Sunday, September 28, 2014

Book Review of The Seer's Lover (The Seven Archangels Series)

Book Review of The Seer's Lover (The Seven Archangels Series)

Sponsored by Paranormal Cravings

Welcome to Books, Books, and More Books.  I am pleased to share this book with you.  Thank you for visiting and please come again.

Paperback, Black Rose 1st Edition, 382 pages
Published February 24th 2014 by The Wild Rose Press (first published February 22nd 2014)


For years, Calise Rowe has been able to sense unusual energy from people, making her believe she is different. Pulled into an ancient war raging for centuries between demon hunters and seers, she's about to find out she's right.

Her search for the truth leads her to Lucas Rojas, a seer of angels and demons who walk the earth shrouded from normal human eyes. He's hidden his gift for years and refuses to endanger Calise by sharing it with her.

In the sultry Costa Rican Jungles, their worlds collide. As their passion and desire ignite, so does the ancient war between demons and seers. Will their combined efforts be enough to save themselves and the entire human world, or will their new found love be their downfall?

Author Information: 

THE SEER'S LOVER won 2nd place in the LuckyCinda Book Contest 2014!
Author Kat de Falla was born and raised in Milwaukee, Wisconsin where she learned to roller skate, ride a banana seat bike, and love Shakespeare thanks to her high school English teacher. 

Four years at the UW-Madison wasn't enough, so she returned to her beloved college town for her Doctor of Pharmacy and is happily employed as a retail pharmacist where she fills prescriptions and chats with her patients.

She is married to her soulmate, classical guitarist, Lee de Falla and raising four kids together ala the Brady Bunch. 

She began her first full length novel on a blustery, winter night when an old man told her to watch her back, they were all around us and she was never to see him again.  She never did.

That night, she began to pen, THE SEER'S LOVER about a pharmacist who becomes a seer of those who walk among us...angels and demons which is available from The Wild Rose Press.
Romance Flash is the invention and baby of Kat and author and fellow WisRWA member, Rachel Green. One of the only flash fiction sites that only publishes romance, Kat and Rachel sift through submissions and publish great free reads monthly


Website     Blog     Twitter     Facebook
Editor of Romance Flash 
Buy links for THE SEER'S LOVER:
Barnes and Noble

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Ms. Me28

Vampy and racey


She traced a circle in the sand with her finger.
Why would she disclose her whole existence to someone she’d just met? Someone who talked so little about himself that she found herself talking to fill the void. Saying things she could barely admit in her own head.
His hand covered hers. “I’m lonely, too. Getting to know you this week has been the brightest point in my life and I don’t want you to leave, but I know the only place you’ll be safe is far away from me.”
She swallowed. He had read her mind.
He lay down on his back and closed his eyes. “Cali, you know when you hear a song for the first time and you kind of ingest it? You can’t possibly know right away that it will be one of your favorite songs for the rest of your life. A classic.”
“Yeah.” She hoped he was going somewhere good with this.
“That first listen,” he continued, “you pick up a little of the melody and some lyrics that catch you. But when the song ends, you have to hear it again because you want to memorize all the words and sing along. After you hear it a few times and learn the words inside and out, then you begin to let the melody seep inside you. Next thing you know, you’ve completely digested the song and find yourself humming it while you are doing nothing, like shaving or driving your car. Finally, the song becomes so ingrained it becomes a part of you. Forever. You can recall it and it’s with you whenever you need it. Am I making any sense?”
She nodded, blinking back the tears fighting to fall.

“Cali, I don’t want you to go back because you’re my favorite song.”
I was a little leery when I first started reading this book because I thought it was going to degenerated into stereotyping and gratuitous violence based on the opening scenario, but I was happily mistaken.  The story explores the human struggle for belonging, love, and overcoming loneliness against the backdrop of the fight for good and evil.  The main characters are flawed people who struggle to find their place and to stay true to their mission to protect the world.  Even those who are supposed to be “perfect” are flawed, and those who are evil can surprise you with an underlying goodness.

The back story mythology was fascinating.  I loved how the author brought in the back story and tied in several other historical mythologies to create a culture.

I give this story 5 out of 5 clouds.

This product or book may have been distributed for review; this in no way affects my opinions or reviews.

