Smoke and Mirrors is LIVE


Title: Smoke and Mirrors

Series: Fire and Fury #2

Author: Avery Kingston

Genre: Contemporary Romance

Formats: E-book and Paperback

Cover by: Avery Kingston

Editor: Writer’s Rebirth

Released: August 24, 2018



It’s a fight to love each other, but it’s a love worth fighting for.

Tori’s life had been defined by loss. The loss of her father.  The loss of her innocence. And finally, the loss of her vision.

She prides herself on always rising above anything life throws at her, but losing the man she loves would ruin her.

Tori has always ferociously guarded her fragile heart, but she’s trying hard to let Scott inside her fortress. As her walls begin to crumble the shadows of her past begin to haunt her. Can she trust that Scott will still love her once he sees what lies within?

Tori longs to escape from the pain of her past and reclaim the art that is screaming inside her soul. But is her artistic career yet another loss she’ll never regain?

While Tori wrestles with her inner demons, Scott wages a war against his controlling nature; confronting his own fear of loss.

Scott wants Tori to promise her life to him. The problem is Tori’s unpredictable. Some days she’s a hurricane and other days she’s a light breeze. He walks a tightrope between protecting her and letting go, struggling to gain trust of her tattered heart.

Smoke and Mirrors is part two in Scott and Tori’s epic love story. You can read part one of Scott and Tori’s story in Chasing Fire. Both novels are full length books featuring a hot-as-hell alpha and a sexy artist who both have filthy mouths. Intended for a mature audience.


He set the paper sack down next to her and went back for the guitar.

She dug through it. “What—pray tell me—do you have in your bag of tricks?” She pulled out a candle and lifted it to her nose. “A candle?” Her nose crinkled as she took a whiff. “Smells citrusy.”

“It’s citronella, for the mosquitoes.” He plopped down next to her and laid the guitar on his opposite side as he lit the candle, placing it on a rock a safe distance from the blanket and any tall grass.

“Ooh, romantic.” She giggled as she reached down into the bag and pulled out the whiskey. She unscrewed the cap and took a swig. “Here I thought you were trying to create a mood.”

He took a mental picture of her lying on that blanket, her white dress slipping off her delicate shoulder. She was propped up on one elbow, with her knee cocked up, and the bottle of Jack hanging lazily from her other hand. She was his goddamn fantasy sketched into reality.

“Well.” She nodded toward him and took another sip from the bottle. “Are you gonna play for me or did you bring the guitar for decoration only?” Her mouth quirked up in the corner. “Because that visual is kinda lost on me.”

Scott reached over and grabbed the bottle from her, taking a swig of liquid courage. He didn’t know why he was nervous. He’d already played for her the other day, after all. A wave of vulnerability washed over him. Having her here in the twilight, in his secret space, looking so damn beautiful made his heart race.

He’d always prided himself on being fearless. Loving Tori was the scariest thing he’d ever done. The only thing he feared was harm coming to her. He took another gulp as the whiskey burned his chest.

“You have stage fright?” She challenged him.

“How will I ever get you to shut that smart mouth of yours?” Scott put down the bottle, leaned over and crushed his mouth to hers. She parted her lips, inviting him in and he threaded his fingers through those beautiful platinum locks, pulling her in deeper. The sting of the whiskey on their tongues mixed with the sweetness of her lips was an intoxicating contrast. Like everything with her, the kiss was a tug between two worlds; a delicate balance of light and dark, sinner and saint. He would sell his soul for her delicious kisses. Nobody in the world could ever make him ache as much as this woman did.

Tori’s hips rocked underneath him as her head tilted back, the moonlight highlighting her slender neck. His tongue raked across her skin—god damn she even tasted sweet. He’d brought her out here to romance her, take his time, but Tori had a way of making him lose every ounce of self-control. His cock pressed hard against his jeans, yearning to be inside her. His hands also seemed to have a mind of their own, for they traveled up her smooth legs, right under that pretty, white dress and in between her warm thighs. She parted her legs, inviting him to do as he pleased. His fingertips danced over the seams of her delicate, lacy panties—so tempted to rip them off and enter her. But no, it wasn’t time yet. He pulled back from her kiss.

