About the Author
About the Author
As one of the top investigative journalists in the nation, Elle Jameson has a knack for uncovering the truth. So when a promising lead points to corruption on a German military base, Elle anticipates a straightforward assignment. But then she stumbles upon a deadly conspiracy beyond anything she’s faced before, and her scrutiny does not go unnoticed. She knows too much, and she can’t be allowed to live. With no idea where to turn for help, she does the only thing she can: she runs.
The guardians, an elite team of undercover agents, have one job: safeguard those under their protection. As a new guardian, Nolan has just received his first solo assignment to help a young woman who just survived an assassination attempt. Within minutes of making contact with the beautiful journalist, however, their location is discovered. Thus begins a game of cat and mouse spanning the globe as the two work to stay ahead of a determined assassin. Nolan fights to buy Elle time to complete her investigation, and what she discovers is a plot that threatens the very fabric of America. In a desperate race against evil, Nolan and Elle are the only ones who can prevent global catastrophe.
Genre: Romantic Suspense
Published by: Covenant Communications
Publication Date: October 2020
Number of Pages: 296
Purchase Links: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Goodreads
Elle weaved her way through the Saturday crowd at the street market, listening to the various conversations flowing around her. Since arriving in Germany three weeks ago, she had looked forward to exploring the local scenery and visiting the cities near her new assignment. If only today she had time to enjoy the environment . . . and the shops.
A brisk wind whipped through Elle’s long, blonde hair. A few autumn leaves drifted onto the sidewalk. She tugged her overcoat tighter around her, then stuffed her hands in her pockets to protect them against the chill, not bothering to put her gloves on.
She passed various customers, picking up on snippets of their conversations.
Two women discussed what kind of fish to buy for dinner, and an older couple looked over a variety of apples at the fruit stand. At the neighboring booth, a handful of tourists chatted in English as they debated whether some glassware would make it safely home to Canada.
Elle wished she could worry about such trivialities, but she doubted that would happen anytime soon.
Something was wrong with the latest reports on the new drone project. She was sure of it.
When her uncle had sent her undercover as an army lieutenant, she had expected to find some evidence of misappropriation of funds or missing supplies, but uncovering a possible unauthorized access to highly sensitive material lifted her investigative senses to a new level. This wasn’t a story to be written. If her suspicions were right, this was espionage.
For three weeks now, she had set aside her true identity of investigative journalist and had acted under her alias of Lieutenant Elaina Martin to send her suspicions up the chain of command. Unfortunately, no one wanted to listen to a lowly lieutenant in a sea of colonels, especially when that lieutenant was a bean counter. She really needed to talk to her uncle about promoting her the next time he sent her undercover as an officer. Of course, no one would believe she was a colonel at twenty-seven, so she supposed her age was going to handicap her for a while longer.
Her assignment to Germany was supposed to be her opportunity to take a break from high-profile cases for a while, a chance to rest and recover from nearly six months of undercover work in the Middle East.
Unfortunately, her first day on the job, she had stumbled across an anomaly that, despite weeks of research, she still couldn’t explain.
When she tried to discuss the problem with her commanding officer, she had been told the program supervisor had everything under control. Colonel Doyle’s assurances didn’t change the facts. Someone without clearance had accessed the developmental software for the new unmanned aircraft prototype, a prototype that could fly undetected by radar. She didn’t need to be an aeronautical engineer to know that the software in the wrong hands could be deadly.
With no one in her unit taking her concerns seriously, she had reached out to the only person she’d known outside her unit whom she could trust with classified information: her sister Abby.
If Abby couldn’t figure out what was going on, Elle didn’t know who could.
The woman had a knack for seeing what other people missed. Elle should know.
Had it not been for Abby, the theft of weapons at Edwards Air Force Base would have put Elle before a court martial instead of the corporal who had tried to frame her.
The incident had opened Elle’s eyes to what she really wanted to do with her life. Abby had spent her years since college protecting their country by keeping secrets, and Elle wanted to protect their freedoms by revealing the secrets that, when kept, could create their own kind of danger, so she’d been working as an investigative journalist ever since.
