Tag Archive | YA

The Story: Whisper If You Have To

Whisper cover FINAL 7-28-2014Secrets. Alison Prescott has collected a boatload of them in her short lifetime. Moving to a new school in a new town was supposed to fix everything; however, when she meets a new set of friends, keeping those secrets might just ruin everything.

Chad Dourozette has the world by the tail as his crazy T-shirts proclaim every day, but Chad has deeply held secrets of his own. When Chad meets Alison whose life looks absolutely perfect from the outside, will he have the courage to try to win her heart, or will the secrets they both carry keep them apart forever?

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Ebook Romance Stories: A Light in the Darkness, Review

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A Light in the Darkness

Book 3

~ The Faith Series ~

Review by:  Rhonda Aberdeen

Of the three books in the Faith Series, I have to say, this one is my all time favorite! I love every single one: A Work in Progress, A Little Piece of Heaven but a Light in the Darkness was so phenomenal,I just had to buy it to finish read the rest of the book.

To really understand Holly, you have to read the first two books in the series, to see how far she came from and why she made certain choices within the novel. She seemed lost with no where to go and she did not like the road she was on but she did not know how to get out of it because she did not choose this particular road in the first place; her mom did.

Thank God that she saw a light in the darkness, and that though it felt at one point like she was stuck in a hopeless situation, that hope was not far away. She found love the minute she was not looking and at just the right time because if God did not intervene when he did by sending Gabriel, Holly would have just been a memory, never knowing how amazing love can really be.

This book is amazing, fantastic and wonderful! Staci, God has really given you a talent. Keep on writing!

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Excerpt

Ebook Romance Stories: A Little Piece of Heaven, Review

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A Little Piece of Heaven

Book 2

~ The Faith Series ~

I would like to give a constructive criticism, but how can I when there is nothing to criticize? A Little Piece of Heaven is simply that. In this book, Jeremy came to understand that what he thought made life worth living are not really the element to a wonderful life. When these elements were remove from the equation, in the midst of his frustration and trying to find himself , he found a beautiful gem, which was Emily and at first he could not understand how she saw life the way she did and how she talked about God the way she did.

He thought life was what he knew, but he found real love when he stopped trying to fit into something he never really liked and allow God and Emily to show him what life really was.

This book was simply beautiful.

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Ebook Romance Stories: Excerpt from “A Work in Progress”


AWIP Cover New 1-10-2014Excerpt from “A Work in Progress”

By Tuesday night Rebecca’s hand was mended—her heart, however, was a different story.  She hadn’t seen him since Saturday night, and although she had managed to convince herself it was to be expected, she hadn’t managed to convince herself it was okay.

So, the wings on her feet crashed her into her Psychology chair fifteen minutes early on the off-chance that they would be early and she would have the undeniable privilege of hearing his voice again.  The angels, she knew, wouldn’t sound as sweet.

The pen in her hand doodled across the page.  Eric and Rebecca.  Rebecca and Eric.  Hearts and flowers.  It was all she could see when she thought of him.  When that page was full, she turned the page and had just started the scribbling intently when she heard the voice that echoed continually in her head coming from the door, down the aisle, right to the seats behind her.

“No, man, I didn’t blow you off,” Eric said as he approached her desk.  “I had a lot of stuff to get done.”

“Like what?  More studying?” spike-haired guy asked as she felt Eric take the seat behind hers.

“Is that so hard to believe?”

“From you?  Yeah.”  Spike-haired guy laughed in a way that made Rebecca want to turn around and knock his head off his shoulders.  How dare he make fun of Eric.

“I needed to meet with Diane,” Eric said defensively.  “She was going to help me with sign language.”

“At ten o’clock on a Saturday night?” spike-haired guy asked.

“It was the only time she could meet.”

Rebecca’s eyes narrowed in confusion.  Saturday night?

“Well, the party was just getting started.  You could’ve invited her over.”

“We studied at the Student Union it was quieter there.”

Saturday night he was playing pool—alone, Rebecca’s head said as she listened.

“Sign language?” spike-headed guy asked as if that was akin to cleaning cesspools.

“Yeah.”

“Well, what time did she go home?”

Clinging to every word, Rebecca pressed back against the chair, waiting to hear the answer.

“About 11:15.  The place was a madhouse.”

