Sassy romance with a dose of new release alerts and book recommendations.

Thursday, June 30, 2016

Excerpt | Prom Queen Perfect by Clarisse David

My young adult romance novella, Prom Queen Perfect, will officially be out in a few days (July 7, 2016)! I'm so excited that I decided to share a brief excerpt with you guys.

Without further ado, here it is:

***

If Asia Pacific Academy were a monarchy I, Alexandra dela Cruz, would be its queen. This institution of higher learning where the rich and famous sent their offspring?

It was mine for the taking.

I decided who the beautiful people were, and who had to sit on the cafeteria tables by the trash cans, forever branded as complete losers. It didn’t matter if my schoolmates were daughters of business tycoons or the grandsons of Iloilo City’s current governor.

I reigned over all of them.

Unfortunately, my social status meant nothing to Adam Cordero, this year’s student council president. The expression on his face, raised eyebrows and mouth in a straight line, told me I was in big trouble. I ignored him and strutted into the Student Council Office, my newest designer bag dangling from my arm.

“You’re thirty minutes late.” Adam pointedly glanced down at his leather watch.

“I know, and I’m so sorry,” I said, my voice whinier than usual to annoy him even more. I held up the paper bags full of Starbucks drinks for every single person in the room, from Adam himself to even the lowliest freshman class representative. “That’s why I bought coffee for everyone.”

“Thank you Jesus, Joseph, and Mary, and you, of course, Alex,” Stephen Ramirez muttered from one end of the conference table. In a blue shirt with the top two buttons strategically undone, he looked delectable this morning.

There was no doubt about it. Stephen was the prettiest boy in Asia Pacific Academy. Judging by the way he strutted around the halls like an overly colorful peacock, he knew it.

But since he was the student council’s treasurer, I needed him on my side whenever Adam and I had a disagreement about the budget. Beaming at him, I walked over to his end of the table. “Here’s your chai latte with an extra dose of sugar, Stephen. Just the way you like it.”

“I owe you one.” Stephen’s smile was so beautiful that you could almost imagine angels singing in the background. Trumpets blaring down from the heavens. The same smile caused the freshman representative to drop her pen and start crawling around for it on the floor.

I kept a smile plastered on my face and continued walking around the table, distributing everyone’s coffee and basking in their thanks. An americano for Sally the auditor, a caramel macchiato for the sophomore representative whose name I had forgotten, and so forth.

It paid to know little things like someone’s favorite Starbucks drink, because it made them feel special. And when you made people feel special, they were more than willing to do you little favors.

It was a fact of life.

“You’re the best, Alex,” Cory Santander said as I laid her strawberry frappe in front of her, her eyes drawn to my bag like two beady magnets.

With two cups remaining in my hands, I returned to the front of the room. When I placed the hot chocolate in front of Adam, he gave me a long, hard look that told me he knew exactly what I was doing.

It was such a shame that Adam was, well, Adam.

He was the only guy in school who could have given Stephen a run for his money when it came to making teenage girls all hot and bothered. A complete waste, in my opinion.

Adam had no time for deliberately messy hair and shirts with the top two buttons strategically undone. From the roots of his close cropped hair to the tips of his leather sneakers, everything about him was precise and in perfect order. His eyes were the only things that stopped him from being too stiff; they were deceptively kind.

“We were just wrapping up our discussion about our latest outreach program before you arrived, Alex.” Adam looked down at the open notebook in front of him, his brows furrowed in concentration. His handwriting was so neat it could’ve been a font for a yawn-inducing thesis. “Now, if there are no more interruptions, we can proceed to our next order of business which is—”

“Prom,” I finished for him.

Adam looked up so fast he almost gave himself whiplash. He narrowed his eyes at me. “Alex, I meant—”
“I knew exactly what you meant, Adam.” I took a maroon planner out of my bag, the same one Mommy, a real estate mogul, used for her business meetings. Before he could contradict me once again, I turned to face my fellow student council officers. “We all know that prom is an important high school experience, and it’s our duty to the juniors and seniors of this school to give them the best prom ever.”