“I’m head over heels in love with you, Tori,” Scott breathed as he caressed her cheek.

“Good, because I’m pretty damn fond of you.” She tugged on the brim of his Stetson and smiled warmly. “Thanks for dressing up for me.” Her eyes watered up with emotion as they wandered, looking for something they’d never find. She placed her hand on his cheek, rubbing her thumb across his lips. He smiled for her and grabbed her palm and kissed it. “It means so very much…” her voice cracked as part of her soul opened to him. She cleared her throat, lifting her chin. “Now about that song?”

“All right.” He sat up, grabbing the guitar next to him. He strummed each string, putting it perfectly in tune as he racked his brain on what to play for her. As he worked, he admired his girl, drinking straight from the bottle of Jack and he licked his lips, still tasting the sweetness of her skin and it came to him. He strummed the tune to “Tennessee Whiskey, hoping that he could give it the bluesy soul that the song deserved. He skipped the opening lick, that riff would’ve been nice, but he was still rusty from years of not playing. Thankfully, the song had an easy chord progression, just A and B Minor.

He started with the opening lyrics acappella, then went into the tune, over exaggerating the down strokes to keep the bluesy rhythm.

A calm smile of recognition fell over her face and when he hit the chorus she chimed in at the perfect moments, in beautiful harmony.

He grinned, forcing himself not to stop singing to listen to her. This was the first time hearing her true voice. Sure he’d listened to her a handful of times; in the car, in the shower just goofing off, and at the karaoke bar. But this was different. She was raw, uninhibited, and so damn sexy.

Tori had this low, throaty, singing voice that was warm and seductive. Perfect for a song like this. Their voices molded together as the music filled his soul. In that moment, they were one person, one heart.

He placed the guitar on the blanket when he was done. “Damn, baby, that voice of yours…” He was lucky that he could finish. She took his breath away.

“Eh, I’m ok I suppose.” She waved her hand. “I guess that’s my dad in me. I got it from him.”

“He sang?” Scott was shocked. She never talked about her father. Ever. In the ten years he’d known her, all he learned of her father was that he was dead. “What was his name?”

Scott didn’t want to kill the mood, but getting her to bare her soul to him was a rare event. They could have sex any time.

“Christopher.” Tori reached over for the bottle of Jack and took a big swig. “So, where were we?” She gave him a sexy smile, and just like that, she closed herself off. She pushed the bottle toward him. “I think you need to catch up to me. I’m feeling a twinge of a buzz coming on here.”

Don’t press it. Baby steps.

He knew full well what it was like to try and pry those painful doors open. He could find out anything with his security clearance, if he wanted to, and God knows he’d been tempted. But his need for Tori to trust him had outweighed that temptation. He grabbed the bottle from her hand and took a swig, placed it down beside the blanket and reached over, cupping her cheek as he kissed her.


Avery Kingston writes sexy, emotional romance featuring wounded characters at a high heat level.

Avery is a wife to a man who’s demons play well with hers. Mom to a slew of crazy kids. Dog lover. Crazy cat lady. Artist. Free spirit. Lover of unusual beauty. Fitness junkie. Collector of boots and fonts. Angsty drama addict and avid wearer of yoga pants.

Avery is a military wife and a sucker for a good wounded hero story. She set out to write stories where the leading characters were smart, sexy, confident and strong. Avery began writing the type of romance novels she would want to read. Stories about real couples, wounded either physically or emotionally, with an open door into their steamy bedroom.

She loves her stalkers!

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Smoke and Mirrors Playlist

As I was putting the final touches on Smoke and Mirror’s ebook today I knew it was time to finalize my playlist for the novel. Because I’m a crazy, obsessive, freak (ahem) artistic person who utilizes all forms of multimedia to put together my stories.

Anyhow, I struggled more with this playlist than I did for Chasing Fire. For that book I really had one song almost for every chapter that fit the vibe of each scene. With Smoke and Mirrors it was much more of an emotion, a feel, an overall vibe of the book. I listened to a lot of modern blues and southern rock and a little country while writing the second book.

