122 Rules by Deek Rhew

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

S. Usher Evans' The Madion War Trilogy - The Island: Cover Reveal

Introducing the brand-spankin' new cover for The Island, made by Anita over at Race-Point.com.

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About the Book

Prince Galian is third in line to the throne, but prefers his place as a resident at the Royal Kylaen Hospital. When his father urges him to join the military to help reclaim their colony, Galian is forced to put aside his oath to Do No Harm and fight a war he does not believe in.

Across the great Madion Sea, Captain Theo Kallistrate dreams of a day when she is no longer bound by conscription to fight for her country's independence. But when the Kylaens threaten, honor and duty call her to the front lines to fight off the oppressors.

When an air skirmish goes wrong, both Theo and Galian crash on a remote island hundreds of miles from either nation. Grievously injured, Theo must rely on Galian's medical expertise, and Galian must rely on Theo's survival skills, to live another day in a harsh and unforgiving terrain.

Can they put aside their differences long enough to survive? Or will the war that brought them to the island tear them apart?

The Island is the first in a new romance trilogy by S. Usher Evans, author of the Razia series and Empath.

Preorder Today for Kindle, Paperback, Hardcover and more!

The Island (Madion War Series, #1)


Preview

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Galian

I landed with a soft thump on the sandy beach a little ways from my plane, and immediately dropped to my knees, releasing a loud breath. My hands shook and my heart pounded, but I thanked my lucky stars that I was alive and had practiced parachuting out of my plane a few extra times during my training.

Once my pulse returned to normal, I stood and released myself from the parachute straps, leaving the long trail of lines and white parachute laid out on the beach. I approached the wreckage of my plane. Pieces of it lay in a long trail as it had skidded across the sand. I picked up a metal piece that had a bullet hole in it and then tossed it aside.

Besides the nose and engine being smashed to smithereens, the back of the plane was fine. I cracked open the back hatch and pawed through my emergency supplies. I found everythingÑincluding the medical bag Dr. Maitland gave meÑto be intact. Again, I thanked whatever was up there looking out for me. Of all the outcomes that could've happened from the battle, crash-landing on an island with my supplies was better than most.

A burning smell reached my nose, and I stepped back, searching my plane for any sign of fire. Then I noticed the black column of smoke rising up from the treetops.

Despite everything, worry knotted in my chest. What had happened to the other pilot? I hadn't seen another parachute. Was he even still alive? He was my enemy, but still a fellow human being. I couldn't help but hear Dr. Maitland in my ear.

I don't have the luxury of differentiating between Kylaen and Raven patients.

Guilt gnawed at me. I looked down at the medical bag and sighed. Dr. Maitland was rightÑI was a doctor first and a warrior second. Shouldering my bag, I stumbled off the sandy beach onto the firmer forest ground.

The trees were tall and thick and everything around me was green. It was late summer, but there was definitely a chill in the air since I was so far north. I was thankful for my extra layer under my jumpsuit.

I walked into a clearing, covering my nose from the smell. One of the two wings had been shorn off in the crash and was the source of the black smoke. The rest of the plane was mashed and mangled some ways away. I saw the pilot in the cockpit through the shattered glass, and his helmeted head hung motionless. I was sure that he was dead. I couldn't see how anyone could have survived such a crash.

And then he moved.

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Theo

I woke slowly, the sound of unfamiliar animals coming to me first, followed by a cold breeze. As I tried to move, pain shot up from every corner of my body. I looked up at the blue sky, barely visible through a thick canopy of trees. I smelled leaking fuel, and wondered if my ship would explode or if I'd bleed to death first.

I relaxed into my seat and prepared for the inevitable. Even if the Raven government sent a search party for me (which they wouldn't), I doubted they'd come in time to save my life. Still, I took some solace in the fact that I killed another son of that mass murdering king.

A noise startled me and I turned my head slowly to find the source.

I couldn't believe my eyes. The stupid princeling was alive and standing in front of my ship.

