Sunday, March 30, 2014

In My Mailbox (37) & Stacking the Shelves (43)

Welcome to this week's In My Mailbox. In My Mailbox (IMM) is hosted by The Story Siren, who was inspired by a fellow book blogger Alea of Pop Culture Junkie. It features books I have bought or received for review.

Stacking the Shelves by Tynga`s Reviews is about adding books to my shelves I received during the past 2 weeks whether it is physical or virtual.

I am so EXCITED to share the books I got in the past couple of weeks. When I first got them (one in particular) I wanted to scream because I was so happy I got it. Without further ado...

Bought from Amazon:

Black Box by Cassia Leo

Cage (Corps #2) by Harper Sloan

Received for Review:

Sleep No More by Aprilynne Pike

You may have guessed it, Sweet Reckoning is the book I was jumping up and down when I saw I was approved for it. I am so excited to start this but I have a few other books I have to read before I can. I also requested Sleep No More because it sounded interesting when I read the description. I am also super excited about The Kiss of Deception. All in all, I got some awesome books this week!

What books did you get???


Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Waiting on Wednesday (41)

The Taking by Kimberly Derting

"Waiting On" Wednesday is a weekly event, hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine, that spotlights upcoming releases that we're eagerly anticipating.

After reading the description, this book sounds so good. I am so excited to get my hands on it!

Expected Publication Date: April 29, 2014

Synopsis: (Taken from Goodreads)
A flash of white light . . . and then . . . nothing. 

When sixteen-year-old Kyra Agnew wakes up behind a Dumpster at the Gas ’n’ Sip, she has no memory of how she got there. With a terrible headache and a major case of déjà vu, she heads home only to discover that five years have passed . . . yet she hasn’t aged a day. 

Everything else about Kyra’s old life is different. Her parents are divorced, her boyfriend, Austin, is in college and dating her best friend, and her dad has changed from an uptight neat-freak to a drunken conspiracy theorist who blames her five-year disappearance on little green men. 

Confused and lost, Kyra isn’t sure how to move forward unless she uncovers the truth. With Austin gone, she turns to Tyler, Austin’s annoying kid brother, who is now seventeen and who she has a sudden undeniable attraction to. As Tyler and Kyra retrace her steps from the fateful night of her disappearance, they discover strange phenomena that no one can explain, and they begin to wonder if Kyra’s father is not as crazy as he seems. There are others like her who have been taken . . . and returned. Kyra races to find an explanation and reclaim the life she once had, but what if the life she wants back is not her own?


Monday, March 24, 2014

Excerpt Reveal: Business As Usual by Denise Grover Swank

I flip on the light switch just inside the door and my bedside lamp turns on. Alexa pushes past me and shuts the door behind her. As she looks at me, her fingers lift to her coat, unfastening the buttons, top to bottom. I watch in fascination as she tosses the jacket behind her. It lands on the floor, but she doesn’t pay attention as she pulls her thick sweater over her head, leaving her in jeans and a black lacy bra.
My breath catches in my throat as my blood rushes south. My erection strains against my tight jeans and I ache to unfasten zipper, but I’m too hypnotized by the strip-tease in front of me.
She kicks off her shoes and then unfastens her jeans. Hooking her thumbs in the loops, she pulls them down and lets them drop to her feet.
Then she looks at me with a question in her eyes, as though I would find her lacking. As though she might not be beautiful enough for me.
I want to tell her she has nothing to worry about. She’s gorgeous. Her wig frames her face and falls lightly over her shoulders. The black of her lingerie is a sharp contrast to her pale skin. Her face has less makeup on it then the other times I’ve seen her with the wig, but she doesn’t need it. I want to tell her she doesn’t need the wig either. I know who she is and I don’t care. I don’t care that Reed is her brother and that I’m risking my job by getting involved with her. I don’t care about anything but making her mine.
But my tongue lies at the bottom of my mouth, thick and useless as a slug. I can only take in her beauty and thank God she came to me. That I have this shot with her.
She must see the longing in my eyes because she lunges for me, pulling my face down for a kiss.
I kiss her back, my arms reaching around her back and pinning her to my chest. She frees her arms and grabs the bottom of my shirt, tugging it up and over my head before her mouth claims mine again and her hands start to play with the waistband of my pants.
I reach to help her, but she bats my hands away and pushes me back against the door with a thud. I barely have time to hope my roommates don’t wake up before she grabs my hands and presses my palms forcefully against the door.
I’m about to come in my pants.