Saturday, August 16, 2014

Book Review of Home Sweet Homework

Book Review of Home Sweet Homework:
              A Parent's Guide to Stress-Free Homework and Studying Strategies that Work

Welcome to Books, Books, and More Books.  I am pleased to share this book with you.  Thank you for visiting and please come again.

A Parent’s Guide to Stress-Free Homework 
and Studying Strategies That Work 

- - - - - - - - - - - - 

By Sharon Marshall Lockett 

What’s The Story? 

“I don’t have any ho
mework.” “I swear I studied, but I still failed the test.” “I can never learn it—never!” Students today have twice as much homework as you did. That's twice as much reading. Twice as many definitions. Twice the amount of math problems. It doubles the workload for your kids--and the headaches for you. Fortunately, there's Home Sweet Homework. 

Getting involved with your student's homework will help them receive better grades, have a better attitude, and get accepted to better colleges. And Sharon Lockett, founder of Lockett Learning Systems, shows you how! She provides the tools and strategies you will need to conquer your child's bulging backpack. 

Help your children do their homework--and do it right! With back-to-school time fast approaching, millions of parents are desperate for help when it comes to getting their children’s homework done correctly and painlessly. 

Without an educator’s background, and with the amount of homework up 51% in the last ten years (according to a 2004 University of Michigan study), parents are understandably dumbfounded when it comes to engaging their child in effective study strategies. In easy to understand parenting terms, education veteran and author Sharon Marshall Lockett’s new book Home Sweet Homework: A Parent’s Guide to Stress-Free Homework and Studying Strategies That Work gives struggling parents practical tools that will produce stand-out grades. 

What does it mean for your audience? 

Written specifically for parents of children in grades K-12 this book tackles all the typical homework dilemmas, including: whether or not a child should be allowed to study with friends; what to do when a child says they have no homework; and how to deal with too much homework and too little time. Also, Lockett offers specific learning strategies that will help children in overall performance and test taking, along with tools for dealing with failure and learning frustrations. Parents even learn what to do when they don’t understand the material themselves.
Author Information: 

Who is the author? 

The founder and director of SCORE, a program validated by the United States Department of Education for effectiveness in improving the performance of high-risk youth, Sharon Marshall Lockett has over thirty years’ experience in public education. She received her Master of Science in Educational Administration at California State University, Fullerton.

Sharon Marshall Lockett, educator, author, and speaker, leads and writes with expertise, excellence, and passion. She is founder and director of Lockett Learning Systems/SCORE, validated by the United States Department of Education for effectiveness in improving academic achievement, high school graduation, and college-going rates of high-risk students ( She has trained thousands of educators and students to implement educational reform.
Hear about her beginnings from her:
I always earned A's on my essays, often written in one frantic setting the night before they were due. I didn't know I was a writer, though, until I attended my first Writer's Conference seeking a publisher for my first book, Justin, Heaven's Baby. It began as my "grief work" after losing my second child but quickly became a message I needed to share with others who were trying to survive their own life circumstances.
At the time, I was piecing my life back together after multiple losses. I was hired to design the Early Outreach Partnership Program at the University of California, Irvine. I returned from the weekend retreat to tell my boss I just realized I was a writer. She laughed and said, "Well, I've known that for a long time! Why didn't you ask me!" I had already written and funded two major grants to develop the outreach program. Years later, that program was named a model program and validated by the United States Department of Education.


Lockett Learning Systems

phone: 866.331.8833



This is one of the best books I have ever read for parents and students to help with the homework issue.  As the parent of a student on the spectrum, I have tried everything when it comes to keeping track of homework, getting homework done, and having success with homework.  I never thought I would need help with my “normal” child.  Surprisingly we did.  This book helped all of us.

My children learned from it.  I learned from it.  My successful new college student and my successful high school student are proof of how helpful this book can be for all students.

I give this book 5 out of 5 stars and can only wish it had been available to help when I was in school.

This product or book may have been distributed for review; this in no way affects my opinions or reviews.

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Book Review for Stolen Dreams

Book Review for Stolen Dreams (Cassie Scot #4)

Edward Scot and Victor Blackwood have despised one another for nearly a quarter of a century, but now their simmering hatred is about to erupt.

