Welcome back to Behind Closed Doors! For today’s Friday Fantasy Free For All I’m participating in the month long scavenger hunt hosted by Close Encounters of the Wicked Kind. Each day this month, one of the Wicked Women have put up a post with an excerpt from one of their books and a question you need to answer in order to get entries in the Rafflecopter for the HUGE Grand Prize. If you’re just starting out with the hunt today, don’t you worry one bit. You still can go back to the previous posts done this month and get your answers. Before I go through with the rules. Here’s the list of the items up for grabs.
One autographed print copy of The Sunset Warrior by Leanore Elliot
Choice of 1 backlist e-copy book by Nikki Prince
An E-copy of The Remedy Maker by Sheri Fredricks
Choice of 1 backlist e-copy of Rosanna Leo
Choice of 2 backlist e-copies from Seraphina Donavan
A Bound gift pack which includes: Autographed Print copy of Bound, Necklace, and Book marks by Bonnie Bliss
A pdf copy of Touch of the Gods: The Wager by D.X. Luc
A copy of Dangerously Mine by AM Griffin
Autographed print copy of Immortal Love and an E-copy of PRimal Song by Danica Avet
An Autographed paperback from Cristal Ryder
E-copy of The Witching Pen Omnibus from Dianna Hardy
Swag Pack from A R Von
A T-shirt from Michel Prince
An Autographed copy of the promotional paperback Dreams of Ink by Kallysten
$5 Amazon card from Samantha Pleasent
$5 Amazon card from Ashlynne Laynne
Autographed copy of The Hunter Diaries in paperback by Serena Zane
Tammy Dennings Maggy: Swag: coffee mug, tote bag, pen, mouse pad, key chain
The Autographed Print Copy of the Satin Rose Experience by Sandra Bunino
E-book Copy of Blood Avenged by Gabrielle Bisset
E-book Choice of Blood’s Voice or Blood Bound by Aine Massie
Autographed Print Copy of Only Scandal Will Do by Jenna Jaxon
Autographed Print Copy of Dark Passion Rising by Shannon Albright
E-copy of The Heart of a Wolf Series by MaryLynn Bast
Autographed Print copy of For His Eyes Only by T.C. Archer
E-copy choice of backlist book from Katie Salidas
Autographed Print copy of My Highland Love
E-copy of Arresting Behavior by Morticia Knight and sexy swag pack!!
Winner’s choice of Backlist book by Naomi Bellina plus Swag pack!
Choice of 2 e-books: Croc and the Fox by Eve Langlais, Doms of Dark Haven anthology, The Vampire’s Boy by Theda Black, or Dex in Blue by Amy Lane, winner’s choice from: Sharing Links and Wisdom
Choice of e-book from Lea Barrymire
$5 dollar Amazon Card From Natasha Blackthorne
Now that list above is just for the GRAND prize. Each participant has to offer an individual prize as well. I’ve decided to give away to one lucky winner signed copies of The Courtship of the Vampyre, Follow Me: Poetry from the Heart and Soul, and The Island (Now and Forever 2). In addition to those, I will frame the poem “Encounters in the Dark” using the color scheme of the winners choice.
So what do you have to do to get the prizes? Follow the instructions carefully. For the Grand Prize you cannot put your answers in the comments section on the blogs. You must put them in the Rafflecopter in the spots for each individual blog. If you don’t follow this instruction, your comments will be deleted from each blog and you will lose that entry. This is the only way to keep the playing field completely fair for all. Each post will have a banner box with their individual question. Here’s mine
Excerpt from The Surrender of Julia (Now and Forever 3)
Thirteen Years Ago, the Island
Julia awakened to the sound of waves crashing on a beach. She opened her eyes to find she wasn’t on her couch but in a king sized four poster bed, covered in pale pink material that gently tossed in the breeze coming through the screen door in front of her. “Where the hell am I?” She sat up in the bed and continued to take in her surroundings. At the end of the bed Julia noted a white silk robe and matching slippers on the floor. The closet doors were open revealing several colorful dresses and matching sandals.
She tossed the covers aside to find she was completely naked. That in itself wasn’t unusual for her, but she distinctly remembered falling asleep on the couch in her condo, wrapped up in an afghan. She frantically searched through the comforter and sheets, terrified to be without the one thing that offered her comfort and security when she was alone. Julia breathed a sigh of relief when she noticed the blanket folded neatly on the dressing table next to the bed. “Hello? Is anyone here?”
