Be the first to read new books! Prerelease books are listed for giveaway by publishers and authors, and members can enter to win. Winners are picked randomly at the end of the giveaway.
by Scarlett Sanderson (Goodreads Author)
To celebrate the upcoming release of the second book in the best selling Mission Pleasure series - Taming Nora - I am giving away two copies of my ero…more[close] To celebrate the upcoming release of the second book in the best selling Mission Pleasure series - Taming Nora - I am giving away two copies of my erotic print anthology - Wicked Sins.View Details »
Blurb of Wicked Sins:
At Their Command
All Hope wants for Christmas is Ethan St. Claire. She's had a thing for him since high school, when he was the bad boy and she was the class geek. Now she's older, wiser...and dying of sexual frustration. Fantasies of having Ethan and his best friend Dominic at the same time drive her wild with unsated lust. Ethan has always loved Hope, and he's finished waiting for her to realize they're meant for each other. He's taking command and giving Hope exactly what she needs. If she's nice, he'll give her a sexy spanking. If she's naughty, he and Dominic will double her pleasure as an extra-lusty Christmas treat.
Ruth wants something wicked. Something a nice girl would never wish for-to be taken, tied up and forced into pleasure. Hands bound, mouth gagged, blindfolded-she wants, needs, to be utterly helpless as a man brings her to orgasm again and again. But not just any man. Ruth's darkest fantasies always star Dominic Sullivan. Dominic knows it's wrong but he can't help himself. Whenever he's around Ruth, he longs to bend her over or force her to her knees, to give her pleasure and take his in return. After overhearing her confess that she wants someone to abduct her for raw, primal sex, he hatches a plan that will give them both what they most desire. It's a wicked game they're playing, a game Dominic plans to win. Especially since the ultimate prize isn't just Ruth's body-it's her heart.
Fourth Time's A Charm
Group sex is decadent, a forbidden fruit, a social taboo. Cameron knows her lover Vince has experimented in the past but she's never had the courage to indulge her most secret desires. Until now. Consumed by the idea of having sex with more than one person, Cameron forms a plan with her best friend-one night of unbridled, no-holds-barred sexual experimentation. One night that will bring two couples closer than they've ever been and show Cameron that a little decadence is exactly what she needs.
Tessa fantasizes about being tied up and tantalized with pleasure. She longs for a man to take control, to drive her wild with lust. But she's never been able to let go and indulge in her most taboo desires. The second Jared sees Tessa, he wants her. Her fierce intelligence and repressed sensuality call to him, make him burn with a passion he hasn't felt in years. Jared offers Tessa a deal-for a month, they'll play a game of dominance and submission. He'll make her beg, make her moan, make her come harder and faster than she ever has before. In return? He just wants great sex. No strings attached. But when he can't get enough of Tessa's scent, her taste, her touch, he realizes what he really wants is her love. [close]
You Are the Artist of Your Life
by Adria Firestone (Goodreads Author)
YOU ARE THE ARTIST OF YOUR LIFE
Book and journal
This Book Can Change the Way You Look at Yourself
You’re about to discover a simple, but profound, way t…more[close] YOU ARE THE ARTIST OF YOUR LIFEView Details »
Book and journal
This Book Can Change the Way You Look at Yourself
You’re about to discover a simple, but profound, way to happier, healthier, more authentic you! Do you say yes when you mean, no? Do you work hard and long and feel unappreciated? Are your relationships going nowhere? Are you depressed and feeling hopeless? Do you feel like you’re living someone else’s life?
You created your life with the brushes of your experience. This book gives you keys to unlock what is keeping you stuck and new colors to design a life you love. In You Are the Artist of Your Life, , you’ll find immediately usable tools for your personal transformation. This book is also a journal and a visible record of your personal transformation. You can begin with baby steps, or leap into change – it’s your choice.
Here’s a preview of what you’ll learn:
How to cure depression without drugs
Reframe childhood wounds
How to get what you want
Draw boundaries for personal happiness
Design a happier life
How to be your own knight in shining armor
And much, much more [close]Giveaway dates: Dec 01 - Dec 24, 201410 copies available, 204 people requestingCountries available: US
A Dark & Stormy Knight (A McKnight Romance, #3)
by Suzie Quint (Goodreads Author)
Release date: Mar 24, 2014Trade Paperback
Young and stupid go together like peanut butter and jelly.
Sol McKnight, rancher and rodeo bull rider, married Georgia Carston, the love…more[close] Trade PaperbackView Details »
Young and stupid go together like peanut butter and jelly.
Sol McKnight, rancher and rodeo bull rider, married Georgia Carston, the love of his life, at eighteen. So maybe they were too young and maybe he was stupid to believe it would last forever because six weeks later, she left him. Now she’s back in Hero Creek for the summer. This is his chance to win her back. Little does he know, this may be his last chance because Georgia has her eye on the divorced father of their daughter’s best friend. If Sol ever wants to feel whole again, he’s going to have to figure out what went wrong so many years ago and fix it. If he doesn’t he’ll lose her forever. [close]Giveaway dates: Dec 01 - Dec 24, 20141 copy available, 185 people requestingCountries available: US
Wouldn't It Be Deadly (Eliza Doolittle & Henry Higgins Mystery, #1)
by D.E. Ireland (Goodreads Author)
Release date: Sep 23, 2014Giveaway dates: Dec 01 - Dec 24, 20141 copy available, 205 people requestingCountries available: US
A Different Kind
by Lauryn April (Goodreads Author)
Release date: Mar 30, 2014Payton's life is perfect – until the night she’s abducted by aliens. Paranormal romance readers will love this inviting and fast paced read.
