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The town of Willow Creek is seemingly free after Remyâs sacrifice set off a life-altering chain of events that resulted in the demise of most of the worldâs vampire population. Sabine flees to her home afterwards, except her family has disappeared and a âFor Saleâ sign is planted in her front yard. Just when she thinks sheâs lost it all, sheâs summoned back to Willow Creek Manor. Confused, and almost certainly walking into a trap, she reluctantly returns, only to find that the king of vampires still livesâ¦ and he is none other than her Remy. The dead love of her life is alive, but he doesnât quite seem like the same man. With the help of a witch, a ghost, and a longtime enemy, can Sabine bring back the man she fell in love withâ¦ or will she lose him forever?
Tears threatened to wet her cheeks as she prepared to see Remy lying dead where sheâd left him only a few hours before. A flash of fear rippled through her body. I really shouldnât have come back here. Iâm a Grade-A dumbass. I know itâs a trap. If it wasnât, why wouldnât Sam or Damen just tell me what was up? Or even Gretchen, for that matter? I shouldâve just left town.
Pushing the ballroom doors open, a crowd of humansâonce vampiresâknelt with their backs toward her. Glancing to the spot where sheâd left her love lying, her stomach knotted as the air, thick and stifling, closed in around her, threatening to take her breath away. The absence of his body tore through her like a bullet to the heart, hurting so much more than sheâd anticipated. Trying to hold back the tears with a trembling lower lip, she sniffled once and looked in the direction everyone was facing. Swallowing hard, she tried to calm her nauseated stomach.
A glint of gold caught her eye, drawing her gaze to a large, ornate chair sitting on the raised platform. The same raised platform where sheâd married Remy and almost been forced to marry Bastian not that long ago. Someone sat in the chair, but it wasnât Damen like sheâd expected.
Her gaze landed on the face of the one vampire she longed to see. Gasping, she cried out, âRemy!â Taking off as fast as she could toward him, the tears sheâd tried to keep from falling streamed down her face and dripped onto her chest. He stood as she approached him. Throwing her arms around his neck, she hugged him as tight as she could, vowing never to leave his side again.
Heâd showered and changed out of the ratty, old jeans heâd been imprisoned in. He wore boots, a clean pair of jeans that hung perfectly on his masculine frame, and a gray, just-tight-enough V-neck T-shirt that now sported a rather large wet spot from Sabineâs tears. His hair was pulled back loosely, exposing his chiseled jaw.
As she crashed into him, his body bowed slightly to accommodate the difference in height as she threw her arms around him, but stayed mostly still. His hands barely grazed her shoulders while he inhaled deeply. She expected him to embrace her tightly, not sniff her like a dog. This wasnât a man acting as if heâd just come back from the dead who was eager to see his wife again. His touch was indifferent, at best.
She pulled back, looking intently at him. âWhatâs wrong with you?â
Stephanie Summers is a paranormal and contemporary romance author. She graduated from West Virginia University with a degree in accounting, though writing is her true passion. Stephanie seemed to always have a story or two or ten running around in her mind. At the ripe old age of 30, she finally decided it was time to put aside the thought that she didn't have what it took to write a novel and began writing her first story.
She has since started writing her first paranormal series, The Willow Creek Vampires Series, with Craving (Book #1) and Haunting (Book #2) available now and Awakening (Book #3) available December 29. Her short story, Love Forgotten, was chosen to be published in Stardust: A Futuristic Romance Collection, and another short story, Saved by the Bear, is available now. Her contemporary rock star romance, Take Me On, is scheduled to be released in early 2015.
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Book Piracy and Why it Sucks...
I've never been very vocal about any of the controversies that rear their ugly heads in the writing world. For the most part, I keep to myself and do my own thing, though I do have plenty of opinions on a lot of things. Maybe I'll start voicing them more often, but I digress. Back to my point... I've searched for my books, and have never found them on pirating websites... until today. I don't know whether to be pissed or to be flattered that someone wants to read my books so badly that they'd steal them to do so.
And, yes, it is stealing no matter how you look at it. There are a couple varying opinions on the subject of book piracy. The most popular, of course, is that these sites suck and people who partake in them are taking money out of the pockets of authors who have poured their souls (and money) into turning their stories into polished pieces, worthy of being read by the masses. The other opinion is people who steal ebooks never would have bought them in the first place, so who gives a shit? I lean more toward the first opinion, though I understand the second and have felt myself swinging that way at times because I do agree that most people who steal, wouldn't legitimately buy it in the first place.
