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Free Excerpt From KND Romance of The Week: KISS ME IN PARIS By Kimberly Kinrade & Dmytry Karpov – 67 Rave Reviews!

Last week we announced that Kiss Me in Paris is our Romance of the Week and the sponsor of thousands of great bargains in the Romance category: over 200 free titles, over 600 quality 99-centers, and thousands more that you can read for free through the Kindle Lending Library if you have Amazon Prime!

Now we’re back to offer our weekly free Romance excerpt, and if you aren’t among those who have downloaded Kiss Me in Paris, you’re in for a real treat:

Kiss Me in Paris

by Karpov Kinrade, Kimberly Kinrade, Dmytry Karpov

4.6 stars – 71 Reviews
Text-to-Speech and Lending: Enabled
Here’s the set-up:

No one knows my secret. Ever since high school, ever since I started living in fear, no one has known the true me. But then I met him, and I couldn’t hide anymore.

He became my hero, saving me from the villain of my past. He became my friend, his smile a blanket of warmth. And he scared me. Because he, this beautiful man, he might become more. Then he’d see the real me, and I couldn’t let that happen.

My name is Winter, and what I desire most I can’t have.

Flashes of the night I was drugged rush back to me. His strong arms carrying me through the streets of Paris. The feel of his heart beating as my head rested against his chest. The soft press of his lips against my forehead when he thought I was asleep.

Oh shit. I’m falling for the cowboy. Cade.

But we can’t be anything more. He has his own secrets. His own darkness he keeps hidden, like the letter he keeps with him everywhere he goes.

The letter he refuses to open.

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  And here, for your reading pleasure, is our free excerpt:

LESLIE STICKS HER head out of the pickup truck, and her long hair catches the wind, flying out behind her like a blond wave. “Yeehaw!”

She hollers like a cowboy in an old western, and I wonder yet again what I’m doing on this date.

Ducking her head back into the truck, Leslie stretches across the seat, placing her head in my lap. “Cade, I’m bored. Let’s do something fun. How about the lake? Some skinny dippin’?” She traces her finger up my thigh, her touch light through the denim of my jeans. “Maybe distract you from whatever has you lookin’ so serious?”

Ah yes, that’s why I’m on this date. It’s supposed to be a distraction, but nothing seems to pull me from my own melancholy thoughts, not even a beautiful, if somewhat vacuous, girl.

“Sure, we can do that. I just have to go home and feed my brother first.” I turn right on the dirt road, dust catching on the tires. We’re already on my family’s property, horses and cows grazing in wide fields, the Texas sun baking the land with all the heat of the mid-afternoon summer day, but we still have a ways to go to reach the ranch house.

“I didn’t know you have a baby brother. But can’t someone else do that? Like your mom or something?”

“I promised to do it today. It shouldn’t take long.” I pull up to my house, a sprawling ranch-style home with strong horizontal lines, low walls and wide front and rear porches. The roof is galvanized metal, and limestone in the walls gives it a rugged look.

“Nice house, though I expected something bigger given the Savage name and reputation,” Leslie says. “Like, one of those Beverly Hills mansions you see on television.”

“My dad doesn’t like to flaunt our wealth. He thinks we should live modestly, not extravagantly.” Still, there’s an elegant simplicity to the architecture of our home that I admire. It’s not flashy, but it’s high quality and well-designed using local natural resources.

The heat, a living thing you can almost see, beats down on us as we walk to the front door. Trickles of sweat leak down Leslie’s long neck, strands of her hair sticking to her body.

Cold air assaults us as we enter the house, attacking the heat and chilling our skin. Leslie shivers in her tank top and cut off jean shorts. I take off my Stetson, a rule my mother enforces religiously, and place it on the hat rack by the door. With a callused hand I push my hair out of my face and lead the way to the family room where the television fills the house with sounds of cartoons. Next to the couch, slumped in his wheel chair, sits a 16-year-old boy with the mind of a 2-year-old.

I pat his hand and smile. “Hey, Stevie, how’s it going today?”

My brother’s eyes follow me, half his mouth curving into the semblance of a smile as he croaks out a noise that I recognize as his greeting for me. His eyes shift to Leslie, and she shuffles from one foot to the other while twirling a piece of her hair and avoiding eye contact.

“Stevie, this is Leslie, my friend. Leslie, this is my brother, Stevie.”

She looks up, smiles a fraction, and looks back down again. “Nice to meet ya.”

Stevie grunts again and Leslie jerks, as if startled. I shouldn’t have brought her here, shouldn’t even be with her right now.

A big black woman walks into the living room from the kitchen and stops, fists on her ample hips as she eyes me. “Cade Savage, you know you shouldn’t be bringing nobody here. Your daddy don’t like nobody seeing him.”

“Martha, we’re not hurting him,” I say. “I’m on a date, but I promised Stevie I’d have lunch with him today. What’s it going to hurt?”

She sighs, but I know she’ll give in. She always does. “Fine. Whatever. Just don’t be crying to me when your daddy gets in his temper, ya hear?”

“I hear.” I lean in to kiss her on the cheek. “You’re a peach, Martha.”

She swats me away. “You charmer, you know that don’t work on me.” But she smiles as she leaves the room.

“How’s he doing today?” I follow her into the kitchen to prepare Stevie’s lunch.

Leslie scrambles after me, clinging to my hand as if something might attack her at any moment.

I extricate myself from her grip and assemble my brother’s lunch and supplements.

“He be doing okay, same as always,” Martha says. “He misses you, though. Don’t know how he’s going to react when you’re not around anymore.” Her tone is kind, but her words still sting.

I grab Stevie’s meal and join him in the living room, moving his chair to face me as I feed him. It’s a messy process. More food smears his face and falls on to the napkin around his neck than actually gets into his mouth, but I persist until he’s eaten most of it.

With a wet cloth, I wipe his face clean, taking care to get it all without pressing too hard. “How’s that? You feel good?”

He nods his head a fraction, eyes speaking more than his body can. I might be imagining it, but for an instant, I think I see a spark of something in his eyes, the boy he was before.

I ruffle his brown hair, the same color as mine, and take his dish into the kitchen to wash.

Martha snatches it from my hand. “I’ll finish up.”

“You’re not the maid, you know. I can wash it myself.”

She scoffs at me. “Hush now, boy. I may be Stevie’s nurse, but you don’t think that involves washing a dish now and again? Now you get on with your date. That girl in there don’t look like she can handle much more of this.”

“It’s my fault. I didn’t tell her about Stevie before we came.”

She pats my cheek and I head out, calling goodbye to my brother as we leave, my heart heavy each time I think about all the ways my family has changed, all the things we’ve lost in the last few years.

“I’m sorry about your brother,” Leslie says, startling me from my thoughts. “What happened to him?”

“An accident. But I don’t want to talk about him. Let’s go have some fun.” I don’t feel the words I’m saying, but I’m hoping the whole ‘fake it ’til you make it’ philosophy applies to moments like these.

Leslie turns up the radio, flipping through modern rock, Christian and classical until she lands on a country music station, and starts singing along.

The sun sets, casting long shadows over the hot land, lighting up the sky with oranges and pinks and yellows.

Setting suns always seem sad, beautiful but tragic in their way. It’s another goodbye, a farewell to a day that can never be relived, never be recaptured. It’s gone forever, lost in imperfect memories of what might have been.


Stars burn bright in the sky, the full moon reflected in the lake as Leslie splashes through moonbeams while chattering about her summer plans. Her words dissolve around me as I gaze at the sky, body resting against a small patch of grass near the lake.

I don’t notice when she stops talking, but it’s impossible not to notice when she walks out of the lake, nude body dripping with water, long wet hair falling down her back. My body reacts as any man would, but my mind is still distracted by the future—and the past.

She dries herself off, throws the towel on the ground next to me and lays down, her long leg draping over mine as she presses her breasts against me. “You’re overdressed for this event.” She pulls up my cotton t-shirt and slides her cool hand under it, then leans in to kiss me. Her mouth tastes like lake water and bubblegum. I respond as expected, kissing her back, but she pulls away. “What’s up? You don’t seem into this at all.”

“Nothing. I’m fine.” I reach for her, initiating another kiss, which is preferable to talking, but she slips out of my hands.

“I can tell there’s something. Is it your brother?”

Ignoring her question, I pose one of my own. “Do you ever wish you could just do what you want?”

“Don’t you do what you want?” she asks. “I mean, you’re Cade Savage. Millionaire.”

“My dad’s the millionaire. I don’t get my inheritance for another five years.”

She rolls her eyes. “You know what I mean. You can have anything.” With a slender finger, she twirls a piece of my hair. “And anyone.”

My lips curl up in a smirk. It figures that everyone thinks my life is perfect, why wouldn’t they? They only see the whitewashed facade that is my life, not the stench of death that lives in my home, corrupting everything and everyone. “Hypothetically, if you had what I have, the money, the car, the great family with the family business…. Everything. Would you give it all up for something you really wanted to do?”

She frowns, her full lips turning down into a pout. “Would I lose all the money?”

“In this hypothetical situation, yes.”

“Depends. What do I want to do?”

My mind spins, landing on the center of my childhood fantasies. “Something you’ve dreamed about doing your whole life.”

“Like being a Disney Princess?”

I shrug. “Sure.”

“But that’s impossible.”

My eyes wander back to her, leaving the stars in the sky to their own dreams. “But if it wasn’t? If you could really be a Disney Princess?”

“If it wasn’t, then… ” She thinks about it and smiles. “I’d be a Princess.”

“You wouldn’t miss all that money? How about your family?”

“Oh, I’d miss them all right, but I’d be happy. Truly happy.” She flops onto her back, staring up at the sky, perhaps dreaming of being a princess. “How many people can say that?”

I nod, smiling. “Not many.”

“Not many.” She takes a sip of the wine cooler by her side. “Besides, as a Princess I’d better have some fucking money.”

I chuckle and lay back down, staring back up at the stars.

One star breaks off from the others, shooting across the sky, a bright light trailing behind it, and I finally understand why people wish on dying stars.

Because something always has to die for life to give birth to a new dream.



Like sweet tea, watermelon and hayrides, Sunday morning church is a staple in Texas. Sitting in our family pew, eyes glazed over as I stare at the Bible and hymnal stuck into the back of the pew in front of me, Pastor Mackay finishes his sermon on the importance of family.

“Gawd,” he says God like there’s an ‘aw’ in there, “wants to share His love with us through our families, through you. If we really want to experience the love of Gawd, and if we want those we love to experience it, we will love each other the way Gawd, through Christ, loves us. Selflessly, sacrificially, and devoutly. Families give us strength to stand up against Satan and his temptations. We must embrace family, stay strong together, and fight against the darkness that so often prevails in our world. Let us pray.”

