Today is our tour stop for GIRL CODE. Check out this sweet contemporary anthology and grab your copy today!
About Girl Code:
Four best friends struggle with decisions that affect their lives, their hearts, and their futures. As sisters, they embrace the Girl Code.
Josephine "Joey" Lockhart escapes her past, herself and her home town of Pearl, Ohio to Florida after high school. Years later, she meets a man that refuses to let her hide behind her camera lens and encourages her out of her shell. Will he be the one to push her to feel for the first time?
After seven years in drug hell, detoxing Juliette "Juls" Carrington returns to her hometown Pearl to attend her grandmother's burial. Once more rejected by her family, she has a swim in a pond nearby when a mysterious camper, an ex-drunk, coaxes her to come to his hut in the woods. Together they must fight their inner demons for a chance to love...and live.
Selena Bodine escaped into the United States Air Force to leave behind a painful past and the one man who she refused to let herself love. Years later, an urgent call from her father brings her back to Pearl, Ohio and face to face with the man she still loves. But will the secret that Cullen is investigating her threaten their second chance?
Laydi Michaels has been running away from her past and bad memories for years. Finding herself wasn’t an easy task, but she’s managed to finally get to a point to where she wants to be. Only to wake up married to her boss….who fired her the night before. Wrapped in a case that puts her life in danger, and dealing with a grave situation back home in Pearl, Laydi figures out she wasn’t close to finding herself, and now, she’s risked everything.
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She strolled around the edge of the barn, taking in the beauty of the property. Hundred-year-old oak trees surrounded it, filled in by thousands of slash pines that shaded the various shrubs from the autumn sun. She clicked several shots of the colorful sky and turned the camera on the big red barn, nicked and faded from years of enduring the Florida sun and heat, capturing it from various angles.
She squatted for a shot. Her cell buzzed in the back pocket of her jeans, indicating an incoming text. Instantly, her pulse kicked in her throat. Perspiration misted her brow. Letting the camera dangle around her neck by the strap, she rubbed her clammy hands on the front of her jeans.
Should she look at it? It could be one of her “sisters” from back home trying to catch up with her. She hadn’t spoken to any of the girls in over a week. She missed them like crazy.
It could also be her boss, making sure the wedding photography was going off without a hitch.
Of course, it could be her mother informing her of the results of Daddy’s latest test. After all these years of drinking to the bottom of every whiskey or bourbon bottle he could put his hands on, his liver had finally waved the white flag. He’d been in and out of the hospital for testing the last several weeks. None of the results were positive and she dreaded getting the message of more bad news.
There had been a time when she was daddy’s little girl. He’d let her curl in his lap to watch Sesame Street or the evening news or take her for piggyback rides in their backyard. He’d drank during that time. She remembered the pungent smell of whiskey on his breath, but he’d still desired to be home with them and he hadn’t been so angry. She’d come to learn that’s what people called a functioning alcoholic. Around the time she turned five or six, something happened. She didn’t quite know what it was, but he lost interest in her and her mother entirely, and his moods shifted. It had broken her heart—it still did. Now he was sick and the doctors weren’t certain his liver would recover.
She exhaled long and slowly, trying to regain her composure. Even though she’d never classify her relationship with her father as close or strong, tears welled at the thought of him sick or suffering.
On the other hand and as big of a reason not to check her phone, it could be the anonymous creep that had been texting her for the past seven days. Always a number she didn’t recognize. Always a comment on what she wore, her location, or activities. Someone had their eyes on her. She’d felt it for days—a prickly sensation down the spine that came with the awareness when someone was watching her. The constant urge to look over her shoulder. The texts just confirmed it.
Regardless of who it was, she had to check it. What if it was about Daddy? Even with her anger at him for the years of emotional abuse and absenteeism, he was still her father. A part of her longed to be daddy’s little girl again. She stood, tugged her phone out of her pocket, and tapped her password. An unrecognizable number floated on the screen, and Joey squeezed her eyes shut briefly.
