SHIFTER: Holiday Novella

Welcome to December! So excited for the Holidays this year. I have a new shifter story coming out and I hope you will enjoy the bittersweet nature of it. It will be available in KINDLE UNLIMITED (KU). The first new story that I’ve put in KU in over a year. I’ll have the AMAZON link within the next week..

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DESCRIPTION:

Caitlin and Gabe have each been broken in the last year.

For curvy Caitlin, it was her heart when her loving spouse passed on from a terminal illness. Already a widow and only twenty-three years old. Seeking a way to mourn privately, she decides to move away and spend a year elsewhere, seeking peace and quiet, so she can recover. Anticipating she will likely never find a new mate.

Gabe has just finally gotten the green-light from his doctor. Since his car accident from a year ago, resulting in a near-paralyzing injury and damn near killing his inner bear, he’s worked hard and tirelessly to recover physically. Now that he has the okay to pursue his need for sexual intimacy and relations, he is eager and hungry to find a new lover.

Their worlds connect and each has to better understand the other’s recent challenges they’ve gone through, before their own love can take bloom.


CHAPTER ONE

.: CAITLIN :.

I’d had enough. I slammed down on a table with my fist, managing to capture everyone’s attention in my dearly-departed, Father’s bar.

My inner bear was downright cranky.

Grumpy.

Had been gruff all day long.

“We’re closed! We did last call an hour ago. Go home!” I yelled, my patience getting the best of me. I needed this day to end, and soon.

A few of our remaining patrons grumbled and mumbled at me. The usual bullshit. But, they started to rise from their seats. None wanted to cause a change, a shift, knowing damned well I would, if needed be.

Sam stepped out from behind the bar counter. “Come on ladies and gents, it’s been a long day for the boss-lady. Time to head home to your spouses and beds,” he said, cajoling them out of the bar. Knowing full well that half the town had been at my husband’s memorial earlier that day.

Sam, my bouncer-slash-bartender had the physique of an ox but the kindly nature of a koala bear. He had a way with the drunk, miserly and disorderly, thankfully.

A few moments later, the place was cleared out.

I sighed, taking a deep breath and leaning against the counter. I pushed my hand through my long, strawberry-blonde curls and grabbed a light green bandana. I used it to capture my hair and pull it back from my face. With the AC broken again and another record hot day, I was sweaty, tired, and miserable. Pale-skinned and freckled, warmer weather had always been hard on me. Anything over eighty-five degrees was uncomfortable for me and my plump, curvy physique.

“Why don’t you head home boss. I’ve got this.” Sam said as he began to load up the dishwasher.

“Nawh, ain’t fair. Thanks though, Sam,” I said.

“You sure?” He asked, a concerned look on his face.

I paused, noticing his concern. “Do I really seem that bad?” I asked, an edge of weariness in my voice.

“It ain’t my place to say so, but you need to take a day or two off for yourself. Everyone in town knows you have suffered a loss. It’s only normal to need time. Time to grieve…” He said softly and gently, compassion burgeoning in his voice.

I sighed, felt the tears prickling behind my eyes, trying to push their way out. “Truth is, work is what’s keeping me sane right about now. I just can’t think about it Sam. Alright? I just can’t…” My voice trailed off as I struggled to maintain my composure and not break down in front of my favorite and best employee.

Sam saw the shimmering tears in my eyes. He looked away, not wanting to draw attention that he’d noticed. I was a proud woman, and I hated appearing weak to others. He knew this very well about me. Just like my Father, rest his soul.

I took off my cotton top and wrapped it around my waist. All I wore now was a much-loved pair of work jeans that hugged my hips and ass perfectly, and a soft chemise halter-top that allowed my skin to breath in the hot air.

I quickly busied myself cleaning, sweeping and mopping. An hour later, the place would be closed and it would be nearing three thirty am. I’d walk out to my truck with Sam, who escorted me every work-night to ensure my safety and he’d dutifully wait until I pulled out of the parking lot. I’d have a smoke while my truck idled and warmed up.

I would turn on the truck’s CD player and listen, again to his favorite song. Then I’d head home, taking the long way. Just like that song. The drive would help me work through facing the awful emptiness of my apartment before I arrived.