Fear and anger gripped at me. How was it possible that I was badly injured and he appeared to be walking just fine? I hated that the last thing I was going to see in this world was Prince Galian standing in a clearing, his pale skin flushed and his eyes sparkling with amusement?

I was dying and this guy was laughing at me.

"What's so funny?" I snarled through my helmet.

"Serves you right." He was smirking as if he had something to smirk about.

"For what?"

"Shooting me down. Looks like you're in worse shape than I am, too."

"Go to hell."

He laughed again and hoisted himself up onto the broken nose of my plane. I was in too much pain to fight back, and my gun was nowhere to be found.

"Yep," he observed, with a smirk on his face. Up close, he was every bit as handsome as I'd seen in pictures. "You definitely got what you deserved. Shouldn't have shot at me."

"You shouldn't have invaded my country."

His eyes widened for a moment and I thought I'd finally done something to wipe that smile off his face. To my supreme annoyance, he tilted his head back and let out a throaty laugh.

"Oh, you are witty," he said, nodding. "And technically right. But it wasn't my decision. I was, as they say, just following orders."

"And I was just following orders when I blew your ass out of the sky."

"Aren't we at an impasse then?" He seemed to be enjoying this conversation. He looked down at the side of my ship and read the inscription. "Theo, huh? Well, you must be a pretty high ranking pilot then. I hear the Ravens only allow you to put your name on your ship after you've survived plenty of battles."

I moved out of anger, but the pain in my legs came roaring up my body. "Please let me die in peace," 

I asked, unable to look at him.

"Oh, you aren't going to die today."
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Preorder today for Amazon Kindle, Paperback, and Hardcover.


About the Author

View More: http://ashleyvictoriaphotography.pass.us/whitneyevans
S. Usher Evans is an author, blogger, and witty banter aficionado. Born in Pensacola, Florida, she left the sleepy town behind for the fast-paced world of Washington, D.C.. There, she somehow landed jobs with BBC, Discovery Channel, and National Geographic Television before finally settling into a "real job" as an IT consultant. After a quarter life crisis at age 27, she decided consulting was for the birds and rekindled a childhood passion for writing novels. She sold everything she owned and moved back to Pensacola, where she currently resides with her two dogs, Zoe and Mr. Biscuit.
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Saturday, January 23, 2016

Sore Throat Remedies

I HATE sore throats and a couple of weeks ago I had a doozy. My bride, Erin Rhew, and I bought the best that Walgreens had to offer: lozenges, throat spray, cold pills, so forth. But alas, none of them relieved the pain from the boxes of razor blades that I seem to be swallowing at regular intervals.

She took me to the doctor. Nope, not strep, just a raw ache that lasted for days and kept me up at night.

Here are some sore throat remedies that and did NOT work:

  • Throat spray
  • Lozenges
  • Gargling with salt water
  • Gargling with baking soda
  • Gargling with hot water
  • Decongestants
  • Hot showers

What the smay?

The doctor suggested drinking hot tea and wrapping a heating pad around my throat. Pretty sure that she was thinking that if I asphyxiated on the cord she wouldn't have to listen to my whiny ass anymore.

Erin and I have an electric teapot which can fire up a steaming mug in about two minutes. Desperate one night, I tried the tea. If I drank a few sips every hour I could sleep for a little while. But the affects didn't last long and the more I did it, the worse my throat seemed to get.

By the third night of not sleeping, I had an epiphany. I'd done everything everyone said to try, why not the opposite. So at three in the morning I slipped downstairs and got a big cup of ice water. INSTANT RELIEF!!! I chewed the ice until my teeth felt like they were going to splinter, but for the first time in days I got four hours of continuous sleep.

WOOP!!!

Normally I don't post about my woes, but no one suggested ice to relieve a sore throat, so I'm posting here, hoping to help some other poor sap unable to get some good z's and some relief.

Getting the deets from Deek. 'Till later!

