This is my stop during the blog tour for Everything Under the Sun by Jessica Redmerski. This blog tour is organized by Lola’s Blog Tours. The blog tour runs from 30 July till 12 August. See the tour schedule here.
Thais Fenwick was eleven-years-old when civilization fell, devastated by a virus that killed off the majority of the world’s population. For seven years, Thais and her family lived in a community of survivors deep in the heart of the Appalachian Mountains. But when her town is attacked by raiders, she and her blind sister are taken away to the East-Central Territory where she is destined to live the cruel and unjust kind of life her late mother warned her about.
Atticus Hunt is a troubled soldier in Lexington City who has spent the past seven years trying to conform to the vicious nature of men in a post-apocalyptic society. He knows that in order to survive, he must abandon his morals and his conscience and become like those he is surrounded by. But when he meets Thais, morals and conscience win out over conformity, and he risks his rank and his life to help her. They escape the city and set out together on a long and perilous journey to find safety in Shreveport, Louisiana.
Struggling to survive in a world without electricity, food, shelter, and clean water, Atticus and Thais shed their fear of growing too close, and they fall hopelessly in love. But can love survive in such dark times, or is it fated to die with them?
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“One more night,” I said, not looking at her. “Give me one more night and I’ll get you out of this city.” All I could see in front of me was the scenario: I’d wait until very late, after most of the city was sleeping, and then I’d dress her in my military clothes, make her pin up her hair underneath a cap, strap a rifle to her shoulder, a backpack full of goods on her back, and set her atop the mare waiting at the stables.
“But there’s nothing for me anymore,” Thais said, wiping away the lingering tears on her cheeks. “There’s nowhere for me to go, and no one waiting for me there if by some miracle I make it alive. My mother and father are dead. My sister”—she looked up at me, and although I didn’t meet her gaze, I could feel her eyes on me—“my whole family is dead, and this world is dead and my soul is dead and everything that was once good and beautiful and right, is dead.”
I looked at her then, her words stirring me.
“That’s not true,” I said, and got up from the chair and crouched in front of her. “You may be the only good thing left in this world, and I’ll be goddamned if I let your light fade.”
Tears tumbled down Thais’ cheeks.
I took the gun that had fallen from her hand, tucked it into the back of my pants.
“Promise me you won’t try anything,” I said as I went toward the door. “Promise me on your sister’s soul, that you’ll stay in this room and wait for me.”
“Where are you going?”
“To get your supplies.” I placed my hand on the doorknob. “Don’t open this door for anyone.” I opened it to blackness; the candles that had been lit in the hallway had burned down.
“Wait,” Thais called out, and I stopped.
She stood up on wobbly legs.
“You said to get my supplies—are you sending me away alone?”
I thought on it for a moment. I’d never had any intention of going with her. I couldn’t. Not if I was going to keep others from following her.
“No,” I finally said. “You’re not going alone. I’ll go with you, at least until I can get you somewhere safe.”
“Is there anywhere safe, Atticus?” Her voice was soft, hopeless, and hearing her say my name like that did something to my heart. “Do you know where you’re taking me?”
I sighed. And I looked at the wall.
“Yes,” I lied, and then stepped out into the hallway.
Just before I closed the door I added, “Promise me.”
“I promise,” she said. “I’ll wait for you.”
It wasn’t supposed to be this way. I was supposed to travel with him until he got me out of Lexington City and then I was to make a run for it, kill him if I had to—but I didn’t. I was supposed to stay with these people and leave Atticus to do what he wanted, go where he wanted, without me—but I couldn’t. I was supposed to be afraid of him not only because of the terrible man he was when I first laid eyes on him, but also because he was a man—but I wasn’t. I wasn’t afraid of him.
I was afraid for him.
I was afraid of being without him…
I looked up; my bottom lip quivered.
“I will wait for you,” I said, trying to be strong. I wiped my tears, swallowed hard and nodded.