Some nights, I’d considered just sleeping on the cot in the backroom of the bar. Especially tonight. The night of his memorial. I’d gone to it and then straight to work, afterwards.

Much to everyone’s surprise. Even my own.

Numb didn’t even begin to explain how I felt. I’d been grieving his death for a year now. Ever since the day he was diagnosed. Inoperable brain cancer.

It was a shame too. One of the smartest, most intelligent men I’d ever known. I’d never understand what it was that he saw in me. But he had. From the day we had met, we’d been near inseparable. Right up to the bitter end.

Until today. His body now a pile of ash in an urn.

Five years we’d been together before he got ill.

That’s what I got for having a human mate.

Others had warned me, but I’d been young and completely in love. I had no regrets. Was grateful I’d gotten to love him and be loved by him.

I sighed and peered out at the starry night. No clouds. The stars twinkled and the moon was nearing full. Somehow, it made me feel a bit better to know he was up there now. Up there with the stars. There was some comfort in knowing he no longer suffered.

Twenty-three years old and already a widow.

And now, a somewhat wealthy one too. His life insurance policy had been a surprise. He’d bought the most coverage he could since his employer had great benefits. Now that I was set for life, financially at least, I was thinking about selling my Father’s bar and moving. Or maybe I’d just close it up in case I ever wanted to return? Or ask Sam if he wanted to manage it in my absence?

Going somewhere. Somewhere far from here. Somewhere I could take my time to mourn and heal, privately.

CHAPTER TWO

.: GABE :.

Several months later…

I lunged forward, just a few more stomach crunches and I’d be done. My personal trainer eyed me, barking out encouragement as I struggled to finish. It was the week of Thanksgiving and I wanted to get in some extra exercise to counter all the delicious food over the upcoming weekend.

“Man up, Gabe! Even my biggest lady clients can complete sets faster than you!” Tina yelled, hovering nearby, monitoring her other client.

I cursed under my breath but secretly loved my strict and sassy trainer. She’d been in the military and it showed. The woman was a drill sergeant. Merciless. Hence why I’d hired her. My bear didn’t liker her so much. I did…

She was exactly what the doctor ordered.

I kept my eyes centered on the arrangement of holiday decorations that had gone up recently, thinking to myself with each lunge how I couldn’t believe it was that time of year again. It’d come up so quick.

Or had it?

In some ways, it had. In other ways, not so much.

Done with the sets, I lay there, panting, dribbling in sweat and felt my heart racing. It was good to be back in the swing of things. I’d forgotten how good a great workout made me feel.

It’d been a year since the car accident. A year since the surgery. A year of physical therapy and training. Each passing day, I got better and better. Back to my former self. A miracle, considering I’d almost died and if it hadn’t been for the very skillful hands of a neurosurgeon, I’d be paralyzed too.

Don’t think backwards, keep moving forward, my inner bear grumbled. Keeping me focused. He’d damn well near died and left me for good from the injury.

I sat up and reached for my water bottle. Glancing around the gym, my gaze rested on the same curvy body I’d been admiring from afar. I’d noticed her in the last week. Either she was new to the gym or new to the area. Perhaps both.

Either way, I admired her feminine, voluptuous, curvy frame. Her cascade of strawberry-blonde curls were pulled back in a bun-like ponytail and she was working out hard on an elliptical, her workout gear damp with sweat. Her pretty face flushed red from exertion.

I was working up the courage to meet her and introduce myself, somehow. Now that my worrisome thoughts about my recent physical challenges were subsiding, day after day, while I mended and made a full recovery, my libido was coming back to life. Thank god.

Just walk over and say hello, my bear taunted. I think she’s a shifter…

Be quiet! I snapped back.

It had been a long year of next to no sex. Just me and my hand. Solo-sex. And only once my doctor had okayed the very personal habit. I’d learned an entirely new level of restraint as my need to pump and grind was on pause until my back was strong enough to handle the basic, physiological need of sex.

Tina peered in the direction of my gaze. “She’s cute. Wonder what team she plays on?”

I sighed. “You like to believe everyone plays on your team, don’t you?” I teased.

Tina grinned. “Even when they don’t play on my team full-time, many like to play part-time,” she said, then winked and patted me on the back. “I’m an equal opportunity admirer. Shall we make a bet?”