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

The Love Square by Jessica Calla

Title: The Love Square
Author: Jessica Calla
Genre: Adult Romance
Published: January 12, 2016
Publisher: Limitless Publishing

Clare Davis hates everything about L.A. Well, almost everything…
Accustomed to a small town life in Nebraska, Clare is miserable in her new role as manager of an L.A. bookstore. She yearns to return to the simple life on her family’s farm. That is until she literally runs into up-and-coming movie star Dylan Barnes.
Dylan resents the Hollywood limelight. Awaiting the premiere of his first feature film, it would be nice to meet someone real—just not someone who rear-ends his BMW with her oversized truck. Dylan is instantly attracted to Clare and her Midwestern charm. And as he shows her the wonders of California, Clare can’t resist falling in love with the Golden State and its newest star.

From West Coast to East, friendship and love are equally complicated…
On the East Coast, Dylan’s childhood friend, Alex Popovich, loves his carefree life as a minor league ballplayer. He’s the man-whore of Brooklyn, playing the field in more ways than one. So when real feelings for his best friend erupt, Alex isn’t interested.
A gorgeous ballroom dancer-slash-office worker, Jenna Stecco wants her best friend, Alex, to take a leap from friends to more. Busy having one night stands, Alex is quick to let Jenna go, telling her it’s time to give up lost hopes and move on with life.

Complicated turns full on crazy with a tangled love square…
When Dylan returns to New York City, he meets up with Alex and is introduced to the stunning Jenna. Believing Clare is unavailable and Alex isn’t interested, Dylan and Jenna share a night of passion and embark on a long-distance relationship.
Everyone is thrown by this love square, as Dylan, Jenna, Alex, and Clare struggle with their feelings for each other. When Jenna reveals a secret that will change their lives, all hell breaks loose. 
As the love square crumbles, the four friends must find a way to rebuild or risk losing love forever.










Alex 

Alex and Steve finished another pitcher of sangria while they waited for Dylan.

“Holy shit, with Dylan and Jenna,” Steve said. “How are you handling everything?”

Alex groaned. “They’re both so fucking happy. I had breakfast with them this morning and thought I would throw up. They’re like teenagers making eyes at each other.”

“How can you watch?”

“The whole thing makes me angry, but I know I don’t have a right to be.”

“You’re angry because you’re jealous, you jackass. Because you love her.”

“She told Dylan, you know,” Alex said.

“Told him what? That you’re a jackass?”

“Ha. No. That she loved me.”

“She did? Is she nuts?”

“She told him, ‘It is what it is’ and asked him if he could handle it.”

Steve shook his head. “She’s something.”

“Yeah, something,” Alex agreed. “Anyway, he’ll be gone in a couple of days. Dylan says they are going to try the long-distance relationship thing, but I can’t imagine that working. This has to fizzle out, right?”

“Do you want it to? At least with Dyl, you know he’s not some wacko guy she met online. He’s not the worst person she could be with,” Steve said, then grimaced as he sipped the last of the sangria. “Ah, this is so sweet. I feel my teeth rotting. Anyway, Dylan’s never around, which means you get her to yourself. If you’re not ready to deal with your shit and tell her how you really feel and you’re willing to give her up, at least it’s to Dylan.”

“Like I could compete with D-Barnes. There’s no way she’d want me after being with him.”

“You’re wrong,” Steve said. “If it’s a competition, you already won. You forfeited, though.”

Alex leaned back in his chair and took a deep breath. A blonde woman at the table next to him smiled his way. All he could think about was Jenna. “Yeah, I guess I forfeited. Why’d I do that again?”

“Because you’re fucked up.”









Jessica Calla is a lawyer by day, romance writer by night. Her favorite time is the kids’ "bedtime," when she's free to open the laptop, battle with the blinking cursor, and pour out the contents of her heart. Jessica is a member of Romance Writers of America, involved in the Contemporary, Young Adult, and New Jersey Chapters, and is a member of the Women’s Fiction Writers Association. She lives in central New Jersey with her husband, two sons, and her dog. Besides reading and writing, she enjoys movies, coffee, and chocolate and considers herself addicted to Diet Coke and Netflix (in a good way).






