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Forsaken

Her past is back to haunt her—and this time, it’s got a gun.

When Gage Lawton finds his brother shot to death on his back porch, every shred of evidence points to one person: Gage’s ex-lover, Riley Beckett. The only gun in town that fires a bullet of that caliber belongs to her.

Certain the shooting is payback for his part in the loss of her parents, he abandons his promise to stay out of her life and confronts her, his rage backed up with a revolver. Yet when she steps through the door, all thoughts of revenge burn to ashes.

A year after Riley unwillingly walked away from Gage, she enters her home to find him sitting in the dark, gun pointed at her head. One look into those achingly familiar blue eyes reminds her how wrong she was to let him go. But now there’s more standing between them than their heated past.

A twist of fate—and a hail of sniper bullets—puts them in the cross hairs of a killer, leaving Riley with just two slim options: trust her greatest betrayer, or face a murderer alone.

Warning: Prepare to get caught in a crossfire of profanity, danger, and desire. Intense violence may trigger the desire to wear body armor…and take it off. Very, very slowly.

  • Title: FORSAKEN
  • Author: Sarah Ballance
  • Genre: romantic suspense
  • Publisher: Samhain Publishing
  • Release Date: September 9, 2014
  • ISBN 13: 978-1-61922-262-5
  • Available format(s): ebook

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Excerpt

Something was wrong. Was the dark playing tricks on her? Riley Beckett froze, arm outstretched, hand poised to toss her keys on the table just inside her front door. But she didn’t let go. Instead of dropping them in their usual spot, she feathered pieces of the makeshift weapon between her knuckles. Heart pounding, she pressed the keys in a silent, white-knuckle grip and prayed her concerns were her imagination, that the paranoia of coming home alone to a dark house was getting the better of her.

One, two steps in. Wood planks echoed underfoot. She fought to breathe air that grew thinner with every tense second.

Three steps.

Then it hit her. The scent. His scent. And with it a flush of memories. The burn of hot grass on her bare skin. Rough hands, a tender touch. Love so sweet she ached for it, her dreams raging, and her body drenched with need.

“Gage?” Her voice broke on the single syllable. Riley’s grip on the keys tightened, her blood raging hot and cold all at once.

A creak sounded from the corner chair. Her eyes refused to adjust in the darkness, but not even the faint light kept the blond streaks in his russet hair from giving him away. Like rays of sunshine, she used to tease, and her words never failed to draw a scowl across his rugged face.

“Riley.”

God help her, her name on his lips sounded as it always had. Coarse. Dangerous. Forbidden. Even before… The memory surged, hot and vivid, leaving a metallic taste in her mouth. White heat assaulted her from every corner of the room.

The keys fell to the floor with a dull clink.

“An eye for an eye, is it?” His voice sounded unpracticed, as if he hadn’t spoken in a long while.

She couldn’t see his face, but she knew his expression. Flat and humorless. Broken. She remembered the day he stopped smiling. Every part of her wanted to flee, but she stood frozen to the spot.

“What do you mean?” Riley wondered if the words, whispered and weak, had the strength to make it across the room. Hadn’t she always known she’d shatter the next time she saw him? Hadn’t she dreamed of seeing him anyway?

“You have to ask?” Gage laughed, cold and hollow. “Billy’s dead. Hell of a thing to come home to. My brother blown to bits on my back porch.”

“Oh God.” She swayed. The room filled with a distant buzzing. She took one unsteady step to the side and stumbled.

When she found his gaze, it was over the business end of a revolver.

He leveled the gun in her direction. Everything else in her world trembled, but his aim held rock steady. Unyielding.

His eyes burned blue and bright. “What I want to know, sweetheart, is why you did it.”

He worked his finger over the trigger, and a veil of blackness threatened her last discerning thought.

***

He hadn’t even pulled the trigger, yet Riley hit the hardwood in a crumpled heap. That was a first.

Without taking his attention from her, Gage Lawton climbed out of the chair, cursing when he realized his foot was asleep. He tucked the .38 in the waistband of his pants and limped through the pins-and-needles sensation wreaking havoc in his left boot.

Hell of a time to feel ticklish, he thought, staring at Riley’s wild mane of dark waves sprawled over the floorboards. Not the stark contrast he’d seen over a crisp white pillowcase. His mind played flashbacks. Memories of dragging his lips over her heaving, sweat-slicked skin threatened his plans…and his resolve.

The flood of emotions shouldn’t have surprised him. He was as stoic as a block of granite when it came to everything—and everyone—except Riley Beckett. He never could put the feeling into words, but just being around her made him feel free, like standing in the middle of the prairie with the sun, and the breeze, and the vastness…and the promise of something he didn’t dare believe.

And he didn’t. Gage knew good things didn’t happen to him. But she’d captured a piece of his soul with her laughing eyes and damning innocence.

The purest woman he’d ever known and he’d destroyed her.

Twice.

He eyed the glass of whiskey he’d poured to keep himself company while he waited. He hadn’t touched it yet. The amber liquid represented a line Gage couldn’t cross, but he’d given himself too much credit where Riley was concerned. The moment her sky blue eyes found his, she’d broken him all over again.