Elle reached the designated café and stepped inside. Most of the round tables were occupied, the seats positioned so the customers could look out the wide window and watch the world go by. Deeper inside the restaurant, Abby waited for her at a table in the far corner.
Elle weaved her way past several waiters until she reached her sister. When Abby stood, Elle gave her a hug. “Abby, thanks for meeting me.”
“You said it was important. From what you sent me, I think it is.”
Elle sat beside Abby, then reached into her oversized purse to retrieve a file folder. “I brought you documentation.”
Abby took the folder and opened it in front of her. “What am I looking at?”
“The download logs for the new drone software.”
Elle scooted her chair closer and pointed at the area of concern. “According to command, this software is still in the final testing stage. The only people who should be accessing the files are the programmers.”
She tapped on a list of the approved personnel. “Kamile Frost, Dennis Cleveland, and Lance Finney are all listed over here.”
“Then who is this?” Abby asked, pointing to the three access codes used during the night shift.
“That’s what I want to know. Whoever it is only downloads the updates after everyone else is gone for the day.”
“Talk about suspicious.”
“I thought so too.”
A waiter approached with a carafe of water, slices of lemon floating inside.
He filled both of their glasses. “Have you had time to look over the menu?”
Elle opened hers, quickly narrowing the options to what she could eat without triggering her allergies to citrus, tomatoes, and pork. After they both gave their orders and the waiter left, Elle pulled a water bottle from her purse and took a sip.
“I see you still come prepared.”
“Yeah. It’s such a pain that so many restaurants serve their water with lemon.”
Elle didn’t know how Abby had escaped all the food allergies in the family, while Elle appeared to have received a double dose.
Abby sipped her water and tapped her finger on the file folder. “I assume you brought your concerns to the attention of your CO.”
“Colonel Doyle didn’t seem the least bit interested in my concerns.”
“Did he have an explanation?”
“No. He just said the program manager would have said something if there were a problem. Apparently, everyone up the chain of command agrees with Colonel Doyle because no one seems concerned that a top-secret program might have been jeopardized,” Elle said.
“And no one told you who else is accessing it?”
“No. I thought with your resources, you could figure it out.”
“That’s easy enough. When I get back to the office, I’ll look up the access code and see who it belongs to.” Abby lifted her glass and took another long swallow. “I can’t guarantee I can tell you the name.”
“I realize you can’t share classified information, but you would at least be able to tell if this person is cleared on the project.”
“I can do that,” Abby said. “I’m not sure I’ll find anything beyond what the project supervisor would have noticed.”
“Maybe not, but after what happened at Edwards, I’d rather be safe than sorry.”
“The theft of those weapons wasn’t your fault. Adams created such a good paper trail, no one could have been expected to know it wasn’t real.”
“The auditor did.”
“An auditor who has thirty years of experience and was specifically looking for potential thefts,” Abby countered. “Besides, if it was something you should have caught in your ordinary course of business, he wouldn’t have made a point of clearing you.”
“But I sensed something wasn’t right. I just couldn’t put my finger on it.”
“Which is why we’re sitting here now.”
Elle shrugged. “I’m sorry if I seem paranoid.”
“Not paranoid. Cautious,” Abby corrected. “There’s a difference.”
“Whatever you call it, I appreciate your help.” Elle took another sip from her water bottle.
Abby cleared her throat. “How have you liked being stationed here in Germany?”
“It’s been good. I wasn’t sure if I would be able to practice speaking German much since so many people here speak English, but the language has come back faster than I’d expected.”
“I figured it would. You were speaking like a native when we lived here as kids.” Abby cleared her throat again and tugged at her scarf.
“So were you. I never realized how much we learned while Dad was stationed in Stuttgart.”
Abby opened her mouth to respond but, instead, coughed several times.
She reached for her water glass and took a swallow.
Elle leaned forward in her seat. “Are you okay?”
“Yeah. Sorry, I have this tickle in my throat,” Abby said, promptly coughing again. “Must be the change in the weather. I got a cold last fall too.”
