Blog Tour, Excerpt & Giveaway – Shadows of Nightshade by Lyla Oweds.

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This is my post during the blog tour for Shadows of Nightshade by Lyla Oweds. Shadows of Nightshade is a ghost story for romance and tragedy lovers.

This blog tour is organized by Lola’s Blog Tours and the tour runs from 13 till 26 March. You can see the tour schedule here.

Shadows of Nightshade book cover
Shadows of Nightshade (The Garden of Eternal Flowers #1)
By Lyla Oweds
Genre: Paranormal Romance/ Paranormal Horror
Age category: Young Adult/ New Adult
Release Date: 8 March 2023

I dream of a time where I was warm, safe, and loved.

But my waking reality is starkly different.

Anxiety plagues me and spirits haunt the shadows. No matter how fast I run, I can’t seem to escape my past.

The only solace and steady force in my life is my best friend, Finn.

And now… there’s a ghost haunting me. And I’m not certain if it wants help or if it wants to kill me. There’s only one person who can understand: Finn’s brother, Damen.

However, in reaching out, I’m betraying Finn and setting things into motion that cannot be undone.

But nobody ever said that doing the right thing was easy.

The Garden of Eternal Flowers is a re-envisioning of my Grimm Cases series. Eternal Flowers has taken my original vision of Bianca’s story and transformed it into something new and beautiful. Some chapters are similar, and some dialogue is the same, as The Grimm Cases, Origins, but overall, about 75% of the book has been entirely revisioned with new plot points, mystery, and interpersonal relationships. Also, unlike Origins (originally a Wattpad release), there is now a clear beginning, climax, and conclusion in each individual novel, which allows them to be read alone or as part of the ongoing series.

I hope that you will enjoy Shadows of Nightshade as much as I enjoyed writing it. Truly, it is an honor to write about Bianca and her boys, and all of these characters are near and dear to my heart.

Trigger Warning: This series deals with the aftermath of severe childhood trauma.


Excerpt 1: I wasn’t sure why he thought he deserved any special rights to my time, but it was obvious that he believed he could do whatever he wanted. How did he become so arrogant? I opened my mouth to respond—which would probably have ended with me embarrassing myself—but nothing escaped. I stared at him, my heart racing, as I stood speechless. Then laughter—close enough for me to pick up—drifted over from the next row. The sound shattered the enchantment cast over me—how could I have forgotten our position—and my face burst with heat. How would this scene appear to anyone passing by? Damen’s eyes glinted mischievously. He must have had the same realization. “Let me go,” I hissed. But my whispered venom only encouraged him, and he smiled. My traitorous heart began to beat faster. “Someone might see us!” “Really?” His grin grew wider. This was the expression he’d had when we first met. “Then it’s fine if we don’t get caught? Consider it noted.” “No!” I was internally screaming, even though my words were a weak protest. “You can’t play around with students anyway.” Not that it mattered there’d be no games between us—ever. “You’re basically a professor.” “Ah.” He ran his finger down my cheek and I shivered. “But you’re not my student. I can’t help it.” His lips dipped slightly, and he tilted his head as his gaze continued to hold mine. “You’ve taken root in my mind.” How idiotic. I would bet my shoes that he said that to everyone. “Why are you so annoying?” I gritted out. Plus, what even was that line? It sounded like something from a cheesy romance novel. I’d be shocked if that ever worked for him in the past. Finn’s stupid, horny brother. He could go flirt with someone else. I didn’t even remember why I wanted his help anymore, because no matter how much I wanted to lean into his touch or melt under his scorching gaze, I wanted to poke him in the eyes that much more. What a quandary.
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About the Author:
Lyla Oweds is a paranormal / urban fantasy author who resides in the beautiful Pocono Mountains, Pennsylvania with her husband, children, and animals. While she enjoys all genres of fiction, she has a deep appreciation for fantasy, romance, mystery, crime, and horror. Lyla has a bachelor’s in anthropology and will be completing her master’s in information technology in 2023.

