Sweet Temptations and Confessions…

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Release Date: 25/11/2016
 
Genre: Erotica/Drama
 
Word Count:15,903

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There were times Richard Martin loved his life. He had everything most men nearing middle age could want. A beautiful wife. A young son. All his hair.
He still has his hair, but not all is at it seems. His idyllic life was turned upside down when he and his family were forced to move from their home in Bristol to a small Gloucester flat because of Richard’s new job and now he finds himself beset on all sides. However that is not the sum of his problems. When his new supervisor, a promiscuous bombshell more than ten years his junior, sets her sights on him, she is by no means subtle about her interest in him, no matter who might be watching.
But temptation comes in many forms, and Richard has recently found his eyes lingering on the woman from down stairs who babysits for them. Was it his imagination, or were her skirts getting shorter?
In this first volume in L.M. Mountford’s sizzling debut series: Sweet Temptations, A naughty babysitter sets out to seduce her man. No matter what his wife might think, this tempting little wench is determined to rock his world…
 

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*Review*

Written in the British style and very descriptive. Richard is a married man, whose wife is very much the jealous type and maybe with reason? His boss’s hot daughter has no problem flirting with him in front of his wife and the sexy, young babysitter has the hots for him… and vise versa. This is a short story that will leave you hot and bothered.

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Links: 
 
Smashwords    Nook    Kobo    iTunes

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Author: L.M. Mountford
 
Genre: Erotica/Menage/Taboo/Dark Romance
 
Pairings: M/F/M, M/F, M/F/M/M/M

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Sylvia Day meets Colleen Masters in this sizzling erotic thrill ride of lust and sex and self-discovery that will leave readers wanting more. 
What is the measure of love? How far would you go to save the one you want but know you can never truly have? 
Mina Carring is a woman that has given up on love. A rising star in the bright lights of Hollywood, men come and go from her life, passing like ships in the night, yet there is only one for her, the one she’d let slip away because she shouldn’t want her stepbrother that way. But is it really so wrong to want someone, just because her father married his mother? However, when he is filmed in a compromising position that could ruin his life, Mina must step in. Now, powerless to escape as she heads down this path of lust and desire, torn between the dark delights of the handsome bad boy down the street and her adorable stepbrother who has always been there for her, she must confront the truth she has long tried to bury… 
A full length, 40,000+ word novel, Confessions is the stand-alone erotic drama from the Author of the sinfully delicious, Sweet Temptations Trilogy. Warning! It contains adult themes, harsh language, and graphic content and descriptions that might be disturbing to some readers.

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*REVIEW*

From the writer of Sweet Temptations: The Babysitter comes another hot erotica.
Sexy and fast paced, Confessions has a little something for most everyone. Multiple partners, M/F, M/M, Step-siblings…
L.M. Mountford has put his best work yet into this story, providing enough detail to give the book flow without taking away from the heat.

Mina discovers things about herself that shocked her… are you ready to witness her evolution?

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Secondary Colors

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Blurb:

Love is weakness.
Love is unkind.
Love is selfish.

BlackandWhite.jpg I know better than anyone else. Having made the mistake once before, I refuse to give myself to anyone, body or mind. My heart isn’t even an option. Fresh out of college, I plan to spend my final summer home in the small town of Aurora, New Hampshire with my loving, flighty mother and old friends, my eyes set on the future. That’s before I’m welcomed home by a beautifully flawed drifter, in search of his own. It’s hardly love at first sight. More like loathe. He creeps under my skin from the moment he refuses to acknowledge my existence.
But, it’s hard to deny there’s something in the way he watches me, the way his presence calms and electrifies me, bringing something dead inside to life again. He’s been jaded by his own loss and heartache. It’s burned into his very being.

I want to know Holt Turner—and that terrifies me to death.

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Universal buy link:

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Social media links:

GOODREADS – https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/32595673-secondary-colors
FACEBOOK – https://www.facebook.com/AUTHORAUBREYBRENNER/
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Author bio:

Aubrey Brenner is a native Californian who enjoys spending time with her fiancé and their four-legged children. She always had a passion for story-telling and visual artistry. Through her writing, she’s able to showcase both.