One SIGNED…more[close] Payton's life is perfect – until the night she’s abducted by aliens. Paranormal romance readers will love this inviting and fast paced read.View Details »
One SIGNED Paperback Copy Available.
Payton Carlson’s life is perfect, until the night she’s abducted by aliens. Now she’s plagued by pieces of memories from a night that feels as hazy as a dream, and that’s not the only strange thing that’s been happening. When Payton’s neighbor, Logan Reed, who spends every night sitting on his roof staring at the stars, starts to pay extra attention to her, Payton starts to wonder if he knows more about the night she can’t remember than she does. Suddenly finding a date to the Homecoming dance and cheering at the football games aren’t as important as they used to be - especially when the aliens return for a second time. [close]
The Acolytes of Crane (Theodore Crane, #1)
by J.D. Tew (Goodreads Author)
Giveaway dates: Dec 04 - Dec 24, 20141 copy available, 208 people requestingCountries available: US
Giveaway dates: Dec 05 - Dec 24, 20142 copies available, 263 people requestingCountries available: US
Seduced by Stratton (The English Brothers, #4)
by Katy Regnery (Goodreads Author)
Release date: Nov 04, 2014One copy of the paperback version of "Seduced by Stratton," The English Brothers #4.
I had ten copies of this book made into paperback for contests and…more[close] One copy of the paperback version of "Seduced by Stratton," The English Brothers #4.View Details »
I had ten copies of this book made into paperback for contests and promotional purposes. This book is not available in any stores, so this is a unique opportunity to own a copy of it. [close]Giveaway dates: Dec 05 - Dec 24, 20141 copy available, 125 people requestingCountries available: US
Anyone but Alex (The English Brothers, #3)
by Katy Regnery (Goodreads Author)
Release date: Sep 03, 2014One copy of the paperback version of "Anyone but Alex," The English Brothers #3.
I had ten copies of this book made into paperback for contests and pro…more[close] One copy of the paperback version of "Anyone but Alex," The English Brothers #3.View Details »
I had ten copies of this book made into paperback for contests and promotional purposes. This book is not available in any stores, so this is a unique opportunity to own a copy of it. [close]Giveaway dates: Dec 05 - Dec 24, 20141 copy available, 124 people requestingCountries available: US
by Liza Gyllenhaal (Goodreads Author)
Bleeding Heart by Liza Gyllenhaal:
“The multilayered plot and deceptive characters makes this a strong crossover chick lit/mystery novel. Great for bo…more[close] Bleeding Heart by Liza Gyllenhaal:View Details »
“The multilayered plot and deceptive characters makes this a strong crossover chick lit/mystery novel. Great for book club discussion groups.” —Library Journal
“A compelling story … [that] deftly balances comforting descriptions of gardens and small-town life with the suspenseful unraveling of a mystery." — Kirkus Reviews
"This novel blooms with striking beauty … Gyllenhaal′s engaging story builds its suspense as the pages turn." — Romantic Times
“Gyllenhaal nicely weaves environmental politics, financial shenanigans, and murder into Alice’s compelling story."—Booklist
A great gift for the gardeners on your list this year! [close]Giveaway dates: Dec 09 - Dec 24, 201410 copies available, 194 people requestingCountries available: US
by Paul Alkazraji (Goodreads Author)
A thriller set in Albania, Turkey, Greece and England.
Jude Kilburn and his wife Alex have moved from London to Albania to grow the church, in particul…more[close] A thriller set in Albania, Turkey, Greece and England.View Details »
Jude Kilburn and his wife Alex have moved from London to Albania to grow the church, in particular by publishing a keen biography of a local hard-man turned Christian. But a clandestine group has made it their mission to stop this work… The Christians sense danger, but the list of potential enemies is long: unreformed ex-paramilitaries, nationalists, mobsters. How and by whom will the cycle of violence and revenge be foiled?
In addition to the thrill of the chase and the open road journalist Paul Alkazraji gives an authentic colour to scene details, and readers get a taste of everyday life in post-communist Albania where everyone has a mobile phone but power cuts are frequent! While intimidation is commonplace in the Balkans, this particular crisis is fictional, yet it resonates with true events.
Giveaway dates: Dec 12 - Dec 24, 201410 copies available, 120 people requestingCountries available: US
Finders Keepers (Cycle of Ages Saga, #1)
by Jeremy Hicks (Goodreads Author), Barry Hayes (Goodreads Author)
Happy Holidays to one and all from the creators of The Cycle of Ages Saga! To celebrate them, we'll be providing TWO (2) FREE paperback copies of Find…more[close] Happy Holidays to one and all from the creators of The Cycle of Ages Saga! To celebrate them, we'll be providing TWO (2) FREE paperback copies of Finders Keepers, the first installment in our hard-hitting saga, for this giveaway.View Details »
Two lucky winners will receive a copy of the original cover art edition of this novel. The cover for Finders Keepers is being redesigned for 2015, so time is running out to get a copy of the first edition. Enter for a chance to win now!