Lexi Pendergraft has given up on finding love after a disastrous encounter with her last boyfriend. Instead, she focuses on two things: One, setting up a summer program for underprivileged middle-school aged students. And the second, getting to the bottom of her brother Reed’s recent strange behavior. His secret is destroying his relationship with his fiancée Caroline, and Lexi will do anything to help him save it. Especially after he gave up his dream to give Lexi a chance at a semi-normal college experience, something her parents threatened to steal from her after her rape a year ago.

Ben Masterson is determined to make it through his final semester of his senior year at Southern University. After recently losing his full ride scholarship, he’s suffering from sleep deprivation while trying to keep up with his mechanical engineering courses and working three part time jobs. He thinks he’s lucked out getting a job in the university math lab. The only problem is his boss—Reed Pendergraft.

As part of a role in a community theater play, Lexi wears a black wig and feels a confidence she hasn’t experienced in over a year. When she wears it to a bar close to the theater, she doesn’t think Ben, a bartender there, recognizes her. While Ben’s intrigued about what she’s up to, he’s smart enough to stay far away from his overprotective boss’s sister. Until fate forces him to help her, but why won’t she tell him her real identity?

About Denise Grover Swank:

New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Denise Grover Swank was born in Kansas City, Missouri and lived in the area until she was nineteen. Then she became a nomadic gypsy, living in five cities, four states and ten houses over the course of ten years before she moved back to her roots. She speaks English and smattering of Spanish and Chinese which she learned through an intensive Nick Jr. immersion period.  Her hobbies include witty Facebook comments (in own her mind) and dancing in her kitchen with her children. (Quite badly if you believe her offspring.)  Hidden talents include the gift of justification and the ability to drink massive amounts of caffeine and still fall asleep within two minutes. Her lack of the sense of smell allows her to perform many unspeakable tasks.  She has six children and hasn’t lost her sanity. Or so she leads you to believe.

You can find out more about Denise and her other books at:

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Waiting on Wednesday (40)

Play (Stage Dive #2) by Kylie Scott

"Waiting On" Wednesday is a weekly event, hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine, that spotlights upcoming releases that we're eagerly anticipating.

Lick was the first book in the series and I absolutely loved it! This book, Play, will feature someone different, Mal. He was hilarious in Lick and I am sure his own book will be just as funny. 

Expected Publication Date: April  1st, 2014

Synopsis: (Taken from Goodreads)
Kylie Scott returns with the highly anticipated follow-up to international bestseller LICK Mal Ericson, drummer for the world famous rock band Stage Dive, needs to clean up his image fast—at least for a little while. Having a good girl on his arm should do the job just fine. Mal doesn’t plan on this temporary fix becoming permanent, but he didn’t count on finding the one right girl. Anne Rollins never thought she’d ever meet the rock god who plastered her teenage bedroom walls—especially not under these circumstances. Anne has money problems. Big ones. But being paid to play the pretend girlfriend to a wild life-of-the-party drummer couldn’t end well. No matter how hot he is. Or could it?


Tuesday, March 18, 2014

K.A. Tucker's Secret Announcement!

Fans of K.A. Tucker's Ten Tiny Breaths, we have a SUPER exciting announcement: On September 1, 2014, Atria is releasing a PREQUEL NOVELLA to Ten Tiny Breaths that tells the story from Trent's point of view! It's called IN HER WAKE, and we cannot wait one more breath to read it! 

In Her Wake

It's called IN HER WAKE, and we cannot wait one more breath to read it!

About IN HER WAKE: Cole Reynolds had it all. And then one night he makes a bad choice... and loses everything. When a drunken night out at a Michigan State college party results in the death of six people, Cole must come to terms with his part in the tragedy. Normally, he'd be able to lean on his best friends. The best friends that have been in his life since he could barely walk. Only, they're gone. Worse, there's the shattered body of a sixteen-year-old girl lying somewhere in a hospital bed, her entire life ripped from her because of a case of beer and a set of keys. Everyone assures him that they know it wasn't intentional and yet he can't ignore the weight of their gazes, the whispers behind his back. The all-consuming guilt he feels every time he thinks of that girl who won't so much as allow him near her hospital room to apologize. As the months go by and the shame and loneliness festers, Cole begins to lose his grip of what once was important-college, his girlfriend, his future. His life. It's not until Cole hits rock-bottom that he can begin to see another way out of his personal hell: forgiveness. And there's only one person who can give that to him... Are you as excited about this as we are?? And...this is going to be available at the great price of $.99!!