A chorus of agreement followed my little monologue. Even the sophomore and freshman representatives were nodding in agreement, and they weren’t attending prom in at least another year or two.
But that wasn’t a surprise. They wanted to take my place when they became juniors, and the freshman representative whose name was Kathy or Kelly even had the same hairstyle I did, waist-length hair I straightened or curled into loose waves according to my mood.

Well, they both had big shoes to fill. Aside from being vice president of the student council and having the fifth highest grade point average in my year, I was determined to become prom queen, like my mother and sister before me. It was practically my birth right.

“After we decided on The Twenties as our theme, I proceeded to sort everything out, so you guys won’t have to do any work at all.” I opened my planner and smiled down at my notes. My handwriting could’ve been a font, too, but unlike Adam’s, it would be used for interesting things like wedding invitations and café menus. “I spoke to the manager at the Bayview Country Club. He’s willing to give us a great deal for—”

“Wait a second.” Adam held up a hand to stop the stream of words coming out of my mouth. “Bayview Country Club? Alex, our budget won’t stretch that far.”

“It will,” I said, confidence brimming from every syllable. “The manager knows my mother, and he offered us a huge discount on the venue and the food. They serve the most delicious paella, and we won’t even exceed our budget.”

That much.

“I’m still not sure about this.” Adam started jotting down notes. “I want to check out a few other venues before we make a reservation at Bayview.”

“But—”

Adam made my words retreat with a look that would’ve made any four-star general proud. I, however, refused to be cowed and rolled my eyes at him, sending the message that our discussion about the prom venue was far from over.

Things became less interesting after that. We started talking about things like recycling drives and the state of the boys’ bathroom on the second floor.

After we wrapped up our meeting at around 11:30 A.M., people began shuffling out of the room. Stephen gave me a mischievous wink before walking out the door.

Next to me, Adam let out a little snort.

He had passed me a note that simply said ‘stay’ fifteen minutes before the end of the meeting, so we remained in our respective seats. Once the freshman representative left and closed the door behind her, I crossed my arms over my chest and said, “Okay, let me have it for being late.”

Before answering, Adam took a sip of his now-cold hot coco. He hadn’t touched it during the entire meeting, which told me how annoyed he was. “Look, Alex, I know it’s a Saturday, and you’re busy planning your speech for when you win prom queen, but—”

“How do you know I want to be prom queen?” I closed my planner and turned to him.

“It was written all over your face earlier.” Adam smirked at me. “When you said you wanted to give this school the best prom night ever, you were, of course, talking about yourself. Like always.”

“Awww, you’re so cute when you try to be sarcastic.” I attempted to grab his chin, and he batted my hand away like I knew he would. This was standard operating procedure for us. “But you should try something with a little more venom next time, okay? Just a piece of advice.”

“Alex, trust me,” Adam said, holding on to his last bit of remaining patience. “If I wanted advice, you would be the last person I would ever ask. Since you’re clearly not letting this Bayview thing go, I’ll email you my schedule. We can look at other venues together.”

I decided to let our disagreement about the prom venue go for now, but there was no way in hell that I was letting Adam have the last word. Determined to piss him off even a little on a beautiful Saturday morning, I leaned forward on the table. “By the way, my mother’s having a garden party next weekend, and she specifically asked me to invite you.”

Adam stopped stuffing his notebooks into his backpack in an instant. I could almost see the wheels turning in his head as he scrambled to think of an excuse. In the end, he decided to go with the truth. “Forget it. I’m not spending another Saturday with a bunch of people I don’t even know.”

“You have to come.” I didn’t bother to pout this time, because that never worked on Adam. He had already seen every trick I had up my sleeve. And more. “My mother will be so disappointed if you don’t. She adores you, although only God knows why.”

“Your mother obviously has better taste than you,” Adam said in such a serious tone that I had to hold back a laugh.

If Adam and I were locked in a white room with no doors or windows, we would still end up arguing about the color scheme. As a result, most people often wondered why we still spent so much time together. I often had to assure them that there was a reasonable explanation for that phenomenon.

