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Friday, August 11, 2017

#Spotlight on In His Hands by Adriana Anders + #Giveaway




32841617In His Hands 
(Blank Canvas #3)
by Adriana Anders
Mass Market Paperback
Published August 1st 2017 by Sourcebooks Casablanca
ISBN 1492633909
He is Her Salvation

Abby Merkley has been a member of the Church of the Apocalyptic Faith since she was a child, and there's no way out―except death. She will fight the odds to survive, but there's no one in the world she can trust, nowhere she can run that the cult can't find her...until her handsome, brooding neighbor takes her into the safety of his arms.

Luc Stanek craves a quiet life. But he doesn't hesitate when a desperate woman lands, bloodied and branded on his doorstep. Soon he finds himself drawn into her chaotic world, caught in the center of an apocalyptic war...and determined to save the fierce beauty no matter the cost. 


Excerpt:

She approached the man where he clipped away at a different section of vines. His face was tight in concentration, every move sharp and precise—until he looked up and saw her. When he did that, his features dropped into an irritated scowl. 
Goodness, how on earth had she thought he might be handsome? Nobody that stern could possibly be appealing. Not with those harsh features, that too-big nose, and that unfriendly gaze. She lifted her head. 
“Morning, sir.” 
His eyes narrowed, the only part of him to move as they followed her progress. Indifferent, she’d say, if it weren’t for that grim look of annoyance. 
“Sorry to bother you again.” One sharp, dark brow angled up before he turned back to his work, cutting her out. Or trying to. 
She forced a smile through the bubble in her throat and grasped one of the thin branches he’d just cut before yanking it up and out. “It occurred to me that I didn’t let you in on the full array of skills I have to offer. You are one lucky man, because I just happen to be a crack cleaner. I can cook and sew, darn socks or—”
“No, thank you.” He froze her with those iceberg eyes. 
Don’t cry. Breathe. Smile. 
Doing her best to ignore him, she took another branch and yanked, throwing it to the ground as she’d seen him do. “You haven’t tasted my—”
“I don’t wish to taste anything.”
 Bless me, what kind of man was this, who—
“How about…?” In an act of desperation, she searched for something he might want. “You wanna taste me?” The words popped out, incomprehensible to her ears and so far from anything she’d ever said—much less thought—that she almost looked behind her to see who had uttered them.
No one budged. Five full seconds of silence passed before he turned to give her his attention. She wanted to take it all back.
“Pardon?” Abby opened her mouth, but apparently the devil who’d prompted those words had decided to leave her high and dry. Nothing emerged. 
Above them, the sky darkened. Or maybe that was just her vision. Why on earth did she say that? To get him to notice her, she figured. She saw Church kids do it all the time—acting up for attention. Short-lived, since the surest response was a beating—no matter how young the child.
His eyes raked up and down her body, way hotter than ice should be. “Is this a proposition?” he asked. 
His voice was cracked and rough, like leather that’d sat too long and needed dusting off. But the accent, layered over the top? That was smooth. Mellifluous sounded like the right word. She’d have to look it up in the dog-eared dictionary she kept hidden under the bed—the only thing she’d ever stolen in her life. She kept expecting to burn in hell for that, but it had yet to happen. 
Maybe this was it.
The second brow rose to meet the first. “You need money,” he said. It wasn’t a question. 
“I need a job,” she corrected. 
“Find one in town.”
“It’d take me hours to walk there.” Besides, Church members drove the road into town all the time. They’d see her and pick her up and there’d be hell to pay. She’d be more hidden here, right next door. Nobody came over to this side of the mountain. With a sigh, he hung his shears on one of the wires that held the vine branches up and ran one gloved hand through his too-long hair. 
“I will take you.” 
“Where?” she bleated, panicked that he meant he’d drop her back at the Church. 
“Into town.” 
Her next words sailed out on a sigh of relief. “Any chance you could just give me a job instead?”
 “I don’t need your—” 
The sky chose that moment to open up, spitting shards of icy rain down on them and drowning out anything else he might have said. Abby raised her eyes to where she could have sworn the rocky mountain face had curled up into a triumphant smile. 
“You’ll have to hurry if you wanna get this finished ’fore we get iced in,” she yelled through the loud, stinging patter. “This goes on too long, you’ll slip and slide right off the hill.” She could see the words sinking in, could feel his change of heart…or maybe that was her Lord and Savior taking pity on her. Whatever it was, her words or divine providence, the man appeared to come to a decision. 
“You will need gloves if you’re going to do this. And a jacket.” 
Abby thought of her coat, in a ball beside her hole in the fence. The thin wool would soak up this rain as fast as could be. The man walked a few steps in the direction of his cabin before turning back. 
“You are coming?” he said before continuing on toward the log cabin. 
“Sir?” she called out. 
He stopped again, huffing with annoyance. “Yes?” 
“I’d like to…” She marched to him and reached out a hand, waiting through his perusal before lifting it higher, insistent. “I want to shake your hand, sir. To thank you for giving me a chance.” 
“Don’t thank me, you’ll just—” 
“Please.” 
His lips tightened into a flat line, and Abby could see him wanting to back out, eyeing her hand like it was poison. But handshakes sealed deals. Shake on it, people said, and she liked the official quality of it. Liked that it put her on a level with the men out here. Men and women, doing the same thing. Equals. 
No way would she admit how much she’d thought about the feel of those hands on hers the day before. 
You’re doing it again, warned the gleeful voice in her head. Pushing too far. 
But the voice was wrong, which just went to show… something. Grape Man grabbed her hand, pumped it twice. He still looked mean and harsh—only this time, something had changed. The touch itself was just as shocking as the day before. On a purely visceral level, being touched by a man who wasn’t her husband? It was… She didn’t have the words for it. And how could the man’s skin be so hot, out here in the frigid January air? She stumbled at the warm connection.
Good Lord, she couldn’t remember touching anyone besides Sammy or Hamish or Mama since…since she’d been branded a Chosen One and received her first mark. Isaiah had done that. And Hamish’s touches, well, they’d been purely utilitarian.
The shiver slid through her again, from her toes out to the fingertips he’d just clasped. Definitely the wind. 
He must have felt it, too. She saw it in the softening of his mouth, the way his eyes met hers. There was humanity there. And Lord, she’d been lying when she’d told herself he wasn’t nice to look at. 
That strong nose, freckled by too many hours in the sun. Wide, sharp cheekbones, kissed crimson by the wind. That dimple—or was it a scar?—on his cheek that looked more like punctuation than anything else. Most of all, the eyes: slate blue, clearer than a cloudless winter sky, and fringed with heavy lashes. When he met her gaze, it was almost painfully direct under thick brows and tempestuous dark hair—which was too long by Church standards, but a perfectly poetic counterpoint to the blunt features beneath. 
“I’m really—” Grateful, she was going to say, but he didn’t let her. 

Instead he interrupted, that gruff, accented voice sending shivers up her spine. “Enough. You’ll be of no use to me if you freeze to death.” He loosened his fingers and waited for her to do the same before turning away.




Blank Canvas Series



About the Author:

Adriana Anders has acted and sung, slung cocktails and corrected copy. She’s worked for start-ups, multinationals and small nonprofits, but it wasn’t until she returned to her first love—writing romance—that she finally felt like she’d come home. Today, she resides with her tall French husband, two small children and fat French cat in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains, where she writes the dark, gritty, emotional love stories of her heart.

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