Monday, February 29, 2016

Other Side (Series of Cliches #1) by Harlow Paige

Title: The Other Side
Series: A Series of Cliches #1
Author: Harlow Paige
Genre: Romance
Release Date: March 21, 2016
Cover Image by Perrywinkle Photography
True or False: 
From the outside looking in, you can be more objective to someone's situation.
People only see what you have, thinking your life and marriage are sheer perfection based on your tax bracket. If only they could step inside long enough to see how cracked the foundation truly is. 
True or False: 
The grass isn't always greener on the other side.
I firmly believe the only people who speak this nonsense are the ones living a life of contentment. They use this cliche to persuade you from searching for more out of life.
True or False: 
If momma ain't happy, nobody's happy.
This momma hasn't been happy for a long time, and I plan on changing that.
The grass may not be greener on the other side, but if I'm the one mowing the lawn, who the hell cares?!

My husband use to refer to the internet as the devil. He trusts nothing that takes place on the screens I’m constantly working from. It’s easy to sit back and judge something you haven’t allowed yourself to explore. I finally broke him out of his no-internet accessing flip phone, and he has now come to the dark side. 

Where I’m engrossed in social media and keeping up with my readers and fellow authors, he’s now consumed by stupid, childish games that make absolutely no sense to me. He likes to complain and assume the worst on my end, throwing out the fact that he’s kept in the dark and has no clue who I interact with. This is true. I do keep him out of my author world bubble. It’s mine. I don’t want to share it with him. If I allow him to get close enough, I know he’ll pop it. And I’m not ready to fall down to reality. He doesn’t get my “job” and doesn’t even see it as one—although he doesn’t complain when my “job” buys him stuff. 

Funny how that works. 

The internet is my office. And a very, very distracting one at times. But it’s a necessity. I wouldn’t be known without it. He doesn’t get it. He has no clue how much work goes into this passion of mine that has turned into a career. The truth of the matter is, he doesn’t support me. So therefore, his mind isn’t open to everything that goes hand in hand with me being an author. All he sees is me on my laptop or phone and he instantly thinks I’m chatting with people—guys—I shouldn’t be. 

And maybe I do. 

And maybe I shouldn’t. 

I’m unhappy. I’ve been this way for a couple years now—since I started writing my books, to be more precise. I didn’t wake up one day and tell myself, “Self, I want to be an author.” I woke up one day realizing I needed more in my life. Not that being a stay at home mother and wife wasn’t satisfying, but it definitely wasn’t quenching my thirst. Something was missing, and I was on a mission to find it. That’s when I discovered writing and that I could write out whatever I wanted and toss it into the black-hole known as the internet and if someone read it, cool. 

It felt amazing letting out anything and everything I had on my mind without any expectations in return. Slowly I started gaining readers. It was scary and exciting. There were actually people who wanted to read what I had to say. Why? I didn’t understand it. But as they started conversing with me, one by one, I realized I wasn’t alone in the grand scheme of life. And that felt good. I felt like my purpose had been found. And I planned on embracing it no matter who had my back, which my husband didn’t. But his unsupportiveness didn’t detour me from continuing my writing journey. It wasn’t a choice. It’s my destiny, my future, the passion burned throughout me and I couldn’t extinguish it even if I wanted to. And yes, there have been times I wished I could shut the ideas out. It completes me and gives me a sense of purpose. When a reader tells you that your story moved them, helped them, made them laugh or they related even a tiny bit to something you wrote—it changes you. 

And that’s exactly what’s happened to me. 

I’ve changed. 

And dammit, I like who I’m becoming. 

I want to embrace this revolution rising within me. I want to spread my wings and expand my horizons and see where the possibilities of it can one day lead. 

But I can’t.

Because I’m stuck.

Being a prisoner to a life of contentment, knowing that you settled and wishing you knew then what you know now is so disheartening. I’m married to someone I wanted by my side from the get go, but wouldn’t grab my hand. Now that he sees me pulling away, knowing I’m unhappy, he’s grasping for my fingertips, trying desperately to slip his fingers between mine and grip with all his might. 