“I’ve been wondering how anyone survives the winters here.”
“You’re about to find out . . .” Abby’s words trailed off into another fit of coughs, then her face turned red, a panicked expression dominating her features.
“Abby!” Elle pushed out of her chair and circled to pat her sister on the back.
Even though Abby hadn’t eaten anything, her hands went to her throat as though she were choking.
The waiter was at their side in an instant and pulled Abby out of her chair to start the Heimlich maneuver.
“She hasn’t eaten anything. I think she’s having an allergic reaction.” Elle fumbled through her purse for her EpiPen. She flipped off the safety cap, pressed the tip to Abby’s thigh, and pushed the button to trigger the injection.
Almost immediately, Abby took a gasping breath.
“Here.” The waiter thrust a glass of water toward Abby. “Take a sip.”
“No.” Elle pushed the glass away and knelt beside Abby’s chair. “Are you okay?”
Abby opened her mouth to speak only to begin another coughing fit.
Elle turned to the waiter. “Something’s wrong. Call an ambulance.”
A waitress approached, her phone in hand. “I already called. The ambulance will be here any minute.”
The waiter picked up the carafe from the table and refilled Abby’s glass. As soon as there was a break in the coughing, he offered the glass of water again.
“Are you sure you don’t want to give her something to drink?”
“Not until we figure out what caused this.”
Again, Abby tried to take a deep breath, but this time, her body trembled before being taken over by a seizure.
“Help me move her onto the floor.” Elle gripped Abby under her arms while the waiter helped ease her onto the carpet. Elle moved the closest chairs out of the way and knelt beside Abby.
“I’ll check on the ambulance,” the waiter said.
Elle sensed rather than saw the waiter head for the door. Helpless to do anything but wait, Elle fought for calm. “Hang on, Abby. Help is on the way.”
The words were barely out of her mouth before two ambulance attendants rushed through the door. Elle stood to give them room to work.
“What happened?” the paramedic asked in German.
“I don’t know,” Elle said, automatically responding in his language. “She started coughing and acting like she couldn’t breathe. I injected her with my EpiPen, and she got better for a few seconds. Then it started again. She started her seizure about a minute ago.”
Both paramedics knelt beside Abby, evaluating her.
“Does she have any known allergies?”
“No, and she was fine when I got here,” Elle said. “When she couldn’t breathe, the EpiPen was the only thing I could think of.”
Abby’s face paled, and her body stilled.
“I’ve lost her pulse,” one paramedic said.
Elle stepped back and watched the paramedics begin CPR and start Abby on oxygen. Adrenaline still pumping through her, Elle lowered herself into her chair. Minutes stretched out, the paramedics continuing the CPR, trading places every few minutes. They spoke with someone on the phone, the voices blurring with the background noise of the crowd who had been cleared out of the restaurant.
Tears flowed freely down Elle’s cheeks. She stood with her arms tightly folded, unable to do anything but watch and pray. She didn’t know how much time had passed when one paramedic tapped the other on the shoulder and shook his head. The paramedic not working on Abby sat beside Elle to confirm that the unbelievable had become the inevitable.
The one performing CPR gave one more chest compression and leaned back on his heels. His eyes lifted to meet Elle’s. “I’m sorry.”
“No.” The word escaped in a whisper. It couldn’t be. Elle stared at her sister’s lifeless body, waiting for any sign that she had misunderstood. Her heartbeat echoed in her head as though beating inside a deep tunnel.
“I’m so sorry.” The second paramedic put his hand on Elle’s arm.
Grief crashed over her, new tears forming. Her sister was gone. She was really gone.
“Can I get you something to drink? Maybe a glass of water?”
Elle shook her head, and her gaze swept over the table. Her water glass wasn’t there. Why that detail mattered at such a time, Elle didn’t know. A quick scan of the table revealed her glass wasn’t the only thing missing. Abby’s glass, the water carafe, and the file outlining Elle’s suspicions were also missing.
Elle swiped at her tears. “What happened to the waiter who met you at the door?”
“No one met us when we arrived,” the paramedic said.
