Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Announcement: New Blog Host at Double Decker Books

Announcement: Welcome a new Double Decker Books Blog Host...

Lita's Book Blog


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I am proud to be affiliated with the Double Decker Books. Double Decker Books really care about authors, their talent, and their books and help support these authors the best to their abilities. They go "outside of the box" for their authors. Their services are reasonable and they have an easy order form page for authors to place their orders. Double Decker Books are always on the lookout for not just authors but bloggers too that love to read great books and love supporting authors as well.

Here is just some examples of their services:

Extra Tweets
Glamorous Posts on Social Sites
Attractive Author posts and book blurbs
Interviews with Authors or Characters
Book Reviews
Double Decker Book Tours
Book Blast
Twitter Parties
And more!

Double Decker Books also offers..

Free Cover Reveals
Free Trailer Reveals
Weekly Giveaways
Author Giveaways (Author pays for the book/books/prizes)
Kindle Free Party
And More!

Plus more services are being added to their service page as July 1st so come check to see their great packages of promotional tools for authors!

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Blog Tour: Review: Until Death Do Us Part **GIVEAWAY** + Excerpt

Blog Tour: Review: Until Death Do Us Part by James Fuller **GIVEAWAY** + Excerpt

Ominous and very intriguing.

What was supposed to be a lustful night of passion and sinful, sexual thrill turned bloody in a way he could never have imagined, revealing a predator that plagued the night and feasted on the living... 
Fuelled by the bleakest of hope and the haunting images of the past, Conner cleaves a path of retribution through the midnight world of vampires; dangling his morals and life in the balance to retain what little he has left of his former self, praying each step will bring him closer to finding ‘her’ and the one that took everything from him...



My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I was first drawn to the title; a feel for the dark side and a bit mysterious.

The story was well written, albiet extremely different, considering the POV is from the male protagonist, which is somewhat uncommon for me, although not new. Also, reading a book by a male author has its attributes that just cannot compare to a book written by a female author. However, even compared to other male authors, this writing style is truly one of a kind. The setting is very well thought out, reading any of the scenarios that played out in the story was extremely unique, and deviant, but enticing all the same. 

The Paranormal aspect of the story, for some reason, came as a shock to me. It reminded me of Michelle Read's Vampire Academy series. Hello, because of the paranormal creature likeness, but in no way does it resemble it. 

The sex scenes were very naughty, for lack of a better word. I guess I could use deviant, again. Reading the parts had me play metalcore music in the background to fully grasp what was going and to get really sucked in. Again, compared to sex scenes, that I've come across, written by female authors were more romantic, in a sense. No matter how hardcore the scene was, that romantic spark always should up at some point.

The characters' personas were not quite thorough, but added more flare to the way the story began with some mystique vibe and how eventful the plot became as everything unfolded. I suggest going in blind, but doing so would depend on the reader's avidity in discovering things on their own accord.

In the end, I felt it was satisfactory, but with these kinds of stories, I always want more.

Overall, I felt this read was fairly quick to get through and really enjoyable, definitely a reccommendation to mention.


Conner sat in a dimly lit corner of the small, run-down hotel room, the old and faded, seventies floral-papered walls casting shadows across his rugged, unshaven features. He inhaled deeply from his cigarette and for a moment, the sensation of warm, flavored smoke rolling down into his lungs was all he cared about - all else ceased to be for that briefest instant of time. He wished that moment could last forever, but it wouldn’t. He placed the cigarette in the grimy, glass ashtray on the cheap, scratched up pinewood table beside him and exhaled two streams of thick smoke from his nostrils.
The wooden chair made a creaking noise, as his weight shifted back and he pulled a worn photograph from his coat pocket. He stared down at it for a long time, lost in a better place. His fingers slowly ran over the creases and torn edges that had marred it. It was the last good picture he had left and he knew he should have it framed and keep it safe from the damage it would be forced to endure on his person, but he couldn’t - he needed it close to him.
He returned the picture and glanced over at the two naked women in bed - their slender, tanned bodies still sleek with the sweat of lovemaking. He chided himself with a shake of his head – no, he would not try and fool himself, what they had done had not been ‘lovemaking’ - it had been sex, plain and simple. An act of lustful desires with a hidden purpose on both sides, yet he would not deny the pleasure he had taken from it. 
He closed his eyes, taking another drag off his cigarette as flashes of their eager, firm bodies against his ran rampant through his mind; their exploring hands caressing not only the hardness of his body but the voluptuous curves of each other’s, willing to discover all the pleasures that could be had. He could still feel their hungry mouths upon him; silken lips tasting every forbidden place and trying to find more.