But it’s too late. My fingertips are now digging into my hands, forming fists. Him refusing to take the journey with me, not only hardened my stance against him, but also my heart. 

I can’t change it. I can’t change the way I feel. I can’t go back to two years ago when I picked up the first book I ever had the urge to read, and warn myself of what would take place once I closed that story with a new outlook on life. And if I could, I’m not sure I’d want to. 

I knew it the first time he came over to my apartment and we ended up sleeping together that I was settling. I was compromising who I was, and who I wanted to be—even though I wasn’t sure of who that was. 

The ironic part of it all is me settling led to my passion. But now I’m in a predicament. Do I stay with the man who loves me, but doesn’t know how to fully support me, and stay unhappy and fake it for the rest of my life…or do I jump bail and find what brings me joy? I already know the answer, but I tried it once. It wasn’t planned out, and in return left me freaking out. I have kids to take care of. I have to be smart instead of jumping on a whim and praying for a safe landing. 

Waiting it out shouldn’t be hard, right? 

I’m sure most will say it’s me being a horrible wife and that I shouldn’t have put myself in this situation. To an extent, I agree. I know I should leave my husband before flirting with the opposite sex. I know all I’m doing now is flirting with disaster. 

I can’t help it…or stop it. 

It could all be the fucking author in me reading into it, writing my own personal whacked out fairytale.

I know people say the grass isn’t always greener on the other side, but something inside me makes me want to test that theory.
Harlow Paige is a known author using a pen to shield her identity (and others) as she writes about her adventures and many, many mishaps in the world of online dating. Her Series of Cliches is bound to resonate within any woman who has jumped back into the dating saddle. No worries if single-hood doesn't apply to you. This series will be full of real life honesty, as Harlow twists her life experiences with a bit of fiction to keep the reader guessing. Everyone who joins in on this adventure will be able to relate in some form, and if not, will still be rooting her on along the way.

Harlow asks that all willing participants please keep their hands, feet and legs inside the ride at all times. Your safety... and ENJOYMENT is her number one goal. 

Hold on tight---you're in for one helluva ride!

Blogger/Fan & Author Appreciation

For all the hard work you all do, whether you are a blogger who help out posting tours from Promo authors who put their trust in me to promote their books...and finally the readers who help get the word out there about our beloved Indie Authors ---- I am giving away a $100 Amazon Gift Card and a 14 Day Blog Tour.
With more and more authors signing up with Promo Stars, I would like to take this opportunity to grow our bloggers/social media shares. I am asking for all the book lovers out there to sign up either to receive a weekly list of events that can be signed up for....or an All Event Tour Host where you can choose which blitzes you want to post without having to fill out forms.
I wouldn't be able to do this without all of you!

Enter the Giveaway

Fierce Salon Series by Aspen Drake

Series: Fierce Salon Series
Titles: Fierce Salon: Wash (Episodes 1-5: Season 1), Fierce Salon: Rinse (Episodes 6-10: Season 2), Fierce Salon: Repeat (Episodes 11-15: Season 3) 
Author: Aspen Drake
Genre: M/F Contemporary Romance 
Fierce Salon: Wash (Episodes 1-5: Season 1)
When Nate Edwards left his drug addicted ex and his modeling career, he followed his other passion and opened up Fierce Salon. He's a player in every sense of the word but never steps over the line of professionalism when it comes to his staff. They are the only women off limits to him. 
Amy loses her job and her boyfriend on the same morning when her salon shuts down unexpectedly and she catches her boyfriend cyber cheating. When she runs into an old friend working at an upscale salon, Amy’s desperate situation begins to look up. 
It takes some convincing, but she lands her dream job and gets to spend her days looking at the most beautiful man she’s ever seen. If only he was willing to break his golden rule and see her as more than just an employee.