Four Secondsto Lose

And while you're at it, pre-order the gorgeous paperback of FOUR SECONDS TO LOSE, hitting bookstores on 4/1!

About FOUR SECONDS TO LOSE: Owning a strip club isn’t the fantasy most guys expect it to be. With long hours, a staff with enough issues to keep a psych ward in business, and the police regularly on his case, twenty-nine year old Cain is starting to second guess his unspoken mission to save the women he employs. And then blond, brown-eyed Charlie Rourke walks through his door, and things get really complicated. Cain abides by a strict “no sleeping with the staff” rule. But being around Charlie challenges Cain’s self-control…and it’s been a long time since any woman has done that. Twenty-two-year old Charlie Rourke needs a lot of money, really fast, in order to vanish before it’s too late. Taking her clothes off for men makes her stomach curl but Charlie tells herself that at least she’s putting her acting anddancing skills to good use. And though her fellow dancers seem eager to nab their sexy, sophisticated, and genuinely caring boss, she’s not interested. After all, Charlie Rourke doesn’t really exist—and the girl pretending to be her doesn’t need to complicate her life with romance. Unfortunately, Charlie soon discovers that developing feelings for Cain is inevitable, that those feelings may not be unrequited—but losing him when he finds out what she’s involved with will be more painful than any other sentence awaiting her.  

ABOUT K.A. TUCKER: Born in small-town Ontario, Kathleen published her first book at the age of six with the help of her elementary school librarian and a box of crayons. She is a voracious reader and the farthest thing from a genre-snob, loving everything from High Fantasy to Chick Lit. Kathleen currently resides in a quaint small town outside of Toronto with her husband, two beautiful girls, and an exhausting brood of four-legged creatures.  

LINKS: Blog: Website: Author Facebook:!/K.A.Tucker.Author?fref=ts Twitter: Author Goodreads: FOUR SECONDS TO LOSEGoodreads: Atria:

Monday, March 17, 2014

Review: Awaken (Spiral of Bliss #3) by Nina Lane

Title: Awaken (Spiral of Bliss #3)
Author: Nina Lane
Release Date: January 7, 2014
Publisher: Self-Published
Pages: 426
Source: Purchased from Amazon

“I love that you love me, professor.”

“I love loving you, beauty.”

Since their intense, passionate beginning, Professor Dean West and his wife Olivia have fought dark secrets and betrayal in order to save their marriage. Now reeling in the aftermath of a personal tragedy, Liv and Dean are driven further apart by a vindictive threat to Dean’s career.

Struggling to stand on her own for the first time in years, Liv is determined to defend her husband and prove herself. Then an unexpected letter dredges up old insecurities and endangers Liv’s newfound independence. As Dean fights for his professional life, he is forced to confront his worst fear when he discovers that he can’t protect his beloved wife from her own painful past.

My Thoughts:
I am so happy I finally got a chance to read this book. I read the first 2 books late last year, and they were phenomenal so I had high hopes. Well, this book did not disappoint.

Awaken starts off a few days after the events of Allure.  Dean is away in Italy, involved in a dig and trying to stay away from the University and Maggie Hamilton. Liv is still dealing with the miscarriage and trying to stand on her own feet without the help of her husband. She has depended on him for too long and needs her independence.

I first decided to read this series because the main characters were a married couple going through their ups and downs. I have never read that before so I was intrigued when I started the first book. What I got after reading was much, much more. The love between Dean and Liv, they are really no words. It is absolutely breathtaking, captivating and addictive. These words don’t even describe their love correctly. It leaves you breathless. It makes me hope that I will find my Dean. Their story is one of the most amazing and passionate love stories I have ever read. Even now, thinking about it, I want more. The challenges they faced and the way they overcame them by believing in each other and trusting each other, no matter what; it is an epic story I will never forget. Even though I’m sad to see them go, I’m glad they got an HEA.