*****Now Available for Pre-Order*****

*****On Sale May 28, 2016*****

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Outcast, Supernaturals Book 2, a paranormal romance.

Leigh Alexander has lived every day of her life feeling like an outcast amongst her family and the small-minded people of Pine Hollow, a secretive community to which her parents belong. When Danielle, Leigh’s younger sister, asks Leigh to come home for her wedding, Leigh’s torn between wanting to be there for her sister and saving herself from people who’ve despised her all of her life.
Knowing she’ll regret her decision, Leigh gives into her sister and goes home for what she hopes is the last time. Leigh was prepared for people to ignore her, for them to shun her, for them to point out all the ways she didn’t belong all because she wasn’t a size perfect, but what she hadn’t been prepared for was falling for Ryan Hart, a man who she will soon learn knows all of the secrets her family and the town of Pine Hollow refuse to tell her.
Revealing the truth about Pine Hollow and the rest of the supernatural world might be forbidden, but to save Leigh’s life, Ryan will tell her everything about who she is, or more importantly who she isn’t, even if it will forever change her life and the lives of every person in Pine Hollow.
#outcast #jenniferreynolds #paranormalromance #wip
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Chapter 1 ~ Waiting

 ~~Ryan~~

Thanking the gods that I wasn’t Dave’s best man and the one having to deal with my friend’s nervousness right that second, I paced the hall outside the wedding chapel located inside the hotel, dealing with my own jittering nerves. I’m sure those who saw me wondered why I was anxious. I wasn’t the one getting married after all. I won’t lie; a part of me was strung tight in anticipation for the event on Dave’s behalf. He and I had been friends since birth, and this was a big deal for him. We had gone through every life-changing event imaginable together, but this one was a big one, and with all of the upheaval surrounding it, I was terrified something would go wrong at the last minute.

I had heard of little else but Dave’s plans to marry his bride-to-be since he met Danielle a little over four years ago, not that I minded listening to my friend’s happy chatter. I was ecstatic for the man. If anyone deserved happiness it was him, and Danielle was a sweet girl. A bit shy and boney for my taste, but her mellow, easy going yet confident temperament was a relief in comparison to other women we knew. Most women in our pack were weak and submissive in the extreme. Danielle’s demeanor probably had to do with the fact that her parents were raising her and her siblings outside of pack territory and not under the strict rules of the Council, of tradition, and of the supernatural world in general.  

We—by we, I mean the males of our world—have a tendency to be overprotective and misogynistic. Most of this has to do with the fact that our men outnumber the women four to one in most species. In the past, those numbers were even higher, but in the last hundred years or so, they’ve evened out. Some of our women are taking on more roles in our world, but a lot of our older men still treat them as if they should be locked up in their homes birthing babies and nothing else, and without question the women submit to their will.

Thinking of Danielle’s differences turned my thoughts to why she was different and to why she lived in the human world and not in the supernatural one, and thinking of that person brought on an entirely new wave of nerves, as I anticipated seeing that particular female again, which made me pace faster. She was the real reason my wolf was about to jump out of my human skin, if the truth be told.

Danielle’s sister, Leigh, was human, voluptuous, delectable, and if I had my say, would be mine before the night was over. Despite the need for her coursing through my veins, the mere thought of her put me on edge. The jitters didn’t necessarily come from the way I felt about her, but from the way the rest of my pack felt about humans. Every conversation I had or had overheard the two days we were at the hotel revolved around how angry, revolted, annoyed the person or persons were that she was there. I kept my mouth shut for fear of causing the poor woman and her family any more trouble, but I had a hard time doing so. My family and pack weren’t mean people to each other, but to outsiders, they could be outright vicious. The Council trained them to be. To survive in our pack, you had to hate anyone who wasn’t pack, or the Council would be displeased, and it was dangerous to go against the Council.

I had only caught a few glimpses of Leigh over the last year as Danielle’s and Dave’s family planned the wedding. For reasons that pissed me off, a fact I had voiced many times to Dave but to no one else, Dave’s family had insisted that Leigh not be in the wedding. The pack Council had insisted that she not be there at all. Danielle fluctuated between begging them to let her come and threatening to leave the pack if they didn’t. Her persistence made them come to a compromise to allow her to come to the actual event as long as she stayed in the shadows. Up until then, her family had had to make excuses and be downright mean to their eldest daughter to keep her out of the preparations and town as much as possible.