Fierce Salon: Rinse (Episodes 6-10: Season 2) Nate and Amy stop trying to deny their attraction to each other. Once they give in to their desires, everything is wonderful...until Nate's ex shows up with a three-year-old in tow. 
Carly meets not one man but two and has to make a decision she never thought she'd be faced with. Choosing one hot man over another. Although, if the hints she's getting are sincere, she may not have to choose at all. 
Andre and Frankie are getting to know each other but agree to take it slow when Andre admits just how inexperienced with men he really is. 
Olivia continues to struggle with cutting out nicotine, but her new vice proves to be much more hazardous to her health. After driving away the one man she thought she could spend the rest of her life with, she falls prey to a dangerous stranger. 
**Content Warning: There is a rape scene at the end of episode ten.**

Fierce Salon: Repeat (Episodes 11-15: Season 3)  Follow the dramatic conclusion as more secrets are revealed. Hearts will be broken and relationships will change forever as the stylists at Fierce Salon discover what they really need in order to find love, acceptance, and most importantly, happiness.

He nods and stands by the chair, waiting for me to lead him to the shampoo room. So, this is a role playing exercise. Fan-fucking-tastic.
I feel his body just a breath behind me as I reach the first shampoo chair. “Please have a seat.”
I reach for a towel and roll it up behind his neck. “Just recline back and tell me if this is uncomfortable.”
As soon as he’s on his back, his eyes are locked on my face, watching my every expression. I plaster the fake smile on it and turn on the faucet. “Is this is too hot?”
“It’s good.” He’s barely spoken to me and yet those two words cause the hair on my arms to stand on end. I’ve got goose bumps covering my skin as I pull the hot spray to his head.
“Does this feel okay, Nate?” His eyes close for a moment but he dips his chin in a nod.
Not sure if he’s in pain or not, I turn the spray to the inside of my arm to make sure it’s okay. It feels good so I wet his hair for a few more seconds before turning off the water and reaching for the shampoo.
I’m just realizing that Frankie is left handed so he stands on the left side of his clients and has arranged everything to the left of the chair. Of course, I’m on the right side and can’t quite reach the shampoo bottle.
I lean over as far as I can to hit the shampoo spout. When I feel warmth on my tit, I realize my entire chest is against Nate’s face and he’s breathing directly into my boobs.
In my attempt to straighten up, I hit the water handle and the sprayer angles up toward my face. I’m stunned for a moment as I get pelted by hot water then quickly grab for the hose that has already misted the whole room. “Oh my god.” I panic and turn off the water. “I’m so sorry, Nate.” I’m grabbing for towels and trying to pat his face when I hear laughing behind me.
“Damn, girl.” Frankie drops a towel on the floor and starts to mop up my mess. “Did you get your license from clown school?”
My face is burning and I can’t even look Nate or Frankie in the eye. I’ve never made such a mess at work before and I don’t even know where to begin to make it right. “I don’t… I’m so…” I can feel my eyes burning so I just turn toward the door. “I’ll go.”
“Wait.” Nate’s hand grips my wrist to stop me. “You’re not going anywhere until I see if you can cut.”
Shocked, I turn toward him. He’s got a small smile that is so much sexier than the pissed off look he’s been giving me since I arrived. “Really?”
“Yes, really.” He places his hand in the center of my back and walks me to my chair. “I need a stylist and you need a job so let’s make this work.”
I nod but can’t speak over the lump in my throat. God, I hope I don’t fuck up again. He’s too beautiful to have a jacked up haircut because I’m clumsy.
Some of the staff refer to me as Type-A but I’m just regimented. I like routine and the salon runs better when everyone can stick to the plan. Of course, there are always wrenches thrown into my plans but as the owner, I’ve come to expect it.
“Nate, can you come here when you get a second?”
There’s a panicked expression on Lindsey’s face but her voice doesn’t betray her expression.
I take a moment to brush through the long layers I’m cutting into my client’s hair before I give her shoulders a light squeeze and excuse myself. “I’ll be right back, sweetheart.”
She nods briefly without looking up from her kindle. She couldn’t care less that her cut is being interrupted.