Suspicions cut through her grief and bloomed with a sense of panic. Her file was coded in a way that it wouldn’t jeopardize national security, but if the people behind the suspicious activity got ahold of it, they would know exactly where the evidence was that could identify them.
Elle swallowed hard and forced herself to push aside her emotions and look at Abby’s lifeless body. The only thing her sister had ingested since her arrival was the water their waiter had served them, water Elle herself would have drunk had it not contained lemon slices. She stood and took a step toward the door.
“I have to go.”
“But we need more information from you.”
“Her name is Abigail Bender, and I think she was poisoned.”
Excerpt from On the Run by Traci Hunter Abramson. Copyright 2020 by Traci Hunter Abramson. Reproduced with permission from Traci Hunter Abramson. All rights reserved.
Traci Hunter Abramson was born in Arizona, where she lived until moving to Venezuela for a study-abroad program. After graduating from Brigham Young University, she worked for the Central Intelligence Agency for several years, eventually resigning in order to raise her family. She credits the CIA with giving her a wealth of ideas as well as the skills needed to survive her children’s teenage years. She has gone on to write more than twenty bestselling novels that have consistently been nominated as Whitney Award finalists and seven-time Whitney Award winner. When she’s not writing, Traci enjoys spending time with her husband and five children, preferably on a nice quiet beach somewhere. She also enjoys sports, travel, writing, and coaching high school swimming.
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Be enchanted. These handpicked tales of African deities and daemons, shamans and shape-shifters will keep you spellbound page after page.
Sese vehemently rejects the mating heat to a non-warrior like Urua.
Suddenly, imbued with powers of a diviner, he stands as the only hope and defender of Abedeng people. Will Urua relinquish his hurt to save his mate? Will he submit to the bond call and take her back despite her betrayal?
Things are happening in Lesedi’s life, unexplained things. Did her bi-friend Mmapula sneak into the hotel room and finally succeed in her long-threatened plan to make love to Lesedi? Or was it all a dream, a beautiful, sexy dream? When it happens again, though, Lesedi is sure she’s being visited by a supernatural being that has some insane skills in lovemaking. But is there something sinister going on?
From the looks of her, Winnie seems to have it all: fame, wealth, beauty, friends and a dashing and successful fiancé. It’s what is lying beneath the surface that drives Winnie’s life and career: the devastating loss of her family, the increasing demands of her career and the fact that she has to reveal all of this to her future husband, who also harbors a secret of his own.
Snatched of a father’s love at such a tender stage in life, Asari feels the betrayal of the gods. He leads a loveless, rigid and faithless life; until he unwittingly walks into the Sacred Circle of the same gods he holds in disdain and incurs their wrath.
Assuming the mortal form, Altheme sets out to make Asari fall in love. But the terrestrial realm is riddled with unforeseen challenges. Can love truly conquer all?
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When long-suffering daemon Leonidas is trapped in Besidas’ hotel, she is drawn into a world of curious and strange creatures. Stranded after a cruel attempt on his life, Leon has spent decades trying and failing to return home. Besi evokes emotions within him that he did not think were possible for his kind and for the first time he’s enjoying Earth. But can Leon protect Besi when a dangerous entity from Leon’s past comes for revenge?
A love story full of hope and seeing beyond differences.
Mbawemi is an heir to the throne in a kingdom of witches, wolves and hybrids. Hybrids are considered the lowest form of creature in the kingdom. In enters Sangwani, a hybrid king who is anything but what Sangwani thinks of hybrids. Can their love build bridges?
Ajiri runs away from the river kingdom to avoid an arranged marriage and settles in the human world. But her relationship and sex life is lacking until she finds herself torn between two men. Will she give in to the suggestive stares from the handsome human, or cling to the blue man who haunts her dreams and unleashes erotic desires that make her yearn for more?
In life, he loved her. In death, he craved her.
Somma is heartbroken when husband David is killed in a tragic accident. After a year she is struggling to move on, especially since she swears he haunts her dreams and does sexy stuff to her every night. When friends convince her to perform an exorcism, things take a turn she doesn’t expect.