I loved that the author wrote the story in both Dean and Liv’s POV. It showed what they were each thinking at any given time but more importantly you get a glimpse and see the love they have for one another. Being able to read Dean’s POV made me fall for him harder than I already did.

I loved Nina Lane’s dedication at the beginning of the book:

“This book is for all the readers who love Liv and Dean West as much as I do. This is for those of you who know the courage it takes to trust your instincts and find your way. This is for the women who love being someone’s girl, and for the men who are your heroes. And this is for everyone who believes in the good things—books, a cup of tea, sexy professors, interesting travels that lead you back home, warm quilts, and perfectly imperfect love.
Isn’t this the most unique and greatest dedication you’ve ever read? It is for me because it sets the tone of the book."

The author’s writing was beautiful and kept me wanting more. I loved the cover. The flowers are absolutely beautiful and in bloom and I love how the keys are pointing at different directions but always intersect. It is a great symbol of how Dean and Liv’s love will change but bloom; they will always be with each other through thick and thin. 

My Rating:
5 out of 5 stars


Sunday, March 16, 2014

In My Mailbox (36) & Stacking the Shelves (42)

Welcome to this week's In My Mailbox. In My Mailbox (IMM) is hosted by The Story Siren, who was inspired by a fellow book blogger Alea of Pop Culture Junkie. It features books I have bought or received for review.

Stacking the Shelves by Tynga`s Reviews is about adding books to my shelves I received during the past week whether it is physical or virtual.

Bought from Amazon:

The Winner's Curse by Marie Rutkoski

The Deep End of the Sea by Heather Lyons

The Here & Now by Ann Brashares

I am so happy to start reading the books I got this week. These books are very different in genres but they piqued my interest. I finally bought The Winner's Curse and I have been hearing A LOT of good things about it. The Deep End of the Sea has to do with Greek Mythology which is one genre I love, so I am excited to read this one as well.  One of the book blogs I follow absolutely loved Emi Lost & Found series so I wanted to try it. On NetGalley, I was pre-approved for The Here & Now and it sounds interesting so I downloaded it. Overall I had a good week in books :)

I hope everyone has a great week!


Friday, March 14, 2014

Blog Tour: Deep Blue by Jules Barnard


When Cali Morgan kicks off her perfect post-college summer in Lake Tahoe, she has everything she ever wanted: acceptance into a top law program, a gorgeous boyfriend, and an incredible summer planned with her best friend. Confident about her place in the world, Cali makes it her mission to be her friend’s wingwoman and help her meet guys. What Cali doesn’t count on is running into Jaeger Lang, one of her older brother’s high school friends, or the sparks that fly when she’s around him. Jaeger has changed, and it’s not just the added height and muscle. There’s something about him that’s deep and a little scarred. In spite of the changes, Jaeger becomes a top pick for her friend—if Cali can keep her hands off him.

But when Cali’s boyfriend dumps her and her carefully laid plans begin to unravel, she finds herself questioning what it is she truly desires. In the midst of doubts about her future, one thing is very clear: she wants Jaeger for her own. The question is, has her friend already fallen for him?

Author Bio:
Jules Barnard is originally from the San Francisco Bay Area. She attended UC Davis, whose college landscape often finds its way into her New Adult novels. She has a Master’s degree and spent many an hour running statistical analysis, until she realized her favorite part of the job was writing reports. She decided to cut out the math and add in some hot guys, and so began her career as a novelist.
Jules is a Northern California native living on the coast with her husband and two children. She has no impulse control around cupcakes and credits herself with the ability to read while running on the treadmill or burning dinner.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

My Thoughts:

Deep Blue starts off with Cali and her best friend Gen, moving to Lake Tahoe after finishing college. They will be working at a casino for the summer. Cali is extremely confident in herself, about to study law at Harvard. She has a hot boyfriend, Eric. Everything is right in her world. When Cali meets Jaeger, sparks fly. They have this instant attraction to one another. Cali has never felt this way about anyone before, not even with Eric. She is also unsure about going to study law and have no idea what to do.