I see u!
Sucking in a breath, she jerked her head up and scanned her surroundings. A good seventy-five yards of grass separated her from the edge of the wooded area, but even at that distance, the hair on her neck stood.
Her stomach roiled with nerves and her skin itched like it had for the last week whenever she’d received the prior texts. Keeping her focus on the wooded area, she scooted backward toward the barn until the rough wood scraped against her skin exposed by her sleeveless shirt.
She glanced around the perimeter of the property again. Why her? Why was someone bothering her? She kept to herself. Some might even call her a loner. She had a handful of friends. Her presence in Florida these last seven years had been under the radar. She didn’t go clubbing or barhopping or socialize much at all, except for Talon and one or two acquaintances she’d kept from school. She hadn’t been involved with a man since college and she graduated three years ago. Her main contact with the world around her was on assignment for work. She couldn’t recall anyone in the last several weeks that had struck her as strange, creepy, or worrisome. Whoever this was had turned her simple existence into a rollercoaster ride.
Something moved beyond the brush. Her breath hitched. The crack of a branch under the weight of something heavy splintered over the soft sound of dinner music. Her heart raced. Her grip on her phone tightened. Panic seeped into her veins.
“Joey,” a rough voice barked next to her, and if she could have jumped from her skin, she would have left it like the molting black racer snake did on her patio earlier in the week. Her vision blurred. Her chest vibrated with the fierce beat of her heart. Fear of coming face-to-face with the unknown overtook and everything faded to black.
About the Authors:
DC Stone:DC Stone has over sixteen years of investigative experience, including working as a criminal investigator in the United States military anda private investigator. Currently, she works as an internal affairs investigator by day and a romantic suspense author by night. She has her Master’s degree in Criminal Justice and is dubbed, “The Investigative Whisper. “Commonly called upon to act as an expert witness, she also trains with local, state, and federal law enforcement officers. She provides numerous workshops that help authors gain insight into “digging” into a character’s mind to better understand motives, create suspense, and help maintain conflict. When she isn’t trying to solve a new puzzle in the world offraud, she is engulfed with coffee, her laptop, and all those crazy characters in her head. She is a member of the Romance Writers of America, Hudson Valley Romance Writers, RomVets, RWA Kiss of Death, and the Liberty State Fiction Writers. She served as the 2014 Vice President and Conference Chair for NJRW. Find her on Facebook, Twitter, or her at www.authordcstone.com.
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Cait Jarrod:From writing ‘every girl’s dream heroes’ to ‘strong, down-to-earth heroines,’ Cait Jarrod twists ‘cliff hanging plots’ and ‘clever, unpredictable sub-plots’. She loves diving into a good book as much as she loves writing one. Mother of three gorgeous daughters, she’s married to her best friend, hangs out with a great group of women—the WWC, and loves a good glass of wine.
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Lea Bronsen:Lea Bronsen likes her reads fast, hot, and edgy, and strives to give her own stories the same intensity. After venturing into dirty inner-city crime drama with her debut novel Wild Hearted, she divides her writing time between psychological thriller, romantic suspense, and erotic contemporary romance.
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Jessica is a born and raised small town Ohio girl, who moved to the Sunshine State after graduating from college. She graduated with a bachelor's degree in English because she could not imagine doing anything else but reading and writing. In the journey of life, she obtained her law degree (and bar license) and also became a wife and a mother of three children. So, life is always an adventure. She loves to read and write... obviously! She’s a huge sports fan, especially college football and The Ohio State Buckeyes! Go Steelers! Go Rays! Go Lightning! She LOVES to travel... LOVES, LOVES, LOVES to travel. She loves to drink coffee in the morning and tea at night! She loves a good glass of wine, especially if it comes from a bottle made by the FOOLS wine club… yep, she’s a founding member of that crazy group! She loves hanging out with her family and friends! Music makes her happy. She’s a mix between country girl and city chic. She’s a sucker for a cowboy hat!