Saturday, July 31, 2021
Title: Only You
Series: Second Chance Omegas #1
Author: Willa Okati
Publisher: Changeling Press LLC
Release Date: July 30, 2021
Heat Level: 4 - Lots of Sex
Genre: Romance, paranormal, urban fantasy, sex/gender shifters & mpreg, second chances, action adventure
Second Chance -- a small town where anything can happen -- and does.
Once upon a time, a eighteen year old Alpha named Alex fell in love with a pretty Omega boy from the wrong side of the tracks. Zachary was everything he’d ever wanted -- sweet, sassy, and sexy as hell. Alex would have married that boy and raised baby after baby with him -- if Zachary hadn’t run away when Alex popped the question.
Alex doesn’t give up easily. When a train derails on its way to Alex’s hometown, he’s finally got another shot at the one who got away, and he’s not going to waste it. Now he’s got Zachary in his sights, and he’s never letting go again.
It killed Zachary to let Alex go the first time. He loved that man as much as Alex loved him, and he’s never fallen out of love, but he left to give Alex his best chance at living his best life. Zachary can’t -- won’t -- be sorry for that, no matter what it cost him.
Stranded in Second Chance with nowhere else to go and no way to get there, Zachary’s got no choice but to accept the help and shelter Alex offers. The chemistry’s still there. The desire. The connection. The yearning. But when the secrets they’ve both been keeping come to light, will they shatter their bond for keeps, or bring them together in a forever kind of love?
All rights reserved.
Copyright ©2021 Willa Okati
“As much of it as you can fit in a cup. No cream but double the sugar. Please.”
The train attendant shook his head, but with a smile and a finger briefly pressed to his lips as he passed over not one but two Styrofoam cups filled to the brim. He was an Omega too, in his mid-thirties by the look of him, and he wore a black jet widower’s ring instead of a wedding band. Things weren’t much easier for the widowed than the unmated or separated. He understood.
Zach took a grateful gulp, not caring that the coffee was hot enough to scald his throat, and asked, “How far behind schedule are we?” Stretching his legs at the next station would do him good; they ached when he stayed still for too long.
“About half an hour, at this point."
Wishing wouldn’t make the wheels turn faster, but with nothing to look at outside in the dark, Zach adjusted his position so he could get a better view of the passengers in his car. Like most Omegas, he wasn’t very tall. Some new folks had gotten on and others disembarked while he’d dozed, and he liked wondering what their stories were. Two young Alphas who acted like frat bros; interesting, they weren’t the usual size for Alphas, but small and compact and they weren’t at each other’s throats but laughed and joked like best friends. A couple that had to be recently married from the way they could barely resist climbing all over each other; an Omega with a contented smile, probably on his way back home, and --
Zach’s heart jumped into his throat and wedged stuck there even around the burn of his beverage. Three rows ahead, dark wheat-blond hair and a profile almost as familiar as his own turned to smile at the attendant as he refused their offer of coffee. It couldn’t be, it couldn’t be, he hadn’t seen that profile since he was eighteen, but -- He’d changed -- well, he’d grown up, the way everyone did, the bones of his face maturing from soft boyish cuteness to strong, masculine definition. A short beard, trimmed and shaped, that suited his strong, stubborn jaw. The kind of casual suit that would have cost the equivalent of a month’s rent in Manhattan. Elegant hands with sturdy knuckles and deft fingers, and a smile that lit up the train.
He did and didn’t look a thing like the boy Zach remembered but it was, it was, it was him.
Zach would have known him anywhere, even if he’d shaved his head and started scowling instead of smiling. If he closed his eyes, he could feel those hands on the bare skin of memory. After all, you never forgot your first.
“I love you. And I know you love me too.”
He should stop staring. Alex would sense it any second now, and he might look around, and --
His gaze drifted back up, drawn like a moth to a flame.
Alex. Oh, Alex.
Zach’s body twitched with the first pangs of arousal, wanting what he’d had once upon a time. He remembered it all, and he remembered it perfectly. He dreamed about it, when he slept. The taste of Alex’s skin, the softness and hardness of his mouth and how his eagerness had nearly rubbed the insides of Zach’s thighs raw. The fullness, almost too much and too tight, when he slid inside Zach.
“I love you. And I know you love me too.”