The closing prayer seems to drone on for hours, as the pastor stretches his final moments to reach us with his words. When he finally closes with an “Amen,” we stand and sing a hymn and then file out of our pews to greet each other, talk about the week, the weather, the kids, the next social event—business as usual.

Pastor Mackay clasps my hands as we leave. “Best of luck to you, Cade. We’re all mighty proud of you.”

I nod and duck out, resigned to wait in the dry heat for my parents to finish socializing. It’s a long-standing tradition that we drive to church together each week. My mom thinks this will bind us to each other in some spiritual way, allowing us to overcome our differences. So far it hasn’t worked.

While I wait, I study the architecture of the church. The Gothic-styled windows never get old, neither do the bright paintings that cover almost every surface. They transport me back to the 19th century, and I imagine a simple life of tending cattle, of coming home to a warm meal and loving family.

The building is the only reason I still agree to attend church with my family each week. That and we have enough strife amongst us; I’m loath to add more.

On the drive home my dad breaks the awkward silence by talking about the sermon. “Family gives strength,” he says, quoting the pastor. “I like that. I really like that.” He turns to Mom. “What do you think, dear?”

She pats his hand. “I thought it was good. Families should support each other.”

“Right, but they have to be together to do that,” he says. “That’s the other part I liked. Families must stay together, must hold each other close. That’s an important part. I don’t think a lot of people think about that.”

My mom pulls back her hand, fussing with her purse. “I think it was more metaphorical, dear.”

“What was metaphorical about that?” He slaps the steering wheel. “Family gives strength. Family has to stay together. Nothing metaphorical about that.”

Mom just shakes her head.

I shift in the backseat, stretching my long legs to the side to keep them from cramping, my Stetson boots pressing up against the other door. “If family gives one strength, shouldn’t family help each other achieve one’s goals?”

Dad nods. “Absolutely. Family goals.”

I clench and unclench my fist. “I don’t remember the pastor saying that.”

“Strength means working together on things, achieving things together. That’s how we keep Satan out of our lives.”

My lips curl up. “Guess it was metaphorical after all.”

Dad grunts. “There’s nothing metaphorical about the commands God has given us in regards to our family. For example, Colossians 3:20 says ‘Children, obey your parents in everything, for this pleases the Lord.’ Ephesians 6:1 says the same thing, and goes further, saying to ‘Honor your father and mother that it may go well with you and that you may live long in the land.’ God knew what he was doing, putting parents at the head of the family. Putting fathers at the head of the family.”

“I think you’re forgetting the rest of that verse, Dad. ‘Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger.’ You might want to work on that one.”

Ignoring me, he continues. “Proverbs 1:8 commands sons to ‘Hear your father’s instruction, and forsake not your mother’s teaching.’ God clearly wants children to obey their parents, to follow in their steps, to honor their will.”

Dad pulls up to our house, and I’m ready to jump out the moment he puts the brakes on. “This is all well and good,” I say, “and we could do this all day. But there’s one thing you’re forgetting, Dad.”

He turns to look at me, his face hard and uncompromising. “What’s that?”

“I’m not a child anymore. I’m a man. And the Bible is also pretty clear that a man shall leave his father and his mother, and be joined to his wife; and they shall become one flesh. That families are for raising children to send them out into the world.”

His eyes narrow, lines forming around them. “As long as you live in my house, and rely on my money to support you, you will follow my rules.”

“In five years, I’ll have my inheritance from Grandpa, whether you like it or not.”

“And what are you going to do for those five years?”

I sigh, pulling my hat lower to cover my scowl. “Does it matter? Is it worth it to you, Dad? Breaking our relationship?”

He unbuckles. “We’re family. Our relationships don’t get broken.”

“Really? Let’s count the successful relationships you’ve had with your children.” I hold up two fists. “Look at that, 0 for 3, Dad, 0 for 3.” I pull myself out of the car and slam the door before he can reply. Anger sets my heart pounding, my fists desperate to punch something. As my family settles into the house, I saddle Biscuit, my horse, and let out my aggression as we race through the fields, leaping over fences until we’re clear to run free.


We use our formal dining room on Sundays, as if God cares where we eat dinner.

My mom brings out the salad and sweet tea, and my dad serves up the barbecued ribs and corn on the cob. Stevie is wheeled up to his customary spot at the table, though he does little but stare at us as we eat in awkward silence.

“Son, please say grace before we begin,” my father commands.

I pull my cloth napkin off my lap and toss it to the table by my plate. “I’d rather not.”

Unwilling, or maybe unable, to let it go, my dad continues to probe. “Come on Cade, there has to be something you’re grateful for. Just say grace.”

Mom, ever the peacekeeper, sides with Dad. “Go on honey, just say grace.”

Stevie’s eyes flicker back and forth, the side of his face that still works drooping into a frown.

I reach for his hand and my mother’s, and we form a lopsided circle around the table. As I open my mouth to speak, the grandfather clock in the living room chimes seven times, and we all sit through it, waiting for the silence to resume. At the last chime, I clear my throat and begin. “Thank you, God, for the wonderful food before us. Thank you for my dear brother and mother. And thank you for my father, who supports me in everything.”

I glance up at him and see him grimace at my words. Filling my voice with false sincerity, I continue. “Thank you for my father, who has always told me to follow my dreams. Thank you for my father, who offered to pay for my tuition, who supports my career choice, and who’s never made fun of me for doing what I love. Thank you—“

Dad’s voice barks out in anger. “That’s enough, that—“

I shout over him, raising my voice to be heard for once in my life. “Thank you for my father, who gave me a pat on the back when I was accepted into one of the best universities in the world, who said, ‘Good job, Son. I’m proud of you. I’m proud of you!’”

I stop yelling, grief swelling up inside of me and breaking my words in half. “I’m proud of you.”

As the pain chokes me, my father’s face tightens in fury. “Cade, you will apologize right now and—“

Without an appetite, I stand and walk out of the house, silent and tired of fighting the same losing battle over and over.


The sun is setting, my favorite time of the day despite the melancholy it fills me with, or maybe because of it. I haven’t been back into the house, and my dad hasn’t come out to look for me, not that I expected him to. After fixing a shoe on Biscuit and brushing her down, I feed her apples from my hand and smile as her soft horse lips push against my skin. Rubbing her neck, I lean my head against hers. “Why can’t he just listen, for once? Why can’t he at least try to see things from my perspective?”


I turn and find Leslie strolling up to the barn, her shorts so short that the inside pockets poke out from underneath. She pulls herself up the gate and swings her legs while sucking on a lollipop. “Rich boy still has to do the grunt work?”

Biscuit finishes the last apple, and I wipe my hand on my jeans and let her out to wander the field. “I prefer to take care of my horse myself. Most cowboys do. Plus, Dad likes to keep the business with family.”

She licks lasciviously at her candy. “What do you like?”

I join Leslie by the gate, tempted to speak but unsure of how much truth I want to reveal to a girl I hardly know. “I like architecture.”

“So, you like buildings?”

“Yeah. Buildings. Sounds lame, right?”

She shakes her head, flipping her long braid over her tan and exposed shoulder. “No. Not really. Remember, you’re talking to the girl who wants to be a Disney Princess.”

A smile creeps over my face as we watch the sun set together.

I feel her eyes turn toward me, lollipop forgotten. “You don’t belong here, you know.”

I look at her and wonder if she sees more of me than my parents do. “What do you mean?”

Her slim arm flings forward in a wide, sweeping gesture. “You’re always looking out at the horizon, dreaming of some far off place. Where you dreaming of?”

“The Eiffel Tower. The Pyramids. The Pantheon. I don’t know. Someplace where a man dared to build something his father couldn’t even imagine.”

Leslie nods as if it all makes perfect sense. “That’s where you belong.”


“The future,” she says, offering me her lollipop. “The future’s built by dreamers like you.”


The world is still covered in the shadows of night when I wake and get ready for my trip. Even the rooster is still deep in slumber.

My bags have been packed for weeks, but I hadn’t made the decision to actually leave until my talk with Leslie. Funny how someone can cross into your life, like a human intersection, and make such profound observations about you.

I shuffle around in the dark, stacking my luggage by the front door as I wait for the airport shuttle to arrive. I sneak into Stevie’s bedroom and kiss his smooth forehead. “I’m going to miss you, little bro. Take care of Mom for me.” As an afterthought I add, “And Dad.”

Speak of the devil, Dad’s standing outside Stevie’s bedroom when I walk out. I stand as tall as him, our 6’5” frames nearly identical in height, muscle and build. Everyone has always told me that I’m a younger version of my father, and I wonder if I’ll be as hard and uncompromising as him when I get older. I hope not. “I’ve decided to go.”

He nods. “Okay. A summer in Paris. I can live with that.”

I think about the college acceptance letter in my suitcase. “It might be more than a summer, Dad.”

“More than a summer?” All kindness in his face vanishes. “Who’s going to help with the ranch for more than a summer? Who’s going to take care of your brother for more than a summer?”

My stomach tightens. “He’s—“

Dad raises a fist. “He’s what? What is he?” He steps closer to me, face inches from mine.

I force the words out of my mouth. “He’s not my responsibility.”

Dad stumbles back, as if in shock. “He’s not your responsibility? He’s not your responsibility? We’re family. We’re supposed to help each other.”

“Then help me.” The words come out before I can stop them and the moment I speak, I wish I could take them back.

Dad moves aside, leaving enough space in the hall for me to walk by.  “You know, I just realized, you’re not my responsibility, either. So, just go. Go. You want to go. Go. You’re an adult, as you’re so apt to point out. You make your own decisions. So go.”

Acid fills my gut. I don’t know when I’ll see him or Mom again and I don’t want to leave things like this. “Dad, I—“

His fist slams against the cherry wood hall console table. “Get out of my house!”

I shove past him and rush down the stairs with a brief nod to my mother who stands by their bedroom door in her robe, eyes spilling over with tears.

“You are not my responsibility,” my dad reiterates as the front door closes behind me.

The shuttle arrives and a short man with a Hitler mustache loads my luggage into the van as my parents open the door to stand on the front porch with me.

Seeing the driver, my dad plasters a fake smile onto his face, and holds out his hand for a firm—too firm—handshake. “Come back after the summer, son.” He leans in and lowers his voice. “Otherwise, good luck in your new life.”









