Excerpt Included: Never Forgotten by Kelly Risser


NEVER FORGOTTEN by Kelly Risser

NEVER FORGOTTEN by Kelly Risser is an upcoming New Adult Paranormal Romance published by Clean Teen Publishing. This paranormal love story is scheduled to release on July 1, 2014


How can one day go so very wrong? One minute Meara Quinn is making plans for how she will spend the Summer before her senior year and the next she's finding out that her mother's cancer has returned and they are moving away from the only home she's ever known.

Now every day is a struggle as Meara is trying to cope with her mother's illness, being forced to move to another country to live with grandparents—whom she thought disowned her mother—and having weird visions of a father who was absent her entire life. Top it all off with one whopping secret that everyone seems bent on keeping from her, and Meara has the perfect ingredients for a major melt down. 

The only things keeping her from coming unglued are some new friends and Evan—the son of her mother's childhood friend—who seems to know Meara almost better than she knows herself. 

Together with Evan and her friends, Meara embarks on a new journey to unlock the secrets that will not only tell Meara who she is, but whatshe is.

All changes, even the most longed
for, have their melancholy; for what we leave behind us is a part of ourselves;
we must die to one life before we can enter another. 

-       Anatole France 

READ THE FIRST CHAPTER OF NEVER FORGOTTEN NOW:
Chapter 1

Present Day


"Meara, come visit the ranch. I’m sure Uncle Jake won’t mind.”

It was the second to last day of my junior year. I sat on the low, brick wall in front of Cedarburg High with my best friend, Kim. We were waiting for her boyfriend to pick her up. I didn’t care for Mark. I kept my opinion to myself, so I wouldn’t hurt Kim’s feelings.

Kim would be working at her uncle’s farm in Minnesota this summer. I was staying here. We wouldn’t see much of each other, unless I visited her.

“I don’t know, Kim,” I said. “I’m scheduled to work most of the summer at the shop.” My mom’s friend owned a sewing and fabric store in downtown Cedarburg, Wisconsin. Mom and I both worked there. Rebecca and Mom taught classes, made quilts, and ran the store. I maintained the website and worked the cash register.

“You could get away for a week or two,” Kim persisted. “Just ask your mom, Meara. You’ll never know unless you ask.”

“All right, I’ll ask!” I laughed at her scolding tone. I said it to appease her, but the idea was interesting. Why couldn’t Mom and Rebecca run the shop for a week or two without me? They did it during the school year.

“I’m heading home.” I stood up and walked down the sidewalk. Mark pulled up to the curb in his crappy, old truck. There was no point exchanging words with him, so I avoided eye contact.

“Don’t forget to ask!” Kim yelled after me.

I turned back and grinned. “Why do you think I’m leaving now?” My smile slipped when I noticed Mark eyeing a group of freshmen girls. He exchanged meaningful looks with a tall blond. I wouldn’t doubt if they hooked up at a party or something. Kim trusted him too much. When was she going to wake up and see him for the jerk he was?

“Mom? Hey, Mom, I’m home!” I yelled into the house as I always did, tossing my backpack on the bench in the front hall. When she didn’t respond, I figured she wasn’t home yet. Sometimes she stayed late to help Rebecca restock or change the window display. Heading to the kitchen to get a snack, I found Mom standing at the sink.

“What’s for dinner?” I asked and kissed her cheek. Not waiting for an answer, I took a carrot off the cutting board and opened the refrigerator. I was so preoccupied in my search for something tastier than a carrot, that it took me a few minutes to realize she hadn’t responded. I turned and looked at her. “Mom?”

She didn’t respond. She washed the same dish over and over, staring out the window. What was going on? My mom was many things, but a daydreamer wasn’t one of them. I walked over, placed my arm around her waist, and gave her a small squeeze.

“Meara!” She jumped and squealed. “You startled me. I didn’t even hear you come in.”

“Are you okay?” I asked. Her eyes were shadowed and sunken with dark circles. Mom never looked this exhausted. She was the most optimistic, dynamic person I knew. She exuded so much energy that she tired me out.

“Fine.” She wouldn’t meet my eyes. “Why do you ask?” “Because I’ve been talking to you, and you didn’t answer.” “Oh, sorry,” she said. “I didn’t hear you.”

“Or notice when I kissed your cheek,” I added.

She looked startled. “I guess I was lost in my own thoughts.”

