise. She didn’t know it, but the driver had started the engine. It was so loud, and Sarah was so frightened by it, she froze. The next thing she remembered was everything going almost completely black and the back door of the truck slamming shut. She cried out, but by then it was too late. Seconds later she, the truck and the unsuspecting driver were barrelling out of town and onto the highway.
Windflower drove Molly Quinlan to her house and got her to show him where Sarah had been playing. Together they walked through the house to see if the little girl had come home and hidden there. But no such luck. While they were searching the house, they were joined by two of Quinlan’s neighbours who took over Molly’s care and made her a cup of tea. Soon afterwards Constable Harry Frost arrived from his highway patrol.
Windflower gave him a quick update and directed him to go to one end of town to start the search. He would begin the house-to-house search through the neighbourhood when Smithson showed up.
He first checked out back and looked in the storage shed, a favourite hiding place of every little kid and probably where Windflower himself would have taken refuge. But Sarah was not there. As he went to the front of the house, Constable Rick Smithson showed up.
“Afternoon, Boss,” said Smithson. “Any sign of her yet?”
Windflower shook his head. “Frost is doing the big circle search. You and I will start the door-to-door. Ask them if they saw the girl this afternoon. I’ll start from here. You go down to the brook, and work your way up.”
Smithson returned to his cruiser and sped off. Windflower wasn’t worried. Yet. But he knew that the first few hours were crucial in finding a missing child. If they didn’t, then it was almost always something more serious. Not time to panic, but no time to waste. He walked up to the first door and knocked.

Mike Martin was born in Newfoundland on the East Coast of Canada and now lives and works in Ottawa, Ontario. He is a longtime freelance writer and his articles and essays have appeared in newspapers, magazines and online across Canada as well as in the United States and New Zealand.

He is the author of Change the Things You Can: Dealing with Difficult People and has written a number of short stories that have published in various publications including Canadian Stories and Downhome magazine.

The Walker on the Cape was his first full fiction book and the premiere of the Sgt. Windflower Mystery Series. Other books in the series include The Body on the T, Beneath the Surface, A Twist of Fortune and A Long Ways from Home.

A Long Ways from Home was shortlisted for the 2017 Bony Blithe Light Mystery Award as the best light mystery of the year. A Tangled Web is the newest book in the series.



Lottie Loves Book Blast!

Author: Samie Sands
Publisher: Limitless Publishing
Pages: 210
Genre: Contemporary Romance

“Will you marry me?”
Four words I’ve waited my whole life to hear. Four words which I was sure would change my life forever, and it did. Just not in the way I thought it would.

Finding out that my extremely gorgeous rock star boyfriend was about to propose, had the complete opposite effect I thought it would. Rather than catapult me into a future I’ve always wanted, it plunged me all the way back to a past I tried to forget.

Now I can’t get him out of my head. I can’t help but wonder what could have been, how our lives would have ended up if he didn’t leave me behind a shattered mess.

All these memories of the past are dangerous. It’s bringing my past back to ruin my future. And worst of all, it’s taking me right back to him, my childhood sweetheart, my first love…my biggest regret.