But here's the thing... There are readers out there who are actively participating in the pirating scene, and they straight up don't even know they're doing anything wrong! Those are the ones who would probably obtain ebooks the proper way if they knew what they were doing was illegal. This is why awareness about the issue is crucial.
So, how do you know if you're doing something illegal? Well, I'll tell you.
1. If you are visiting websites that aren't major retailers (Amazon, iBooks, B&N, AllRomanceebooks, Smashwords, etc.) of ebooks, whether you are getting them for free or even paying for them, you're doing it wrong. There are sites who charge for books that look half-way legit, but all you're doing is putting money in the pocket of the site owner, not the author, who deserves it for their hard work. Many authors legitimately offer some of their work for free so you can get a feel for their story telling abilities. Hell, I even have Craving perma-free for this same reason, but that doesn't mean that we want to or should give all of our work away just because you'd rather not fork out a couple of bucks to read it. And the excuse that there are soooooo many books you want to read and you just can't afford them all doesn't fly. Make a book budget, and prioritize the books you want to read.
2. If you receive ebook files from ANYONE other than the author, you're probably doing something wrong. There are cases where someone is managing a book tour who has been authorized to deliver files, but for the most part, you should only be getting free ebooks from authors directly, especially if you don't own a blog who works with book tour promoters or publicists directly. Also, no one should ever ask you for your Kindle address to send you a file unless it is the author of the book. This means the person is sending you the file directly from their own computer. More than likely they've obtained the file illegally or maybe even won it in a contest and don't have authorization to give it to someone else. This is one of the reasons I have cut back on book donations for events. It seems like it's getting harder and harder to decide who one can trust anymore. I gift directly from Amazon, B&N, or iBooks now, which costs me money, but I'd rather do it that way than to give someone a copy of my book that they can easily do as they please with the file. A lot of other authors have started doing this as well.
3. If you purchase a book, read it, then return it. YOU ARE STEALING!!! Sorry for shouting, but I feel like screaming every time I see where someone has done this, or when it has happened to me or authors I know. Do you ask for your money back after you watch a movie in a theater? No? Didn't think so. Doesn't matter if you liked the book or not, you read it, which means you did what you intended to do with it when you bought it. Let's face it, most retailers have an option to sample the first 20% of the book before you buy it. I've used this feature many times, and generally, I can get a feel for whether or not I want to read the rest of the story. I will admit, there are a lot of turds out there (and I'm sure someone thinks my books are turds, too, before anyone thinks I'm trying to act like I'm hot shit, haha see what I did there?), but that doesn't make it okay to steal.
And just to drive home the fact of just how much theft of ebooks sucks, let's paint a picture. You go to work and put in your hours for the pay period. On payday, your boss decides to say, "You know what? I liked (or maybe didn't like) your work . Even though you did what you were supposed to do, I don't feel like paying you, so I'm going to cancel your paycheck before it hits your bank account." You'd be pretty pissed, too, wouldn't you? How dare that asshole boss not pay you for your hard work, right? Yep.
Most authors aren't in it for the money. If we were, there'd be a hell of a lot less of us because this is not an industry where most people make tons of money. Just because someone is doing well in ranks at times, doesn't mean they're rolling in the dough or are worth millions. If you can make somewhat of a living from book sales, then that's pretty freaking awesome, but a lot of us never even get to that point. So when you pour yourself into a story, sometimes revealing bits of your soul that you try to keep mostly private in the process, it feels pretty damn dirty when someone decides $2.99, or whatever the price may be, is too much to pay and they choose to steal those sacred bits of you instead.
I think part of the problem lies in the fact that an ebook isn't a tangible product and people tend to think it's okay to not pay for them. However, the contents are exactly the same as a paperback version of the same book. Would you walk into Barnes & Noble and just take a book off the shelf and walk out with it without paying? Nope. Well, maybe some would, but most wouldn't. The same time, energy, and money went into it, regardless of the format it's delivered on.
I just want to say thank you to all those readers out there who get it. You know what these stories mean to us and you see the value in what we do. Without you, we'd be nothing. So thank you!
I'd love to hear opinions from readers, bloggers, and other authors, so please don't hesitate to leave me some comments. Feel free to share this around as well.
Until next time...