Friday, February 28, 2014

Release Day Launch - Night Games by




The moment Grey Kelleher locks eyes with All-Star shortstop Chase Whitfield, she's a goner. For years, she's watched him play on TV, and now she's gazing at his hard, lean body across a bar in her hometown.

Grey's crush on Chase goes all the way back to his rookie season. So when she approaches him for an autograph, she's startled by what a jerk he can be.

Chase is no mood to humor his fans, even one as alluring as Grey. He's in the last year of his contract and stuck having to prove himself on a minor league team. He's only there to rehab an injury, nothing more.

But when Grey tells him off, Chase realizes her fiery spirit may be just the distraction he needs to take his mind off not being in the majors. His heart is safe. No one's going to break his streak as baseball's most eligible bachelor. Not even someone as irresistible as Grey.



Purchase Links: 









About the Author:

Collette West grew up as somewhat of a jock-nerd hybrid. Entering the world three weeks premature, her dad nearly missed her birth because he had seats behind the dugout for a sold-out, highly-anticipated match-up between two of baseball's biggest rivals. Not to be outdone, her book-loving mom taught her how to read by the time she was three. A love of the game coupled with an appreciation for the written word were instilled in Collette's impressionable brain from a young age. No wonder her characters believe in the philosophy: sports + romance = a little slice of heaven.

Splitting her time between the Pocono Mountains and Manhattan, Collette indulges her inner fangirl by going to as many games as she can from hockey to baseball and downloading every sports romance novel in existence onto her iPad. When she's not clicking away on her laptop, she enjoys walking her dog in Central Park, satisfying her caffeine craving at the Starbucks on Broadway and keeping an eye out for Mr. Right. But above all, she loves dishing with her readers. Email her at collette_west@yahoo.com.


Links:
Sign-up form for email newsletter: http://eepurl.com/OetSj
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7539982.Collette_West
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Collette-West/537935442972229
Twitter: https://twitter.com/Collette_West
Night Games Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/19384278-night-games?from_search=true




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Book Blitz - The Wilson Mooney Series by Gretchen de la O


Abandoned by her mother at the vulnerable age of eight; only to be shipped off to a boarding school in Northern California by her grandparents, Wilson Mooney, is one girl who knows what it’s like to have to grow up way too fast. Now, a month away from turning eighteen and orphaned by the death of her grandparents; she knows exactly what she wants. All it takes is a spontaneous ski trip with her narcissistic roommate to Colorado, to make it a reality. When he happens to show up at a party in Aspen, Wilson becomes tangled in the powerful emotions of first love, sexual inexperience, and society’s principles. She lives a whirlwind weekend filled with newly discovered boundaries, calloused aches for a family she never had, and all the pressures of keeping their weekend together a secret.




~ Kelli's Review ~ 3.5 stars 

Wilson Mooney could be the poster child for abandonment issues. She was conceived during a one night stand during her parents freshman year. Her father bailed almost immediately and her mother was definitely not cut out for parenthood at this stage of her life. Wilson is then brought to live with her grandparents. 

They gave her a great life and a great education. Wilson attended a prestigious boarding school from the ripe age of 8. Unfortunately both of her grandparents passed away during her senior year of high school. 

Without anyone to guide her, she is bound to run into some situations that she isn't adequately equipped for mentally or emotionally. One of these situations goes by the name of Max, also known as her government teacher Mr. Goldstein.

I am not really sure which side of the fence I'm leaning towards with this book. While Wilson's story held a lot of premise, I don't feel like it was delivered or developed as much as it could have been. The dynamic between Wilson and Max felt very middle schoolish for a teacher/student relationship. Wilson's immaturity for situations earned quite a bit of eye rolls from me because she would blow things way out of proportion! I have hopes that their relationship dynamic will grow and improve over the next books.