Enter to win one of three $40 Amazon gift cards.

This giveaway is open to residents worldwide and is available for entry 12/2/14-12/30/14.

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About the Author:

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I am a 31 year old male, born in Canada BC, husband and father, and have been writing since I was about 14. But only seriously for the last 4 years. I write fantasy, dark fiction, horror, dark erotica and paranormal erotica. I pride myself on creating detailed visual worlds and plots that aren't of the norm that will draw a reader in and leaving it impossible for them to know what happens next until it does.

I create characters that are real, that have faults and flaws and make mistakes. I also pride myself on creating real ending not fairy tale ending. 
(I suck at bio's about myself)

Connect with James

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Monday, December 22, 2014

Blog Tour: Reviews: Unspoken (Florence, Arizona #0.5) & Untouched (Florence, Arizona #1) **GIVEAWAY**

Blog Tour: Reviews: Unspoken (Florence, Arizona #0.5) & Untouched (Florence, Arizona #1) by Lauren Hawkeye **GIVEAWAY**

Absolutely dark and bittersweet down to the core; licorice... intriguing.

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Click To See On Goodreads
New York Times and USA Today bestselling romance author Lauren Hawkeye serves up a captivating story of loss, self-discovery, and deep-seated desire.
Some secrets are best left locked away in the past…. 
Alexa Kendrick has no recollection of the car accident that left her scarred and sent her life careening wildly off course. When the half-sister she thought she’d never meet shows up at her door with an invitation to a new life, Alexa finds herself in Florence, Arizona, a town notorious for being populated with more prison inmates than actual citizens…a town that has done its best to hide its own dark secret. 
After Ellie is called out of town, she leaves her sister with the keys to her flower shop and Alexa finds herself swapping lives with her sibling: running Ellie’s business, living in the house left to them both by their absentee father…and forging a smoldering relationship with sexy-as-sin penitentiary officer, Nate Fury—a man with his own demons. 
But arranging flowers by day and tangling with the only man who has ever seen her real self by night isn’t enough to silence the mysterious panic that fuels Alexa’s dark dreams. When Nate brings home a book written by an inmate, one describing an unspeakable crime, the shackles binding Alexa’s own lost memories begin to shatter. And as the devastating truth comes to light, she realizes that Nate holds the key to unlocking her past, as well as her heart. 

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Okay, now that I got that bit of randomness out of the way.

This is the first, technically, in the Florence, Arizona series. The story prior to this one is Unspoken, Ellie's short story.

This book is Alexa's story. She is contacted by a woman who claims to be her sister which leads to Alexa heading to Florence to find out more of her past, as well as fill up the emptiness that dwells within her that resulted from a major life experience she just cannot remember.

I liked the plot. I knew there was a connection with the title, though I couldn't figure it out yet. I really liked how the drawings Alexa did were visible to the reading audience to give more of a feel for her personality and natural creativity. I wish there was more to read on Alexa as an artist and put the romance on a bit of a slow-mo.
I did hope read more of Nate and get more of a feel for his character, bu the story solely focused on Alexa and her memories.

I still feel that Nate's character is a stranger, which is what he is basically to Alexa, so that allowed me as the reader to be put in Alexa's shoes, kind of.

The author really didn't waste any time or space with unnecessary words or scenes. Everything was kept straight-forward, short and sweet. I recommend this to those looking for exactly that.

Overall, I really enjoyed this read and can't wait to get a hold of the next installment in this series.

Now let's go back to the beginning...

Unspoken (Florence, Arizona, #0.5)
Click To See On Goodreads

Once, Ellie Kendrick was the only thing that Dominic Gabriel wanted, until five years ago when she left abruptly. Now she’s back and her version of what happened between them so long ago makes him question everything he knows about himself as a man... and since he is now a lawman who lives by a strict moral code, he finds himself challenged to make things right.
He knows that they might have to look back in order to move forward... but can their rediscovered attraction survive the darkness of the past?
This is a category length story of 30 000 words. It is a prequel to the upcoming Untouched, but stands alone- no cliffhangers.


My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Such an emotional trip!.