Although I didn’t usually make a sport of betting on bed-games, I needed a bit of encouragement. I was, in fact, getting back in the game, as it were.

‘Why not? It would be harmless fun?’ my bear taunted.

“Okay, you’re on. My bear agrees.”

“Good, glad he does. One week. We each have one week to make our move,” Tina taunted. “Luckily for me, I get to change clothes in the same dressing room as she does, so get your game on.”

“No fair, no fair…” I said, sighing again.

Just the thought of her stripping out of her damp workout clothes, her skin glistening from sweat, all rosy-pink and flushed…

Before I knew it, I felt that old familiar twinge. My cock coming to life.

I looked away before my awkward state got any worse and caused some embarrassment. Right at the moment, I felt like a fourteen year old having a hard time getting my boner under control. I couldn’t help it though, she was truly sensual and appealing. I loved bigger, curvier women.

Sadly, most of them came to the gym to slenderize away their amazing curves. A personal war and vendetta that the media had made of women’s bodies. It was a shame, all these sexy women not realizing just how many men found them attractive, just the way they were.

One I didn’t encourage or approve of in the least. One that I very much frowned upon, knowing the damage it had done and heartache created, for my own little sister, a beautiful plus-sized woman. Like me, she’d inherited the blue-eyed, dark curls of the Irish. Unlike me, however, she also inherited a buxom frame. One that she’d loathed and hated for most of her adult life.

I sighed out loud. It was time to get in a shower and head out. I couldn’t quite muster up the courage just yet to strike up a conversation with her. Besides, she was still very much in the middle of her workout. I’d wait until I could interact with her when she wasn’t huffing and puffing and sweating.

Any man who wasn’t a Neanderthal knew that a woman liked to have some semblance of composure when being approached by a potential suitor.

 

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NaNoWriMo: Dragon Protectress Novel

It’s National Novel Writing Month (aka NaNoWriMo) and I’ve written 15K+ words over the last week for a new Dragon Shifter novel. Nope, scratch that… for a new mage series. Never mind, a new witch-sorceress series. No, not that either… How about all of the above? Yup! There we go…

You can watch my progress HERE.

red female dragon face On the cusp of my twenty-first birthday, my world is about to change more than I dared ever believe.

Plucked from an angry mob and into the sky, I have no idea who my rescuer is or why he saved me. In time, I learn that my family has been protected by his for centuries and that the many questions I’ve had all of my life will soon have answers.

But the revelation that my guardian and protector is a dragon-shifter and that I’m an awakening witch-sorceress can only prepare me so much before I’m fighting for my mind, my love, and my life.

 

 

 

FREE eBooks

POLL about FREE eBooks

Hello Dear Readers,

Recently, among indie author circles, there has been a lot of discussion about whether giving away eBooks for FREE is a good practice or not. Some contend that it erodes the overall value and earnings of indie authors. Others say that it’s ‘taught’ readers to expect eBooks for free or only $0.99.

I’m somewhere in the middle. After years of giving away thousands and thousands of eBooks, I’m rethinking my overall marketing approach.

So, help me out. Would you be willing to take this POLL?

Thank you!

Ruby / Emerald / Amber


As of 4/24/17, I’ve received 134 responses, thank you! 🙂

FREE eBooks Q1

 

FREE eBooks Q2

 

FREE eBooks Q3

Billionaire SciFi Romance Serial: Maid in Space

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Hiya Readers!

I’m very excited about this 3-PART story (serial). The inspiration for it hit hard and the story pretty much wrote itself. If I’ve done my job right, your heart will ache for both the Hero and the Heroine. They are both lonely and aching to connect.

RELEASE SCHEDULE

  • PART/Book 1: 3/26
  • PART/Book 2: 4/5
  • PART/Book 3: 5/30
  • BUNDLE: 6/1

DESCRIPTIONCameron Duke the Fourth is fleeing Earth to escape all the unwanted attention from the masses. Literally, the world’s most eligible bachelor, he’s had enough of Earth women who only seek his prestige, power and money.

As the sole heir to his family’s businesses, he is the world’s first trillionaire.