“I thought you said it was quieter.”

“Oh, yeah.  Well…”

Rebecca heard the stumble.

“It was, but then a ton of people showed up, so we decided to pack it in for the night.”

“Uh-huh,” spike-haired guy said.  “And where did you go after that?”

“She went home, and I went home.” Eric’s story paused.  “I know.  Wonderful night, but she’s not my type anyway.  She’s all interested in her studies.  Glasses, books, notebooks—you know the type.  Not the kind of girl I’m looking for.”

Unconsciously Rebecca pushed her glasses up as her heart dropped.

“Yeah,” spike-haired guy said.  “Seems like I remember that.”

Mr. Templeton walked in down front, but Rebecca’s attention never wavered from the seat behind her. Eric was obviously lying.  Yes, he was at the Student Union, but there was no girl. Was there? Fighting with her brain to recall every last detail of the non-encounter, Rebecca examined the clock in her mind.  Although she couldn’t clearly remember the time they had left, it was 11:25 when she and Holly got back to their room.

How far was it from the Student Union to her dorm?  Five minutes?  Ten?  But even so, his line about studying the rest of the time was totally bogus.  And although she knew she should be paying attention to the lecture down front, one thought kept working its way into her brain.  Why was he lying?


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Ebook Romance Stories: Review of “The Price of Silence”

Review of “The Price of Silence” by Debra Ullrick

Stupendous read! Absolutely fabulous! Will leave you wanting to read more by this amazing author!

Staci Stallings is an amazingly gifted writer. Her characters are fabulous and her writing is so poetic. I love all of her stories! I’ve read, The Price of Silence, three times now. It’s that good. Wait, did I say good? Make that great! There are places in this story that keep you on the edge of your seat, holding your breath, wondering what’s going to happen next, and places that have you crying–so get the Kleenex–and other places that have you saying, “Ah-h-h.” Because of the strong message in, The Price of Silence, I think it should be mandatory reading in every middle school and high school. Sometimes doing the right thing isn’t easy. And sometimes we stand alone when we do choose to do what’s right. Find out if protagonist Robyn Lockhart does what’s right in the face of danger, and if she stands alone. The Price of Silence, is an excellent read for all ages. I highly recommend it, and all of Staci’s books.

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Ebook Romance Stories: Excerpt from “The Price of Silence”

The Price of Silence Final cover 1-18-2014

Excerpt from “The Price of Silence”

“Oh, you’re here, great,” Kat said suddenly, piling her things on the desk next to Robyn.

“Yeah,” Robyn said, feeling like a barnacle on a boat.

Kat sat down at her desk. “I told you it wouldn’t be so bad today.”

“Where is everybody?”

“Mondays and Wednesdays are nuts,” Kat said. “The paper comes out on Tuesday and Thursday, so most of the time, the rest of the week is like this.”

“This is better,” Robyn said, glancing over her shoulder.

“I agree.” Kat stood. “Ready?”

“For what?” Robyn asked, stumbling to her feet.

“An interview with Findley.”

“Now?” Robyn asked as the panic caught up with her again.

“Yeah, my story for Tuesday is on campus crime and what they plan to do about it.”

“Campus crime?” Alarm bells rang in her head.

“We’ve always had cars broken into and stuff taken from lockers, but this year seems worse than usual,” Kat said as she led the way out of the newsroom.

“Why?”

“I don’t know really. It’s a guess, but word has it that when Reese Jones took over the Scorpions, their initiation process got a lot tougher.”

“The Scorpions?” Robyn asked more alarmed than before.

“James Madison’s version of the Mafia,” Kat said, nodding. “Our very own, home grown gang bangers.”

Gangs? Robyn had heard of them, of course, but she’d never thought she’d see one up close and personal.

“So, what’s Findley going to do about it?” Robyn asked, intrigued with the topic despite the fear lurking just behind her consciousness.

“That’s what we’re going to find out.”

*~*~*

In ten minutes they were sitting in Mr. Findley’ office, and somehow it looked different today. Less threatening. Robyn was sure it was because this time she had Kat by her side.

“The number of reported crimes around school has almost doubled in the last six months,” Kat said, sounding every bit the big city crime reporter. “What plans do you have to combat this problem?”

