Today is release day for THE MISSING: The Curious Cases of Will Winchester and the Black Cross, a young adult historical paranormal by Jerico Lenk. See below for information on the book, buy links, and details on his giveaway.
THE MISSING (The Curious Cases of Will Winchester and the Black Cross) by Jerico Lenk
About the Book – Read for Free with Kindle Unlimited Title: THE MISSING: The Curious Cases of Will Winchester and the Black Cross Author: Jerico Lenk Publisher: Month9Books Release Date: September 19, 2017
Genre: Young Adult Historical/Paranormal/LGBTQ
Links: Goodreads | Amazon | Amazon UK | Amazon CA | Amazon AU
Synopsis It is 1890, and London has secrets. For sixteen-year-old Will Winchester, born Willow Winchester and raised as a young man, the safety of his own secrets rests one atop the other. Hiding his gender queerness is important. But so is hiding the ghostly voices of the Missing, which Will hears when no one else can … until the Spiritualist Black Cross Order of Occult Occurrences wants him in their service to keep peace between London’s living and dead.
The freedom to be himself may come with a price. Working alongside a patchwork team of misfits and unlikely allies, Will finds he isn’t the only one keeping secrets. Someone does not want him to uncover the truth about the ghosts who aren’t just missing from the world of the living, but missing from history itself. Can he find the Missing before he ends up becoming one of them?
Author Jerico Lenk
About the Author Undergraduate studying Creative Writing, Classics, Russian and Western European History. Unabashed weeb probably burning incense and drinking too much coffee at this very moment. Out for queer representation and great sex hair. Beyond ready for the upcoming Vampire Chronicles TV series.
Lenk writes Young Adult/New Adult, spec fiction, poetry, and screenplays. He is currently unagented.
His poems have appeared at/in USF Tampa’s Thread Literary Inquiry, biannual 6×6 creative writing showcase, and placed second in National Poetry Month 2015; Tethered By Letters’ F(r)iction Spring 2016 poetry contest finalist; winner of the 2017 Bettye Newman Poetry award..
Today is release day for BLACK, the eighth book in the young adult fantasy/paranormal romance series, All The King’s Men, by Donya Lynne. See below for information on the book, buy links for the entire series, an exclusive excerpt, and details on her giveaway.
Synopsis Micah Black thought he was the last of his bloodline. He was wrong. Dead wrong.
Micah just found out he has a brother. Ronan, the cat burglar who broke into his apartment and stole the ankh he’d been entrusted to protect, has turned out to be none other than his own flesh and blood. But that’s not the only revelation he uncovers about his family. After centuries of thinking his father was killed during the war, he learns that his father is alive. Still suffering the loss of Micah’s mother, his beloved mate, but alive.
The discoveries continue to pile up as more tightly held secrets and shocking surprises come to light, upending Micah’s world, sending him into a whirlwind of emotions and memories of war, love, and death. But it’s what King Bain reveals that throws Micah for the biggest loop. One that will chart a new path for Micah’s future and change the course of the coming war between the vampires and the drecks forever.
In the much-anticipated eighth book of the emotionally-wrenching, heart-stopping All the King’s Men Series, you see Micah as you’ve never seen him before. You will meet new characters pivotal to the survival—and hearts—of the characters you’ve come to love. Aliases will be revealed, alliances will be formed, and new enemies exposed as paranormal forces converge in a battle to decide who will ultimately rule humanity.
Recommended for fans of J.R. Ward, Lara Adrian, Kresley Cole..
Excerpt Approximately 950 years ago
A steel-tipped arrow whizzed past Micah’s head as he and Malek battled their way through the rush of drecks pouring through the village from all directions. Metal on metal rang out as the village’s males took up their swords and engaged the enemy. It was their duty to defend the females and humans against this unprovoked, peacetime raid.
Who was Micah kidding? They weren’t in peacetime, anymore. This attack was enough proof that the drecks had risen up against them once more like some kind of fungus rot on their cultivated fields. No matter how many diseased plants you pulled, the shit just kept coming back.
Would the godforsaken war ever end? It had raged off and on for centuries before Micah’s birth, and, at this rate, would continue for centuries to come, even under the guise of peace.
Micah whistled to get Malek’s attention. When his friend and fellow warrior turned, Micah pointed to the top of a nearby ridge.
“High ground!” He had to shout over the roar of infernos consuming nearly half the cottages in the village, casting blazing heat that scorched his skin and singed his long, braided hair, coating him with soot and ash.
Malek nodded, pulled the strength from only God knew where, and hoofed it up the steep incline behind Micah.
Micah’s lungs pumped hard as his legs churned, propelling him higher as the burn and fatigue in his muscles grew so great that his thighs almost locked up in protest. But somehow, he pushed through the pain. The safety of his family depended on him. Katarina had fled to the forest at the first sign of attack, and thank God for that, but he refused to leave even one dreck standing who could pursue her and the other vampires and humans who had escaped.
But he didn’t know where his parents were. Surely, his father was engaged with the enemy, but he had yet to sense that his mother had found safety. On the contrary, what he felt vibrating in his soul was impending doom.
Another arrow flew past him, this one close enough to catch the side of his arm, nicking his flesh. Blood already spilled from multiple wounds all over his body, so this one merely added to the collection. None of his injuries were life threatening, but eventually, the loss of blood would weaken him. There was no time to spare.
He and Malek reached the top of the ridge and Micah turned, pulling an arrow from his fully stocked quiver as he brought his bow up in front of him. Malek did the same.
From here, the damage to their village robbed him of breath. It was a total loss. More than half the structures were consumed by flames or already falling into piles of smoldering rubble.
Beyond the steel tip of his arrow, Micah saw a dreck toss a torch on one of the remaining cottages. Calming his breath, he lined up the blue-tinted creature in his sights, held for a moment, and then released the arrow.
It impaled the dreck square between the eyes.
Malek took out another.
One by one, he and Malek sniped the enemy from their advantageous location, killing the drecks gradually but steadily as they worked their way along the ridge that surrounded the village, moving toward his parents’ cottage on the far end.
Behind him, he could feel the first sign of sunrise spreading light across the horizon. They needed to hurry so the vampires had enough time to seek shelter in the forest beyond the fields or in any of the remaining dwellings not taken by fire.
As Micah’s quiver neared empty, he caught sight of his uncle Rory, engaged with three drecks. Rory was a deadly male, fighting like a banshee unleashed by the devil himself. His skin and clothing were red with spilled blood, streaked with fresh, blue blood of the drecks, which quickly faded to red. No doubt Rory had killed half the invaders himself.
“I’m empty,” Malek said beside him.
Micah handed him one of his last two arrows. “Me, too.”
The good news was that the number of the fallen enemy was greater than that of the villagers. Drecks were no match for vampires, and their dead and dying bodies littered the cobbled paths and open spaces of their village, their blue blood running in rivers into the grass, where it pooled and gradually turned from blue to purple to red.
Just as he nocked his last arrow, Micah turned in the direction of his parents’ cottage. With the faint light of the pending sunrise granting him greater breadth of vision, he found his childhood home. His father was nowhere to be seen, but his mother stood in front of the open door, a sword in her hand, facing off against a pair of drecks.
Micah’s heart raced as a premonition of dread shocked his mind’s eye.
His mother was not a fighter. Not at the level needed for this kind of combat. Not against a trained enemy, and especially not against two of them.
As one attacked, she lifted the sword, blocking the dreck’s blade. But she wasn’t fast enough to counter the second dreck as he lunged forward, holding a pair of short swords, and sliced into her abdomen.
“NOOOOOO!” Ignoring the fatigue in his muscles, Micah took off at a sprint, traveling the top of the ridge like a streak of lightning.
“Micah!” Malek called as he gave chase.
His mother staggered backward, toward the open doorway as if she were trying to block the way inside, blindly swinging the sword at her attackers, unwilling to surrender even as her knees wobbled.
Like a true warrior, she refused to give an inch, despite her rapidly weakening state. Mustering what must have been the last of her strength, she surged with determination, parrying her foe and driving her sword into his belly.
The next seconds flashed by in an instant, even though Micah saw the events unfold as if through a thick, slow-moving fog. The dreck she impaled fell, his body spasming in the throes of death. The second dreck moved in, blades flashing. His mother was left unprotected, alone, and without a weapon. Micah stopped and raised his bow, determined to save her.
Just as he released his arrow, the glint of cold steel dripping with vampire blood rose over her. Would the arrow find home before the dreck’s blade did? The firelight reflected off the sword’s edge as it fell in a swift descent.
Micah held his breath, his heart and soul flying alongside the arrow blazing a trail in the distance between them.
The sword sliced into his mother a split second sooner than his arrow lodged into the center of the dreck’s back.
“NO!” Micah burst into a run, barreling down the steep decline of the ridge, falling, tumbling, then regaining his footing as he reached the base.
With Malek hot on his heels, he vaulted the simple wooden fence and charged into the small square of land surrounding his parents’ cottage, leaped onto the dreck, who was still alive, and drove his dagger into the beast’s heart, releasing a savage war cry.
And he kept stabbing, long after the dreck was dead, turning the foul creature into nothing but tenderized meat.
“Micah, stop!” Malek remained a safe distance from his swinging dagger, but Micah could feel his desperation.
He couldn’t stop. He had to keep stabbing. Had to keep destroying that which had taken what he loved. His anger—his fury—required vengeance.
Malek pushed dangerously close, dodging Micah’s dagger as it plunged through the air and into the dreck’s chest, and grabbed him by the collar as he raised the blade again. “Micah! Your mother! She needs you!”
They were the only words that could have gotten through to him.
The bloody dagger in his hand halted in midair then dropped to his side as he swung his rage-hazed gaze around to where his mother lay in the flattened grass.
“Is she alive?” He abandoned the gore he’d created and lurched toward her.
“Barely.” Malek’s dismal tone said all Micah needed to know about his mother’s fate, and he froze, meeting his best friend’s eyes with a sense of foreboding. “She doesn’t have much longer, Micah.” Malek bobbed his head in her direction. “She asked for you.”
The breath caught in Micah’s raw throat, scorched by hot smoke and strained from shouting. Then he sprung to life and scurried to his mother’s side, falling to his knees. He took her hand. It already felt too cold. Too small. Too . . . lifeless.
“Mother . . .?”
Her eyes blinked open as if just that simple act took too much effort. “Mi . . . cah.”
Tears blurred his vision, but he forced down the sob that threatened to break through his throat. “I’m here. You’re going to be okay.” He squeezed her hand and brushed the bloody hair off her face.
She weakly shook her head as the corners of her lips turned up knowingly. She knew she was dying. This was her end, and nothing could stop it. Then she shifted her gaze to the open door of the cottage. “Your father . . . needs you . . .” Her breath rattled in her lungs like shackles being tugged by the Grim Reaper. “In . . . side.” She tried to lift her arm but couldn’t, instead pointing in the general direction of the doorway.
Micah glanced toward the cottage.
And that’s when he saw it.
His father’s booted foot lay on the floor, in the shadows, unmoving, just beyond the door.
“Go . . . to . . . him . . .” His mother’s voice was quickly fading, no louder than a whisper now. “Needs to . . . give . . . you . . .” Her hold on his hand weakened. Her body relaxed. Everything in her went slack.
“Mother . . .?” Micah turned back toward her, only to find the light that had been in her eyes moments ago was now gone. She was gone. Her soul claimed and taken to the other side. “Mom?” He shook her. But it was useless. She was dead.