Deep Blue is exactly the kind of book I needed to read at this point in time. It was a light read but still a romance. It is book about becoming an adult and everything that means. Being an adult, there are ups and downs; Cali has never really had to deal with that but after she moved to Lake Tahoe, her whole life changed. From getting dumped, problems with her summer job and completely changing her career path, she is forced to be strong and deal with everything.

I liked Cali as a character. She was smart and her narrative was sometimes laugh-out loud funny. She is extremely loyal to her friends, always wanting what is best for them. I absolutely adored Jaeger. He sounded so HOT by her description of him. I wish we were given the option to read his POV. Through his facial expressions in the beginning when they saw each other again as adults and all throughout the book, I would have liked to know exactly what he was thinking. The chemistry between Cali and Jaeger was so strong. I could feel their connection like it was something tangible.  

 I would gladly read the next book the author writes in the series. I would like to know more about Gen or even a book (or scenes) from Jaeger`s perspective would be awesome as well. We also still have no idea what`s going on with Tyler (Cali`s brother). If you are looking for a romantic book which is a light read with amazing chemistry, Deep Blue is the book for you. 

My Rating:
3.5 Stars

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Cover Reveal: A Matter of Forever by Heather Lyons

A Matter of Forever Cover
It all comes down to this . . . Chloe Lilywhite has struggled for years to find her footing in a series of dangerous and demanding worlds. Creator, first tier Council member, and one of the most powerful Magicals in existence, she was little more than one of Fate’s pawns. But now, Chloe is back home and ready to call the shots. She knows what she wants and who she wants to be. Except the Elders never got the memo. Annar and Magical-kind are under attack. The lives of Chloe’s loved ones, and life as they know it, are at stake. Chloe's the key to taking the Elders down, but they won't go quietly into the night. This time, neither will Chloe.

  Other books in the Fate Series:

A Amtter of Fate

A Matter of Fate, Book 1 Chloe Lilywhite struggles with all the normal problems of a typical seventeen-year-old high school student. Only, Chloe isn’t a normal teenage girl. She’s a Magical, part of a secret race of beings who influence the universe. More importantly, she’s a Creator, which means Fate mapped out her destiny long ago, from her college choice, to where she will live, to even her job. While her friends and relatives relish their future roles, Chloe resents the lack of say in her life, especially when she learns she’s to be guarded against a vengeful group of beings bent on wiping out her kind. Their number one target? Chloe, of course. That’s nothing compared to the boy trouble she’s gotten herself into. Because a guy she’s literally dreamed of and loved her entire life, one she never knew truly existed, shows up in her math class, and with him comes a twin brother she finds herself inexplicably drawn to. Chloe’s once unyielding path now has a lot more choices than she ever thought possible.  

A Matter of Heart

A Matter of Heart, Book 2 No longer in high school, Chloe Lilywhite is now living and working in Annar, the Magicals’ city-state plane of existence. Since moving, she’s joined the Council, gone on missions with the Guard, moved into her own apartment, and enrolled at the University of Annar. Plus, she’s happily engaged to be married to Jonah Whitecomb, the literal man from her dreams, not to mention her Connection. While she still struggles with aspects of her craft, Chloe feels like she’s finally coming into her own, especially after a difficult year that had her questioning nearly everything in her life. After a brutal attack by the Elders, her life is turned upside down once more. Accusations fly throughout the Council and Guard, forcing Chloe to confront her worst fears about what’s she’s capable of as a Creator. And then there’s the matter of Kellan Whitecomb, Jonah’s twin brother and Chloe’s ex, who resurfaces after disappearing months before. Although Chloe chose Jonah, and despite their best efforts, the two find it hard to stay away from one another. But no matter what Fate throws at her, Chloe is determined to take charge of her life, even as it begins to spiral out of control. 

A MAtter of Truth

  A Matter of Truth, Book 3 Not long ago, Chloe Lilywhite seemingly had it all: a prized spot on the Magicals’ Council as lead Creator, a loving fiancé and Connection, and a wealth of good friends. But the poised young woman she projected was nothing more than a façade. Her parents all but disowned her. Power plays and accusations of murder within the Council rocked her confidence. And most difficult of all, her secret, a secondary Connection to Jonah’s twin brother, Kellan, became painfully impossible to resist. Desperate to gain control over her rapidly unraveling existence, Chloe did the unthinkable: she ran away. Now living and working in Alaska under an alias, Chloe is slowly discovering who she is and, more importantly, who she wants to be. But the more she tries to leave the Magical world behind, the harder it becomes to stay hidden. The Elders are back with a vengeance, and the stakes have never been higher. Chloe finally has to make a choice: embrace her pre-ordained Fate or pave her own way in the worlds. One thing’s for sure, though—she’s finally up for the challenge. *This is a New Adult title, suitable for readers 18+.   