This contest will start on December 13, 2014 and run through the twelve (12) days leading up to Christmas. The contest will end on Christmas Eve. And we hope to announce the winners on Christmas day. If not, we'll announce them before the end of the year. [close]Giveaway dates: Dec 13 - Dec 24, 20142 copies available, 104 people requestingCountries available: US and CA
Laid Off and Crazy Happy - Memoirs of a Houseband
by Andy Weisberg (Goodreads Author)
Author Andy Weisberg chronicles his transformation from corporate executive to “Houseband”, detailing the ups and downs of the journey and his unique…more[close] Author Andy Weisberg chronicles his transformation from corporate executive to “Houseband”, detailing the ups and downs of the journey and his unique perspective for dealing with it all. Chapters range from routine housekeeping tasks to the nature of time and space, with some especially valuable ideas on work and play. With plenty of exercises for readers to experiment with, anyone that does any kind of work can benefit from Andy’s useful advice and celebrated example. And for those who find themselves spending more and more time at home, either as a result of a layoff or by choice, this is the quintessential commentary on enjoying it to the fullest. [close]View Details »
Dishonor (In Search of Honor, #1)
by Francesca Huber (Goodreads Author)
Release date: Dec 02, 2014I am giving away 5 paperback copies of Dishonor created by Createspace. This is restricted to the US because of shipping costs.
I am Dishonored. I am…more[close] I am giving away 5 paperback copies of Dishonor created by Createspace. This is restricted to the US because of shipping costs.View Details »
I am Dishonored. I am the lowest caste in a city of honor. I live in a prison with only the promise of death. I am a mouth to feed in an overpopulated city that no one can leave. Only the wall and the pink bubble over our city protect us from the radiation outside. I live for one purpose.
The city was built by the wealthy to withstand a nuclear blast, and it did, leaving its citizens trapped within its protecting walls.
Liv was born as one of the most honored citizens of the city, one of the noble class. When she was eight her father was caught in a plot to kill the king and was beheaded in front of her.
She was dishonored and thrown in prison with the criminal scum of an overpopulated city that could care less if the lowest caste died.
70,000+ words [close]Giveaway dates: Dec 14 - Dec 24, 20145 copies available, 135 people requestingCountries available: US
FRAGMENTOS do meu pensar
by Rui Serra (Goodreads Author)
Fragmentos do meu pensar reúne cem poemas de extensão variável. Alguns deles são numerados: 001… 012, treze, 014, 015; outros, porém, têm sugestivos t…more[close] Fragmentos do meu pensar reúne cem poemas de extensão variável. Alguns deles são numerados: 001… 012, treze, 014, 015; outros, porém, têm sugestivos títulos como “Lírios pretos”, “Semeador de chumbo”, “A insónia é um dom”, “Lua de sangue”, “Palavras feias”, “Nascimento da loucura”, “A minha mente está fora de controlo” e “(In)sanidade”. Os dois últimos em que há uma clara associação do ato criativo a demência. “É por ser mais poeta que gente que sou louco?”, interrogava-se Fernando Pessoa.View Details »
Neste conjunto de poemas, de versos em geral curtos que alternam com outros mais longos, segundo os limites do sentido, os leitores podem descobrir o “eu” do poeta que, em “Passeio do poeta”, o poema mais curto, vai “nostálgico/ por entre nuvens de abetos”. O mesmo “eu” que, no poema “Cadernos”, afirma “por detrás das metáforas que o lápis traça na minha mão/ vivo e cresço”.
Jorge Semprun dizia que “há coisas que só se podem escrever quando já não dói", mas o autor de Fragmentos do meu pensar escreve sobre o que sente e o que sofre em poemas como “Segredos”, “Palavras suspensas no tempo” e “Introspeção”. Noutros, trata da realidade e contradições da vida, do amor, das paixões, dos nobres sentimentos e dos seus contrários, em suma, do mistério de viver.
É no poema “Escrever” que o poeta explica porque escreve, como escreve e para quem escreve: Escrevo/ letras/ palavras/ frases/ com o sangue que me alimenta/ tentativas frustradas de versar/ dançam nesta singela folha/ onde a criatividade está ausente,/ na poesia sou apenas um trolha/ decidi escrever, escrever, escrever/ sobre o quê, nunca me apercebi/ até ao dia, ao momento/ em que decidi escrever para ti/ e escrevi/ letras/ palavras/ frases/ sobre o amor que existe em mim”. Está tudo dito. O amor é, pois, o leitmotiv da maior parte dos poemas de Fragmentos do meu pensar. O amor que, segundo Hélia Correia, Fenda Erótica: “é uma coisa rara, difícil de encontrar; e que só aparece, por acaso, e uma vez por século, se tanto, como outros fenómenos igualmente inexplicáveis, aqueles de elevar-se alguém nos ares ou de um analfabeto citar Cícero em correto latim”.
