Pedicures & Prejudice Sneak Peek!

Here’s a look at the beginning of Pedicures & Prejudice. Enjoy!

The helicopter lurched forward and I swore for a second that Vince was up to his usual tricks. My bestie’s husband was a bit of an adrenaline junkie. Causing his helicopter to take a dip would be just his idea of fun. But then there was rattling. And the power went out. I would never forget the all-out panic that filled me as we continued to race toward the ground. Hysteria. That’s the word I’d later use when recalling the crash. I may have screamed. I know Aria did.

Instinctively I reached for Finn’s hand. He clasped his hand firmly with mine and with my other hand I braced for impact on the roof of the cabin. My feet were pushed into Vince’s seat in front of me. I squeezed my eyes shut as our aircraft made its rapid descent.

Sweet sugar, this is how it’s going to end. I was going to die in a helicopter crash in the desert.

Finn’s grip on my hand tighten. I turned and opened my eyes, staring hard into his. His gaze was just as intense.

“I love you,” he said.

At least I think that’s what he said. It was hard to make out anything over Aria’s screams. It didn’t matter. I didn’t need to hear the words to know that my only regret in life was that I hadn’t had a chance to marry him.

The helicopter swooped and swirled out of control. Vince fought to steady the aircraft.

“Hold on!” he yelled, followed by some additional words in Spanish. Trust me, I was holding on as tight as I could.

Aria screamed right until the moment the helicopter crash landed in the brush.

“OOF!” My body was thrown hard and pitched forward, where it remained, saved by the five-point harness that I clung to like a kid on a roller coaster ride. “Get out, get out, get out,” was all I could say. I kept thinking we needed to escape the fuselage before something catastrophic happened, like an explosion. Not a rational thought, but I couldn’t blame my brain for thinking that way. My fingers couldn’t work fast enough to unbuckle myself.

“I got you, babe.” Finn was quicker than I, having escaped his harness in less than five seconds, and he helped me undo mine in a hot second. Vince apparently had done the same. I saw him kick Aria’s door open, jump out and turn around to help his wife down. Finn and I followed route and managed to safely climb out of the aircraft and stumble after them in the desert.

“Guys, everyone okay?” Finn asked, taking inventory of the group. I looked at my arms and legs as if seeing them for the first time. Miraculously, I was unharmed.

“Vince, your eye,” Aria said, her voice hoarse from all the screaming.

Vince’s face had pretty nasty-looking gash above his eye, splitting his eye brow. Aria went to raise her arm to brush his hair out of his eyes and winced.

“What’s wrong?” I asked.

“It’s just my shoulder.” I could already see a bruise forming on her bare shoulder from the impact of hitting her right arm on the door when we crashed. In fact, I was sure we’d all be sporting a few bruises, but I would take that any day over what could have been. Aria burst into tears and I knew how she felt.

My Nana in heaven was one busy guardian angel. With one hand holding Finn’s, I reached up with the other and squeezed the cross around my neck, closing my eyes and letting out a deep exhale of gratitude.

I looked over at my bestie. Vince was doing his best to calm her down, but she was getting more worked up by the second. I struggled with a way to help, feeling much the same—overwhelmed. I turned to look at Finn. He had something else entirely on his mind. He wrapped me in the most tender hug and I was sure he would never let me go.

“I thought that was it, babe,” he said, kissing the top of my head. I squeezed him a little bit tighter.

“I know.” I would have liked to stay that way, but the fact remained that we were standing in the middle of the Mojave Desert with a crashed helicopter and my hysterical best friend. I gave Finn an extra squeeze and lifted my chin to kiss him softly on the lips before letting go of his embrace.

“The girl, the girl, the girl.” Aria stammered.

“What girl, sweetie? I’m right here. Amelia’s back home.” Amelia was Vince’s six-year-old daughter, but that’s not who she was referring to. In fact, she wasn’t referring to me either. Aria pointed at the scrub brush right besides us. I spotted the brightly-patterned bag first. It looked like a purse, or maybe an overnight bag. I dropped Finn’s hand and took a few steps closer and wished I hadn’t.

Sweet sugar, the bag belonged to the body of a woman. She was sprawled out face-first on the desert floor. Thick red blood clotted her hair, and a bloodied rock lay just in front of her. There was no point in rushing to her aid. In fact, I took a couple steps back.

My first instinct was to reach for my cell phone and call the police. But my cell was in my purse, which was still back at the helicopter, and I really didn’t want to go back and search for it. I shudder to think what would happen if the entire thing blew.

Fortunately, Finn had carried his phone in his back pocket; however, the way he started to walk around in a circle told me there wasn’t much hope for a signal. And Vince was focused on trying to get Aria to calm down. Unlike me, this was Aria’s first time finding a dead body.

“What do we do?” I said to Finn. We had to alert the authorities about the poor dead girl, and our fate wouldn’t be much better if we didn’t find a way out of this barren land.

