Friday, September 20, 2013

Love's Interception by an Kuhn Cover Reveal

Hey fans! Welcome to the Cover Reveal for Love's Interception by N Kuhn



Love's Interception

Brianna Woods spent her high school years getting picked on for being different. After being the butt of a joke from her crush and the mean girl in school, she graduates then moves cross country to reinvent herself. She spends years in LA modeling before moving home for a chance to be on the cheerleading squad for NFL team Buffalo Bucks.

Brent Coleson was the star quarterback in high school, college and now for the Buffalo Bucks. When the one that got away falls back into his life, he'll stop at nothing to keep her there this time. He's had eyes only for Bree since high school.

Can these two fix years of misunderstandings and damage without losing their NFL careers?

Love's Interception on GoodReads










Excerpt: 

Sucking in a deep breath, I push those sad memories aside. Hoisting my gym bag over my shoulder, I head towards the entrance. A few men in workout clothes come up behind me, laughing and joking with each other. Sometimes I wish I had close friends, instead of being such a loner. The people I knew in LA were all superficial and out for fame. Already feeling nervous about try-outs, I didn’t want to get in their way. I step aside to let them pass, but one of the guys stops and looks at me.
"Hey, you need help?" I'm captured by his eyes. Bright green pools, handsome face, the sick feeling in my stomach gains force. It's Brent. The man of my nightmares and dating fears.
"No, actually, I have to go," I stutter as I turn to run back to my car.
"Hey, wait. Are you here for tryouts? You're going the right way." He reaches a hand out to grab my arm and as I pull away, I trip over my own damn feet, falling right into him.
"Here," he says, wrapping his arms around my waist. Fire surges through my body as he touches the bare skin on my stomach. His face looks somber, and he doesn’t laugh at my clumsiness as I expected. "Let me help you. I didn't mean to frighten you." Sucking up my pride, I push off of him, maneuvering myself out of his grasp. My hand flies up to straighten the high ponytail I had been instructed to put my hair up in.
"Do I know you?" he asks me.
"No, sorry. This way you said?" I point towards the garage door open in the underside of the stadium. He nods and turns to head that way.
"Here, I'll show you the way. I'm Brent."
"Thanks," I say, trying to avoid giving him my name. We walk silently into the building and I stop for a moment for my eyes to adjust to the darkness.

“First time at NFL cheerleading tryouts?” he asks me, trying to make conversation. Nodding my head, I continue down the hallway towards the field opening.
“Woods, you’re late, let’s get going. Didn’t your agent tell you to get here early?” The loud petite woman at the other end of the hallway yells down to us. “Stop flirting with the players and hustle.” Moving to a jog, I rush past her, leaving the dark hallway behind for the sun covered football field. I’ve been here for games before, but never down on the field. Everything looks so huge, and yes, still intimidating. The cheerleaders are all at one end and the players at the other. Seeing as how they have already drafted and pulled together their team, they are just here for typical practice. Men move back and forth, running laps around the end zone and tackling into each other.
“Coleson, get your ass moving,” a man yells from the practice end.
“Brianna, let’s go, we’re over here, get signed in and start warming up.” Snapping out of my awe, I turn towards her.
“Brianna Woods. Oh my god.”......




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Guess what.....
The book has been released early and is out now!!!!!!!


Surprise! It's out early!!!! 



N Kuhn stands for Nicole Kuhn. She raised in a small town, in the middle of nowhere. Small town life is something she cherishes. Having spent her afternoons outside or with a book, she grew up with a love of reading and writing. Her mother and grandmother fully encouraged this in her. Many years later, after a husband and children, she made a promise to her dying grandmother to fulfill her dream of being an author. Her grandmother lived to see Nicole's name in print. This was a turning moment for her. Driven by ambition and a promise made, she has since published her first trilogy (The Mohawk Series). N Kuhn has also signed on with WheelMan Press for the much anticipated Tucked In (The Hollywood Files) series as well as Nevermore Press for Travis, the first in her Buffalo Rocker Series.