Tears trailed down his cheeks as he bowed his head. “I will kill every last one of them, Mother,” he vowed on a whisper. “I promise not a single dreck will remain when I am finished avenging you.” He bent forward, placed his palm over her silent, unbeating heart, and kissed her dirty, abraded forehead. “I promise.”
There was no time for more. The remaining drecks were quickly closing in, and he had to save his father.
Pulling the strength from deep within, he leaped to his feet and rushed into the cottage. His father lay on his stomach in a pool of blood, his hand outstretched toward the large wooden chest against the wall. Its lid was open, the contents scattered as if his father had been searching through them before he fell.
There was so much blood. Too much.
“Father?” Micah crouched and rolled over the heroic male he had always admired and looked up to. No less than a dozen wounds seeped his life-giving blood.
“Son . . .” His father’s voice rasped from him as if from a ghost.
“Father . . . I’m getting you out of here.” He began to lift him, but his father protested.
“No . . . no time . . . I’m not . . . going to make it.” His skin was already so pale it was a wonder he had any blood left to sustain him. “Save yourself. Save your mother.”
Micah didn’t have the heart to tell him she was already gone. Hot tears stung his eyes once more. “I will.”
“Take . . . the chest”—his father let out an ugly cough that speckled his lips with blood—“with you.” He turned his head toward the large wooden structure only a few feet away.
There was no way he could take that with him.
“It’s too heavy.”
His father shook his head. “No. Inside. The chest . . . smaller one. The box . . .” He coughed again, and it sounded like his lungs were filling with what little blood he had left. “Take it. Protect it. The ankh . . . inside . . . keep it safe.”
Micah looked inside the large chest, and, there, to the side, was a smaller one. No wider than the length of his hand and as deep as three of the leather-bound books Kat enjoyed reading. It was ornately carved and secured by a disproportionately heavy lock. He lifted the chest and secured it under his arm as he returned to his father.
“I have it.”
“Take it . . . go . . .” His father held out a key fastened to a knotted length of leather. “Hurry . . .” His father’s midnight blue eyes glanced through the open door toward the east. “The sun . . . almost . . . here . . .” He winced and groaned then fell silent as his body went lax.
“Father?” Micah knelt closer. “Father?”
“Micah!” Malek’s frantic voice shot through the doorway. “Hurry!”
There was no time. The drecks were coming, and the sun was close behind. He had to leave.
He plucked the key from his father’s loose grip and tucked it into the pocket of his cloak, stashed the small chest in his father’s pack, which he slung over his shoulder, and then crossed his forearm over his chest as he faced his father’s lifeless form. “I will avenge you, Father.” He glanced out the door at his mother. “I will avenge you both.”
With one last sorrowful glance toward his father, he breathed in the last inhale of air he would ever take inside the home he grew up in. Never again would he set eyes on the male who had taught him how to hunt, how to track prey, how to kill, how to be a good mate, and how to lead an army. A male more powerful than a tidal wave, stronger than a gale-force wind, and more respected even than the king. A male who had been, was, and would always be his hero.
His father was dead.
Or so he thought.
Author Donya Lynne
About the Author Donya Lynne is the bestselling author of the award winning All the King’s Men and Strong Karma Series and a member of Romance Writers of America. Making her home in a wooded suburb north of Indianapolis with her husband, Donya has lived in Indiana most of her life and knew at a young age she was destined to be a writer. She started writing poetry in grade school and won her first short story contest in fourth grade. In junior high, she began writing romantic stories for her friends, and by her sophomore year, she’d been dubbed Most Likely to Become a Romance Novelist. In 2012, she fulfilled her dream by publishing her first two novels and a novella. Her work has earned her two IPPYs, five eLit Awards, a USA Today Recommended Read, and numerous accolades, including two Smashwords bestsellers. When she’s not writing, she can be found cheering on the Indianapolis Colts or doing her cats’ bidding.
Today is release day for SUBMERGE, the second book in the young adult fantasy romance series, Mer Chronicles, by Tobie Easton. See below for information on the book, buy links for the series, and details on her giveaway.
Synopsis Now that Lia and Clay’s love has broken the Little Mermaid’s curse, everything has changed. Will Lia’s family remain on land, leading the only life she and her sisters have ever known, or will they move below the waves, to the sparkling new capital city? Lia is adamant about staying on land with Clay for her senior year. But at Melusine and her father’s trial, new revelations threaten what Lia holds most dear.
The verdict will shake Lia’s whole world, calling into question her future with Clay, her feelings for Caspian, and the fate of all Merkind. As she wonders who to trust, Lia sets out on a treacherous path that will lead her away from her sheltered Malibu home to a remote and mysterious school for Mermaids—Mermaids who may hold the secret to ancient magic Lia can use to either get back all she’s lost or to embark on a thrilling and dangerous journey. .
Author Tobie Easton
About the Author Tobie Easton was born and raised in Los Angeles, California, where she’s grown from a little girl who dreamed about magic to a twenty-something who writes about it. A summa cum laude graduate of the University of Southern California, Tobie hosts book clubs for tweens and teens. She and her very kissable husband enjoy traveling the globe and fostering packs of rescue puppies. Learn more about Tobie and her upcoming books on www.TobieEaston.com.
Today is release day for SUPERHERO SYNDROME, the first book in the new adult scifi/urban fantasy/superhero series, Solstice Survivors, by Caryn Larrinaga. See below for information on the book, buy links, an exclusive excerpt, and details on her giveaway.
SUPERHERO SYNDROME (Solstice Survivors #1) by Caryn Larrinaga
About the Book – Read for Free with Kindle Unlimited! Title: SUPERHERO SYNDROME Series: Solstice Survivors #1 Author: Caryn Larrinaga Publisher: Twisted Tree Press Genre: New Adult Science Fiction/Urban Fantasy/Superhero Release Date: September 12, 2017 Links: Goodreads | Amazon | Amazon UK | Amazon CA | Amazon AU
Synopsis Tess McBray was dying. The Solstice Syndrome had no cure, and she resigned herself to an early grave. But just when she gave up on survival, all her symptoms mysteriously disappeared.
All but one symptom, anyway. Something is wrong with Tess’s hands. They absorb any material they touch, and her skin turns to wood, or steel, or concrete. It doesn’t take this comic-book obsessed 21-year-old long to figure out what’s going on: somehow, she’s developed super powers. And she’s not the only one; across the country, people are coming forward and sharing their gifts with the world. In her own city, where the police are battling a human trafficking operation, a masked vigilante called The Fox is saving lives and stopping criminals.
Tess doesn’t know where she fits into this new, super-powered world. But when people around her start disappearing, she can’t just sit on the sidelines. Teaming up with The Fox might be the only way to rid her city of evil and save the people she loves most.
Excerpt I felt someone’s eyes on me but ignored them. I knew what I looked like. I knew how my hazel eyes had started to look too big for their sockets and how my swollen joints looked wildly out of proportion with my thin limbs. I snuggled into the blankets and pulled out my sketch pad, drawing the people around me to keep my fingers warm. In front of me, a short woman with poofy red curls was digging around in a picnic basket, handing sandwiches to the two small children who sat beside her. To my right, a middle-aged guy with glasses was cringing as he tried to pop the cork on a champagne bottle. I flinched when he finally succeeded. The cork shot off into the trees, and the people around him laughed nervously, probably as happy as I was that they hadn’t lost an eye.
A lump formed in my throat, and I gripped my pencil tighter as I sketched. Everyone here had a future. They had something to look forward to tomorrow… and the day after that. Once the meteor shower was over, they’d go home to warm kitchens and cups of hot cocoa and talk about how perfect and beautiful the night had been.
And I… well, I’d be here until someone found me, I supposed.
The sky above us was rapidly darkening. Millions of stars shone, and everyone in the clearing stared upward, waiting for the show to begin.
The universe did not disappoint.
Sometime around midnight, a streak of light appeared above me. I gasped as it bolted partway across my field of vision before vanishing. A few minutes later, another appeared. Then another. It was unlike any meteor shower I’d ever seen, and from the gasps and oohs around me, I could tell I wasn’t alone in my awe.
I tasted salt. When did I start crying?
The cold seeped through my jacket and Davies’ blanket, stinging my skin, but it didn’t bother me. My tears could freeze right on my face for all I cared. I could melt into the ground beneath me and not even feel it. There was no looking away; I was riveted by the magic above me.
Three lights appeared in the sky at once. They were much brighter than the streaks that had preceded them, and they tore through the stars like soldiers rushing into battle. My eyes went wide. I knew it had to be an optical illusion, but they appeared to be coming right at me.
As the meteors sped toward the clearing, a rushing sound filled my ears, growing louder with each breath. A wave of nausea hit me, and I realized I was about to pass out. It’d been happening a lot lately. The edges of my vision fuzzed into blackness, but the cluster of meteors shone in the center, still appearing to speed directly at me.
This is it, I thought.
This was no ordinary fainting spell. It was different; I could feel it. The skin from the top of my head down to the soles of my feet began to tingle and burn, and my heart pounded in my ears.
These were my last moments.
A face, so much like my own, swam in front of my eyes. My sister smiled at me, but her eyes were filled with sadness.
“Goodbye, Bethany,” I whispered.
And the world went dark.
Author Caryn Larrinaga
About the Author Caryn Larrinaga is a Basque-American mystery, horror, and urban fantasy writer living in Utah with her husband and cats. Her debut novel Donn’s Hill (March 2017, Immortal Works Press) garnered rave reviews from fans of the cozy mystery and paranormal genres, and her new urban fantasy Superhero Syndrome (September 2017, Twisted Tree Press) will be out this fall. Watching scary movies through split fingers terrified Caryn as a child, and those nightmares inspire her to write now. She lives in a 90-year-old house with a colorful history, and the creaking walls and narrow hallways send her running (never walking) up the stairs from her basement. Exploring her fears through writing makes Caryn feel a little less foolish for wanting a buddy to accompany her into the tool shed.
When her fingers aren’t glued to her laptop keyboard, Caryn also enjoys binge-watching Netflix with her husband, reading, playing video games, and filling up her phone’s flash memory with pictures of her cats. She loves music and plays the bass guitar. Caryn is an active member of the League of Utah Writers and the Utah Chapter of the Horror Writers Association.
Ink Monster LLC and author, Lola Dodge, are unveiling the cover to DEADLY SWEET, the first book in the young adult fantasy/paranormal romance series, The Spellwork Syndicate, releasing January 16, 2018. See below for the cover, information on the book, and pre-order links.
DEADLY SWEET (Spellwork Syndicate #1) by Lola Dodge
Synopsis For fans of Hex Hall, The Magicians, Practical Magic, and Food Wars!
Anise Wise loves three things: baking, potion making, and reading her spellbooks in blissful silence. She might not be the most powerful witch, but enchantment is a rare skill, and her ability to bake with magic is even rarer. Too bad one wants witchcraft on their campus. Anise’s dream of attending pastry school crumbles with rejection letter after rejection letter.
Desperate to escape her dead-end future, Anise contacts the long-lost relative she’s not supposed to know about. Great Aunt Agatha owns the only magic bakery in the US, and she suddenly needs a new apprentice. Anise is so excited she books it to New Mexico without thinking to ask what happened to the last girl.
The Spellwork Syndicate rules the local witches in Taos, but as “accidents” turn into full-out attacks on Anise’s life, their promises to keep her safe are less and less reassuring. Her cranky bodyguard is doing his best, but it’s hard to fight back when she has no idea who’s the enemy. Or why she became their target.