I touched her arm. “What’s going on, Mom? You’re not acting like yourself.”

She smiled at me. My mom had a great smile, but this one worried rather than comforted me. It was fleeting, and it never reached her eyes. She touched my hair and motioned to a chair. “Honey, why don’t you sit down? I need to talk to you about something.”

Uh-oh. Whatever this was, it wasn’t good. Mom sat first and waited until I was seated. She took my hands in hers, holding them so tightly that it was painful. I resisted the urge to cry out or pull my hands away. She seemed to need the contact. We sat in silence while she clenched my hands, then she sighed and closed her eyes. Tears escaped in a trail down her cheeks.

“I saw Dr. Maxwell today.” Her voice was so quiet that it took me a moment to understand what she said.

“Dr. Maxwell?” I was confused. Dr. Maxwell was my mom’s oncologist; he treated her breast cancer five years ago. “Why didn’t you tell me you had an appointment today?”

She sighed and touched my cheek, “I didn’t want to scare you. I actually went in for some tests about a month ago, and he asked me to come back.”

I couldn’t believe that she kept this from me. “You’re okay, right?”

When she tried to smile, her lips just quivered. She shook her head and began to cry in earnest. Big, wet tears slid down her pale cheeks. “Meara, he said the cancer is back. Only this time, he found it in my intestines, liver, and kidneys. This new growth is aggressive. ‘Stage 4,’ Dr. Maxwell called it.”

I blinked back my own tears. While my mother, who was so strong, sobbed next to me, I thought about the first time she had cancer. I was in sixth grade, and the severity of her situation hadn’t sunk into my twelve-year-old brain. Mom had been so strong, first going through a lumpectomy and then enduring months of chemotherapy and radiation treatments. She lost her hair and got so thin. I remember feeling each individual rib in her back when I hugged her. It was agonizing to watch the person I loved most in the world wither away in front of me. Thankfully, the treatments took effect, and she slowly got better. The doctor gave her a clean bill of health a year after her original diagnosis.

“You can fight it, right?” I asked.

“Dr. Maxwell recommends slowing the growth with chemotherapy and radiation.” Mom composed herself a bit, wiping her eyes with the back of her hand. I followed her movements, and my eyes tracked the long, black streak her mascara left on her hand. After I handed her a napkin, she dabbed at her eyes and added, “He says surgery is not an option. It’s too far spread.”

“What does that mean?” I was angry now. Why would the doctor advise her not to operate?
 Mom took a deep breath, and I sensed how much it pained her to say these next words. “If they open me up, I might never heal. My prognosis is six months to two years, perhaps a little longer with intense treatment.”

It wasn’t what I expected to hear. The horror of it made me jump from my chair and bolt into her arms with gut-wrenching sobs. “Oh, Mom. I don’t want to lose you.”

“Oh, baby, and I don’t want to leave you.” Mom held me tight, and we clung to each other and cried. Her body shook as she sobbed. I held her as tight as I could. I hoped to give her comfort and take my own in return. When we couldn’t cry anymore, we simply sat together, each of us lost in our own miserable thoughts. After a while, Mom straightened up and pulled away. She wiped her face with another napkin.

“We’ll make the most of our time together, okay?” Mom touched my cheek. “And, I’ll do everything I can to fight this.”

“Okay.” Grabbing a napkin, I wiped my nose.

Mom patted my knee and stood up. “I’m turning in for the night.” I glanced at the clock. “It’s not even six, Mom.”

“I know,” she said. “But I’m exhausted.”

She looked at the vegetables on the cutting board and smiled apologetically at me. “I didn’t get too far with the dinner preparations. If you are hungry, there are leftovers in the fridge or lunchmeat.”

“I’ll be okay, Mom,” I said. “Thanks.” I stood and kissed her on the cheek. “I love you.”

“Love you too.”

Once she left for her room, I put the vegetables away. I took out a container of leftover chicken salad and a Diet Coke, going in the living room to flop down on my favorite recliner. Aiming the remote control at the TV, I mindlessly grazed through the channels. I couldn’t remember what was on that night. I barely noticed what I ate. I was seventeen years old, and my mom was all I had. What was I going to do?

NOT SURE IF YOU WANT TO READ NEVER FORGOTTEN?

A NOTE FROM KELLY RISSER:

10% of the first month's profits for Never Forgotten will be donated to Susan G. Komen.