With a weary sigh, he knelt at her side, irony forcing him to suppress the urge to laugh. How many times had she brought him to his knees? He thought of his kid brother sprawled on his porch and promised himself this would be the last time. Rage and guilt made for strange bedfellows, but he knew one thing: if Riley Beckett had pulled that damned trigger, she had cleared his heart of the latter.

An eye for an eye.

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“I flat out loved this book…sexy and oh, so hot!” – Karen via GR

“This was a fantastic read from start to finish.” – Kirstin via GR

“Funny, engaging, emotional, snarky, political, sweet and HAWT!!!! I THROUGHLY ENJOYED IT!!!” – Sheryl via GR

THE MARRIAGE AGENDA is just 99 cents for a limited time. Regularly $3.99 from Entangled Indulgence. Choose your buy links below or see them all and read the first TWO chapters for free at Entangled Publishing!

TMA

The Marriage Agenda

There’s a scandal brewing in Washington…

Knox Hamilton wants his father’s recently vacated Senate seat, but the only way his conservative constituents are going to vote for Knox is if he loses his playboy reputation. Which means Knox needs a wife. There’s only one woman with whom he’s willing to share his life, but after the way he broke things off with her, will she give him another chance?

Chloe Lochlan’s job is on the line. If she doesn’t grab a big headline, she’ll be ousted from her gig at the major newspaper where she works as a reporter. Knox’s offer of marriage chills her to the bone. He already crushed her heart once and she has no intention of letting it happen again. But being with him gives her the kind of access to top tier social events rarely granted to media, access that could land her the story of a lifetime. When the truth she uncovers threatens to destroy the man she still loves, will she bury the story…or his career?

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  • Title: THE MARRIAGE AGENDA
  • Author: Sarah Ballance
  • Genre: Contemporary Romance
  • Publisher: Entangled Publishing
  • Release Date: August 18, 2014
  • ISBN 13: 9781633750524
  • Available format(s): ebook

Excerpt

Chapter One

Chloe Lochlan swallowed in an attempt to chase away the nervousness bundled in her throat. It was useless. Somewhere in the crowd, a man waited for her. Not just any man, but the man—at least as long as Chloe was inclined to believe her best friend’s forward opinions on the well-worn topic of Chloe’s love life, or lack thereof.

Of course, if she’d learned to dodge Lila Powell’s bright ideas, Chloe would be on her sofa with a spoon and a pint of Ben & Jerry’s. Instead, she stood with her feet uncomfortably crammed into heels no sane woman should wear, four inches taller and uselessly scanning the clientele at Off the Record, an upscale hotel bar that doubled as Washington, DC’s premier place to see and be seen.

Blind date. If only she could have said no, she would have avoided the whole awkward situation, but Lila knew Chloe too well. A blind date gave Chloe absolutely nothing to reject—it was impossible to find flaw with someone she’d yet to meet. But truthfully, her serial incompatibility with just about every man she’d ever encountered had less to do with failings of the opposite sex than with her admittedly one-track drive to be a kick-ass investigative reporter. Chloe had always harbored an ambitious streak, but a year ago, a devastating breakup narrowed her focus to a laser-like precision. Her job wouldn’t break her heart.

But Lila wouldn’t hear of excuses. A night with a carton of ice cream was no comparison to a man, as far as she was concerned, but Chloe had stocked her freezer anyway. She’d endure the date, all the while thinking of the threesome with Ben and Jerry waiting for her at home. A couple of hours wouldn’t kill her, right?

Maybe not, but she was beginning to think they might come close. As she stood alone in the bar, second thoughts closed in. No one had approached claiming to be her date. Had he taken one look at her and left? Patience—and nerve—waning, Chloe scoured the room, hoping for a sign she should leave. And she found one. A big one.

Watching her intently from a corner table was her ex-everything. And in spite of a strict never-again policy for all things Knox Hamilton, her body melted in traitorous anticipation. His trademark bedroom-tousled hair, the same luscious brown hue as those smoldering eyes, did little to kill the energy coursing through her at the speed of orgasm. Her knees weakened, further threatening her unsteady perch on the stilts a salesclerk had tried to pass off as a wardrobe staple.

Chloe stared at Knox, an uneasy feeling crawling through her chest.

All her synapses fired “flee,” but her GPS was off. Her attempt at escape landed her at the corner of his table, where she nearly collided with a waiter setting something in front of Knox that was suspiciously akin to Chloe’s favorite drink, a strawberry daiquiri. Though the drink beverage seemed to confirm her suspicions, she eyed the glass with a touch of misplaced jealousy. It wouldn’t surprise her if he had a date. Well-known and filthy rich, up-and-coming politico Knox Hamilton had everything, including his pick of eligible women.

“Chloe.” He drawled her name, adding a seductive syllable or two. “You look amazing.”

Her mouth watered at the sound of his voice. “Hi.” Her voice squeaked with a less-than-dexterous reply.

He grinned. “It’s been too long. Have a seat.”

She eyed the daiquiri. “Actually, I have a date. As do you, it seems.”

His gaze met hers over the deep amber mouth of his beer bottle. “I ordered that drink for you.” The words simmered with the husky promise of the bedroom, slipping from his lips with an odd amount of reckless, deliberate ease.

Entranced, she caught herself staring at his mouth.

He leaned back in his chair, giving her a good, long look at the way his torso shaped his neatly buttoned and pressed shirt. “Will you join me?”

