Novels, Publications

“A Second Chance” Release Date – July 1st, 2021

I am so excited to announce “A Second Chance” will be available for purchase on July 1st, 2021!

“A Second Chance” will be my debut romance novel, and I can’t wait to share it with all of you!

In addition to selling the book on amazon (print and ebook), I will also be selling the novel in person at The Romance Rendezvous Book Blast in Cedar Falls, Iowa (August 21st). If you are able to attend the event in August, you will have a chance to talk with me and get a signed copy as well! Of course, I will be doing a giveaway on my platforms, so keep an eye out for that announcement and how you can be entered to win!

Until then, here are some sneak peeks and details about the novel. Enjoy!


Lucian Pereli spent the last five years paying his dues to society. He’s ready to move on from the past and start his life anew. However, he quickly learns it isn’t as easy as he thought.

Raina Carstens has been through a great deal in her life, but she has moved on from her grief. She now has a successful café and strives to help any she can.

But can Raina and Lucian work through the complications of their interconnecting lives and face the challenges that come with realizing they have fallen in love with each other?

Back Summary of “A Second Chance”

“A Second Chance” Details

Genre: Contemporary Romance

Tropes: Friends to Lovers, Best Friend’s Brother, Café Romance, Second Chance on Life

Protagonist(s): Raina Carstens, Lucian Pereli

Antagonist(s): SPOILERS! ;p

Warnings: This novel contains mentions and healing from past trauma and incarceration, anxiety and panic attacks, and contains stalking and physical violence.

Page Count: 237


I hope you are as excited for the release as I am! Happy Reading!

~Shanna Pikora

Novels

“A Second Chance” Chapter 8 — Live

I’m so excited to announce chapter 8 of “A Second Chance” is now live in Mag Pie! Be sure to take a look as this chapter and the next will be the last posted in Mag Pie as I’ll be publishing this novel in July. Until then, be sure to go back and check out the previous issues of Mag Pie (and subscribe to the digital zine because it’s amazing).

I hope you enjoy the latest chapter!

Happy Reading,

Shanna Pikora

Novels

“A Second Chance” – Character Profile

I’m so excited for my debut romance, “A Second Chance”, to be released in July. To help tease the novel a bit, I though I would share some special details about one of the characters in the novel. Keep an eye out for other little sneak peeks over the next couple months as well!

Character Details: Lucian Pereli

Lucian is one of two main characters of “A Second Chance”. We follow Lucian as he is released from five years in prison and works to create a new life in a new town in Iowa. Living with his brother Grayden, and working at The Black Cat Café, he feels he’s on the right track…until his heart throws him a curveball.

Lucian is 6’2” with dark blonde hair and green eyes. He prefers jeans and t-shirts to slacks and button ups, but usually ends up with nicer clothes since he lives with his brother, Grayden, who always dresses to impress. (Image above is my personal cast for Lucian: Mark Pellegrino)

Speaking of family, Lucian is one of four in his family. His parents are May and Roger Pereli, but he hasn’t heard from them since his incarceration. His three brothers are Adrien (eldest), Grayden (second youngest), and Caden (youngest). He lives with Grayden after he is released from prison to get back on his feet, but Caden lives nearby as well so they usually attend events as a tight-nit unit.

Fiercely protective of his family and loved ones, Lucian has no problems putting himself in the proverbial line of fire if it means is loved stays out of trouble. It’s a trait carried over from childhood as he had to protect his younger siblings from school bullies. He carries a cynicism with him and can be untrusting around new people. Frankly, he can be down right critical at times. He gave up on fairy tales and a happily ever after years ago. Though, it doesn’t stop him from reading about them.

In his spare time, Lucian can be found with a book in his hand (he loves a good thriller or fantasy), a cup of black coffee (always black, it would ruin it to add sugar and creamer and foam), with some light classic rock playing in the background (Poison, preferably). He takes to the new people in his life well, considering many of them have complete opposite personalities, like Bailey, his coworker at the café.

All in all, Lucian is ready to settle down and live a good life free from drama and pain and heartache. But it’s one thing for him to plan that, he learns it’s much harder to actually execute it.