Anger slowly took alarm and unhappiness’s place – anger, and frustration with himself. Zach should have sensed this train was to be avoided. Dodged. Something! And Alex, sitting there as if he didn’t have a care in the world – it was everything Zach had wanted for him, the entire reason he’d left Alex in the first place, but seeing it in the flesh opened all those old wounds back up and made them bleed afresh. The pain from that moment of saying no to what Alex had offered with all his big, warm heart cut sharper than any knife – but he’d had to. You didn’t do that to your first boyfriend, did you? Take him up on a marriage proprosal and tie him down to a shitty life based on a few promises made in the afterglow?
He’d done the right thing by saying no, leaving, and giving Alex his freedom. Zach knew that. Was sure of it. Even if none of that had ever made him feel any better about it.
They must have been traveling farther and faster than Zach had realized, or he was more out of it than he’d known. Between one blink and the next the train’s PA system crackled to far-too-loud life again, announcing they’d reach their next station at Second Chance in ten minutes. Second Chance? What kind of name was that for a town?
Alex looked up at the speaker, nodded in an absent sort of way, and stood to open the overhead compartment. He took out a bulging messenger bag and slung it over his shoulder and stuffed a pair of thick gloves and a warm knit hat in the pockets of his coat. This would be his stop.
Zach caught his lip between his teeth, torn between – it was pure foolishness, the idea of going to him -- and sanity, staying right where he was.
Let it go.
Zach would have, really he would. But as Alex walked past him – always so eager to do things, that one; he would start heading for the exits before the train had even come to a halt -- he only made it two steps past Zach’s seat before he stopped. As Zach’s heart sank down past the pit of his stomach he saw Alex pause, then turn to look back.
He stopped, just like Zach had, blank with surprise. “Do I know you?”
Zach held his breath. Could he lie? Yes, but this new, matured Alex would have the life experience not to believe him, and he hadn’t changed nearly as much as Alex had. He opened his mouth, but nothing came out.
“I do know you. I know your face,” Alex said. His voice had matured with the rest of him as he aged, going from sweet to firm with a raspy vocal fry on the edges. “Zach?”
Meet the AuthorWilla Okati (AKA Will) is made of many things: imagination, coffee, stray cat hairs, daydreams, more coffee, kitchen experimentation, a passion for winter weather, a little more coffee, a whole lot of flowering plants and a lifelong love of storytelling. Will's definitely one of the quiet ones you have to watch out for, though he -- not she anymore -- is a lot less quiet these days.
Hope, Healing, and a Life in Transplant
Medical Non Fiction
Date Published: 05-11-2021
Publisher: Post Hill Press
Exhale is the riveting memoir of a top transplant doctor who rode the emotional rollercoaster of saving and losing lives—until it was time to step back and reassess his own life.
David Weill is the former Director of the Center for Advanced Lung Disease and the Lung Transplant Program at Stanford. He is currently the Principal of Weill Consulting Group, which focuses on improving the delivery of transplant care.
Dr. Weill’s writing has appeared in the Wall Street Journal, Salon, Newsweek, the Chicago Tribune, STAT, and the Washington Post. He also has been interviewed on CNN and by the New York Times, the San Francisco Chronicle, and the Wall Street Journal.
He lives with his wife and two daughters in New Orleans.
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✱✱Book Review✱✱ INVESTIGATOR Harlequin Series Summer Blog Tour for Guarding Colton's Child by Lara Lacombe
To keep her family safe
He’ll risk everything, even his heart…
After losing his family, Dr. Stavros Makris could never imagine trusting again. So when Desiree Colton rushes her toddler, Danny, to the ER, Stavros must keep things professional with mother and son. But then a kidnapper targets Danny, and Stavros lets down his guard, forging an unbreakable bond with Desiree. As sparks fly between them, they work against the clock to protect the little boy from a criminal closing in…
Buy Guarding Colton's Child by Lara Lacombe!
Stavros tapped his knuckles lightly on the door in announcement and entered the room. He was greeted by the sight of a woman sitting on the gurney, rocking back and forth as she held a boy in her arms. She looked up as he entered the room, and when their eyes met, Stavros felt a little shock jolt through his body.
He knew this woman. But how?