When Cassie Scot returns home from her sojourn in Pennsylvania, she finds that her family has taken a hostage. Desperate to end the fighting before someone dies, Cassie seeks help from local seer Abigail Hastings, Evan Blackwood’s grandmother. But Abigail has seen her own death, and when it comes at the hand of Cassie’s father, Victor Blackwood kills Edward Scot.

But things may not be precisely as they appear.

Evan persuades Cassie to help him learn the truth, teaming them up once again in their darkest hour. New revelations about Evan and his family make it difficult for Cassie to cling to a shield of anger, but can Evan and Cassie stop a feud that has taken on a life of its own? Conclusion to the Cassie Scot series.

Buy Links

Barnes and Noble

Print Release Date: October 15, 2014
Audiobook Release Date: TBA

Rafflecopter Giveaway ($100 Amazon Gift Card) Code

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The Cassie Scot Series:
Cassie Scot is the ungifted daughter of powerful sorcerers, born between worlds but belonging to neither. At 21, all she wants is to find a place for herself, but earning a living as a private investigator in the shadow of her family’s reputation isn’t easy. When she is pulled into a paranormal investigation, and tempted by a powerful and handsome sorcerer, she will have to decide where she truly belongs.

Cassie Scot: ParaNormal Detective (Cassie Scot #1)

Secrets and Lies (Cassie Scot #2)

Mind Games (Cassie Scot #3)

Author Bio

Christine Amsden has been writing fantasy and science fiction for as long as she can remember. She loves to write and it is her dream that others will be inspired by this love and by her stories. Speculative fiction is fun, magical, and imaginative but great speculative fiction is about real people defining themselves through extraordinary situations. Christine writes primarily about people and relationships, and it is in this way that she strives to make science fiction and fantasy meaningful for everyone.

At the age of 16, Christine was diagnosed with Stargardt’s Disease, a condition that effects the retina and causes a loss of central vision. She is now legally blind, but has not let this slow her down or get in the way of her dreams.

In addition to writing, Christine teaches workshops on writing at Savvy Authors. She also does some freelance editing work.

Christine currently lives in the Kansas City area with her husband, Austin, who has been her biggest fan and the key to her success. They have two beautiful children.

Social Media Links:



I love this series.  The final does not let the reader down.  The conclusion to this series remains true to the series.  These are people with flaws that will make you laugh, cry, and want to read more.

I give this book 5 out of 5 clouds.

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Book Review of Forbidden Blood

Book Review of Forbidden Blood

Welcome to Books, Books, and More Books.  I am pleased to share this book with you.  Thank you for visiting and please come again.

Forbidden Blood by R.L. Kenderson 
Genre: Paranormal Romance


ISBN: 978-0-9904144-1-4 (Epub)

978-0-9904144-0-7 (Amazon/Mobi)

Book Length: 95,000 words

Next in line to lead the vampire species, Princess Naya Kensington has always abided by her royal responsibilities. At the urging of her best friend, Naya breaks the rules and crosses the line when she goes to a human nightclub. Following a chance encounter, Naya alters her life with a singular act forged from lust and blood. Vaughn Llewelyn has secrets and obligations of his own, but he ignores them when he spots Naya across the nightclub. He wants her in a way he’s never felt before, and although he can’t possibly have more than one night with Naya, he knows no one else will do. One night of forbidden love creates a bond that will forever change both of their lives…as well as their worlds.

 Goodreads link to book:


As Naya moved closer, she found a small opening near the corner of the bar. When she reached the counter, it was obvious as to why the space had been empty. Next to her sat a disheveled man perched on a stool. He stank of alcohol and smelled like he was about a week overdue for a shower. He ogled her, making her uncomfortable, but people were swarming the bar around her, so she was unable to put the space she wanted between herself and the dirty drunk.

However, she was sick of people forcing her to do things she didn’t want to do, whether it was consciously or subconsciously on their part. She was going to get a drink, head to the floor, and dance until she started to have fun, even if it killed her. She would not let anyone ruin her plans.

 “Hey, baby,” he said as he scooted closer, looking her up and down and almost falling over in the process. Apparently, his intoxicated state wasn’t going to stop him because he next slurred, “You’re hot,” as he swayed into her personal bubble.

 She’d had to hold her breath when he spoke since his teeth hadn’t met a toothbrush in some time.