If Anise can’t find and stop whoever wants her dead, she’ll be more toasted than a crème brûlée.
Who knew baking cakes could be so life or death?.
Author Lola Dodge
About the Author Lola Dodge is a compulsive traveler, baker, and procrastinator. She earned her BA in English from Stonehill College and MFA in Writing Popular Fiction from Seton Hill University—and hasn’t stopped moving since. When she’s not on the road, Lola spends her time indoors where the sunlight can’t melt her, writing or bingeing on anime and cherry soda. She can be summoned in a ritual involving curry, Hello Kitty idols, and a solid chocolate pentagram.
Synopsis Darkness can only be controlled by those with the darkest of hearts.
Ellison lost her mother at an early age. Now, sixteen, her father has found love again. He’s happy and doesn’t quite notice that Ellison does not get along with his new wife or her vicious daughters.
When Ellison discovers a necromantic tome while traveling the secret passages of her father’s mansion, she wonders if it could be the key to her eventual freedom.
Until then, she must master her dark new power, even as her stepmother makes her a servant in her own home. And when her younger brother falls incurably ill, Ellison will do anything to ease his pain, including falling prey to her stepmother’s and stepsisters’ every whim and fancy.
Stumbling into a chance meeting with Prince William during a secret visit to her mother’s grave feels like a trick of fate when her stepmother refuses to allow Ellison to attend a palace festival where she might see him once more.
But what if Ellison could see the kind and handsome prince again? What if she could attend the festival? What if she could have everything she’s ever wanted and deserved by conjuring spirits to take revenge on her cruel stepmother? And what if she actually liked watching her stepmother suffer?
As Ellison’s power grows, she loses control over the evil spirits meant to do her bidding. And as they begin to exert their own power over Ellison, it becomes harder to tell whether it is she or her stepmother who is the true monster.
CINDERELLA NECROMANCER is CINDER meets ANNA DRESSED IN BLOOD and was inspired by a real medieval grimoire of necromancy from 15th-century Germany
Author F.M. Boughan
About the Author F.M. Boughan is a bibliophile, a writer, and an unabashed parrot enthusiast. She can often be found writing in local coffee shops, namely because it’s hard to concentrate with a cat lying on the keyboard and a small, colorful parrot screaming into her ear. Her work is somewhat dark, somewhat violent, somewhat hopeful, and always contains a hint of magic.
Welcome to the book blitz for THE DARK MERMAID, the first book in the young adult paranormal/fantasy series, Cursed Waters, by Christina L. Barr. See below for information on the book, buy links, an exclusive excerpt, and details on her giveaway.
THE DARK MERMAID (Cursed Water) by Christina L. Barr
Synopsis “True love is not a myth. It’s mystic. It’s a force in the universe that draws two people together, resulting in incredible power, for either good or complete chaos.”
On the day Luna proves that she is powerful enough to be her father’s heir, she is banished for saving the life of an enchanting human boy. Her father, the king, gives her two options: kill Ian and regain her honor by the time she comes of age, or be destroyed.
Luna finds shelter in forbidden waters and comes under the protection of her father’s greatest enemy, the Sea Witch. As her ward, Luna becomes a fearsome warrior, but struggles with the fear of turning her powerful magic dark.
With only days remaining before her seventeenth birthday, Luna finds Ian sailing the seas in search of answers. Luna is determined to escape her father’s wrath, and the Sea Witch’s plot of revenge, but dark forces won’t allow her to live a human life without making an impossible sacrifice.
I was born with a serious defect. On the surface world, they call it “kindness”. My father first noticed it when I was a child. When we turn thirteen, we swim out of our territory with nothing but a small blade. I watched my king’s eyes dig into mine as violently as the knife that bleed my arm numb. He always told me that he had a lot of faith in me. It’s funny how faith only felt like heavy expectations on my tiny shoulders. And when I could feel the vibrations in the water from an oncoming threat, he made sure to leave me in the darkness, surrounded in a cloud of my blood.
I heard tales from my sisters of their glorious fights against the monsters of the deep. They only had to face one and return home with the corpse. They spoke of their fear boiling and bursting out of their hearts like a geyser rushing out uncontrollably, but they had a thirst for battle that was born as soon they saw their vicious opponents in the water. The victory shifted their terror into a satisfying thrill, but I was not as fierce as my sisters, and I was surrounded by three fish, three times my size.
I swam up fast and avoided two of them, but the third nearly took my bloodied arm off with its sharp and jagged teeth. I did manage to stab its eye as it swam past me, which was the only easy meat to get to. The rest of its body was covered in scales as hard as stone.
Taking on all three was impossible, and my little body was pumped full of fear. The adrenaline helped me swim faster, but they were made to chase and kill. They couldn’t hide their nature, and I couldn’t run from mine.
When I had about a thousand feet on them, I turned around and braced myself. I had little hope in my blade, but I gripped it firmly and told myself that I could defeat those monsters, if I truly believed in myself. My father would not accept me if I needed to be rescued. The rumors were that he’d rather have me dead than be a disgrace. I could not fail!
I closed my eyes and swung my blade forward. I put all my strength into that swipe, and I felt my energy leave my body and expand forward like a giant fin. I opened my eyes just in time to see their bodies disintegrate into ash, and glitter from the fading light that I somehow produced.
I was too stunned to move for a great while. I never had such an incredible power on my own, so I looked to the blue and red crystals embedded into the golden blade. It was an ancient weapon forged by my ancestors, but I had no idea that it could do so much damage. My sisters had never mentioned it, and I’m certain they would have boasted about their exploits.
Even though I had rightly fought for my survival and won, I was rattled. I was certain that I could do it again—in extreme circumstances—but I wasn’t changed like my sisters. They were
reborn as warriors, and I still felt like a child. Worst of all, I didn’t have any remains. I would have to find another creature to kill, but I needed to tend to my wounds.
I returned home, struggling not to break down from fear of what my father would do to me. When I entered the walls of our crystal palace, my people were my enemy. They once revered me as a princess, and now they sneered their noses from my repulsive presence. I could feel their eyes whispering tales of my cowardice, and they were not as subtle as they believed. And when I entered my father’s throne room, so I could properly explain, I was met with his trident pinning my arm against the wall.
I couldn’t afford to lose any more blood, and he had severely cut me again. I tried pulling the trident away, but I couldn’t even get it to budge. I took my eyes off my bloodied arm, and by the time I looked up, his coal eyes were peering into mine. “Father—”
“Silence!” His hand clasped tightly around my neck. “Do you think I’ll grant mercy to a failure? You are my blood, and you’ve disgraced me!” It was insane to me at the time, but beyond the intensity of his rage, I remember sensing that my failure wounded him.
I whimpered as he freed me from the trident’s grasp. I was overwhelmed with an unbearable guilt that his disappointment burdened me with. The only reason why it didn’t crush me, was because I saw my demise reflecting in the golden trident he raised to strike me down with. “Do you have any last words?”
“I did kill!”
“Then where is the body?” He glared with a hatred I thought he only reserved for his enemies. I didn’t understand how his disappointment in me could transfer into such violence. When I was smaller, he would often tell me that I was his favorite. What good did his favor do?
I held up the blade that he had given me, and out of my desperation, I was able to make it glow a radiant blue with speckles of golden dust. “I used this blade to kill them, Father. Their bodies were completely blown apart. I swear!”
His eyes moved to the blade. Then, he looked at me in awe. “You do hold the power.” He smiled and cradled my face. “You are my true successor.”
My sisters were gathered around. They were mildly jealous before, but I had a feeling they would rip the flesh from my bones, if it weren’t for my father’s praises and the fear of what he would do if they attacked.
My father was never affectionate toward me, but he’d always gaze upon me with a curious eye. When I trained with my sisters, I thought he was testing me and assessing my potential as a warrior. It was no secret that he wanted a son, but Fate gave him six daughters instead. He made us twice as fierce to make up the difference. I couldn’t have known that he was expecting me to have such great power. “I want to see what you can do.”
“Sire.” One of his warriors came into the throne room and bowed. “There are humans sailing in our waters. What are your orders?”
He looked down at me and smirked. “My daughters and I will handle this ourselves.”
My sisters all cheered. They apparently had enchanting voices, but I had never heard them, nor had I ever opened my mouth up to speak. I suspected that I shared a similar gift, but I didn’t want to use my voice to lead unsuspecting sailors to their deaths.
“Keep the blade,” my father instructed. “I want to see you in action.”
I looked at the dagger in my hands. I heard such terrible things about the humans. Everything they touched, they laid waste to. Father said we had to kill humans to keep their dark nature from destroying us, but I didn’t see how we could be any better than them. I didn’t know if my life served any purpose beyond hunting and defending my home.
“Come, my children.”
He must have been in a good mood, because he let my eldest sister bind my wounds before we followed him into battle. Each stroke of my tail made my heart pound faster. I had never been to the surface before. My sisters told me that humans didn’t have tails. They had legs to stand upon, and they loved to watch them run for their lives as they tried to save their ships from sinking. It was one of their favorite games.
The water illuminated the higher we rose. I saw something large and round far up into the sky, but it glowed and brightened up the world. And when I breached the surface, the light gently rested on my skin as I whipped my hair back.
There were hundreds—thousands—of lights far up into the sky, and the biggest one was radiating a foggy white. I took in air, and it filled my lungs with an odd sensation. I wanted to finally hear my own voice, but for some reason, I was afraid to speak.
“Scout the area,” my father encouraged. My sisters waded just a few feet below the surface and waited for my report.
I gulped and slowly swam to a boat not too far away. I had seen ships before, but they were sunken treasures abandoned by the humans and eroded over time. I don’t know why the mystery of the humans intrigued me so much. I heard they were an evil menace that threated our way of life. I had also heard they were cowardly weaklings that we could easily destroy. I didn’t know how to imagine weaklings with such power. Some of the stories must have been false or highly exaggerated.
But when I finally snuck close enough to see the faces of the terrible creatures, I saw they were just like us.
There was a boy running along the deck with some sort of white animal. His smile was infectious. He was making noises with his mouth that I didn’t quite understand. Spoken words were very different than thought. There were also other sounds coming from some sort of box that an older human male controlled. He sat beside a beautiful woman with golden hair.
The sounds coming from the box were magical, like the melody that the whales would sing to each other, except there were so many different noises to make it complete. It was fast, and his human feet moved along with it. It was incredibly strange, but so intriguing. The boy looked like he could have been from my world, if he weren’t having the time of his life on those legs. I moved my tail along with the sounds, but it wasn’t the same as his clumsy and wonderful feet.
When the boy smiled, the right side of his mouth curved just a little higher than the left, and it made his eyes shrink, just a smidgen. They were as vibrant as the blue lights flickering in the sky. His short but bountiful hair bounced with the rhythm of his body, and even though it was as dark as the deepest of the ocean’s depths, the white glow of the night reflected onto his locks so brilliantly that I wouldn’t have questioned if he held some sort of power over night sky. His skin wasn’t too different than mine, but he had a glow to his skin that made him look as if life itself had kissed him. I know that this sounds silly, but I found myself wishing that I could keep him as a treasure to gaze upon.
He had a pretty face, but his arms were frail and easily breakable, but threats could come from even the tiniest of creatures, so I closed my eyes and listened to his thoughts. I tried to connect his mind to the words he was speaking, and it wasn’t long before I could begin to understand his conversation.
“It’s good to know that those expensive hip-hop lessons haven’t paid off,” the older man teased.