This reminded me of 13 Reason's Why by Jay Asher, but better. The whole making sense of the past and the major hardships the characters' went through, the people that kept secrets and told lies and all that crud. Ahh this book, you stress me. I was hit with strong emotions that the characters felt throughout their lives so greatly that I could not cry; too overwhelming. The turmoil they where drowning in was portrayed to the extreme; felt very repugnant and thick. I believe this story was told perfectly. Completely soul-sucking, even for a short story. Well done.


Whether you were good or bad this year, Lauren Hawkeye is pulling something very special out of her Santa bag just for you. Because you shouldn’t get punished for being naughty, right? Sometimes naughty can, in fact, be nice.

Enter the UNTOUCHED “Naughty or Nice?” Giveaway to possibly win one of two Grand Prizes – a Nice Swag Bag or a Naughty Swag Bag worth approximately $150.00 each. Use the Rafflecopter widget below to enter. And, don’t forget to visit Lauren’s “Naughty or Nice” Pinterest board to see what ight be headed your way this holiday season.*

*Pinned items are only a representation of possible final prize items. Similar items may or may not be included in the final grand prize bags, at the sweepstakes Sponsor's discretion.  

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About the Author:

Lauren Hawkeye
Lauren Hawkeye/ Lauren Jameson never imagined that she’d wind up telling stories for a living… though when she looks back, it’s easy to see that she’s the only one who is surprised. Always “the kid who read all the time”, Lauren made up stories about her favorite characters once she’d finished a book… and once spent an entire year narrating her own life internally. No, really. But where she was just plain odd before publication, now she can at least claim to have an artistic temperament.

Lauren lives in the Rocky Mountains of Alberta, Canada with her husband, toddler, pit bull and idiot cat, though they do not live in an igloo, nor do they drive a dogsled. In her nonexistent spare time Lauren can be found knitting (her husband claims that her snobby yarn collection is exorbitant), reading anything she can get her hands on, or sweating her way through spin class. She loves to hear from her readers!

Connect with Lauren

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Saturday, December 20, 2014

Blog Tour: Review: Around the Bend **GIVEAWAY**

Blog Tour: Review: Around the Bend by Britany King **GIVEAWAY**

Such lovely and intense material that needs to be read...

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Click To See On Goodreads

If you were to pass me on the street, you probably wouldn’t even look twice. I’m that normal. I’m just like you, only wealthier. I have it all. The kids, the family, the dog, a house on the hill. Hell—I’m so cliché, I even have a white picket fence. I guess you could say that I’ve dotted my I’s and crossed my T’s. But what I also have—what no one sees in yoga, or at Nieman Marcus, or during the dreadful Ladies Who Lunch charity events I attend (because only God knows why), and perhaps most importantly, in the school pick up line—are secrets. 
Deep, dark, deadly secrets. 
We all keep secrets, don’t we? We all have thoughts in our heads, things we do, things about us that if people knew, they’d be shocked…right? Well, what if one day we just decided to let the cat out of the bag, so to speak. 
What if we decided to let the whole world in on our dirty little secrets? And what if along the way, as we were spilling those secrets, we realized that things aren’t always what they seem and with that knowledge, it changed the whole story? 
In this book, I’m laying it all out there. The unraveling of my life. My coming undone. What one might’ve seen had they been paying attention. 
What I’ve found in life is people often believe lies before they’ll believe the truth. Well, here it is, in a nutshell. I’ll let you decide which is which.


My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I can't say that this was something that I saw coming. From what I could perceive from the blurb, I gathered that this woman had enough of putting a front and just decided to stick her middle finger in the air and let loose. But its not even close to that, its about so much more, definitely more than what the main character paid for. Obviously there was more in store for Jessica Clemens, a wife and mother of two children with an inheritance to die for, or more or less kill for...

There is betrayal. There is love. And the motivation that kept Jessica from succumbing to the dark and delirious depths a person can fall prey to was someone who experienced all of that first hand and then some.

King gets into so much so fast with such skill and precision in her writing that I found it impossible to even consider a restroom break. Best believe I jumped up and ran once I finished.

This way of writing gutted me, stripped me bare, and expressing many emotions right along with these characters and the situations they are being put in. But at the same time, the writing was enlightening, uplifting even. Giving that spark of hope and faith the spotlight it deserved. Motivation is something people need every now and then, and there will always be those crucial times when it is a must to keep going and move on.

In the end, I was shocked with the ending of the story. I could not wrap my head about it, but it did make one hell of an ending and added to the rest of the story as a whole, completing its effect on the reader successfully.