Time and time again, Rachel Sioux has opened her heart only to be burned, jilted, dumped and left wanting. What’s wrong with her? So, when she is approached by her employer to interview for the job of a lifetime doing housecleaning work in the most unlikely of places for a very good salary, she hops at the opportunity.

Even if it is in space!

30+ 5-STAR REVIEWS!!!

ratingsforMIS1 A Super Amazing Sci-Fi Trillionaire Romance 5 stars

LOVED IT 5 stars

GreatSerial 5-Star Review

MIS-FINAL-Book-1 

PART 1 BUY-LINKS:

MIS-FINAL-Book-2 

PART 2 BUY-LINKS:

MIS-FINAL-Book-3b

PART 3 BUY-LINKS:

MIS-BUNDLE

THE COMPLETE STORY BUY-LINKS:

Happy Reading!

~ Amber  (Ruby)

PLEASE NOTE: Due to ongoing issues with Amazon not counting pages-read correctly by readers who borrow stories via Kindle Unlimited (KU), I don’t plan to include this story in KU. 

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CHAPTER ONE

1

Cameron

I sighed. Again.

Was no one getting the point? Why I wanted to leave Earth and live in space?

And no, this wasn’t just for a space trip. I was talking about full-on inhabitation aboard a space station all my own.

Unbeknownst to my executive team, I’d already started construction, a long while ago, on my uber secret project, the Duke 4, which was nearing completion and soon, would be ready for me to live in.

                “It can’t be done, it would take years to build it and do you really want to invest in something so expensive?” Jakob asked, an incredulous look on his face.

I snorted. Expensive? Was he kidding me?

                I was Earth’s first and only trillionaire. The word, expensive, meant nothing to me. I could literally afford anything I wanted. Including the most expensive personal space station in existence. It had taken three long years to build and it was nearing completion. I was only just now informing the executives who worked for me that I was about to get on a space rocket-ship and leave Earth. I would continue to lead on key business matters with an emphasis on key. The rest, I was leaving to them to manage.

“Well, it’s been done,” I said, and opened my presentation that showed the first pictures revealed to anyone other than myself. “Here is the Duke 4, my future home. I leave in a month’s time.”

I smiled at all the looks of surprise and even a few mouths that were wide open as I continued the slideshow, revealing my new space quarters. The room went quiet, completely hush with awe.

“What do you think?” I asked my team.

“Why?” Tiffany asked, her eyes genuine with curiosity.

Because, dearheart – I’m sick to death of women like you. Blood-sucking, money-hungry and artificial in every way, down to her tits. And then there was the rest of the human race. No matter my philanthropic efforts that I’d started doing as a young man. As heir to my family’s legacy and immense fortune, I was fed up.

Angry. Jaded.

Not amused…

At age thirty-two, I wanted nothing to do with them. I wanted to hole myself up as far away from them as I could afford.

So, I’d staked several hundred billion into the project, hiring only the best and brightest minds to make it a reality. And there it was, spinning calmly in the vacuum of space. Guaranteed solitude. Other than staff needed to run and maintain, I had every intention of limiting my contact with other human beings to the bare minimum necessary.

“Why not?” I answered. I’d long since decided I’d never reveal my real reasons and let the world believe that I was just an eccentric rich man who wanted to hang out in space.

I’d never seen my executive team so gob-smacked. I was loving it. This was too delicious.

“Any other questions?” I asked.

Frank cleared his throat, a habit of his that told me he disapproved but would pretend otherwise. “Is this a safe place for you, Cameron?”

Safe?

I wanted to snort. No, not likely, but I was willing to take my chances. “As safe is possible at this time,” I said, dismissing his fake concern. The man had never liked me despite being my father’s primary advisor until his dying day.

Sue piped up. “Won’t this hurt investor relations? Our chief in outer space? I’m sure the media will make a hey-day of this. It’s just not done…”

I had to give Sue credit, she was the only one brave enough to challenge me. That was why I was giving her the promotion of a lifetime.

“Sue, how would you like to take the helm? Be the new chief?”

Once again, everyone went silent. I respected, but hated my team. They were the best at what they do and therefore some of the worst you could find in humankind. Ambitious, power-hungry and greedy to a fault. I’d hired every last one of them. Except for Frank. Besides having spent his life working for my Father, Frank had clout, reputation and the largest stake in my family’s many businesses.