THE FATE OF my career—of my entire future—is in the hands of this balding man sitting in front of me. My advisor, Mr. Posthumus, fidgets with his glasses and taps his red pen against my marked up manuscript, complete with his coffee cup stains. “Winter, why did you choose to write a romance novel?” He spits out the last words like they leave a bad taste in his mouth.

I want to grab my novel from him and clutch it to my chest. Sweat and blood and tears have gone into that pile of papers he’s treating like a coaster. Instead, I paste on a smile. “I love romance novels. My kindle’s full of romance novels. They say write what you read, right?” I take a sip of water and set the bottle on the table. I should pour it on his favorite book.

“They also say write what you know.”

People love that saying. My dad said the same thing to me years ago. So I asked him for bookshelves and books on all sorts of things: geography, history, mystery. He built me bookshelves until my room had no more bare walls, and he bought me a book about a princess who sleeps for years and wakes with a kiss. “You scare me, child” he’d said. “Read a kid book once in a while.” So I did, and it was the most romantic story. And I knew what I would write.

Lacing my fingers together, I return my attention to Mr. Posthumus. “Right. That’s why I read so much.”

He sighs, and his large paunch pushes against the buttons of his tweed jacket in protest of its confinement. “When they say write what you know, they mean write what you know from personal experience.”

I frown. “They should really clarify that.”

He shrugs. “It’s pretty obvious.”

“Not really.”

“What do you know about romance, Winter?”

I sit up straight, flicking imaginary dust off my faded jeans. “Everything.”

Mr. Posthumus raises an eyebrow. “Cocky, aren’t we?”


He waves his hand, as if beckoning me to continue. “So you have a lot of experience?”

“Well, I know things.”

He adjusts his glasses again, leaving a thumbprint on the right lens. “What sort of things?”

I lean in and quiet my voice. “Remember chapter five? When they’re in the Jacuzzi and she does that thing?”

“Oh yeah.”

“And that other thing?”

“Oh yeah.”

I lean back and beam. “That’s what I know.” Sorry Dad. I didn’t read kid books for long.

“You mean you actually—”

“No.” My eyes widen. “That’d be crazy.” I was good girl, though, wasn’t I?

He puts his hand down on the table. “See, that’s my point. You’re not writing from personal experience.”

“You could tell by just reading my book?”

Now it’s his turn to beam. “I’m trained for that sort of thing. The romance…”


“It’s a bit dry.”

Ick. “So I want it wet?”

“You want your readers—”

“Don’t even say it. Say… moist if you want, but don’t say wet.”

“You want your readers moist.”

I scrunch up my eyebrows. “That sounds so wrong.”

“Yet it’s right.”

I smile at him. It’s a trust me kind of smile. A you can tell me anything kind of smile. If I were in a cop show, I’d be the Good Cop criminals tell everything because of my smile. “But that scene, in the bathroom, didn’t it, you know….”


“Well, you know…”

“Didn’t it what?”

“Didn’t it turn you on?”

He blushes. “Well, that was a good scene.”

I wiggle my eyebrows. “You like that one?”

“That thing she did. That was quite a thing. I didn’t know you could even—no. That’s not the point.”

That thing she did. A book on acrobatics gave me the idea. I fold my arms. “What is the point?”

He cleans his glasses, smearing his greasy thumb spot over the glass. “You haven’t dated in while.”

“How do you know?”

“The romance—”

“It’s a bit dry.”

He nods. “Not even realistic, really.”

“Thanks. I really needed that clarification.”

“You really did. You need to get out there and get—”

I throw my hand up like a stop sign. “Please. Don’t say laid. Say happy time, if you must. But don’t say laid.”

“I was going to say dating.”

My hands fall to my lap. “Continue.”

“You need to get dating. And then you need happy time.”

I smack my head. “Kill me, please.”

“They fire us for that sort of thing.”


He clenches his jaw. “I know. Sometimes I just want to… never mind. Let’s continue.”

“Dating isn’t for me.” Maybe it was for that little girl, her head in a book all night, dreaming of Prince Charming. But not for me.

He twirls his pen—the red pen of doom—around in circles. “I suppose you could skip straight to—”

“That’s not for me either.”

He starts laughing. “And you want to write romance novels?”


He keeps laughing. “Sorry.”

I start to stand. “Should I go?”

“No. I’ll be serious with you. Writing romance isn’t your thing.”

I roll my eyes. “Jeez, sir, why didn’t you tell me earlier?”

“I’m telling you now. Unless you’re willing to have happy time, you can’t write romance.”

“You’re just full of useful ideas.”

He rubs his chin, eyebrows furrowed. “There is one other thing you can try, though.”

“Don’t say sleep with a teacher.”

“No. Cut out the romance stuff. Make your book literary fiction.”

“I don’t read literary fiction.” My dad bought me one of those, but it was too slow to start and the characters talked of boring things. I read more in high school. I had to. But most literary novels are sad. No one saves the princess. No one falls in love. Or if they do, they die. Or their child dies. Or everyone dies.

“Well, you won’t get far with genre fiction here.” Mr. Posthumus pushes my manuscript away, his lip curled in disdain. “Our program at Sarah Lawrence is designed more for serious writers of literature. Why spend your parents’ good money on such an expensive education just to write romance novels?”

My dad asked me the same thing. When I showed him my college application, he asked, “You have books on everything, don’t you? College is for math or science or languages. You’re good at languages.” My mom always checked my language homework and nothing else. Until she didn’t have to check it at all.

Mr. Posthumus nods. “Besides, you’d do well in Modern Languages and Literature.”

I remember how I forced my dad to sign the application, refused to change it, and I push the manuscript back at my advisor. “I’ll do well in Creative Writing.”

“Who’s the expert here?” He wears a cocky grin. And I imagine him as a young boy, reading kid books about spies.

“Come on? Have you never considered writing genre fiction?”

He leans far back in his chair, staring at the ceiling, and I see an old man once again, holding a book some old literary committee gave an award. He smacks his lips. “Utilitarianism, Winter. It means—”

“The greatest happiness for the greatest number of people is what matters.” I glare at him and imagine the many words I could use to demonstrate my vocabulary. Few of them are nice.

“Literary fiction is the greatest,” he says.

Many have tried to prove so. Many have failed. “But more people read genre.”

He shrugs and gets a far away look. “I’m good at literary.”

The window is dim. The sun has set. “I need to go.”

He holds up a slip of paper. “Here’s a form to transfer majors.”

“Where’s the form to transfer advisors?”

“Winter, I’m trying to help you.”

“Then give me my evaluation.”

My advisor nods, pulls out a folder, and hands it to me, along with the battered copy of my manuscript. I hold both, staring at my name on the manila folder. Winter Deveaux, Freshman.

His chair squeaks as he shifts his ample bottom and pushes back from his desk. “Are you going to read it now?”

“Do I have to?”

“Not really. Have fun in Paris. Maybe you’ll meet someone.”

I stand up, grab my water bottle, and slide the evaluation into my backpack. “I’ll be too busy writing.”

He meets my eyes, and for a moment, he looks like my dad. “I hope you know what you’re doing, Winter. Few writers succeed.”

I chuckle. “People keep telling me that.”

“Because it’s true.”


Butterflies dance in my belly as we stand in the line to check my luggage. JFK International Airport looks like an alien spacecraft from the outside, but the inside is like its own mini-world, with stores and cafes and people from all over the world hurrying off to their next adventure. I’ve only ever been to an airport to see my sisters and cousin off, never as a traveler myself. Each time I came, I’d stare at the flickering and ever-changing screen of flights and imagine picking one at random and flying somewhere new.

Airports hold their own kind of magic. They are gateways to other worlds, in the most real sense. An airport is a portal, taking you from one life to another. When you fly, you’re suspended in time and place, not existing anywhere fully until you land. My hands tremble in excitement as I take my ticket, my gate number circled in a bold yellow highlighter, and leave the counter to say goodbye to my family.

They’re waiting by the bathrooms, and I pull my carry-on suitcase behind me to join them, holding up my boarding pass for them to see. My face splits into such a wide smile I’m sure I look a bit insane. “It’s real. I’m about to leave for Paris! C’est très excitant!”

My sister, Autumn, hugs me first, squeezing me tight. Her green eyes glow with excitement. “I know you’re going to have an amazing time.” She pulls back and brushes a stray lock of black hair from my face. “I might see you while you’re there. We have a big Egyptian exhibit about to go on tour and The Louvre is one of our tour stops.”

I squeal and hug her again. “That would be so awesome. I can’t wait.”

Daring, my cousin who’s more like a sister, is next, a small package in her hand. “I have a going away present for you.”

I open the silver box and smile, pulling out the charm necklace. It’s just like hers, the one I’ve admired for years, with a tiny Eiffel Tower, a silver envelope, a foreign coin and beads. The only thing it’s missing is the key.

As if reading my mind, she pulls hers out of her shirt and holds it up. “My key was my mother’s, before she died. I didn’t put one on yours because you need to find your own. One that means something special to you, that reminds you who you really are.”

I nod and slip it over my head, then hug her. “This is the best gift. Thank you.”

She smiles and tweaks my nose, something she hasn’t done since we were kids. “I have a feeling this summer’s going to change your life.”

My mom kisses my cheek, tears in her eyes. “We’re going to miss you. Write us, call us and be careful.”

Autumn and Mom stand together, their auburn hair and green eyes twins of each other.

I’m more like my father with the pale skin and ice blue eyes. His are watery as he takes me into one of his trademark bear hugs. “Be good, kid. And have fun.” He shoves a stack of cash into my hand, and it’s not American bills but Euros, which look like Monopoly money to me. I raise my eyebrow.

He smiles. “I have my ways. Figured you should have some cash, in addition to your debit card, just in case. Don’t lose it.”

I shove the wad into my purse. “Thanks, Dad. I really appreciate it.”

Another round of hugs, with my own tears spilling over as my heart wars within itself, torn between excitement and sadness, and I’m in the customs line waiting to be interrogated. Irrational fears overtake me, my imagination plagued with absurd scenarios where I’m arrested for suspicion of being a terrorist or accused of smuggling drugs. The scenes unfold in my mind, complete with dialogue, until my body reacts viscerally to this made-up tragedy. By the time it’s my turn to show my passport, I’m convinced my guilt will show on me like a tattoo on my face.

The man behind the counter, without a hint of a smile, asks me for my passport. With sweaty palms, I hand it to him, counting to ten in my mind and trying to calm my heart rate lest he hears its frantic beating.

“Where do you live?” He looks up as he asks this, holding my passport to compare to my face.