“Is that how you see me—as your government teacher? Because if I saw you as a student I wouldn’t be here right now. When I look at you I see the girl I want to be with. Have since the first day you walked into my room.” He stared at me through the huge mirror above the sink; pain was etched in the stress lines of his face.
There was something safe about the mirror; I didn’t crumble in his pain.
“I know where I’ve drawn my line. There’s nobody I’ve felt this way about in my entire life and I’m scared. Scared of what you might think, how it all feels, and I’m scared of being hurt. Max, seeing you with that girl—hurt.” Tears sped down my cheeks, “Why do you want to be with me?” I whispered. I was seventeen and inexperienced; she was his age and worldly.
“You really don’t see it? When I am with you I can’t keep my head from swimming and my heart from pounding so hard it feels like it’s going to burst from my chest. You are the most beautiful girl I’ve ever seen in my life. You are so smart; I finally feel alive when I am with you. I want to be with you because nobody has ever made me feel the way you do.” He stood behind me, his body pressed against my back.





Chained by unfortunate timing and restricted by society’s expectations, every choice Wilson and Max make becomes pivotal to their future together.

Eager to take their relationship to the next level, Wilson returns to Aspen with Max to celebrate her eighteenth birthday. When an uncontrollable situation leads to a split-second decision, both will be tested like never before. Butterflies will soar, hearts will clash, and Wilson’s relationship with Max will spin into a silken cocoon with choices that seem too impossible to overcome.

Could it be…uncovering the deep ache that lays dormant in their hearts will become the real threat to their forbidden love? Or will the pressures of keeping their relationship a secret be too much to bear?











~ Kelli's Review ~ 3 stars

If drama and angst are what you are looking for, this series is for you. Unfortunately, I prefer my books to have a little less "Jerry Springer" and a LOT more romance.

This book picked up where Almost Eighteen left off. Max and Wilson are anxiously awaiting her 18th birthday so they can finally be together. (This was one of the issues I had, I don't think sex should have a best by date on it, but that's just me.) There is a lot of build up and fooling around until Wilson's birthday of course, that was decent but a little repetitive for my tastes.

Now Wilson rubbed me the wrong way in Almost Eighteen, but her choices REALLY bothered me in Eighteen At Last. I think she really messed up and crossed an unforgivable line or two that did nothing to improve my opinion of her. I think Max has potential and could do much better. Again, that's just my opinion.

I was hoping to see more of the teacher-student dynamic and was disappointed with the lack of interaction inside of the school. It seemed to be more of an immature relationship issue story instead of a hot for teacher book.

Overall, it has its good points, but to me they are over shadowed by all of the teenage angst. I will give Beyond Eighteen a shot because it did leave at a cliffhanger and I am curious to see where this is going to go.



He (Max) reached for me and pulled at my sweater. As he caught me by my bicep I felt his heat scorch my skin. I froze, unable to continue down the hall; he wasn’t letting go. He pulled me back and turned me around. I spun to him, my hands balanced on his chest. I didn’t look up at him.
“Wilson, don’t do this,” he whispered. I took a deep breath and lifted myself onto my tiptoes. My head rose and I met his salty, lost lips. I pressed against his mouth, my tears flooding down my cheeks meeting our goodbye kiss. He pushed for more, but I pulled away; a cold, damp chill poured into the space between us.
“Goodbye, Max,” I choked as I turned and walked away from him.
I felt Max’s eyes burning across my back. I knew he was watching me leave. I didn’t want to glance back, but I did. He looked shattered. I caused a huge wreck—one big enough to alter our worlds forever.







Max Goldstein has been confronted by death, betrayal, and unwanted expectations. He must work to find the delicate balance of a love that has been tested and a family that has been broken. Returning to the warmth of Wilson’s arms, he finds the only place he can be truly healed. Unfortunately, teetering on the edge of losing everything he’s ever wanted, Max must make decisions that pull at his sense of responsibility and push at his desire to protect the life he’s found with Wilson.

When Wilson Mooney is thrust into adulthood, she never expects her childhood demons to come knocking. Struggling to balance the delicate nature of her relationship with Max and the burning sting of betrayal; Wilson realizes she must dig deep within her soul to find forgiveness. Will she allow circumstances out of her control to shape her future? Or will she find the strength and maturity to go beyond eighteen and have the life she desires with the man she loves?

Will Wilson and Max ever get to have their happily ever after?