Overall, this story is something I would recommend as some type of motivational, self-help contemporary romance to those readers looking for exactly that, or just a book with fresh, and original material which I give the author props for.

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About the Author:

Displaying unnamed (6).jpgFor those of you who prefer it straight up, no chaser: Mama to five. Writer. Juggler Extraordinaire. That just about covers it…

The extended version and in third person no less ;): Britney is married to a man she adores (when he isn’t driving her crazy) and is the mother of FIVE pretty amazing kids, who (surprise!) also have a habit of driving her crazy. Her best guess is that it’s genetic. She is the author of three novels, Bedrock, Breaking Bedrock, and Somewhere With You, with plans to release fourth and fifith in 2014. In addition, she founded a local network for women in 2012, which has grown to almost 1200 members. Currently, she occupies a job she enjoys–serving and running Austin Women’s Network. To further prove that she may in fact be certifiably insane, she decided to pursue her dreams and published her debut novel in May of 2013. Then and only then, could she consider her training to be an expert (life) juggler complete.
She would love it if you would connect with her via Facebook and Twitter.

In her free time, you might find Britney running, reading, or spending time utilizing the wonderful venues that make her city great.

Connect with Britany

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Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Blog Tour: Review: The Letting **GIVEAWAY** + Trailer

Blog Tour: Review: The Letting by Catherine Goldstein **GIVEAWAY** + Trailer

The Letting
Click To See On Goodreads
What if the Devil doesn’t know he’s the Devil? 
This is the question Veronica “Ronnie” Billings poses to Phoenix, her sworn enemy, the leader of the Peaceful Revolution, and the one she loves.
Kidnapped by Phoenix’s rebels, Ronnie learns how wrong she has been. She had no idea that her patriotism was wasted on a corrupt government. Ronnie was proud to be a Leader; taking hundreds of harvested girls to the Letting facility. After all, she was saving them from future Couplings and bringing them to the safety of the New World. Or so she thought…
Confused, Ronnie realizes the only way to discover the truth is to trust her heart. Together, Phoenix and Ronnie devise a plan to stop their corrupt government and preempt the dangerous rebel coup which is approaching. But when their plan goes awry, will Ronnie be strong enough to save Phoenix, her country, and herself?


My rating: 3 of 5 stars

In a nutshell: a let-me-down; bipolar, contradicting.

The synopsis was not very informative on what the story was about, unless most of it went in one ear and out the other basically. I literally thought it was about the Devil. I liked the concept of the story: corrupt government and rebels rising against them. I felt that this story could've been more well-developed. A lot more was needed to explain the way things were and how they came to be; much more elaboration.

The romance was right-off-the-back between the two main characters that still needed more to reinforce their relationship in the story, it just wasn't enough for me to be believable or true. The scenes were good enough with easy flow, but I couldn't string it all together.

There were so many times I thought the book was going somewhere, promising enough to get better. But that better never came to pass. I felt frustrated because this story had so much potential, the potential to be really great, but I couldn't get a good grip on the story. Although, the potential it had was never enough to be better, but enough to get by until the end.

Overall, the story was enjoyable, but needs more work.

About the Author:

Cathrine GoldsteinGiven my love for cities and all that is gritty, my new obsession with trees really has me stumped. (Sorry.) Maybe it's because trees are the inspiration behind my new YA/NA novel, THE LETTING. 
Whatever the reason for my new infatuation, some things remain constant -- like my love for: coffee (although sadly, it's now decaf); yoga; Luna bars (I am petitioning for them to bring back Chocolate Raspberry!); running in my neighborhood; Hemingway; Bukowski... and, above all, my husband and my girls. 
I am the author of the bestselling novel, Sleeping With Mortals: The Story of a New York Mistress, and I'm also a playwright. I have my B.A. in English and my M.A. in Theatre.

Photo by: Joe Henson, NYC

Connect with Catherine

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Friday, December 12, 2014

Blog Tour: Review: Reflections + Excerpt + Trailer

Blog Tour: Review: Reflections by Jena Baxter + Excerpt + Trailer

This book just kept getting better and better.