My passport picture is horrible. I was sick that day and looked jaundiced. Will he think it’s not me? That it’s fake? And what does he mean by where do I live? Like my home address or city, county, state? Country? Though I’d think country would be obvious by my passport. I don’t really want this creepy dude knowing my home address, so I start with the broadest classification I can get away with. “I live in the United States.” My voice shakes when I say this, and his eyes narrow in.

“Full address, ma’am.” His hand slips under the counter, and I wonder if he’s hitting a silent buzzer to notify security that he has a potential criminal on his hands.

“3211 Primrose Avenue, Bronxville, New York.” My mouth is dry, my tongue feels swollen to twice its size.

“Where are you going?”

I show him my ticket. “Paris, France. I’m studying at the Sorbonne.”

“What is the purpose of your travels?”

Didn’t I already answer this part? “To study,” I say slowly, in case he’s having a hard time understanding. “At the Sorbonne.”

“When do you plan on returning?”

Well, now, that’s a much trickier question. “It depends. I’m going to be there at least the summer, but if things go well, I could be there the whole year.”

Placing my paperwork on the counter, I point to my student visa and acceptance letter. “See?”

He proceeds to ask me a series of questions about my luggage. If I’m taking any perishables with me? Is this a huge criminal problem, I wonder? Is the smuggling of a pineapple really an international emergency? Once I answer everything to his satisfaction, he hands me my passport back and I exhale in relief.

He points to another line. “You may go.”

He didn’t stamp my passport. It’s a silly thing, maybe, but that stamp is symbolic of my journey and I really want it, but don’t want to draw more attention to myself. I hesitate, pivoting back and forth on my feet in indecision.

“Ma’am, please move along.”

Summoning my boldness, I place the passport on the counter. “Would you mind stamping this? It’s sentimental.”

He rolls his eyes, but stamps it as asked, and I nearly skip off to the next line, relieved that the worst of my first airport experience is over.

Daring helped me pack, so I don’t break a sweat at this next part, and already have my shoes, belt and jacket off, laptop pulled out, and my travel size toothpaste and hair products in their baggies and sitting on the top of my luggage by the time it’s my turn to place my belongings on the belt for it to be scanned in the X-ray machine. No buzzers go off as I walk through the metal detector, which, since I’m practically naked now, is not a big surprise, but my bag doesn’t pop out the other side like everyone else’s.

In fact, they stop the belt and pull my bag, like it might be a bomb or something.

Luggage backs up, causing one bag to fall off the machine. Angry travelers glare at me, as if I’ve made it my mission in life to make them late. Only one person doesn’t make me feel like a total jerk. He looks like a cowboy with his wide-brimmed brown leather hat, pointy boots and belt buckle. I suck in a breath when we make eye contact, his blue eyes two shades darker than mine. This is the kind of man writers dedicate romance novels to. Broad chested with ropes of muscles under his shirt, strength earned from real work not a gym, skin sun-kissed and glowing. He smiles at me and my knees go weak.

Le sigh.

Feeling the heat rush to my face, I nod my head in my most regal fashion and turn away as the scrawny 20-something guy working behind the x-ray machine asks me to follow him so he can inspect my bag.

He steps to the side and opens my red carry-on, shuffling through my iPad, a change of clothes and other staples I was told to always carry with me in case my luggage was ever lost. There are perks to being one of the youngest in a family of world travelers.

My jaw drops when he pulls out a gallon sized plastic baggie and dumps the contents—items I’ve never seen before in my life—onto the counter. Holding up a pair of red G-String panties with a matching bra, if that slip of silk can be called a bra, and a handful of—oh my God—condoms?

He smirks at me and reads aloud the note that’s in the baggie. “Winter, Have some fun this summer. Here’s a starter sex kit to help you out. All my love, your favorite cousin, Daring.”

I want to die.

I want the floor to open up and swallow me, or lightning to strike me dead.

I want them to arrest me, just so I can get away from the dozens of eyes taking in my humiliation.

I fight the urge to tell them I have a bomb, or maybe that I am the bomb. Or to tell them I’m a drug mule. Anything to divert attention from the most embarrassing moment of my entire life.

And then I remember the hot cowboy.

Who’s standing behind me.

Who heard and saw everything.

My cheeks, I can already feel, are a flaming red. I probably look like my head is about to explode. I wish it would, so I won’t have to live in this moment any longer.

An older woman, probably the supervisor, grabs the note and the panties from the jerk staring at me. “I think you’ve sufficiently searched this bag.” She nods sympathetically at me and shoves Daring’s gift back under my clothes, zipping my suitcase shut. “Sorry for the inconvenience, ma’am. You can take your belongings and head to your gate now.”

I grab everything, slipping back into my shoes as I half-run, half-trip away, my jacket and belt dangling from my arm. I don’t look back to see if the hot cowboy is watching the most ungraceful escape ever made by a girl. I just can’t deal with him.

This is worse than the time I bought my first box of tampons and found that the checkout clerk was the sexy upperclassman I’d had a crush on since I was in middle school.

Worse than when I threw up in public at a football game.

Worse than anything I can even imagine.

My only consolation is that I’ll never see any of those people again. This is one of the biggest airports in the country, and they will be scattered all over the world within a few hours. I’ll live down my humiliation in the privacy of my memories.

I dash into the nearest bathroom and hide in an empty stall, waiting for the horror to die down. I can’t believe Daring put these things in my suitcase. No wonder she was so anxious to help me pack. Through the years she’s played pranks on me. Sharing a room with her has always been an adventure, but this tops the cake.

Once my heart rate returns to normal, I spend the next twenty minutes looking for my gate and debating whether or not I’m going to call my cousin and chew her out, but I don’t have the energy for a fight. Better to just forget it and move on.

When I reach my gate, the first thing I see is Monsieur Bellugue, my French professor, holding a sign that says “Summer in France Program”. A group of college-age students huddles around him, and I join the mill. Only two of us are from Sarah Lawrence, the rest have flown in from other participating universities. It’s an elite program, and I’m still in awe that I got in.

The second thing I see is the sexy cowboy.

Standing with my group.

Looking right at me.

Oh dear God in heaven, why won’t you let me die?

 Click here to download the entire book: Kiss Me in Paris>>>

“My name is Winter, and what I desire most I can’t have.” Price Cut Overnight to $0.99 For KND Brand New Romance of The Week! KISS ME IN PARIS By Kimberly Kinrade & Dmytry Karpov

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Kiss Me in Paris

by Karpov Kinrade, Kimberly Kinrade, Dmytry Karpov

4.6 stars – 66 Reviews
Text-to-Speech and Lending: Enabled
Here’s the set-up:

No one knows my secret. Ever since high school, ever since I started living in fear, no one has known the true me. But then I met him, and I couldn’t hide anymore.

He became my hero, saving me from the villain of my past. He became my friend, his smile a blanket of warmth. And he scared me. Because he, this beautiful man, he might become more. Then he’d see the real me, and I couldn’t let that happen.

My name is Winter, and what I desire most I can’t have.

Flashes of the night I was drugged rush back to me. His strong arms carrying me through the streets of Paris. The feel of his heart beating as my head rested against his chest. The soft press of his lips against my forehead when he thought I was asleep.

Oh shit. I’m falling for the cowboy. Cade.

But we can’t be anything more. He has his own secrets. His own darkness he keeps hidden, like the letter he keeps with him everywhere he goes.

The letter he refuses to open.


New Adult Contemporary Romance – 87, 000 words – Standalone in the Kiss Me series.

Travel the world with the Deveaux’s as they find love, and trouble, in all the right places.



“From start to finish I couldn’t help but laugh, cry, cheer…” –Dalene Kolb

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Free Romance of The Week Excerpt Featuring Seduced by Innocence by Kimberly Kinrade – Over 100 Rave Reviews!

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Here’s the set-up:
Forbidden Passions.
Deadly secrets.
A love that will stand against it all.

Liquid fire poured into me, filling me with the intimate sense of him as he leaned in to claim my lips with his own. I reached for him, needing him closer, needing to feel his flesh against mine, but my arms couldn’t close the distance between us, which grew wider with each hitched breath. So close to finally feeling something real, something carnal and deep, I cried out in frustration, dropping my hands as he disappeared. My cries deepened into a frenzy of panic and my eyes flew open. I clutched my blanket and stilled myself to calm my racing heart.

Just a dream. Always just a dream.


Rose Wintersong didn’t have an ordinary upbringing. Raised in what most would call a hippy commune, but what is actually a powerful coven of witches, she never questions the life fate chose for her.

Until she meets Derek O’Conner.

Derek challenges everything Rose believes and forces her to see the secrets hidden beneath the whitewashed walls of her idyllic country life.

Rose knows she should walk away, that the sexy martial arts instructor is bad news bred to create discord in her tight community… but the animal magnetism between them is impossible to fight.

Caught between the passion of first love, and the steady beat of the life she’s always known, Rose must choose between the innocence of her youth or the pleasures of womanhood–but lost innocence comes at a price, and Rose harbors a dark secret that could destroy everyone she loves–including Derek.

 And here, for your reading pleasure, is our free excerpt:



 Sudden Endings







These sudden joys have sudden endings. They burn up in victory like fire and gunpowder.

— William Shakespeare, Romeo and Juliet



LIQUID FIRE POURED into me, filling me with the intimate sense of him as he leaned in to claim my lips with his own. I reached for him, needing him closer, needing to feel his flesh against mine, but my arms couldn’t close the distance between us, which grew wider with each hitched breath. So close to finally feeling something real, something carnal and deep, I cried out in frustration, dropping my hands as he disappeared. My cries deepened into a frenzy of panic and my eyes flew open. I clutched my blanket and stilled myself to calm my racing heart.

Just a dream. Always just a dream. It could never be more than that. Not with my dream man, not with any man. Knowing this did nothing to dampen the disappointment that weighed heavy on me each time I entered that one moment where dreams and reality co-existed and I forgot who I really was and what would happen if I ever experienced that level of surrender. But fear replaced my self-absorption when the alarms penetrated my foggy mind. Outside my cottage, footsteps raced through the cold night, crunching on newly fallen snow. Through my frosted window, flashlights wavered back and forth, looking for something, or someone. It’s happening again!

The floor under my bare feet felt like ice as I slipped out of bed and fumbled in the dark for my clothes. Sandy, my loyal Alaskan Husky, whined when I moved to leave the cottage without her. I ran a hand through her thick white fur. “You want to come? I have to go check on your puppies. Do you want to see your babies?”

She barked once and wagged her tail.