“You like that?” Max answered as his fingers moved faster between my legs. All I could do was nod. I didn’t want to climax this way. I didn’t want to reach the top without him. I wanted to feel him. I wanted us to climb there together. But it was too late. He had me riding the wave of euphoria as it became something instinctual, carnal within me. I was about to explode when he stopped, pulled his hand out from my panties, turned me around, and kissed me hard as he shuffled me over to the bed. The back of my legs met the edge of the mattress. His arms that were once wrapped protectively around my back were gone before he pushed me back onto the bed.
“Tell me how bad you want me. Tell me how much you need me,” Max narrowed his emerald eyes. His tousled black hair was a perfect mix with his eyelashes as he blinked.
“I need you. God, you don’t know how much I need you to make love to me. Please make love to me,” I breathed as I lifted my hips and pulled my panties down to my ankles.
Max slipped his hands around his waist, and in one motion, dragged off his pants and boxers. He leaned over and grabbed my feet, pulling them off the bed, which caused my lower body to collide with him.
“I’m going to make love to you real slow,” he sighed before he pulled my ankle up to his lips. Our eyes met as I watched him drag his lips down the inside of my leg to my knee. Goose bumps spread across every inch of my flesh as the edges of his hair tickled and poked at my skin. My nipples erect, my hips automatically swayed as the space between my legs begged for him, any part of him. I reached out for something, meeting only air; my fingers stretched to tangle in his thick onyx hair. I just needed to pull him down against me.
God, I want to tell him he’s my…everything. He is the salt in my ocean, the sweet dream that saves me from nightmares, and the breath that feeds me oxygen.




By day Gretchen teaches computers, by night she dawns the cloak of motherhood, wifehood, and authorship. She is making her way through self-publishing and is truly learning to let go with every curve and bump in the creative process. She enjoys writing about first loves and first times, in the first person. She is a firm believer that anything is possible if you set your mind to it; and what you expect out of life, always finds a way of showing up.

Gretchen happily lives in Northern California with her amazing husband, their three terrific boys, her talented mother, one goofy black lab, one crazy kitty, and eight happy chickens. Even though it sounds like it, she doesn't live on a farm.

INTERVIEW

 Interview Questions from Fans of the Wilson Mooney Series.
You asked…and they answered…I caught up with Wilson Mooney, Max Goldstein and Max’s mom Nancy Goldstein in late September.
Now that The Wilson Mooney Series has wrapped up and finally come to an end, people are curious about what’s going on in the lives of some of their favorite characters.

Wilson, Max and Nancy were gracious enough to sit down and answer your questions. They opened up with some real honest responses, let their guards down to some pretty vulnerable moments, and spoke candid about some really tough events in their lives.

Wilson, will you ever ski again? 
Ahhh, no, I don’t think so. Wrecking on a bunny slope is one thing, but then to be dragged down the hill behind a snowmobile? Let’s just say, it wasn’t my sport.

Max. Did you hesitate to give your job up for Wilson? 
Not for one second. I’m not saying that I didn’t love my job. I loved being a teacher. I valued the dedication and time that I put into it. But when I thought I was going to lose Wilson, nothing else mattered to me. I can always find another job…I won’t find another Wilson. 

And Wilson, did you contemplate telling Max not to leave his job for you? 
Well, at first I was totally shocked! As stupid as this may sound, I never thought about him ever being anything but a teacher. He’s very passionate about teaching, so when he told me he resigned, I worried that he would resent me for having to make that decision. I won’t lie, it scared the hell out of me.

Max. What was it about Wilson, in detail that allowed you to display your feelings for her? I mean, you obviously had them, and we are aware of when you made them known. But you were risking SO much. What was it about Wilson that made you sure enough of her and your feelings for her to make your feelings known, to her, and you family and ultimately, everyone? 
I think it was Wilson’s spirit; her determination to turn her life into something more than a victim of her circumstances. When I would watch her move she’d own her space, if that makes sense? She seemed so sure of herself. Even if it was bullshit, she never let on…not to me. So, I needed to know her; I wanted to have that part of her that made me feel alive again, complete. Was it a risk? Sure, but to me…the idea of never taking a chance with her, outweighed the risk of losing everything I had. I think I’ve paid enough in my life, for not making my desires known. I wasn’t gonna make that mistake again.