Naya faced forward and ignored him, hoping he would get the hint. While situations like this didn’t happen often, she had learned that silence was sometimes the best policy. He leaned in closer.

 “I said, hey, baby.”

This time, she gave him a stern look. “Sir, I am not your baby.” She turned away, praying the straightforward approach would work.

 “Wanna come home with me tonight? We can grab a six-pack of beer and screw.”

She gasped. “No!” Gross.

“What? You don’t like beer?” He laughed at his joke and extended his hand to touch her.

She jerked her arm away and lifted her chin with confidence. “I’m here with someone.”

If only it were true. 

He called her bluff. “I don’t see anyone with you. Why are you playing hard to get, dollface?”

She groaned. Why won’t he go away?

She took a small step back, irritated that she had to be the one to leave, when she sensed a presence behind her. Even though she couldn’t see the person, she knew immediately that he was big, male, and powerful. But she wasn’t afraid. In fact, a calm sense of relief came over her, and she instinctively recognized he was the one who had been watching her. The deep feelings he’d first stirred in her now flared to life. Anticipation, excitement, arousal, and exhilaration fused into one. Her head was spinning as her nostrils flared, and the lonely place between her legs blazed to life.

 From the mirror behind the bar, she caught a glimpse of a virile male before he slipped his arm around her waist and pulled her flush against him, engulfing her body with his own. He kissed her neck and lingered there as if he had the right.

She tilted her head and let him.


R.L. Kenderson is two best friends writing under one name. Renae wrote her first poem in third grade and learned she might have a knack for this writing thing, while Lara remembers sneaking her grandmother’s Harlequin novels when she was probably too young to be reading them and always knew she wanted to write her own. When they met in college, they bonded over their love of reading and the TV show Charmed.

What really spiced up their friendship was when Lara introduced Renae to romance novels, and when they discovered their first vampire romance they knew there would always be a special place in their hearts for paranormal romance. After being unable to find certains storylines and characteristics they wanted to read about in the hundreds of books they consumed, they decided to write their own. They both live in the Minneapolis/St. Paul area where they’re a sonographer/stay-at-home mom and pharmacist by day and sexy author by night.

 You can email them at
 Website | Facebook | Goodreads | Twitter | Tumblr

 Contact Links



I have pretty much given up reading vampire books since it has been so overexposed, but every once in a while a book like this one comes along and makes me rethink the genre as a whole.  Fabulous take on the vampire scene with a fresh approach that will have you looking at vampires in a whole new light..

I give this book 4 out of 5 clouds.

This product or book may have been distributed for review; this in no way affects my opinions or reviews.

Friday, July 18, 2014

Book Review of Changeling

Book Review of Changeling
Sponsored by Paranormal Book Tours

Welcome to Books, Books, and More Books.  I am pleased to share this book with you.  Thank you for visiting and please come again.


Changeling (book #2):

Nathan Grier’s dark fae bounty looms overhead. As he faces the very real threat of becoming a slave to the bounty’s owner, his brother Jim uses his changeling abilities more and more trying to save him. Every changeling throughout history turns evil once their powers manifest, meaning time may be running out for both of them as Jim nears True Awakening.

Fae hunter and incubus, Sasha Kelly, is prophesized to save Nathan, but while Nathan has embraced his feelings for the other man, he fears their time together will be cut short—either from his impending fate…or Jim’s.

Incubus (book #1):

Nathan only ever wanted a normal life, but for him, life, family, and love are anything but normal.

On the other side of the Veil, dark and light fae exist outside the knowledge of most humans. Nathan Grier was born human, but his twin brother Jim is a changeling. On the run since they were children, time for both of them is running out. Turning to fae hunter Sasha Kelly for help, Nathan must soon face his growing feelings for the other man while trying to save himself and his brother from a fate worse than death.

Author Information: 

Amanda Meuwissen is the author of The Incubus Saga (Book 1: Incubus, Book 2:Changeling, Book 3: COMING SUMMER 2015) and the novelette The Collector. She has a Bachelor of Arts in a personally designed major from St. Olaf College in Creative Writing, and has been writing and posting online for many years, including maintaining the blog for the customer engagement company Outsell. She spent a summer writing screenplay script coverages for a company in L.A., and is an avid writer and consumer of fiction through film, prose, and video games.
Amanda also serves as COO and Managing Editor for, the world’s premiere episodic literary network. She oversees editing and series selection, as well as being involved in marketing and promotion, and is featured as a narrator for several BWN series.
Amanda lives in Minneapolis, MN, with her husband, John, and their cats, Helga and Sasha (no connection to the incubus of the same name).