The alarm shut off, leaving us both in a stunned silence that filled the room. Sandy licked my hand and stood by the door waiting as I pulled on my boots and coat and braced myself for the cold. I rummaged through the basket next to my door, looking for my warmest gloves. At least in the winter I had a ready excuse for covering my hands.

Outside, the black pitch of night greeted me. No one had turned on the floodlights yet, which made me wonder if they’d been damaged. Flashlight in hand, dog by my side, I headed to the main house on our coven’s 100-acre property as I sent my magic ahead of me to sift through the energy from the attack.

Before I could get more than a few steps, Blake ran up to me and laid his hand on my arm as he fought to catch his breath. He ignored Sandy’s low growl as he pushed me toward the door. “You should go back in. They’ve broken onto the property again. Bastards slashed the tires on three vehicles and left a deer carcass as a gift.”

My heart thumped with extra force at the news. “That’s horrible. Whose cars?”

“The property truck, Darren’s car and Lauren’s.” His jaw hardened, and he narrowed his dark eyes, squeezing my arm tighter in his anger. “Bastards will cost us hundreds in new tires. They even smashed out the windows. We’ve got to strike back. Teach them a lesson.”

Using my gloved hand, I eased his fingers off of me. He flinched at the touch, despite the layers of protection. Good thing I had a thick skin, sort of. I kept my voice calm, even through my own rage. “That’s not a decision you can make on your own. We’ll all talk about it when we meet tomorrow morning.”

He waved his flashlight over his watch and smirked. “More like a few hours. It’s 2 a.m. The meeting’s in two hours. Where’s Ocean?”

“She’s on a date, and I’d better check on the puppies and try to get a bit more rest.” I stepped around him to continue walking, but he blocked me with his large body made of the kind of muscle you get, not from the gym, but from manual labor day in and out. He smelled of pine needles and snow, a scent that would have been appealing on anyone else but him.

“Rainbow wants everyone inside except the security team. The puppies are fine,” he said.

I’d thought about it a lot, what it was about Blake that revolted me so much. Easy on the eyes, dedicated to our coven, though lacking magic of his own, he would have been a safe choice, if I’d had any choice at all. He’d even indicated an interest on more than one occasion, and the only almost-kiss I’d ever experienced had been with him on my thirteenth birthday. But his touch made my skin crawl, even through clothing. I shifted away from him. “What about my sister? She must be scared.”

“She’s sixteen, Rose, not a little girl anymore. She’s not as helpless as you think. Just go back inside. We’ll handle this.” He smiled to soften the command in his voice, and I sighed and walked back into the cottage.

I’m not a little girl anymore, either. Guess no one got the memo.

Not for the first time I wished for a lock on my house, but none of us had locks, despite the recent string of break-ins. I shed my winter gear and gloves and toweled off the snow from Sandy’s paws. Knowing I’d never get back to sleep, and frustrated that I’d been dismissed by Blake like some kid, despite the fact that I was nineteen and he was only twenty-one, I searched my one-room dwelling for something to occupy my time until our daily pre-dawn meeting.

My favorite romance novel sat on the dresser next to my bed, and I reached for it, grateful that I could at least breathe in vicarious passion through the lives of others, if not my own. My hands stilled on the book as shivers of energy traveled through my body, connecting me to the earth, to my coven and to my family. Mother’s voice called out to me through one of those lines. “Rose. Help! Hurry!”

We almost never communicated telepathically. The drain on energy and resources was just too much, and, with the modern convenience of cell phones, unnecessary. Besides that, most members of our coven didn’t have enough power to do it. Heart racing in my chest, I ran out the door and through the dark with Sandy at my heels, straight to the lower level of the main house where Mother lived. The air crackled with fear and desperation and the ramped up emotion of it all forced my gut into uncomfortable knots.

As leader of the coven, Mother commanded the most power and respect. She’d never reached out to me for help before, which made this all the more alarming. I forced my legs to pump faster, Sandy running at my side, as I navigated through the icy paths masked with shadows of the night.

There should have been others out with flashlights, checking the property, but I didn’t see or feel anyone. Perhaps the mental cries of Mother drowned out everyone else?

When we reached her door, I hesitated. Mother didn’t like people barging in on her. While everyone else in the coven had a default open door policy—meaning literally anyone else here could walk into your house without knocking—Mother was immune from that. To some extent, so was I, but only because my coven feared an accidental touch. Only in my own home could I go gloveless. My best friend and roommate, Ocean, was the only person in the coven not scared of me and my dark gift.

Sandy whined and clawed at the door, jarring me out of my thoughts. Inside, something clattered to the ground, and Mother screamed. I pushed the door open and tried to mentally ready myself.

But nothing could have prepared me for what I found.


A giant brown wolf stood before Mother, baring his teeth with a low, throaty growl that sent shivers of fear up my spine. Mother cowered in the corner of her couch, eyes like saucers as she backed away from the wolf with her hands in defense position. She made eye contact with me as I walked in and yelled, “Help! Rose, help! He attacked me.”

Sandy growled and the puppies in the kennel barked and yipped. Sandy stood in front of her puppies, ready to attack this new threat, hackles raised on her back.

Feeling utterly useless, I shouted at the wolf. “Get away from her!”

It turned its head to me, large golden eyes glowing in the dim light. For a moment I felt a connection to the beast, as if he was trying to tell me something, but the moment shattered when Mother shrieked at me. “Do something, Rose.”

What did she want me to do? I didn’t know self-defense…  no one would let me study it. I had no weapons… other than myself. Mother, who—even cornered by this magnificent beast—looked in control and poised, with her midnight black hair in an up-do and her face made up with flawless makeup, glanced down meaningfully at my hands.

This couldn’t be. She couldn’t possibly want me to use my power on the wolf. It didn’t even work on animals.

But this wolf, three times the size of even a large wolf, felt more than animal. Something tickled at the back of my mind. Something I should have known but had forgotten. It hovered on the edge of my memory, teasing me with knowledge just out of reach.

The wolf howled, his head high in the air, and more howls tore from the nearby woods, echoing through the cold night.

Then it all clicked and I took a step back. So it was true. All the stories and rumors. The O’Conner clan really could shapeshift, and they were here, on my land, attacking my family.

For months they’d been terrorizing our coven, trying to drive us out of our rural home in Washington. We refused to be bullied by the wealthy Druids who commanded the public favor in the local, and even international, spiritual and business communities.

We didn’t have the money to fight them legally.

We didn’t have the power to fight them magically.

And we had no idea what they wanted from us.

But they’d attacked relentlessly. Sabotaging our cars, destroying our property, leaving dead animals for us to find. Now, they’d sent someone to hurt Mother. Maybe kill her. Anger boiled inside of me, reaching through me and around me, and the steel traps around my power uncoiled as I took measured steps toward the wolf.

Reason left me. Fear abandoned me. Only rage sustained me as I reached out with a bare hand to touch the flesh beneath the thick fur of the wolf.

With a final push, it flooded out of me. My darkest secret. My cross to bear. It pooled into my hand, turning it into the worst kind of weapon. My flesh turned into a fire only I could withstand, and the wolf howled in agony as his mind, or soul, or whatever part of him made him ‘him’, turned to ash and left him forever.

I collapsed to the ground, vision blurred, body cold, hardwood floor beneath me shifting and dipping. Blackness pressed in on me, but before it could claim me entirely I saw the wolf shift back to human. A naked young man, no older than myself, lay in a heap of skin, muscle and bone, staring vacantly at me, eyes glazed over with a white haze that indicated he’d never be himself again.

Though his body still lived, I’d killed his soul. And a new kind of darkness squeezed my heart as I faded into nothing.





I Bite My Thumb at You







Do you bite your thumb at us, sir?

— William Shakespeare, Romeo and Juliet



I’D ALWAYS BEEN most comfortable at night. The cloak of darkness allowed me to hide my sins, or flaunt them, depending on the company.

Tonight was a little bit of both.

The leggy waitress sauntered over to the pool table that I’d rented for the night. Lose a few games and everyone wants to show you how it’s done. That’s when I pull out my A game to cover my expenses for a few more days.

Living from cheap hotels and traveling the country on a motorcycle wasn’t everyone’s idea of a good time, but it kept me busy and kept me in the company of beautiful women. How could I complain?

She handed me a tall glass full of amber liquid and raised a perfectly manicured eyebrow at my choice of a non-alcoholic beverage while everyone else worked at getting sloshed.

“It’s all about illusion. People see what they want to see. Right now, they see a cocky prick who drinks too much and bets too much on half-assed games of pool. It’s how I keep my edge.” Of course, bragging about this didn’t exactly work with my stay-under-the-radar plans, but even I enjoyed the admiring glance of a woman who respected my techniques.

“You’re like that detective, in those old television shows. Columbo, I think. Acts dumb but is really super smart and always, like, gets the bad guy in the end.” She twirled a strand of long blond hair and chewed on her lower lip as she talked.

When she bent over to pick up an empty glass from the table, her cleavage spilled out of her tight blouse, giving me an eye full and making things uncomfortable in my jeans.

She slipped me a piece of paper with a phone number on it and winked. “You have really pretty eyes. They’re, like, blue with sunlight in them. Like a cat.”

Wrong species. “Thanks, they are a bit unusual.”

“I think they’re cool.” She leaned in closer. “I get off at closing. Want to give me a ride home?”

“If I’m still around, yes.” The most honest answer I could give.

The light of desire dimmed in her eyes a bit, but she smiled and walked away, swinging her hips to the music.

I adjusted my jeans and focused on the game. Daryl, the big guy who’d challenged me, had won the last three games and had bought drinks for his buddies to celebrate. This final game was all or nothing, and for him, it would be nothing. He just didn’t know it yet.

It only took me one turn to sink the eight ball and win the game. I put my leather coat on, then reached for the money, well over three hundred dollars, and pulled back just in time to avoid a broken hand as he slammed his pool stick against the table.

“You fucking cheat. Yer a shark.” The jowls of his chin vibrated with his rage, and his beady eyes squinted like a rat. “You ‘aint getting none of my money, or yours.”

It was for moments like these, rare though they were, that my drinks were always alcohol-free.

I relaxed my body and assessed the room around me. Two exits, one in front and one in back. I could get through the back door easily enough and hop on my bike. Daryl had two friends at least as big as him, but their collective mass had more to do with their daily beer intake than any gym memberships.

I could take them, if I had to. But better not to fight, especially in the bar. If the cops showed up before I could extricate myself, it would create a whole new pain in the ass I didn’t want to deal with.

I reached for my money again, and he lunged at me. Anticipating his move, I shoved the money in my back pocket as I twisted to the side, then used his weight against him to knock him on his ass.