She slipped into the robe and explored a bit further into what she assumed was a bungalow of some sort. Julia found a fully stocked kitchen and pantry, a living room with an entertainment center, and a huge bathroom with a glass enclosed two person shower and sunken spa tub. The one thing she didn’t find was a telephone. She smiled. If she couldn’t call out, then no one could call in.
Julia ran back to the bedroom, dropping the robe on the floor as she flipped through the sun dresses hanging in the closet. She picked out a red halter dress and decided to pass on the sandals. She wanted to walk barefoot on the beach, something she hadn’t done for far too long. If this all was just a dream, she wanted to enjoy every single minute of it before she had to wake up in the city again.
The only way to the beach was through the sliding doors on the other side of the bedroom. The sound of sea gulls reached her ears as she stepped out onto the deck. A bubbling hot tub was too her left and to her right was an outdoor kitchen, complete with a grill pit and cushioned deck chairs. Directly in front of her stretched the pale sandy beach. The waves called to her and she practically ran through the sand to get to the point where the water gently lapped against her calves. Julia wiggled her toes into the sand, loving the feel of it slipping and sliding between them. “This is sheer Heaven.”
Then it hit her. The whole confrontation with Jacob and Mario in the condo replayed on fast forward in her mind. She remembered drinking way too much whiskey and then swallowing some pain killers. “Oh my God! I just wanted to sleep. I didn’t want to die. This is why I’m here. I’m dead.” She sank to her knees in the surf and sobbed.
“Julia, you’re not dead.” A tall blond man stood before her on the beach. He was in his late twenties, covered in tattoos and had multiple piercings. His eyes were what drew her right in. They were the blue green color of the ocean she was kneeling in. It was his eyes that made her feel immediately at ease. He held out his hand to her. “Come on. We’ve a lot to talk about and I’m sure you’re full of questions for me too.”
“Where did you come from? I thought I was the only one here.” Julia took his hand and allowed him to help her get to her feet and out of the water. Goosebumps covered her body, but she wasn’t cold. “If I’m not dead, then how did I get here?”
The young man laughed. “I’ll answer all your questions but first you have to give me a chance to do it before you fire off more.” He wrapped a large beach towel around her shoulders as they made their way back up toward her bungalow. “I’ve been waiting for you to wake up. I’m the Guardian assigned to watch over you and help you find your way back to the destiny chosen for you by The Three.”
She sat down on one of the deck chairs and beckoned to him to sit next to her. “Guardian? As in guardian angel?”
He nodded. “My name’s Daniel. The Goddess Fate chose me to watch over you and several other people. One of them you know already, Jake Hartley.”
Julia’s eyes filled with tears. “I hurt him so badly. Is he okay? I mean he stormed out of our condo last night. I don’t know where he went.”
Daniel shook his head. “He was in a horrific accident on his bike. He slammed into the back of a semi—”
“No! He’s not dead. He can’t be.” Julia bolted out of her chair and barely reached the end of the deck before she threw up.
Daniel was immediately at her side, holding her hair out of the way until she stopped retching. “I’m not going to sugar coat it for you, Julia. Jake’s fighting for his life right now. But you need to believe me when I tell you he’s in good hands. His father’s my partner and right there with him and the rest of the family.”
“He wouldn’t be there if it wasn’t for me. I did this to him.” The sobs tore through her body. She’d never cried over anyone or anything before. This was more than she could take. “Please. Leave me here to die. Take care of him.”
The Guardian wrapped his well-muscled arms around her and held her tightly against his chest. “That’s not why you’re here. In fact, you’ve been allowed to come here in order for your heart and soul to mend. Then, you have to make a choice.”
Julia wiped the tears from her face and looked into Daniel’s eyes. “I don’t understand. What is this place?”
“We call it The Island. Basically it’s what humans would call limbo. It’s the realm between life and death. The ability to come here is a gift given to you by The Three. You have to choose to either stay here and wait until your next life cycle, or go back to face your demons and fight for your chance to be with your soul mate and your chosen destiny.”