Four years ago, Adam’s older brother, Clay, married my big sister, Alice, in a spectacular wedding with a reception that involved fire dancers and fireworks. Since then, Adam and I had been stuck with each other at garden parties, anniversary celebrations, and other family occasions.

When it came to dealing with Adam, I had one policy: maximum tolerance. As much as possible, I tried not to argue with him, but dealing with someone who expected everyone around him to wake up at six in the morning everyday wasn’t easy.

We both stood up and headed for the door at the same time. Adam, who was considered the perfect gentleman by every female in Asia Pacific Academy, didn’t even bother to hold the door open for me.

On the contrary, he let it slam in my face.

More than a little annoyed by this, I wrenched the door open. I grabbed his arm and pretended to remove something from the back of his shirt.

“Oh, look, instructions,” I said, reading from an imaginary piece of paper. “In order for this machine to work properly, you must pull the stick out of its butt.”

In retaliation, Adam peered down at my forehead like he was reading something. “Oh, look, instructions. In order for this machine to work, you must feed it with credit cards and glitter.”

My brain was screaming at me to respond, but I was too shocked by the close proximity between Adam’s face and mine to come up with a decent retort. He had the longest eyelashes I had ever seen. No matter what type of eyelash curlers or mascara or combination of both I used, mine would never be that long.

God, Adam was gorgeous.

But then, he opened his mouth and said, “Don’t you ever get tired of being so selfish, Alex?”

“W-what?” I blinked a couple of times to get the image of his eyelashes out of my head. “What are you talking about? I am not selfish, like, at all.”

“You do want our school to exceed its budget just so you can have the perfect prom night you’ve always imagined.” Adam tapped the bridge of my noise with his pointer finger. “Think about that on one of your shopping trips.”

He turned around and left me standing there with my mouth hanging open, looking a lot like Cory Santander earlier when she saw my new bag. I tried to come up with something venomous, but to my utter horror, all I managed to say was, “You suck so much, Adam Cordero!”

Adam didn’t even miss a beat. Still walking, he turned around with an infuriating smirk on his face. “The feeling’s mutual, Alex dela Cruz!”

Wednesday, June 29, 2016

8 Days to Go Until Prom Queen Perfect by Clarisse David is Live!


Add it on Goodreads right here.

Monday, June 27, 2016

10 Days to Go Until Prom Queen Perfect by Clarisse David is Live!


Add it on Goodreads right here.

Thursday, June 16, 2016

Blog Tour | Underneath It All by Ysa Arcangel


Underneath It All

A senior at Gates University, Agata Ferrero knows without a doubt that Reeve Gates is off limits… 

Students can’t date faculty, and Reeve has been appointed by his father as the new Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences. But when a near accident with the front end of Reeve’s sleek sports car brings her in close contact with him, Agata can’t deny the flash of desire that consumes her. 


Reeve Gates is a man hell-bent on revenge… 

Abandoned in the care of his step-mother as a child, Reeve accepts the position at Gates University for the sole purpose of ruining his father’s career. What he didn’t expect was to be sidetracked by the sultry eyes of a student. 


Resisting temptation is even harder than it looks… 


When a sorority pledging incident leaves Agata stranded on campus in the middle of a treacherous storm, her better judgment falters and she accepts help from the young Dean she can’t get out of her head. Certain there is a beating heart underneath his stone-cold exterior, she escapes with Reeve on a romantic retreat away from prying eyes.

Blinded by retaliation… 
Reeve manipulates his dying father into handing over control of the university—and immediately threatens to shut down the school as a form of cruel payback. His scheme sparks a campus-wide protest that leaves one of Agata’s professors dead and her future hanging in the balance. 
Agata must fight to convince Reeve he is capable of forgiveness, and their taboo love is worth more than revenge. 
But is there really a bright future awaiting… 
Underneath It All









EXCERPT #1:

That night I was left alone in our dorm. The three of
them were off to the Pre-Thanksgiving party thrown by the student faculty.
They prohibited me from going and suggested I stay and
just rest for the night.
I stripped down to my panties; threw a shirt on over
my head and climbed into bed.
My phone rang, displaying an unknown number.
“Hello? Who’s this?”
“Agata.” The voice on the other end answered. My
stomach plummeted at the unmistakably deep resonance from Reeve’s voice.
“Hi,” I took an audible deep breath. “Where did you
get my number?”
“I’m your dean, Agata, I know everything about you.”
“I thought so.” I immediately caught myself smiling at
the sound of his voice.
“Did you attend the Pre-Thanksgiving party?”
“Nope. I just stayed in bed.”
He went quiet for a second. “What are you doing,
Agata?”
“Uhm, just…lying in bed,” I stated the fact,
unknowingly allowing him an opportunity to explore dangerous territories.
“What are you wearing?”
“Seriously?” I giggled at his question and the playful
tone of his voice.
“Yes, seriously. Tell me what you are wearing.”
Well, this could be interesting.
“I’m wearing one of my t-shirts and panties.”
“I wish I was beside you.” With those words, I tensed.
“Don’t tense, just listen.” As if he was seeing me through the phone. “I want
to kiss you just like I did in my room last night. You have no idea how much I
wish I could take your shirt and panties off and lick your whole body, paying
attention to specific areas.”
“Reeve. No.” A breathy voice left me.
“Shh. Just listen, baby.” He gave me a second to
decide whether to hang up or keep listening. “Have you touched yourself
before?”
“No.” I bit my lower lip.
 “Will you touch
yourself for me?”
I was frozen for a second, the sound of my breathing
growing rapid. My fingers inched under my panties and I touched myself, rubbing
gently as I listened to his voice.
I knew he could tell I obeyed by the change in my
breathing pattern.
“Close your eyes. Imagine my lips on your neck kissing
you the way I did before.” Heat flooded my body as I recalled it so vividly.
“My tongue moves farther down your neck and to your chest, where I take your
nipple into my mouth and suck gently.”
My fingers moved faster as the vision of being at
Reeve’s mercy sent crippling waves of pleasure through me.
“It feels so good, doesn’t it?”
“Yes,” I whispered letting him take every ounce of
doubt I felt about doing it because I could hear the ecstasy in his voice and I
knew he was touching himself too.
“I am stroking faster as I listen to your small moans,
Agata.”
My eyelids shut even tighter as I tried desperately to
feel him somewhere amidst what I was doing.
“I suck harder and nip at your breast. Do you enjoy
that?”
“Very much.” Small moans emanated from my throat as I
became lost in the sensations. The pleasure became addicting and the excitement
of it all heightened every sense I had.
“I drag my tongue lower, lingering at your belly
button, then continuing down until I reach your thighs. My lips and tongue kiss
inside your thighs before I replace your fingers with my mouth.”
I was breathless now and whimpering for him, making me
stroke myself even faster. I could hear him breathing hard now and I knew he
was ready to come.
“You taste so good, Agata. Feel my tongue and my warm
breath on you, licking faster.”
I could tell I was close by the way my breathing
rapidly increased. His breathing responded the same way.
“Reeve…” I panted, the sounds became muffled as I
buried my head into my pillow.
“That’s it, baby.” Reeve growled into the phone and I
knew he came too.
“That was good,” I uttered breathlessly, my eyes shut
to withstand the first orgasm I ever had.
“Never in a million years did I think I would be
having phone sex with someone I hadn’t fucked yet,” he voiced quietly. “Sleep
now, Agata. I’ll see you in my dreams.”
He hung up before
I could respond. I closed my eyes knowing tomorrow I would be a different
Agata, but tonight I would allow what happened to soothe me.
EXCERPT #2:
EXCERPT 2:
He walked up to the counter and prepared a glass of
orange juice. He grabbed a bowl and poured butternut squash soup into it. He
prepared a cup of coffee and reheated a box of pizza and a bowl of spaghetti.
“Let’s eat.” He ordered and sat across from me. He
stirred his coffee without taking his eyes off me.
“Thank you. It smells really good.” I gave him a
grateful smile. Knowing he cooked for me, intentionally, on a day that meant