He had no right to look so good. She swallowed, getting a full taste of memories she’d sooner forget. “My date—”

“—is one unlucky bastard tonight. That is, of course, if you’ll sit.”

If she was smart, she’d give Knox a view of her amazing legs and phenomenal ass as she teetered out of the bar on those damned stripper heels. But curiosity would make a dead cat out of her yet. She pushed back the logic screaming at her not to risk involvement—a year ago, he’d made it clear the two of them had no future, and she had no interest in being a serial plaything to a confirmed bachelor—and assessed the offered chair. It appeared benign enough, and a reprieve from those shoes would be heaven. Sitting across the table from him didn’t have to mean anything, and a free daiquiri made for good incentive as far as she was concerned.

With his eyes hotly following her every move, she eased into the chair and waited for the dull ache of his rejection to return. But joining Knox at a table made for two didn’t fill her with quite the degree of heartbreak she’d expected. Of course, their split hadn’t been due to anything unholy—he hadn’t philandered, pillaged, or otherwise found himself aligned with the wrong end of a horse. To the contrary, he’d been a perfect everything, right until the moment he’d left her. Things had gotten too serious between them, he’d said, and he wasn’t interested in being tied down.

Chloe hadn’t exactly been aisle-bound herself, but the dismissal had come as a blow nonetheless. When he’d spoken those words, she had managed to stay on her feet until the door to her apartment had closed behind him. Only afterward had she fallen apart. Once her eyes were no longer swollen to slivers, she’d put all of her efforts into finding a reason to hate him—wife, girlfriend, a dog he didn’t walk—but to no avail. Knox Hamilton was a great guy…he just didn’t want her.

The best relationship of her life—one with the only man she’d ever loved—had been merely a means for him to scratch an itch.

Chloe admitted to no one she’d yet to get over Knox. Still, her refusal to dip a stiletto in the dating pool ever since was evidence enough for Lila, who had heard the whole sordid tale over an all-night binge of hiccup-laden sobs. As far as finest moments went, that evening didn’t make the list. Chloe had given up trying to figure out what had gone wrong. A year later, the most painful piece of the whole puzzle was the failure of her judgment. A reporter with horrible instincts…no wonder she’d thrown herself into her work, trying to prove otherwise.

Acutely aware of Knox’s gaze on her, Chloe toyed with the straw poking from her drink.

“Your date. Is it serious?” He sounded outwardly detached, but Chloe sensed a little more under the surface—almost as if he wanted to play it casual but couldn’t quite keep his voice there.

She probably was reading too much into it—wanting it too hard. Playing his game, she said, “I don’t know yet.” She hoped the edge she’d managed in her voice would morph itself into a wall—one that would protect her from where this would likely go. “These days I’m more interested in furthering my career.”

He smiled, a bit too secretively for Chloe’s taste and scoured his jaw with his palm. “Seems we have that in common, then.”

Of course they did. Chloe squirmed. Her admission, however vague, hadn’t bothered her—she was rather proud of being a woman who didn’t wither without a man in her bed—but something told her his eyes saw too much. They searched her, appraising. Beneath fabric suddenly far too thin, her nipples peaked as if magnetically drawn to him. And why shouldn’t they be? The things that man could do with his tongue were lethal. If Chloe wasn’t so determined to hold on to a shred of her self-respect, she’d probably reach for him, too.

She settled for her daiquiri, and what was supposed to be a ladylike sip morphed into a gulp of liquid courage. The resultant brain freeze made her skull throb but did nothing to settle her libido.

Neither did Knox’s lopsided grin. “How long have you known this date you don’t want?”

“It’s a blind date. We’ve…never met.” It would have been a humiliating admission if she hadn’t been so proud of her ambition and in no hurry to resurrect her disaster of a love life. Knox could think what he wanted.

“How will you know who he is?”

She twirled her straw. “He’s supposed to approach me. My friend Lila texted him a photo. She wanted to surprise me.”

“And if he sees you with me, do you suppose he’ll give up and leave?”

She laughed. “Is that your ego talking?”

“Maybe it’s just the way I’m looking at you.”

She took another sip of her drink, measuring her words. “How do you know how you’re looking at me?”

He leaned close. “I want you, Chloe.”

She froze, her hand clamped on the daiquiri glass. “For what?”

He laughed, stirring the air between them. Somehow, the entire bar and everyone in it seemed to disappear, leaving just her, Knox, and a really bad idea. One on which he elaborated. “I want to apologize. Explain. Grovel for forgiveness. Come upstairs? We’ll talk about it in private.”

“Forget it, Knox. You can grovel right here.” In public.Where it’s safe. He’d left her so she wouldn’t distract him from his political aspirations, and there he was, trying to get personal. Playing her… But to what end? Was this some kind of joke? She glanced around. Oddly enough, despite the fact that he and his family ranked right up there with the Kennedys, he wasn’t drawing attention. At least not outwardly, though the more closely she looked, the more she noticed a growing number of sideways glances from other patrons. Fortunately the Off the Record clientele wasn’t easily impressed. Politicians were a dime a dozen inside the beltway, and rubbernecking wasn’t generally a sport of the elite. It was more of a pastime for the uncouth, a grand specimen of which seemed headed in their direction.