Max: BOXERS? BRIEFS? COMMANDO?
 Boxer Briefs

Wilson: Was there an instant attraction to Wayne? 
Well, come on, who wouldn’t wanna look at him. He’s gorgeous. No, really, I like Wayne, he is super sweet, and I hope he finds a nice girl. I was feeling it for Max, when I met Wayne. Isn’t that just the way it works sometimes? I wasn’t looking then suddenly, pow…all these guys are interested. The last thing I heard about Wayne was that he moved to Tahoe in California.

Wilson.. When you meet Max's family you felt an instant bond. Why do you think you felt so connected?
 Hmmm, good question. I think I bonded with Nancy immediately because she was the mother I never had. She was the stability and strength I longed for but never got from my birth mom, Candi. I think the bond that developed between Frank and I stemmed from the desire to have a father figure in my life. If I could picture anyone I wanted for my father it would be him. Even with Max telling me how much pressure he got from his dad…he still had a dad. When I’m with Max’s family, I feel like I finally found home.

Max.. What made you finally give Wilson your phone number? 
I grew a pair; no, just kidding. I can’t tell you how many times I rehearsed in my head, how I was going to make a move. I was scare shitless. No really, I kept looking for moments where I could slip her my number. Even though she’d flirt with me, I was concerned she didn’t feel the same way, and I didn’t wanna come off creepy or anything. So that day Calvin had called me and was telling him about how her grandfather just passed away, and how she was all alone now. He was so tired of me talking about her, he said, just give her a note with your number, tell her if she needs to talk, call you. Changing my name on the note to Matt Gladstone…well, that was my idea.
Wilson.. Do you think the bond between Max's mom and yourself will be the same? 
I sure hope so. I love Nancy, and even when I was hurt by her words, she wasn’t saying anything but the truth at that time. Nancy really is an amazing woman and we grow closer every day. I adore her.

Wilson: What's it like to kiss Max?
 I knew this question was coming. Wouldn’t you like to know! LOL...No, seriously, kissing Max is like being swathed in my favorite blanket. He’s the perfect warmth, with just enough chill. He’s a hint of Aspen, with a splash of California. When Max presses his lips to mine, and his scent swarms around my head, all the sparks going off in every inch of my body collect low in my stomach…Truthfully, Kissing Max feels like I’m home. Yeah, he’s my home.

Wilson and Max. Since skiing and ice skating never seem to work out well.. Have you thought of vacationing somewhere sunny?
Wilson: Ah, yeah, I want to go to Hawaii, Max keeps saying it’s overrated. He wants to take me to the Bahamas, we’ll see.

Max. Who is Matt Gladstone or how did you come up with that name? 
I knew this question was going to come up. It was my attempt at being sly, and if Wilson would have got it sooner…She would have known it was me, my initials, as someone else’s name. Matt Gladstone, didn’t exist.

Ms. Goldstein.. How do you feel about Max dating Wilson? 
Oh, gollie, a question for me. Heavens, I’ve been so wrapped up in listening to Maxi and Wilson, I didn’t realize someone would want to ask me anything...so, how do I feel about Maxie and Wilson dating? I couldn’t be happier. Wilson makes my son happy, I couldn’t ask for a better fit for my son and I absolutely adore her. Sure, 

Were you hurt to find out that Max and Wilson lied to you? 
I’ve put my foot in my mouth before with some of the things I’ve said, but it wouldn’t be honest if I didn’t say I wasn’t hurt by the way they went about their relationship. Under the circumstances, I understand why they did it. I wasn’t happy, but I understand. 

How are you doing since you husband’s death? 
Thanks for asking. Some days are harder than others. I have good and bad moments. Some days I miss him so much I can’t get out of bed, and there are days where it’s the exact thing that gets me up in the morning. It can be lonely, thinking about little things only he and I shared, and not having anyone to talk about them with. I’ve had to adjust to life without him and that is so hard. But I am determined to be here for my family.

MAX: What attracted you to Wilson...her being your student and all? 
I remember the very first time she walked into my class…my world stopped. She walked up, slid into the seat directly in front of me. I remember tripping over my words and wondering if she could see my heart slam in my chest. It was instant for me. It was like…my life came walking into the room and announced…I’m here! I know that sounds corny, even unbelievable. But it’s true. She has this confidence about her, a strength that I was instantly drawn to. She wasn’t like any other girl I’d met before;she seemed so much older than her calendar age. Even women I met closer to my age didn’t hold a match to Wilson. I don’t know…could it have been that we both had a broken past that needed to healed? Maybe…but when she showed up in Aspen…I knew it was meant to be.