Don’t get me wrong, there were definitely certain songs that had their specific place (you can usually spot those because I even reference to them in the novel at times) and I tried my best to put them in the best order to be listened to while reading. Mostly though this was all about the vibe I felt. This sexy push and pull between my characters mixed with Scott’s southern rock roots.

Anyhow, I finally finished it tonight. You can link to it on YouTube or Spotify, and I’m also embedding it here. Enjoy!



My Sophomore Book – Smoke and Mirrors

I’ve been busy putting the final polish on Smoke and Mirrors, my sophomore book, the second in my Fire and Fury series.

This book. Oh, where do I even begin?

Of course THE week that I sent over to my editor for the final proofing would be the week that I decided to read not ONE but TWO amazing books that make me doubt everything about myself.

This book… oh this book… I’ll be honest. This book has about KILLED me.

Have I mentioned before that I re-wrote this book not once, oh, not twice, not even three but FOUR (yes four) times?

Draft one of Smoke and Mirrors was a mess. Originally I’d ended Chasing Fire on a cliffhanger and I felt that I was doing a huge disservice to my readers by not giving Scott and Tori their HFN. I didn’t want a gimmick. I wanted readers to read on because they love these two as much as I do. So before I published Chasing Fire I fixed the ending. Then I knew I had to fix the second book. I had this huge weird mystery plot in book two that just didn’t work for the first half, and the second half Scott and Tori went off to Texas to meet his family. It was like two different books jammed together and it was NOT working. I really loved the second half of the book, and that is where most of their growth was as a couple. I knew that THIS is really what I wanted Smoke and Mirrors to be about.

So I rewrote it. Then I rewrote again. Finally it began to take form. It turned out to be a much more laid-back type of book.

Chasing Fire was this fun, flirty (and yes angsty) will-they-won’t-they, I’m-gonna-yank-my-hair-out type book. For some it was a frustrating read. For others, they loved the angst. I started writing Chasing Fire as a fun hobby between my husband and I. We’d write these sexy scenes/snippets about these two friends with benefits back and forth while he was on military orders. I somehow managed to make it work as a romance. I took three years to mold Chasing Fire into a novel that actually made some sort of sense. It took time to give these characters motivation for WHY they circled each other for so many years without committing. I was certain it was doomed to fail. It wasn’t the typical romance novel. I broke all the rules writing this thing and followed no formula. BUT it was Scott and Tori’s story and they eventually told me WHY they did the things they did, and for them, it made sense.

Guess what? It did hella better than I ever expected it would. Readers GOT my characters. They understood that it was really a novel about two people loving each other in the wrong place at the wrong time with life constantly getting in the way. They saw how human Scott and Tori were and loved them in spite of their glaring faults and terrible decisions.

Smoke and Mirrors was much more the romance novel I wanted to write. A novel about two broken people learning to love in a committed, monogamous, relationship. I really wanted to crack Scott and Tori open and see what happens when you put these two damaged people together for real.

It’s VASTLY different from Chasing Fire. So that of course leaves me with much lingering self-doubt. Now that they don’t have the will-they-won’t-they to keep the pages turning… are my characters enough to keep readers engaged?

Of course I hear all the rules screaming in my ear as to why my series is doomed to fail. Things like:

“You can’t have a sex scene in the first chapter… you have to build to it.”

Sorry, this is kinda my signature thing with these two. I did it in the first, and second and I plan to do it again in the third. Because admit it. Scott and Tori have some seriously HOT boinkage.

“Readers will not stay engaged and follow a series about the same couple.” 

Um, ever heard of Twilight? Fifty Shades? Outlander? I mean, I could go on and on about all the RULES. Ya know what? Screw the rules. (That’s me channeling my inner Tori). I’m going to write the story in me that is screaming to be told.

Personally once I fall for a couple I could read about them doing laundry together and be completely satisfied. Not everyone is hard wired this way. But, like I’ve said before I set out to write the type of romance novels I would want to read. I guess this is because I wanted to mirror what I have with my husband in Scott and Tori. TV shows like “This Is Us” inspire me to write about real couples going through the drama of life together, and somehow still staying strong. If you ask me, a couples story doesn’t end at the HEA or HFN. Things happen. Life goes on. Trials come. The romance keeps blossoming. People grow deeper in love. I wanted to show what it was like when people try and work through their issues to grow stronger and become better people.