 Amazon Barnes & Noble

AMoF Series Banner3 

About Heather Lyons:  

Heather Lyons has always had a thing for words—She’s been writing stories since she was a kid. In addition to writing, she’s also been an archaeologist and a teacher. Heather is a rabid music fan, as evidenced by her (mostly) music-centric blog, and she’s married to an even larger music snob. They’re happily raising three kids who are mini music fiends who love to read and be read to.  

Website ~ Author Goodreads ~ A Matter Of Forever Goodreads ~ Twitter ~ Facebook ~ A Matter Of Fate Goodreads ~ A Matter Of Heart Goodreads ~ A Matter Of Truth Goodreads

Sunday, March 9, 2014

In My Mailbox (35) & Stacking the Shelves (41)

Welcome to this week's In My Mailbox. In My Mailbox (IMM) is hosted by The Story Siren, who was inspired by a fellow book blogger Alea of Pop Culture Junkie. It features books I have bought or received for review.

Stacking the Shelves by Tynga`s Reviews is about adding books to my shelves I received during the past week whether it is physical or virtual.

This week I didn`t get any books. I really want The Winner`s Curse but unfortunately I have not bought it yet. I am currently reading Deep Blue by Jules Barnard. I have not started it yet but I`m sure it will be good. Look for my review on it on my blog on Friday March 14.

I hope everyone has a good week!


Saturday, March 8, 2014

All of Court's Men-Cadmus

The Bloodstone Saga Synopsis:

 The Bloodstone Saga is a series consisting of four YA Paranormal Romance novels following the many lives and tribulations of one girl and features a love story that spans the ages. Harmonia’s very identity is hidden from her through the treachery of the Fates and for over two millennia, she has been reborn time and time again into tragic lives with tragic ends. 

Every Last Kiss


With My Last Breath

My Tattered Bonds

In these four books, one girl is confronted with lies, treachery, magic and myth. She learns how strong she really is and what sacrifices she is truly prepared to make for those that she loves. Heartbreaking, poignant and emotional, these books will tug at your heart-strings and leave you breathless for more. 

Here is what critics say: 

The Supernatural Snark says: “Overall, Every Last Kiss is a thoroughly enjoyable start to the Bloodstone series, the world of Cleopatra’s Egypt dazzling our imaginations as the joy and tragedy of love and death plays the keys of our emotions with mightily deft fingers.”

The Caffeinated Diva says this about Fated: “Once again, the author weaves actual mythology and legend and real people with the fictional and it is absolutely seamless. While the first explored ancient Egypt and its mythology, this book delves into Greek mythology. Her ability to maintain the integrity of the true mythology while also layering her own with it is amazing and makes for a very absorbing read.”

My Vamp Fiction says this about The Bloodstone Saga: “I just have to say this author keeps blowing me away with these books. I’m totally and completely infatuated with them. I’d even go as far as to say that they may just be my favorite series of the year.”

And the Goodreads reviews are in!

Tanya Maries says: “The Bloodstone Saga is pure literary magic!!!! This is my new literary chocolate -- my new literary gold!!!”

Carrie says: “I feel like this whole series can be described with words like rich, exquisite, romantic...the history of the stories and the world that was created by Ms. Cole are all of those things and more! Her descriptions are like a delicious banquet for the mind.”  