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Wednesday, January 13, 2016

The Love Square by Jessica Calla

Title: The Love Square
Author: Jessica Calla
Genre: Adult Romance
Release Date: January 12, 2016 Publisher: 
Limitless Publishing

Clare Davis hates everything about L.A. Well, almost everything…
Accustomed to a small town life in Nebraska, Clare is miserable in her new role as manager of an L.A. bookstore. She yearns to return to the simple life on her family’s farm. That is until she literally runs into up-and-coming movie star Dylan Barnes.

Dylan resents the Hollywood limelight. Awaiting the premiere of his first feature film, it would be nice to meet someone real—just not someone who rear-ends his BMW with her oversized truck. Dylan is instantly attracted to Clare and her Midwestern charm. And as he shows her the wonders of California, Clare can’t resist falling in love with the Golden State and its newest star.

From West Coast to East, friendship and love are equally complicated…
On the East Coast, Dylan’s childhood friend, Alex Popovich, loves his carefree life as a minor league ballplayer. He’s the man-whore of Brooklyn, playing the field in more ways than one. So when real feelings for his best friend erupt, Alex isn’t interested.

A gorgeous ballroom dancer-slash-office worker, Jenna Stecco wants her best friend, Alex, to take a leap from friends to more. Busy having one night stands, Alex is quick to let Jenna go, telling her it’s time to give up lost hopes and move on with life.

Complicated turns full on crazy with a tangled love square…
When Dylan returns to New York City, he meets up with Alex and is introduced to the stunning Jenna. Believing Clare is unavailable and Alex isn’t interested, Dylan and Jenna share a night of passion and embark on a long-distance relationship.

Everyone is thrown by this love square, as Dylan, Jenna, Alex, and Clare struggle with their feelings for each other. When Jenna reveals a secret that will change their lives, all hell breaks loose. 

As the love square crumbles, the four friends must find a way to rebuild or risk losing love forever.




Clare

Clare’s new position at Books, Etc.’s downtown Los Angeles store wasn’t getting any easier. She’d had another terrible day trying to meet corporate standards. She’d fired half of her café staff, customers had yelled at her—one man even threatened to call the police—and she’d been too busy to eat lunch. Book two of a popular three-part young adult series had just released, causing absolute havoc, and she’d watched someone shoplift a copy from right under her nose. She’d run around the store like a madwoman through gaggles of giggly teenagers, moms with strollers, and retirees using her store like a library, breaking all of her bindings and drinking the last of her coffee, for which her inept staff forgot to charge.

All this, and when Clare finally walked out the door, the darned sun shone bright in the sky. Doesn’t it ever rain in California?she wondered as she waved good-bye to her assistant manager through the display window.

Clare climbed into her giant pickup truck with the Nebraska plates—talk about standing out a like a sore thumb—and felt homesick, hungry, and bitter. She yawned. Tired. Mostly tired. She’d kill for a nap and a burger from John’s, her favorite pub back home.

Clare maneuvered the truck out of the store parking lot and onto the freeway. After twenty minutes of stop-and-go traffic, she had traveled no more than two miles.

“Ahh!” Usually she found yelling at the top of her lungs in the privacy of her truck therapeutic. Not today. She plugged in her phone and rocked out to her AC/DC playlist, attempting to forget her day.

Finally, after what seemed like hours, traffic opened up. Clare pressed the gas and moved into the left lane, singing T.N.T. and making steady progress until she saw the red brake lights in front of her.

As she slammed on her brakes, her heart stuck in her throat and her body tensed. She stood on the brake pedal, praying, but no matter how hard she pressed down, there was no stopping the collision. Clare squeezed her eyes shut as her tires shrieked along the asphalt, followed by the sound of glass breaking and metal crunching.