He stumbled from the insult and his bushy brows furrowed against his sparkling eyes. “Aw, I’m not that bad,” the boy said.
“I think he’s wonderful,” the woman encouraged. “But stop dancing around on the boat. You’re gonna make the whole thing tip over.”
“How old do you think I am? Five? I can’t tip over this huge thing.”
“Maybe,” the man said. “We’re in the Bermuda Triangle. All sorts of weird things happen here.”
The boy rolled his eyes. “Those things aren’t true.” “We’re here to explore the mysteries of the Atlantic.” “Really? Because I thought we were sailing to Puerto Rico so Mom can buy shoes.” “And other things,” she laughed. “You’ll love Puerto Rico. It’s gorgeous. You might even meet a little summer girlfriend.” “What makes you think I don’t already have a girlfriend?” he teased with a dashing smile. “You better not!” She got up from the comfort of her husband to tackle her son. He fought her off viciously, but he was laughing as if he enjoyed it. It was odd. I had never seen a family interact in such a way. A family was supposed to be a pack you could hunt with. They were supposed to look out for you while you slept, and you did the same for them when they needed to rest. What the humans were doing was completely different than anything I had ever experienced. They were enjoying each other’s company. They were…Happy? I think that’s the word I’m looking for.
“What are you doing?” My father’s voice rang in my head. He wouldn’t understand what I was seeing. I hardly did, but I yearned for it so badly. Why couldn’t he hold me in his arms like the human father did to his son? The boy didn’t fear his father as I did. He would probably never intentionally hurt him, yet I still ached from the wounds my father inflicted upon me. Any lessons the boy learned, was probably for his personal benefit, and not because of some war that I didn’t understand.
“I’m observing.” “You’ve done enough observing,” he said. “It’s time we attack.” “No!” Out of desperation, my words entered through my mind and out of my mouth. My voice was still weak, but I had finally heard it, and I thought it was beautiful. “Did you hear that?” the boy asked.
He didn’t listen and ran over to the edge of the boat. I quickly dunked back under the water to escape his eyes, but I felt like such a fool. It was forbidden for humans to know of our existence. Anyone that saw us had to die.
I thought I had gone down far enough, but I felt a light shine on me. “Who’s there?”
I heard him speak to me, and I was at a loss of ideas. If only I could have convinced him that I were a human! It was either that, or I had to make him and his parents leave immediately. I slowly breached the surface, so he could see my face.
There was a slight pause as he laid eyes on me for the first time. My sisters told me that they were able to enchant humans with their beauty, before they dragged them into the ocean’s dark waters to drown. Perhaps I was doing that to Ian. I should have grabbed him by the back of the neck to finish him off. That was our way.
“You’re beautiful…” he mumbled very quietly, but in complete awe. I suppose I was right about him being enchanted.
But—for some mysterious reason—I found that I felt the same. My world was incredibly vast. It didn’t matter how far I ventured out in the water; there was always so much more to explore. Suddenly, my world was rapidly shrinking, until it was small enough to fit into a speck of light inside his eyes. “Ian…” My voice wasn’t strong enough. I tried reaching out to him through my mind, but he wasn’t ready to listen. “You have to—”
“How did you get out here? Are you hurt?” I shook my head, hoping that was a sufficient answer. “Mom! Dad!” he called. “No.” My protest was only a whisper. “They can’t see—” “Where did you come from?” his mother asked in a panic. “Give me your hand.” His father got on his stomach to reach me better. He didn’t know
He should have assumed I was dangerous. In my world, we didn’t tolerate any threats. He was probably three times my age, so how could he have lived for so long being that naïve?
I wanted to know why they were being such fools, but I could feel the vibrations in the water from my family fast approaching. “I’m sorry…” I dove back in the water and waited for the worst to be over.
They called out to me, and I knew that if I didn’t come back up, they would dive back in to get me. They must have at least feared sharks. It boggled my mind as to why they would risk their lives for mine.
I heard Ian’s parents scream, and then, there was a splash in the water. I backed away and prepared to strike them—if I needed to—but it was young Ian that bravely came to my rescue. And when he saw that I did not need to be saved, he yelled something in the water and lost his air.
Was he afraid of what I was? Did I disgust him? I wasn’t sure. All I sensed from him was his confusion from the herd of mermaids coming to rip him into pieces. His father dove in the water next. I knew my sisters would attack him. We always tackled the biggest prey first.
I’m not sure why I did what I did, even to this day, but I grabbed Ian by his waist and swam as fast as I could. He reached out to his father, but I couldn’t stop if I were going to save Ian.
He screamed, and I knew he would not have enough breath to survive the journey to safety. I had no choice and pressed my lips against his. His eyes bucked, but he soon relaxed enough to close them, and he allowed me to breathe life into his weak and pitiful body.
Through that moment, his mind was open to me. I could feel his desperation to be reunited with his father and mother. What he felt for them was deeper than anything I had experienced my entire life. His father wanted to protect him because he loved his son, and he loved his son because he was his. There was nothing more to it than that. It was their bond of blood and a covenant they forged together from the first time his father held his newborn son in his arms. I didn’t understand how something so simple could be so definite and infinite. My father only wanted to protect his legacy. If it weren’t for my strange power, I would be dead, and he would have been glad to be rid of his weakling daughter.
I wanted to leave. I wanted to go with Ian and be with his family. If all the humans loved like he did, then that’s what I wanted to experience. If only I were born into their world…if only I had a pair of legs to stand upon—to dance! What a glorious life I would have.
Ian tried to swim back to his father, but my sisters had already gotten a hold of him, and they were using their daggers to slash him apart. I grabbed Ian to keep him from leaving, and we were compelled to watch as his father’s flesh was ripped in pieces.
My eldest sister jumped into the air and clear over the boat, returning with Ian’s frightened mother in her arms. Ian’s struggle to get away from me intensified, but I held him tighter. I was much stronger than him, and there was no escaping their fate.
My father enjoyed watching his daughters kill. It made him proud to know he had raised such ruthless warriors. But he couldn’t rest while his daughters did all the work. He was also a warrior, and he needed to destroy to feel powerful. “Stand aside.”
My sisters quickly separated and waited with glee. My father was king because he could control the most powerful of weapons that my ancestors left for us: a trident. He didn’t use its powers too often. He much preferred to kill with his bare hands. But when he outstretched his hand toward his victim, and summoned the might of the trident, it was a glorious sight to behold.
Ian’s mother began to swim toward her son, and he reached out his hands for her. But they were too far apart to ever touch again, even after she exploded in golden and red streams of light. His father was a bloodied corpse. His mother was eradicated from existence. Only Ian was left, and I had a serious choice to make. I could feel his broken mind. His tears were lost in the immensity of the ocean. He was screaming, so he was surely about to suffocate. It would have been a service to put him out of his misery. He couldn’t take care of himself. His mother and father were his entire world. It was only right to let him die like all the other humans my family had destroyed.
I still don’t understand why I swam away. I even rose to the surface for a jump, so Ian could catch a breath.
“What are you doing?” my father yelled. “Kill him.”
His furious command echoed in my head. When and if I returned home, he was probably going to kill me. My sisters chased me for a good while, but they eventually let up when I started approaching the shore.
I found a rock large enough to place Ian on. Someone was sure to find him. I only hoped that he could salvage what was left of his life and find people that loved him as much as his mother and father did.
“Ian?” The dawn was beginning to break. I didn’t want him to become crispy in the sun, but I couldn’t stay with him. “Ian?” I shook him, but he would not open his eyes.
I pressed my ear against his chest. His heart was still beating. “I think you’ll be alright, Ian.”
I brushed some hair off his face. Ian certainly was a handsome creature. I was desperate for him to open his eyes, and I think it was more than wanting a mental memory of his sea glass gems. I saw that my fingers were trembling as I stroked his cheek, and I realized that if he never opened them again, I would be lost without a world. His heart was pulling tightly onto mine, and I was being ripped into pieces. “Please, be alright.”
I pressed my forehead against his and looked inside Ian’s mind again. He was at peace in his mother’s arms as she hummed a pretty melody. She rocked back and forth while he drifted between consciousness. The sun lit the world in its gold and warm embrace, and the beams of light poured into his eyes every time he was close to finally resting them. I think he was in his home, surrounded by trinkets he had grown attached to, but none of it was as fulfilling as his mother’s touch.
I didn’t understand how he could retreat to a peaceful place after witnessing such horrific death, but I grew envious of him. If I were torn apart in my trial by those monsters, where would I go in my final moments? There wasn’t a hug or a tender kiss from my kin to draw from, and even though I was accustomed to not having affection or admiration, I was suddenly aware of how awful that was.
I was desperate to have what he had lost, and I was aching from the fact that I had taken away the people he loved. It was selfish of me, but I retreated into Ian’s memory to feel the comfort that we both desperately needed. I could hear his mother’s soothing voice just as clear as I heard my father commanding me to slaughter Ian. As I watched her holding her baby boy, I could feel her intentions of protecting him. I could feel the love that he felt, and in a few seconds, her lovely song was on my lips.
He began to open his eyes, and I stayed long enough for a swift peek. I knew that I’d never be able to keep him for myself, but I’d never forget his mystifying eyes.
I couldn’t. I jumped back in the water and swam home to beg for forgiveness. I couldn’t stay with the humans as long as I wasn’t one of them. It was foolish to think differently, even for one second.
I was hoping that my father possessed even one ounce of love and compassion that Ian’s parents had for him. If he did, I had the smallest bit of hope that I would survive. I swam to where I believed my home was, but I didn’t see the crystal walls or my wicked sisters waiting to judge me.
“You won’t find Atlantis,” my father said from behind. “It’s hidden from outsiders.” I was too frightened to face him, but I needed to. “Father—”
As soon as I tried to turn my head, it snapped back from the force of his blow to my face. “You let one of them go.”
“I’m sorry! He was only a boy.”
“He’s a human,” he seethed. “He’s a filthy, disgusting human. Human explorers killed your mother. Did you know that?” He never spoke of my mother. How was I supposed to know?
“No.” I held my cheek and struggled not to sob from the pain. My father was large in stature and very muscular. He didn’t need to hit me that hard to get his message across. I could taste blood in my mouth.
“He’ll tell others of our existence. More humans will come. They’ll kill us, and we’ll kill them. They won’t be satisfied until blood fills our waters, and I won’t be satisfied until their cities are ruins at the bottom of the ocean. There will be no peace.” My father was masking his excitement, but I could see the intention in his mind. He wanted the end of humanity, and it didn’t matter how many of us had to die in the process.
I had to stop it. “No one will believe him, Father.” “Where is the dagger?” I clenched my fingers on instinct, and my eyes bucked. I knew I had it when the attack started. I didn’t remember dropping it in the water, but I hadn’t held it for a while. “I must have dropped it on the rock where I left him. I’m sorry. I’ll bring it back here and—”
“You’re not welcome back unless that boy is dead.” He yanked my hair and pulled me close to his face, so I could see his dark eyes. “I want that dagger to slit his throat and his heart in your hand. Do you understand?”
My family was harsh, but they were all I had. He couldn’t expect me to live on my own in the ocean. There was no crueler place in nature. Practically everything ate each other to survive. Safe territory was hard to come by, and it was only safe until something came along to kill you for it. Sharks and giant octopuses were the least of my worries. There were other creatures like me who were much more dangerous and even stronger. “Father, please—”
“You are no daughter of mine.” He threw me away in repugnance. “I am incapable of breeding weakness. You will never be one of us until you destroy that boy.”