He hadn’t been hurt, so his buddies didn’t know whether to fight me or help him up. Most people, even oversized idiots, didn’t want trouble with the police.

Hands in the air, I gave my surrender. “Look, I just got lucky on that last one, but I won fair and square.” I backed up toward the door, ready to bolt if he or his friends came after me.

Daryl slapped his friend’s hand away and used the pool table to help himself stand. “Give me back my money, or I’ll rip yer face off and take it back myself.”

I shot a mournful glance at the hot waitress, who realized that I wouldn’t be sticking around for closing, then darted out the door to my bike.

Daryl and his friends had no chance to catch up to me, which was for the best, since I really didn’t want to be responsible for taking his money and sending him to the hospital all in one night.

As I pulled out of the parking lot, my cell phone buzzed in my pocket. Very few people had this number, and those that did weren’t likely to use it at this time of night… unless….

My hotel in Portland, Oregon was close enough that it made more sense to go straight there than try to find someplace safe to pull over. Not to mention it was freezing outside. Ten minutes later I had settled into my hotel room and checked the messages on my phone.

Five calls, and all from the last person on earth I wanted to speak to.

I selected the last incoming call and pressed the green call button on my phone. The first ring cut off as a familiar voice answered.

“Son, is that you?”

I sat on the cardboard-like bed and pulled off my boots. “Yeah, Dad, it’s me. What’s up? Is Mom okay?”

“She’s fine. But, Dean…. ” His voice trailed off as if he didn’t know how to say what he had to say next. Except my dad always knew what to say.

“Dad, what happened? Is Dean okay?” Real fear gripped my chest. I hadn’t seen my younger brother since I left home two years ago, but we still talked every chance we got. I may have been a shitty brother, but I loved him.

“There’s been an accident, Son. You need to come home. Dean’s in trouble.”


It took four hours to get home, and I thanked the gods that be that I hadn’t been back East or in the mid-West when the call came in. Pulling onto the vast estates that my parents owned, I imagined what they would think when they saw me.

It had been two years, and I’d changed a lot. I also smelled like a night at the bar.

I pulled off my helmet and attached it to my bike, then walked the long path to the front door and rang the bell. It may have been my family home, but it wasn’t my home anymore.

My sister, Tammy, met me at the door and pulled me into a hard hug. “Oh my God, Derek, where have you been? We’ve missed you.” She stepped away to look at me and smiled. “I’ve missed you. How could you just abandon your little sister like that?”

“Tam, we talk every week. It’s not like I disappeared.” But I had to admit, it felt good to see her again. She’d grown a lot. Last time I saw her she’d just turned sixteen and had been a late bloomer. Now she was a young woman, and she’d definitely bloomed. A growl formed at the base of my throat at the thought of any man touching her, but Dean, her twin brother, could look after her. They’d always been close. I was only four years older, but it felt like a lot more, especially after I left.

“What happened? Is Dean okay?”

Her smile at seeing me faded, as she struggled to hold in the tears forming in her eyes. “No, no he’s not. Come in. Dad wants to talk to you, I’m sure, and Mom is dying to see you.”

She took my backpack from me. “They’re in the library. I’ll put this in your room.”

“I still have a room?” I’d assumed they’d turned it into a gym, or a scrapbooking room for my mom.

“Of course you still have a room.” She rolled her eyes and for a moment looked like the sixteen-year-old girl I’d left behind. “This is your home. Your family. You’ll always have a place here, whether you want it or not.”

Her words cut at me, though I didn’t think she meant them to. She and Dean could never understand why I left, why I didn’t want to join the family business and become Dad’s mini-me. Sometimes, I had a hard time understanding it myself.

David O’Conner commanded a room, whether alone and casual or amidst hundreds of people in formal wear. He pushed his plush leather chair back from his mahogany desk and stood when I walked in. “Derek, you’ve come home.”

My mother, Lauren O’Conner, the woman who had turned down a New York modeling career to become a literature professor, replaced a copy of Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales that she’d been perusing and smiled up at me. “My boy.”

They’d aged since I’d seen them last, but they wore it well. A creeping of grey hair at his temples gave my father a distinguished look, and my mother, always a beauty, still carried herself with a grace and elegance that few women could mimic.

She put her delicate hand on my face. “Have you found what you’ve been looking for, out there on the road?”

I shrugged. “Maybe life isn’t about the answers, but rather the adventure.”

“Always the wandering philosopher.” She shook her head, but didn’t lose her smile. “I’ll let you and your father catch up. Come tell me of these adventures when you have a few moments to spare, will you?”

I kissed her cheek, still smooth despite the fine lines forming around her eyes. “Of course. It’s good to see you again, Mom.”

When she closed the door behind her, my dad held out his arms to, and I accepted his hug, then pulled back. “I’m not staying. I’m just here to help with Dean until he’s better.”

My dad’s smile faded. Seemed I was on a roll at tearing the hope from everyone tonight. “I know you don’t want to be here, but I’m glad you came. Tammy needs you now most of all. This has hit her the hardest.”

“She seemed okay to me.” A lie. She had only seemed okay on the surface, but I could tell she carried a lot of pain and rage in her eyes.

“You know your sister. She doesn’t want anyone thinking she’s weak.” He walked to the leather loveseat in the corner and sat down, gesturing for me to join him. I sat across from him in the matching chair.

People always said we looked alike. My father’s dark hair had turned salt and pepper, but I’d seen pictures of him when he was my age, and I supposed I could see the resemblance. We were both tall, with a lean build, dark hair and unusual eyes. But where I was most comfortable in jeans and a leather jacket, my dad enjoyed fine tailored suits, even when working from home, like now.

Around us, books covered the walls from floor to ceiling, and my fingers itched to pick one from a shelf and start reading. I’d spent a lot of time in this room as a child growing up, and it brought back memories. For the last two years, I’d had to keep my library on an e-reader, and I missed the feel of actual paper between my fingers as I read.

On one wall, a fire burned bright, crackling as it consumed the wood and filling the room with the smell and memories of campfires.

Dad noticed my focus and smiled a real smile. “You know you’re welcome in here anytime. These books are for everyone, not just me.”

I nodded without committing to anything. It would be too easy to get sucked into this life again, and I wasn’t willing to give up my freedom. “What can I do to help with Dean?”

“Before we talk about Dean, I’d like to hear about your adventures. What have you been doing? You haven’t used any of your trust fund, so I’m curious about how you’ve been supporting yourself.”

“I’ve just been traveling. You know, seeing the country. I make do.” I didn’t want to talk about this right now; I just wanted to see my brother.

“You know, Son, if you just come home, there’s a place for you here. A place for you at Rose Botanicals. You don’t have to work in my office if you don’t want to. We could find you a place that suited your… temperament.”

I stood, angry that he’d use this time to once again push me into his mold. “I’m going to see Dean. I don’t want to have this conversation again, Dad. I can’t be who you want me to be. Not now. Not ever. Just let it go.”

His disappointed sigh followed me out the door and up the stairs to Dean’s room, where I assumed he’d be. When I walked in, Tammy looked up at me with unshed tears still full in her eyes. When I saw Dean, the tears flooded my eyes as well.

“What the hell happened to him?”





Seek a Foe







Thou shalt not stir one foot to seek a foe.

— William Shakespeare, Romeo and Juliet



Dear Diary,


I dreamed of him again, the man who haunts me at night. But the dream is changing. Before, all I felt was longing and unfulfilled desire. This time, I could touch him, feel him, taste him. It happened in a flash, as dreams often do, and carried with it the scent of magic, but for that moment, I was normal. My touch no longer brought death, only pleasure.


I wonder if I’ll ever know that during my waking hours. I can touch others, of course, not each contact with flesh brings about their soul’s death. My skin carries the dark infection like a Trojan horse, harmless until it’s unleashed.


The true danger lies in never knowing when it will unleash itself. It fights to claw its way out of me, like a trapped wild thing scraping at the door of my subconscious, looking for a way to escape.


That first time it happened, I’d been a young girl hurt by the ridicule of another. My hurt had turned to anger, and that anger had let loose the locks that kept my dark gift contained.


When Mother was attacked, fear and intent set it free.


And Mother always said that passion, too, would undo me, releasing my darkness against my lover’s flesh.


It was a risk I could never take, save in dreams.


TEARS FELL FROM my eyes and bile rose in my throat. I pushed out of bed and ran to the bathroom to empty the contents of my stomach in the toilet rather than my bedroom. I’d never used that much of my power before, not since… Not since I was six and Donna Smuckers said I was a devil worshipper. I hadn’t meant to hurt her, hadn’t meant to wipe the light from her eyes like that. I didn’t even know I could.

The unwelcome memory played side-by-side with last night’s horrors. Two lives lost because of what I was. Did it matter that last night was in defense of Mother? That the wolf would likely have killed her, and probably me? It seemed like that little fact should have weighed heavier, like it should have given a moral rightness to my soul. But nothing could erase my guilt.

With shaky legs I walked back into my living room. Ocean, my best friend, stood in the kitchen with a pot of tea, while Jasmine, my little sister, flipped through pages of a book on my coffee table. They both looked up at me as I sank into my favorite overstuffed chair and propped my feet up on the matching red ottoman. Sandy whined and put her head in my lap. I stroked her soft ears and murmured platitudes I hoped would give her some calm after last night’s scare.

No one spoke, and I raised my eyebrow. “Well? What happened after I passed out?”

Ocean brought me a cup of tea and sat on the couch next to Jasmine before answering. She crossed her long legs, baring more thigh as her already short shorts crept up higher. Even in the winter she showed more skin than most people did in the summer, but she got away with it. Ocean was like her name, vast and strong and inviting. She could have been a mermaid in another life with her long red hair full of wild curls and green eyes full of mischief. But any playfulness had been dampened by what happened.

Now, she was all business. “Rainbow had Blake take the guy that attacked us back to their property, and he’s getting the cars fixed. No one blames you, Rose. You did what you had to do to protect your mother and yourself.”

I ignored her last statement, took a sip of my tea, and thought about all that had happened last night. One thing didn’t make sense. “Why was he here at all?”

Ocean frowned. “Who?”

“The wolf guy. What was he doing here? How’d he get in Mother’s room in the first place?”

Jasmine huffed in annoyance. “Why even ask something like that? Who knows why these creeps do anything? They could have killed our mom.”

I looked at my sixteen-year-old sister. “How is Mother?”

She shrugged and ran a hand through her dark bob with purple highlights. “You know. Normal. Nothing fazes her. She wasn’t happy you missed the meeting this morning, though.”

