Indie Book Promo is happy to welcome ML Ryan to the blog! She is here to share about her book, Special Offers. If this book sounds like something that you would be interested in reading, please find buy links below and pick up a copy or two.
* * *
Hailey Parrish is quick-witted, irreverent, and hasn’t had a date in three years. She only wanted an eBook reader because her collection of paperbacks threatened to take over her small living space. Little did she know that the “special offers” that prompted the purchase included much more than a reduced price in exchange for a few ads. The device came pre-loaded with the essence of Sebastian Kess, an erudite womanizer with magical abilities from a parallel dimension. When she inadvertently releases him and he inhabits her body, she finally has a man inside her, just not in the way she imagined. And soon her predicament introduces her to yet another supernatural, the handsome could-be-the-man-of-her-dreams Alex Sunderland. Can Alex and Hailey find a way to return Sebastian to his own body and stay one step ahead of the criminals who want to keep him where he is?
Special Offers, the first book of the Coursodon Dimension Series, combines paranormal romance, urban fantasy, and a healthy dose of quirky humor.
Winner of a 2014 IndieBrag Medallion
* * *
Scientist by day, paranormal romance-urban fantasy author by night, M.L. Ryan has many stories rolling around in her head, and she finally decided to write some of them. She prefers literature that isn’t saddled with excruciating symbolism, ponderous dialogue or worldly implications. She also doesn’t like plots so reliant on love at first sight that it makes her feel like her head might implode. She lives in Tucson, Arizona with her husband and teenage son, four cats, a Curly Coated Retriever and an adopted desert tortoise.
ML can be found:
* * *
The bartender, a muscular, dreadlocked, redhead with colorful tattoos covering almost every inch of visible flesh, gave me a small wave as both greeting and indication that he was busy and would be with me shortly. Wyatt had been the regular bartender at O’Reilly’s for as long as I had been going there. He mixed fine drinks, was usually pleasant, and didn’t like to make small talk. If not for the fact that he was married and a rabid Arizona State fan, he might have been the perfect guy for me.
While I waited for Wyatt to take my order, I swung around on the stool and glanced about the room, searching for anyone I might know so I could hang with them instead of at the bar. No such luck. Someone slipped into the empty seat next to me and, from over my right shoulder, I heard “Hey, how’s the knees?”
I turned back and was caught in the cornflower blue gaze of No Sweat Bastard. And he looked even better in the tight black t-shirt and black jeans he was wearing than he did this morning. The outfit accentuated his sinewy, athletic physique, while giving him a look of confident masculinity. Yum.
“I almost didn’t recognize you with your hair down,” NSB remarked. “It looks good this way.”
As my bad luck would have it, Wyatt picked that moment to come by and ask what we wanted.
“You having your usual?” Wyatt drawled as he started to grab a bottle of Patron. He knew me well. The only alcohol I ever drank was tequila—in either a margarita or straight. I heard someone say “No. Glen Fiddich, rocks,” and realized that it was me.
I wanted to immediately right the obvious wrong that was my drink order, but I was too embarrassed to admit I had misordered in front of NSB. I thought I noticed a flash of unease on his face when I asked for the scotch, but it was gone as soon as it appeared. He probably thought I was trying to seem exotic or something, ordering single-malt. Great, I fretted—now I was doubly self-conscious.
“I’ll have the same,” he directed toward Wyatt. To me, he said, “I never introduced myself this morning. I’m Alex. Alex Sunderland.”
“Hailey Parrish”. Not wanting the conversation to stall, the only thing I could come up with next was, “Wow. What are the odds that we would run into each other twice in one day?”
He unleashed one of those spectacular smiles my way and said, laughing, “Astronomical, I would think.”
Just then, my purse started to vibrate. When I went out some place crowded, I liked to use one of those little cross-body bags instead of the behemoth I usually carried. That way, I was forced to limit myself to the essentials—phone, driver’s license, lip-gloss, some cash, and a credit card—and I never had to worry about misplacing it in the throng. I excused myself, and turned away slightly as I grabbed the phone. It was Rachel.
“Hailey, I’m really sorry, but Harrison has some sort of stomach bug and he’s currently curled in the fetal position on the bathroom floor moaning, ‘kill me’, over and over.”
Ew. “That sounds awful. Does he need to go to urgent care?”
“No,” she continued, “but you know men; they’re such babies when they are sick. Obviously, we are going to have to beg off tonight. Are you already at the bar?”
“Yeah, I got here early,” I yelled. Even with my finger pressed into my other ear, I could barely make out what she was saying with all the raucous bar noise. “Too bad Harrison’s sick. Tell him I hope he feels better.”
“I’m sure he will be by tomorrow. But I feel terrible that you are there by yourself.”
“No problem,” I assured her. No problem, indeed, I thought as I glanced at Alex, who was paying for both the drinks that Wyatt had just delivered. “Hey, it’s really noisy in here, so I’m having a hard time hearing you. I’m fine, though. I’ll just talk to you tomorrow.”
I ended the call and set the phone on the bar. I wasn’t particularly unhappy that they weren’t coming. After all, Alex was easy on the eyes and Rachel would be so proud of me for talking to him instead of making an excuse to hide in the ladies’ room. Besides, there was something about him that felt very familiar, like I had known him for a long time. Astounding as it seemed, I actually felt comfortable sitting with him.
As I turned to face him, he raised his glass towards me and I did the same with mine. We saluted each other with scotch and I took a sip. God, this stuff really is wretched, I thought, but somehow I felt compelled to keep drinking. And not just to keep up the pretense of having ordered something I actually liked. It was the weirdest feeling—wanting to both spit it out yet, at the same time, longing for the next mouthful. It occurred to me that maybe that’s how all scotch drinkers feel. Because truly, the stuff tasted like turpentine.
Throughout the evening, the conversation encompassed the usual get-to-know you banter. I got the important information without too much digging; he was single and an insurance adjuster from Portland, Oregon in town for two weeks for some specialized training. He seemed sincere, but really, he could be from Salt Lake City and unemployed with ten kids for all I really knew. Not wanting to get into a complicated dialogue about my unusual career path, I just said I worked at a local dairy. That was my go-to angle when I wasn’t in the mood to get into the specifics.
We ordered another round, which I paid for, and then switched to non-alcoholic choices—ice tea for me, sparkling water for him. He had a relaxed way about him that belied his obvious intellect and he shifted effortlessly between topics ranging from popular culture to global economies.
Too bad he doesn’t live around here, I lamented. It figured that I meet a guy that I might actually like, and he’s only here for two weeks. No sense letting this go much further, I reasoned. I certainly wasn’t up for a one-nighter, or even, best-case scenario, a fourteen-nighter.
It was getting late, it had been a long day, and I wanted to drive home soon—before I risked falling asleep at the wheel. I rooted in my bag and found some bills to leave on the bar for Wyatt’s well-deserved tip. Then I downed the last of my tea and turned to look at Alex.
“This has been fun,” I began, “but I really should be getting home. Hope your training goes well. Maybe we’ll run into each other again at the River Park.”
As I started to get off the bar stool, a peculiar sensation coursed through me, as if I was suddenly exerting a great deal of energy. My expression must have communicated the discomfort, because Alex frowned and asked if I was okay. When I didn’t immediately respond, he reached over and took my hands in his, concern etched across his handsome face.
Suddenly, I felt an electrical zap—similar to what I had encountered days before—when first synching the Kindle. I might have been able to rationalize it as some hackneyed romantic sign had the next two events not occurred in rapid succession. First, I inexplicably uttered one long, unrecognizable sound…then I heard the voice.