Atticus dashed outside, pushing the barn door out of his way. Seconds later he came back with the horse. He tossed the quilt we’d slept on the night in the barn, over the horse’s back. Then he went over to the backpacks, stepping around Rachel’s unconscious body, and shoved everything back inside. He helped my arms into the straps of the larger backpack.
Fitting his hands on my hips, Atticus hoisted me up and set me on the horse; I grabbed a hold of the horse’s reins.
“Stay out of sight of the house,” he said as he fitted the smaller backpack and his jacket between my legs. “And cut through the woods there”—he pointed toward the back of the barn—“that’s west; just keep as straight as you can in that direction, but don’t leave the woods.”
He walked with me outside the barn, stopped to look out at the flat land beyond the highway where those who were coming for us would likely be, and then led me around the barn. The deep woods beckoned me out ahead; I couldn’t help but feel intimidated by them, as if they were some kind of final leg of our journey—or the beginning of my journey alone.
Steadying my breath, I looked down at Atticus once more, transfixed on his intense blue eyes, the sculpted shape and rough texture of his handsome face, and I couldn’t imagine at this point never seeing it again.
“I’ll come for you,” he promised.
Tearing my gaze from his, I faced forward and tightened my grip of the reins.
“Why are you so angry, Atticus?” My voice was soft and concerned now.
He blinked, but offered no response.
“I’ve seen men fight before,” I went on, “but I’ve never seen a man as angry at the world as you are. The way you beat that man in your room”—I shook my head with despondency—“the one just now; Atticus, you’re just so full of rage and hate. Why?”
He snorted, as if he’d found my question ridiculous.
“Why?” he mocked incredulously, holding out his hands, palms up. “I’ll tell you why, Thais: at every turn someone wants to rob or maim or kill us; we can’t sleep, night or day, without the thought in our heads as we close our fucking eyes that we might not wake up.” He gestured his arms wildly, his features constricted with indignation. “We’re covering our shit up like animals, sleeping in ditches, watching over our shoulder every second of every day for the chaos to grab us by the ankles and pull us down with it—and you ask why?”
I sat against my quilt, unable to stand to hear this truth. And as if his movements depended on mine, Atticus fell into a crouch in front of me, bouncing on the toes of his boots. I never looked away from the pull of his gaze, trapped by the intensity of it.
“I haven’t slept since you arrived in Lexington City,” he went on. “When I saw you that day, clutching your sister as she was ripped away from you; when you lay on the sidewalk, begging me to help you—it did two things to me, Thais”—he held up two fingers, and then dropped them between his legs—“it fucking killed me; the things I had to do, the part I had to play in not only your fate, but the fate of every girl in those ropes—it fucking killed me! It killed what little was left of my humanity!” His voice had risen with his heated words, his memories, but then he paused to calm himself, lowering his head but for a moment.
I remained motionless, speechless, but my heart began to ache and fill up at the same time. I listened raptly to every word, my heart breaking as he spoke them.
“It killed me,” he repeated. “But then something reached into Hell, grabbed me by the throat and pulled me back. I died that day in the street, Thais Fenwick; I died and then there I was, looking down at you with the eyes of the man I used to be, and I wanted to help you. I still fought with myself after that, but I wasn’t going to let you die or be raped or forced to marry a man you didn’t love—I didn’t know what to do, but I was going to do something, goddammit.”
I sighed. I wanted to hold him, but all I could do was sigh.
About the Author:
Jessica Redmerski is a New York Times, USA Today and Wall Street Journal bestselling author, international bestseller, and award winner, who juggles several different genres. She began self-publishing in 2012, and later with the success of THE EDGE OF NEVER, signed on with Grand Central Publishing/Forever Romance. Her works have been translated into more than twenty languages.
Jessica is a hybrid author who, in addition to working with a traditional publisher, also continues to self-publish. Her popular crime and suspense series, In the Company of Killers, has been optioned for television and film by actor and model William Levy.
She also writes as J.A. Redmerski.
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Realization hit Damien as to who he was staring down. The same dark god that had challenged him stood in Lilith’s form. Damien’s heart inside his chest burned as he thought about Kain and all he’d done for him. Jill. Dad…Rob…Gabriel…Holt…Chelsea.