Hasani was gone when I woke and I squeezed my eyes shut against the light from the flickering wall sconces.  He must have lit them for me before he left and even in my grumpy morning mood, I had to smile at his consideration.  I pulled the covers over my head and rested my cheek against the comfort of my pillow for a few minutes longer before I finally sighed and emerged into the reality of daytime.
It couldn’t be much past daybreak, since the orange fingers of the sun were just starting to curl around the horizon.  Hasani must have risen early to run drills with his soldiers before the Alexandrian heat rolled in.  Antony was probably with him.
I got up quickly, tying a soft white scarf around my waist and putting on a jeweled golden brassiere.   As I pulled my hair away from my face and fastened gold earrings into my ears, I briefly pondered my older body.  As Charmian, I may be thirty-nine, but my body was as svelte as a teen’s.  Fascinating.  It probably had a lot to do with the fact that ancient Egyptians didn’t have French fries or ice cream.
Sitting down at my vanity table, I pulled out the multiple jars required for my daily skin care and cosmetics application, sighing as I did.  As Macy, I was a very low-key, low-maintenance person. Charmian’s intricate, Egyptian beauty regime was tiresome.  But I had to admit that it was effective.  I had a perfect complexion.
Dipping my fingers in a jar of scented oil, I glanced back into the mirror as I began to apply it.  And froze with my fingers at the base of my neck.
A woman, pale and beautiful, sat on the bed behind me as though she belonged there.  Her eyes were ice blue and her long hair was so blonde that it was snow white. I whirled around to face her.
“How did you get in here?” I demanded.  “How did you get past the guards?”
She smiled peacefully at me, but didn’t answer.
“Can you speak?” I asked.  “Who are you?”
She studied me again, unmoving and silent from her perch on my bed.  She wore silvery robes embroidered with rich blue which were spread around her and her long fingernails were silver.  They sparkled in the muted light from my window.  She reminded me of what a fairy would be like.  An odd sensation began to build in my chest and I hesitated.
“Who are you?” I whispered again.
“You know who I am,” she said gently, as she rose from the bed.  She was so graceful that it seemed as though she floated as she walked toward me.
“I don’t,” I argued, as she came to a stop behind me.
“You do,” she insisted softly, as she placed her hands on my shoulders.  And in that instant, the second that her hands touched me, I did.
I was standing face to face with Lachesis, the middle sister of the Fates.  Terrifying and powerful, the last time I had seen her, she had been an ancient, stooped hag.  My eyes flew in amazement to her lovely, young face.
She smiled.
“I can appear as I wish, Charmian,” she said lightly.  “You are beautiful.  So, of course I wanted to appear beautiful, as well.  I have no wish to scare you.”
“Then what is your wish?” I asked quietly, keeping my eyes locked on her face.
She reached past me and picked up the jar of oil, dipping her long fingers into it. Picking up my arm, she gently began rubbing the scented oil into my skin as she spoke.
“You are one of twelve, Charmian.  Did you know that?” I shook my head, instantly intrigued.
“Yes.  Twelve very important people were chosen so long ago to assist us throughout the millennia.  You were chosen for your bravery and your heart.”
She turned my wrist over and fingered my scar.
“I placed the mark of the phoenix upon your wrist myself.  The phoenix is sacred to the order, Charmian.  It symbolizes re-birth and life, the very thing that we stand for… the things that we protect. And we gave you that mark.  It is an honor.”
I nodded.  “Yes, of course it is.”
“Then why have you been doubting us?” she turned her large blue eyes to me, beseeching me.
“I haven’t!” I protested. “The priest Annen has tried to convince me of his theories… but being a member of the Order is all I know.  I have no wish to believe him.”
“But you’ve wondered.”
She stated it as a fact, watching my face as she absently held her open palm out to a butterfly that had flown in from my window.  The delicate yellow wings quivered as it crawled onto her hand and sat still.
“I know your heart, Charmian.”
I sighed.  “I couldn’t help but wonder how much truth was in what he said.  But I have no wish to believe him. I’ve put his claims out of my mind.”
“As you should,” she instructed with the first trace of a harsh tone.
She watched the butterfly for a moment more, her blue eyes glinting, before she snapped her hand shut, crushing the delicate insect between her fingers.  I gasped as she put it in her mouth, chewing calmly as she contemplated me.
“You are one of the best we have, Charmian.  Yet you’ve lost your bloodstone.”
My heart dropped into my toes.  I couldn’t deny it.
“Yes,” I admitted in a whisper, my head bowed.