Max: What's the last song you listened to on your ipod? 
Run Right Back, by The Black Keys.

Wilson: If you really loved Max how could you have kissed Nick WTH were you thinking? 
Well, obviously I wasn’t thinking and I love Max more than anything in this world. All I can say was that I was pretty messed up, scared, and got caught up in the whole lot of bad…fast. It’s not an excuse, I made a terrible mistake. 

How are you going to build that trust back? 
Well, one moment at a time. Max is my first real boyfriend, first real love…hell, he’s my first real everything. So I hope with time, conversations, and understanding, hopefully, he will grow to trust me again.

Max.. Tell us something about yourself that would surprise us. 
I actually love to cook, and because Wilson hates it…it works out perfectly! 

So if it works out perfectly, what is your favorite thing you like to cook for Wilson? 
Breakfast in bed!

Max.. Do you think your father would have been more understanding about your relationship with Wilson? Or would you mom have handled it better if your father hadn't just died? 
My dad would have been pissed at me for upsetting my mother and hurting my career. But, with that, he already had a soft spot for Wilson. I guess I’ll never really know. And I truly believe that my mom would have handled the whole situation better if my dad hadn’t died.

Max, can you forgive Calvin for his betrayal about your relationship? with Wilson?
 Yes, I have. Cal doesn’t handle pressure very well. He tends to fly off the handle…a lot. But we talked and well, he’s my brother.

Gretchen, what inspired you to write Wilson Mooney? 
I was in a real emotionally heavy section of Hindsight is 20/20 when Wilson came busting into my head…and from that day forth, I had to write her story. It was such a light moment…I had to find out what was going to happen to her and I am sure glad I did.




Thursday, February 27, 2014

Release Launch - Let Me Love by Michelle Lynn





SYNOPSIS:

A chance encounter. An undeniable connection. An unimaginable twist of fate.

Kailey’s life is crumbling. Her best friend and sister, Jen, is dying, leaving her young family devastated. With little hope of saving her, Kailey is forced to face a reality she never expected.

Trey’s life is fun and carefree. He loves the girls, his drums, and his friends. That’s not to say he isn’t continuously plagued by a difficult decision made years ago—one that changed the course of his life.

Despite the connection they make when their paths unexpectedly cross, Kailey knows her life has no room for anyone else right now. But regardless of how many times she pushes him away, Trey only fights harder to make a place for him in her life and in her heart.

Trey thought he knew heartbreak, but he had no idea until life gave him a second chance, only to snatch it away just as fast. This time he’s determined to keep his place in the life of the ones he loves.

Is there such a thing as fate? If so, can Kailey and Trey hold on to one another long enough to discover there’s no such thing as a chance encounter?

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/18685581-let-me-love




EXCERPT:


Before I know what’s happening he’s shuttling me out the room, instructing Caden’s parents to take over.  He opens a door into a private room, shutting and locking it behind us.  Walking me over to a couch. Never letting go of his hold on me, he sits down on the older couch, cradling me in his lap. His strong arms are wrapped tightly around me.  He holds me close as I continue to crumble, soaking his nice blue button down with my tears.  He’s patient and kind, allowing me to release the wave of grief that I’ve been straining to hide.
My body calms, my shutters stop, and my sobs turn to trickling tears. My finger traces his tattoos while my head lays against his chest. I should’ve predicted he’d have this effect, he’s always had a comforting presence to me. He doesn’t mention anything about our fight or me not answering his phone calls.  All of our problems are pushed aside, so we can deal with the fog of death that surrounds us now.
I hurriedly stand, straightening my dress after I release myself from the comfort of Trey’s love. Following me to the door, his steps echo through the small space.  He grabs my wrist to hold me in place. I sigh. “Trey, I need to get back out there,” I tell him, but he pulls me closer.
“They can wait five minutes, Kailey.  Please, let me be there with you,” he begs, already knowing my heart is lost in some dark tunnel without a flicker of light. It’s wounded and broken, so my brain has taken over, translating to me pushing everyone out.
“Trey, thank you for coming, but you can leave now,” I say coldly with no emotion.  He can’t be tied down with me, he needs to go and live a life I can no longer be a part of. 
“No, Kailey, I’m not leaving.” He stands firm, planting his feet. Uncontrollable anger starts brewing in my veins.  I’m mad he won’t listen to me and just disappear. Can’t he see it’s the best for him to forget us?
My hand rests on the lock; ready to twist it open when he steps forward. He turns me around to face him and cages me between his arms against the door. “Trey,” I argue, but he presses his lips to mine and an immediate raging desire seeps into my every pore. As much as my body screams to him, anger still lingers that he’s forcing me to be callous and cruel.
He places his hands on either side of my face, continuing to kiss me as though he’s starving for only my mouth. Instinctively, the irrational, live life in the moment Kailey that he easily pries out of me appears. Something only my sister and her family could accomplish until he came into my life. “Please,” he whispers, and my body starts to sway in his strong hold, as he travels his lips over to my earlobe and down my throat.
“Stop it, Trey, leave me alone,” I cruelly spout, placing my hands on his chest, trying to push him back, but he only grips tighter.
“You know you don’t want me to.” He trusts his keen instincts because they’re usually always right when it comes to me.
Trying to close myself off, I press my lips together when his graze across mine again before his tongue requests permission.  But in the end, I’m not willing to deny myself, I open, allowing his familiar tongue to roam around my mouth and mingle with mine.  The kiss feels safe and warm, like home.  Ever since that fateful plane ride, I’ve felt as if Trey was a part of me.  Recalling our first kiss; it was nothing like this.  God! He ignited my whole body the first time his mouth pressed against mine.  In those three minutes, he ruined me.  No man would ever compare.  But this, this is what I crave at night when I lay in bed all alone. It’s the familiarity of the one man who knows my lips, my tongue, and my body. My need of one man who continues to enjoy exploring every curve and nuance over and over again, as if he has discovered his own wonderland. When my thoughts unscramble, my lips and tongue are moving carelessly without retention of the real issue.
“Stop it, Trey.” This time, I use all my force to push him back. I’m torn if I’m happy, mad, or just sad. Sheer dejection fills his eyes, and suddenly remorse hits me.  “We just can’t,” I softly say, shaking my head back and forth.
“Yes, we can,” he says, stepping forward, but I shake my head violently again. “What the hell, Kailey? All I want to do is love you,” his voice starts escalating, and I need to flee the room.  His presence alone makes me jittery and uncontrolled. The sooner I leave, the sooner I can get myself stable again, back into my sealed bubble.
“I told you already, Trey.” I bite my lip, not wanting to lie again, but I will, if I have to.
“Don’t tell me that bullshit again.  You and I both know it isn’t true.” He steps closer to me, and my weakness begins getting the best of me.
“Please, I need to get back out there,” I tell him, but he approaches again, pulling me to him similar to a child with their security blanket.  I succumb to the haven of his embrace, mindlessly relishing the warmness of home.
“Kailey, it’s taking everything in me not to keep you right here, up against this door, until you admit you love me. I’ll let you leave this room, but don’t say you don’t love me again.  I know you do, and no matter how hard you try to push me aside, I’m not leaving.” He releases me after his rant, and I unlock the door, fleeing the room.









AUTHOR BIO:

Michelle moved around the Midwest most of her life, transferring from school to school before settling down in the outskirts of Chicago ten years ago, where she now resides with her husband and two kids.  She developed a love of reading at a young age, which helped lay the foundation for her passion to write.   With the encouragement of her family, she finally sat down and wrote one of the many stories that have been floating around in her head. When she isn’t reading or writing, she can be found playing with her kids, talking to her mom on the phone, or hanging out with her family and friends.  But after chasing around twin preschoolers all day, she always cherishes her relaxation time after putting the kids to bed.