I could tell that this had hurt Leigh but, at the same time, relieved her. She seemed to want to be on the outside of things. I had an idea why, and that pissed me off more. She didn’t see herself as worthy or beautiful enough to stand up in front of the chapel with her sister and all of the rest of the women in the wedding party. That view of herself came from the snide comments pack members have made in her vicinity over the years.

Shapeshifter genetics and metabolisms ensure that most shapeshifters keep a fairly trim and muscular figure. That doesn’t, however, mean that every one of our kind is physically beautiful or good-looking. In many cases, their personalities make them hideous, despite their outward appearance.

Everything about Leigh was beautiful. Anyone who could smile through all of what she has had to deal with has to have a strong soul. Anyone who could love their family after all said family has put her through has to have a beautiful heart. Her physical appearance was stunning as well. She had the most luscious breasts, a soft oval face, and sexy curves. The thought of her full body brought a low growl to my throat that I was thankful no one was around to hear.

Thinking of her voluptuous body shifted my emotions, but not in the right direction. I was no longer nervous about the wedding or of seeing her, but greedy to have her. If Dave hadn’t needed me there, I would have sought her out, offered to escort her to the chapel or to my room. I held myself back, though, knowing that that simple act would draw unwanted attention to her and cause problems for her and her family. Besides, by that time she would already be heading to the chapel if she wanted to see her sister get married.

Ten minutes before the wedding, she turned down the hall wearing a calf length, sleeveless black dress with a lace shawl. The sight of her bare legs and arms stopped my pacing and took my breath away. She had to be the most beautiful woman I’d ever seen. If only she had looked up at that moment to see me staring at her, she would have seen the raw need I had for her burning in my eyes.

She didn’t look up though. She kept her head down until she reached the door I was blocking. I startled her by asking if I could escort her to her seat before she could walk into me.

“Huh…what…” she asked, jerking her head up to look at me.

I stuck out my arm and asked again, “May I take you to your seat?” There were ushers inside the chapel, but I was sure one of Dave’s parents had issued orders for them to ignore her, and as snobbish as most of them were, they would obey said orders. Besides, with the way I felt, I’d kill any other man for touching her.

“I… Oh, no. That isn’t necessary. I’m sure I can find a place on my own.” She moved to sidestep me, but I was faster. I moved in front of her, grabbed the door handle with one hand, and placed my other on the small of her back to gently guide her into the chapel. The electrical jolt that ran through my body at that contact shook me and caused us both to pause for a fraction of a second. She gasped, then the heady scent of her arousal hit me, and I had to suppress a growl. I did slide my hand to her waist and grip her tightly, trying to tamp down my urge to bend her over a pew and take her.

The lustful feeling didn’t last long, fortunately. The noise inside the chapel dampened our emotions an instant later. She moved first, but my hand never left her body. If so many people hadn’t surrounded us—some were even the human hotel staff—the scent of our lust would have gotten the attention of the supernaturals closest to us.

I started to take her to the front where most of Danielle’s family was already sitting, but Leigh moved out of my grasp and to a seat in the back right corner mere seconds after we entered the room. I glowered at her but followed her to where she sat.

“Miss,” I said, purposefully not saying her name, because simply thinking it and watching her ass move in that dress made me harder than I’ve ever been before. “The rest of your family is up there.” I pointed to the first two rows.

Sighing deeply, she turned to me. A lifetime of anger, despair, hatred, and pain crossed her eyes. For a second, I thought she was going to spill those emotions, but in a blink, the tears cleared, and she smiled brightly, falsely up at me.

“That’s all right. I want to sit here. My family won’t mind. I won’t be hurting anyone’s feelings. Now, I’m sure Dave and the rest of the wedding party will be looking for you. Thank you.” She cut her eyes to someone behind me as she spoke and flinched.

“Please, you should go,” she said, when I didn’t move. Her eyes never shifted back to me.