“Well, Miss Layton, we’ve already implemented the security patrol around school. Their presence has helped,” Mr. Findley, a gray-haired man of almost sixty, said as if that should answer all questions.

“How has that helped? Crime has gone up,” Kat said not letting him off the hook.

“Well, we feel their visible presence on campus helps to deter crime in certain higher crime areas.”

“What do they look like—the campus patrol, I mean?” Robyn asked much to the surprise of everyone in the room.

“They’re the guys in the blue jackets that walk the halls during and between classes,” Kat said dismissively as she focused on the next question in her notebook.

“Huh. I don’t think I’ve ever seen one,” Robyn said, speaking her thoughts as they crossed her mind. “I didn’t even know they existed, which seems kind of strange because I’ve been caught in the halls after the bell’s rung several times during the last three days. It seems like one of them would’ve asked what I was doing.”

“Well, we only have ten of them, and they can’t cover every hallway all the time,” Mr. Findley said, sliding toward the defensive.

“So, they only work if they happen to be where the trouble happens?” Robyn asked clearly unconvinced. “Sounds pretty ineffective to me.”

“Well, we had to start somewhere, Miss Lockhart.” Mr. Findley’s tone registered a trace of annoyance.

“Do you have security cameras?” Robyn asked totally into the interview now and forgetting that she was supposed to be only observing.

“We’re looking into that, but it’s only one of several options at this point.”

“What other things are you considering? Parking lot patrol? Metal detectors? Student Crime Stoppers?” Robyn asked.

Mr. Findley bristled under the barrage of questions. “Those are all options.”

“Does the state give you any money for all of this? I mean putting this stuff in place can’t be cheap,” Kat said, breaking into the conversation.

“No, it’s not cheap.” Mr. Findley sighed. “And no, for the most part the funds we get are not supposed to be used for these things—they’re mostly for new textbooks, computer equipment, facility improvement that sort of thing.”

“It seems to me that textbooks and computer equipment aren’t going to help a whole lot if the students don’t feel safe,” Kat said. “Shouldn’t their safety be a paramount consideration?”

“It is, I assure you. We’re doing everything we can to keep our students safe while they’re on our campus.”

“What about the Scorpions?” Robyn asked, jumping into the topic foremost in her mind. “How are you dealing with them?”

“The Scorpions.” Mr. Findley looked from Robyn to Kat and back again, and Robyn felt Kat straighten at her elbow. “Well, as with any other group that threatens the well-being of the students, they are being dealt with in the fairest way possible.”

“How?” Robyn asked again.

“How?” He scratched his nose. “Well, the best way to explain it is to say it’s on a case-by-case basis, I suppose. It’s not easy to link an entire group to a crime and make things stick. You can only convict the person who actually commits the crime.”

“Okay,” Robyn said slowly as she pieced together what he was really saying. “So, let’s say someone is being initiated into a gang, and they’re told to swipe a stereo. If that person is caught, then that person and not the gang is punished?”

Mr. Findley nodded. “That’s correct.”

Robyn had no pen and no paper, and she hoped Kat was taking good notes. “Well, what if a school-sponsored group were to require their potential members to commit a crime to get in, what would happen then?”

Mr. Findley sat in silence for a long moment. “Well, I suppose their right to operate on the campus would be revoked.”

“So, what you’re saying is if you’re legal, the whole group gets punished, but if you’re not, nothing happens to the group, only to the person unfortunate enough to get caught,” Robyn said.

“Doesn’t seem quite fair when you put it like that,” Mr. Findley said with a sigh, “but yes, I suppose that’s what I’m saying.”

“So, the only real way to get the Scorpions or any other gang off the campus is to catch and convict every one of its members,” Robyn said, zeroing in on the real story. “How many members are there in this gang?”

“It’s hard to say.” Mr. Findley rubbed his nose as if he was battling a monstrous headache.

“Some reports say up to a 100 or more,” Kat mumbled as she scribbled furiously in her notebook.

“So,” Robyn said, disliking the picture that all the pieces of this puzzle were making, “theoretically, they could commit 100 or more crimes, and if they are all caught by your group of ten guys in blue suits, and if they haven’t added any more members, and if they actually go to jail or something for every crime, then the halls will be safe for the other students?”

Mr. Findley sat like a stone statue.

“May we take that as a yes?” Kat asked, looking up, her pen poised for the answer.