Twitter: @michellelynnbks





Purchasing Links:

The Invisibles Series:


Don’t Let Go (Book #1) 
AMAZON  -  B&N


Let Me In (Book #2) 
AMAZON  - B&N


Let Me Love(Book #3)
AMAZON - B&N

Release Launch Hosted by:



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Cover Reveal - Number Thirteen by Bella Jewel

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Title: Number Thirteen
Author: Bella Jewel
Expected Release Date: March 17, 2014
Genre: Dark Romance
**AUTHOR NOTE - This is NOT a BDSM Romance**

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Synopsis

We're thirteen girls, captive, slave to our master.  A master we've never seen. Obedience will become all we know in our shallow existence. It is the only emotion we're permitted to feel. When we're bad, we're punished. When we're good, we're rewarded.  Our scars run deep. Yet we survive, because we have to...  because HE teaches us to. All of us are special, we feel it with everything we are. He has us for a reason, but it's a reason we don't know. We've never seen his face, but we know that something deeply broken lies beneath the darkness. With every touch, with every punishment, we know it.  Then something changed.  He showed me who he truly is. Now I want him. I'll go against everything I know to be with him. 

A monster. 

My monster. 

Loving him is a sin, but a sinner I am. I won't stop until I see every part of him. Even the parts he keeps locked deep down inside. 

I am Number Thirteen, and this is my story.  No one said it was pretty, or right, but it's mine.