“You have…what?  Less than thirty years life experience?  And you think you can beat almost two-hundred?” Faust sneered. 
He had an arm hooking both of Nathan’s arms behind him, which made Nathan’s eyes water with the pressure on his injured shoulder. All of Faust’s weight was centered on a leg that was thrown over Nathan to keep him pinned to the floor. 
“When you’ve seen what I’ve seen, touched magic and fae as much as I have, you start seeing everything differently,” Faust said. “Like being able to recognize a succubus and fool her senses.  Or weave tapestries of memory just to steal a few meager years.  The Veil is coming to an end, boy, and only an immortal will be able to keep up with the dark fae once they retake this world. They already have everything in motion. The chosen changeling has already been tapped. It is only a matter of time.”
Nathan felt a chill run through his body at the mention of the ‘chosen changeling’. His sore shoulder was screaming in pain, and he knew he was being self-conscious of the wounds on his chest, which was slowing him down.
“Ah, but you…I knew there was something about you,” Faust continued. “The house wouldn’t have taken you even if you had chosen the other door like your friends.  Because the thing is…” Faust’s voice fell to a whisper beside Nathan’s ear, “…you can’t steal life from the damned.”


Unique point of view.  M/M romance with fantasy flair.  Changelings, demons, succubus, incubus, and humans all love, fight, and experience loss together.  These stories are sexy and thrilling.

I give this 4 out of 5 clouds and a chili pepper rating of 7 out of 10.

This product or book may have been distributed for review; this in no way affects my opinions or reviews.

Book Review of Bait

Book Review of Bait
Sponsored by Innovative Online Book Tours

Welcome to Books, Books, and More Books.  I am pleased to share this book with you.  Thank you for visiting and please come again.


A crew of orphans is all that stands between Jackie and life as a prisoner in some squalid basement harem. When pox killed their parents, she took the boys in. Taught them to scavenge. Taught them to kill. But she's not much older than they are, and the boys are growing up fast. Her authority is eroding. The guys begin to compete, and the winner will lead the crew, alongside her. Infighting threatens to tear the crew apart. When rival gangs discover that their little band has one of the last surviving girls, Jackie must make a decision. Will she give herself up to save her crew, or take off alone through the streets?

Rape gangs might be the least of her worries. Pox is spreading among animals, who gain an eerie intelligence before they sicken and die. One-legged Joe thinks she’s nuts, but Jackie is convinced. The pox is sentient, and it’s after her.


Courtney Farrell is a biologist who turned her love of books into a career as an author. She has published fourteen nonfiction books and three exciting novels for young people. Courtney lives with her husband and sons on a Colorado ranch where they enjoy a menagerie of horses, dogs, cats, and chickens.

Buy Link:

Online Links:



BAIT by Courtney Farrell

Chapter 1

I was doing all right ’til the rats got the pox. That’s when everything got personal. That was the day I stole a car, and started a war, and let the whole world find out I’m a girl. That last part really screwed up everything.
Gray clouds hung over the crumbling city, and the wind carried a bite of snow. Anybody with a shred of sense had already crawled into whatever hole they called home. I headed for the river, ’cause I’m stupid like that. I had boys to feed, seven or eight of ’em, depending on which strays showed up and how many of my regulars came back alive. I meant to bring home dinner whether I got soaked doing it or not.  
The whole long riverbed stank, a rotten-egg smell of swamp gas and trash that sank under the good air and wouldn’t blow away. I didn’t care. The riverside warehouses creeped me out worse, with their peeling paint and dirty, broken windows. Anything could be inside, a pox-infected boy, or worse, a bunch of healthy men scouring the city for a rare surviving female like me. I pulled my baggy gray sweatshirt down over my little round butt and snugged a ball cap low over my eyes, hoping I looked like a scrawny boy. No girl in her right mind would go outside, not alone, and especially not here. I did it all the time, but I had to. My boys were hungry. Me and old Joe, we kept those kids alive, and I’d keep on doing it ’til the pox took me.
Scrambling down the rocky slope, I came to a shadowy place where bare-branched cottonwoods creaked in the wind and leafless brown willows tangled over frozen mud. The river ran shallow, black and sluggish, weaving almost silently between snow-covered rocks. I picked my way over old tires and broken chunks of concrete. A rustle came from the bushes. My head snapped around. Trash fluttered from its trap on a fallen barbed wire fence. I let out a breath and kept picking my way upstream. It was dangerous going, with evening coming on, but down low I kept out of sight of any scavengers who might be working the flats.
A flat, ice-slick stone tipped underfoot and I almost skidded into knee deep water. I bit back a girly squeal. Ahead, a pair of mallards squatted near the shore, the male’s green head bright against the gray concrete that littered the riverbank. My stomach growled.  I bent and picked up a big slimy rock, even though I didn’t have a chance in hell of landing a duck. I had better luck with rats, and when I missed they didn’t explode into the air to alert anybody who might be watching.
The wind picked up, making my wet fingers ache. I stopped for a second, just long enough to switch the rock to my left hand and jam my freezing right in a pocket. The ducks picked that moment to take off. They soared over my head in a spray of water, wings pumping fast. I took a left-handed shot at the little brown female, missed her clean, and then made eye contact with the male. That’s when I knew he had the pox.
I knew it for sure, ’cause ducks don’t make eye contact. Neither do rats or pigeons. Sure, they might see you, but they never really meet your eyes. Not unless they have the pox. It looked at me, the pox did, right through that duck’s eyes, and I about choked on my tongue. The green-headed drake swooped and landed on the other side of the river. He waddled along the bank, fat and fearless. I practically drooled. Clenching my hands together in the big front pocket of my hoodie helped, but they still itched for a rock or a stick. I didn’t grab one. The pox never gave up on tempting me, and I never quit resisting.
It jumped species, infecting one kind of animal and then another. Sick ones wandered around in the open like they wanted to get eaten. I think they did, ’cause that’s how the pox spread. One-legged Joe called me crazy, but I knew I was right. That’s why I survived, when just about every other female on the planet died. I looked the pox in the eye and I recognized it in a thousand different bodies. It slipped from one to the next, so I looked close, real close, before I made a kill. If I saw that gleam in the eye I walked away, no matter how hungry I was. Okay, that was kind of a lie. I didn’t really walk away.
 I got spooked and ran. 
In the dying light, the ground looked flatter than it was. I stumbled, but didn’t stop. Forget the duck, I told myself as I splashed through the shallows. Icy water stabbed my toes. Get a few rats. Rats never get the pox. Won’t be long, they come out after dark.
The sound of men’s laughter jolted my nerves. I plastered myself against the right bank, low and still as I could get. Heavy thuds of booted feet passed across the lip of the embankment, not ten feet from my head. Cold ground sucked the heat from my body, but they’d see me if I moved. They’d grab me and lock me up, like they did to all the girls. The pox hit us girls the worst, so we’re valuable now. Only a few survived, and all of us young. Pox took the others, the mothers and aunts and grandmothers, leaving me alone. I hated it for that.