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Click To See On Goodreads
When Juliette has a domestic servant beaten for pursuing a young man above her station, she finds herself cursed by a witch to live in a world behind her own mirror. She is unable to leave except on the first night of a full moon.
Juliette is forced to seek what food and shelter the new world provides with the help of a unicorn, a man who is half bear, and a centaur. Together they struggle to survive against lions, wolves, and the challenges of watching their friends live and die through the back of the mirror, as their own world, family and friends moves on without them.
Reflections begins in Regency era London, and ends in Clover Springs, California, an all but abandoned Gold Rush town. 
A tale of love, friendship, and facing unavoidable challenges.



My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This story was unlike anything I've ever read. On the contrary, the story made me think of Cinderella, but a spin-off of the consequences the 'stepsister' had to face. It also made me think of 'the lion, the witch, and the wardrobe'; not the story but the phrase itself. However, in this case, the phrase would be: the lion, the witch, the unicorn, the beran, the centaur, and the mirror. Give or take on the lion.

This was such a fantastical read filled with magic, love, loyalty, and friendship. Everything from beginning to end flowed perfectly. It started off great, but who would've thought this page turner would lead to something even greater?

Some say they drown in an author's book. It sounds to me to be a bit smothering. Like things were layered on the reader pretty thick. I, on the other hand, will feed this author, not verbatim, the same meaning of the compliment, however, this book is not something a reader can drown in, but float through. Don't get me wrong, my attention was 100% solely into the story, but reading the whole book made me feel light as a feather, as if reading with utmost care would not harm the creator's writing and plot. I guess this is what fantasy does to a reader. I feel that my reading experience is equivalent to being light-headed; cloud 9.

The characters were extremely well developed, each wore their own persona like a second skin. I found the main character's evolving truly fascinating to read about and to have a vivid picture as to how everything looked and unfolded was all thanks to the author's great attention to detail.

The moral of the story is..well. It could be depicted into anything really, there was a lot of things that held consequences that needed to be accounted for and many lessons the needed to be learnt.

Overall, I believe the author's wonderful ideas and creative imagination easily reverberated into this book. I highly recommend this to anybody and everybody really. Well just as long as your reading level is up to par, then I cannot see why not.


“Have a heart that never hardens, and a temper that never tires, and a touch that never hurts.” 
-Charles Dickens

Chapter 1
London, England. 1807

Juliette shut the front door behind her, and slowly climbed down the stairs of her home, cringing at every creek of the steps.  She walked down the paved road, back straight and chin up, until the house was out of view.  She looked around, pulled off her bonnet, and ran all the way to the beach.
Stopping to catch her breath, she scanned the riverbank until she spotted Emily, gazing into the clouds above the Thames.  It was a gray and dreary day, but a fisherman stood in the water trying to entice the fish, and a few people were scattered along the shoreline.  Sea birds flew back and forth, seeking a tasty morsel.  Juliette joined Emily, and sat in the scrub. 
“It took you a long time to get here,” Emily said, smiling. 
“Sorry, it’s my birthday and mother is hosting a party tonight.  I had to sneak out of the house, but no one saw me. Then I ran all the way here.” 