Agora, tem a palavra o leitor. É do leitor a liberdade de valorizar este ou aquele segmento à luz de uma visão de conjunto. Pode saborear as palavras, ponderando a distância que vai do significante ao significado, da presença à ausência. E estabelecer conexões com os elementos extratextuais. Ler é compreender, na conceção de Julia Kristeva, por isso há tantas leituras quantos os leitores. Boa leitura. [close]Giveaway dates: Dec 14 - Dec 24, 20147 copies available, 21 people requestingCountries available: PT
Mary of Cosmos
by Jeffrey Aaron Miller (Goodreads Author)
Release date: Dec 01, 2014Mary of Cosmos is the final volume of a Young Adult series set in a small Arkansas town, the story of Mary Lanham, a young woman who learns the magica…more[close] Mary of Cosmos is the final volume of a Young Adult series set in a small Arkansas town, the story of Mary Lanham, a young woman who learns the magical secrets of her past and confronts an ancient evil. It is a four volume series that runs as follows: Mary of the Aether, Mary of Shadows, Mary of Starlight, Mary of Cosmos.View Details »
One enemy remains, a creature more devious, cunning and cruel than any Devourer. Mary the Lightbearer will face this enemy in a last world-shattering battle that will change the fate of universes. But it is a battle like no other against an evil force greater than anything Mary has ever known. The truth about many things will be revealed, and no one will ever be the same. [close]Giveaway dates: Dec 14 - Dec 24, 20145 copies available, 126 people requestingCountries available: US
La rousse qui croyait au Père-Noël (Book 1)
by Suzanne Marty (Goodreads Author), Sandrine Lemercier
Release date: Oct 01, 2014******* Dédicacé *******
« Flamme est apprentie comédienne et célibataire. Le 1erjanvier 2009, elle se pose un ultimatum : si elle n’a pas obtenu un se…more[close] ******* Dédicacé *******View Details »
« Flamme est apprentie comédienne et célibataire. Le 1er janvier 2009, elle se pose un ultimatum : si elle n’a pas obtenu un seul rôle payé ou rencontré de vrai prince charmant avant son anniversaire, elle abandonne la course aux rêves. Car est-il raisonnable à 39 ans de croire encore au père-noël ? »
Site de l’auteur : http://www.suzannemarty.fr/Suzanne_Ma...
Journey to Seduction
by Candace Shaw (Goodreads Author)
Release date: Feb 01, 2015Ever since their families were joined by marriage, Sydney Chase has been driving attorney Bryce Monroe crazy. Whether she's in biker gear or stilettos…more[close] Ever since their families were joined by marriage, Sydney Chase has been driving attorney Bryce Monroe crazy. Whether she's in biker gear or stilettos, no other woman can compare. No one else combines tough and tender in such a sexy, irresistible package. Though Syd has him pegged as a spoiled brat, a spur-of-the-moment Vegas road trip is Bryce's one chance to prove otherwise.View Details »
As a criminal profiler, Syd's job is to figure people out. Somehow, beyond Bryce's privileged background is a depth she never expected. Their cross-country trek to a motorcycle fest is turning into the hottest ride of her life—one she knows has to eventually end. Yet what happens in Vegas is impossible to forget, and Bryce isn't letting go until he's crashed through every single one of her defenses…
[close]Giveaway dates: Dec 14 - Dec 24, 20145 copies available, 185 people requestingCountries available: US and CA
How to Raise a Wild Child: The Art and Science of Falling in Love with Nature
by Scott D. Sampson
Release date: Mar 24, 2015American children today spend about 4 to 7 minutes a day playing outdoors—90 percent less time than their parents did. Instead, they spend an average…more[close] American children today spend about 4 to 7 minutes a day playing outdoors—90 percent less time than their parents did. Instead, they spend an average of 7 hours a day on screens indoors. Yet nature is an essential element for healthy growth. Not only does exposure to nature help relieve stress, depression, and attention deficits, it reduces bullying, helps combat sickness, and boosts academic scores. Even more important are the long-term benefits linked to cognitive, emotional, and moral development.View Details »
An increasing awareness of this crisis has given rise to a children and nature movement. But parents—many of whom are themselves intimidated by nature—still don't know how to go about helping their children connect with nature. Distilling the latest research in disciplines such as psychology, neuroscience, biology, and education, Sampson reveals how parents and educators can help kids fall in love with nature—enlisting technology as an ally; taking advantage of nearby, even urban, locations; and instilling a sense of place that will help keep the planet healthy. This essential connection benefits us all by creating healthier and happier children and adults. [close]Giveaway dates: Dec 14 - Dec 24, 20145 copies available, 263 people requestingCountries available: US
Purgatory Behind These Eyes: The Dark Fiction of Doug Rinaldi
by Doug Rinaldi (Goodreads Author)
Time for a Goodreads Giveaway!!!
Up for grabs and just in time for the Holidays is a copy of Doug Rinaldi's first short story collection, Purgatory Beh…more[close] Time for a Goodreads Giveaway!!!View Details »
Up for grabs and just in time for the Holidays is a copy of Doug Rinaldi's first short story collection, Purgatory Behind These Eyes! Inside are 15 tales of dark fiction with twisted poetry interspersed throughout.