Writing is her moonlighting passion, and she loves having the opportunity to share her perspective as a disabled (profoundly hard of hearing) woman. During the daylight hours, Lyla works as a principal / lead design and development specialist focusing on user experience and accessibility. When not working, Lyla is usually indulging in one of her many hobbies such as amusing her children, gardening, crocheting, interior decorating, baking, cooking, or playing video games.

Author links:

There is a tour wide giveaway for the blog tour of Shadows of Nightshade. One winner wins a paperback copy of Shadows of Nightshade.

For a chance to win, enter the rafflecopter below:
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Book Blitz, Excerpt & Giveaway – Faking It With the Grump by Kate O’Keeffe.

Faking It With the Grump
Kate O’Keeffe
(Second Chance Café, #1)
Publication date: March 14th 2023
Genres: Adult, Comedy, Contemporary, Romance

He’s grumpy, boring, and thinks it’s okay to wear a suit and tie to a smalltown bar full of lumberjacks. But when I kiss him? Let’s just say I wasn’t expecting THAT.

Harper Cole

It’s one thing to be dumped by the huge Hollywood star you thought you were going to marry. It’s quite another to move back to the small town you’re both from.

As a booby prize for being shown the door by Dex Ryan, everyone is trying to set me up with their son, their nephew, or their long-lost cousin’s gardener. Either that or they’re throwing me pitying looks that say, “You’re a big loser.”

I’m not going to put up with their patronizing sympathy anymore.

So, when I spot new-guy-in-town Christopher Young, I set out to make him mine. Or you know, pretend to make him mine. I’m still in a horrible funk over Dex, and Christopher is an uptight grump. Not exactly my type.

The fact that despite appearances, he’s gorgeous and doing weird things to my blood pressure doesn’t mean a thing.


Not. A. Thing.

Christopher Young

Hunter’s Creek, population next to nothing, is the reason I work all the time. I’m solely focused on buying the town’s lumber mill so I can go back to NYC and get my big promotion. This small town is a means to an end. Nothing more.

That is until the prettiest girl I’ve ever seen superglues her lips to mine in an unexpected and very public way. She’s not the kind of woman I usually go for with her boho dress and ankle boots, but that kiss…

I’m disappointed when she comes up for air and tells me it’s all for show. But if Harper Cole wants me to be her fake boyfriend while I’m here in town, who am I to turn her down? Being attached to a local might ingratiate me to the townsfolk and make my job that much the easier.

After all, dating Harper can only be make believe. Nothing more. Not when my entire future is at stake.

Faking It With The Grump is a grumpy-sunshine, opposites attract, fake relationship romance set in the small town of Hunter’s Creek, Washington. It’s the first book in the new Second Chance Café series. Each book follows a different sister’s love story and can be read as a standalone novel or as part of a series.

Goodreads / Amazon / Barnes & Noble / iBooks / Kobo


She looks suddenly nervous. “Okay, here’s the thing. I kind of told some people today that you and I are…well, that we’re…”

When she doesn’t complete her sentence, I lean in and ask, “You and I are what?”

She glances around nervously before she says, “Dating.”

I straighten, shocked.

As my brain tries to comprehend what she just said, I blink at her a few times.

I need clarification. In my experience, beautiful women don’t usually go around telling people they’re dating you without your knowledge.

Well, not sane, beautiful women, anyway.

“Did you say you’ve told people you and I are dating?” I ask.

She nibbles on her lip, reminding me of a rabbit. It only adds to her appeal. Despite my concern, she’s confirmed she’s not exactly sane. “I did warn you it was weird.”

“That’s true, you did. But that doesn’t explain why, exactly.”

She clasps her hands together, clearly uncomfortable.

I’m overcome with the strangest sensation, wanting to reach out and place my hand over hers to reassure her it’s okay.

I don’t.

She takes a breath. “I know this makes me sound crazy. And I’m not crazy. Really, I’m not.”

Said no crazy person ever.

“I don’t know if you recognize me or know what happened, but even if you don’t, I really, really need you to pretend to date me because—”

Wait. Pretend?

Her eyes dart to something behind me, and before I fully realize what’s happening, she’s pushed the bar stool to one side, closed the distance between us, a decidedly wild look in her eyes.