Emily shrugged.  “Doesn’t matter.”  She held out her arm, and opened her hand.  “I made this for you.” 
Juliette took the hair pin with a tattered yellow ribbon tied in a bow attached to it.
Emily’s cheeks colored.  “Sorry it’s not new.”
Juliette hugged her.  “It’s wonderful. Thank you.  I have to go back now, before they notice me gone,” she said, pushing the pin carefully into her hair. 
“Okay, I’ll go with you. How old are you today?” 
Juliette smiled.  “I’m six years old,” she said, as they made their way back to the road.   
“How old are you?” 
“Seven, since last month.”  She ran dirty hands down her tattered and stained black dress. 
“Look!”  Juliette stopped, and pointed toward the water. 
Emily followed the direction of her finger.  “Oh!  What a beautiful chestnut horse.”
Juliette shook her head, ringlets blowing in the wind.  “No, it’s not a horse.  It’s a unicorn sighting for my birthday.”  She continued walking toward the road.
“But unicorns aren’t real,” Emily said, looking back at the animal.
“How do you know they aren’t real?  That horse has a black horn.  Trust me, that’s a unicorn.” 
They stepped onto the dirt road. 
“I’ll race you there!”  Juliette yelled. 
Laughing, they ran until they found Mrs. Barrows waiting at the front door of Juliette’s home.  Juliette went silent and ran to her mother.  Emily stopped in the road. 
“Where have you been?  Look at your hair, it’s a mess … and what is that ugly thing sticking out of it?”  
Mrs. Barrows swiped the pin off Juliette’s head.  She winced as strands of her hair fell with the ribbon to the ground.  
Juliette followed her mother’s eyes as she glared at Emily, standing on the road.
“What have I told you about spending your time with people like that, Juliette?  That girl has no business talking to you, and you have no business playing with our domestic help.”
“But she’s not our domestic help, Mother.” 
“The girl is as good as employed by this household with her aunt Zylphia, working here.”  
“I don’t want to see you with her again.  Do you understand me?  What if someone saw you?”  Mrs. Barrows shrieked.  “You embarrass the entire family associating with people like that, Juliette.  Get in the house!” 
Juliette jumped when the door slammed shut behind her. 
Juliette picked up a glass of punch and sat with the children attending the party.  She watched her mother laugh and sip tea with her guests.  The children chattered beside her, she ignored them.  Her mother had made it clear that the only reason she hadn’t received a strapping was so she could sit down at the party.  Juliette struggled with the sting of tears, holding them back, but just barely.  
Margaret sashayed over, and stood with her hands on her hips.  She always has
something to say about everything.  Juliette frowned, waiting.  All of the children stared at her. 
“I heard you were playing with a servant girl today.  Robert Beale said he saw you
running and laughing on the road like it was the most normal thing in the world.  You’re liable to get a disease spending your time with something like that.”
“It’s not your business, Margaret.  I’ll spend time with whomever I want.” 
“Suit yourself, but I don’t want any part of that, or you.”  Margaret lifted her chin and joined the other children. 
Juliette turned to see her mother, who had been just out of view.  Her knuckles white as the dish she held.  
“Go to your room, Juliette.” 
Tears spilled down Juliette’s cheeks.  She tried to think of something to say, but
couldn’t.  She ran to her room.
Minutes later the razor-strap slammed into her bare buttocks.  The humiliation of
knowing the party heard her screams was part of her punishment.  When the governess finished, she had been instructed to return Juliette to the party where she remained until the last guest departed. 
Her mother turned to her.  “Get to your room.  I don’t want to see your face again
Juliette obeyed moving much slower than before.  Her bottom and the back of her legs stung with welts.  She crawled onto the bed, and wept into her pillow.