Eyes like saucers, the guy went straight to Knox. “Mr. Hamilton…it’s an honor. I’m Jeff Lenox.”

Knox stood and extended his hand, which Jeff shook eagerly…and extensively. But where Chloe would have yanked back her appendage and hit the guy with her purse, Knox merely endured for way too long before he finally extricated himself and clapped the guy on the upper arm. Not hard enough.

“I’m afraid you have me at a disadvantage, Mr. Lenox. I don’t believe we’ve met.”

“Actually, we haven’t. I’m here to meet—” He paused and extracted a cell phone from his pocket. He looked from the image to Chloe and back again.

Oh, God no.

“Her! You must be Chloe.” He grinned like the proverbial idiot.

Oh, yes. Lila was a dead woman. Jeff was attractive enough, but the way he swayed at Knox’s feet reminded her a little too much of a Twihard fangirl. Sure, Knox was impressive…but he wasn’t spittleimpressive. Well, maybe a little. But Jeff was supposed to be her date, and he was gawking at the wrong person.

Knox caught her eye. Lifted a brow. She could only smile pleasantly.

“What business are you in?” he asked Jeff.

“I’m a software systems analyst.”

Knox smiled widely, as if Jeff had said something mildly earth-shattering. “This must be my lucky day, Mr. Lenox. How about you come by my office next week? I might have something on which I could use your opinion.”

Chloe blinked. Knox was just making time for all the little people that night. First a lowly reporter, then a computer geek. Next, he’d probably save a puppy from a burning building.

Jeff looked to Chloe, as if he needed her permission to date them both. But he didn’t wait for it. A split second later, he’d turned back to Knox.

Knox poured on a killer grin and still somehow managed to look sheepish. “Before you answer, I’m afraid I have to admit there is a caveat. It turns out I’m going to have to borrow Ms. Lochlan for the evening. I know she hoped to consult with you—”

“No, no. Of course! I understand.”

Chloe narrowed her eyes. Had she just been dumped…for Knox? Damn the legendary Hamilton charm.

“Good, then. I’ll leave your name with my admin.” Knox handed over a business card he’d extracted smoothly from his pocket. “I look forward to meeting with you.”

One more enthusiastic handshake, a nod for Chloe, and Jeff quickly disappeared into the crowd.

Knox turned that killer grin on her. “You’re welcome,” he said.

“He wasn’t so bad.”

“He wasn’t your type. Now, about our trip upstairs.”

“Why did you tell him I wanted to consult with him?”

“I want to talk to you. Give me the chance, and I’ll explain.”

“Do it here.”

He drained his beer and chased it with a long, lingering look at her. “It’s a private conversation.”

“If it’s the same lame excuse you used when you left me, I can guarantee most of the people in this room have either used it or heard it. If it’s all the same to you—”

“It’s not all the same to me,” he said, his words quiet but firm. “Unless you want the recap to make tomorrow’s news.”

Chloe sighed and looked to the ceiling, as if doing so gave her a glimpse into the hotel rooms overhead. Bad, bad idea. But he was right. Everything Knox did made headlines, and the last thing she needed was to have their personal conversation end up on the society page—she’d never be taken seriously as a reporter if her name was mired in tabloid gossip. Besides, he promised an apology and an explanation—something, she expected, more than the old it’s-not-you-it’s-meline. At least it had better be, because if they took this upstairs, they’d be sorely lacking witnesses.

She threw back the rest of her daiquiri. “I guess I owe you one.”

“Damn straight.” He tossed a fifty on the table. The move sealed their unspoken agreement.

She was screwed.

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About Sarah Ballance

Sarah Ballance is a multi-published author of contemporary, historical, and supernatural romance and romantic suspense. She’s been married to her own romantic hero for what he calls a “long, long time” (and no, he’ll never hear the end of saying that). Together they have six children … and clearly too much time on their hands. She currently writes for Entangled and has upcoming releases from both Entangled and Samhain Publishing.

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LIMITED TIME INTRODUCTORY PRICE ONLY 99 CENTS!

An Unexpected Sin (Sins of Salem #2)

Colonial Salem

The moment the stranger’s dark eyes meet hers, Anne Scudder’s world is immediately overthrown by chaos. That single flare of desire is immediate, driving away all notions of propriety. Instead, Anne is consumed with sinful thoughts – ones that no unmarried girl should ever have for a man who isn’t her husband…

But Josiah Cromwell is no stranger.

It’s been six years since Josiah stole kisses from Anne, his best friend’s younger sister. Six years since Josiah left after his best friend’s death, burdened by the knowledge that he was responsible for destroying Anne’s family. Now he’s returned to claim the woman he can’t live without. But even as their desire threatens to consume them both – body and soul – the dark workings of suspicion and witchcraft are afoot.

Because in Salem, too much passion can lead a woman to ruin… and condemned to death.

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  • Title: AN UNEXPECTED SIN (Sins of Salem #2)
  • Author: Sarah Ballance
  • Genre: Historical Romance
  • Publisher: Entangled Publishing
  • Sold by: Macmillan
  • Release Date: April 14, 2014
  • ISBN 13: 978-1-62266-547-1
  • Available format(s): ebook

Excerpt

She raked his hair. Clutched desperately at his back. Found it was she who moved against him, for he had eased his grip in favor of taking fierce hold of her breasts. In the dark and through her clothes, he put his mouth over first one, then the other. Desire toppled her sensibilities until she was left arching her back, every part of her begging to be closer. Begging for the kind of fulfillment she knew in her heart only he could deliver.