“Get it back,” she hissed, her face clouding over and for a split second, one brief moment, I saw a glimpse of the ancient hag that she was.  I sucked my breath in, waiting for a storm.
She calmed herself, resuming her tranquil tone, her face regaining its youth and beauty.
“Our bloodstones are powerful, as you know.  They are the keys to everything.  That sniveling eunuch will not be able to use it- because it was made for you.  But the bloodstones were made from one stone. One. When one is lost, we all suffer.”
I stared at her intrigued, as she pulled her own bloodstone out of her robes.  Hers was larger than mine and set in an intricate setting surrounded by rubies, but it had clearly been cut from the same mother stone… glistening blood-red, with black veins.
“Our power as a whole should not be diminished because of the carelessness of one, should it?” she purred, sliding her hands smoothly over my shoulders and stopping with her fingers wrapped lightly around my neck.
I gulped, then shook my head quickly.
“Then, fix it,” she instructed pleasantly, removing her hands.  “No matter what you need to do to repair your error, you have my support.  Do you understand?”
Did I? Was she saying that retrieving my bloodstone using any means necessary was more important than restoring history?
Before I could speak, she nodded.  “I see that we’ve come to an understanding.  You’re such a bright girl.”
Confusion flooded through me as I watched her adjust her clothing.  How could this be happening?   My entire being was dedicated to enforcing the plan of the Fates.  Never had we deviated before, under the threat that chaos would ensue.  How could we deviate now?  Unless the threat was just that… an idle threat.  I had forgotten that my thoughts were not safe around her, until she snapped me from my reverie with a growl.
“Do not question us again, Charmian!  There are times when the Plan is not as important as protecting the Order.  It is as simple as that.  And I will not explain myself to you!”
But she just had.  The Order had a weakness.  The Bloodstones.  And nothing on earth was as important as keeping them.  I quickly blanked my thoughts so that she couldn’t read them again and nodded.
“Yes, Lachesis.  I’m sorry.  Rest assured, I will fix this…” My voice trailed off hesitantly.
“But?” she prompted.
“But can I just ask one thing?  Can I just know one thing… because I know I will not remember it in my next life anyway.”
She studied me quietly, reading my thoughts and hearing my unspoken question.  Her face an unreadable, lovely mask.
“In each life your memories from your previous lives are wiped clean for your own benefit,” she finally explained.  “It benefits you in many ways.  If you were able to remember the sadness from your previous lives, it would drive you to insanity.  You would lose your effectiveness as a Keeper.”
I nodded.  Ahmose had been right.
“And you forget the gifts you are capable of through your bloodstone as a safeguard,” she added.  “The power that we are able to harness is exquisite and enormous.  Too much burden for any one person to be aware of, life after life.”
“But you…”
“My sisters and I have each other to keep us in check.  You have no one.  But your Aegis.”
Realization settled upon me like a cloud.  So, Ahmose wasn’t just there to assist me…  he was there to keep me firmly in place.
“So, now you know.” She stared at me.  “For now.  You’ll forget it again soon enough.”
That thought was not comforting.
I looked up at her.
“Be good.”
And she was gone.
I took a shaking breath and sank into my bed, allowing the softness to comfort me momentarily.  I wasn’t sure what to think.  She had just confirmed that at least some of the things that Annen had told me were true… but since she openly admitted them, didn’t that mean that the Order had nothing to hide?  I was at a loss.
My hand brushed against a rolled up papyrus on my bed.  Staring at it suspiciously, I picked it up.  How had she left it?  I hadn’t seen her with it at all.
As I unrolled it, the yellow butterfly that I had just seen Lachesis eat flew from the confines of the paper and out my window.  I watched it fly away in shock, alive and well, before I turned my attention to the paper in my hands.  Delicate, feminine writing flowed across the page in English.
 There are things you were never meant to understand.
You will have to trust me.
 Before I even had a chance to ponder its meaning, the cryptic message burst into flame and I dropped it to the stone floor, watching it burn on the stone.  Within a minute, it had disappeared completely… as though it had never existed.  

Courtney Cole is a novelist who would eat mythology for breakfast if she could. She has a degree in Business, but has since discovered that corporate America is not nearly as fun to live in as fictional worlds. She loves chocolate and roller coasters and hates waiting and rude people.

Courtney lives in quiet suburbia, close to Lake Michigan, with her real-life Prince Charming, her ornery kids (there is a small chance that they get their orneriness from their mother) and a small domestic zoo.