Feeling flustered, he frowned slightly as he studied her face, wishing he’d taken a look at the chart first. “Hi, I’m Dr. Makris. What’s going on tonight?” Even though the nurse had given him a report of the pertinent information, he always liked to have his patients, or their parents, tell their story again, so he could hear the tone of their voice and see their expressions. Sometimes, the way someone moved or what they didn’t say was just as important as their symptoms.
“Danny woke up about an hour ago with a high fever,” the mother said. “I tried to get him to drink water, but he refused. The night nurse at his doctor’s office said to bring him straight here.”
Stavros heard the fear in the woman’s voice; it was clear she was scared for her baby. Empathy swelled in his chest. He remembered all too well what it had felt like to hold a feverish child, to fret and worry over every little cough or sniffle. He’d thought his medical training would give him some much-needed perspective when it came to his daughter’s health, but if anything, the opposite had happened. He’d been so aware of the worst-case scenario, of all the things that could go wrong. He’d been the one to call the pediatrician for every little thing, his wife standing in the background trying to calm him down.
“Tell me about Danny,” Stavros said. He kept his voice level and calm, and walked Danny’s mother through the questions that would help him make his diagnosis.
She didn’t hesitate to answer him, and based on her detailed responses, Stavros could tell she was an attentive mother.
“All right,” he said. “Let’s see if your little guy will let me examine him.” Stavros already had a presumptive diagnosis in mind, but he always performed a physical exam to confirm his suspicions.
The toddler’s mother gently turned her son, and Stavros got his first good look at the boy’s face. “I know you!” The words flew from his mouth before he realized he was speaking.
Her expression turned guarded. “Oh?”
Stavros realized he’d put his foot in it, but there was nothing to be done for that now. He nodded. “I…uh…I helped look for your son a few months ago, after he was taken from the hotel.”
“You did?” Stavros heard the relief in her voice, noticed the way her body relaxed now that he’d explained his reaction.
“Yeah. I joined a search party after my shift that night.”
“Oh, wow,” she replied. “That was very kind of you.
I’m sorry I didn’t recognize you. I didn’t get a chance to thank all the people who helped look for Danny.”
Stavros waved away her gratitude. He didn’t want to tell her that he’d had to do it—he’d been driven by the memories of his own daughter’s kidnapping. As soon as he’d heard another child was in the same kind of jeopardy, he hadn’t hesitated. He’d jumped in his car at the end of his shift and headed to the hotel, needing to help in some way. Logically, he knew he’d been trying to save this boy the way he hadn’t been able to save his daughter. But at the time, he’d been ruled by emotions and the desperate desire to make a difference. Finding Danny wouldn’t bring Sammy back—he’d known that. But he wouldn’t have been able to live with himself if he hadn’t at least tried.
About the Author
Lara Lacombe is a recovering research scientist turned college professor who now spends her days writing and wrangling a toddler. She lives in Texas with her family and two entitled cats, and loves chocolate and her Crock Pot. She uses Facebook to procrastinate--stop by Lara Lacombe Books if you'd like to chat!
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Southern Gothic, Mystery, Paranormal Women’s Fiction
Published: July 2021
Publisher: Zimbell House Publishing
The Whitfield Estate is hidden deep in the Big Thicket outside of Soda, Texas. This reclusive family brood amassed their oil and timber fortune over four generations, and now that it’s been done, they have become painfully aware of how isolated and broken they are as a family.
Tessa Nettles, fresh from college, is hired as the estate manager. But her main role is to help the youngest Whitfield, Caroline, have a more normal life. She has been cloistered away at Whitfield for the whole of her first fourteen years. Now, her oldest brother, Grayson, wants to make a happier life for her than he and his brother, Travis, had.
But first, what will he do about the strange lights that fall from the sky over the Trinity River, and their connection with the mysterious voices at the end of the road, the voices of entities that have secretly been Caroline’s only friends her whole life? But are these ghostly entities dangerous? And will they want Tessa gone from Whitfield?
Will Old Gullah Woman and Preacher Man be allowed to stay on in the rundown river cabin, stirring up the waters and calling down the mysterious lights? Or will the Whitfield matriarch run them off, even after their Gullah potions kept her husband alive two years longer than the doctors could have?
And will Tessa bring harmony to the estate, or set off a competition between the brothers that has the potential to destroy the Whitfields completely?