Ocean kicked Jasmine and shot her a nasty look. “You had to bring that up?”

I sat my tea down on the table so hard the water sloshed out. “What? Seriously? I was unconscious. After saving her life. That’s a legit reason to miss a 4 a.m. meeting.”

Jasmine narrowed her hazel eyes at Ocean. “What? I’m just giving her the heads up. She should know. I’m not saying I agree with Mother.” She looked at me. “Obviously, you couldn’t have been at the meeting. I’m sure she’s grateful for what you did, but everyone else is really nervous. You haven’t done that since you were little. People forget, but now… I don’t think they’ll forget anytime soon.”

“Right. I’ll be even more of a leper. Great.”

Ocean grabbed my hand, my bare hand, and held it, looking me square in the eye. “They can go screw themselves as far as I’m concerned. You did what you had to do, and I’ll never be scared of you, Rose. Never.”

I squeezed her hand and then pulled away, scared enough for the both of us. People had a right to be worried. What I could do shouldn’t have even existed or been possible, and I’d never known how to handle it. It’s why I was home schooled in high school, why I took online classes for college, and why I had no friends or social groups outside of our coven. I was too dangerous to be around people. Rose—the beautiful flower with the deadly thorns.

Outside, the stillness of the morning gave false-promises of peace. I knew the truth, nothing about this day held peace, but I had to find some way through this. “I’m getting dressed, and then I’m going to find someone who will teach me self-defense.”

Ocean smiled with as much force as Jasmine frowned, and my sister jumped on the attack. “You know Mother has forbidden that. People might find out about you, about us. It’s too risky. You could hurt someone.”

I pulled a long-sleeved cotton shirt and another pair of jeans from my drawer, then slammed it shut. “Thanks for the vote of confidence, Sis.”

“I’m not trying to be mean, but you know this is a bad idea.”

“No, I really don’t know that.” My voice escalated with my own anger. “What I know is that draining people of their life is a bad idea. What I know is that I can never do this again and still live with myself. I need other tools, other ways of defending myself and others. If I’d done this earlier, that boy might still be alive.”

Jasmine crossed her arms over her chest. “He is alive, Rose. Don’t be dramatic.”

“Dramatic? Seriously?” Oh if only I could hit my sister. “You weren’t there, Jas. You didn’t see him after I touched him. You don’t know anything about what I can do, or how it makes me feel.”

She stood and stomped her foot. “You always think you’re so special, so much better than everyone else. Well, I’m sick of it. Do what you want, but don’t blame me when it all goes wrong.”

The door slammed hard behind her, shaking the windows and causing Sandy to bark. Ocean and I looked at each other with matching stunned expressions. My heart felt heavy. “Does she really hate me that much? Does she really think I think that I’m better than everyone else?”

Ocean shook her head. “She doesn’t know what she feels or thinks right now. She’s sixteen and full of conflicting hormones. Don’t take it personally, Rose. It’ll pass. Jasmine loves you. We all love you.”

I tried to remember being sixteen. It wasn’t that long ago, but it all blurred together. Nothing ever seemed to change in my life, and all my memories felt like photocopies of each other. Always the same.

Jasmine lived a more normal life than I had, so maybe she had a more diverse spectrum of experiences. I hoped so, for her sake. “Do you think she’ll tell Mother about my classes?”

“I don’t think so. Besides, it doesn’t matter.” She spun me around to face the mirror hanging on my wall. “You do realize that you’re an adult? She has no legal claim on your life or your choices anymore.”

My reflection didn’t convey an adult in charge of her own life. Instead, my mousy brown hair, ordinary hazel eyes and make-up less face made me look young and unremarkable. The kind of girl who lives under the thumb of another, and who never speaks out in her own defense.

A new awareness settled in me, and I turned away from the girl in the mirror. “You’re right. It’s time I took control of my own life. Let’s find a place to learn self-defense.”

Ocean’s face lit up in a smile, her dimpled cheeks, red lips and emerald eyes so beautiful. “Perfect! I’m so proud of you, Rose. Okay, I’ll look online for different places today and we can check a few out tomorrow.”

“No.” I reached for my jacket and purse. “I’m going today. Now. I don’t want to wait anymore.”

Much to her credit, my best friend didn’t hesitate a moment. She pulled on her coat and scarf and waited while I put on my boots, then marched me out of the cottage and to her car. “Get in. I’ll drive. I’m taking the class with you.”

“Thank you.” My insides let out a sigh of relief. If she were with me then I wouldn’t do anything bad. I wouldn’t be able to hurt anyone. She’d stop me.

Already I felt better about this new adventure.


Fate guided us as we went in search of a studio. Ocean’s car actually ran out of gas on a corner that featured a gas station, a laundry mat, a coffee shop, and a martial arts studio called Inner Peace Martial Arts.

When the car sputtered to a stop, Ocean slammed her palm down on the steering wheel and cursed.

I tried hard not to laugh out loud at her antics. Instead I said, “Guess you have to push while I steer.”

She glared at me. “We can both push. I’ll steer while pushing.”

I got out and went to the back of the car, while she stood by the driver’s side and leaned in to steer. Once in place, she hollered back to start pushing. It didn’t take as much strength as one might imagine to push the car to an available spot at the gas station. She had a Fiat Coup, which wasn’t big at all, and we had the advantage of nudging it along with a little magic.

Ocean emptied out her purse on the counter in the gas station, scrounging for loose change and small bills. She collected bits and pieces of what amounted to $4.32 and presented it to the cashier.

Such a small amount of gas pumped into her car quickly.

I pointed to the martial arts building. “Let’s go check them out.”

She nodded and drove us across the parking lot.

My palms became slick and my heart rate raced as I came face to face with my own rebellion. This was real, not some fantasy. I was actually going to disappoint my mother and coven leader and walk into this new way of living.

I steeled myself, took a deep breath, and opened the door into the heated studio.

And nearly walked right into the absolute sexiest man I’d ever laid eyes on.

The man from my dreams.

He turned to look at me, mouth open as if about to say something, but he just stood there in silence, chiseled jaw slack. His blue eyes shimmered with a hint of gold, giving him an animal-like quality. But it wasn’t just his eyes. He stood so still, as if poised to leap for his prey in a great hunt. Well-defined muscles rippled under his tight black t-shirt, and his gaze held an intensity I’d only ever seen in my forbidden dreams. He smelled wild, like a forest at night. He possessed strength, power, a sway over others, and I would’ve backed away, intimated, if not for a shuck of black hair that fell onto his forehead, softening his features and giving him a boyish quality that tugged at my heart.

I pushed my mess of hair out of my face and tried to smile. “I’m sorry, I didn’t mean to run into you like that.”

This all happened so fast that Ocean still stood behind me, half inside and half outside. When I didn’t move, she pushed me forward. My mystery man steadied me with strong, confident hands as my friend muscled her way in. “Rose, what the hell—”

She stopped mid-sentence when she saw a man with his arms around mine. “Uh, okay. Hi, I’m Ocean and this is Rose. And you are?”

Leave it to Ocean to make abrasiveness so charming.

Whatever it was about me that had caught his attention would fade away in the brightness of Ocean’s beauty and spunk, I knew that from experience. It didn’t bother me anymore. Not everyone could be a star.

But he only glanced at her briefly, then locked eyes with me again. “I’m Derek. I work here. Is there something I can help you with?”

He worked here? We had to leave. No way could I focus on learning to defend myself with this guy around. I’d be frozen in place.

I opened my mouth to tell Ocean we had to leave when she beamed at him and walked over to the desk. “Yes, you can help us, Derek. Rose and I need to learn self-defense, pronto!”

He released my arms and waited until I too walked to the desk before he took his place behind it and pulled out a brochure. He handed it to me. “Here are our classes. We have three a week for beginners, with one for more advanced students afterward. Have you taken any kind of martial arts before?”

“No, never.” I had to remind myself not to stare at his lips. Or his chest. Eyes. Focus on the eyes.

“Then you’ll want the beginner classes.”

Ocean pulled the brochure out of his hand and put it back in the rack. “Actually, we’d like private lessons. Do you do those?”

I groaned under my breath and glared at her. She just twinkled a mischievous grin back at me, but she was forgetting one thing.

I’d noticed the prices for the classes. Not cheap. And that was for a group. “How much are private lessons?”

“Normally, they’re $100 an hour. If you and your friend want to take them together, I can give you each half off, so $50 an hour per person. Plus, you’ll need to buy your uniforms.”

That settled that. “I’m sorry, we’re going to need to think about this. It’s a bit out of our budget right now.”

I tugged on Ocean to get us out of here, but she ignored me. “Do you own this place?” she asked.

He pulled his focus off of me to look at her when he answered. “No, I don’t. I trained here growing up, and I’ve just come back into town and needed some work, so Master Kyoung offered me my job back… until I leave.”

The last part seemed to be an afterthought that he had a hard time saying out loud, almost like he felt obligated to say it. My heart inexplicably sunk at the thought of him leaving town. I had no claim on anyone, let alone him. He could do what he wanted, why should I care?

I shouldn’t let him stop me from getting the training I needed either. He’d be leaving soon, so that was a good thing. I wouldn’t have to worry about getting distracted by some random hot guy that made all of my insides gooshy, even though he didn’t feel so random when I had memories of that body, that face, from my dreams. Still, I had no time for gooshy, thank you very much.

“Is Master Kyoung here right now?” I surprised myself by asking.

“Yes, he is. One second.” He left through a door into what looked like the main workout studio, with a mirrored wall and padded floors. Two voices echoed through the hall, his and a man with a thick Korean accent, presumably Master Kyoung. I couldn’t tell what they were saying, but when they came back in, a short man with kind eyes bowed to me, and I bowed back. “You Rose? You interested in training? Learning to fight?”

“Yes, Sir. But I’m afraid your prices are steep. I was wondering… ” I swallowed and willed myself to continue. “I was wondering if you had a website to advertise your studio, or if you needed a new one. I do web design and I can make you a really nice one if you’d be willing to trade for lessons and two uniforms?” I held my breath as he considered my proposition.

Ocean’s eyebrow shot up, and she grinned. I started to feel pretty pleased with myself as well. Regardless of the outcome, I hadn’t given up until I’d explored all options.

He turned the laptop on the counter to me. “Show me your work.”

I typed in the site I’d developed for Mother for her kennel, then opened up new links to type in a few other sites I’d built for members of our coven. “Here are a few examples. I can customize it to exactly what you want.”

He clicked through the pages, looking at the sites, then opened up a new site on the screen. “You make this better?”