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“You’ve been following me all day, Urua.”
The tall, lanky man had grinned at her. “This isn’t strange, my friend. I’ve been following you since we were children, you just haven’t noticed.”
Sese had bristled, hating the burning urge in the pit of her stomach to hold him and smooth away his worries. “The sun has long since set, please go!”
Guilt had chewed her intestines when she’d seen the forlorn expression on his face. The urge to care had raged like a furnace within her, but she’d bitten her tongue, drawing blood in the process, to control it. He’d sighed heavily and turned onto the path leading to his home.
She sighed as she lay on her pallet, staring at the raffia roof of her hut. She should’ve been sleeping, but worry tarried in her heart. Urua had become insistent in the past seven days, the exact time the dreams had begun.
She wondered if he had dreams too, then shook her head. If Urua had the dreams she was having, he’d be more bothersome. It was as though a rope joined them now; she would leave home without informing her father of her whereabouts, yet, Urua would find her wherever she thought to hide.
Sese was afraid of what was happening. She didn’t want it—at least, not with him; what would Abedeng people say?
For many nights, she’d lain like this, afraid of sleep because he’d be waiting in her dreams to embrace her. She was weak in dream land, and the more she gave in to him there, the stronger the bond pulling them together became. She wasn’t sure Urua knew what he was doing, and she hoped it remained that way until the diviner hitched her with a worthy warrior in a fortnight.
In that time, she would avoid him as much as she could.
“Urua, you’re trying my patience.”
He reared back at her comment as though entirely shocked by it, even though she said the exact same thing every day, with the exact same expression—or lack of expression in her case.
“You called my name!” he enthused in suppressed excitement.
This caused her to groan in exasperation and resume her clipped pace on the narrow beaten path leading to the deserted area where the diviner dwelled in his tiny hut.
He rushed after her.
“I think me trying your patience is a good thing,” he expressed conversationally.
“How is that?” Sese asked before she could tighten her mouth and remain unresponsive as usual.
Urua grinned at her angry look because he knew she hated responding to him, especially after having ignored him for a better part of their lives.
“Well, you should be nicer to me. The gods might just hitch us tonight,” he proclaimed.
Sese stumbled, missing a step despite the dark path being slightly lit by a lone torch one of the maidens must have considerately left, tied to a low branch. She could walk these paths without light, so it wasn’t that she hit her feet. No, Urua’s words had shocked her down to her core.
They had caused a visceral reaction which she was taking as panic, and it had weakened her knees for a moment, causing her to stumble.
“See well, my heart!” he exclaimed, reaching out to steady her.
That same primeval reaction, this time shooting through her body as though she had been lanced by lightning, unearthed strange warmth from the pit of her stomach.
No, it couldn’t be.
She’d been fighting this for days. Did it mean the ntung leaf—rumoured to break unwanted bonds—she’d squeezed into her eyes and nose hadn’t worked after the fiery hurt she’d endured?
No, it had to be the boiled palm juice she’d imbibed at her grandfather’s hut. It wasn’t Urua’s words, either—everybody was used to him saying outrageous things like that to her, and they were used to her always ignoring him.
In their little settlement south of the great Niger river, females had always been more plentiful than males, and so, it was required that every twelve moons, the diviner would seek the face of the gods and hitch a woman to a man with the hope that they might mate and birth, at least, one male.
During her father’s birthing period, a lot of males had been born, but their numbers still couldn’t compare with that of the females. So, some of the females of her age would be hitched tonight to males that already had one or two women who had birthed males and were presently suckling them at their breasts.
It was believed that a male able to mate with two females, causing them to birth males, deserved a third female to carry his strong seed, though this practice only began because there were just not enough males in Abedeng.
The females were tender and nurturers while the males became warriors. But the strangest thing had happened—Urua had been birthed a male but had the lack of strength of a female, while Sese had been birthed a female but was as strong as the fiercest Abedeng warrior; a sacrilege.