Check her out on facebook. www.facebook.com/nkuhnauthor

You can also follow her on twitter @mrsnkuhn

Amazon Author Page http://www.amazon.com/N.-Kuhn/e/B008HR897Y/





Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Staccato Release Blitz

Title: Aphrdite's War Author: Donna Milward
Genre: Adult, Paranormal
Publisher: Staccato Publishing
Blitz Host: Lady Amber's Tours
Synopsis:
Aphrodite despises Aries and when Zeus proposes a contest, the prize being expulsion of her enemy from Olympus, Aphrodite cannot resist. The catch: should Aries prevail it is Aphrodite who must leave her home. Risks aside, she cannot refuse the possibility of a future without her former lover.
The challenge: two mortals must fall in love. It is simple. However, the players could not be more ill-suited. Poetry, a free spirited artist and Adrian, a defense attorney would not normally choose one another. But when gods interfere anything is possible.
Author Bio:
Donna Milward
Donna Milward lives in Edmonton, Alberta in a tiny house with a huge yard. She’s been writing all her life, but decided to put writing on hold to get ‘a real job’ as a meat cutter and build a future with her beloved troll, Dan and her cats Freya, Sully, and Spartacus Jones. Twelve years later, an invitation to a Romance Writer’s Conference in Washington D.C. led not only to new friends and new knowledge, but to the inspiration to write again. Thoeba was completed the following year. Donna likes to mix her fascination with reincarnation and all things paranormal with her love of mythology in her work, and has even written her own myth ‘The Sacred Truth” (on earthtothoeba.blogspot.com) as the lore behind Thoeba and future novels to come. Donna enjoys fishing, gardening and canning. Despite these hobbies, she much prefers city life.
Links:
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/5065526.Donna_Milward
Twitter: https://twitter.com/DonnaMilward
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/DonnaMilwardAuthor?fref=ts
Excerpt:
     If I were the pretty-boy offspring of a prissy, na├»ve love-goddess-whore where would I be?
     To her left were more businesses: a dental office, nail salon, and a florist on the end. Her head throbbed with his presence.
     She remembered Hermes carrying his basket of roses, not to mention the golden logo seen around the world representing flower delivery bore a strong resemblance.
     Eureka. Some people never changed tactics. Predictability will get you killed, Hermes.
     Strife yanked the door open, nearly tearing it from the hinges. Chimes jangled in protest.
     A pair of scissors flew past her head. She heard the loud chunk as they embedded themselves in the wall.
     “Is that so, Strife?” Hermes crouched behind the till. He’d recognized her as well, now he had her at a disadvantage. “So will barging into a man’s domain when he knows you’re coming.”
     “This ends here.” She pried the blades from the wooden frame with a tortured squeal. “You’ve interfered with my work long enough.”
     “Are you sure that’s wise?” A small paring knife sliced the air, but Strife dodged before it could strike her left eye. “I am Ares’s son, after all.”
     Strife snorted. She aimed the scissors for Hermes’ face but missed. “He donated his seed, nothing more. You are a disappointment to him. He won’t protect you from me.”
     “I don’t need protection from you.” Hermes edged backward, and Strife made ready to strike. “You’re just his whipping-bitch underling, begging at his feet for scraps and cock.  Ares only kept you because my mother had more respect for herself than to tolerate his abuse. “
     Strife shrieked, vaulting onto the counter in a single leap. She perched like a gargoyle, hissing her rage as Hermes fled.
     She pounced on his back before he could escape.
     “I’ll kill you,” Strings of spittle flew from Strife’s mouth. “I’m going to snap your neck.”
Title: The Reapers (My Demonic Ghost, Book Two)
Author: Jacinta Maree
Genre: Young Adult Paranormal
Publisher: Staccato Publishing
Synopsis:
The day you die is meant to be the end, but for 18 year old Jordon Hastings, his death was only the beginning.