“Everything all right?” I ask her tentatively.

“Okay if I kiss you?” she murmurs out of the corner of her mouth.

I blink at her. “Now you want to…kiss me?”

She nods, her eyes darting behind me and then back to my face. “That okay with you?”

This gorgeous woman who smells like a meadow, the double threat, the woman who only just told me she wants to pretend to date me, now wants to kiss me.

As confusing as this situation may be, I’d be an idiot not to leap at this.

“Sure,” I tell her, the thought of having her soft lips pressed against mine making my belly clench.

It would appear she’s not a woman to be told twice.

Immediately, she pulls herself up onto her toes, places her hands at the back of my head, and before I can utter another word—like “why?”—she leans in toward me and kisses me.

I don’t move for fear this is some kind of mirage. Not that I think mirages are all that common in Washington, what with it not being a desert. But seriously, this sort of thing doesn’t happen to me a whole lot. Or, you know, ever.

And I’ll be honest, as far as kisses go, it’s easily the most surprising of my life, hands down. One second, she’s explaining to me why she wants me to fake date her, and the next she’s kissing me, like it’s no big deal at all.

The problem is, for me to kiss someone like Harper Cole, it should be a big deal.

Author Bio:

USA TODAY Bestselling Author Kate O’Keeffe writes exactly what she loves to read: laugh-out-loud romantic comedies with swoon-worthy heroes and gorgeous feel-good happily ever afters. She lives and loves in beautiful Hawke’s Bay, New Zealand with her family and two scruffy dogs. When she’s not penning her latest story, Kate can be found hiking up hills (slowly), traveling to different countries, and eating chocolate. A lot of it.

Visit to sign up to her newsletter and you’ll receive a FREE romcom.

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Release Blitz & Giveaway – The Rebirth by V. P. Evans.

The Rebirth
V.P. Evans
Publication date: March 16th 2023
Genres: Adult, Suspense, Thriller

A traumatized father seeks justice for his son’s death.

A fallen man seeks atonement for his mistakes.

A cryptic path hides all the answers.

And so much more …

For the past decade, Mark has been living like an alcoholic druggy, loathing himself for not having the power to protect his son from the hands of these goddamn monsters.

For the past decade, Jason has been living a reclusive life, doomed by his enemies to spend the rest of his bland days in isolation till the illness seizes his last breath.

For the past decade, Mark and Jason haven’t seen each other.

But everything is about to change …

A murder brings them together tonight, trapped among the streets of Chicago in the search for redemption by following a mystical path that could unlock the darkest scandal in history. As the path unrolls secrets buried in works like these of Nietzsche, Plato, and Aristotle, the shadiest aspects of the human soul come to the surface, and soon both men realize that those who are hunting them, closing by with each passing minute, are equally dangerous with the ghosts of the past …

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Thursday, March 16, 2023

10:49 p.m.

Chicago, Illinois

His time was up. He knew it. The bullet to his stomach had already soaked his pants with blood, and he could feel the warmth of it running into his shoes.

He staggered among the tall trees, pressing a hand over the hole, but that only pushed the blood out faster between his fingers. He managed a few more steps, as though his body still believed it could survive—but he collapsed. His cheek scraped against the wet grass. Damp leaves froze his face. A bug jumped out of the ground, tickling his nostrils.

His gaze climbed up the thick, naked tree branches. Far to the north, along Lake Michigan’s shoreline, vibrant lights fought to master the night sky, and eminent towers of steel and glass waved from the Loop.

Thrusting with his legs, he lugged his body toward the lake’s edge. Less than ten feet away.

Wet muck soaked his white shirt. His arms shoveled the ground, spoiling the blanket of green with deep, muddled brown lines. His hands sank into the soil, molding balls of dirt and grass in each fist.

A muffled chuckle echoed from behind. The man who’d shot him stepped closer.

Dermot Walsh always knew it would end like this—a lifetime of countless crimes had inscribed his name on a great number of bullets, but each had missed him.

Till now.

Maybe this disturbing feeling wasn’t exactly fear, but a sick curiosity about the person who’d end his days.