“Looks like it’s just you and me, Damien. You can surrender and die in peace or you can fight and die anyway. Your choice.”
Save him. Luna’s voice inside of Damien’s mind drew his attention. Save him. I beg of you. Please.
Damien’s body became surrounded with a radiant light so bright it forced Lilith step back. Her wing covered her face. He braced himself on his front legs, roaring at the monster in front of him responsible for taking so much.
The light became so intense not even the lycans could stare at it.
When it finally faded, Damien stood in his true lycan form. His white fur blew in the wind like mist at the tip of his stiffened ears to the end of his tail. The dark markings of his wolf form only seen on the tips of his ears, feet and tail. The fur on the back of his neck was thicker, almost resembling a mane.
“By the gods, he looks like…” Lune stood in awe.
“Tenebris.” Gabriel’s finished, his voice nothing but a whisper.
Stoker used the opportunity to sneak off, nursing the wound on his arm inflicted by Gabriel when he shifted into his full lycan form.
The vampires hissed at the light rising from the east, trying to flee towards the waning night. They had fallen right into Damien’s plan and were intercepted. Howls and snarls joined dying screams as the vampires were overwhelmed.
“What trickery is this?!” Lilith’s fangs spat as she tried to speak.
Damien ignored her, seeing the fear in her eyes as he made his way over to Kain on the ground.
The alpha was so weak he couldn’t retain his shifted form.
“Kain.” Damien’s voice was a comfortable echo. Warm and reassuring. “Alex. Can you hear me?”
Kain opened his eyes, slightly jumping. “Tenebris?”
Damien shook his head. “No. It’s me.”
Damien took Kain’s jacket he was always wearing around his waist and covered his friend with it. “Stay here. Don’t move and don’t die.”
He stood back up and went to face Lilith. The lycans in his way stepped aside, their heads bowed. “This ends here, Lilith. You won’t hurt anyone else.”
Kain led Damien to his tent. “Forgive my intrusion on your time with Jillian. I wanted to tell you one last thing before the fight. Holt nearly mentioned it in the meeting but I stopped him because it wasn’t the time or the place.”
“What is it?” Damien replied, curious.
“The dark secret of the vampire noble. As it is with us, the vampire nobles and high class have the ability to change into more powerful forms. Unlike lycans however, they only have a single transformation. I have only seen it once in my many years but it is very formidable.”
Kain pulled a box out from under a pile of old books and blankets. It was covered in dust as though Kain had been trying to bury the memory.
Laying it down before Damien, he opened it, revealing what looked like a talon.
“Kain, what is this?” Damien took it in his hands, carefully examining the detail.
“It was pulled out of my father’s side. When he returned, his body was dripping blood, his side ripped open,” Kain lowered his head. “Damien, he was in his full lycan form. Whatever left this has power. I want you to be very, very careful. Lilith most likely has the power to become the monster much like the one that left this talon.”
Damien’s breath stalled in his lungs. From what he learned about their history, Pentacost Kain was one of strongest lycan soldiers in the war.
To hear he was torn apart so badly in full lycan form by something that Lilith could possibly become sucked any hope Damien had of having a chance against her out of him.
“Kain, I can’t fight her. What if I’m not strong enough.” Damien raced in his chest as fear fought to take hold of him.
Kain took the talon, placing it back in the box. “Damien, you are more than strong enough. Lilith is inexperienced and most likely whatever it was that took down my father was much more powerful. I just wanted you to be aware of her ability. I will be by your side against her. Gabriel and I have already talked about it. Holt, Yuna, Galeck and Lune agree it’s the best course of action. Just be ready.”
Damien nodded, his words freezing in his throat.
“Good. The moon rises. I must hunt with Gabriel and Lune. Damien, if you need to, you may stay here tonight. I know Jillian does not yet understand how strong your bond with the gods is. It may help to be in the company of someone that does. For now, though, I believe I interrupted something between the two of you. Hell hath no fury and all that.” Kain walked out chuckling.