Inspired by the perversity of human nature and the darkness that dwells within us all, this collection of work by horror author Doug Rinaldi is a reminder that not everything is as it seems. Purgatory Behind These Eyes' imaginative diversity will pull you tightly into the depths of hopelessness while challenging your vision of reality, making the improbable and impossible become truth. [close]Giveaway dates: Dec 14 - Dec 24, 20141 copy available, 131 people requestingCountries available: US
Monster Squad: The Iron Golem
by Christian Page (Goodreads Author)
Release date: Jan 31, 2015Monsters. Mad Scientists. Free Books! Be the first to get the Monster Squad: The Iron Golem, New Generation Publishing's 2014 Children's Book of The Y…more[close] Monsters. Mad Scientists. Free Books! Be the first to get the Monster Squad: The Iron Golem, New Generation Publishing's 2014 Children's Book of The Year award winner and a new Young Adult series by debut author Christian Page. Dark forces are converging on the sleepy town of Autumn’s Hallow. Monsters in the woods, mad scientists on the loose and sinister minions lurk. Four young friends must band together to uncover a secret plot that threatens them, the town they live in and the people they love. It’s up to Blaine Davis, Daschle Gaunt, Shelley Merry and Drake Harker, heirs to fantastic powers to stop an evil that threatens to consume the world. Can the Monster Squad thwart the evil Victor von Frankenstein in time? Find out in Book 1 of an exciting new series! Sign up to win now! [close]View Details »Giveaway dates: Dec 14 - Dec 24, 201420 copies available, 268 people requestingCountries available: US, CA, and GB
by Reginald Grant (Goodreads Author)
Release date: Dec 10, 2014It's Christmas and books are always a great gift. So we are giving away a copy of Reginald Grant's release of his poetry book. "Daily Sunshine" A Afri…more[close] It's Christmas and books are always a great gift. So we are giving away a copy of Reginald Grant's release of his poetry book. "Daily Sunshine" A African American Man's Perspective on America.View Details »
Daily Sunshine is a collection of verse that opens the door between black and white as it articulates what it is like to be African American in America. This collection was written while Reginald Grant was a young impressionable student at the University of Oregon in the late 1970’s- and early 1980’s. It still represents the reality of life for an African American male here in America. The words continue to connect us to the reality of the weight on African Americans in our society. Though the topics of relationships, family, school, society, sports and self-realization we are moved. These poems reflect how much we are more alike than we are different as everyone searches for peace, family, opportunities and to be valued. The book contains poetry that will touch your spirit, mind and soul.
About Reginald “Reggie” Grant
Born in Atlanta, Georgia but raised in Seattle, Washington Reginald has lived the “American Dream.” The oldest of three children his parents encouraged their children to pursue knowledge and education from an early age. He has been an English teacher since 2002. He is a state of California Certificated English Teacher and taught public school for eleven years. In 2011 he served on the CASHEE – California State High School Exit Exam development/review panel for English Since 2012 he has focused on research, writing, teaching English as a Second Language and speaking. He is completing his MSED in Curriculum and Instruction with an emphasis in TESOL. He is committed to making a positive difference in the lives of others and sees education as the force for change. He is a member of Sigma Tau Delta, International English Honor Society.
He currently on the board of directors for three non profits, NAAAA presenters of the “Watkins Award” for scholar athletes, Powers Women’s Network and the GCUMM, General Commission on United Methodist Men. Prior to entering education he was a businessman and professional athlete (New York Jets, NFL & Ottawa ,CFL) after graduation from the University of Oregon. He often speaks on Teaching ESL, Mentoring and the Winners Mindset. Visit him online at www.rgrant.com
by Ross Ritchell
Release date: Mar 05, 201520 galleys are available of THE KNIFE by Ross Ritchell.
THE KNIFE is a powerful, dark, and morally provocative debut novel about a U.S. Special Forces…more[close] 20 galleys are available of THE KNIFE by Ross Ritchell.View Details »
THE KNIFE is a powerful, dark, and morally provocative debut novel about a U.S. Special Forces unit operating in the Middle East, written by a former soldier—No Easy Day meets Redeployment…
***This excerpt is from an advance uncorrected proof***
Copyright © 2014 Ross Ritchell. From THE KNIFE, reprinted with permission from Blue Rider Press, a member of Penguin Group (USA) LLC.
He was Shaw to everyone in the squadron, nobody to the rest of the world. His given name was Dutch Robert Shaw and his grandmother raised him. She called him her Little Dutch, or the more formal Dutch Robert if he were in trouble, but with her gone his pre-squadron life might’ve as well as been buried in the Minnesota soil along with her lifeless body. She was gone now and he was changing.
Special operators lived in the shadows and he was a team leader in the darkest of them. Their lives were classified and they liked it that way, for it let them do their job. The next deployment would be Shaw’s tenth, the team’s fifth together, and he didn’t even think about it as killing after a while. Besides someone having an interesting mustache or getting whacked in their underwear, the kills weren’t worth much of a second thought. Holding a weapon? Two in the chest. Strapped with a vest? Two in the head. If he’d wait a second longer it’d be him on the floor leaking into the ground, or one of his buddies. Maybe a building full of people. It was work. Living over life, way of the knife.
Summer was just giving way to fall then. They weren’t slotted to head out on their next hop for another couple months, but the warmer weather brought an influx of farmers and goat-herders with pockets fattened by jihadist contracts. They’d swarm out of the mountains, deserts, and villages and attack anyone in uniform. Just like back home in the cities, the violence increased with the temperatures. So teams and squads back in the States cleaned their weapons and kept their eyes on the news. There were one hundred and three coalition deaths in June. One hundred and thirty-four in July. One hundred and sixty-one in August. Speaking averages, the numbers usually dropped in September, but then one of their sister squadrons lost fourteen men after a Chinook and a Black Hawk went down in the mountains on the same day. The tally for the month rose to nearly two hundred. Shaw knew they’d be getting spun up early. Bets were placed with each passing day.
“Sir, a refill?”
The girl pouring coffee stood in front of him, her blond ponytail splayed over her shoulders and chest like parted curtains. Her name tag read Stephanie and she’d drawn a little heart to dot the i in her name. She wore khaki pants and a dark green sweater and a little too much eye makeup. She was cute, beautiful soon if she didn’t start smoking or fall in love with any of the guys like the one seated before her. Their profession aged people.