Never Forgotten is a fantasy novel, but it deals with a very real issue. Early in the story, Meara learns that her mother’s cancer has returned. While I’d rather tell you that I didn’t draw inspiration from personal experiences, the truth is, I did. Shortly before my husband and I got married, my mother-in-law (MIL) was diagnosed with breast cancer. It was hard to watch her fight for her life. Her hair fell out, and she became so thin. I remember hugging her and feeling every bone in her back. It was the first time I’d seen a human body in such a fragile state.

My MIL had an amazingly positive outlook. She lived to find joyous moments in the ordinary. She kept a journal, traveled, and visited with friends. The cancer went into remission. Unfortunately, it returned five years later, this time in her abdomen and surrounding organs. With a diagnosis of six months to two years, she passed away within two months, just shy of her 60th birthday. Her name was Sharon.

Yes, Meara’s mom is named after her. It’s one small way for me to keep her memory alive. The other way I want to do this requires your help. We all know the statistics about breast cancer, but I want to stress the important role you play in your health. The year prior to her first diagnosis, my MIL had a mammogram and a spot showed in the screening. Her doctor told her it was small, probably nothing. He would follow up in twelve months. She took his word and waited. When she went in for the second mammogram, it had grown tremendously. A biopsy proved it was cancer. Had she pushed for a biopsy right away, she might still be here today. With a year to grow, the cancer moved into too many of her lymph nodes.

My message to women is this—if you are a man, please share this message with the women close to you: do regular self-exams, starting now. You’re never too young or too old. If you're 40 years old or have a family history of cancer, get regular mammograms. Don’t be afraid to push for your health. If something doesn’t sound right or you have questions, speak up! Yes, doctors are professionals, but they’re human, too. We all make mistakes. Last, support cancer research. It will only be through research that we will ever find answers to fight this disease that takes so many.
                                               


ABOUT KELLY RISSER:
Kelly Risser knew at a young age what she wanted to be when she grew up. Unfortunately, Fairytale Princess was not a lucrative career. Leaving the castle and wand behind, she entered the world of creative business writing where she worked in advertising, marketing, and training at various companies.

She's often found lamenting, "It's hard to write when there's so many good books to read!" So, when she's not immersed in the middle of someone else's fantasy world, she's busy creating one of her own. This world is introduced in her first novel, Never Forgotten. Never Forgotten, a YA/NA Fantasy, will be released by Clean Teen Publishing in the Summer of 2014.

Kelly lives in Wisconsin with her husband and two children. They share their home with Clyde the Whoodle and a school of fish.

 


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$25 Giveaway to celebrate the Brand new covers for Lancaster House and The Middle Aisle


COVER REVEAL!
Brand new covers for Lancaster House and The Middle Aisle!
~A paranormal romance series by Taylor Dean~



I love my OLD covers. (Pictured on the left.) I really do. They're different from the norm and that's why they captured my attention.
For Lancaster House, I liked the idea of a hand reaching out from the grave. It seemed appropriate to the story; Andre reaches out to Zoe from beyond the grave. It was Carrie-like and kind of creepy.

There's just one problem.
This is not a horror novel. Not at all. This is a paranormal romance. People who like horror are drawn to the cover and are sadly disappointed when they realize it's a romance.

People who love paranormal romance are turned off by the cover because it looks too creepy.

In other words, the cover just wasn't working.



I love The Middle Aisle cover because it matched Lancaster House so perfectly. And part of the story takes place in Monterey, California. Monterey is known for its Cypress trees. The tree on the cover of The Middle Aisle reminded me of a Cypress tree and seemed perfect.

But, if the right people aren't reading the first book, no one will ever read the second one no matter what the cover looks like!

Bam! Decision made!

It was time for new covers for Lancaster House and The Middle Aisle! I love the new covers because they speak so perfectly as to what's on the inside.







Without further ado, here they are, the new covers!




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Lancaster House


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Lancaster House


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Author Taylor Dean

Taylor Dean lives in Texas and is the mother of four grown children. Upon finding herself with an empty nest, she began to write the stories that were always wandering around in her head, quickly finding she had a passion for writing, specifically romance. Whether it’s paranormal, contemporary, or suspense—you’ll find all sub-genres of clean romance in her line-up.