The villagers began shrugging their shoulders at them as many twelve moons added to their age. Urua was older than her with three twelve moons, but he acted like a child, which was how females behaved, while she acted like a male.
Her mother had died on her eighth twelve moons while trying to birth another child. So, her father had been confused as to how to care for a female child with male abilities. The other children had refused to play with her—they had accepted Urua but rejected her. They told their mothers she didn’t know how to play, since her touch was too strong; they said she would never birth a child.
The diviner had called a gathering and explained to the village that her strength wasn’t strange since the gods had prophesied about females with male strengths in the past. He’d also explained that every male must not be warriors and that Urua had the divining gift, the reason why he didn’t have the male strength.
Males in Abedeng were known to be extremely tall with big, burly bodies bulging with strength. Urua was tall, but his body never developed with strength no matter how many times he joined in the ceremony of lifting stones which the males did every morning to increase their bulk.
Her father had allowed her to join him in the ceremony every morning when she had reached her ninth twelve moons and had taught her how to fight like a warrior; it was the only thing he knew to teach her, since the other females wouldn’t come near her strangeness enough to teach her female ways.
So, she had grown up a warrior. Her father had stopped her from the ceremony of lifting stones before she reached her twelfth twelve moons as her body had begun looking more like a male with rippling strength. He had worried that if she continued, no male would want to mate with her. But he had continued teaching her the warrior fights.
Sese had been avoided like a leper by males and females, well, except for her father and of course, the person she most wanted to avoid, Urua. In her fifteenth twelve moons, she had bested the third warrior in an unplanned fight. The third warrior had been disgracing Urua in front of their age group, abusing him for lacking strength like a female; his words and tone had angered her.
She had challenged him, and he had accepted. It had taken only three fight claps from the gathering to throw him on his back. She had learned well from her father who was the second warrior in his own age group.
The third warrior’s father had been incensed and had demanded that Sese be punished for disgracing a warrior three twelve moons older than her. Culture demanded that she forfeit any fights with her elders. But she couldn’t have—she had been filled with so much fury when she had seen the redness in Urua’s eyes, redness caused by the third warrior putting sand there.
She had been punished with seven days of pulling weed around the third warrior’s hut. It was a painful process to pull weed, since these had sharp edges that pierced the skin. She had not been allowed to use a tool, so she had pulled with her bare hands, bleeding the whole seven days.
The third warrior had hung around for three days, waiting for the humiliation of Sese sobbing for forgiveness, but that had never happened. On the fifth day, he had gone to his warrior group, a group Urua wasn’t a part of because of his weakness, and told them she was a witch, an abomination that the gods would never allow to birth a child.
People had started avoiding her more, but Urua had stuck to her like the gum from the mango tree. Despite her several rejections of him, he remained by her side every time he could. And then, every time he wasn’t supposed to.
He had taken to joining her father when he practiced the ceremony of lifting stones at the crack of dawn. It had taken her ten days to realize that in doing that, he bore the humiliation of not being able to lift the bigger stones; he bore her father’s mockery of his weakness just because he wanted to watch her learn the warrior fights from her father.
It annoyed her to no end that he wouldn’t just leave her alone. She was fine with the rejection of the village, though she worried she might never mate with a male since all the warriors, even of her age group, refused to mate with her. No one wanted a witch; no one cared for an abomination—everyone mated to birth children, and there was a possibility she might not be able to.
She should have been mated two twelve moons ago, but no warrior wanted her. Even the old warriors of her father’s age group shook their heads when she was pointed at in the mating line. And then the dreams had begun, and Urua had become even more clinging.
But tonight, the diviner had called a special gathering to hitch the next age group. Sese was going with the hope that a younger warrior might choose her, or the gods might force her on an unsuspecting one. She really needed to mate. She needed to feel like a woman, and only a warrior would make her feel that way by mating.
She was afraid she might not birth a child, but she wanted to experience the heat of mating that her mother had always spoken to her about before her death. She wanted to feel that heat with a warrior, not Urua.