nothing to the rest of the world, meant everything to me.
“Are you feeling better now?” he asked and shoved a
spoonful of spaghetti in his mouth.
“Yeah, thank you.”
“If you were wondering if I was the one who changed
your clothes, no. It wasn’t me, Tatiana did that; she was here earlier.”
“Oh, I see.” I nodded and began to sip my soup. I felt
the liquid pour down my throat. The warmth of the soup enveloped my lungs and
felt so good. “You shouldn’t have gone through all the trouble of bringing me
here. You could have dropped me off at my dorm and left me there.”
“If I want to fucking spend time with you, I will,
okay? I wanted to make sure you’re fine.”
There he went again changing moods. I swear there had
to be something mentally wrong with this guy. No other person in my life
frustrated me as much as he.
“Well, aren’t you sweet?” I smirked.
“So you want to tell me what happened this afternoon?
What were you doing out in the storm, Agata? Are you trying to kill yourself?”
One quick bite then he got down to business.
My breath caught in my throat. I really didn’t want to
tell him.
“I was…” I paused and bit my lip. I wasn’t sure how to
phrase it, “…finishing a task.”
Reeve paused with a fork halfway to his mouth. “Task?”
he asked with a raised eyebrow. I didn’t answer. “Sorority task?”
I mentally face palmed and nodded in confirmation.
“How long did I stay out there? You think I lasted thirty minutes out there?”
“I knew it,” he stated, shaking his head. “Agata, I
don’t give a damn if you finished that fucking task or not. You scared the shit
out of me; don’t you know that? You’re not joining the sorority.”
“I have the right reasons for joining.” I bit my lip.
“Reasons?” He gave me a confused look.
“The sisterhood is important to me.” I thought of
giving him some lame excuse.
The room grew still. He stared at me, his face blank,
and I couldn’t move.
“Are you kidding me?” His gaze was unyielding. “You
think the sorority will save you from dying out there? They don’t give a damn,
Agata!”
“It’s part of the process,” I reasoned out.
“That’s ridiculous.”
“You should have known it. You’re part of the
organization.”
 “That’s why I
don’t want you in!” He threw his napkin on his plate and shot up to his feet. I
remained silent and gazed at my food. “Agata, what’s gotten into you?” His
words almost forced me to look at him.
“I’m leaving.” I stood from my chair but he grabbed my
hand and pinned me to the wall. “For once, I wanted to do something for myself
without thinking of whatever people might say,” I spat.
He released a heavy sigh and ran his fingers through
his hair. “Agata, after three and a half years you thought of joining a
sorority? For what?”
My chest rose and fell erratically as I met his eyes.
“Once I finish my task and pass the initiation, I’ll be one of them. By that
time, I can tell if this guy who keeps giving me mixed signals really feels
something for me. They say he
only
dates
sorority girls. If he will not date me, then it’s confirmed—he’s only messing
around with me.”
I didn’t move a muscle as his eyes burned back into
mine. A shaky gasp escaped from my lips and I flinched as he reached for my
face. After pausing momentarily to observe my reaction, he went on to gingerly
brush my tangled hair from my face.
“Agata, you’re not the type I want to date.”
I couldn’t speak. I couldn’t move. I couldn’t breathe.
His words grated against my ears and it hurt like a bitch.
“You’re not someone I want to take out for dinner,
walk home, kiss goodnight, nor say goodbye.”
He didn’t stop tearing with the knife, and pierced
through the walls of my heart.
“Because you know what, Agata? I don’t want to just
date you and walk you home. You’re someone I want to come home to, someone I
want to cook dinner with, to sleep with, to kiss hard, and fuck harder.”
The words snapped out of his mouth quick enough to
petrify me. I looked up at him; his plump lips were pursed into a stern frown.
His eyes were darkened, no time for bullshit. I bit my lip, and with every
second that I didn’t reply his face grew more and more serious.
A small smile crept upon my lips and I looked away to
hide my flushed cheeks. I couldn’t contain my happiness. I wondered how my mood
had changed so drastically in this conversation.
He smiled, bringing his thumb up to graze my cheek.
“You’re blushing.”
I reached up and quickly wiped my cheeks.
“Now, are you still joining the sorority?”