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Excerpt Included: The Power to See by Jennifer Anne Davis

THE POWER TO SEE by Jennifer Anne Davis
Genre: New Adult Romantic Suspense
Release Date: May 23, 2014



At first glance, twenty-two-year-old Brianna’s life seems perfect. But she harbors a deadly secret—her father is the leader of a ruthless drug cartel. Brianna struggles to find her place in a world her father meticulously controls, and believes she is nothing but a pawn in her father’s deadly games. 

After graduating from college with an enormous debt, Dominic finds himself lured by money and power into a job that appears too good to be true. He doesn’t realize he works for a drug cartel until he’s in too deep. Trying to keep his family safe, he takes a deal offered by Brianna’s father and agrees to marry Brianna while continuing to work for the cartel. 

Brianna and Dominic must rely on one another as their lives become further entwined in the lethal drug world. When Dominic discovers a deadly secret, he begins to question everything and turns to Brianna for support. However, Brianna’s heart belongs to another man—an undercover DEA agent. 

The DEA closes in on the drug cartel, forcing Brianna and Dominic to choose sides, igniting a battle between family loyalty, love, and survival. Brianna soon realizes that she may be the only person capable of bringing down her father’s empire—if she can find a way to outsmart the master manipulator, without losing herself, and her heart, in the process.



READ AN EXCERPT:
There was a soft knock on her door. Matt popped his head in, making her flush. As much as she fought against it, Brianna had to admit, Matt was hot. She hadn’t seen him since their dinner the other night. There was something different about him from other men she’d known. She liked that Matt was intelligent and highly sought after in the law field. Even though he was confident, he wasn’t cocky, and there was something gentle about him. She couldn’t put her finger on it, but she liked that he seemed interested in getting to know her. It was a refreshing change. Of course, it was also nice that Matt was untouched by her father.

“Do you have any plans for the weekend?” he asked, giving her a half smile.

“Nothing too exciting. I have a lot to do before we meet with the judge on Monday.”

“Well, you can’t work all weekend, so I have a proposition for you.” Matt walked in and sat on the edge of Brianna’s desk, pulling two tickets from his shirt pocket. “I’m taking you to a baseball game Saturday night.”

Did he just ask her out? Was Matt interested in her? This wasn’t good. Why couldn’t Matt be married or unattractive? Why did she have to meet him now? “I don’t know,” she managed to say.

“You owe me a dinner,” Matt reminded her, the dimple in his cheek showing.

“I can’t.” She really wanted to, but her father would never approve.

Matt raised his eyebrows. “I’m not asking you out on a date, so don’t get all defensive. I’m simply asking you to a baseball game, and it’s work related if that makes you feel any better.” He leaned in close, smiling like they shared a secret.

Why did he have to keep looking at her like that? “Work related how?” she asked. Perhaps there was a way to get her father’s approval.

“The firm has a box. So, technically it’s a work function.”

“Is anyone else going?”

“No,” he whispered.

Brianna wanted to be alone with Matt, but she wasn’t sure she could control herself around him. Salazar’s plan was very direct and specific, and Matt was definitely not a part of the plan. She couldn’t afford to lose focus now. But the way Matt sat on the desk, his smile, those eyes—she was drawn to him. She closed her eyes, smelling his musky scent. Not once in Brianna’s life had Salazar ever asked her what she wanted. Everything was planned and she was expected to go along with it. Against her better judgment, she agreed to go to the game.

“I’ll pick you up at six.” Matt smiled. He slid from her desk and strolled to the door.

“No, I’ll meet you there.”

After glancing back at her, Matt responded, “Suit yourself,” and left.

Brianna was grinning so big, her cheeks hurt. A baseball game sounded like fun. She just needed to make sure her father knew it was a work function so he wouldn’t jump to the wrong conclusion. A little voice in the back of her mind screamed at the stupidity of getting involved with Matt, but Brianna chose to ignore the voice of reason.

BOOKS BY JENNIFER ANNE DAVIS:


THE KEY IS FREE

About Jennifer Anne Davis


Jennifer graduated from the University of San Diego with a degree in English and a teaching credential. Afterwards, she finally married her best friend and high school sweetheart. Jennifer is currently a full-time writer and mother of three young children. Her days are spent living in imaginary worlds and fueling her own kids’ creativity.

Visit Jennifer online at www.JenniferAnneDavis.com.



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