There you have it, a sneak peek at Lucian Pereli. I wanted to include more information…but that contains SPOILERS so I left it out!

If Lucian peeks your interest, be sure to keep an eye out for “A Second Chance” release date in July — or perhaps even come to the Romance Rendezvous Book Blast in August (in Cedar Falls, Iowa) to get your own signed copy (it’s free to attend).

Learn more about RRBB by clicking here.

I’ll be releasing some other special content on my blog and in my newsletter over the next couple months, so be sure to check it out!

Until next time,

Happy Reading!

General News and Updates, Novels

Camp NaNoWriMo Is Here!

I’m so excited for the start of Camp NaNoWriMo! Not only as a Co-ML for my region, but also as I have my own goals this month to finish editing my next contemporary romance novel!

For those who don’t know, Camp NaNoWriMo is similar to NaNoWriMo as you set a writing goal to complete in 30 days. The difference is during camp you have more control over what your specific goal is (instead of the 50,000 words). This year, I am hoping to complete another round of edits on my next contemporary romance novel, “After the Storm” (previously titled “Scottish Savior”).

This novel has been in the works for a couple years now, I just never had any time to dedicate to it as I worked on other projects. But this month, it’s all for this novel! If you are interested in following my progress, you can friend me on the NaNoWriMo site (username: spikora). If you are also participating in Camp, let me know so we can cheer each other on!

I hope you all have a fantastic April planned. Until my next update, here is a sneak peek at “After the Storm”!

*Please note this is not a final version of the story and may change with future edits!*


Kira sat in her stiff seat and wrung her hands in her lap. The chatter of her fellow passengers was nothing but a background hum as she glued her eyes to the entrance of the plane. Each new person who walked on sent a spike of anxiety through her—just for a moment—until she realized it was just another stranger and not the person her mind feared it was. Just a stranger who didn’t know who she was…or who he was. Sat in seat 8B, arms wrapped tightly around her purse, her carry on secured in the bin above her head; she realized it was nearly time. Nearly time to take her first breaths of freedom.

A man shuffled forward and collapsed into the seat next to hers, shoving his carry on under the seat rather than dealing with the overhead bin. Kira could only watch as he cursed, trying to force the poor piece of luggage into a spot it wasn’t mean to be.

I feel ya, luggage, she thought to herself.  

Tears threatened to fall as she took a deep breath. The smell of the man’s thick and overpowering cologne consumed her. Surprisingly, it was a welcome distraction to her panicked mind. She focused on the spiced scent. Something woody and warm—a connection to the moment that kept the impending anxiety attack at bay. Deep breaths, she told herself as she shut her eyes and focused on expanding her diaphragm with each inhale. She held the breath for four counts then exhaled, pressing her belly button into her core, just as she did on Monday Pilates. The man next to her bumped her arm, forcing her to concentrate harder on her breath.

She could do this. Taking another deep breath, she felt her self-control settling and—

“Sorry ‘bout tha’.” The man next to her spoke in a thick accent after his elbow jabbed into her side and sent her nearly sprawling against the arm rest. Kira flinched as she shifted back, giving the man a stiff nod. As grateful as she was for the distraction, she wasn’t sure she was ready for idle chat. Kira’s eyes locked on the door of the plane again, watching the flight attendants talk as they moved about.

For some reason, she thought once she boarded, she would be more at ease—that he would be gone then. But she had this fear he would walk on and drag her back to that hell she was fleeing. Kira turned her attention out the window, ignoring her seat mate as he mumbled about his trip.

It was a beautiful day in Detroit. They week of hazy rain final let the clouds part and granted a cool spring day. She used it as her excuse to leave—she wanted to take a walk and enjoy the nice weather. Her husband bought it. She took a quick trip to the gym, where she stashed clothes and essentials and all her paperwork, then she was gone.

Kira looked past her hazy reflection and to the runway beyond, just as a plane rose up into the sky. Her heart raced, in excitement instead of fear. In a few more minutes, that would be her.

“Passengers, please give your attention to the flight attendant at the front of the cabin as we begin our safety procedure review before takeoff.” The flight attendant spoke precisely into the phone as the other attendant walked through the motions of how to fasten the seatbelt, how to adjust the mask, and other things. Kira’s attention drifted after a few moments; eyes fixed out the window as she waited for takeoff.