He tried to roll his body over. The bullet burned, twisting in his gut. But the pain couldn’t hold him back. He had to see his executioner. He pushed his body up and finally turned.

Pitch darkness consumed Burnham Park. Scattered pale lamps barely lit the hulking hitman who was approaching slowly, gun raking in his left hand. His chest suffocated in the tightly fitted suit—the buttons ready to hurl and his buff arms almost tearing the fabric apart.

“Who are you?” Walsh tried to ask. The blood had filled his throat, and he coughed some of it over his chin.

The hitman kneeled over him. His face lacked color, and hair including eyebrows or a beard. He was just a soulless, fey, creepy figure shrouded in the shadows.

“Mr. Walsh.” The ghost’s voice was clear, steady. “We gave you everything, but you wanted more. For years we’ve waited to repay your vanity.”

What? Those words … how could they be true? In his thoughts, a single name popped up—Jason.

Something happened. The hitman raised his head, then scurried off, somewhere into the park.

Walsh’s bleary vision offered nothing more than faint images: his BMW parked nearby. Through the half-opened, smashed rear door, the last member of his personal security detail was hanging, attempting to grab the gun in front of him. The other two were already corpses.

Who was he? Walsh wondered. Harry? Jorge? It was impossible to recognize the man under the mask of dripping blood.

“Ha, ha, naughty little piggy,” the bald hitman snickered, marching over to the bloody-faced man.

Confused about what he’d just heard, Walsh thrust a hand into his jacket pocket, searching for his cell phone.

He grasped it. He tried to—ugh, he didn’t have the strength. Unable to pull it completely from his pocket, he struggled to type the message. The screen was barely visible. His eyes were burning. All he could see was a white fog.

He touched the screen with his fingers, but he couldn’t feel anything. He couldn’t even say if he was typing or if this whole attempt was just an illusion of his frigging mind.

He strived to focus, but with each passing second, his senses surrendered to the cold hug of death.

He had to make it. This was his only shot at naming his murderers.

The mouth of the hitman’s gun made a dull sound as he pulled the trigger, taking the life of the bloody-faced man.

Walsh didn’t have any more time. He hoped he’d keyed and sent the drafted message, though he feared he hadn’t.

Steps gouged the ground as the hitman was pacing toward him.

Walsh directed his eyes toward the lake. Its special beauty had always been a comfort to him, and now its peaceful waters were calling him with their serene song of silence. Gritting his teeth, he funneled every scintilla of his remaining strength into moving his damn hand. He couldn’t flex it, so he stretched it all the way to the right till it touched the cold water. He felt the need to groan, but air refused to enter his lungs. He plunged his hand into the water and opened his palm wide, praying that the cell phone had actually reached the lake, carrying the faith that the night wouldn’t end with his death. Instead, his death would be the beginning … Jason.

The hitman stood before him, winking and aiming his gun mockingly.

Then a thick cloud enveloped Walsh’s body.

Author Bio:

Wandering around small towns and cozy villages in faraway lands, V.P. Evans tastes the manifold flavors of this planet and, somewhere down the road, finds himself charmed by the few who live passionately or disappointed as darkness surrounds societies and people. He then sits down and starts to write.

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Book Blitz, Excerpt & Giveaway – Revenge is Sweet by Felice Stevens.

Revenge is Sweet
Felice Stevens
Publication date: March 6th 2023
Genres: Adult, Contemporary, Romance

What do you do when your best friend runs off with your fiancée on your wedding day?
If you’re me, Lyon Elliot, you don’t get mad.
You get even.
Which means seducing my ex–best friend’s younger brother, Miles Halloran.
The quiet one.
The man I’ve known all my life but never paid attention to.
The one I was told to stay away from because he’s way too nice for someone like me. Maybe they’re right.
But see, this is where it gets a little more complicated.
Because the more time I spend with Miles, the more I like him.
Want him.
Now I need him and his sweet smiles in my life.
If this is still a game I’m playing…who’s fooling whom?
From Lambda-Literary award winning author, Felice Stevens comes a story of finding the love you never dreamed possible, from the person who was right in front of you your whole life…but never noticed.