Begging until he broke free.

Breathing heavily, he bathed her in the lopsided, boyish grin she had long adored. “Your father will see me to the gallows for this,” he said in his low, husky voice.

Though the logic of his words found her, she wanted not for sensibilities. She wanted Josiah. “My father sleeps upstairs.”

Josiah took a deep breath. “It is not often I wish to be a lesser man,” he said, “but a lesser man has a certain advantage when a beautiful woman comes to him in the dark of the night.”

A beautiful woman. Anne had never imagined such a description could belong to her. “You could never be a lesser man.”

“Rest assured, if you return to my room in the dark of the night, I will be nothing more.”

Though his tone was light, she did not miss its undercurrent. His serious nature made his words all the more thrilling, for they left little doubt as to what he wanted—or how badly he wanted it. She could not keep the smile from her voice as she asked, “Are you saying I need only walk from the room for a minute’s time to make a lesser man of you?”

“I would like to think myself more honorable, but I make no promises in my current state.”

“Perhaps we should test that supposition.”

He grinned and leaned in, kissing her softly. “As much as I ache to know every inch of you,” he said, “it is not my desire to make off with your honor like a thief in the night.”

She splayed her fingers across his warm, bare chest and took a deep breath of courage. “You have long stolen my heart. My honor will not be far behind.”

Read the entire first chapter for FREE at Entangled Publishing. (No registration or cartwheels required.)

Giveaway

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RUBY HILL by Sarah Ballance is now available from Entangled Publishing’s Ever After line of supernatural romance! Click here to learn how to enter to win a $25 gift card and a gorgeous skeleton key necklace.

RubyHill-500Ruby Hill

One reunion. One ghost. One night that will change everything…

From her earliest memories, Ashley Pearce has been drawn to Ruby Hill Lunatic Asylum, and she’s not the only one. Decades after the abandoned hospital ended its institutional reign of torture and neglect, something lurks in the shadows. Since she’s a paranormal investigator, it’s Ashley’s job to find out what.

Crime scene expert Corbin Malone doesn’t believe in ghosts. A born skeptic, he has no interest in entertaining the hype surrounding the mysterious deaths at Ruby Hill, but he won’t turn his back while more women die. He agrees to an overnight investigation, never expecting his first encounter would be with the woman he pushed away a year ago. But when he discovers Ashley is a target, he learns his greatest fear isn’t living with his own demons, but losing her for good.

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  • Title: RUBY HILL
  • Author: Sarah Ballance
  • Genre: Supernatural Romance
  • Publisher: Entangled Publishing
  • Release Date: September 30, 2013
  • ISBN 13: 9781622662258
  • Available format(s): ebook

Ruby Hill | Excerpt

Visions of the crime scene photos made an unwelcome reappearance in his mind’s eye. Young women—beautiful young women. Death hadn’t changed that. “In both cases, heart stopped. Sudden cardiac arrest. No known cause. No family history. No leads.”

She nodded, unimpressed. But then again, she subscribed to the boogieman camp. “So a ghost did it.”

He expected her to claim victory with that sentiment, but instead her words harbored bitter undertones. The shift threw him off balance. The whole damn place had that effect on him. The air felt as if it bred illness rather than oxygen—darkness gathering like rain clouds, too fat with their wares to find the sky.

He’d choke on the toxicity.

Is that what Cash had done?

Though the air boiled, inexplicable cold sluiced Corbin’s spine. He glanced toward a window. Dusty and broken, it had a morbid effect on the sunshine attempting to filter through from outside, where the world lazed deep orange. The thought of darkness on the other side made him shudder. When he turned to shut the front door, he realized the darkness on the inside was far worse.

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Sarah BallanceAbout Sarah Ballance

Sarah and her husband of what he calls “many long, long years” live on the mid-Atlantic coast with their six young children, all of whom are perfectly adorable when they’re asleep. She never dreamed of becoming an author, but as a homeschooling mom, she often jokes she writes fiction because if she wants anyone to listen to her, she has to make them up. (As it turns out, her characters aren’t much better than the kids). When not buried under piles of laundry, she may be found adrift in the Atlantic (preferably on a boat) or seeking that ever-elusive perfect writing spot where not even the kids can find her.

She loves creating unforgettable stories while putting her characters through an unkind amount of torture—a hobby that has nothing to do with living with six children. (Really.) Though she adores nail-biting mystery and edge-of-your-seat thrillers, Sarah writes in many genres including contemporary and ghostly supernatural romance. Her ever-growing roster of releases may be found at http://sarahballance.com

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SALEM, MA 1692

HER WICKED SIN (Sins of Salem #1)

Now available from Sarah Ballance and Entangled Publishing’s Scandalous line of historical romance.

Her Wicked Sin | A Sins of Salem Novel (#1)

SALEM, MA 1692

On a moonless night, he rides into the winter forest on his beast as black as midnight….

Dashing stranger, Henry Dunham, comes to Salem on a mysterious errand, but is thrown from his horse in the dead of night and rescued by the local Puritan midwife, Lydia Colson.