“All I can say is we’re doing our best to prevent and reduce crime on campus,” Mr. Findley said, emphasizing each word. “We’re implementing policies and incorporating new rules to combat the problem.”

“And while you’re doing that, are we as students just sitting ducks?” Robyn asked pointedly.

“Or are there things we can do to help ourselves?” Kat asked quickly softening the question.

“Well, as a matter of fact, there are several things you can do—like making sure your cars and lockers are secure. Don’t leave valuables in them if at all possible. As far as in school, keep your eyes open and report any strange activity. If you’re here at night, use the buddy system to go to cars…”

“So, we’re not talking about just robbery then. Are we, Mr. Findley?” Kat asked, breaking into the list.

He sighed heavily. “No, Miss Layton. We’re not.”

A shiver ran up Robyn’s spine. Suddenly this wasn’t about playing reporters any more. This was serious. “Has someone been attacked?”

“Back in February, a girl was jumped out by the gym,” Kat said, not letting the look Mr. Findley gave her intimidate her into sweeping the story under the carpet. “Luckily a couple of people came along just as it happened. She was okay, but it not long after that, she transferred.”

“Unfortunately, we can’t be everywhere at once,” Mr. Findley said clearly on the defensive now. “Students have to use their heads and not get themselves into a position where they can easily be injured or harmed.”

“Like the hallways between classes,” Robyn laughed with a shake of her head.

“The hallways, Miss Lockhart?”

“Yeah, I got knocked down the other day, and I was almost trampled to death.”

“Oh, I’m sorry to hear that,” Mr. Findley said, more guardedly than the statement warranted.

“You know, come to think of it, how do I know whoever did that to me, didn’t do it on purpose?” Robyn asked, suddenly seeing the incident in a whole new light.

Mr. Findley tilted his head. “What do you mean?”

“Are you kidding?  Even a naïve girl from Iowa can see the potential for crime in that hallway. Three thousand students and what, ten security people?  One knockdown in a crowded, frenzied hallway?  Shoot, by the time you get your bearings back, your stuff could be halfway to Mexico.”

Kat nodded. “She’s got a point.”

“Yes, I believe she does,” Mr. Findley finally agreed as he opened a folder on his desk and studied something. “In fact, that’s a problem that has just started surfacing. I’ve had three complaints about incidents just like that cross my desk in the last week.”

“So, the halls aren’t as safe as we think they are then?” Kat asked, intrigued.

“Apparently we have a long way to go in securing the building.” Mr. Findley looked at them both. “I honestly wish there was some way to ensure that every student was safe every second of every day they’re here, but I can’t. Maybe the two of you can get the word out so the students can help us help them. It would be a start anyway.”

“It can’t hurt,” Robyn said suddenly seeing a myriad of things she had done wrong in the last week.

“Well, thanks for your time, Mr. Findley.”  Kat closed her notebook and shook his hand.

“Thank you, Miss Layton, and you too, Miss Lockhart.”  Mr. Findley stood and shook their hands. “I’m glad you decided to join the newspaper staff, but I’m thinking I’d better be more prepared for interviews after this.”

They all laughed, and then Kat and Robyn made their way out of the office. They were almost out of the building before either of them spoke again.

“I don’t care what you say,” Kat said. “You’re joining the staff.”

*~*~*

It seemed like only seconds before Robyn was back home sitting at her own kitchen table trying to concentrate on Trig. But Trig was the last thing on her mind. This story was big. Much bigger than anything she’d ever worked on at Lakota. It was downright frightening to think that at any moment in the hallway she could be the victim of a crime.

She reviewed the knockdown incident again, and it was clear that no one except Kat had even noticed or cared that she was in trouble. How easy would it have been for someone to grab her stuff and be gone?  Too easy, she thought with a shiver.

“I wonder what kids who’ve been going there all their lives think about this,” she said, tapping her pencil on her Trig homework lost in thought. “Do they see the threat? Or are they so used to being bounced around in the hallway, they don’t even think about it?”

One way or the other, she needed to find out. She pulled a clean sheet of paper out of her notebook and scribbled a few questions down. Tomorrow she would do a little unofficial polling of her own.