Leaving was impossible at that moment. I was too angry to walk away. If I opened my mouth, did anything, said anything, I was going to ruin this day for my best friend. Despite how horrible his parents were, Dave deserved to have a wonderful wedding. I held my ground for a long moment, breathing in and out slowly, trying not to attack those who were causing the scent of fear and sadness that was emanating from her.

She cut her eyes back over my shoulder, sighed again, and took her seat, purposefully not looking at me. I looked to where her gaze had been and saw Dave’s mother and older brother glaring daggers at me. I smiled brightly as if I didn’t have a clue as to what was going on, then turned back to her, and said, “As you wish.”

I left the chapel quickly, needing some way of venting my anger and frustration and needing something to keep me from returning, snatching her up, and carrying her out of the room, this hotel, and this city. From the first time I set eyes on her, I’d wanted to shelter her, shield her, but those emotions paled in comparison to the new need that had overcome me the second I touched her. The one that told me to protect her with my life, to pull her against me and ensure that she was never outside arm’s reach again.

Something had happened to me when I placed my hand on her back, something magical…something I didn’t want to explore at that moment. Over the years, I had felt drawn to her when we were near one another, but I had thought it was mere curiosity of the unknown, but yesterday, things had changed. Being so near to her in the lobby, the elevator, her room, had intensified that pull. None of that compared to what I felt right then, though. My wolf kept screaming, mine, mine, mine, repeatedly in my head. He had never done that before with any woman.

I couldn’t think about any of that right then, I reminded myself. I just had to get through the day. When everything was over and Dave and Danielle were on their honeymoon, I would investigate those feelings.

Having said that, I couldn’t help stewing over the fact that Leigh hadn’t deserved to be treated the way my pack had treated her. By the look in her eyes, she needed someone to love her, and I didn’t think I was going to be able to hide my feelings for her from her or my pack for too much longer.

Hearing one of Dave’s brothers call my name from the hall, I rushed to where the wedding procession was lining up. I stood behind Allen, Dave’s brother and best man, my arm locked with Tiffany, a tall redheaded bridesmaid with no hips, small breasts, and cute freckles. She was Danielle’s cousin. Tiffany was adorable, and at one time, I had contemplated asking her out, but then she spoke, showing me who she truly was, and that thought had dissipated.

We had been at a birthday party for Danielle when I had talked to Tiffany for the first time. A minute after I thought of asking the girl out, Leigh had walked into the room, and she had been all I could think about the rest of the day. Even though she has never spoken more than a few words to me in all the years I’d known her, she has stayed on my mind.

Tiffany’s comment, the one that had made me instantly dislike her, had been about Leigh. That comment had been my first glimpse at what Leigh’s life was like amongst my people. I had been so shocked by what Tiffany had said that I hadn’t been able to respond to it in time. Danielle had told her to shut her mouth, then she had left the group to meet Leigh to keep her away from us. I barely had time to make eye contact with Danielle’s beautiful sister before Danielle had steered the woman away, looking back at us with a snarl.

Tiffany had turned her appalled look my way as if I shared her outrage, but I turned from the girl in disgust. I hadn’t known then who Leigh was. I had seen glimpses of her a time or two at different social events, but she hadn’t stayed long enough for me to inquire about her. That night, I had turned to Dave and asked all about her as if I hadn’t a clue who she was, so that he wouldn’t sense my interest in her.

“That’s Danielle’s sister,” he had said in a low whisper even though we were already out of earshot of most of the supernatural beings in the room.

“Why haven’t I seen her around all that much?” I asked.

“Danielle says that even though they haven’t told her our secret or hers, she knows she isn’t one of us, so she usually only pops in at family functions for a second to say hello to her family, then heads back to wherever she lives,” Dave said.

“Just because she isn’t one of us doesn’t mean she can’t spend her sister’s birthday with her,” I said, scowling.

“No, but who wants to be somewhere they aren’t wanted?”

“Why would she not be wanted? Because she isn’t pack doesn’t mean she isn’t loved and wanted by her family.”

“Look, I don’t know how they feel. I assume they love her or they wouldn’t have kept her, but you have to admit she’s different, and having her around is a bit inconvenient, and, well, look at her.”