“How’s everything going, Linds?” I give a smile to her client as I twist the chair toward the back of the salon so she’s not facing a mirror. I don’t know what’s wrong but I’m sure it’s bad.
“I just want to get your opinion on this perm?” Lindsey unwraps a wide roller from the middle of her client’s head and the platinum blonde strands are disintegrating.
I can hear my pulse beating loudly in my ears as we unwrap another roller. “What formula did you use?”
Lindsey rattles off her exact chemical ratios as I unwrap the rest of the rollers. Based on the sections that aren’t fully destroyed, at least five inches off the bottom will have to be cut.
“Ma’am.” I turn the woman back toward the mirror so I can meet her eye. “Have you been putting any chemicals in your hair?”
“No, I told her this is natural.” She’s very proud of her light hair but her roots don’t lie. “I just got back from Cancun and the sun lightened it better than any color I’ve ever paid for.”
I nod and take a closer look at the fried ends. “Have you ever used Sun-in?”
She stills for a minute then shrugs. “Well, sure. Even mother nature needs a little help. But it’s all natural.”
“Actually,” I hold up the tattered remains of a lock of her hair, “it’s not. It’s very definitely a chemical and it reacted to the perm solution.”
Her big brown eyes are clueless until my meaning sinks in. “What happened?”
I take a deep breath and place my hand on her shoulder. “I’m sorry but the ends of your hair have basically dissolved. We’ll have to cut all the damaged hair down to about here.” I indicate the new length by resting my finger just under her ear.
Her eyes well up and tears begin to roll down her face. “But, I just wanted some waves.”
“I know, sweetheart, but Sun-in is a chemical. Did Lindsey ask if you had any chemicals in your hair?”
She nods but doesn’t make eye contact.
“You’re gonna look beautiful with a bob.” She’s a pretty girl with a deep tan. “It’s a much more playful look for you.”
I gently tap under her chin to get her to look up at me. “I promise.”
“Okay.” She puts the tip of her thumb in her mouth and begins chewing on the nub of her nail.
“Lindsey will take great care of you.” I pat her arm once then head back to my client.
Greg’s mouth lands on mine before I can respond. His warm breath sucks in mine as his tongue glides across my lower lip before tracing my teeth. He steps even closer to me and lifts me by my ass cheeks so I’m sitting on his hood. When my leg brushes against his hard length, we both groan.
“Your place?” Greg pants as his hand squeezes my hip.
“Your car?” I respond. I can’t wait to get him all the way home.
He laughs against my neck. “You’re killing me.”
I let my hand slide under his shirt, pulling up the fabric from beneath his belt. My fingers trail along his waistband before they dip just under it. “Ditto.”
Greg takes a deep breath then steps back. “Not in the car. Your place?”
I have to hold back a whimper. “Fine.”
I reluctantly climb into the car and let Greg drive me back to my place. The distance between us settles my urgent need to a dull thud. By the time Greg stops the car, I’m reconsidering whether this is a good idea.
We walk quietly inside and I grab two bottles of water and flop onto the couch next to Greg. “So…”
Greg wraps his hands around my hips and pulls me onto his lap. “So.”
His sweet smile makes me give him one in return. “I had fun tonight.”
“Yeah,” he tugs on a loose strand of my hair, “I could tell by the way you opened up a can of whoop ass on that drunk chick.”
“She was out of hand.” I laugh and lean into his palm as he cups my cheek. “Besides, you were too tired to dance so I had to do something to keep myself entertained.”
“So I was boring you?” he says with a playful nod. “I see.”
“Well, bored is a strong word but I like to keep moving.”
“I’ll keep that in mind.”
Greg’s palm creeps around the back of my neck and he pulls me toward him. With just a breath of space between us, I close my eyes and breach the gap, picking up where we left off in the parking lot.
I don’t stop to breathe as our lips finally meet. Greg isn’t wasting any more time as his tongue darts into my mouth. His teeth pull back over my lower lip while his hands slide under my dress, all the way up my thighs. Straddling his hips, I can’t help but grind over his solid erection as it’s pressed into my core.
His fancy suit and my lacy thong are the only barriers between us. His strong hands rub over my hips as I bounce on his rod. It’s been just long enough since I’ve been with a man that if I keep this rhythm, I’ll be coming on his pants within minutes.