About the Author
Published by: Sourcebooks Casablanca
Publication date: July 3rd 2018
Genres: Adult, Contemporary, Romance
For the longest moment Zack’s brain couldn’t process the sight in front of him.
Seven years, ten months and twenty-seven days. That was how long it had been since he’d seen her. That was how long it had been since he’d lived a life without regret.
Fight promoter Zack Grayson is on the prowl for a rising star. As the top recruiter of a prestigious MMA promotion company, he wants to take someone where he was never able to go: the top of the professional league. He didn’t expect that someone to be the woman he loved…and left.
Top-ranked MMA amateur fighter Shayla “Shilla the Killa” Tyler built walls around her heart when Zack left her seven years ago–and again when her husband turned violent. Now, seeing Zack is nearly enough to send those walls crumbling. But she can’t risk the exposure of the limelight, and she definitely can’t risk another heartbreak.
As Shayla and Zack grow closer, though, business turns personal. And once their passion unleashes, there’s no going back…
Against the Ropes (Book 1)
In Your Corner (Book 2)
Full Contact (Book 3)
Fighting Attraction (Book 4)
Strong Hold (Book 5)
What People Are Saying About Sarah Castille’s Redemption series:
“Powerful. Gritty. And sexy beyond belief. Sarah is a true master!”–Opal Carew, New York Times bestselling author of His to Claim
“Emotionally charged, amazingly sexy, and flat out fantastic.” —Fresh Fiction for Full Contact
“Castille continues to introduce characters who are both intense and vulnerable. The females are more than a match for the men in their lives, and these guys are worth their efforts.” —RT Book Reviews, 4 Stars for Full Contact
“That kiss,” he whispers, his breath hot against my ear. “In Torment’s office. That was nothing?”
“Aside from the fact that we risked both our lives, and you have to pay a heavy price, and I maybe got a little hot from all the activity…nothing.”
“And when we touched…” He slides one arm around my waist and pulls me close as if we were alone and not in the Redemption parking lot where, no doubt, we are fueling the overactive gossip mill. “When I held you…nothing?”
My cheeks burn at the memory. “A friendly hug.”
“And back there in class…” His hips press up against mine, and his voice drops to a sensual growl. “When I had you underneath me with your hands pinned above your head totally at my mercy…nothing?”
I open my mouth, but nothing is exactly what comes out.
Zack responds with a satisfied grunt. “Something.”
“Don’t let it go to your head.” I grit my teeth and look away. “It was a natural physiological response. I’m genetically programmed to be attracted to handsome, sexy men in peak physical condition. Survival of the species and that sort of thing.”
He laughs, and oh God, I missed that deep, rich rumble that rolls right through me. “What about this?” He taps my head. “I’ve heard the brain can overcome basic instinct and genetic programming. Free will and that sort of thing.”
“Yeah, well, it’s not working right now. I think it’s the gi.” Unable to stop myself, I run my hand along the edge of his gi, my fingers trailing over the hard muscles of his chest. “It’s…distracting.”
His muscles tense under my touch, and a growl vibrates in his chest. “You’re distracting.”
“We’re supposed to be keeping it professional,” I remind him, pulling my hand away. I watched his body change from boyhood through his gangly teen years and then fill out when he reached his early twenties. He was ripped back then in a way that made heads turn, but his muscles now are thick and hard, ripened by age and hundreds of fights. When I last saw him, there was still some boy left in the way he held himself, a slight unease with his body. But now, he is all confidence and power. Pure solid man.
Zack grabs my hand and presses it against his bare chest, right over his heart. “You’re not making it easy. Your jealousy…knowing you care…feeling that connection… You don’t know what that does to me.” He is on me before I can part my lips, one hand firm around my neck, his lean, powerful body caging me against the car. His mouth claims mine, stealing my breath away with a kiss that sends a scorching wave of heat through my veins.
“Professional means no kissing,” I say when he lets me up for air. Without thinking, I trace the edges of the scar on his forehead, a bitter reminder of Matt’s misdirected anger when Zack brought home his mangled bike.