Ten Years Later

Juliette grunted, eyebrows narrowed as Emily tightened the laces on her corset, pulling her breasts straight and high.  She slipped the heavily embroidered bodice on each arm, then smoothed the fabric with her hands.  When she was finished, she bowed her head, and backed out of the room.  
Juliette moved right and left, twisting at the waist to admire herself in the mirror. 
She was wearing her favorite dress, white embroidered muslin, with a gathered bust, tiers of ruffles at the bottom, and long sleeves with small puffy shoulders.
“I’ll be ready to go in five minutes, Emily,” Juliette called, from her bedroom door. 
 “Be sure to get a basket from the kitchen.”  
That girl always has her head in the clouds.  Let’s see, all I need now is … she fumbled through a small grey hatbox on the bureau … a head dress.  Juliette turned back to the mirror, pushing the comb through her hair to hold the head dress in place.  When her ensemble was finished she smiled.  Perfect.  She looked good, but the sun was streaming through her bedroom window and the layers of the shift and petticoat were already making her hot. 
Rushing down the stairs, underskirts rustling with every movement, the wooden planks creaked with every step.  She called for Emily, and found her at the bottom, putting on her plain white bonnet.  The picnic basket sat on the floor beside her scuffed black shoes.  Juliette’s mother stood at a table near the hearth, brown ringlet curls hanging perfectly down her back, her deceptively warm brown eyes belying the severity of her anger.  She threw some coins into a small purse.  Ignoring Emily, Juliette went straight to her mother, and held out her hand.  Mrs.
Barrows dropped the beaded, pink and yellow purse into it.
“It is absolutely absurd,” Mrs. Barrows said louder than she needed to.  “That I should have to send my own daughter to buy what is needed because of dishonest servants.  My husband pays a generous wage.  You have no reason to steal from us or anyone else.  All of your salaries will be fined a farthing.  Not just this time, but every time I send Juliette to the market.”  
She turned back to Juliette.  “Don’t be late, darling.  The dressmaker needs to take some measurements for a new dress,” Mrs. Barrows said, fingering some of the new materials she had purchased, sitting on the back of a pink and white sofa. 
Juliette grinned as her mother kissed her cheeks.  
“Don’t worry, Mother.  I won’t be long.” 
Juliette walked out the door with Emily trailing behind her. 
Juliette closed her eyes at the bright morning sunshine.  She crinkled her nose and opened them again at the smell of fresh baked bread.  There were vendors with carts selling household goods and colorful linens, and a cobbler had a table set up along the street.  A woman with chubby cheeks and braided corn silk hair, sold flowers of every color, and across the road a young boy knelt, breeches tight, as he shined the shoes of a man in a brown suit and hat.  A black carriage drove through the village square, horse hooves clip clopping on grey and brown cobblestones.
Emily cried out and crashed into Juliette.  Juliette pushed her away, then slapped her without a thought.  A thin young man with dark hair, brown eyes, and the longest eyelashes Juliette had ever seen jumped in front of Emily.  Emily’s hand rested on the angry red mark forming on her right cheek, and she was weeping.  Juliette smoothed her skirt mumbling under her breath.  I am going to kill her when we get home.  The stupid little sheep. 
“Please excuse us, Jonathan, this fool of a girl--
Jonathan’s hands waved back and forth.  “No, Miss Barrows.  Please, I am sorry.  The fault was my own, not the servant girl’s.” 
Juliette smiled.  “This one is inept and bumbling at times.”  
Jonathan reached into his bag and pulled out a muslin pouch.  He held the contents in front of Juliette.  “Turkish Delight.  Would you like one?  A small offering to make up for the trouble I caused.” 
Juliette’s smile lit up her face.  “Yes, thank you.”  She chose a red square powdered with sugar from the pouch.
Jonathan held the bag out to Emily.  Juliette’s eyes flashed.  What is he doing?  Why is he even speaking to her?  She’s a servant!  Emily shook her head back and forth, then looked away.   
Jonathan held them closer. 
“Please, I insist.” 
With a trembling hand, Emily took one, but before she could eat the sweet, Juliette pointed to the basket. 
“We need to go.  I have an appointment this afternoon.”  The courtesy was a show for Jonathan’s sake.  She would take care of Emily at home.  “If you’ll excuse us Jonathan, we really must be on our way.  Thank you for the sweetmeats.” 
Juliette purchased the potatoes and carrots Cook required, the dirty-faced farmer
extended his thanks, and she turned to see Jonathan smiling at Emily.  The girl looked away, but not before her cheeks colored.  Juliette had had enough.  She grabbed Emily’s arm.
“Good day, Jonathan.” 
Juliette had never been so embarrassed in her life.   A servant girl! And one that was stumbling all over the place.  What was he thinking?  No!  What was she thinking? 
Juliette stormed up wooden steps and through the door without waiting for Emily to open it. “Mother!” 
Emily wept openly.  
“Emily was flirting with Mrs. Walsh’s son.  She even received a gift from him.” 
Mrs. Barrow’s porcelain face darkened, and her fingers clutched the folds of her dress as Juliette recounted the story.  Moments later, Juliette’s mother grabbed Emily’s arm and pulled her to the Governess’ room.  A heavyset woman in a plain black dress and long white apron, her brown hair tucked beneath her bonnet, sat at an old oak desk looking grim.  The room was modest, with only a narrow bed, and a plain wooden bureau against the opposite wall.  The only color was a handmade quilt the woman had made for herself, and a full-length blue dress