Up by the warehouse, a man grunted, like he was hauling something heavy. He set it down with a thud. Something squeaked, and it took me a second to recognize it as the springs of a car, groaning under a load.  It’d been a few years since I’d ridden in one.
Old-man noises came from above. They reminded me of my grandpa getting out of a chair.  A deep voice spoke. “Sophie, my back’s shot. Let’s finish up tomorrow. Besides, Rico wants us back before dark.”
A woman’s laugh cut the gloom like silver bells. “Rico can wait. You boys, bring over those last four crates for your Uncle Benny.”
“He ain’t my bleedin’ uncle,” one of them grumbled in a fake British accent. The other guys laughed. Even I smiled a little.
 “Be a love and lift this one in for me,” the woman said. “I think we can fit two more in the back.”
I knew that voice. Sophia Arabola, the most beautiful woman in the city. The last free one, besides me, and I didn’t count. To my crew I was just another brother, even if I am technically a girl.
Sophia Arabola. Even her name was beautiful. I’d peeked at her before, when I was sure the Zunos couldn’t catch me. Her face came back to me, a perfect oval, nose straight and fine, lips full. A body so lush that men’s heads turned whenever she walked by. Her eyes were too black for the pupils to show. Maybe that was the secret of her magic. Sophia had some secret way of controlling men, some way I didn’t understand. They didn’t lock her up and rape her. Instead, they fell all over themselves trying to please her. I kind of got that. Part of me wanted to run to her, too, but of course I didn’t. She’d sell me out in a heartbeat.
Sophia’s crew had the territory next to ours, and they didn’t like us much. That gang gave me nightmares. The Zunos were grown men, with guns and gear and cars. They would’ve rolled over us already if we had anything worth stealing. Lucky they didn’t know about me. I was worth stealing, big time. Besides Sophia, I hadn’t seen another girl in years.
I had one thing in my favor—Flint’s Army. Not that Flint was my guardian angel, or anybody’s. Him and his douchebag band of wanna-be soldiers would rape me quick as the next guy, then sell me into some basement harem. But lately, Flint was pushing the Zunos hard, crossing their borders at night and picking off the occasional sentry. He probably suspected they had a woman. With an army breathing down his neck, Rico didn’t bother with kids like us.
Shadows deepened as the sun went down, invisible behind steel gray clouds. The wind picked up. I curled on my side, hood up to hide my pale face. A rock gouged my hip, but that was okay. The pain kept me centered.
Men spoke from the warehouse parking lot, up the bank, out of sight. “We can’t get the last of ‘em. The roof could come down any second.”
“To hell with it, then.”
A mound of soil under my right foot gave way, and I slid a few inches downhill. Under my boots, a handful of rocks rolled into the water. Did they hear that? I gripped the red Colorado clay with my fingernails and listened hard.
Tiny scratching noises came from the riverbank, all around me, as rats came out of their burrows. A little early for rats, and too many all at once. Goosebumps spread along my arms and tingled up my spine to the base of my skull. Pushing myself up on my arms, I turned in slow motion and looked over my shoulder. A hundred pairs of beady eyes looked back at me. One rat, a big male, clawed his way up the riverbank and lunged for my boot. I kicked him into the water, whirled and yanked my hand back before another one sank his teeth into it. A little scream escaped me as I struggled to my feet. I spun in place, stomping and shaking my hands, imagining them clinging to me, their sharp little claws deep in my cotton sweatshirt.
Rats have the pox now, damn it! The last clean meat around.  It sent them to bite me, since I won’t eat anything infected. Clever.
An engine coughed to life above. Its headlights reflected dimly off the far bank, showing more rats coming my way from both sides of the river. A few brave ones plunged into the current and tried to swim. They got swept downstream. I scrambled up the rocky slope, sucking in air with rapid gasps. For a second I saw the big white SUV waiting there, and it gave me a blaze of hope. Then I put my hand on a rat’s wriggling, furry back and squealed like a loser. I jerked back, slipped on the ice, and fell in the river. When that water hit my stomach I thought my heart would stop. The cold shocked a gasp out of me as the current dragged me along. Sharp stones and underwater garbage tore at my jeans. I rolled to all fours, heaved to my feet, and staggered for the nearest shore. Icy water streamed off my clothes.
Shaking with cold, I climbed up into the shadow of the warehouse. One of its walls had collapsed, and the roof sagged sideways. That explained the rich pickings there. None of the other scavengers could get to those crates, but the Zunos had a lot of manpower. Their old white Jeep idled in the parking lot, its headlights splitting the darkness. A man trudged past, a flashlight hanging heavily in one hand.
A busted Coke machine leaned drunkenly against the warehouse wall. I faded into the corner next to it, out of sight and out of the worst of the wind, too. If I had to, I could wait there ’til the Zunos were gone.