“What do you mean, ‘look at her?’ I am looking at her. She’s beautiful. Outwardly, she doesn’t look any different than the rest of us.”

“Yes, she does. Look at her.”

“What? Just because she isn’t stick-figure Barbie, like those girls,” I pointed to Tiffany and a group of other girls gathered around a table talking, “doesn’t make her different.”

“Man, I don’t know what’s gotten into you, but let it go. She’s of no consequence to us, and in a few years, she’ll be little more than a faded memory to everyone in this room.”

Not believing that my best friend could be such an ass, I turned from him and went in search of Danielle and her sister. I hadn’t known it at the time, but Dave had been playing a part, pretending to go along with the status quo, to keep the peace. I had every intention of introducing myself to the girl and doing my best to prove to her that we weren’t all so hard to like. My search proved fruitless though. By the time I caught up with Danielle, her sister had left, but not before giving her the birthday present she had brought.

“Happy birthday, birthday girl,” I said, giving the love of my best friend’s life a one-armed hug. “Whatcha got there?”

“A present from Leigh.” My heart broke at the sight of the tears that were flowing down her cheeks.

“Your sister’s here. Where is she? I haven’t officially met her yet,” I said, all but cutting off the rest of her sentence, wanting to jump right to the Danielle introducing me to her sister part of this conversation.

“She left,” she said, looking down at the gift in her hand so that I couldn’t see the tears in her eyes. “She couldn’t stay long. She only wanted to give me her gift.”

“Doesn’t she have to fly into town? Could she not find an earlier flight so that she could spend more time with you?” Danielle didn’t react to my judgmental tone. She simply looked at the lilac-colored paper, sighed, and tucked the gift away to presumably open later before going to find Dave.

 

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Outcast (Supernaturals Book 2)Outcast by Jennifer Lynn Reynolds

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Yet another fabulous read from Jennifer Reynolds!
Outcast is a great story, part two of the series, it touches base with characters from the first book enough to give fans a glimpse of how their lives are going without delving so deep that you absolutely have to have read the other, although I do suggest it because it adds to the experience and is also a fantastic book.
The journey that Leigh travels in Outcast is heartwarming, the tale of a young woman finding herself and of course, falling in love with a sexy shifter.
A sweet, hot and fun read, I highly recommend this book and this author to anyone who enjoys paranormal romances.
View all my reviews

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Jennifer Reynolds is a native of North Alabama. She has a Master of Fine Arts degree from National University and a Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of North Alabama.

She is a multi-genre author who focuses mostly on post-apocalyptic novels and paranormal romances. She’s released four novels (Alone, a post-apocalyptic novel, Shifter, a paranormal romance, HIM, a suspense thriller, and Resistant, a zombie-apocalypse romance), one novella (Saying Goodbye, a paranormal love story), and two short stories (Charles Wallace’s Favorite Toy, a general fiction piece, and In the Dark, a horror piece) and has two more novels (Marked and Destined, both are paranormal romances) scheduled for release in the next year.

Aside from spending her days immersed in the fictional worlds she creates, she’s a stained glass hobbyist.

Jennifer can be followed on any of the websites below.

Jenniferlynnreynolds.com Goodreads ~ Smashwords ~ Amazon ~ Twitter

Pinterest ~ TSU ~ Tumblr ~ Instagram

Coming Soon!

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Outcast by Jennifer Lynn Reynolds

Leigh Alexander has lived every day of her life feeling like an outcast amongst her family and the small-minded people of Pine Hollow, a secretive community to which her parents belong. When Danielle, Leigh’s younger sister, asks Leigh to come home for her wedding, Leigh’s torn between wanting to be there for her sister and saving herself from people who’ve despised her all of her life.

Knowing she’ll regret her decision, Leigh gives into her sister and goes home for what she hopes is the last time. Leigh was prepared for people to ignore her, for them to shun her, for them to point out all the ways she didn’t belong all because she wasn’t a size perfect, but what she hadn’t been prepared for was falling for Ryan Hart, a man who she will soon learn knows all of the secrets her family and the town of Pine Hollow refuse to tell her.