Greg’s palms cup my ass and he lifts me up just an inch. But it’s the angriest inch I’ve ever experienced as I lose contact with his thick cock. I hear a whimper and moan before I realize how pathetic I sound. I want to control myself but I can’t. I am pathetic and I need him. Now.
Pulling away from his mouth, I reach for his belt buckle and furiously pull it loose. Seconds tick by as I struggle with the zipper that I can’t pull all the way down from this angle.
When I look back up at Greg with a frustrated cry, he smiles and kisses my chin. “Okay, okay.” He stands with me still in his arms. “Where’s your room?”
I wrap my legs around his waist and bury my face into his neck. “Second door on the right.”
As soon as we’re in my room, Greg drops me unceremoniously on the bed while he takes off the rest of his clothes. I can’t take my eyes off his hands as they reveal the bare skin I’ve been fantasizing about for months.
Since the first time he was in my chair, I couldn’t help but imagine what he’d look like naked and now I was getting the 3D image in my own bedroom. Holy fuck, he’s hot. With compact muscles and a light dusting of dark hair from his chest down to his…very happy place. I can’t look away from the beast that is staring at me. Standing at full attention and weeping with joy. It’s not the only one.
I look up to Greg’s face and realize he’s been watching me gawk. The half-smile he gives me is the only thing sexier than his naked body. “Ready to really have some fun?”
I nod and yank my dress over my head so I’m sprawled out in only a lacy thong and demi bra. “Fuck yeah, I am.”
Greg tosses a condom on the bed beside me but doesn’t break eye contact as he slowly climbs over me. Without touching any other part of my body, he holds himself above me and gives me a feather-light kiss. I almost don’t feel his lips against mine before they are gone, trailing down my neck. When he reaches my right breast, I arch into his mouth so he has no choice but to take my nipple in. He knows what I need as he nips lightly at the same time as I feel his cock brush my center.
“Fuck, Greg.” My hips buck up, searching for his shaft. “I need you.”
He teases me by dropping down and grinding against me. “More,” I beg. So much more.
His mouth quickly finds mine as he leans onto one elbow. I hear the rustling of a wrapper but don’t care. I just need to feel him. In me. Immediately.
Before I have to beg even more, I feel him at my entrance. I’m so wet that all it takes is one quick thrust and he’s buried in me.
Surprised by my gesture, Greg sucks in a breath and stills. “Wait, Liv,” he whispers. “You feel too good.”
I count to ten in my head before I even take another breath. It does feel good. So fucking good that he’s not the only one that needs a minute to settle down.
Realizing my eyes are clenched tight, I open them and try to relax as I exhale. Greg is staring down at me with a piercing stare. Once he locks my gaze, he begins to slowly thrust into me. When he’s fully inside, I feel fuller than I ever have before. Swaying my hips, I smile at his look of ecstasy.
“You trying to humiliate me?” he says through gritted teeth.
I lift my ass off the bed and pound against him. “I’m trying to drain you.”
He takes the hint and starts fucking me hard. I love the way his body feels as it comes together and apart with mine. His pace picks up and so does my breathing. It’s been too long. When his mouth drops to my left breast and I feel the sting of his teeth, I come undone in his arms. “Yes, Greg. Like that.”
I feel convulsions rock me harder as he continues to suck and tease my nipple while spreading my legs even wider. His balls slapping against my ass with each thrust only brings me to a second orgasm before he gives a final pounding and holds against me, filling me with his warmth.
For a fraction of a second, I wish he wasn’t wearing a condom because I’d love to feel the slimy evidence of our night when I wake up in the morning. But that thought is fleeting as he drops to the side of me and pulls me into his chest. “Wow.”
I smile as I rest my ear above his heart, letting the fast beat calm my own. “Yeah.”
Born and raised in the Silicon Valley, Aspen Drake has never ventured far from home. She loves to read, so much so that her husband has often lamented that he wishes he was a sentence so he could get more of her attention. She's working on seeking a more balanced life...but until then, you can find her curled around her ipad or laptop for many hours per day. When she isn't writing the stories that come to her while sitting in traffic, she's hawking wares as a marketing manager for a tech company. Reach out to her at "Follow" Aspen to get new release announcements.