In a dark and twisted world, lost spirits known as Reapers remain behind after death to help collect the spirits from the realm of the living. A new Reaper, Jordon struggles to accept his fate and lingers in the shadows of his mortal life. But when a demon wolf starts to live through his shadow, hunting his family and friends Jordon has no choice but to leave. As soon as he accepts his new role the truth behind the relationship between Reapers and Angelic Hunters is revealed. His loyalty is tested, making him choose between a corrupted God and a single Banished Spirit. Author Bio: Self confessed chocaholic, Jacinta was born and raised in Melbourne Australia with her loving family of five. Even as a child Jacinta had an itch to write. Writing was the one constant hobby she clung to, also trying her hand at piano, flute, tennis, horseback riding and drama. Jacinta works full time in the family business and spends her afternoons either playing basketball, reading, writing or hanging out with friends. She is always happy to try something new; getting her real estate license, practicing ninjitshu, Zumba and parkour to name a few. For her future, Jacinta sees herself writing. It is a large part of her identity and something she hopes to continue. Aside from her love of stories she loves Japan and its unique and beautiful culture and history. From their delicious sushi dishes right down to their wooden sandals and kimonos. She is also a huge cat person and loves to snuggle up in front of the fire for a good movie or book. Her favorite genres are paranormal and fantasy but she also loves anything written by thriller writer, Stephen King. Links: My Demonic Ghost: http://jacintamaree.wix.com/mydemonicghost Deviant art Website: http://jacintamaree.deviantart.com/ Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/jacinta.maree.10 Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Jacinta-Maree/e/B00A2CQ1XQ/ref=sr_ntt_srch_lnk_1?qid=1379292979&sr=8-1 Goodreads:  https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/6448929.Jacinta_Maree?from_search=true  Excerpt:
The sun was well set by the time I left school. It was a chilly night as the clouds above my head grew fat and heavy. Not wanting to dawdle, I heaved my bag up onto my shoulder and started to trot through the dense park. The route was covered mostly by shadow and over lapping trees but took half the time if I followed the bend through the suburban streets.
And as I moved my foot onto the dirt path and into the body of the forest, I started to get this feeling. A sinking feeling. It tightened the muscles in my stomach, my arms felt stiff in the cold that my bones ached. I had walked this track a million times during my schooling days, and not once had I felt the icy touch of the wind move under my clothes. I had almost contemplated going back to the lit streets but my pride wouldn’t let me alter. There’s no way I’m getting afraid of the dark, I’m nearly a full grown man with a track record to put all others to shame.
So I continued on.
I nearly laughed at myself when I felt my spine straighten. Every whisper turned my head and every twig snap had my heart pounding.
“Gees get a hold of yourself.”
The sunken shadows that pressed into the ground started to get longer and more defined. Like a collection of moving silhouettes reaching across the dirt. They moved with just enough speed that I doubted myself. I was so focused on the shadows that a touch of warm breath flicked my neck and caused me to cringe. I spun around with an outstretched swing ready to strike... but there was nothing.
The dry taste in my mouth made every inhale sound stained. Shallow and quick, was I panicking? Impossible. It’s just my imagination. I’ve gotten the idea stuck in my head and now I can’t seem to look past the possibility of make believe monsters.
I rubbed my eyes and felt the tingle in my right eye start to burn. I pulled my sleeve up to wipe it clean when I saw a bulky mass shift to my left. It moved from behind one tree trunk to the other.
I power walked forward feeling ridiculous when a low groan forced me to a stop. That was not imagined. It was not a groan from a dog, or a man or a wild boar. It carried with it a distinct cracking noise, like the crack of electricity.
I glanced over my shoulder not sure what to expect.  The forest was getting darker; the hand print of night had covered almost every touch of surface and smothered out the moonlight.  Everything went quiet, unnaturally quiet that all I could hear was each breath whistle through my nose.   I strained my eyes into the depths when the beast appeared.
Something huge stepped out from the bulk of the trees just down the path from me. I couldn’t see much detail, just a slim canine head hovering a good two feet higher than my height, its eyes of silver shimmering with an unnatural glow.