"Will you marry me?"
It was the words that I'd wanted to hear my entire life. Didn't every girl fantasise over the perfect man going to buy the perfect ring and getting down on one knee in the most romantic way possible, before telling them that they loved them so much, they wanted to spend the rest of their life with them?
I knew that I certainly had.
Me and my best friend Cici used to talk about it all the time. We used to plan our dresses, the music, the flowers—every part of the ceremony down to the very last detail. Of course, the man didn't really matter. We were young enough and naive enough to believe that we would magically meet the perfect man without even trying.
And I really thought that I had. I really, truly believed that my dream had come true.
Me and Danny had begun our love story in a very typical fashion—our eyes had met across a bar, where we'd had long, lingering eye contact, sparking all kinds of emotions within me. The only difference between my story, and that of every other rom-com ever, was that Danny was a genuine up-and-coming rock star, playing on a fairly big stage, and I was a fan who already felt a lot of love for this man. I'd been admiring him from afar ever since I first heard their album a year or so before.
I certainly hadn't expected it to ever go any further than that moment, so when he came and joined me at the bar later on for a drink, despite being mobbed by other members of the audience, I felt like my entire life had been leading me up to that moment. I felt like everything that I'd experienced was all drawing me closer to Danny, the love of my life. Here was a gorgeous man who was destined to be famous, and who could have any girl in the world hanging off of his arm, talking to me, asking me questions, and actually showing me interest.
It seemed like a dream—one that I was terrified to wake up from.
As he flicked his messy auburn hair from his warm, chocolaty eyes and he gave me that smile that had already melted the hearts of the nation, I thought for a dreaded, wonderful second that he was going to kiss me in front of all of those people. But after a few beats of pure terror, he didn't. Instead he handed me his phone number, and he asked if I would like to go on a date with him.
Me—boring old Charlotte (Lottie) Jones—on a date with Danny Boreom, bassist of the (now very) famous band Jax. It didn't seem real.
Yet, it was real, and it did happen.
It was the start of my real life.
After a night out on the town where he well and truly wined and dined me, he walked me home to my tiny flat which must have looked ridiculous compared to the mansion that I now know he lived in with the rest of the band at the time, and he finally kissed me. As his lips met mine, I felt myself flying on top of the world—he was an amazing kisser, and there seemed to be an endless chemistry between us. One that I never wanted to end.
Breathless and turned on by the power of his mouth, I invited him inside. Although he coolly and calmly turned me down, it was still the best night of my entire life, made even better by a phone call the next day to say that he only didn't come inside with me because he wanted to be something real. He didn't want our love to end at a one-night stand, he actually wanted us to develop and for him to become my boyfriend.
Fast forward three and a half years and we were blissfully living together, grazing by every day happily and easily. Although he was away for a lot of the year touring, it didn't seem to bother us. We were so strong and so solid with what we had, that nothing would get in our way.
It was perfect, still a dream come true and that intense chemistry hadn't burned down one bit.
Which made it even weirder that my reaction to Cici telling me that Baz—another member of the band—had just told her that he'd been engagement ring shopping with Danny, wasn't one of pure joy.
"What...what do you mean?" I asked, my heart racing frantically in my chest. I could tell that my voice was breathless and kind of terrified, but my mind was spinning too fast for me to be able to do anything about it.
"Aren't you happy?" She giggled, "I thought that you'd be over the moon to finally be Mrs. Boreom."
"No, no, I am," I half lied. The idea had always been at the edge of my thoughts. I knew that Danny was the one for me, and despite all the car crash relationships around us, we'd even managed to survive the fallout of him becoming mega famous. It helped that I had no interest in the spotlight and that I did everything I could to avoid it, but even despite all of that, I felt like it proved that we could go the distance, and be together forever. So why wasn't I excited for us to take the next step? "It's just a bit of a shock, that's all."
But that was normal, right? Everyone freaked out at first when they learned that they were going to become someone's wife...didn't they?
Of course, I already knew that wasn't true. I'd already been proposed to once in my life before, and that time, I didn't hesitate one bit. Panic didn't even come into the equation, I was happy, over the moon at the thought of becoming his wife. This was nothing like that had been. I felt completely different.
For the first time in a very long time, I allowed myself to think about Joe again, and almost the second that I allowed that vault to open in my mind, I felt myself fall into a tailspin. As his face filled my brain once more, it was almost as if the last five years hadn't happened at all, and that I was still his proud girlfriend, waiting to be his wife.
As the wound reopened, I could barely hear what Cici was saying to me. I felt like I was gaping, exposed, and extremely vulnerable all over again, and I did what I'd always done when I was younger, when things got too difficult for me. I started to talk to Joe in my mind.
Where are you now?
What became of you?
What happened to your life?
It was so strange to have gone from the closest people in the world, to absolutely nothing, and I struggled to imagine that he'd changed one bit. Of course I had, my life was completely different, but I couldn't think of Joe without viewing him as the other half of me. The boy that I'd adored, and the one that I never thought would leave my side.
"I...I've got to go," I finally announced to my friend. "I'll speak to you later, okay?" And then I hung up the phone, without even waiting for her to answer. I knew that I was being rude, acting more than a little strange, but I needed some time. I needed to be alone with my thoughts to try and process all of this.
So quite how I found myself sitting at my computer with my fingers running along the keys, I wasn't quite sure.
Don't press anything, I willed myself. As soon as you do, everything will change.
Since we had gone our separate ways, I hadn't contacted Joe once, and with the uprising of social media I hadn't looked him up either. I just couldn't face it. He was like an imaginary fantasy in my mind now, and I wasn't sure that I wanted to ruin that with reality. What if he was married now? Or into drugs or something? His life could have gone in any direction, and I wasn't sure that I really wanted to find out which one.
Plus, my life really was amazing now. Why would I want to even consider risking that? I had a gorgeous, passionate man who actually wanted to be with me forever, even though he was about ten leagues above me, I had a teaching job that I loved, and friends that would do anything for me. That was a hell of a lot more than most people had!
In the end I forced myself to stand up and to move away from the computer screen before it lured me in. I couldn't do it; I just wasn't willing to take that step into the unknown. It terrified me far too much. But as I wandered aimlessly from room to room, I realised that I couldn't just do nothing either. I needed to calm this beast within me, which meant delving into my past whether I liked it or not.
I stood at the bottom of the attic ladder, wondering what awaited me up there. When me and Danny decided to buy a place together—well, he put the most money in of course, but we still classed it as 'ours'—I shoved everything related to my old life away, not wanting to even consider it. But it was always a comfort, knowing that it was there, knowing that I could access it at any moment if I really wanted to.
And I could feel myself finally taking that step.
I creaked up the ladder, feeling my heart thump and my palms sweat with nerves. This was a mistake, I knew it was, but at the same time I couldn't stop.
There would be no way for me to get married without taking this step anyway. Right now, things were comfortable, but if I was ever going to have a future with Danny, I needed to consult my past first. At least, that was my excuse and I was sticking to it.
Danny knew about Joe anyway. Well, he'd been told some of it, the very basics, so I supposed that I was probably going to have to confess all before we finally took the plunge. With that thought in mind, I tore open the first box I stumbled across, and I ended up looking at the few photographs that I had of me and Joe when we were very young, when we very first met...

Samie Sands is the author of the AM13 Outbreak series; Lockdown, Forgotten, and Extinct. She has also had stories featured in best-selling anthologies.

Her latest book is the contemporary romance, Lottie Loves.

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