I was literally shaking, even though I consciously tried to steady myself. It was disgraceful to be fearful of anything, but being alone in an endless world of predators was a death sentence. I wasn’t sure if I had anything to live for, but I knew that I wanted to live long enough to find a reason. “There has to be another way, Father. Please!”
“You would forsake your honor and your people over the life of a human boy?” Rage flashed in his eyes, and his trident pulsed with power like the jolt from an eel. The spark frayed my tail, and I whimpered. Every bit of pride he held for me deteriorated like a meal inside of a beast’s belly. “Has he infected you with his weakness?”
“No, but…” The image of Ian’s eyes opening as I sang to him completely overtook my mind. I tried to suppress it, because I didn’t want my father to experience the intensity of my memory, but it poured out of me. Ian was groggy and terrified. His world had been crushed. The love that I felt in his heart should have been replaced with a need for righteous vengeance. He inhaled from the shock of seeing my face, but the hate never flooded in. Instead, an exhale of relief and awe followed, as if being with me needed no explanation. We were together, as we were meant to be.
I know that I left as soon as I could clearly see his eyes, but I remembered seeing my reflection inside of them. I think I saw a different mermaid than I had ever seen before. Perhaps we were always the same, and I was only beginning to wake up to the truth that she knew her entire life.
I was living in a nightmare, and I wanted to be free.
I had offended my father too greatly to be allowed to live. He thought too little of me to be disappointed. Eradicating me was a matter of propriety. He gripped his trident, and its power rippled toward me. I raised my hands instinctively. The little hairs on my arms began to singe, but before I could burst into dust, I felt my skin beginning to harden. I had closed my eyes, but it felt so odd that I looked to see my skin darkening. I had heard that my father turned an enemy to stone once. I was certain he was doing the same to me, but he actually seemed startled once he noticed that I was changing.
I might have been mistaken. The light from the trident skewed my vision, and your mind plays tricks when you’re certainly about to die. I might not have been sure about what I saw, but my father did clearly see something that made him withdraw his attack.
“Your sisters are weak. You’re strong enough to be my heir. I have no respect for you, but I do value you’re potential.” Even admitting that terrible compliment was difficult for him. “You have until your seventeenth birthday.”
“To do what?” “To regain your honor and kill that boy.” My hands returned to their normal color and softness, but I was aching internally. “What if I can’t find the same boy? Can it be another?” “No. It must be him.” His commandment rung through me like the crunch of a skull being crushed between his fingers. “It’s either him, or I kill you both.” And once again, he left me. I had no friends, no family, no resources, and no weapons. I
could hear the sounds of whales singing in the distance, but I could feel other vibrations in the water. There was danger surrounding me for miles, and I wouldn’t have the protection of my family or my father’s subordinates.
I felt like I didn’t have a choice. I returned to where I had left Ian, but he was already gone. I probably could have deceived my father, if I found the blade, but it was missing as well. I swam around the shore, but he was nowhere to be found. I couldn’t blame Ian if he never returned to the water, but if I couldn’t find him, I would never be able to return home, the humans would bring war to us, and we would bring hell to them.
“I’ll find you,” I said to Ian, wherever he was. “I don’t care what I have to do, but I swear that I will.”
And that’s how my story began. I showed mercy to a human boy that should have died with his parents. His life meant nothing compared to the safety of our worlds. I had no choice but to search the ends of the earth until I found him. But finding him wouldn’t prove to be the most difficult matter. The man I swore to kill, also became the man that I loved.
Regardless, he still had to die.
Author Christina L. Barr
About the Author As the daughter of sci-fi enthusiasts and a pastor, Christina L. Barr has been taught to believe that anything is possible. She’s been a serious composer as far back as twelve-years-old, and has had the opportunity to sing her songs around the world.
In 2007, she graduated from Holly High School number nine in her class and attended College for Creative Studies. She started a pop culture website called The Gorgeous Geeks with her two older sisters, and was even featured on Times Magazine.
Her addiction to writing emerged when she was eighteen and started her first novel. To date, she has nine novels published, fourteen completed, and her goal is to finish thirty books by her thirtieth birthday.
She is currently a Creative Director and spends her days making graphics and videos.
Author Cassandra Page, is revealing the cover to FALSE AWAKENING, the second book in her new adult urban fantasy series, Lucid Dreaming, releasing August, 2017. See below for the cover, information on the book and series, plus a link to add it to your Goodreads TBR.
FALSE AWAKENING (Lucid Dreaming #2) by Cassandra Page
Synopsis Melaina, half-human dream therapist, just wants her life to return to normal. Yes, her Oneiroi father is in prison and, yes, the place she worked burned down, but she has a cute boyfriend and a new house. She beat the bad guy. She’s earned a break. Right?
Unfortunately for Melaina, people are still getting possessed by nightmare spirits; the police are investigating her past; and the bad guy’s brother, the Morpheus himself, is coming to town to demand answers. When a deranged ex-nurse checks himself out of hospital on the same day her cousin runs away from home, Melaina is dragged into a fight not just for her life but for her soul.
Excerpt #2 Leander studied me from the other side of the trolley. I could see the shadows of fatigue under his eyes, which shocked me. Leander never looked tired. Cocky and self-assured? Yes. But tired? No. Not even when Ikelos had bound him with barbed wire. Despite his relaxed manner, increasing the hold of Daniel’s memory over the dream and destroying so many blights was draining him. And he was too proud to admit it.
I clenched my jaw and took a breath. I’d wanted to look for matches and maybe some reams of paper, but we didn’t have time. Another blight was about to hatch. “Alright.” I pulled several packets of nails down and tossed them onto the top of the trolley with a sick feeling. I’d seen enough news stories to know real-world lunatics packed their bombs with shards, to cause additional damage. “Can you get this up there, and then explode it?” I glanced at the nails. “From a d—”
The floor erupted beneath us.
Tentacles, each as thick as one of Leander’s well-muscled thighs, smashed through the floor. The blight hadn’t been as helpless as I’d assumed … and corruption hadn’t been the only thing it had been spreading. My cheek burned as a shard of floor tile sliced it, blood welling. The trolley tipped and I ignored the pain, lunging forward to steady it before its contents spilled into the sticky darkness below. Leander leaned over and gripped the frame, placing one hand on either side, his fingers brushing against mine as I let go. His grim gaze held mine for a moment, and then his wings pumped. Air washed over me as he lifted the overstuffed trolley into the air, towards the central body mass of the blight.
For a second I felt relief as he carried the improvised bomb above the thrashing tentacles. Then one of those tentacles slid around my waist, barbs as long as my palm tearing through the scorched armour of my motorcycle leathers. I gasped and prised at them with bare hands, trying to wiggle free but succeeding only in cutting my palms. Above me, the muscles in Leander’s back worked as he strained to haul the trolley upwards, ignoring the now-free baby blight buzzing around him like an oversized mosquito. He was dragging the bomb up there with brute force. Pain caused my vision to blur, but not before I realised he was going to ignite the trolley’s contents while he was holding it. The damned fool Oneiroi had no idea what would happen.
The tentacle dragged me towards the jagged hole in the floor. I didn’t look down, not wanting to see what awaited me. The wet smacking sound and the putrid smell were bad enough. Sweat beaded on my brow and I set my jaw against the pain, blinking to clear my vision, staring up at Leander.
He drove the end of the trolley into the breeder blight’s wet mass, leaning against the handle to brace it there as he conjured a spark in one hand.
The spark descended towards the makeshift bomb.
I cried out, using the last of my energy to fling a shield, a wall of force, between Leander and the trolley.
Fire and exploding chunks of meat raining down around me. My vision blackened, and I tumbled out of the dream.
Author Cassandra Page
About the Author Cassandra Page is a mother, author, editor and geek. She lives in Canberra, Australia’s bush capital, with her son and two Cairn Terriers. She has a serious coffee addiction and a tattoo of a cat — despite being allergic to cats. She has loved to read since primary school, when the library was her refuge, and loves many genres — although urban fantasy is her favourite. When she’s not reading or writing, she engages in geekery, from Doctor Who to AD&D. Because who said you need to grow up?
Welcome to the blitz for HENGE, the first book in the young adult fantasy romance series, Le Fay, by Realm Lovejoy, now available in Audiobook format. See below for information on the book, buy links, an exclusive excerpt, and details on her giveaway.
Synopsis Inspired by one of the greatest legends of all time….
Modern-day Camelot. Where knights no longer carry swords. Magic is dangerous. And those who seek control are not to be trusted.
Sixteen-year-old Morgan le Fay is a fire user. An ordinary girl with an extraordinary skill, she has the ability to create and command fire at will. Her dream is to become the Maven – the right hand of the future King Arthur. In the chance of a lifetime, Morgan is selected to join Arthur’s Round, an elite group of young magic users from which the new Maven will be chosen.
Along with the other fire, water, and wind users in Arthur’s Round, Morgan is rigorously trained and tested. The handsome Merlin, a brilliant water user, takes a particular interest in her. Is his friendship to be trusted, or is Merlin simply trying to win the position of Maven for himself? Among the many rivals Morgan faces is the current Maven, Mordred, who seems determined to see her fail.
But Morgan has a secret – years ago, her mother was executed for using fire magic, and Morgan’s desire for justice makes her more than ready to take on the challenge before her. Can she prevail in Camelot’s tests of survival and magic? Only time – and Morgan’s powerful fire – will tell.
Excerpt #1 After the audience stops clapping, the announcer looks down at his list. “Next… sixteen-year-old fire user Morgan le Fay from Tintagel!”
I swallow. I won’t have time to warm up after all. I rush toward the stage, trying to keep my head up though my legs are quivering. The crowd of people from all over the country is a sea of shadows below me. Camera flashes glimmer like stars. Below the stage, the King’s Cabinet members are seated, wearing fancy suits, gesturing with their cigars. Though they are chatting with each other, they eye me intently.
Music plays: aggressive drums and a flute that follow along with a woman’s haunting song. Putting my hands up, I focus on my fingertips turning as hot as coals. As I concentrate, I grow heavy as force accumulates throughout my body. This is my favorite feeling in the world. Hot energy spawns in my heart like the sun and travels through my arms. My veins burn. My body becomes like the earth, sizzling with flowing lava. The energy sails to my hands, down to my fingertips. Fssssttt—fire sputters to life centimeters from my fingernails. Instantly I become as light as a feather, all the weight having been channeled out of me. The crowd oohs and aahs.
I dance and whirl, trailing fire behind me. It arcs high into the air, drawing gasps from the crowd. Sweat trickles down my forehead, but I do my best to look elegant as I create brilliant, roaring ribbons of fire that hug and spin around my body. I have never performed fire in front of anybody before, and I feel like I’m revealing a big secret. Out of the corner of my eye a young man peers at me from backstage, his eyes full of wonder. I glance at him only once through a blur of gold and red sparks.
Letting the fire retreat back into my hands, I bow as the music finishes, making sure to keep my hot, and possibly still-sparking, hands away from my clothes. Setting my outfit ablaze would be an embarrassing finish. The crowd erupts in applause and cheers. I crack a smile and bow again.
As I walk backstage the young man who was staring at me beams with perfect teeth. Suddenly the temperature in my face rises, and it doesn’t help that I just got done working with fire.
Author Realm Lovejoy
About the Author Realm Lovejoy is an American writer and an artist. She grew up in both Washington State and the Japanese Alps of Nagano, Japan. Currently she lives in Seattle and works as an art director in the video game industry.