She looked sweet and relaxed and she had her eyebrows raised, as if she wasn’t yet annoyed but was thinking about getting there. Shaw looked older with a beard, so she probably didn’t see him as someone liable to hit on her. He was safe, thus was she, she might have thought. But he wasn’t safe in that regard, merely distracted. He’d been drumming his fingers on his empty cup, focused on the TVs nailed to the walls. The news had been broadcasting widespread suicide bombings in the Middle East for the last few days and the beeper he wore in his pocket weighed heavier than normal. He hadn’t noticed her sweater-strangled breasts hovering mere inches from his face.
“Sir, a refill?” she repeated.
He turned toward the sound, quick and abrupt. He nearly nosed her breasts. The longer strands of his beard pricked the loose wool of her top. He nodded and tipped his cup toward her. Smiled. He had a good smile, deep dimples on both cheeks. “Please.”
The dimples were a strong peace offering. She smiled back and poured.
He nodded. “Thank you.”
She held her smile longer for him than she did for most customers. She poured from a small silver creamer and stopped when he cut the air with his fingers. He thanked her again and she had probably just started staring through his beard, recognizing the handsome face buried beneath it, when an older couple seated at another table called her over. An old woman held her white coffee cup in the air with arthritic fingers while her husband sat across from her, asleep, with his head in a book. The old woman looked like she wouldn’t be able to hold the cup up much longer, so the waitress backpedaled quickly over to the old couple, running her fingers through her hair. She kept her eyes on Shaw as she moved and he watched her while he blew waves in his coffee, the tattoos on his wrists freed and visible from his sleeves. His lips hovered over the rim of the cup and he mouthed her name. Stephanie. Stephanie. He watched her pour for the old woman and liked the way she rested her hand gently on the old woman’s brittle shoulder. He could see her smooth hand and the fragile, delicate wrist emerging from the sweater she’d rolled up to pour the coffee. A leather bracelet emerged on her wrist and he wondered who’d given it to her. A family member or friend, maybe. Another man. She probably hadn’t seen Shaw’s fingernails, stained with gun oil, but she might have learned to love that about him.
The news continued blaring in the background, but he was too busy counting strands of the blond hair cinched into her ponytail to care. And she might have started noticing something in him beyond what everyone else in the shop could see: a tall blond guy with a wild beard and large back muscles shifting beneath a trim blue sweater that hugged his chest and waist.
And then the beeper in his pocket rumbled.
He took it out and black stars filled the screen with a minus-2. He let out a breath. The stars meant rush—two hours to get back to base—and it was October second, which meant he owed Hagan fifty. Hagan bet on the first week in October and Shaw the second.
He opened his wallet and fingered the fifty he now owed Hagan and the five that would cover the coffee. He’d just thought of asking the waitress for her phone number when the beeper went off. It was pointless now—he’d be leaving in hours—so he stood up and made sure to catch her eye when he did. He waited for her to turn away from the old couple’s table, and when she did her blond hair caught the sunlight. For just a moment, he let himself think of what it might look like lying next to him on the grass of a farm in the summertime, a baby on the way. Maybe two or three others further down the life line. Then he smiled at her, held the fifty up in his hand, and left it on the table for her.
He’d tell Hagan to shove it. Hagan would be upset only for as long as it took him to talk about the girl he was with the night before.
Huge tits,” Hagan said.
He was smiling wide, and appeared to be quite in love with himself. Shaw thought he might have forgotten their bet entirely. The youngest guy in the team, Hagan had a round, doughy face but carried nothing but muscle on his frame. Dressed in cargo pants and utility shirt like everyone else, he had flecks of dip stuck in his bottom teeth and his lower lip bulged with the brown flakes of tobacco. He stood propped in the doorway leading to the pit, his hands flexed around invisible breasts he’d given himself, and was rocking back and forth on his heels. He looked like a hulking, giddy idiot. A middle-school pervert.
Shaw nodded because to Hagan they were always huge, and because he needed to be believed. Hagan was fragile like that. Plus, keeping his mind on tits would keep his mind off the money Shaw owed him.
“Congrats on the huge, Hog.” Shaw slapped Hagan on the back and walked around the wooden pallets filling up with all their gear. Hagan didn’t ask for the money, so Shaw laughed and continued on past him. “And you’ve got shit in your teeth.”
“Huge, man,” Hagan yelled after him, running into the pit. “Did you hear me? Huge!”
The pit was dim and humid, loud. Hagan stopped in the entryway and looked to the ceiling. He yelled, “Huge! Tits!” as loud as he could, his arms spread like Christ on the cross and his chest trembling. Hagan liked tits. Hagan also juiced. Yelling about tits like that all roided out, he looked like a rabid beast and devout sex saint.
The pit was full of tall gray metal lockers and the team bays were separated by numbers and squadron colors. There were foot-stools housing disassembled, fully automatic weapons lying on rags or propping up half-naked operators drooling into plastic-bottle spitters and ornate metal spittoons the room over. There were lots of sharp, blind corners and dead ends and the smell of sweat and metal ruled the air. State flags and captured weapons hung from the ceiling or outside lockers, along with a few crucifixes and a single Star of David. A clock taken from a raid on one of the royal palaces hung above the pit, attached to a metal D-ring and chained to an anchor in the roof. The hands of the clock traced the face of a dead tyrant’s son and his ghost slowly turned on the chain, keeping watch over the guys that killed him. The reek of gun oil and damp concrete made the men dizzy for the second it took to get used to it. Then they did and knew they were home.