“The gods wouldn’t be so cruel,” she spoke after snatching her arm away from his helping hands. Sese looked into the darkness as though she were facing the immortal ancestors believed to dwell beyond the brightness of burning torches. “The gods wouldn’t be so cruel to hitch me with you.”
Urua grabbed his chest as though he had just been lanced by a spear. For a moment, she thought he had been attacked from behind by an enemy, but then, he looked up with his smile, the one that created two deep indents in his cheeks; the one that made him almost as beautiful as the fairest maiden in Abedeng.
“You pierce my heart, sweet Sese,” he murmured.
When had his voice deepened to that gruffness that seemed to vibrate in her chest when he spoke? Even her father, second warrior of his age group and revered chieftain, didn’t have such deepness in his tone.
Sese took a step back. She wasn’t afraid of Urua—she could beat him in an unplanned fight, but she worried about the things she was noticing in him. Like the broadness of his chest, though it wasn’t as broad as the usual Abedeng warrior, but strangely, she liked it.
She took another step back; she shouldn’t like it. Urua was an apprentice to the diviner. He would never be hitched, since the present diviner wasn’t.
This shouldn’t be happening, she thought in panic. She’d taken the rumoured antidote; she couldn’t be experiencing the heat of mating her mother had explained towards Urua.
No, she silently screamed. It was a mistake. Mother had said that the mating heat was rare, and it only happened between two special people after so many uncountable twelve moons. The mating heat entailed a man and woman feeling undeniably drawn to each other without the selection of the diviner. Mother had explained it as sometimes being shameful, as the mates couldn’t stay away from each other.
She hadn’t felt the heat for any other warriors, no matter how many times her father had asked her; no matter how many times she’d tried by surreptitiously brushing her body against males when at gatherings—an act her mother had said triggered the heat. She had never felt it, though it didn’t mean she wanted to feel it with Urua.
But a touch from him, just one helping hand, and heat had unfurled in her stomach like a coiled snake angrily rousing from slumber. That’s what she’d been avoiding the past fortnight, and it was happening now, just when she was close to, hopefully, being hitched by the diviner?
Sese shook her head, refusing the possibility. She straightened her height; a foot shorter than Urua, she noticed. Her heart instantly jumped in elation, but she stomped it down and widened the distance between them.
“You look strange, my heart. What is it?” he asked with concern.
Why wouldn’t he stop calling her his heart? The look on his beautiful face surged the heaviest warmth from her stomach, pushing at the walls of her chest to burst free.
She tightened her hand on her staff and silently fought to hold up the walls of her chest. Sese realized that distancing herself from him reduced the force of the heat. She took three more steps from him, not minding that Urua looked at her strangely.
Silently, she prayed he not feel the heat or the connection. The farther she was from him, the better chance of ending this night wrapped around a worthy warrior who would surely give her a male child.
Even his voice was alluring. She could feel the warmth pooling and tingling in between her thighs. Oh, gods, it was exactly as her mother had said it would be. She had said she would know instantly who her fated mate was, but she didn’t want to know it was Urua. She would never be normal if she mated with Urua. The village would avoid them and any children they birthed … if they birthed children.
They were the only abominations in Abedeng, and she knew they would only birth strange children if they mated. If she accepted the bond call, she would be stuck with Urua all her life, dependent on him, unable to be without him.
And if a mate died, Mother had explained that the unbearable pain usually made the living mate take his or her life. Sese didn’t appreciate the unbreakable link that came with being fated mates tied by an unseen bond. She rather preferred being physically paired with a warrior she wouldn’t be dependent on; with a warrior stronger and more ripped than her who would make her feel feminine, a warrior for whom she wouldn’t have the urge to kill herself if he died.
All that was lost as thoughts of mating with Urua became insistent, making her thighs tighten to stop the recent incessant tingling.
“By the gods, you’re sweating,” Urua noticed, his voice filled with confused concern as he hurried towards her, intending to grant help, which would mean touching her.
Sese shook her head and bolted down the path as though chased by the eleventh enemy of the gods.