It was panting heavily, its body coated in black scales that melted with the rest of the dim bush.  The panic hadn’t set in yet but I could feel the fear flooding behind my eyes.  The creature then slowly started to step forward on all fours and I could hear the heavy crunch of its padded feet press into the dirt. It lowered its head so its shoulder blades arched upwards like pointed thorns. A touch of light crossed its face and caught the white shine of fangs. Its lips were curled back, letting another series of cracking hisses through.  As it opened his jaws, a harsh smoky, silver glow seemed to be emulating from the core of its body, seeping out of its eyes and mouth like escaping smoke. It was dangerously foul, a creature that clearly did not belong to this world, let alone Whitehaven. I stepped backwards just as the beast jumped into a sprint straight towards me. It was fast. Really, really fast. I bolted as soon as it moved.
It was to my left in moments, snapping its jaws. I stumbled away but it appeared again just seconds later, crouching in the bushes to my right and leaping upwards when I tried to scamper past.
The forest groaned around me as my arms pumped and my legs flew me across the park. Every root that was slightly elevated from the ground hooked my shoes, tripping me up and slicing my speed in half. I didn’t stop. I didn’t stop even though I couldn’t see it pursuing me anymore. I didn’t stop even when I reached the exit and flew wildly into the streets. I didn’t even stop when I turned onto my driveway and body slammed into the front door, praying for it to be unlocked. I had dropped my bag but I don’t remember where. I ran in and slammed the door shut with a bang that shook the house.
What the hell was that? I have never seen a dog that big before? I ran my hand across my forehead, blinking against the dimming shadows sprayed across the floors. 
Something wasn’t sitting right. I crunched my eyes closed and buried my face into my folded arms, scratching the back of my mind for answers. But every time all I could pull up was the nasty dream, before I woke in hospital. Was it even a dream…?
Impossible! It had to be. Otherwise I would be a walking monster with leather bound skin and long gaping claws… wait a minute. My neck shot up. Wait… that thing.
That creature that just chased through the forest, it had been in my nightmare as well. I recognised its bulky body and silver flaring eyes shredding through the shadows like a blade. I recognised the way its chest protruded out from its body as if it had worn its skeleton on the outside. The canine head tilting at the scent of my exhaling breath like it was searching for a hot meal.
“You’re supposed to be dead…”
“WHAT THE?” My back slammed into the door frame startled.
There was a tall silhouette of a man towering over the top of me, hidden behind a curtain of black. No, he was literally wearing the shadows over his clothing; I could see the straining points from where the darkness fell unnaturally over him.
“Come...” He held his arm out and I shook my head in refusal.
“How the hell did you get into my house?! Who are you??” I jumped up immediately. The man was shorter than I was, but not by much.
“Jordon – you must listen…”
“How do you know my name? Get out of my house or I’m calling the cops!”
He was concealed behind the darkness, the shadows keeping his form distorted and unclear. I turned back towards the front door where I wrenched it open only to have the wild animal prowling by my door step. This time it was a different beast, the head of a bull but the firm body of a lion. It snarled its teeth at me that I fell onto my back foot.
The moment I hesitated the dark hooded man hooked his arm around my neck, muffling me into silence. I fell obediently into the darkness, feeling the man’s arms tighten and drag downwards through the floor and beyond the dirt.
“It’s fine – you’re going to be okay.”
Okay? How could I possibly be okay?
But as long as he held his arms on me I was kept sedated. We fell weightlessly, like we were gliding through layers of soft smoke. My clothes raffled in our descent through the earth, but it had felt like I was just being suspended in the air and that the earth was the thing falling around me.
Title: An Undying Oath Author: HK Savage       
Genre: Adult
Publisher: Staccato Publishing
Synopsis: 
Sargent Justin Shaw returned from the war with what is left of his unit, though instead of being hailed as heroes, they are being sought as test subjects. Their last mission behind enemy lines to obtain a WMD ended with them exposed and on the run. Their goal is not only to destroy the weapon, but also the program being run by their own government. Justin and his men have sacrificed everything for their mission. Will it be enough? Samantha James, a girl whose father disappeared almost twenty years ago unwittingly holds the key. When her father returns bodies start to fall. Sam doesn't know who to trust. Both Justin and her father have their own agendas and either one of them could end up with her dead.