Her leg started to bounce, her nerves wanting free, as she heard the engines start up. The rumbling had her heart racing. She shifted up in her seat, pushing her purse onto the floor. This was it. She was really doing it.

“Do ya mind,” her neighbor spoke with an irritated snap. “You’ll make me sick with tha’.” Kira followed his point to her leg. She hadn’t even realized.

“I’m sorry.” She pressed herself tight against the side of the plane, trying to distance herself from him as she forced her leg to still. It gave her a chance to watch takeoff. The ground started to move past the plane. It was slow at first, but then it went faster, faster. The sound of the engines roared and the ground began to drift away. Take off.

“I’m free.” Kira whispered to herself, tears fighting to fall as she laid her head against the window. The world below her shrunk as her spirit grew and soared among the clouds. A weight lifted and she took an easy breath. The first she had taken in months.


Novels

“A Second Chance” (Sneak Peek)

I can’t wait until July to publish my debut romance novel, “A Second Chance”. This novel is a contemporary romance telling the story of Lucian Pereli, a recently released ex-con looking for a fresh start, and Raina Carstens, owner of the Black Cat Café and best friend to Lucian’s brother. When Raina hires Lucian to work at her café, she begins to realize her life is about to become much more complicated.

I’m hoping to do a number of teasers leading up to publication date, and this is the first! Below is a small excerpt from my novel! Enjoy!


“I can start today.”

It was an admirable offer, but Raina wasn’t so sure. Lucian looked exhausted, and he was dressed in too fine of clothes. Even as he said the words, she could see the slight look of regret on his face. She was happy to see he was eager, but…

“No dice,” Bailey spoke up. “I have to train you up front first, and I have this paper due tomorrow about the cultural renaissance of England. It would be really awesome if you could wait until tomorrow. That way I could use my downtime today to work on it. Would that be cool?”

Raina steeled her nerves, not letting her face betray her thoughts. She knew it was a lie, but Lucian seemed to buy it. Raina added, “We can get you a couple aprons and extra shirts. Come with me.” Lucian followed her behind the counter in silence. He was a towering presence. Even so, he wasn’t overwhelming like some. “You can wash these and have a few back-ups. We make a lot of messes around here, so if you start running low on non-stained ones, just let me know.”

“I will.” He paused, looking her in the eye, his face solemn. “Thank you for giving me this opportunity. I know I come with a bit of drama, but I’ll work hard. I won’t waste this chance.”

“Of course.” He seemed easy to talk with, even when he was being serious. “I wouldn’t have given you the job if I had any doubts of that. You did well! Just, don’t stress so much in the future.”

“Will do, Miss Carstens.”

“Raina, please. I hate being called ‘miss.’ Makes me feel like I’m in trouble.”

Lucian chuckled, taking the shirts. “Well, you just hired me, so maybe you are in trouble.”

Raina couldn’t help laughing. It sounded a little flirty, but she let it go. He was sweet—at least he seemed so.

“The paperwork will get done tonight,” Grayden said, casually leaning against the counter. Bailey must have let him in when they’d been in the back. “I can drop him off on my way in tomorrow, pick up my usual order.”

“Sounds like a plan. I’ll see you both tomorrow.” Her hands ran down her shirt, straightening it as Lucian exited the café with his brother. Raina gave a little wave as they left. She waited until they had crossed the street before speaking, not wanting to be overheard. “That paper was due last week, Bailey. You had me read it, twice. Why’d you lie?”

Bailey let out a sigh, leaning against the counter smugly. “He seems nice, and frankly he looked dead on his feet. Figured I’d throw him a bone. I don’t think he would have said no otherwise.”

“Yeah, and like hell was he going to work in those shoes. No traction. Two minutes in he’d have broken a leg.” Carter chimed in, pulling Bailey back into conversation and leaving Raina to her thoughts. She smiled at how easily everyone was taking to their new hire. It looked like Lucian was part of their little family now. Hopefully he was prepared for the chaos that came with it.


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