The team bays were alive and frantic. Electric guitars shrieked through speakers nailed to the walls and hop bags were pulled from the tops of lockers and spread out on the floor, their owners hunched over and among them, frazzled or calm, running their fingers through ammo, banger, and frag pouches. Looking for small holes that might lead to big problems. The lockers were doubles and opened in the center like French doors. Extra fatigues and civilian clothes hung inside them, along with the occasional newbie with his mouth and hands bound with flight tape. Shaw had also seen blow-up sex dolls, kegs, and a pet dog or cat in lockers as well. He heard about an MP stashed in one to avoid a DUI charge once, too, though he never saw it.
Dalonna stood in front of his locker with his arms crossed and his eyebrows raised, the folds of his shaved head wrinkled like waves running on the tides of the ocean. He had two daughters and a wife and looked like Gandhi if the latter had lifted weights his entire life. He was expecting a son.
“You’ll never guess, Donna,” Hagan said, when they entered the bay.
Dalonna looked at Shaw. Shaw shook his head, removed his lock, and sat inside the locker on a stool he kept at the base.
“I’ll take a shot,” Dalonna said. He scratched his beard and looked at the ceiling. “She was a supermodel—no, a porn queen. A real dick diva. And they were gigantic, beautiful flesh mountains. Everests.”
Hagan was nodding along aggressively. It looked like his head might fall off or that he might make himself sick. Shaw was getting dizzy just looking at him.
“Cut that out, Hog,” Shaw said. “Necks aren’t supposed to move like that.”
Hagan waved him off and looked at Dalonna.
“Donna. Check it.”
He brought his hands in front of his chest and flexed them around the invisible breasts that’d gone from cantaloupes when he first showed Shaw to watermelons for Dalonna. Hagan was generous like that.
Dalonna laughed and shook his head. “You’re a caveman. And you’re not allowed near my daughters.”
Someone blasted a stereo and the Rolling Stones drowned out their voices. “Gimme Shelter.”
Ever, Dalonna mouthed over the music. Stay away.
The lockers rumbled with the rifts and guys on their first or second hop ran around hurriedly, anxious to make sure everything was in their hop bags, while Shaw and the other salts pretended to worry about their bags. They didn’t want to be bothered so faked being busy. Anybody not frantically searching for extra pouches, or pretending to look for them, leafed through their wills. Everyone had to figure out who would get what and what they wanted done with their bodies when they died—wouldn’t be allowed on the bird without it—so guys put pen to paper and got morbid. Bagpipes were a common request at funerals, and books, tins of dip, cases of beer, and pouches of tobacco kept pictures of kids or faithful wives company along with the bodies in the caskets. Guys signed over insurance policies to their kids or girlfriends and not their estranged wives. Shaw once knew a guy who requested the ex-wife he hated to be buried with him, though she hadn’t passed yet.
There’d been a shift in Shaw that summer. He might not have fully recognized it, but the exact date, the source of it all, was inked in black on his wrist. He hadn’t changed his will for years before his grandma passed that July. July the twenty-third, to be exact. His grandparents had raised him as their own when his birth parents died in a car crash when he was a toddler, and his grandma had been a mother to him his whole life. He had been home with his grandparents during the crash and couldn’t remember having guardians that didn’t wear Velcro Keds, hadn’t fought in the Second World War, and didn’t bake apple pies religiously instead of attending church every Sunday. He had a teenage phase during which he played up the tragedy of losing his real parents; it helped land a girlfriend or two, but he recognized it as disingenuous and kicked it. His grandparents were his parents. His mother looked beautiful from pictures he’d seen and his father seemed like a man worth knowing from stories, but he couldn’t remember his mother’s smell or touch and couldn’t remember his father’s strength or laugh. Instead, he remembered the smell of his grandpa’s Pabst Blue Ribbon and how his grandma let him get away with anything. That free pass first fanned the dickhead in him as a youth. He’d throw drinking parties in their basement and unhook bras while they slept. Then they found him in his room, passed out with an empty bottle of Jack in his hand one night, puke all over his face and hair, and he decided to stop hurting them. His grandpa’s Now, that won’t do and his grandma’s tears were enough to rearrange his stomach and outlook permanently. And they did. He went on to college, studied business, and graduated magna cum laude, and then the Twin Towers were hit. He was in his first month with an accounting firm in Chicago and quit before the end of the week. Then he went back to Minnesota and told them he was leaving.
Before she died, the details of his will read more like a grocery list, mundane and hardly worth a second thought. He didn’t have a wife or serious plans for one, and no children because of it, so he figured he’d leave everything to his grandparents. When his grandpa died eight years before, on June eighteenth, he had the date inked in black on his wrist, protected by the black metal KIA bracelets he wore. Then he listed his grandma as the sole beneficiary. He missed the way he and his grandpa could talk without saying a whole lot. His grandpa had been a Ranger in France, so he understood. The smell of any alcohol reminded Shaw of the stale PBR his grandpa always had in his hand. The dimpled smile and tip of the can as common as his cane. His grandpa’s death hurt, sure, but he still had her. Shaw liked to think of what she would do with the government insurance, nearly half a million, if he died. She probably wouldn’t do anything with it, maybe get another dog, but he hoped she would hire some help for herself. If not, maybe get a nice foot massage twice a day for the rest of her life—the old Vietnamese ladies in town charged only a couple bucks for a half-hour. Or maybe she could travel to France. See Pointe du Hoc, where her husband was nearly killed so many years ago in so many different ways.
Then she died on a Saturday night in July and he got piss drunk with Hagan and Massey. He got the date of her death tattooed on the wrist covered by his watch before the hangover had time to sprout. Massey tucked him in that night, wrapped a blanket in the caves of Shaw’s big body, and set a trashcan by his face. When Shaw woke, the first thing he saw was Massey sitting on the floor against the wall.