A rat nose touched my ankle. I couldn’t help it—I jumped, sucking in a loud hissing breath. When the flashlight beam fell on me, the rat ran away.
“What’s this? He ain’t one of ours,” a chunky man said. His fat jowls shook when he talked. He walked up to me, shining the flashlight in my eyes. “You okay, kid? Why ya all wet?”
 “Rats chased me,” I whispered in my huskiest voice. A couple of pairs of their bulging black eyes peered at us from the shadows.
“Rats? Chase ’em right back. Them ’re good eatin’, boy.”
I shook my head, knowing opening my mouth was the last thing I ought to do. But compared to the pox, anybody was a friend. “Not these ones. Don’t. They got pox.” I walked away, wet clothes heavy on my skinny shoulders.
He spoke behind my head. “Everybody knows rats don’t get pox.”
I tried not to turn.
“Wait a minute,” he said. Before I could run, strong hands grabbed the sodden hoodie on either side of my waist and yanked it up. The cold night air hit my wet skin and I let out a squeal. The man dragged me backward, running his free hand over my ass. “You ain’t no boy.”
“Get off!” I twisted hard in the fat man’s hands, but he was a lot stronger than me.
 “Mine!” A big dark-haired man bellowed. He barreled up to the chubby one and started wrenching the guy’s arm. “Rico said, next one’s mine!”
“Alright, alright.”
Working together, the men pinned my wrists and lifted me clear off my feet. They slammed me face down over the hood of their car. A big hand on the back of my neck held me there. I struggled, tasting oily dust and my own blood. My hat fell off, and wet brown hair stuck to my cheeks. I cursed myself for not cutting it sooner, even though my small nose and delicate chin wouldn’t let me pass for a boy, hair or no hair. 
“Stop this, now!” Sophia Arabola’s voice rang with power.
“If we let ’er go, she’ll run,” Chubby whined.
“That’s no way to treat a female,” Sophia snapped. From her tone, she might as well have said Goddess. “Release her.”
They let me go. I would have run, but I couldn’t. Knees shaking, I slid off the hood. Three men stared hungrily. My eyes cut from them to the rats and back again. The men edged in. Pox-infected rats crept closer. I pressed my back against the warm hood of the Jeep and didn’t move.
“Sweetie, you’re gonna catch your death of cold,” Sophia told me. “Come with me and I’ll get you something dry to wear.”
I didn’t answer.  My eyes tracked rats through the shadows.
Sophia didn’t seem to notice them. She bent to peer into my face. “How old are you, honey? Fifteen? Sixteen? You’re small for your age, aren’t you, but real pretty. I like your spiky hair. That retro punk look suits you.”
I said nothing, and it wasn’t just ’cause I had no idea what retro punk meant. Something in her eyes jogged my memory, like I knew her. I shook off the feeling. Of course I did. I’d seen her before, just not up close.
“This poor child’s in shock,” Sophia told the men, like they cared. She beckoned to me. “You just need a hot meal. Don’t worry. I won’t let them touch you.”
I eyed the rats. Sophia’s offer seemed like a good deal, especially at the moment. I took a couple of hesitant steps toward her.
 “I know you’re cold. We’ll be on our way in a minute, and I’ll get the heat on for you.” Sophia gave me an encouraging nod and then moved to the back of the jeep.  “Toss in the last crates, would you, Benny? Give him a hand, boys, those are big ones.”
A couple of huge crates sat on the asphalt behind the open hatchback. Pairs of men bent and picked them up. I ghosted around the dented white Jeep until I stood even with the open driver’s side door. With matching grunts, Benny and the chubby one heaved the last crate into the vehicle.
Sophia squatted behind the car to read the label on a box. “I can’t wait to get these home and open them.”
She looked up just in time to see me leap into the driver’s seat.
Men pounded toward me, shouting. I slammed the car door and hit the lock button. The windows were open, I didn’t know how to close them, and there wasn’t time. I shoved the stick to ‘D’ for drive. The Jeep lurched forward, but I couldn’t reach the pedals.
Quick as a cat, Sophia sprang forward and grabbed my neck with one hand. She pinned my head back, and I felt a rat wiggle behind my neck. It thrashed in my hood, tearing the thick cloth with its teeth. A naked, wormy tail whipped across my lip. I seized the horrid, infected thing, and I threw that rat right in Sophia Arabola’s face. It clung, she screamed, and I slid my butt right off the seat and stomped on the gas.
Too bad I didn’t know how to drive.


A coming of age story set in a dystopian future.  I don’t think the title does the story justice.  I’m not sure I would have picked up a book called Bait to read, and yet the story was really very good.  It is an interesting peek into human nature and behavior and what drives us to do what we do.

I give this book 4 out of 5 clouds.

This product or book may have been distributed for review; this in no way affects my opinions or reviews.