Revealing the truth about Pine Hollow and the rest of the supernatural world might be forbidden, but to save Leigh’s life, Ryan will tell her everything about who she is, or more importantly who she isn’t, even if it will forever change her life and the lives of every person in Pine Hollow.

Review

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Yet another fabulous read from Jennifer Reynolds!
Outcast is a great story, part two of the series, it touches base with characters from the first book enough to give fans a glimpse of how their lives are going without delving so deep that you absolutely have to have read the other, although I do suggest it because it adds to the experience and is also a fantastic book.
The journey that Leigh travels in Outcast is heartwarming, the tale of a young woman finding herself and of course, falling in love with a sexy shifter.
A sweet, hot and fun read, I highly recommend this book and this author to anyone who enjoys paranormal romances.

View all my reviews

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★.¸¸,.✶´*.¸¸,.✶Wishing For You is LIVE★.¸¸,.✶´*.¸¸,.✶

Only 99 Cents or FREE on KU
Shelly Santiago and Grant Alexander have known one another for years. Nothing ever more than friends, and sometimes not even that since they are complete opposites. But what happens when they start to realize the building attraction they feel for one another? Will Grant be able to keep his promise to his late wife? Will Shelly get what she’s always wished for?

Wishing For You will take you on moonlit walks on the beach to remind you that it is never too late for love! 33k words, standalone, no cliffhangers! One-Click Today!!!!
#wishingforyou #nevertoolateforlove #ku #kindleunlimited #newrelease #oneclick #fallinlove #romancereads #standalone

Check out Book Trailer: https://animoto.com/play/VPy5JdGukV1w2YTglsqeSw

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US: http://amzn.to/1QIVcHd
UK: http://amzn.to/1ntN4lt
AU: http://bit.ly/1QACkw4
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The Irrevocable Series Sale
 
March 11th – 13th
 
Only 99 cents
 
Sci-Fi/New Adult
 
Samantha Jacobey
 
 

Bailey Dewitt is
on a crash course with Armageddon. Orphaned, she and her young brothers find
themselves living with their renegade uncle. Part of a group of survivalists,
she is terrified to discover they are preparing for the end of the world! Could
they be right – is mankind headed for a global disaster of his own making?
While Bailey
struggles with that question and what she should do about it, Caleb, a man from
the group, becomes her dearest friend and the one person she can trust to love
and protect her. When things spiral out of control, will their bond be enough
to save the entire community, or will rival forces strip away all that they
have worked for at the time they need it most…

An End of the World adventure… 
 
 
 
BOXED SET – http://amzn.to/1OYVzuW
 

 

 

 

 
 
Anyone who knows me could tell you, I am a friendly kind of person, never met a stranger and take up conversations any where at any time. I work hard, and my mind never seems to shut down, as I wake up often in the middle of the night with ideas pouring out and demanding to be dealt with. Of course that means much of my books were written in the middle of the night. 
I grew up and still live in the great state of Texas where everything is bigger, where we have warm weather and a central location. I love my state, my town, and my family, which includes my four sons, my significant other, and many friends as well. 
I have thoroughly enjoyed writing the books that are currently available and hope you will enjoy reading them just as much. And of course, there will be many more stories to come.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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Saying Goodbye by Jennifer Reynolds

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Childhood sweethearts, Michael and Erica, thought they would have the prefect life together—the career, the house, the kids, the grandkids, the dying old holding each other’s hands. What they hadn’t planned for was for a car accident to take Michael’s life and leave Erica to face her future alone.
However, after discovering that Michael’s spirit has the ability to occasionally interact with the human world, they begin to wonder if they can’t make his presence on Earth permanent.
Although, with so many years gone by, can they reignite the flame that had fueled their teenage romance and more importantly can they live with the sacrifices they must make in order get back the future they lost?

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First Chapter 

“Do we really have to go to this stupid party?” Erica asked loud enough for her boyfriend, Michael, to hear on the other side of the door. She was unable to keep the whine out of her voice.