“No. I’m not.”
Then Shaw looked at the fresh tattoo on his wrist. The ink shiny and black, the skin red and raw. He smiled. Then he cried. Then he threw up.
He needed her. He didn’t know it at the time, but whenever he visited her back home in Minnesota her smile absolved him of every mistake he knew he’d made or ever would. She was his mother, his grandmother, and as he was a godless man, his single savior and saint. His kills weren’t murders or ending the lives of others. They were protecting the country like his grandpa had, keeping his sweet grandma from getting blown up on the bus on her way to the market. She was his anchor to the civilian world. To peace. She was the only person he was close to outside the squadron—the boys from high school and college didn’t understand him anymore—and after everything he’d seen and done, that didn’t seem likely to change. When he saw her he saw approval, redemption. He was her Little Dutch, no matter how big he got or how many years passed. When she saw him she still saw the little boy with grass stains on his knees and truth in his heart. And he would be okay with that if he knew. But he didn’t and never would.
After her death he replaced her as beneficiary with a Labrador retriever shelter back home. He loved dogs and had a yellow one named Patch growing up. Patch had a white tuft of skin scarred under his left eye that he got dogfighting before Shaw’s grandparents adopted him when Shaw was five or six. He was a good dog, loyal and smart, with the right mix of goof. He used to steal Shaw’s grandpa’s hairpiece while he napped on the couch and then leave it on his slippers for him to find when he woke. Patch lay under the casket for hours after the cancer beat Grandpa—it had taken him like a bullet, unexpected and quick. Grandma ran her hands through his fur on their deck in the summertime and Shaw and Patch would both fall asleep in her lap. A boy and his dog. So the Labrador rescue would get all his money when he died. He requested cremation over burial, and that made figuring out the contents of a casket pretty easy.
When Shaw finished looking over his will, Hagan was still gesturing with his air breasts. He was closing his eyes, rubbing and slapping the breasts around. Really getting graphic and into it. Dalonna just stared at him. Shaw laughed.
The team. The squadron. The only family left.
A Briefing Officer came into the pits carrying a megaphone and shouted, “Briefing room in twenty, buses in ninety,” and a couple guys booed him and he gave them the finger and walked out. Hagan let go of the breasts and smiled at Shaw, raised his eyebrows.
“Love me some Afghanipakiraqistan.”
Shaw nodded and took his kit out of his locker.
[close]Giveaway dates: Dec 15 - Dec 24, 201420 copies available, 227 people requestingCountries available: US
Giveaway dates: Dec 15 - Dec 24, 20145 copies available, 124 people requestingCountries available: US
Spirit: A Potential Beyond Mind and Matter
by Reza Mohamed (Goodreads Author)
Release date: May 22, 2014In the interest of social change and unity, this book explores reality through the lenses of theologians, philosophers, scientists, and others, to tak…more[close] In the interest of social change and unity, this book explores reality through the lenses of theologians, philosophers, scientists, and others, to take us beyond conventional societal and cultural perspectives.View Details »
I am currently raising awareness of the book, and in the spirit of the season I am giving away 5 soft copies to whoever Goodreads selects. If you win, I would greatly appreciate an honest review. [close]
by Elyse Salpeter (Goodreads Author)
Release date: Oct 23, 2014In the deep woods of California, there’s an old decaying mansion with a terrible secret. When any enter its doors, the house claims them, propelling t…more[close] In the deep woods of California, there’s an old decaying mansion with a terrible secret. When any enter its doors, the house claims them, propelling them to a land in a different reality, run by a man who calls himself, the Preacher. If you play by his rules, you live a life of luxury, but if you displease him? With a flick of his wrist, you are transformed into a living doll, a mannequin, and there is no escape… until the madman is done playing with you. [close]View Details »Giveaway dates: Dec 15 - Dec 24, 20141 copy available, 307 people requestingCountries available: US
by Randy Henke (Goodreads Author)
Where can you hide when mother nature unleashes her fury?
Oklahoma City, 2038. The Heartland of America is feeling the first pangs of a warming planet.…more[close] Where can you hide when mother nature unleashes her fury?View Details »
Oklahoma City, 2038. The Heartland of America is feeling the first pangs of a warming planet. Devastating crop losses, escalating food prices, and an endless wave of violent storms. Floods, hail, winds and lightning ravage the countryside along with an old killer with a new name.
They call them shredders. A new breed of tornado so powerful and deadly that a quasi-military organization called Storm Strike is assembled to combat them. Armed with Doppler-guided missiles fitted with the army’s latest class of thermobaric warheads, they declare an untried and unconventional kind of war.
Marta Astin finds herself on the front lines of that war as commander of a storm cruiser: an armored, all-terrain titan of a vehicle equipped to hunt down and destroy one of nature’s most sinister creations.
As she wages battle across the plains of Oklahoma she also finds herself at odds with an elusive and radical band of eco-terrorists who call themselves the Order of the Shining Winds; all while struggling with a debilitating mental illness that threatens her career, her sanity and possibly her very life.
It all ends in a spectacular and explosive confrontation as Marta and her crew fight for survival against the forces of both man and nature. [close]Giveaway dates: Dec 15 - Dec 24, 201410 copies available, 113 people requestingCountries available: US
Giveaway dates: Dec 15 - Dec 24, 20143 copies available, 172 people requestingCountries available: US
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