Zack covers my hand with his, trapping it against my cheek. “No kissing,” he agrees. “Unless you touch me, and then I can’t be held responsible for my actions.”
“Fine. No touching.” I pull my hand away, pleased that we are setting out some ground rules so I don’t have to worry about wanting to tear his clothes off in the gym.
His naughty hand skims the side of my face, his thumb stroking over the apple of my cheek as he tips my head back, forcing me to look at him. “I can’t train you if I don’t touch you, especially when we’re rolling on the mats like we just did in class.”
“Okay. Professional touching. Nothing else.”
He licks his lips like a predator about to feast. “Unless you want something else.”
I press my lips together and scowl. “Stop qualifying everything. I know exactly what you’re trying to do, and it’s not going to work. You can’t seduce me, Zachary Grayson. You know exactly what professional means. Now let’s shake on it.”
He cups my face between his hands and tilts my head back. “Kiss.”
“You had your kiss—”
Without warning, his hands drop to my hips, and he yanks me against him. His mouth crushes mine, and his tongue slides between my lips, touching, tasting, claiming. I startle at the urgency of his kiss, the raw heat, the fierce desire. I shouldn’t kiss him back, but I can’t resist the dark temptation, the firm hand that has found its way to my nape, holding me in place as he coaxes me open for the slow, relentless possession of my mouth.
Blood pounds in my temples, my hunger for him raw and wild. My hand slides up his chest and over his shoulder. I pull him closer, my fingers clutching the soft, silken strands of his hair. My heart pounds in my chest, and the world shatters around me.
Sarah Castille is the New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of the Redemption Series, Ruin & Revenge Series, Sinner’s Tribe Motorcycle Club series, and Legal Heat series. A recovering lawyer with a fondness for dirty-talking alpha males, she now is a full-time writer, who lives on Vancouver Island. Sarah’s books have been listed as Publisher’s Weekly’s Top Ten Picks and Best Summer Reads, and Amazon’s Best Romance Books of the Year, and have won numerous reader’s choice awards including the Holt Medallion.
Publication date: July 9th 2018
Genres: Adult, Contemporary, Romance
I wish this were the usual love story.
Boy meets girl.
Boy falls in love.
They live happily ever after.
But it’s not.
In this one, I find the most awesome girl. Chloe. Smart. Funny. Sexy as sin. With convictions. She takes risks for what she believes in.
We connect. Completely. Awesomely. It’s literally the best feeling.
But then she screws me over in the worst possible way.
Hudson, shut up.
You’re the one who calls yourself “Reckless.”
You’re the one who pummels people’s faces just to get your rocks off.
It’s not my fault that your ambition in MMA runs up against my need for action. I protect the innocent. You fight them.
And I can’t help that we had this instant chemistry, a powerful explosive connection I didn’t even know could exist.
But you are who you are.
And I am who I am.
I just wish you weren’t the perfect man for me.
Fans of Uncaged Love and Fight for Her will see their favorite characters Colt & Jo and Parker & Maddie as they try to help this MMA fighter and his new love untangle their destiny.
JJ Knight is the author of multiple bestselling series and serials.
Single Dad on Top (standalone, but fans asked for a sequel!)
Single Dad Plus One
Morris Music with rock star Dylan and music label intern Jessie
Blue Shoes #1
Blue Shoes #2
Blue Shoes #3
Uncaged Love with the MMA fighters Colt “Gunner” Mcclure & Jo “Hurricane” Jones
Uncaged Love #1
Uncaged Love #2
Uncaged Love #3
Uncaged Love #4
Uncaged Love #5
Uncaged Love #6
Fight for Her with MMA fighter Parker “Power Play” & Maddie (and wee Lily)
Fight for Her #1
Fight for Her #2
Fight for Her #3
Fight for Her #4
New reader? You can start with any book labeled #1!
Come chat with JJ and other fans on Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/jjknightauthor
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Get a text when JJ has a new book: text the word “knight” to 77948
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