I browsed through his website, impressed with the quality and ease of navigation. My heart sank. “Honestly, this site is very well made. Unless you just want a whole new look, there’s not much I could do to improve on it. Whoever you hired did an excellent job.”

He nodded. “Yes. I use new website. New look. And you and friend train with Derek.” He slapped Derek on the back. “He teach you how to be strong. How to defend yourself. That work?”

I would have hugged him if I’d known him better, and didn’t have an aversion to touching people. Instead I smiled and bowed again, thanking him for his willingness to work with me.

Then I looked at Derek, his eyes still locked with mine, and my knees shook from a sudden weakness. What had I just gotten myself into?

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Here’s the set-up:

Forbidden Passions.
Deadly secrets.
A love that will stand against it all.

Liquid fire poured into me, filling me with the intimate sense of him as he leaned in to claim my lips with his own. I reached for him, needing him closer, needing to feel his flesh against mine, but my arms couldn’t close the distance between us, which grew wider with each hitched breath. So close to finally feeling something real, something carnal and deep, I cried out in frustration, dropping my hands as he disappeared. My cries deepened into a frenzy of panic and my eyes flew open. I clutched my blanket and stilled myself to calm my racing heart.

Just a dream. Always just a dream.


Rose Wintersong didn’t have an ordinary upbringing. Raised in what most would call a hippy commune, but what is actually a powerful coven of witches, she never questions the life fate chose for her.

Until she meets Derek O’Conner.

Derek challenges everything Rose believes and forces her to see the secrets hidden beneath the whitewashed walls of her idyllic country life.

Rose knows she should walk away, that the sexy martial arts instructor is bad news bred to create discord in her tight community… but the animal magnetism between them is impossible to fight.

Caught between the passion of first love, and the steady beat of the life she’s always known, Rose must choose between the innocence of her youth or the pleasures of womanhood–but lost innocence comes at a price, and Rose harbors a dark secret that could destroy everyone she loves–including Derek.


“Sexy, sweet, suspenseful! The story line is great, the sexy scenes are honest, and the characters are wonderfully conflicted. Kimberly Kinrade knows how to tell a story and weave it together flawlessly.” ~Jennifer Novotny “Irelynkiss” 

“An intriguing paranormal twist of a Romeo and Juliette story. I was hooked within the first few pages.” Josette Schaber “Josette Evanlea”

“True love at its finest.” ~Stephanie Mayfield

About The Author

Kimberly Kinrade was born with ink in her veins and magic in her heart. She writes fantasy and paranormal stories for children, YA and adults and still believes in magic worlds. Check out her YA paranormal novels Forbidden Mind and Forbidden Fire and her illustrated children’s fantasy chapter books Lexie World, Bella World, and Maddie World all on Amazon.

She lives with her three little girls who think they’re ninja princesses with super powers, her two dogs who think they’re humans, her two cats who think they’re gods, and her husband, also known as the sexy Russian Prince, who is the love of her life and writing partner.

Check out Kim’s website at http://kimberlykinrade.com/.

*  *  *

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Forbidden Mind (Forbidden #1)

by Kimberly Kinrade

4.3 stars – 111 Reviews
Text-to-Speech and Lending: Enabled

Here’s the set-up:

**To celebrate the launch of The Forbidden Trilogy omnibus, Forbidden Mind is on sale for 99 cents this week only. Get a taste of the Forbidden in this first book, then enjoy the entire trilogy plus bonus content in The Forbidden Trilogy, and save a few dollars while you’re at it!**

49% of Americans believe their government officials are honest. I don’t know these officials, or their supporters, but I know their secrets, and 49% of Americans are wrong.

My employers pay me well to be right, to know things others can’t. But I don’t know why they brought that boy in, strapped to a stretcher, barely conscious. He asked me for help when I could give none.

I’m a wealthy spy, a talented artist, a martial arts black belt, and a prisoner. They tell me that on my eighteenth birthday, I will be released, free to go to the college of my dreams. It’s my eighteenth birthday, and a man in black is at my door. I know he’s not here to free me.

I know, because I can read minds.

My name is Sam, and this is my story.

So begins the tale of Sam and Drake–from the time they link minds, forging a bond that leads to an unconventional romance–to their fight for survival against the corrupt, twisted organization known as ‘Rent-A-Kid.’ 

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“…a thrilling, dark and deeply romantic read that had me sitting on the edge of my seat and eagerly awaiting the next installment.” – Refracted Light Young Adult Book Reviews

“Well written, unique plot filled with twists and turns, Kimberly pens “Forbidden Mind” with extremely strong characters. A totally fantastic book that is impossible to put down making you want more and more.” —My Cozy Book Corner

“The plot is very ALIAS and DARK ANGEL-like with X-MEN as its backdrop (awesome combo!). Forbidden Mind BLEW my mind!” ~Sour Skittles Book Blog
“Wow! Kimberly Kinrade blew me away with Forbidden Mind! It’s depth was so intense…the story line so twisted…I could not put this book down!! It encompasses all the elements to make a great book. Originality, excitement, love and loss. Throw in a little paranormal action and a hint of dystopia and you’ve got yourself one hella’ve a ride!! Seriously, please read this book…you will not be disappointed! This is a wonderful start to an epic new YA series.” –Nette’s Bookshelf Reviews

About The Author

Kimberly Kinrade was born with ink in her veins and magic in her heart. She writes fantasy and paranormal stories for children, young adults and adults and still believes in magic worlds.

She is also the co-owner and marketing director of Daring Books Design & Marketing. She lives with her three little girls who think they’re ninja princesses with super powers, her two dogs who think they’re humans, and her husband, also known as the sexy Russian Prince, who is the love of her life and writing partner.

For a list of her books, check out: http://Amazon.com/author/kimberlykinrade.

Find Kimberly Kinrade

Website     Twitter     Facebook     IPI Twitter     IPI Facebook   IPI Website Three Lost Kids Website   Daring Books Design & Marketing Website

KND Bargain Book! Kimberly Kinrade’s Award-Winning FORBIDDEN MIND (FORBIDDEN #1) – Over 50 Rave Reviews – New & Improved Extended Edition With A Great Price … Now Just 99 Cents or FREE via Kindle Lending Library ***PLUS Link To The Sequel in The Forbidden Series, FORBIDDEN FIRE

Forbidden Mind (Forbidden #1)

by Kimberly Kinrade

4.3 stars – 66 Reviews
Or currently FREE for Amazon Prime Members Via the Kindle Lending Library
Text-to-Speech and Lending: Enabled
Here’s the set-up:

Evolved Publishing brings you “Forbidden Mind” (Book 1 of the Forbidden Series), by award-winning author Kimberly Kinrade. (YA Paranormal Fantasy/Romance, with mild mature themes)

**Winner of 2011 Forward National Literature Award**

As of June 23rd, 2012, Forbidden Mind is now a new and improved extended edition. Twice the content with new twists and turns, the new Forbidden Mind has more of what readers loved in the original!****

(Book #2 of the Forbidden Trilogy, Forbidden Fire,” is available NOW on Amazon. The final book of the trilogy, Forbidden Life, will be available on Oct. 2, 2012, so mark your calendars!)

Sam thinks she’s months away from freedom. After spending her life in a secret school, rented out to the rich and powerful as a paranormal spy, she is ready to head to college like any normal eighteen-year-old.

Only Sam isn’t normal. She reads minds. And just before her big going-away party, she links to the mind of a young man who changes everything.

Drake wasn’t raised as a ‘Rent-A-Kid.’ He was kidnapped and taken there by force. But his exceptional physical strength and powers of mind control make him very dangerous, especially to Sam.

When they meet, Sam is forced to face the truth of her situation, and to acknowledge that not all is as it seems in her picture-perfect world. For what awaits her on her eighteenth birthday isn’t a trip to college, but an unexpected nightmare from which she may not be able to escape.

To survive, they must work together.

But will their powers be enough to save them before it’s too late?


“…a thrilling, dark and deeply romantic read that had me sitting on the edge of my seat and eagerly awaiting the next installment.” – Refracted Light Young Adult Book Reviews

“Do not make any plans on the day you begin, as once you start, you will not be able to put it down.” – L.M. Stull

“…hooked me in from the beginning.” – L.E. Manning

“This book was fantastic!” – P. Larsen

“Forbidden Mind is beautifully written and worth your reading time.” – BookWormSans 

“Definite must read. For once you start, you simply can’t stop. 5 out of 5 stars!” – H. Badgwell

From The Author

This series was based on a dream I had of a teenage girl named Sam who could read minds and was rented out by an organization called Rent-A-Kid.

I thought it would be a short story, so I penned it quickly before I planned on launching The Reluctant Familiar and The Chronicles of Corinne (Death by Destiny, Myths of Magic and Paths to Power). Boy was I wrong.
What started as a short story, ended as an entire trilogy. Not only that, but come 2013 I have two more potential trilogies to write based on the Forbidden world.
This series explores the value of a human life and how we often see each other as tools to be used. There are ethical questions raised as Sam and Drake struggle to understand their powers and each other.
It’s also a love story, albeit unconventional. What is it about someone that causes us to follow in love with them? Do we have to be physically present with someone to know it’s love?
Sam and Drake explore the boundaries of love, loss, pain and morality in this series.
These are fast-paced books that are part paranormal, part thriller and part romance. I look forward to hearing what you think about each book as you work your way through the series.
About The Author

I was born with ink in my veins and magic in my heart. As a child, where others saw shapes in clouds, I saw words. But I was also an entrepreneur at heart. So when my business arrangement with the Tooth Fairy ended, I went pro by writing my fantastical stories and selling them to all my neighbors.

Fast forward…um…many years and many college degrees later…and I am now a published author after a long career as a journalist and freelance writer.

Though I have written in many genres and fields, I am most passionate about the world of the paranormal and fantasy. Look for these exciting young adult paranormal novels coming soon from Evolved Publishing.

Forbidden Mind (a trilogy) She reads minds. He controls minds. Together they might get out alive.

Death by Destiny (a trilogy) She was born to power, power that could destroy worlds. He was born to stop her, whatever the cost. They didn’t plan to fall in love. Will it save them or lead to their foretold destruction?


The Reluctant Familiar (a series) When fate takes hold of her life and thrusts her into a world of gods and goddesses, Agnes must decide: Is she a normal 13 year old girl, or the most powerful witch alive?

When I’m not writing, editing and writing some more, I spend my time with my three little girls who think they are princess ninjas with hidden supernatural powers, our two dogs who think they are human, and the one man who is my soul mate and writing partner.

(This is a sponsored post.)