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Ebook Romance Stories: Excerpt from “A Little Piece of Heaven”

ALPH Cover New 1-10-2014Excerpt from “A Little Piece of Heaven”

“Good grief! What is in this thing anyway?” Emily asked as she struggled to drag the box full of stereo equipment from the old apartment to the new with Jeremy pushing it from behind.

“$10,000 worth of stereo equipment.” He grunted with the effort. “State of the art. Surround sound. The best money can buy.”

On the other side she dug into the task. “Ugh. The best or the heaviest?”

He laughed although it was all he could do to keep the box moving. “You should’ve been here to get it up the elevator.”  His mind slipped back to the day he had bought it with Gwen. It was supposed to be for their apartment when they got married. It never made it that far. The memory made him push harder.

As the box slid awkwardly toward her, Emily guided and pulled as best she could. “No, thanks. Down the hall is enough for me.”  Just then the box jammed on a snag in the carpet, and she lost her grip, sending her flying backward. She landed with a thud on the carpet just as he jammed his ribcage into the box with a thwack.

“Oh,” she moaned with a little cough to get her lungs working again.

“Ow!” He rubbed his ribcage, hoping there was no permanent damage. “You okay?”

“Sure.” She pushed the pain down as she stood, readjusted her shirt, and retook her position. “Sorry.”  With both hands, she took hold of the little handle and yanked upward. It didn’t move so much as a centimeter. Again she yanked, however, the box was six times bigger than she was, and clearly she wasn’t going to get it unsnagged alone.

Jeremy had to fight the laugh because for all of her effort, yanking it upward, the box never so much as moved. “Here.” He lifted his foot and stepped around the box to take hold of it as she backed up to watch. One yank and it came free from the rug. Without letting it down, he nodded at the other side. “Go push it.”

“Right.” She lifted her foot over the edge and skirted the wall around the box to get to the other side.

“Okay, push!”

*~*~*

On command Emily did as she was told, and they were moving again.  Her feet tried to grip the carpet, but they kept slipping out from under her. Step by sliding step they shoved the box forward. Her arms and legs were screaming for mercy at the near-impossible task of staying upright. “Ugh. You should’ve told me to wear my hiking boots.”

He glanced over the box at her. “You got hiking boots?”

“Yeah, back in Colorado!” She shoved. “They sure would come in handy right about now.”

Finally, mercifully, they made it to the door of the new apartment.

“Okay, careful through the door,” Jeremy said, angling and edging the huge box through the frame.

“Oh, man! Tell me we’re almost there.”  At the threshold she resorted to turning around and pushing it with her back.

“Over here by the wall,” he said, guiding it the final ten feet. “And. We’re. There.”

The moment he stopped, she gave up and slid all the way down the box to the floor. “Hallelujah! Oh, man. I should have asked for hazard pay.”

“What’re you doing sitting around?” Rebecca asked as she breezed in the door with a box the size two pairs of shoes would fit into. She walked over to the counter in the kitchen and set it down with a clank.

“You’re kidding, right?” Emily was exhausted. She put her hand to her head to get it to stop swimming from the over-exertion. The thought of the fifteen other boxes of stuff not to mention some of the furniture still sitting back in the other apartment threatened to dissolve the last of her will. “You told me this wasn’t going to be hard.”

Rebecca shrugged. “It’s moving. It’s always hard.” With that she breezed back out.

“Come on.” Jeremy reached down for her hand and pulled her to her feet. “I promise, I’ll give you the light one this time.”

“Oh that you would be so kind.” Emily reached down and pulled her purple jersey shirt over her jeans where it had come up.  The high ponytail on her head swung in time with her feet as she followed him down the hall. “How in the world can two bachelors have so much stuff?  I thought bachelors like ate off of paper plates and slept on the couch.”

Jeremy glanced at her with a look of horror at the very suggestion. “I’m a bachelor. I’m not poor.”

“Oh,” she said, taking the statement to mean poor was like being a leper. Instinctively her arms twisted around her. “Well, I for one wish you were a little poorer.”

The gaze he trained on her held complete derision, but she smiled at him teasingly. “Not so much stuff to move that way.”

“Ah.” He lifted his chin in understanding although he still didn’t look very happy.

Sensing she’d just sent the train flying off the track, Emily followed him into the old apartment and planted her hands on her hips.  “Okay, gang. What’s next?” The sooner they got this done, the sooner she could get back to normal.


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