Sue, was exceptionally, the worst of them all – which meant she’d be the best at running my business. I hated to admit it, but it was true.

“Are you serious, sir?” She asked, gulping and then beaming a greedy smile as wide as the Grand Canyon.

“Very much so, Sue. I’ve put a lot of thought into this and I think you’re the best candidate. Give it some thought and let me know. Let us know.”

“No need, Cameron. I’d be honored. I accept.”

“Good, then that is settled. Congratulations.”

Once again, the room was struck quiet. I had to admit, it was going just as well, if not better than planned.

“Anyone else with concerns or questions? If you don’t want to discuss here, than you can bring them to me privately, of course. In the meantime, I have a meeting with the head of staff for my new space-home.”

Everyone was looking at one another, waiting. For a room filled with thirteen executives, they were awfully quiet. I knew that the shit-storm was coming and I didn’t care. I was extricating myself from the nightmare I’d been living since I was twenty-two. I’d given a decade of my life to it and I felt as if I’d given it a hundred.

I was the wealthiest individual in the world and I wanted my time back.

The idea had started out as having a home at the bottom of the Pacific Ocean, off of the coast of Hawaii but that had proven to be more difficult than the space-home. So, I’d gone the other direction. The ocean-home was still underway, but it was requiring more time. But I’d leave that disclosure for another time.

“Meeting over,” I said, smiling. “Have a good day,” I said, then stood to stroll out of the conference room.

ENTWINED: A slow dance that never ends…

Hello Dear Readers!

I’m putting the finishing touches to ‘Maid in Space‘ and thought I would share about a new story I’ve started. The premise is simple.

A Seattle Billionaire Bachelor
A Struggling Dance Studio Owner
A slow dance that never ends…

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~ 1 ~

Antony

It was a Thursday. Three p.m. and as usual, I was having a mid-afternoon coffee before heading back to the office.

Today was therapy day.

For a near-year, I’d been seeing a counselor. I’d leave for lunch at one and take the next two hours, mid-day to do something that was only about me.

Not about my family.

Nor our business.

No, just something for me.

I’d forget about my responsibilities and take a breather. The coffee shop was the place where I sat and percolated over the conversation with my therapist. Giving my mind a chance to shift gears from the deeply personal to the everyday and public.

Besides, there was a perk. A plus to my weekly therapy routine.

As usual, she was dressed in red. And at the moment, her elegant leg was stretched up, resting atop a ballet bar in her dance studio. She was doing a stretching routine along with her dance students. Sometimes, her mane of wavy black hair was loose and free, tumbling around her face. Other times, such as today, it was up in a bun, revealing her graceful neck.

Truth was, without her I wasn’t even sure I’d still be going to therapy. But having the chance to watch and observe her each week had kept me motivated. Motivated to have a real, bona-fide reason to keep going to therapy and have my alone time coffee, afterwards.

Simple enough, right?

One would think.

But today was different. She’d come up in my therapy session. This mysterious stranger I admired from afar. I’d brought her up a few times. I was doing what my therapist said I would do eventually.

Move on. Heal. Mend.

No longer be the broken man I’d been when I’d first entered my therapist’s office a year earlier.

Life can be unfair to anyone. I’d learned that at an early age. But it was my service time in the military that had proven it so. Being a POW left scars and wounds that no one could see. The type of damage that isn’t visible to the eye.

The worst sorts of wounds.

But I’d survived. After closing myself off and isolating, despite my family’s immense wealth, fortune and power. I was the heir. The sole heir.

And that was what had gotten me into trouble to begin with. Somehow, the enemy of the U.S. had figured out I was a soldier. And I was in the wrong place at the wrong time.

The enemy wanted money.

They always do.

And my family was loaded to the gills with it.

The barista was sweeping the floor, in the area around the table that I sat at. “She’s lovely, non?” She said, tilting her head in the direction of where my gaze rested.

I shifted, caught off guard and embarrassed. “Um, yes – she is.”

The barista’s smile spoke volumes, “Her name is Gabriella. Everyone calls her Gabby. She comes in here every morning to order a London fog. She’s a wonderful woman. Very nice and easy to get to know.”

“What’s a London fog?”