The hunt is on…
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Date Published: October 27, 2020
Publisher: Kensington, Zebra Books
Event planner Julia Fernández is in Chicago for an internship that she hopes to turn into a full-time job. She’s ready to live on her own, out from under her familia’s expectations that she take over their catering business in Puerto Rico and away from their year-round baseball fever thanks to her three ball-playing brothers. Ex-MLB pitcher Ben Thomas knows what it’s like to have different dreams than your family intends for you, but since his injury-caused early retirement, he’s been struggling to find the sense of family baseball once brought him. When he volunteers as the emcee for Julia’s big holiday fundraiser for a local youth center, he finally begins to find a sense of purpose working with the kids and alongside Julia.
She’s focused on organizing the best holiday event the youth center has ever seen, not on romance. But Ben…he’s got a game plan for them that includes both.
Holiday Home Run was previously released as part of the holiday anthology A SEASON TO CELEBRATE.
About the Author
Priscilla Oliveras is a USA Today Best-Selling author & 2018 RWA® RITA® double finalist who writes contemporary romance with a Latinx flavor. Her books have earned Starred Reviews from Publishers Weekly & Booklist, hit the top 5 on Barnes & Noble’s Top 100 Book Bestseller list, & notched Amazon #1 Bestseller status. Her latest release, Island Affair, made it onto O, The Oprah Magazine’s “28 of the Best Beach Reads of Summer 2020” list. Priscilla earned her MFA in Writing Popular Fiction from Seton Hill University and currently serves as adjunct faculty in the program while also teaching the online class “Romance Writing” for ed2go. She’s a self-professed romance genre junkie, who’s also a sports fan, beach lover, Zumba aficionado, and hammock nap connoisseur. Follow her at prisoliveras.com and on social media via @prisoliveras and https://www.facebook.com/prisoliveras.
Date Published: June 25, 2020
Publisher: Archway Publishing
While working independently as a pre-med student at Cleary University, the soon-to-be physician, Mary Austin, discovers a remarkable, non-toxic drug that could offer tremendous hope to cancer patients. Her work is headed for publication in a top medical journal until a drug company begins negotiations with her bosses from which she is mysteriously excluded.
Amid egregious sexual harassment, Mary’s materials are blatantly sabotaged. As death threats follow and her work becomes impossible, she is accepted at Whitehead College of Medicine despite evidence that her bosses tampered with her application process. After becoming a pediatrics resident, she shares her story with her beloved mentor, Dr. Daniel Taylor, who allows her to temporarily leave her residency training to reproduce the work. Her joy turns to sorrow and then determination when she learns that Dr. Taylor is battling terminal pancreatic cancer. Even as a chain of events prompts the sabotage of Mary’s drug stock and leaves her seemingly without any choice but to permanently leave academic medicine, the story of her drug is not over yet.
In this novel inspired by a true story, after a young cancer researcher discovers a breakthrough drug that could change chemotherapy, the drug industry suppresses the breakthrough and transforms her life and career forever.
Camera Aversion, Redux
It certainly came as news that I would, very much against my will, feature in that film [featuring Dr. Taylor] as I presented my patients that morning—and after a sleepless night and with no makeup on, because Murphy’s Law is never not in effect.
I ran around telling the other residents that we were apparently going to be filmed during rounds, and that we had to hurry it up.
“Oh, crap!” said one of the other female residents. “I have to put makeup on!”
“Well, how do you think I feel?” I asked her, laughing ruefully. Besides looking awful, I had twelve complex cases to present on zero hours of sleep. That my hair resembled a haystack in form as well as color that particular morning was the least of my concerns.
I wound up giving one of the best performances I’d ever given in rounds, presenting every single case without missing a beat. I made all the appropriate teaching points for the students and fielded every question they asked without dropping even one. I don’t even know how the hell I got through it all except that it was for him.
Well, that and I drank a shedload of caffeine. But that only served to kickstart my faltering brain; my heart was already in it all the way for him.
About the Author
Mary Austin is the pseudonym for a physician who, in order to publicize a suppressed discovery in cancer research, had to sacrifice first her academic career, then a career as a board-certified pediatrician, and then her personal safety. She would do it again.
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