Standing in front of the mirror in the bathroom of Michael’s tiny apartment, Erica looked questioningly down at her Pirates of the Caribbean costume. She tugged on different sections of the outfit, trying to cover certain parts of her body without revealing others. Of course, Michael would have picked out the sexiest version of the costume he could find. Realizing that all of his frat brothers would be ogling her because of how much skin she was showing, she groaned.
Erica was supposed to be dressed as Elizabeth Swan, and surprisingly, she thought she pulled off the look. She didn’t think she would have worn anything like the outfit if Michael, her loving, doting, and sometimes piggish boyfriend, hadn’t picked it out for her. Michael was supposed to be in the other room putting on his Captain Jack costume.
“He had better be wearing the costume,” she muttered to herself. “If I leave this bathroom and he hasn’t changed, I’m going to strangle him.” The dressing up for the party had been Michael’s idea not hers. She had suggested they stay home and veg that Halloween, but her words had fallen on deaf ears. Despite her annoyance with the costume, she had to admit, she looked good even if she felt like a fool.
The costumes had cost a pretty penny to rent, and she had protested getting them; even more so when he told her he wanted the two of them to wear them to the frat party where they would definitely get stained or ripped or something worse. They would end up having to pay even more money for them, which was a whole other reason she didn’t want to wear the thing.
“My house is throwing the party, I have to go,” Michael said from the other room. His tone showed his annoyance at having to have the conversation again. He loved her, she knew he did, and she could tell she was hurting him by not wanting to go, but she didn’t think she could wear the outfit in public.
“But you don’t live with them,” she said, not at all helping her case. “I bet they won’t even notice we aren’t there.”
On that Halloween, Michael was a senior at the local university and majoring in business. His parents owned a small chain of pizza and sub shops spanning the northwest corner of the state. He had split his senior year, taking only half the classes he would have normally taken that semester, and taking the other classes the next semester, so that he could help with his parents’ newest restaurant. Because he spent so much time there, he had gotten his own apartment close to it, so that he could walk home from the restaurant after they closed to clean up and crash or study.
“All of them may not, but I promised Kevin and Travis I would be there, so I have to show. Come on, Erica, it won’t be that bad.” They both knew it would be…for her at least. She loathed such situations and gatherings, and he knew it and only asked her to attend a few a year. She loved him more than she hated them, so she went to make him happy.
Kevin and Travis were his childhood best friends. Erica had grown up with the boys as well, but they were his friends not hers. They were second in line under Erica on Michael’s “most important people in his life beside his parents and younger sister” list. Erica was first, of course. She had known him as long as Kevin and Travis, but when she and Michael had started dating in the tenth grade, she surpassed them in importance.
“Yes, it will, but fine, we’ll go, but can we please leave before midnight? I have to open the drive-thru window in the morning,” she begged while arranging and rearranging her outfit, and procrastinating about leaving the bathroom.
The bank she worked at was a decent place to work, and she wanted to stay in their good graces. She wasn’t one of those people who knew what they wanted to do when they grew up. She’d thought about a number of different occupations, even tried a few of them, but nothing seemed right for her. When her mom saw that she was excelling in all of her math classes at the university and had a healthy understanding of computers, she called her best friend, Stacy, the bank manager at First Union, and asked if she had a position open.
Stacy said she did, but it was only part time and the shifts were the ones that no one wanted. The bank was trying out some new things. One of which was staying open later on weekdays. This meant that Erica worked the four to eight shift four days a week and the eight to noon shift on Saturdays, giving her nineteen hours a week at minimum wage with a possible raise in six months and full time employment the next time a position became available. She’d been there for three months at that time, and Stacy seemed happy with her work, though no one appeared to be leaving anytime soon, to Erica’s dismay.
Erica was still taking classes, but only until Stacy hired her on full time and a bigger raise went into effect. College wasn’t for her, and her parents knew it. The only reason they were continuing to pay her tuition was because they wanted her to have as much of an education as possible, and they knew she would put forth as much effort as she could into the math, English, and art classes she was taking. If she actually graduated before a full-time position became available, then so be it.