Goodreads / Amazon


“I thought I told you to go away,” I grumbled.

“I’m hungry.” Miles chuckled.

I snorted but turned around to see him leaning that long body next to me, amusement brightening his eyes.

“You invited me to dinner, and I didn’t eat lunch in anticipation of a delicious meal.”

“You heard Uncle Harry. He’s right, you know. You should be long gone by now.”

“I did hear him. I know he loves you and knows you better than almost anyone. And it’s nothing I didn’t already know and say to myself as I was contemplating canceling meeting you tonight.” He folded his arms. “But I also heard you this week. I know you loved Dan and how badly he hurt you. And maybe you didn’t have that swoony type of love for Lindsey, but you knew her a long time. I’m sure you cared for her, and you were friends. It’s like losing a piece of yourself when you’re blindsided by someone you’ve known and cared about for so long.” He blinked rapidly, his eyes shiny and the brightest blue I’d ever seen.

Was he crying? For me? That rocked me to the core. No one had ever shed a tear over my feelings. Scott, much as he cared, while angry over Dan’s cowardice, was pragmatic and matter-of-fact about the broken engagement. Even Uncle Harry, who I knew loved me, was easily able to put that aside and count my faults out one by one like jelly beans. Only Miles seemed to understand how broken and lost Dan’s behavior had left me. He took it to his own heart and felt my pain.

And somehow, despite my outburst, my plan hadn’t gone awry. It wouldn’t take much to get Miles in my bed, and I grew hard, imagining what I could do to him. How I would wreck him for anyone else. I brushed at my lashes, surprised to find them wet. Damn, I was a better actor than I thought.

“It’s so hard. Thank you for understanding. I don’t like how angry this has left me.”

“I believe you. And I didn’t want to leave you, knowing how alone you must feel right now.” He hung his head. “I-I know what it’s like to be used.”

His words cut through my dirty fantasy of having him naked in my bed. Curious, I tipped up his chin. “What happened?”

He pushed away from my touch. “It doesn’t matter. It was in college. A long time ago.”

My lips thinned. “My parents fucked Scott and me over left and right while we were kids. If it’s Tuesday, it must be home with Mother. If it’s Saturday, it’s time to be with Father. Oh, wait. He didn’t show. Back to Mother’s, but she’d already gone away with her new husband, so off to Uncle Harry’s we go. It was long ago, and yet I still think about coming home to find it empty, no one there, not even the housekeeper.”

It struck me then that all my life, the people who should’ve stayed had left me. Over and over again.

And Dan’s leaving me was the hardest to take of all.

“That must’ve been hard on you and Scott.”

Sympathetic big blue eyes met mine, and I wanted to kiss him. Not because of any plan of revenge or to make him fall for me. I wanted to kiss him because he was sweet and caring and understanding.

He was Miles, and I wanted to kiss him, but I shocked myself by not following through because it didn’t feel like it would be right for him. I wanted him to want me.

Steadier now, I managed to insert the key and open the door. “About that dinner. They can send it here. If you still want to eat with me.”

His smile transformed the sadness in his face into shy happiness. I guessed it was a rare occurrence because in all the years I’d known Miles, I’d never seen it. It beamed from him like a torch lighting the darkness. And I liked it.

“Yes. I do.”

“Good. Come on in.”

He gazed around my spacious office that had a large sectional couch, a big flat-screen television, and a dining table in the far corner. It was set up like a studio apartment, and there were many late nights before the wedding when I’d fallen asleep on the couch.

“So is this what people mean when they say they’re entering the lion’s den?” Miles joked. “Should I be afraid?”

I grinned. “I guess we’ll have to wait and see.”

Author Bio:

Felice Stevens has always been a romantic at heart. She believes that while life is tough, there is always a happy ending around the corner. Her characters have to work for it, because just like life in NYC, nothing comes easy and that includes love.

Felice is the 2020 Lambda Literary Award winning author in best Gay Romance. She lives in New York City and has way too much black in her wardrobe. If she’s not writing, you’ll probably find her watching reality TV or procrastinating on FB in her reader group, Felice’s Breakfast Club.

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