Haunted by her past, Lydia is running from her own dark secrets, avoiding intrusive questions by pretending her dead husband is simply…away. But when she and Henry are caught in a compromising situation, one punishable by Puritan law, he saves her from scandal by claiming to be her errant spouse…and claiming her bed.

Forced to fake a marriage, Lydia and Henry find their passion overwhelming and their vows a little too real. As their lies become truths, a witch hunt closes in on Lydia, threatening not only their burgeoning love, but her life.

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  • Title: HER WICKED SIN (Sins of Salem #1)
  • Author: Sarah Ballance
  • Genre: Historical Romance
  • Publisher: Entangled Publishing
  • Release Date: September 9, 2013
  • ISBN 13: 9781622662494
  • Available format(s): ebook

Her Wicked Sin | Excerpt

“Willard, you beast.” A round of profanity followed the utterance. Though the stranger’s words were foul, they offered for his equine companion both comfort and reassurance. Their soothing cadence eased the alarm from the horse’s eyes, leading his ears to relax from their pinned state.

Lydia found herself enchanted by the man’s tones and by his obvious affection for the horse.

He shifted in the leaves, still facing away, and he had yet to acknowledge her. She should flee. She had freed him from his quandary, and his voice tinged itself not with pain, but with humor. She would feel no remorse for moving past, yet her feet did not budge.

If she remained silent, would he not know her there? No, eventually he would wonder what held the reins aloft. She watched, waiting for that moment. Through the profound darkness, she noticed his hair was a nutty brown and longer than that of a Puritan man, though its richness showed no trace of the powder worn by many wealthy travelers. He was a study of contrasts, this man. For all of his finery, he seemed to shun the ways of society, and his roguish nature appealed to those innermost desires she had thought long lost. Her husband, as he were, had ruined her womanhood.

This stranger, in the most insignificant ways, had roused it.

Find it @ Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Kobo | iTunes | Goodreads

Review Snippets

“A thrilling romantic historical that deals with the Salem witch trials in a way that’s never been done before. Amazing!” – NY Times and USA Today Bestselling Author Rachel Van Dyken

“Sarah Ballance has done an exceptional job with this release. The story is well built, plot flows effortlessly, and the language is true to the era. An exciting read, start to finish! Definitely a must read!”Joe Breedon, Goodreads

Sarah BallanceAbout Sarah Ballance

Sarah and her husband of what he calls “many long, long years” live on the mid-Atlantic coast with their six young children, all of whom are perfectly adorable when they’re asleep. She never dreamed of becoming an author, but as a homeschooling mom, she often jokes she writes fiction because if she wants anyone to listen to her, she has to make them up. (As it turns out, her characters aren’t much better than the kids). When not buried under piles of laundry, she may be found adrift in the Atlantic (preferably on a boat) or seeking that ever-elusive perfect writing spot where not even the kids can find her.

She loves creating unforgettable stories while putting her characters through an unkind amount of torture—a hobby that has nothing to do with living with six children. (Really.) Though she adores nail-biting mystery and edge-of-your-seat thrillers, Sarah writes in many genres including contemporary and ghostly supernatural romance. Her ever-growing roster of releases may be found at http://sarahballance.com

Stalk @ Website | Blog | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads

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In a perilous game of trust, a shocking betrayal deals a dangerous hand.

An accidental witness to a murder-for-hire, ex-cop Rhys Clark becomes the target of ruthless killer—one determined to silence her at any cost. Playing dead seems to be the most likely way to stay alive, but when her protection comes in the form of mega-sexy former adversary Nick Massey, Rhys can think of  a few fates worse than death.

Nick Massey may have walked away from his troubles, but he never got past wanting Rhys. Once paired undercover, they’d been nothing but fireworks until a botched assignment ended her career, sending his into a tailspin. Now a mysterious client threatens Nick’s life if he doesn’t keep Rhys safe, but it isn’t until fate takes a critical turn that he realizes the devastating truth: he’s been her greatest threat all along.

Title: LAST CALL

Author: Sarah Ballance

Genre: Romantic Suspense

Publisher: For the Muse Publishing, 2013

ISBN 13: 978-0-9889995-0-3

LAST CALL is available from: For the Muse PublishingAmazonBarnes & Noble, and Smashwords (formats: .mobi, .epub, HTML, PDF, RTF, LRF, PalmDoc, and Plain Text). Click here to add to Goodreads or here for reviews.

Cover art by For the Muse Design

Last Call | Excerpt

Rhys Clark swore and jerked her foot from the murky puddle that had just claimed one of her new running shoes. Perfect. The day was now officially perfect.

She blamed Nick Massey.

Blaming him was easy enough. She didn’t know which required more nerve on his part—leaving town or crawling back—but both events left her bitter and raw. And wet, she grumbled inwardly. With the sky spitting rain and the occasional pellet of sleet smacking her face, she should have skipped her evening jog. The street was little more than a concrete alley of shuttered businesses, and the bleak weather amplified the emptiness. But tonight, with Nick hot on her mind, running through the cold was her last ditch effort to return to her senses.

It hadn’t worked.

Another blast of icy air howled through the narrow street. If she hadn’t been standing still, she probably wouldn’t have heard the shouting that followed.