Michael growled at her request to leave early, but didn’t argue—he didn’t agree either. Erica knew exactly what would happen. He would bring her home at midnight, stay with her for about a half an hour until she grew sleepy, then he would use his charms to convince her to let him go back to the party, which she would do because she thought he was that cute. Also, if she didn’t relent, he would sulk all night, and she wouldn’t get much sleep anyway.
“Fine,” he eventually said when she didn’t say another word or come out of the bathroom. “Now, will you please come on?” She could hear him pacing anxiously back and forth across the short room.
“I look ridiculous,” she said, looking at herself in the mirror one last time, wishing she had gone with him to the costume shop to pick out something else and wishing she had more confidence in herself to wear the costume. She looked good, or at least she thought she did, but she feared that others would make fun of her. She was too old to be that self-conscious, but years spent as a chubby child with braces and glasses had made her unsure of herself, despite all the love and attention Michael showered over her.
“I’m sure you don’t. That’s the hottest costume I saw at the rental place, and you’re the hottest woman I know, both of those things mean you’ll be the hottest woman at the party.” His voice was so clear that she knew he was outside the door.
“Kiss ass,” she said, exiting the bathroom with a happy grin on her face. He knew just what to say to make her smile.
He whistled loudly and came off the edge of the bed where he had plopped when he heard the doorknob turn. “Now, that’s what I’m talking about.” He took a step toward her, then looked down at his watch and swore.
“We aren’t going to be that late,” she said, annoyed at his impatience. It was only six-thirty and the party didn’t officially start until seven, but most people wouldn’t be there until at least eight or nine. Only Michael and his friends would be there on time, and that was just to get to the food before everyone else got there.
Michael’s parents always sent over a bunch of food for the boys before these big parties. They knew the guys would drink, so they hoped filling them with food would keep them from getting too drunk. There were always snacks at the party, as well, but they tried to be there for the real stuff.
“It isn’t that,” he said, stepping up to her and wrapping her in his arms. “Seeing you that way has made me all tingly in my nether region. I really want to have my way with you before we go.”
“Oh no, you are so not getting me out of this getup until the end of the night. Besides, you’re the one who insisted that we go to this party, so we’re going to this thing. Get off me,” she said, half-heartedly pushing him off her with a laugh to stop him from going any further was his kisses, which were already trailing down her neck and making her head fuzzy.
“Okay, okay, let’s go. The sooner we get there, the sooner we can leave,” he said, throwing his hands up and backing away a bit, though the leering expression on his face told her what he wanted to do.
“Are you really that eager to get back home?” she said teasingly, turning at the door to look at him. “You’ve been waiting for this party all week. It’s all you’ve been talking about.”
“Shut up. I know I have, but I want you more than I want to be with my friends,” he said, reaching out to grab her behind. She jerked out of his way and flung open the front door.
Erica made a mental note to herself to purchase the costume and wear it whenever he wanted to go somewhere she didn’t want to go. She wondered if it would be a good enough distraction to get her out of having to sit through hours and hours of watching football on television.
“You need help,” she said, laughing and walking out into the hall.
He flung the lock on the door and chased her down the hall, out of the building, and down the street. She laughed as they passed a young woman pushing a stroller. The woman turned to watch them as Michael caught up with Erica, grabbed her from behind, lifted her into the air, and started tickling her. The woman’s two-year-old daughter giggled and pointed at them. The momentum of Erica trying to get away from him while laughing spun them on the spot, and Erica saw the wistful look on the mother’s face.

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Author Bio

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Jennifer’s full name is Jennifer Lynn Powell Reynolds, and she is a thirty-four year old native of North Alabama. She is newly married. She and her husband, Russell Reynolds, tied the knot on Friday, September 13, 2013.
Jennifer has a Master of Fine Arts degree from National University and a Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of North Alabama.
Writing has always been a large part of her life. In high school, her local newspaper published a large number of her poems, and she won numerous poetry and short stories awards. Since high school, she has worked on a number of different projects, but her focus has mainly been on acquiring her degrees.
She finished the first draft of her first novel, a post-apocalyptic piece titled Alone, around the time she graduated with her B.A. Since then, she has written numerous other novels, short stories, and poems.
Aside from spending her days immersed in the fictional worlds she creates, she works part time at Stained Glass Artistry and as a freelance developmental editor, copy editor, production coordinator, and eBook coordinator for a number of publishing companies.