He came closer.
Our noses were almost touching, his eyes never leaving mine. I held my breath.
I closed my eyes. He was going to kiss me. I could almost feel the touch of his
lips on mine, his breath in my lungs. He leaned down, then I heard my stomach
growl in hunger, which caused Reeve to chuckle.
 
“Hungry? Come on,
let’s continue to eat.”






Forever Night Stand: https://amzn.com/B019NK762C



Snippets of Memories: A Forever Night Stand Bonus Book (99 CENTS) https://amzn.com/B01ASFS4Q8

Ysa
Arcangel is a Filipino author based in Manila. She works as a Spanish-English
GDS Helpdesk by day and a writer by night. She is a loving partner to a chef
and a mom to three amazing kids. 
 She
enjoys creative writing and uses her obsessive nature by writing contemporary
paranormal and romance fiction with lots of laughs, tears and sighs showcasing
sweet, funny and badass female leads with raunchy and hot male love interests
whether human or supernatural.
 She's a
lover of coffee, tattoos, and giant dogs. She is also an extreme sports
enthusiast. When she's not writing, you can see her spending time with her
family, reading, or having TV series marathons.
–– FOLLOW YSA ––

Wednesday, June 8, 2016

Mid-Year Writing and Publishing Goals 2016


Can anyone please tell me 2016 isn't really halfway over?

No?

Since I was unable to post my writing and publishing goals at the beginning of the year, I thought the middle of the year was a fitting time to post them instead. Yes, the year is indeed halfway over, but you still feel like you have enough time to do ALL. THE. THINGS. Or some of them, at least. I can feel things waiting to happen just around the corner.

Without further ado, here are my goals for the remainder of the year:

1. Publish Prom Queen Perfect.

Prom Queen Perfect, my young adult contemporary romance novella, will officially be available for purchase on Amazon on July 7, 2016.

You know how that makes me feel? Like I'm sitting on a roller-coaster and this could be the ride of a lifetime, or turn into one hell of a fiery disaster. Either way, it's going to be an exciting ride.

I'm learning so much from this whole process, from formatting an ebook properly to marketing your book so people actually know it exists. At the same time, I feel like there's still so much more I could learn, so much more I could improve. There's never really going to be a point where a self-published author can sit back and say she's done enough, is there?

2. Finish writing two more novels, hopefully the first two books in a planned young adult contemporary romance trilogy.

I'm 5,000 words away from being done with the first novel in the planned trilogy, and I've already started outlining the second one with the help of K.M. Weiland's Outline Your Novel: Map Your Way to Success.

3. Outline a series featuring Western characters.

Most of what I've written so far is set in the Philippines, specifically my hometown. This year, I'd like to push myself out of my comfort zone by writing about foreign characters in a setting I've never stepped foot on. I'm most likely going to drive myself crazy with research, never get anything done, and end up binge-watching another Korean drama. But I'm going to try.

4. Write a post listing all the things I learned from self-publishing my first book.

Don't get me wrong.

I don't intend to write a how-to post about all the things you MUST and MUST NOT do when self-publishing your first book. I'm going to write this post for purely selfish reasons-- as a reminder to myself of the things I did right, messed up, and can tweak a little in the future.

5. Be more consistent when posting on social media.

I suck at this so much; you have no idea. On Twitter, I end up disappearing for days and come back with a vengeance and flood everyone's feed with tweets about #amwriting and Song Joong Ki. I can never seem to find a happy balance between the two. Don't even get me started on how sporadic my Instagram posts are.

Before the year ends, I'd like to maintain a consistent presence on at least one social media platform. Ugh. Why is sticking to a regular posting schedule so hard?

And, no, I'm not talking to you, Pinterest. You suck me in on a daily basis, and I can only emerge two hours later after finding myself pinning images of dyed purple hair I'd never be brave enough to try. Go away

If you have any writing and publishing goals for the rest of the year, I'd definitely love to hear about them.
© Clarisse David
Maira Gall