A few months ago, an altercation wouldn’t have been unusual in this part of town. But the whole area was under reconstruction. Local crime dissipated to nothing with the razing of several apartment buildings, and until now Rhys had long found her route to be a place of solace. She glanced around as the voices drew closer and more intense. Rapid footsteps smacked the wet pavement. Then the echo of a gunshot cracked the night.

Where fear left her paralyzed, instinct insisted she get out of sight. She looked around and found an unbroken expanse of concrete wall offering few options. Heart pounding, Rhys ducked into the recessed doorway of a vacant storefront and hoped the deep shadows would keep her concealed.

Terrifying seconds passed. The sound of her own suppressed breath roared in her ears.

Voices came, clearer this time. Close.

“If we screw this up…” The words, terse and hushed, were encapsulated in panic.

“Shut up,” demanded a second voice. “No one messed up. He’s as good as dead.”

“You think you’re going to sell that without a body? We didn’t get paid to lose him.”

“He took one to the gut. He won’t get far. We’ll find him.”

“He’s leaving a trail. Blood. We got the big bucks for a clean—”

Shut up.”

A hit? Rhys shuddered, fear scaling her spine. A professional hit would have been silent—something not accomplished by the gunshot or the ensuing conversation—but in this game, experience wasn’t always a prerequisite for willingness to pull the trigger. Two years of undercover work had taught her as much.

So had a bullet.

Rhys froze, waiting for the voices to pass. But luck was not on her side. Rather than drawing away, the footsteps ceased.

“Well, well, well,” said the confident one. “Looks like our little game of hide and seek is over.”

Hope crumbled. The voice was far too close. Had they seen her?

She dared not move. Through her lashes, she saw nothing in her narrow view of the dimly lit street but dirty puddles and the occasional bit of trash plastered to wet pavement. She prayed they didn’t look her way should they walked past.

Grunts erupted nearby, followed by the sound of sneakers scuffling on concrete. Then two shots fired, and all sounds of struggle gave way to profane celebration.

In the same instant, a man fell to the sidewalk in front of Rhys. His eyes, sightless and familiar, bore into her.

She choked a gasp.

A man stepped into her line of sight, his weapon at the ready. Before she could stop herself, she locked eyes with him. Big mistake. The decision threw her into a cloud of emotional shrapnel, the past flying at her in shards. She’d been shot once before.

It hadn’t ended well.

The gunman opened his mouth and formed an ugly grin, his breath coming in visible puffs through yellowed teeth. “Looks like a double header tonight, T,” he said, never taking his gaze off Rhys.

“Whaddya mean?” came the reply. The voice . . . she blinked until the second man shifted into focus.

She knew him. From where? She couldn’t think.

She glanced to the dead man, and her vision wavered. Panic shifted her world into a screen of jarred pixels, the flashback jagged and severe.

Rhys! Stay with me, Rhys. Do you hear me? Rhys!”

Blood. So much blood.

“Nick.” She touched his face, feeling stubble beneath her fingertips. Then the weight of her arm was too much; as gravity won he slipped away. The world twisted into a sickening spiral until all that was left was his voice, the desperation in his tone bringing warmth to the darkness.

“Rhys!”

Motion jarred her to the present.

The gunman gestured. “Our witness here is about to have an unfortunate accident.” He raised the weapon, aiming for the kill.

It was a short view down the barrel at point blank range. She expected that.

What she didn’t anticipate was the speed with which he pulled the trigger.

Or how quickly the pain hit.

LAST CALL is available from: For the Muse PublishingAmazonBarnes & Noble, and Smashwords (formats: .mobi, .epub, HTML, PDF, RTF, LRF, PalmDoc, and Plain Text). Click here to add to Goodreads or here for reviews.

About Sarah Ballance

Sarah and her husband of what he calls “many long, long years” live on the mid-Atlantic coast with their six young children, all of whom are perfectly adorable when they’re asleep. She never dreamed of becoming an author, but as a homeschooling mom, she often jokes she writes fiction because if she wants anyone to listen to her, she has to make them up. (As it turns out, her characters aren’t much better than the kids). When not buried under piles of laundry, she may be found adrift in the Atlantic (preferably on a boat) or seeking that ever-elusive perfect writing spot where not even the kids can find her.

She loves creating unforgettable stories while putting her characters through an unkind amount of torture—a hobby that has nothing to do with living with six children. (Really.) Though she adores nail-biting mystery and edge-of-your-seat thrillers, Sarah writes in many genres including contemporary and ghostly paranormal romance. Her ever-growing roster of releases may be found at http://sarahballance.com

Website: http://www.sarahballance.com/

Blog: http://sarahballance.wordpress.com/

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/sarah.ballance.author.news

Twitter: https://twitter.com/SarahBallance

Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/4103362.Sarah_Ballance

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I am so very pleased to be welcoming Sarah back to my neck of the woods.  She’s goin’ places, y’all!  I figured we’d do some Q & A, get to know a little more about Sarah the person, instead of Sarah the “I’m-so-jealous-I-want-to-be-her” writer.  So, without further ado, Welcome back, Sarah!

Hiya! Thanks so much for having me back. I guess the insurance came through on the damages from last time? Does that mean you’re serving drinks? ‘Cause, um . . . bartender!

I lied.  I think our readers deserve a few of those “what makes her tick” questions.  What genre do you feel most comfortable writing?