Other books in the Ghosts of the Big Thicket Southern Gothic Mystery Series Include:
Ghosts of the Big Thicket, Book One
The Girls of Cemetery Road
Ghosts of the Big Thicket, Book Two
About The Author
She holds a degree from Howard Payne University and had taught English and Music, and has been a member of NEA, TSTA, and TETA. She was a statewide officer and conference speaker with TETA (Texas English Teachers Association). She has run her own children’s party and event planning business, Parties by Twyla, as well as Remembrances Antiques and Gifts in the Houston area. She is certified in computer graphic design and free-lances in her spare time.
Nothing makes her happier than road trips with her family to interesting old Texas towns. She loves church, antiquing, fossil hunting with her husband and sons (they hunt, she writes), Big Bend, the Alamo (don’t all Texans?), exploring deserted buildings with a camera, and especially, the Big Thicket of deep East Texas.
If she had to give you a one-sentence bio of herself, she would probably say, “That obnoxiously joyful, hug-driven, southern relative that you’d like to hide in the attic, just might be me.”
✱✱Book Review✱✱ INVESTIGATOR Harlequin Series Summer Blog Tour for Cold Case True Crime by Denise N. Wheatley
True crime is her beat.
But this cold case is personal…
Samantha Vincent has turned her fascination with true crime into a popular blog. When an old friend asks her to investigate a murder the police couldn’t solve, she begins to suspect that the cops want this case to go cold. Sam is confident she’ll catch the killer when Detective Gregory Harris agrees to help her, but everything changes when she becomes a target…
Buy Cold Case True Crime by Denise N. Wheatley!
Samantha Vincent flinched when the coffee shop door slammed shut behind her. She stared down the dark, vacant street in search of her car—she hadn’t realized she’d parked so far away.
The temperature had dropped severely since she’d arrived at the café. There was now a stinging chill in the night air. She set out toward the sidewalk, tightening her houndstooth-patterned scarf in an effort to block the wind as it whistled eerily past her ears.
Samantha had spent the day working on her popular true crime cold case blog, Someone Knows Something, and time had gotten away from her. By now, businesses were closed and most residents of small-town Gattenburg, Illinois, had retired for the evening.
A frigid breeze whipped through her golden-brown bob and blew open Samantha’s black wool peacoat, sending unsettling shivers throughout her entire body. But it wasn’t just the icy climate that had unnerved her.
She was still rattled by an email she’d received from Ava Jennings, an old high school friend whose family Samantha had grown close to after spending countless days at their home during her teenage years. In her message, Ava pleaded with Samantha to investigate her brother Jacob’s mysterious death, which police had just officially stated was cold with no leads.
Tree branches scraped against dim streetlights that barely illuminated the road. Samantha glanced down at the ground, her lone shadow a stark reminder that she was unaccompanied in the unnerving darkness. Moments like these brought on paranoid thoughts of all the unsolved cases she worked so hard to crack. Many of those victims found themselves in her exact same position seconds before their demise—isolated and vulnerable.
Samantha pushed those disturbing thoughts out of her mind and hurried along the pavement. Her feet ached in her high-heeled boots. But in spite of the pain, she clenched her jaw and fought through it, anxious to get off the desolate street and inside her car.
Just when Samantha’s convertible appeared in the hazy distance, the sound of screeching tires pierced her eardrums.
She stopped abruptly. The vehicle’s engine emitted a menacing roar.
Samantha spun around, almost losing her footing. Bright yellow headlights blinded her squinted chestnut eyes. She inhaled sharply, watching while the black sedan crept toward her.
She curled her hands into tight fists and took a step back, her lean legs quivering in the wind. Remembering the mini stun gun she’d slipped into her back pocket, Samantha pulled it out and contemplated making a run for her car. But she was too afraid to turn her back on the man she presumed was behind the wheel.
About the Author
Denise N. Wheatley loves happy endings and the art of storytelling. Her novels run the romance gamut, and she strives to pen entertaining books that embody matters of the heart. She's an RWA member and holds a B.A. in English from the University of Illinois. When Denise isn't writing, she enjoys watching true crime tv and chatting with readers. Follow her on Instagram: @denise_wheatley_writer Twitter: @DeniseWheatley BookBub: @denisenwheatley Goodreads: Denise N. Wheatley
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Friday, July 30, 2021
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