Scott has to really battle his nature to lead men and control. Control is what keeps others around him safe.

His ability to be in control kept him and others around him safe. It was his creed that he’d lived his life by and prided himself on. Leave a situation to the device of others and they’d fail the mission, or wind up dead. Just like the day of his explosion. He’d known that the CO’s plan was shit. He was right. If he’d been in control he wouldn’t be walking on a peg and Jones wouldn’t be six feet under.

As a soldier this is his thing. He barks orders and men just are expected to fall in line.

“I have a permit.” Scott shrugged.

“A permit?” Tori’s brow went up.

“An I-can-do-whatever-I-want permit,” Scott said with arrogance.

Isn’t that the damn truth?

Harris did what he wanted and nobody was ever allowed to bat an eye. They all were just expected to fall in line. Except Tori it seemed. Harris’ girl seemed to march to the beat of her own drum.

Of course fate would pair him up with the ONE WOMAN who refuses to submit. This is the essence of their conflict in book two. His father wisely points this out to him:

Scott took a pull from the beer. “I never want her to feel trapped. Ever. I love how free spirited and wild she is, but I hate it at the same time.” Scott scratched his brow. “I’ve been in some dicey situations. Bullets have flown by my head. I’ve been blown up. I’ve seen my brothers die in front of me, but nothing terrifies me more than the thought of something happening to my girl.”

“I suspect she fears being out of control and loss as much as you do.”

“Oh I’m certain she does.” His eyes widened.

“Funny thing, isn’t it? How we somehow manage to end up with the one that forces us to look in the mirror—reflecting all our faults and fears.” Wayne let that hang in the air for a moment. “Makes us have to work on our shit. We have to become better men.”

This is what Smoke and Mirrors is. It’s all about growth. Growth as a couple. Growth as individuals. Scott needs to learn there is a fine line between control and keeping her safe. Tori needs to learn to trust him, grieve her losses and figure out the woman she now is without sight.

Tori has lived her life closed off. She keeps people at a distance to protect her heart from further loss. She hides behind the walls of her sexuality because honestly, deep down, she’s not near as confident as what she portrays to the world. Pairing her up into a monogamous relationship brings all these fears to the surface, and it forces her to deal with her junk that she’s stuffed down. She never really had a chance to deal with her grief in book one. I think women are going to relate to Tori much more in the second book. We get to see a much softer side of Tori in Smoke and Mirrors:

“I’m so fucking angry. The one thing that I was good at was stripped away from me.” She sobbed into Keith’s chest. “I just want my art back. Even if I can’t see it, I need to feel it in my soul, and I’m so exhausted from having to think so much, I can’t even do that.”

“Honey, I’m so sorry I called it a fun challenge. I didn’t—”

She shook her head and pulled back. “You only said that because I’ve said that a hundred times in the past several months trying to remain positive. It’s my damn suit of armor. I’ve fooled everyone. It’s all smoke and mirrors; an illusion. Reality is, I’m still really pissed.”

My worry about how Smoke and Mirrors will be received has left me up at night in a sweat of panic. I guess because Chasing Fire did so much better for a debut than I could have ever hoped for. I want to deliver a satisfying read to my loyal fans for the next book. I still give my readers the smoking hot love scenes. We still have the dashes of humor that I love so much. Tori is still as reckless as ever and it drives Scott insane. The thing is, it’s just not near as gut wrenching as the first. I felt my readers, myself and my characters needed a break from all the major drama and angst. I wanted some time to enjoy Scott and Tori as a couple before all hell breaks loose (and trust me, it does in book three). But don’t worry. It all works out in the end. That I promise.

So yeah, Smoke and Mirrors is a transition book. It’s a lot of growth and really digging into my characters issues. I’m hoping my loyal fans that fell in love with Scott and Tori in the first book will enjoy their journey in this second book. I know I’ve enjoyed writing it (even if it took me four times to get it right).

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