I just killed someone, Clare thought as she opened her eyes and unclenched her grip on the wheel. Her hands shook as she felt her body to make sure she was in one piece. Satisfied, she peered through her cloudy windshield and saw the little BMW in front of her, crunched like an accordion. She unbuckled her seat belt and jumped out of the truck.

“Oh my God, oh my God,” she murmured. She ran toward the crushed car as its angry owner kicked the door open and stepped out.

“Jesus fucking Christ!” he yelled.

Clare stood in shock, staring at the most beautiful, angry man she had ever seen, berating her on the freeway. She looked him over, making sure he was intact, then looked him over again. He ran his hands through his longish hair, which was not quite brown and not quite blond. His scowling face looked as if it had been carved from marble with its chiseled jaw and high cheekbones. His tense, gold-colored eyes glared at her, and she blushed. After her flush of hormones passed, Clare shook her head and regained her senses, assessing him as a six-foot-tall jackass.

As cars weaved a traffic pattern around the accident scene, the man turned his back to her and cursed, surveying the damage. “Are you kidding me?” he said as he dropped his head back and looked to the sky.

Overcome by the stress of her day, when Clare was satisfied that neither of them was injured, she marched to the man and poked him in the chest with a shaky finger.

“Hello?” she yelled.

He continued to stare at the remains of his car.

“Hello?” She prodded his rock-hard chest again. “Aren’t you going to ask me if I’m all right?”

“Obviously you are all right,” he said as he pulled out his phone and tapped the screen.

Yep. Jackass. She stomped back to her truck and grabbed her insurance card out of the glove compartment. When she returned, the man covered the bottom of his phone and whispered, “Highway patrol.”

Clare crossed her arms over her chest, grasping her paperwork, waiting for him to hang up. When he finally took the phone away from his ear, she flung the card at him. “Here’s my insurance information.” She used every ounce of energy to hold back her tears as she walked away.

“You could say you’re sorry, you know,” he called after her over the sound of the traffic.

Clare froze and took a deep breath, then spun and charged back toward him. The pressures of her day had finally become too much, and she couldn’t help herself from screaming. “Sorry? Sorry?” She waved her arms toward nowhere in particular as she continued. “You want sorry? Okay. I’m sorry there’s so much gosh-darned traffic in this stupid town that you can’t even use your gas pedal. I’m sorry the sun is so friggin’ bright you can’t see straight. I’m sorry your mama raised you so wrong that you don’t even ask if I’m okay before you start calling me names and cursing Jesus. I’m sorry everyone in this city is such a jerk… I’m sorry…” Clare huffed and puffed as the tears fell.

“All right, calm down,” the man said. “Don’t cry…” He picked up the card and looked at it. “Clare, is it? Okay, I’m sorry. I should have been nicer.”

“I just hate LA,” Clare said, her shoulders sagging as she wiped away her tears.

“Please stop crying.” The man bent down to look into her eyes, squinting at her with concern. Clare studied his face and caught her breath, wondering how one person could be so good-looking. It didn’t seem fair. Stupid California. She took a deep breath and let the tension release on her exhale, using the back of her hand to wipe her tears. “I’m sorry I hit you,” she said, her bottom lip quivering.

He shrugged and sighed. “I’m sorry I overreacted. But I literally just drove it off the dealer’s lot like ten minutes ago.”

“Oh no! You have got to be kidding.” She tried but couldn’t stifle a giggle.

The hottie jackass grinned too, flashing a mouthful of pearly whites. She knew those teeth from somewhere. “Chalk it up to bad luck. I’ll have to go get a gosh-darned new one,” he teased.

“I can’t believe you’re making fun of me,” Clare murmured.

“I couldn’t resist. Nebraska?” he said, pointing to her license plate. “I didn’t know people actually lived there.”

“There are one or two of us. No traffic where I’m from, though.” Clare plopped onto the median of the freeway, ignoring the dirty looks of the commuters rolling by.