PROLOGUE

My boots crunch in the yellow autumn leaves as I walk towards the schoolyard. I didn’t want to come today, but Momma told me I had no choice. She said school is for smart kids, and if I don’t go, then how am I ever going to get smart? I could get smart, the man on the television tells me everything I need to know. But she claims that I can’t make friends with the man on the television, that the only way to make friends is to go to school. I could have told her that I don’t need friends to be successful, but she’d only tell me I’m being silly.
So I came to school.
I didn’t tell her that there are bullies here, or that every day they push me around and shove me into lockers. That would make me sound weak, and now that my dad is working, and my brother is away because he didn’t like the school here, I’ve had to become the man of the house. There’s no room for weakness.
Momma tells me bullies pick on the kids who are victims. I think she’s wrong. I’m not a victim; I’m just a kid. They pick on me because I’m different. I don’t look at the girls like they do; I don’t try to sneak out to parties. I’m only thirteen. I’m just there to learn, then I go home and I take care of my family, because, I’m the man of the house.
Like I said.
The shrill sound of the school bell ringing, tells me I’m late. I pick up into a jog, rounding the corner and into the schoolyard. It’s a cool winter day, and I have to pinch my coat together to stop it from flapping in the icy breeze. I can see the students piling in the front doors, and I turn my jog into a run. I’m focusing so heavily on the doors, that I don’t see them. A strong hand lashes out, catching hold of my sleeve and tugging me into the alleyway that runs down beside my school.
I always knew this alley was dangerous.
My body is slammed against a hard wooden fence, and I set eyes on my bullies. Four of them. They’re all bigger than me, all of them on the football team. They’re from a few grades up, and they’ve just turned sixteen. The leader of the group, Marcel, steps forward first. He scrunches his nose in disgust, as if I’ve just dragged myself out of a gutter, as if I’m offending him. He leans in close, and I can smell cigarettes on his breath.
Smoking is not cool.
“You’ve been trying to avoid me, Will. Did you really think you could hide at home with Mommy, and never have to come out again?”
I stare at him, wondering why he chose me to pick on. I didn’t even know his name until he flagged me down and shoved my head down a toilet six months ago. I was just a kid, keeping my head down, studying and learning like I should. Now here I am, pressed against a fence, wondering why they decided I was good enough to take extra special effort to attack. I don’t bother answering him; it’ll only make him worse. My answers won’t make a difference. If I answer, I’m wrong. If I don’t answer, I’m wrong.
“Are you fucking mute, you little cunt?”
My body jerks. I hate that word, it’s so…vulgar. I let my eyes move to the four other guys standing like protective pack animals around Marcel. I don’t know their names; they’re not significant enough. The tall boy with orange hair looks nervous, like he knows what’s about to happen could put him in a world of trouble - but he’s still here, still making the choice to stay. The other two guys are stony faced, and fully aware of their part in this attack.
I still don’t answer him. If I just let them beat me, it’ll go away quicker.
“You’re a freak, Will, do you know that?” Marcel hisses, leaning in closer.
Of course I know that. I wouldn’t be pinned against a fence if I didn’t know that.
Bullies are so dumb.
Marcel raises his fist, and brings it down over my face, cracking my nose so hard blood spurts onto his shirt. I don’t cry out, because that’s what he wants, but the pain radiating through my head is nearly enough to make me beg. Nearly. Marcel takes hold of my shirt, and his grey eyes scan my face. He’s panting, as though I’ve shoved him into an alley and challenged him. Like this is my fault. The world is twisted like that, and it’s a lesson I’ve learned the hard way.
“You know,” he growls, locking eyes with me. “I heard my girl saying how handsome you were the other day. Do you know how much it sucks to have my girl saying that a freak is handsome? Especially a freak that’s only what? Thirteen years old? Your dick would be no bigger than a tube of damned lipstick, yet she thinks you’re handsome!”
I wouldn’t know how much it sucks to have a girl say that, because I don’t have a girl.
Again, bullies are dumb.
“Don’t answer me, you little twerp. It doesn’t matter. I will make sure by the time you leave this alley; you’re not handsome anymore. I won’t have my competition being some little weasel that can’t even speak.”
I taste blood filling my mouth, and my nose is pounding so heavily I’m almost sure I can hear my own heart in my head. I don’t take my eyes from Marcel. They say look danger right in the eye; it gives you power and strength. I don’t feel powerful right now, in fact, I don’t really feel anything. Someone like me doesn’t fight, I’m the underdog, and underdogs are weak. Everyone knows it.
Marcel reaches into his back pocket, and pulls out a pocket knife. The heart that feels like it’s in my head begins thumping even harder. I try not to show fear, I try to stand tall and take what he dishes out with strength, but that’s not so easy when your attacker is waving around a pocket knife.
“She said it was your eyes,” he begins, lazily tracing circles on his palm with the blade. “She said they’re the most stunning eyes she’s ever seen. Like the ocean.”
I didn’t know my eyes were like the ocean.
He takes hold of my shirt, yanking me close. “No one is more appealing to my girl, than me.”
They say bad things happen in slow motion, they’re right. I feel Marcel throw me down onto the floor. I feel every movement as my body slammed into the dirt. I feel his body weight coming over me, his knees pinning me down as I squirm. I feel his friend take my arms, pulling them above my head, while another puts a hand over my mouth. With my nose pouring with blood, that makes it difficult to breathe.
I feel the knife ripping into my skin as I thrash my head from side to side, and I can feel the blood pouring down the sides of my face. Each time he attempts to stab me, I move and the knife only slices through the skin around my eye. My pained wails fill the alley, but no one comes to help me. No one is around in the one moment of my life that I need them.
I know what I’ll remember most about that day, and that is the moment he finally manages to drive the knife into my eye.
I don’t feel pain, not right away. Instead I hear the popping sound, as his blade pierces right through. Then I feel pressure as he twists. It’s only when he yanks it out of its socket, that I start to scream. Then the pain is unlike anything I’ve ever felt. Words cannot begin to explain the horror I feel as darkness begins to invade my body. I know my face is covered in blood, because it drips down to soak my hair. I know I bite his friends hand so hard I nearly take off his finger.
I don’t know what they’re saying, or even acknowledge the moment when they run away. All I know was that I am bleeding to death in an alley, missing an eye. Red fills my vision as the blood begins to cover every part of my face. I know I’m still screaming, even though I can’t hear it. All I can hear is an excessive ringing in my ears. I can’t even move my hands to cover my eye, in an attempt to protect the empty socket. I can do nothing but lay and scream, witnessing a pain that I’ll never witness again in my life, and wondering what I did to deserve it.
No one deserves to die.
But I do die that day.

And in my place, a monster is born.



About the Author

Bella Jewel

Bella Jewel is an Aussie girl through and through. She spent her life in Western Australia, growing up in many different areas of the state. She now currently lives in Perth with her husband, children and mass amounts of pets. She's crazy, fun, outgoing and friendly. Writing is her passion, she started at the young age of 18 but finally got the courage up to publish, and her first novel Hell's Knights was released in August 2013.  


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