Author Bio:
HK Savage has been a voracious reader of anything she could get her hands on going back to the second Currently, HK is a mother, wife and black belt in Karate as well as an avid dressage rider. Her three dogs: a Doberman she uses for therapy dog work and two ancient Doxies keep her busy when she is not writing or working or whatever else. In addition to editing for the past ten years in advertising, HK has been an editor for several newsletters over the years; her favorite being for Heifer International where her ideas were put into effect and complimented by those on high. Currently her skills are being focused on clients in the writing world. Paranormal is her favorite genre and science fiction because both address the possibilities we have not yet realized and the darker things we have. Her favorite premise: “what if?”
grade when she would set her alarm two hours early to read before school. Her passion for the written word has continued and flowed into writing going back nearly as far. Her books have fans in twenty countries on six continents with hopes of attracting attention on Antarctica if for no other reason than to check a box.
Excerpt:
Sam felt her resolve waver when she parked her car and saw his black Accord parked up the block. Dreading the hurt she knew she was about to cause, Sam walked down the hall, keys in hand. So entirely in her own head was she, Sam was caught completely unaware as a meowing creature barreled into her legs. Reaching down, she scooped Bill up and held him tight as she craned her neck, trying in vain to see her doorway around the corner. Her skin tightened, bringing the hairs on her neck up in warning.
When she reached her unit Sam saw how Bill had gotten out. The steel door stood ajar, the light from inside visible through the crack. Bill started struggling in her grasp. Believing she was holding him too tight Sam relaxed her arms, yet he continued to wriggle.
“Stop it Bill,” she scolded sharply.Carefully, she pushed open the door and entered her apartment. The growling ball of fur in her grasp was having no part of it. Clawing at her with his sharp back claws, Bill took a few chunks out of her forearms as he finally leapt free of her, racing down the hall and out of sight. Sam didn’t give chase or even turn her head to see where he went. He wouldn’t go far, he never did on the rare occasion he got out. In a few minutes he would be beating at the door with his soft, declawed front paws. Her focus was on what had incited such panic in her even keel pet. Why was Bill so scared to go inside? He liked Paul. Even more unsettling was the feeling crawling down her spine. Something was very wrong. She could feel it.
There was no sound or movement coming from inside. When Paul was over he always had the television turned on a game whether it was football, basketball, soccer, whatever. He always had to have background noise. Unlike Sam, he liked noise.
“Paul?” Sam realized she was crouching. Telling herself she was being ridiculous, she forced herself to stand up, pushing the door open and peering inside. There was no answer. Maybe he was tired and had nodded off she told herself. It did nothing for the now painful gooseflesh covering her body. “Paul?” she called his name again, whispering it this time. He wasn’t in the living room or kitchen. She pushed a cabinet door closed with the back of one hand as she walked past. He had to have been here, she never left drawers or cabinets open. Glancing around, she noticed a piece of mail hanging over the edge of her sorter. What had he been doing in here, snooping? With considerably more effort, she forced her feet toward the bedroom, stepping over one of Bill’s toys lying in the middle of the floor.
“Paul?” His name died on her lips as she walked past the open bathroom door and froze. Without knowing what she was doing, Sam drifted inside and stopped just inside the doorway. Her hand flew to her mouth too late to stop the scream.
The hammering of her heart in her ears drowned out her ability to hear herself as she sank down to her knees and pulled her phone from her pocket. Sam didn’t hear anyone answer when she dialed 911. She pushed the buttons, waited a few seconds, and spoke. Her voice felt rough, jagged as she recited the necessary information for help to come.
“This is Samantha James. I live at Pheasant Ridge apartments in West Bloomington, unit 309. My boyfriend is here. He’s dead.” She dropped the phone and heard nothing of the woman’s requests for more information.