“The only person that’s ever loved me like that, the only one who told me he loved me and wanted to spend the rest of his life with me, is fighting for his life in a hospital bed.” Julia managed to get back into the deck chair without having another wave of nausea hit. She curled up in the towel again and wondered if it was just best to stay there and not go back to all the pain she’d caused.
Daniel smiled. “The only one? Think hard. Who has been by your side through everything? Who has let you pursue all your desires and still loves you unconditionally?”
She smiled through her tears. “But Carmen can’t be my soul mate. It’s one thing to have an affair, but the love we have for each other will never be accepted, especially not in her world as a doctor and hospital administrator. The religious groups in L.A. would crucify her if our relationship was made public. The hospital Board wouldn’t want to have that kind of publicity. Carmen’s worked too hard to get where she’s at in her career. I won’t be responsible for ruining another person’s life.”
“I understand your fears about that, but you and all those groups have it completely wrong. The Three didn’t create us as just male or female. We are both. Soul mates are just that, mates of the soul. Being a male or female isn’t part of it. Souls have no gender. They are just pure life force.”
Julia shook her head. “That may very well be true, but after all I’ve done in my life I don’t deserve to have that kind of happiness. Jacob does. Carmen does. But not me.”
Daniel took her hands into his calloused ones. “Why not? If The Three feel you’re worthy, who are you or anyone to judge differently?”
“I’m scared, Daniel. What if I’ve gone too far in my life to turn things around? I don’t think I can face the ugliness in my past let alone ask Carmen to stand by my side when I do it. It’s not fair to her. It’s best I just stay away. I’ve made a mess out of enough lives.”
“I can’t force you to go back, but you have to understand this. If you choose to stay here, you will in fact die in the Earth Realm. Everything in that life will be gone and all you’ll know is right here on this island until you next life cycle begins. You won’t remember anything from the life you’ve lead up until now. Within hours of your choice to not go back, those memories will be locked away. All the happy times will be gone. Carmen’s life will never be the same after losing you. You can’t change what’s already happened, but you can choose to accept this second chance you’ve been given.”
“Can I take a day or two to think it over?” Julia’s mind raced. She needed some time to sort through everything before she made her decision. For once in her life she needed to not act on impulse.
The Guardian nodded. “The Goddess and I will come for your answer in a couple days. Until then, make yourself at home here in your bungalow. There are others on this island paradise, but you won’t be able to see them unless you decide to stay here.”
“Jacob’s here, isn’t he?”
Daniel nodded. He’s been given the same opportunity, but his choice is much harder to make.”
“Why? I would think he’d jump at the chance to find his soul mate.”
“He does find her here on the Island. They must choose to go back and find each other later in their lives, or stay here and wait for their next rebirth.”
“Hell, if he can be here with his heart and soul, why would he ever want to go back?” Julia thought that choice would be the easiest one to make. She could live here forever with Carmen. With no outside influences to come between them, their life together would actually be paradise.
“Too many other lives hang in the balance with those two, including yours. Their lives intersect with so many. If they stay here, the futures of the others would be forever altered in this lifetime. People have to continue to be reborn and live their lives over and over again until they learn all the lessons needed to achieve their chosen destinies.”
“So if I give up on this one, I’ll have to continue on to another life cycle again and again until I get it right? The painful parts could happen all over again?”
Daniel stared at her a moment before answering. “Yes. You may be born into a family that doesn’t abuse you, but a family friend or stranger may be the one. You may never have to go through that pain again, but I can’t guarantee that any more than I can tell you you’ll find Carmen right away in the next life. You’re given the chance for your happily ever after now as long as you’re willing to fight for it.”
Julia closed her eyes and bit her lower lip. “Okay. I’ll think it all over and have an answer for you when you return. If I have any other questions about anything, how do I contact you?”
He smiled as he stood in front of her. “All you have to do is call. I’ll be right here when you need me. I promise.” Daniel waved as he faded right in front of her eyes. “Listen to your heart, Julia. It will never steer you wrong.”
Did you find the answer? Go ahead and click on the link below to take you to the Rafflecopter for the Grand Prize, and then come right back here for your chance to win my prize.
Now for my prize package you have to click on the following link a Rafflecopter giveaway
Now here’s the linky list for the rest of the participants. You’ll need this to help you complete all the steps to win the Grand Prize.
Good Luck and Have Fun!!!
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