USA Today bestselling author, K.A. Linde is unveiling the cover to THE CONSORT, book three in her young adult fantasy series, Ascension, releasing October 10, 2017. See below for the cover, information on the book, pre-order links, and buy links for the first two books in the series.
Synopsis After the loss of a friend and false imprisonment in an Eleysian dungeon, Cyrene has no interest in destiny. Her heart was shattered, friends scattered, and her home is nothing but a pretty illusion. Even her magic won’t cooperate.
When all seems lost, she turns to the one person she never thought that she would trust:
His darkness mirrors a growing force lurking within her. A struggle she never imagined threatens to consume her. And as friends and foes begin to show their true colors, she starts questioning whether anyone is who they seem.
Author K.A. Linde
About the Author K.A. Linde grew up as a military brat and created fantastical stories based off of her love for Disney movies, fairy tales, and Star Wars. In her spare time, she is an avid traveler, loves reading young adult novels, and dancing. Additionally, K.A. has written more than a dozen adult novels and is a USA Today bestselling author. She lives in Lubbock, TX with her husband and two super adorable puppies.
K.A. Linde loves to hear from her readers! You can contact her at email@example.com or visit her online.
Welcome to the book blitz for SCION OF THE SUN, a stand-alone young adult paranormal, by USA Today bestselling author, Nicola Marsh. See below for information on the book, buy links, an exclusive excerpt, and details on her giveaway.
SCION OF THE SUN by Nicola Marsh
About the Book – Read for Free with Kindle Unlimited Title: SCION OF THE SUN Author: Nicola Marsh Publisher: Diversion Publishing Release Date: July 7, 2017 Genre: Young Adult Paranormal Links:Goodreads | Amazon | Amazon UK | Amazon CA | Amazon AU
Synopsis Sixteen-year-old Holly Burton’s unremarkable life is shaken to the core when a vision of the mother she never knew has her questioning everything she believes.
Eager for answers, Holly enrolls at a boarding school for highly gifted students in Wolfebane, New Hampshire. When she accidentally transports to a parallel existence and discovers she has a whole other life waiting for her, confronting a dark and ancient evil seems the least of her problems.
With the help of Joss, a sexy alpha warrior sworn to protect her, and her new BFF, the equally swoon-worthy Quinn, Holly faces her fears and an unlikely adversary in a showdown that is worse than anything she could’ve possibly imagined…rfect’s secrets, though, Tabitha finds herself with more questions than answers. Will trusting the enigmatic group of rebels lead her back to the slaughterhouse?
Excerpt #1 I always thought cults were for crazies.
Until I joined one.
Let me clear up any misconceptions. I’m not crazy. A freak, but not crazy. Which is why I’m here. Freaks R Us. A boarding school for the intellectually gifted tucked away in the back streets of Wolfebane, New Hampshire.
Intellectually gifted? Yeah, right.
We have a pristine lake surrounded by majestic mountains. We have lush green fields that turn into fabulous groomed ski trails in the winter. We have upscale restaurants and thriving businesses and fancy homes—city pizzazz with small town coziness. We even have our very own homegrown C.U.L.T.
The Clique of Unique Luminary Telepathies.
When the average person searches this place on the Internet, the home page reads Co-Ed for Unified Learning and Teaching, a New Age school for the hippest of the hip. It appears to be a rambling English manor, sandstone and massive latticed windows and French doors, surrounded by a cottage garden gone wild.
All very civilized for a place of learning, but what I’d learn would scare the crap out of me.
“Going in sometime this century?”
I glared at Colt, sitting smug in his beat-up Chevy, eager to get rid of me. I’d been thrust on his family, Nan’s only neighbors, when she got carted off to the hospital. I hated staying with his uptight family as much as they hated having me.
“Nah, think I’ll hang with you a bit longer. It’s so much fun.”
He pointed at the door. “Get out.”
I didn’t budge. Colt didn’t scare me. C.U.L.T. did.
“I had no choice staying with your folks. What’s your excuse?”
His expression turned stubborn.
“How old are you anyway? Nineteen? Twenty, tops?”
“Twenty-one,” he gritted out. “Too old to be babysitting dorks like you.”
“Dork? That’s mature for a guy tied so tight to mommy’s apron strings he’s still living at home.”
His hands clenched on the steering wheel and I jiggled the door handle. The door opened on the third try.
“If you were this smart-assed with your Nan I’m not surprised she had a stroke.”
Low blow. That’s what it felt like, like he’d kicked me in the guts. His words inspired the same nauseating feeling I’d had when I’d told her what I’d seen. When she’d uttered five mysterious words—she took the wrong one—and keeled over.
“And she’s in a long-term coma?” He drove the boot in harder. “She’d probably do anything to stay away from you.”
I grabbed my backpack, slung my messenger bag over my shoulder, and slammed the door. I couldn’t get away from him fast enough. It wasn’t what he’d said as much as the possible truth behind it.
He leaned across the bench seat and leered out the window. “Enjoy the lock-up. It’s a perfect place for psychos. You’ll fit right in.”
Colt gave me the finger, gunned the engine, and squealed away from the curb, leaving me standing in front of my prison.
Wolfebane High had sucked, but boarding school? Fine for my favorite fictional characters who thrived on girl power. Me? I wasn’t the kickass heroine so much.
Author Nicola Marsh
About the AuthorUSA TODAY bestselling & multi-award winning author NicolaMarsh writes flirty fiction with flair for adults and spooky, supernatural fiction for young adults.
She has published 64 books with Harlequin, Amazon and indie, and sold over 7 million copies worldwide. She currently writes women’s fiction for Amazon’s Lake Union Publishing. SAVING SARA released August 1st 2016 and became a #1 romance bestseller in the UK & Australia! RESCUING ROSE, the sequel, released October 4th, 2016. She also writes steamy romance for the upcoming Harlequin Dare series, with SWEET THING releasing March 1st, 2018.
Her first mainstream contemporary romance, BUSTED IN BOLLYWOOD released to rave reviews, including a nomination for RWA’s RBY, Romantic Book of the Year 2012. Her first indie-pubbed contemporary romance CRAZY LOVE released September 2012, a Barnes & Noble bestseller, and was nominated for a 2012 ARRA award.
Her young adult fantasy SCION OF THE SUN won the National Readers’ Choice Award for Best YA novel in the USA.
She’s also a Waldenbooks, Bookscan and Barnes & Noble bestseller, a 2013 RBY and National Readers’ Choice Award winner, is a multiple finalist for awards including the Romantic Times Reviewers’ Choice Award, HOLT Medallion, Booksellers’ Best, Golden Quill, Laurel Wreath, More than Magic and has won several CataRomance Reviewers’ Choice Awards.
A physiotherapist for 13 years, she now adores writing full time, raising her two young heroes, sharing fine food with family and friends, barracking loudly for her beloved North Melbourne Kangaroos footy team, and her favourite, curling up with a good book!.
Author Annette Marie is revealing the cover to THE NIGHT REALM, the first book in her adult urban fantasy series, Spell Weaver, releasing October 20, 2017. See below for the cover, information on the book, and a link to add it to your Goodreads TBR.
THE NIGHT REALM (Spell Weaver #1) by Annette Marie
About the Book – Read for Free with Kindle Unlimited
Title: THE NIGHT REALM Series: Spell Weaver #1
Author: Annette Marie Publisher: Dark Owl Fantasy Inc. Release Date: October 20, 2017 Genre: Adult Urban Fantasy Links: Goodreads
Synopsis Clio would love nothing more than to go home. But as the illegitimate daughter of the nymph king, she’s stuck in the human world, exiled until she can earn a place in the royal family. Then her half-bother offers her a chance to prove herself. All she has to do is acquire some magic … by stealing it from the most dangerous spell weavers in the Underworld.
Lyre prefers to go unnoticed, which is a tricky objective for an incubus. He can’t hide his looks or his coveted spell weaving skills, but he’s learned to mask his true intentions. As an unwilling pawn of the tyrannical Hades family, he stays alive by keeping one step ahead of his masters.
Now he’s been assigned to watch over a visitor from the Overworld—one who’s definitely hiding something. And with her unholy talent for triggering chaos and catastrophe, his job just keeps getting more perilous. Clearly, she’ll never survive this world.
The thing is, he’s no longer sure he can survive it either.
Author Annette Marie
About the Author Annette Marie is the author of the Amazon best-selling Steel & Stone series, which includes Goodreads Choice Award nominee Yield the Night, and fantasy trilogy Red Winter. Her first love is fantasy, but fast- paced urban fantasy and tantalizing forbidden romances are her guilty pleasures. She lives in the frozen winter wasteland of Alberta, Canada (okay, it’s not quite that bad) with her comparatively sensible husband and their furry minion of darkness—sorry, cat—Caesar. When not writing, she can be found elbow-deep in one art project or another while blissfully ignoring all adult responsibilities.
Welcome to the book blitz for THE UNLIKEABLE DEMON HUNTER, the first book in the adult urban fantasy romance series, Nava Katz, by Deborah Wilde. See below for information the book, buy links, an exclusive excerpt, and details on her giveaway.
THE UNLIKEABLE DEMON HUNTER (Nava Katz #1) by Deborah Wilde
About the Book – Read for Free with Kindle Unlimited Title: THE UNLIKEABLE DEMON HUNTER Series: Neva Katz #1 Author: Deborah Wilde Publisher: Te Da Media Release Date: April 18, 2017 Genre: Adult Urban Fantasy Romance/Comedy Links:Goodreads | Amazon | Amazon UK | Amazon CA | Amazon AU
Synopsis Bridesmaids meets Buffy with a dash of the seven deadly sins.
The age-old story of what happens when a foul-mouthed, romance impaired heroine with no edit button and a predilection for hot sex is faced with her worst nightmare–a purpose.
Ari Katz is intelligent, driven, and will make an excellent demon hunter once initiated into the Brotherhood of David. However, this book is about his twin Nava: a smart-ass, self-cultivated hot mess, who is thrilled her brother is stuck with all the chosen one crap.
When Nava half-drunkenly interrupts Ari’s induction ceremony, she expects to be chastised. What she doesn’t expect is to take her brother’s place among the–until now–all-male demon hunters. Even worse? Her infuriating leader is former rock star Rohan Mitra.
Too bad Rohan’s exactly what Nava’s always wanted: the perfect bad boy fling with no strings attached, because he may also be the one to bring down her carefully erected emotional shields. That’s as dangerous as all the evil fiends vying for the bragging rights of killing the only female ever chosen for Demon Club.
Odds of survival: eh.
Odds of having a very good time with Rohan before she bites it: much better.
Excerpt #2 I veered into the backyard to snap a few stalks off Mom’s aloe plant to apply to my still-throbbing chest. It was a gorgeous night, made more so by the fact that I was still alive. I raised my face up to the stars, calmed by their distant pulsing. All was peaceful and still until my shoulder blades tensed like someone was behind me.
The maybe-demon from Josh’s alleyway was back, having stopped about five feet away and triggering the motion sensor. What with Josh’s sister trying to kill me and all, he’d fallen off my radar.
Aloe gooped over my fingers, having clutched the frond hard enough to break it, and my terror and an intense curiosity resurfaced. There was no denying his compelling presence. Plus, he had those long lashes that were my Kryptonite. I opened my mouth to scream. Or drool.
He held a finger up to his delectable lips to keep me quiet, circling me with lazy strides, checking me out.