The man sat down next to her. “I’m Dylan,” he said. “Dylan Barnes.” He presented his hand for her to shake.

Clare took it. “Clare Davis.”

“LA hater, huh?”

“That’s me.”

“So why do you stay?”

“Trying to prove something…to someone… I don’t know.” What am I doing here? she thought. She could go home, quit the Golden State, and be no worse off. Except she’d have to face her mother. Her boyfriend. Her boss. Her friends. They’d all doubted her ability to morph into a coastal-city girl and embrace the West Coast. Maybe they were right.

Dylan sighed. “Well, if it makes you feel any better, I hated LA when I first got here.”

Clare sputtered, “Yeah, right. You look like you were created right from the soil under the Hollywood sign.”

“Do I? That’s a little scary.”

Something about the gleam in his eye made her ask, “Do I know you from somewhere?”

He smirked. “You travel this freeway a lot?”

“Every day, practically.”

Dylan stayed seated on the median staring at the passing cars. Without a word, he bent his arm, thumb out, to point behind them. Confused, Clare turned and watched the cars travel the opposite side.

“I don’t get it,” she said.

“Look up.”

Clare looked from the cars up and over the highway to the billboard she admired every day on her way home from work. It advertised a fragrance called Lust, and Clare had taken to calling the hot, half-naked guy holding the bottle Lusty.

She looked between the billboard and Dylan. Then back to the billboard. “Well I’ll be a tornado in December. You’re Lusty?”

“Lusty?”

“Holy cow. Lusty! You know, that billboard should be taken down. It’s so gosh-darned distracting.”

Dylan smiled. “Anyway, that may be why you recognize me.”

Clare stared in awe. The billboard didn’t do him justice. She wondered if his abs really looked like Lusty’s, or if Lusty’s were retouched. The wailing of sirens pulled her from her trance as two officers on motorcycles approached the scene. “Oh my. Are they actors or real?” she asked.

“Probably both,” Dylan whispered.

He walked away from Clare and reached into his mangled car, then reappeared with his paperwork. The officers took down the information they needed and called for a tow truck.

When there was nothing left to be done at the scene, Clare offered Dylan a ride. She climbed into the truck as Dylan opened the passenger-side door.

“I don’t think your truck is big enough,” he said, hoisting himself into the seat with the help of his long limbs.

“Yeah, I was hoping to go bigger but with the price of gas and all…” Clare smiled. “Where to, Lusty?”

“I don’t know. A rental car place, I guess.” Dylan took out his phone as Clare turned the key. They both jumped off their seats when T.N.T. blared through the sound system.

“Crap! Sorry about that,” Clare yelled as she turned down the volume. “In Nebraska we spend a lot of time driving around in our pickups listening to loud music.”

“No wonder you’re getting into car accidents. That’s probably not the best idea in LA. I’d never pin you for an AC/DC kind of girl.” Dylan studied his phone. “There’s a car rental place about five miles away.”

“Great. That should only take about ten hours to get to.”

“Ha. You Nebraskans are funny. I know the area. Want me to drive?”

Clare shrugged, completely at ease about letting a stranger drive her truck. Maybe he’d brainwashed her with his flickery eyes. Maybe he was a serial killer. Well, whatever. He sure is pretty to look at, and today is as good a day to die as any, she told herself as she and Dylan switched seats.








Jessica Calla is a lawyer by day, romance writer by night. Her favorite time is the kids’ "bedtime," when she's free to open the laptop, battle with the blinking cursor, and pour out the contents of her heart. Jessica is a member of Romance Writers of America, involved in the Contemporary, Young Adult, and New Jersey Chapters, and is a member of the Women’s Fiction Writers Association. She lives in central New Jersey with her husband, two sons, and her dog. Besides reading and writing, she enjoys movies, coffee, and chocolate and considers herself addicted to Diet Coke and Netflix (in a good way).












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