Sweet Talk, Sweet Dreams, Sweet Seduction [Boxed Sets]
Published: May 1, 2015
Genres: Contemporary, Romance, Thriller
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Sweet Talk Boxed Set
Priced at only $9.99, this heart-warming, limited edition collection features ten BRAND NEW contemporary romances by New York Times and USA Today bestselling authors
Sweet Dreams Boxed Set
Priced at only $9.99, this fascinating limited edition collection features thirteen BRAND NEW thrillers by New York Times and USA Today Bestselling authors
Sweet Seduction Boxed Set
Priced at only 9.99, this stunning limited edition collection features thirteen BRAND NEW contemporary romances by New York Times and USA Today Bestselling authors.
You can make a difference while you read! All proceeds from the sales of these boxed sets will be donated to the Diabetes Research Institute via Brenda Novak’s Online Auction for Diabetes Research.
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From WANDERLUST by Roni Loren
When the song finished, Lex sauntered to the edge of the stage to address the audience. “How’s everyone doing tonight?”
Screams answered him. He gave an easy laugh, clearly comfortable being the center of attention.
“I’m glad y’all are having a good time. We are, too. New Orleans definitely knows how to throw a party.” He put his hand against his brow to shield his eyes from the spotlights and squinted at the sea of people below him. “Turn up those house lights. I want to see these beautiful faces.”
Female voices reverberated off the walls as the lights above the crowd switched on. A redhead a few steps away from Aubrey lifted up her shirt as soon as Lex’s eyes traveled in that direction. Nice. What was this? Mardi Gras? Lex smiled and gave a little nod of acknowledgement to boob-job girl, but otherwise didn’t comment.
“You know, I’m feeling mighty thirsty, and I heard a rumor that New Orleans is home of the body shot,” Lex said, continuing to survey the audience with a sly smile. “So I’m thinking, that maybe I should try one tonight. What do you think?”
The shouting of the crowd increased.
“Now all I need is…a willing victim,” Lex continued. Bustier girl began her bouncing routine again and waved her hands frantically trying to catch his eye. Lex paced across the stage, taking his time, holding his finger up and preparing to point to the chosen one.
Aubrey put her money on Miss Augmentation, but he passed that section up without a glance. As he neared Aubrey’s end of the stage, his eyes landed on her exuberant neighbor. The girl’s scream turned shrill. “Pick me! Me! Me!”
Lex lowered his hand ready to point and then shifted his gaze, locking eyes with Aubrey. Her breath caught. Oh, shit. Seconds seemed to tick by, but she couldn’t pull away from the stare. She managed to wag her head slowly back and forth. No. No. No.
He smiled, lowered his finger, and pointed directly at her. “You. The sexy brunette in the black t-shirt.”
Her stomach took a nosedive.
“Come on, I won’t bite,” Lex said, waving her forward. “Unless you ask nicely, that is.”
The girl next to Aubrey shot her a glare that could have curdled milk. The sea of fans parted as if she’d suddenly morphed into royalty, and she forced her leaden feet to cross the few yards to the barricade. Her heart took up residence in her throat, threatening to jump out. This was a disaster. She silently cursed the bouncer from backstage. If she had met the band beforehand, she would’ve never ended up in this position. Building a professional relationship with the band after this was going to be next to impossible.
Hands patted her back and shoulders as the two bouncers flanking the stage helped her climb over the metal barrier. Lex squatted at the edge of the stage, all wicked grin and guyliner, and stuck his hand out. He cocked his head, beckoning her closer in a way that spoke without the words. Come on over, lamb, said the wolf. This will only take a minute.
INTRO From BRENDA NOVAK
I’m a thriller writer, and a thriller reader, and hence a sucker for the classic thriller plot, where an ordinary man or an ordinary woman slowly becomes aware of a looming threat: someone or something is out there, close by, infinitely dangerous; or perhaps an intruder is already in the house, mocking, violating a sanctuary, or perhaps – really creepy – he’s been living in the attic for a couple of weeks already, camping out, undetected, silent, leaving odd nighttime disturbances … who moved that chair?
Or perhaps, for added anguish, it’s not the ordinary man or woman under threat: it’s his or her son or daughter, their child, their responsibility, the intended victim, a helpless target. What mother or father wouldn’t fight to the death? And they do … 400 pages later, an investigation has been conducted, the bad guy has been identified, close scrapes have been survived, and finally the family is sitting together on the bottom stair, stunned but finally safe, as the bad guy is put in the cop car and driven away. The end.
Diabetes starts like that. But it doesn’t finish like that.
It’s a mysterious malfunction. No one knows the cause. Researchers suspect an element of genetic susceptibility, and in those susceptible it’s possible the Coxsackie B4 virus kicks things off. Then a tiny balance among the human body’s billion moving parts goes slightly out of whack, and the beta cells in the islets of Langerhans (such an innocent name) inside the pancreas shut down and stop producing insulin, so the body can no longer deal with the kind of sugars we crave.
The intruder is now in the house.
Untreated, all kinds of complications will follow. Cardiovascular disease, and stroke, and damage to the eyes, kidneys, and nerves. And more. Including death. All in store, unbelievably, for the ordinary parent’s beautiful and vulnerable child. No one’s fault. Type 1 diabetes is unrelated to lifestyle. Most victims are thin or normal, healthy, well fed, well loved.
The fight back begins with maintenance. Sometimes diet is enough; more often, insulin must be provided. An endless round begins: testing and injecting, testing and injecting. Most sufferers do OK for a long time, but only OK. Quite apart from the social and organizational burdens of diet and injection, they can feel under the weather a lot of the time. But in thriller terms, we can at least get them barricaded in a safe house, at least temporarily, doors and windows locked, guns drawn, with the bad guy lurking outside in the yard.
But how do we get the bad guy in the cop car?
Research is the answer, but it’s fantastically expensive. All around the world, teams of biochemists are working hard, but they have to pay the rent. And eat. Their funding comes from governments and institutions and drug companies – but also from hundreds of thousands of concerned individuals. Many of them are parents of diabetic children, and it’s easy to see why. The primeval instinct that makes a mother or father fight to the death is a powerful one – perhaps the most powerful among our emotional inheritance. But in the case of diabetes it’s frustrated. There’s no identifiable antagonist, no role for a gun or a blade. There’s no bar fight to be had. If only it was that easy. I know of no parent who wouldn’t gladly smash a long-neck bottle and join the fray. But they can’t. Such parents have to channel their natural aggression into a long, patient, endless struggle for progress. They raise awareness and money any way they can.
This anthology is an example. It will help fund the search for a cure. All good. In fact better than good, because whatever else, there are some great authors and some great stories here to enjoy. So if you buy it, you’ll get some excellent entertainment – but also you might just get the chance to be that mysterious character on page 297 of our notional thriller, who contributes the tiny but vital clue that eventually leads to the big reveal on page 397. Your few cents could make the difference. You could be the one.