I’d have been offended by the blatant appraisal except under his intense scrutiny, my clit, Cuntessa de Spluge lit up with an electric zing. I found myself stroking the aloe stalks in an obscene manner. Even knowing he couldn’t see my blush since I was in the shadows didn’t kill my utter mortification at jerking off plant life in not-so-subtextual yearning.
He stalked toward me, his leather jacket rustling with each step.
I held up a hand to stop him, the faintest electric crackle pulsing off my skin.
He didn’t stop, didn’t slow. In fact, he kept up his steady approach until his hand covered mine. My magic shocked us both at his touch. I gasped and shivered as pleasure, not pain, rumbled through me.
Hand still clasped in his, he stared at me suspiciously, instead of in fear, but had I wanted, I could have broken his hold. Not a demon, then? He fingered the thin silver necklace I wore with surprising gentleness, toying with the cute floral pendant dangling off it that read “I will kick you in the balls if I have to.”
“Should I be scared?” Given how he sounded like sex, sin, and salaciousness–the true definition of a triple threat–I decided that yes, he was most definitely a demon.
I met his mocking gaze, my rooted stance and beating heart placing me somewhere between morbid fascination and noping the fuck out at warp speed.
Author Deborah Wilde
About the Author A global wanderer, hopeless romantic, and total cynic with a broken edit button, Deborah writes adult urban fantasy to satisfy her love of smexy romances and tales of chicks who kick ass. She is all about the happily-ever-after, with a huge dose of hilarity along the way. “It takes a bad girl to fight evil. Go Wilde.”
Welcome to the book blitz for CRESCENT CALLING, the first book in the adult urban fantasy series, The Crescent Witch Chronicles, by Axelle Chandler. See below for information the book, buy links, an exclusive excerpt, and details on her giveaway.
CRESCENT CALLING (Crescent Witch Chronicles #1) by Axelle Chandler
About the Book Title: CRESCENT CALLING Series: The Crescent Witch Chronicles Author: Axelle Chandler Release Date: August 9, 2017 Genre: Adult Urban Fantasy Links:Goodreads | Amazon | Amazon UK | Amazon CA | Amazon AU
Synopsis Skye Williams is an ordinary woman, living an ordinary life.
Or so she thought.
When she receives news of her estranged mother’s death, she must go to Ireland to claim her inheritance, but when she arrives in the tiny village of Derrydun, she isn’t prepared for what she finds nestled amongst the rolling hills of the Emerald Isle.
Lumped with a funeral, her mother’s crystal shop, a moody goth girl for an employee, and a crumbling cottage with horrible floral curtains, selling up and getting out sounds like a great plan, but everything and everyone seems determined to keep her from going home.
Skye doesn’t want any part of her mother’s life or the people of Derrydun until she sees the hot Irishman she’s been crushing on turn into a fox.
More absurdly, he tells her her dead mother was a witch who battled evil fairies, there’s magical trees growing in the centre of the village, there’s a parallel universe where the fair folk live, and she’s meant to be the last defense of the magical peoples of Ireland.
Turns out Skye Williams was never an ordinary woman. Not by a long shot.
She’s the last Crescent Witch and has a destiny to fulfil.
Whether she likes it or not.
The Crescent Witch Chronicles is a series stuffed full of Irish charm, myth and mayhem. Come on an adventure fraught with danger and forbidden romance…and the ultimate battle to save magic before it’s gone forever.
Excerpt #1 That night, as Buddy kept me company, I fell asleep to the sound of wind howling through the trees outside. Plagued with dreams of wolves, I tossed and turned until I slipped into a deep slumber.
When dawn finally broke, I was covered in a thin sheen of sweat, and my head was stuffed with cotton wool. I’d slept but not really. A heavy burden was over my heart, and my body had become twisted in the quilt, my feet trapped.
Ugh, I was all hot and sticky. I kicked, trying to shift the uncomfortable weight and turned over, but it didn’t budge. Lifting my head, my eyes cracked open, sleep still clogging my head. That was when I saw a lump at the end of the bed. A very large, man-shaped lump.
Now completely awake, I screamed, scrambling up the bed. It was Boone. A very naked Boone.
He started, his head shooting up, and when he saw me, he rolled and fell off the end of the bed, hitting the floor with a thud. Scrambling to his feet, his face turned a deep shade of crimson.
“Oh, shit,” he cursed, covering his junk with his hands. “Oh, cac.”
“Cac?” I yelled. “I’ll give you bloody Irish cac!”
Grabbing the lamp on the bedside table, I pushed up onto my knees and swung it with all my might. The plug popped out of the wall, and the shade barely missed Boone’s face, but the cord came around and whipped him directly on his bare ass.
He howled in pain and retreated across the room.
“Pervert!” I shrieked.
“Let me explain,” he said, holding up his hands and leaving nothing to the imagination.
“Explain? What’s there to explain?” I shouted, trying not to look at his you-know-what. “You were asleep on the end of my bed…naked!” I swung the lamp at him again, barely missing his head. “You’re still standing there. I can see your meat and two veg!”
“Oh, cac,” he said again. “I didn’t mean for you to find out this way…”
“Find out what? That you’re a pervert, who sneaks into women’s homes butt naked?”
Author Axelle Chandler
About the Author Axelle Chandler is an Australian Urban Fantasy author. She lives in the western suburbs of Melbourne dreaming up nail biting stories featuring bad-ass witches, hunky shape shifters and devious monsters. She likes chocolate, cat memes and video games. When she’s not writing, she likes to think of what she’s writing next.
Welcome to the book blitz for SYMPHONY OF RUIN, the first book in the adult dark fantasy series, Labyrinth of Souls, by Christina Lay. See below for information the book, buy links, an exclusive excerpt, and details on her giveaway.
SYMPHONY OF RUIN (Labyrinth of Souls #1) by Christina Lay
Synopsis Death is stalking The City. From out of the catacombs, a deadly monster has arisen. Unfortunately for alchemist’s apprentice Remy the Rat Boy, his master is away and it’s up to Remy to discover the nature of the monster and put an end to its killing rampage. His search for answers takes him high into the elegant chambers of the city’s elite, and down into long forgotten ruins, into depths untraveled and unimagined for centuries. Lost in the ancient ruins with only ghosts and creatures of the darkness for companionship, Remy must use every ounce of wit and conjure every scrap of magic at his disposal in order to survive the labyrinth and save The City from its shadow self.
A magical and thrilling journey by award-winning author Christina Lay, inspired by the game and artwork of Dungeon Solitaire: Labyrinth of Souls. For more information on the Labyrinth of Souls fiction project, visit shadowspinnerspress.com
Excerpt #1 Death made its nightly rounds of the old quarter. Skeletal toes scraped the cobblestones and bones rattled in the keening wind blowing down from the steppes. The scythe of oblivion spared no one; man, woman or child might be snatched. This alone was reason enough to raid Master Marek’s pantry and Remy could think of several others as he cleared a space on the long table against the wall. He placed one knee on the well-worn surface and tested its strength. The table wobbled only slightly on uneven legs.
“Are you sure this is a good idea?” his friend Glyn asked from behind him.
“Not only is it good, it is excellent. Top notch. One of the best I’ve ever had.” Remy grabbed at the row of shelves to steady himself as he climbed up. The collection of bottles and jars rattled alarmingly. He paused as they settled. Nothing fell except a tuft of what looked like dried moss.
When he’d first moved in, Remy would have needed to use a footstool to reach the tabletop and he’d have to stand on the rickety table to reach Marek’s stash of quality liquor. Now if he stretched full length, he could finger the row of colored glass bottles on the top shelf while still on his knees.
Some of the bottles were filled with dyed water. He knew this because he was the one who’d drained and refilled them. His master never noticed because Marek rarely partook of the odd offerings of beet brandy, moss wine, crabapple cider and so on that his clients sometimes paid him with. No, Marek reserved his imbibing for the good stuff in the cut crystal decanter, an amber brandy he shared with Remy on Winter’s solstice, and then only by the wee thimble full.
Remy remembered its heat coating his throat, the flavors of caramel, loam and wealth, and the comforting affect a mere sip had on his state of mind. That was what he needed now—comfort. Glyn had just brought him the news of their mate Abernath’s death. Abernath, a robust young man of seventeen years—the same age as Remy and Glyn—had been found dead in an alley the night before without a fresh mark on him.
Remy’s long fingers tweezed the decanter toward the edge of the shelf. Glyn took an audible breath, sucking air out of the room in the process, braced to flee at the first hint of disaster. Glyn would rather face death than Master Marek in a rage.
“Marek is in the Giant Mountains,” Remy assured him, voice a little pinched from the effort of stretching to his full length and a tiny bit beyond. “I’ve had no word from him for weeks. He’s not about to pop up in the middle of the night with no notice. He likes his fire to be lit and his supper warm when he returns from a long trip.” The decanter tipped forward and Remy caught it with his other hand. As he eased back his sleeve caught on a jutting handle and brought a little pot thudding to the tabletop. The pottery cracked. Something black and viscous oozed out.
“Ox balls,” Remy muttered, and clambered down from the table.
“What is that?” Glyn backed up as if a jinn might spring forth from the ooze.
“Nothing to worry about,” Remy said. He gave the scratch marks on the lid a closer look. Ox balls and a pig’s poker to boot. “Nothing to worry about immediately anyway. Come on. Where’s your cup?”
Author Christina Lay
About the Author Christina Lay is primarily a writer of fantastical fiction, with frequent forays into mystery and mainstream. Many of her short stories have been published in anthologies, magazines and online. She’s won five awards for her short fiction, including second place in the Writers’ Digest Short Fiction competition in 2003. Her novels have also won awards, including first place in the Rupert Hughes Writing Competition at the Maui Writers Conference, First Place in the Journey Conference Novel competition, and she was a finalist in the Pacific Northwest Writers Association competition. Death is a Star, her first novel to be published, was released in February 2013.
Christina was born in Eugene, Oregon and graduated from the University of Oregon in 1988 with a degree in Sociology and a minor in Political Science. She’s worked a wide variety of jobs, from pastry shop clerk to computer software support to cost accounting and bookkeeping for nonprofits. Her favorite job so far has been administrative assistant in a Victorian House Museum. The goal is always to spend as much time as possible writing. For fun she likes to study languages through poetry, take way too many pictures with digital cameras, and be herded by her border collie, Lazlo.
Evil Alter Ego Press and author Suzy Vadori are revealing the cover to THE WEST WOODS, a prequel to her young adult fantasy novel, The Fountain, releasing September 22, 2017. See below for the cover, information on the book, and a link to add it to your Goodreads TBR.
THE WEST WOODS by Suzy Vadori
About the Book Title: THE WEST WOODS Series: The Fountain #0.5 Author: Suzy Vadori Publisher: Evil Alter Ego Press Release Date: September 22, 2017 Genre: Young Adult Fantasy Links:Goodreads
Book 1 Links: Goodreads | Amazon | Amazon UK | Amazon CA | Amazon AU
Synopsis Magic, sacrifice and the quest for freedom.
Courtney Wallis wants nothing more than to escape St. Augustus boarding school. After uncovering a well-kept secret about the school’s founder, Isaac Young, Courtney turns to the school’s magic to convince her dad to let her leave. Things take a turn when she meets Cole, who lives in the nearby town of Evergreen. He gives her hope that things might not be so bad. However, the school’s fountain has other ideas, and binds Courtney to her ambition, no matter the cost.