“It’s earl grey tea steamed into a latte. Very yummy. Would you like to buy her one? Go over there and say hello, perhaps?” The friendly barista suggested.

“Maybe another time, not today,” I said, embarrassed and off guard.

“Okay, but nothing like seizing the day. Carpe diem.”

I took a sip of my coffee. It was time to head back in to the office, to work.  “I trust you’ll keep my crush, secret?”

The barista winked. “Yes, for now. But eventually, you have to go after what you want. Life is too short.”

I smiled at the barista. She’d been making me coffee for a year now. She’d paid attention. Been watching the observer. I had already tipped her at the register, but I felt compelled to leave another tip on the table.

I stood, gathering my coat and putting it on. “I trust this stays between you and I?”

She nodded knowingly. “Of course sir, I understand.”

Out into the crisp, rainy weather of Seattle I went. The last part of my therapy afternoon was the walk I would make to the steel and emerald-blue high-rise that my family owned. Allowing my thoughts to switch back to what the day required of me.

What life expected of me.

More responsibility than I’d ever really wanted, to begin with.

AUDIOBOOKS!!!

audiolistener2 Wow, I just looked at my ACX (Audible/Amazon) report for January Audio-Books’ sales and I’m stoked! Sales are better than they’ve ever been. I’m very grateful that my stories being narrated and put into audio-book format are doing well. You guys seem to be gobbling them up! 😀

audiobf The art of the ‘book boyfriend’ is a challenge since it involves ongoing seduction of the reader (typically women). That’s why, when I was recently seduced by a narrators’ sexy voice, I knew I had the right one to convey the sexy passion my heroes are written with. There is an energy and charisma in a man’s voice that can melt the heroine’s heart… and her panties!

Don’t believe me? Listen for yourself…

SHIFTER: Polar Bear, #1  |  SHIFTER: Black Bear, #1

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Over the years, I’ve been an appreciator of the engaging voice and hearing a story well-told by a beautiful or gorgeous voice is a rare pleasure. There is a true art-form to narrating a story well and capturing the essence of the characters’ journeys and experiences as the story unfolds.

Good narrators are great at timing, spacing of pauses, masters of vocal inflection and the emotional cadence that adds a depth to the story. So, finding a good narrator is key! I’m lucky to have worked with some talented narrators thus far. I give a few tips and suggestions, but more or less rely on them to be the vocal professionals that they are. I like to believe I’ve found the right voice to see the story through from beginning to end.

So, dive in! I’m always giving away the free audio-book codes that Audible is so gracious to provide every time I publish something new, so the best way to get one is to be subscribed to my newsletter(s). It’s always first-come, first-serve.

Here are some links to my Audio-Books:

Emerald Wright

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Ruby Madden

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Coming Soon! >>> Her Baller by Maddy Roman

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Enjoy!

~ Ruby

What’s with the $0.01 reads, Amazon?

one-cent As many of you know, I’m the David in a Goliath-like ‘battle’ I have going on with Amazon. It has to do with a noticeable decline in income many authors are experiencing since summer of last year.

If you’ve read my latest blogs, I explain how this is happening and the adverse impact it is having on INDIE authors, many having to make drastic decisions about their writing businesses.

Amazon has been kind enough to provide me a dedicated executive customer relations contact who has been answering many of my questions and looking into my concerns. The latest is the case of the $0.01 book-read. What is this you ask?

Well, the KU (Kindle Unlimited) system literally pays out based on the # of pages a reader reads for a book borrowed via KU. What many of us have noticed is an increase of readers who are only reading ONE page and then abandoning the book. From our experience, this isn’t typical reader behavior.

For those of us who have eagle-eyed our reports over the years, this was an immediate red-flag. Once in a great while this happens. Most readers need to read at least a few pages before they decide to abandon a story, having decided that it isn’t for them. So, this is something we notice when it occurs. Here is a list of the $0.01 pages-read that I had for January.

So, I reached out to Amazon – again – and asked. The response? Everything is working as expected.

Right?

So, you tell me! Do you read one page of a book and is that enough for you to decide you don’t want to continue? For me, I know it takes more than a few pages at least. Hell, a couple of chapters. But one page? I don’t think so, Amazon.

~ Ruby