Friday, September 6, 2013

Player by Laura DeLuca Blog Tour



Title: Player
Author: Laura DeLuca
Genre: Young Adult Thriller
Tour Host: Lady Amber's Tours



Blurb:
Joshua Hanover had it all. He was handsome, rich, athletic, and had always been popular with the ladies. Yet, until he gets paired up with his beautiful but shy lab partner, Rosa, he never allowed himself to fall in love. As the chemistry between them grows, Josh realizes that his player days have come to end. But it seems his change of heart has come too late. Not only is Rosa leery of his bad boy reputation, he has four vindictive ex-girlfriends who are on a rampage. At first he doesn’t take their threats seriously, but then his tires are slashed, someone tries to poison him, and one of the girls turns up dead. Josh doesn’t know who to trust, but one thing is certain. It definitely isn’t worth the price he’s paying to be a player.

Buy on
Amazon / Smashwords / Barnes and Noble



Author Bio:

Laura “Luna” DeLuca lives at the beautiful Jersey shore with her husband and four children. She loves writing in the young adult genre because it keeps her young at heart.  In addition to writing fiction, Laura is also the editor of a popular review blog called New Age Mama. She is an active member of her local pagan community, and has been studying Wicca for close to eight years.  Her current works include Destiny, Destiny Unveiled, Phantom, Morrigan, Player, and Demon.

Follow the author
Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads | Pinterest

Excerpt:

Josh was trying to be enthusiastic, despite the fact that his stomach and his head were killing him. In fact, he was so busy offering Rosa his congratulations on her expert pinball skills that he didn’t see that an angry girl with wild strawberry curls had just stormed into the arcade. Her hazel eyes were flashing underneath layers of thick black eye makeup. Josh didn’t notice her long, leather-clad legs carrying her across the crowded game room. He didn’t even notice when she was standing directly behind him with her pierced lips set in a tight frown. Josh didn’t realize she was there at all, until she roughly tapped him on the shoulder. When he finally turned around, he found himself face to face with a furious gothic beauty.
“Jazz!” Josh exclaimed. “What are you doing here?”
With a cry of pure animal rage, Jasmine lifted a hand covered in silver rings and slapped Josh hard across the face. Black fingernails as sharp as talons scraped his skin, leaving behind a small trail of blood. He wasn’t ready for the surprise attack, and his neck snapped back painfully, sending fresh waves of agony through his already pounding head.
 “Pig!” Jasmine screamed so loudly that several arcade patrons glanced over their shoulders to see what was happening. “Surprised to see me? Not as I surprised as I was when I ran into my old friend Elena a few days ago. We hadn’t seen each other for a few months, and we got to talking about school, and life, and boyfriends. You can’t imagine how surprised I was to find out that we both had the very same boyfriend!”
 “Jazz, I. . . .” Josh was so surprised that he could barely stutter a reply. At the same time, his aching stomach was making it difficult for him to care. More than anything, he really just wished she would go away, taking the gawking spectators with her.
“But I still had an even bigger surprise in store for me!” Jasmine went on, crossing her arms over her black tank top. “Last night, Elena called and told me that we weren’t your only two victims. You had two more, four girls in all! Is this one of them?” she asked, gesturing to Rosa whose mouth was hanging open. “Or is she a fifth?”
“Jazz, listen to me,” Josh started to protest. “I never. . . .”
“Don’t tell me you never said we were exclusive, like you tried to pull with Elena!” Jasmine interrupted. “That’s a load of crap and you know it. Don’t think I’m going to let you dump me either. This time I’m the dumper and you’re the dumpee. It’s over between us, Josh. And if I have my way, you won’t be getting laid again until your college years. When I’m through with you, no girl in this county will come within a hundred yards of you.” She turned to Rosa, her face still flushed with fury. “Let me give you a little free advice, hon. Ditch this jerk before he ditches you. He’s a dog, plain and simple.”
With that, Jasmine turned on her heel and stormed away, her head raised high in victory. Josh watched her go with a mixture of shock and horror. It had all happened so fast, he thought maybe he had imagined the whole thing. But his cheek was still stinging where Jasmine had scratched him, and if that wasn’t proof enough that the encounter had been real, the look on Rosa’s face certainly was. Gone were the sweet smile and the slight flirtatious blush to her cheeks, replaced by a trembling lower lip and watery brown eyes. Her fingers were still gripping the sides of the pinball machine though the balls had long since vanished.
“Rosa,” Josh said desperately. “Please let me explain.”
“I can’t believe what an idiot I’ve been!” Rosa said in a harsh whisper. The arcade patrons had finally turned away, and she obviously had no interest in capturing their attention a second time. “I can’t believe I ever trusted you! To think, for a little while there, I actually fooled myself into believing you cared about me. I’m so stupid.”
Josh hated himself when he saw one tear sneak free. He wanted to reach out to comfort her, but he was starting to feel dangerously shaky.  He knew that if he let go of the video game that was supporting his weight, he would probably hit the ground. The room started to spin, and it seemed a lot smaller and stuffier. It was getting harder to breath, and his stomach was hurting so badly, he could barely stand up straight.  He knew something was really wrong with him, but he didn’t care. He only wanted to convince the girl he was in love with that he wasn’t a player. Not anymore. He had changed. She had changed him.
“Rosa, I . . . I do care about you,” Josh managed to stutter, even though it felt like his throat was closing up.
“Oh yeah, I just bet you do!” she replied sarcastically. “Just as much as you cared about all those other girls you were messing around with? You need one of everything, huh? The cheerleader. The goth. And now the nerd?”
Josh couldn’t even speak to defend himself. The pain was making it hard for him to think clearly, and Rosa wasn’t waiting anyway. She shook her head in disgust and moved to take the same path out of the game room that Jasmine had taken. Josh forced his arm to move.  He tried to grab hold of her hand, but she tore away so violently that he nearly stumbled backward into the wall.
“Don’t touch me!” She spat.
He was so dizzy that he was seeing two of her at once, but somehow Josh managed to form a coherent sentence. “Rosa, please! Give me a chance to . . . to explain.”
“I only promised you one chance,” Rosa told him. “And you blew it!”
She headed toward the exit again, and this time Josh didn’t have the strength to stop her. In fact, he didn’t even have the strength to stand anymore. His legs started to wobble underneath him just as the pain in his stomach reached an unbearable crescendo. Even as his knees hit the dingy carpet of the game room, he clutched desperately at his stomach. His throat was so constricted he couldn’t even cry out for help. After only a few seconds, he vaguely noticed that concerned people were starting to surround him. The faces were swimming and blurring into one as waves of dizziness washed over him.
“Are you all right, kid?”
“Someone call 911.”
Josh heard the anxious voices around him, but he couldn’t answer. He could barely breathe. He wheezed as he tried to force air into his rebellious lungs.
“Josh? What’s wrong? Josh, answer me!”
Josh immediately recognized Rosa’s voice. He was grateful when he felt her arms wrap around him. She cradled his head against her chest, and he felt her delicate hands smooth his hair out of his eyes. He wanted to say something. He wanted to thank her for coming back, even if it was only out of pity. But speech was impossible, and consciousness was slipping away as the pain became more and more unbearable. Even through the agony, Josh noticed that there was another familiar face watching him from the crowd of curious onlookers. She was impossible to miss, draped in black and covered in silver. The last thing Josh saw before he finally lost his battle with awareness were Jasmine’s black lips curled into a wicked, satisfied smile.