Definitely romantic suspense. I love the way the suspense adds a whole new level of tension to the romance, taking the stakes far beyond those of a typical relationship. Suspense allows for a multi-layered plot as my characters fight for one another and, often, their lives. (Okay, so authors can do that with romance, too, but I need my suspense” crutch,” lol.)

From reading your oh so fabulous suspense novels, we all know you know how to keep us on our toes, and turning the pages.  How do you feel about writing a genre you aren’t comfortable with–testing the boundaries?

Grrr! LOL. I was suckered into it by a fabulous pre-made cover from For the Muse Design. Clearly my muse listens to me about as well as my kids do, because even though the cover screamed historical and every cell in my body wanted to back away slowly, my muse demanded we take it home. So I am now the *very* proud owner of a gorgeous cover (CAPTIVE—it’s on my website and blog) and I’m trying to *only* yank out my gray hairs as I *very much* test my genre comfort boundaries, LOL.

I think I’m the most excited to read CAPTIVE.  There is so much to explore there, and I know it will be a success, just like your suspenses.  You’ve woven such an intricate plot… How did the idea of the Familiar Light/Tide of Lies series form itself so flawlessly for you? 

Aw, really? Because I’m pretty sure I still have plaster in my hair from beating my head against the wall. (I just blamed the kids. No one questioned it.) FAMILIAR LIGHT started with the Timeless Desire theme, which was dictated by the blog tour for which the story was written. I wanted to write suspense, but I didn’t want to cram it into 10k words as required so I asked about continuing the story. The continuation became TIDE OF LIES, which, in spite of its origins, is a standalone title. As for the details, I had a sit-down with my husband, who doesn’t read romance but rocks plotting. We figured out the basics, and my characters filled in the blanks.

With six home schooled kids, how do you find time to devote to your writing?

I wish I did. LOL. In theory, I work on fiction after dinner from about 8pm until midnight. My husband takes over the kids, only allowing whichever one is delivering the coffee to breach the barriers of my writing abode (also known as the bedroom).  He does a great job. The biggest problem I have is falling behind on the other necessities (blog tours, scheduling, and other nonfiction aspects of authoring) so I end up catching up during my writing time. (Case in point: It’s nearly 10:30pm as I write this. LOL.)

Okay, okay, I’ve grilled you long enough on the authorly stuff.  Now lets get down to what the readers REALLY want to know… Coke or Pepsi?

Coke. OMG, is there anything better than an ice cold Coke? No, I don’t think there is. (At least not when I’m in the mood for an ice cold Coke, LOL.)

Chicken or fish?

Um, chicken. Although if I have to cook it, I don’t eat it. Of course, I hardly ever eat fish, so the feathers win.

Favorite color?

Blue. My husband’s eyes are blue, and my contacts will be, too, if I ever get to the eye doctor. ;c)

Favorite character?

I know you’re a Disney freak, so I don’t know if I’m supposed to be thinking cartoons here or if I’m supposed to be in my own books, lol. My favorite book character is usually the hero I’m writing at the moment. It’s sort of a necessity—if I don’t love my guys, readers won’t, either. Overall favorite character of mine? I think I had the most fun with Hutch from RUN TO YOU. *grins*

(Melissa here.  Note to self, explain the simple questions in great detail.  Favorite character you’ve written. *snort*)

Okay readers…its your turn.  If you haven’t already read TIDE OF LIES, well…what are you waiting for?  This book is fantastic, and you won’t want to put your book, kindle, ipad, phone, computer monitor, audio book what have you down.  Just when you think you’ve got it all figured out, Sarah throws you a curve ball.  Watch out!!!

*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*

TIDE OF LIES

A devastating secret. A shocking betrayal. A deadly obsession.

Haunted by three unsolved murders, Detective Holden Whitlow is stunned when his cold case takes a heated turn. Julia Cohen, his ex-lover, is back in town, and in the face of a brutal attack she’s ready to run. No matter how tightly she holds her secrets, for Holden, turning away from the woman he’s spent a decade trying to forget isn’t any more an option than walking away from his job . . .even when it threatens to cost Julia her life.

Julia is still reeling from a past she can’t bear to face. When she becomes the target of a killer, fate throws her back into Holden’s arms, but she’s yet to recover from a truth that has stripped her of everything—and everyone—she loves. Will she tell him the secret that will destroy him, or will her lie destroy them both?

BUY LINKS

NOBLE ROMANCE  https://www.nobleromance.com/Books/409/Tide-of-Lies

AMAZON (author link) http://www.amazon.com/-/e/B003WKYEJI

BARNES & NOBLE (author link) http://www.barnesandnoble.com/c/sarah-ballance

 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Sarah and her husband of almost fifteen what he calls “long, long” years live on the mid-Atlantic coast with their six young children, all of whom are perfectly adorable when they’re asleep.  She often jokes that she writes to be around people who will listen to her, but her characters aren’t much better than her kids.  Fortunately, her husband is quite supportive, having generously offered to help her research “the good parts” . . .  and she’s never had to ask twice.

WEBSITE  http://www.sarahballance.com/

BLOG  http://sarahballance.wordpress.com/

AMAZON  http://www.amazon.com/-/e/B003WKYEJI

TWITTER  http://twitter.com/#!/SarahBallance

FACEBOOK  http://www.facebook.com/sarah.ballance.author.news

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