hanging in a tiny closet. 
Agnes stood when Mrs. Barrows entered the room, and stared at Emily, blue eyes icy cold.  The Governess opened a drawer, and pulled out the razor strap used for disciplining the household.  
Emily’s sobs grew louder, her eyes wide.  She grimaced, shaking her head frantically.   
“No,” Emily whined, looking at the thick leather with three long flexible straps.
“No, please.”  Her sobs grew louder still as the Governess dragged her out the door to a wooden shed.  
Juliette’s mother smiled as Emily began to scream incoherently.  Standing by the new material, they heard the whack of leather meeting the flesh of Emily’s bare backside. 
Juliette fingered the soft new pink and yellow fabrics, frowning.  I’m not fond of yellow.   
Mother knows that.  
“Emily will be indisposed for a while, Mother. Could you send Bessie up, please? I really need to freshen up before we leave.” 
“Of course, dear.” 
Juliette bustled up the stairs, hands clutching her skirt, listening to Emily scream. 
 That’s too bad.  She won’t be flirting or accepting treats from boys above her station anymore.  But she shivered inwardly.  Juliette knew well what it meant to be on the receiving end of that strap.   
She had been beaten for spending time with Emily when they were girls.  Juliette was younger then, and hadn’t understood how important it was not to entertain people below her station.   
She knew better now.  Emily wouldn’t be able to sit for a week.  Perhaps then she would learn her lesson and not entertain people above her station. 
Juliette entered her room, letting the door shut behind her, and took off her head dress. 
Bessie entered the bedroom, picked up the brush and pulled it through Juliette’s curls.   
Her hands trembled and she winced at every thwack of the strap on, Emily’s, bared flesh.  At one point she wiped a tear from her eye.  Juliette smiled, and ignored her. 
Zylphia dusted a lampshade trimmed with burgundy roses.  She had already gone over the end tables and swept the floors.  She tucked runaway strands of brown hair under her already loose bun, and saw something smeared on the wall.  Emily walked in, concealing her face, and staring at the floor. 
Zylphia motioned with her hands as she spoke.  “Emily, go get me a cleaning cloth for the wall.  Bessie will get one for you.  They’re in the kitchen.” 
Emily nodded her acknowledgement to the floor, stiffly leaving the room.  Zylphia stared after her.  What is wrong with her today?  Emily had always been a shy girl.  She was quiet, but that was expected of a domestic servant.  You did what you were told, bowed and backed out of the room as quiet as you could, hoping that no one would hear you.  These things had never been a problem for her niece.  That was why Zylphia had brought her here.  She got along with everyone, was quiet, kept her own counsel, and took her work seriously. 
Emily returned with the cloth.  Zylphia watched her shuffle across the room. 
“Why are you walking like that?  Come here.” 
Emily’s speed picked up.  She whined and winced, until she slowed down.  She gave Zylphia the towel. 
“What is wrong with you?  Look at me when I talk to you, girl!” 
Emily looked up.  Zylphia saw chocolate brown eyes, similar to her own, except they were red, sad, and swollen.  Her brown hair was a tangled mess.  She took Emily’s hand.  
“Come with me.”  
Emily obeyed, but wept all the way to, Zylphia’s, bedroom.  Zylphia removed Emily’s white apron, and black uniform dress.  Zylphia gasped, fire red welts blistered, and covered Emily’s buttocks and the back of her legs. 
“Who did this to you?” 
Emily told Zylphia about the boy at the marketplace, the candy, and Juliette’s anger.  “I tried to say no, but he insisted.”  Tears fell down already swollen cheeks. 
 “I t-tried to s-s-say no.  I didn’ know what t-to do.” 
Heat flushed through Zylphia.  She pulled a jar of ointment from under her mattress, and slathered it over Emily’s welts.  The response was immediate. 
 Zylphia couldn’t take away the welts, that would have been too obvious, but the swelling went down, and the redness faded.  Emily shuddered, then sighed with relief. 
“It’s over now.”  And I’m going to make certain it won’t happen again.  “Go back to work.  It’s alright.” 
“What are you going to do?  Please don’t curse her Aunt Zylphia.  We were friends once.   
She even gave me a doll when we were small.” 
“Juliette isn’t the person you used to know, child.  She’s grown to be callous, and cruel.   
Trust me to know what to do.  She needs to pay for what she’s done.  You need to help in the kitchen.  Now go.” 
Emily looked skeptical, but did what she was told. 
“Why can’t I take Bessie?”  Juliette demanded.  “I don’t want that insolent girl anywhere near me.” 
“I’m sure you don’t, darling, but Bessie has chores to do for your father.  The only other servant I can send with you right now is Zylphia.” 
“I don’t want Zylphia.”  Juliette stomped her foot.  “She’s not normal.”  That one hardly knows her station, and the way she looks at me is frightening sometimes. I don’t trust her.   
“That’s enough, Juliette.  Take both if you choose, but Bessie cannot go.” 
“Emily!  Zylphia!  Get down here.  Now!”  
Moments later, Emily and Zylphia entered the room.

About the Author:

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Born in Ojai, and raised in the San Fernando Valley, California, Jena always loved to read, and dreamed of writing a novel. Having the ability, but lacking the confidence to do so, she enrolled in the UCLA Writer’s Extension, and soon her first novel was in process.

Jena writes YA, historical fantasy, and paranormal romance. She is also a screenwriter, and reads for a screenwriting contest annually. She spends her free time with her husband, amazon parrot, and toy maltese. You can visit her website at

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