I knew it was a bad idea when Vince offered to take us for a ride. I should have listened to my instincts and not the tourist operator’s enthusiastic assurance. Something tells me his opinion was heavily swayed by the wad of cash in his hand.

Finn motioned with his head toward the base of the foothills, where another type of smoke rose steadily into the air. “What about that over there?” he asked.

It was hard to tell for certain, but if I squinted hard enough it looked like an SUV with a tent set up beside it. Who would have ever imagined that anyone would readily go camping out here? Maybe I was more of a city girl than I thought. I could only hope that the people who were camping weren’t the same ones responsible for this poor woman’s demise.

Finn and I led the way with Aria and Vince trailing after us. I noticed a sign marking the Valley of Fire Campground about the same time we noticed a couple of four-wheelers heading in our direction. In the twilight, the lights of the off-road ATVs bounced off the rough terrain. I thought back to the body in the desert not more than a quarter mile behind us and the lights riding toward us. First a helicopter crash, then a dead body, and now this? Vegas was not how I imagined it. I wondered if Vince’s SOS calls had reached anyone before we crashed.

“How confident are we that they’re the good guys?” I asked Finn.

He looked at the surrounding scrubby landscape, seemingly drawing the same conclusion as me. “If they’re not, we’re in trouble. There’s nowhere to hide.”

PEDICURES & PREJUDICE 
Available NOW
.99 cents for a limited time

 

Pedicures & Prejudice is LIVE!

 

First up, Book 4, PEDICURES & PREJUDICE is NOW AVAILABLE! The release price is .99 cents, but it will jump up to $2.99 next week.

I want to give a big thank you to those of you who volunteered for my ARC Team. Launches wouldn’t be a success without you. If you’d like to be a member of the team, reply to this email and let me know. I’m working feverishly on Book 5 in the series and will be calling on you fine folks to read and review again in the near future (probably early December depending on how long edits take).

Next, I’d like to offer up a $10 AMAZON GIFT CARD for helping to spread the word and introduce readers to the Beauty Secrets Series. To enter, please share this FB POST.

Not on Facebook? That’s okay. You can still enter by following my Author Page on Amazon. That link is here. If you go this route, please email me and let me know. Amazon doesn’t share with me who my followers are, but rumor has it they give us authors more exposure the more followers we have.

Rules: No purchase necessary. Void where prohibited. Entries accepted until Oct 26th at 11:59PM.

Also, don’t forget, there’s still the Love Kissed Cozies Giveaway. You can download 16 FREE cozies and enter to win a $25 Amazon Gift Card. EYELINER & ALIBIS is free as part of the giveaway and has already had 6,700 downloads!

The free for all runs now through Friday (10/16-10/20).

I think that’s it for now. I truly hope you all love PEDICURES & PREJUDICEand good luck with the giveaways!

XOXO,
Stephanie

Summer Reading Challenge

Hey, book lovers! Remember those summer reading programs from when we were kids? You would read a certain number of books and get a pizza. Or maybe if you completed a list of books you received a certificate and a prize from the librarian. Why should the fun end just because we’re adults? Join us this summer for the inaugural Romantic Summer Reading Challenge.

Now through midnight (CDT) September 4, read all ten books on our reading list to win prizes. This year’s featured books include:

The Lady Travelers Guide to Scoundrels and Other Gentlemen by Victoria Alexander
New Attitude by Kathryn R. Biel
Playing House by Laura Chapman
Makeup & Murder by Stephanie Damore
Click Date Repeat Again by KJ Farnham
Love, Hate, and Other Lies We Told by Deirdre Riordan Hall
Tequila & Tailgates by Andrea Johnston
Reality Rocks by Liberty Kontranowski
Pas de Deux by Wynter S.K.
This is 35 by Stacey Wiedower

How does it work? When you finish each book on the list, leave a review on Amazon or Goodreads. Then, once you are done with all ten, copy the links on the entry form, complete the rest of the information, and submit it. After September 4, everyone who completes the challenge will receive a free ebook from one of the authors’ backlist. You will also be entered in the drawing for a chance to win one of ten prize packages created by the authors (valued at $20 each) and the grand prize of a $100 Amazon gift card. (No purchase necessary to win. Prize packages limited to U.S. residents only this year.)

What if you’ve already read one (or more) of the books on this list? It still counts. Just post your review and share the link on the form.

If this sounds like fun way to discover new authors, score a free book, and enter for a chance to win prizes, please join us! You can also follow the Facebook page, which will include author takeovers that give you a chance to interact with authors and other readers throughout the summer.

ARCs now available

Don’t want to wait until Friday to read KISS & MAKEUP?

Well then I have good news for you! Advanced reader copies are now available!!

What’s an advanced reader copy you ask? While not the final version, these are copies of books authors make available for promotional means. So when the launch day arrives, the book already has some buzz (and hopefully a few good reviews).

If you want to jump on the bandwagon, you can shoot me an email (steph.damore@gmail.com) or sign up for my Street Team. Limited copies are available, but I’d love to get one in your hands.

Hope to hear from you soon!