As Courtney struggles to keep the magic from taking over, she and her friends get drawn into the mystery woven into the school’s fabric. Everything seems to lead back to the forbidden West Woods. Together, she and her friends seek out the spirits of the past to ask for help, and find themselves in much deeper than they’d bargained for. If they succeed, Courtney could be free of the magic. If they fail, she may never be the same.
Author Suzy Vadori
About the Author Suzy Vadori is an Operations executive by day, Writer by night. The Fountain is her debut novel for Young Adults. Suzy is an involved member of the Calgary Writers’ community, service as Program Manager for Young Adult at When Words Collide (a Calgary festival for readers and Writers) since 2013. Suzy lives in Calgary, Alberta, Canada with her husband and three kids.
Welcome to the book blitz for DRAGON REBEL, the fourth book in the adult fantasy/paranormal romance series, Immortal Dragons, by Ophelia Bell. See below for information the book, buy links, an exclusive excerpt, and details on her giveaway.
DRAGON REBEL (Immortal Dragons #4) by Ophelia Bell
Synopsis If Assana looked up the word “nymphomaniac” in the dictionary, she might expect to find her own image in place of the definition, especially after meeting the immortal red dragon, Gavra. The timing couldn’t be worse for her to discover the mate that Fate intended—the one she’d be willing to let go of her tightly bound hold on her deepest sexual desires for—the one who literally drives her mad with lust. Now that she needs her sanity more than anything to regain control of her race’s home from her own insane mother, she’s faced with the inconvenient desire to lose control and be that primal nymph she keeps locked inside.
Thank Gaia for Silas. The handsome young ursa male is blessed with magic that can calm the lust-filled madness threatening to consume Assana’s mind. She needs him more than ever now that she has no choice but to spend her days in close proximity to the dragon she desires more than anything… yet doesn’t dare touch lest she give in to that ancient, primal need all nymphaea are born with.
For red dragon Gavra, he can only put off having the beautiful nymph maiden for so long, or the ursa male who Fate has promised him. Once Assana’s crazy mother is out of the way, nothing will stop Gavra from claiming and marking them both as his.
Excerpt “Well that was fun.”
Gavra spun around at the sound of the deep, familiar voice that had so recently been speaking inside his head. His brother stood in the center of his room, his arms crossed and a grim smile on his face.
“Aodh,” he said, unable to mask the utter relief he felt at seeing his white-haired brother whole and in the flesh. He pulled the other man into a fierce embrace that was returned in kind, releasing him when Aodh stiffened.
Gavra looked back in the direction of his brother’s gaze and saw Vrishti standing with an excited look about to breach the barrier into his room. “No!” Aodh said. “Please stay where you are, love.”
“She wants to see you,” Gavra said. “Surely you won’t deny her a proper greeting.”
Aodh shook his head. “A proper greeting? She’s not ready, brother. Perhaps it’s fine for you and Silas to tangle before you’ve marked him. We can’t risk her reputation while she’s still learning about her kind.” Turning to Vrishti, he said, “After we’ve settled these issues with the Haven, love. I promise you no prison can keep me from you then.”
Vrishti dropped the hand she had been about to push past the barrier and nodded. Her eyes grew glassy and she took a shaky breath. “I’ll be ready for you, I promise,” she said. “I can’t stand to see you trapped like this… I’m sorry. Be safe. Keep him safe…” She directed the last comment to Gavra and Assana, who both nodded. Gavra gave Assana a perplexed look. “Why didn’t you drift into the room with him?”
Assana carefully avoided his gaze as she hugged Vrishti farewell and watched the other female go, then she glanced at Silas, a look of pure gratitude on her lovely face. The big ursa male moved closer to her, wrapped an arm around her and held her. Gavra’s chest felt leaden at the way the pair looked at each other – like they belonged in each other’s arms. They were kindred elements, both Gaia’s children, and made sense together more than Gavra himself made sense with either of them. The way he and Silas crashed together with such fiery, explosive force felt right to him, but it was not easy, or pretty – it was passionate, volatile, and destructive.
“He calms my primal spirit,” Assana said softly. “I’m afraid to come closer to you because you only make the madness claw at my mind more. I allowed Aodh to take control of his own drift once he promised to go where I asked. I couldn’t be in the same room with you for fear of losing control. I’m sorry, Gavra… I can’t let myself lose control, not when my entire home, my family’s well being is at stake. Please understand.”
He wanted to roar in protest, to breathe flames at the barrier and pull her inside, show her how right it would be to let go and be her true self – the wild nymph he sensed glimmers of beneath the surface whenever their eyes met. The insatiable creature who haunted his dreams, responding to his heat so perfectly. Aodh’s hand rested on his shoulder and gave him a comforting squeeze.
Gavra swallowed the molten lump in his throat and nodded. Finding his voice, he said, “I want you wild, Assana. The first time I’m inside you, you can be damn sure control will be the last thing on anyone’s minds.”
Silas tightened his hold on Assana protectively, though his aura flared bright red in response to Gavra’s promise. She closed her eyes and took a long, slow breath as though fortifying herself before opening her eyes.
Her hypnotic, whirlpool gaze met his through the barrier. “I want that, too. To share my primal essence with you both, to taste yours when we’re thrice melded and feel your heat deep inside my mind. To feel you etch your mark on my skin. Gaia save me, I would take that now, but I can’t risk losing myself to that need. There is too much at stake. Please understand… I need Silas to keep my own nymphaea madness in check, but I promise you the first time you’re inside me will be the first time my quim is filled by any male’s seed.”
Gavra groaned at the promise, forcing himself to pull his gaze away from her or else risk burning down the entire Sanctuary to get to her.
“It looks like Silas is going to have his hands full sating us both separately then,” he said, staring heatedly at the big ursa male. “Can you handle that?” Silas gave him a lazy smile. “I welcome it.”
Author Ophelia Bell
About the Author Ophelia Bell loves a good bad-boy and especially strong women in her stories. Women who aren’t apologetic about enjoying sex and bad boys who don’t mind being with a woman who’s in charge, at least on the surface, because pretty much anything goes in the bedroom.
Ophelia grew up on a rural farm in North Carolina and now lives in Los Angeles with her own tattooed bad-boy husband and four attention-whoring cats.
Welcome to the book blitz for SWEPT AWAY, the third book in the young adult fantasy romance series, The Water Rushes, by USA Today bestselling author, S. McPherson. See below for information on the book, buy links, an exclusive excerpt, and details on her giveaway.
SWEPT AWAY (The Water Rushes #3) by S. McPherson
About the Book – Read for FREE with Kindle Unlimited Title: SWEPT AWAY Series: The Water Rushes #1 Author: S. McPherson Genre: Young Adult Fantasy/Romance Release Date: August 1, 2017 Links: Goodreads | Amazon | Amazon UK | Amazon CA | Amazon AU
Synopsis Elev nos senaremdos: Live on in memories
Milo is gone and Vladimir and the others plan to go after him before he gets himself killed…if it isn’t already too late. But they have no way of making the gethadrox and they are not all working as together as they think.
Secrets hushed and secrets kept are soon revealed when Dezaray gets a package that leads to her taking matters into her own hands and following a path that leads to the unimaginable.
Only Lexovia and a small band of misfits stay behind in an attempt to save the world and Lexovia soon finds herself in a position of power she never truly wanted.
Dive deeper into worlds & war in this thrilling third installment of an epic fantasy. Loved by fans of Cassandra Clare and Sarah J Maas.
Excerpt #3 It’s bloody freezing in the cell they throw me into and they seem in no hurry to bring me that extra blanket I’d asked for. It seems Tinfoil was right. Last night I was free, tonight I am caged. What’s worse, they’ve tossed me into the same cell as some kooky old lady who keeps eyeballing me from her corner.
‘Can I help you?’ I ask impatiently.
‘Come into the light,’ she croaks. That’s a laugh. There’s hardly any light in this place.
‘I’m quite comfortable here thanks.’
‘Come into the light,’ she croaks a little more loudly, causing her to cough. Not wanting her to suffer a heart attack on my account, I reluctantly stroll over to the bars of the cell to be nearer the flickering florescent lights in the corridor
‘Lexovia?’ she says. ‘You are the Elentrice, Lexovia.’
‘No.’ Poor old lady. ‘I am Dezaray Storm.’
She chuckles. ‘You were always such a kidder. You are going to be in a world of trouble once they find you missing from Coldivor. Best you get back to the portal.’
I am about to disagree with this senile old woman but the mention of the portal captures my attention.
‘I am honestly not Lexovino, or whoever you think I am,’ I state, braving a few steps towards her, ‘but perhaps you can tell me more about her, Coldivor and this,’ I shrug, ‘this portal?’
Author S. McPherson
About the Author USA Today bestselling author and a citizen of the world; S. McPherson was born in England, moved to Saudi Arabia when she was five then on to Dubai at the age of seven. S. McPherson briefly lived in Scotland, she is originally from Jamaica and her mind is often far, far away in lands people have never heard of.
S. McPherson has always loved writing in all its forms and at the tender age of eight, she dreamt of being a member of the next big pop group where she could sing and write songs all day. When that inexplicably fell through (how could she not be the next Beyonce??), she moved on to poems, scripts and eventually novels.
Having met many different people – imaginary and real – along her travels, S. McPherson has a vast array of characters buzzing in her head bursting to be let loose on a page or two of fantasy.
Author Desy Smith is unveiling the cover to THE PROPHETESS,a new adult fantasy romance releasing August 2, 2017. See below for the cover, information on the book, a link to add it on Goodreads, buy links, and an exclusive teaser.
Synopsis High up in the heavens, righteousness faces off against the greatest dissenter of all time, and in the crossfire, an angel loses his wings…
Fallen from Heaven and forced to live amongst the humans in exile, angel Ezekiel bares the tragic fate of a disgraced angel. Having overheard the rebellious Lucifer’s plans to rise up against the sanctuary of Heaven, Ezekiel remains silent, and for his inaction, he is cast from the pearly gates and onto the unforgiving lands of the mortals. Two thousand years pass with a cold and hollow wind at his back, and for a moment, Ezekiel resigns to his fate.
However, in the year 2016, the winds of fate begin to change, and redemption comes in the form of his brother, Gabriel, who bares great news. Ezekiel is given a chance to return to Heaven, but only once he has taken down Molach, an evil demon on the rise. If Ezekiel can stop Molach from helping Lucifer return, he will be welcomed back into Heaven. However, there is more than just a demon in his path, Ezekiel must uncover what else fate has in store for him, including a lovely solitary Prophetess named Isabelle and the endless possibility for joy and whimsy she offers. Can Ezekiel rise once more to the great destiny that awaits him? Or has he been amongst the fickle mortals for far too long?
Author Desy Smith
About the Author A long time fan of a good story, Desy Smith grew up creating and shaping stories of far-off kingdoms and hero princesses. Having written her first novel at the tender age of 13, her lifelong career in writing took off. With her Bachelors’ degree in English, Desy is currently studying for her Masters in Creative Writing, honing all of her skills, energy, and effort into pursuing her dreams as an author. Staying true to her roots, Desy writes almost exclusively for the fantasy/romance/drama/science fiction genre. When she isn’t writing profusely or working on her next project, Desy can be found sneaking a sweet or two. A lover of baked goods, candies, and a happily ever after, Desy can still be found in her native land of Texas.
For more information on Desy and all of her latest projects, please follow her on Facebook @ Floebe Publishing, Instagram: Floebe_publishing, Personal Website:floebepublishing.com
Welcome to the book blitz for BEACON, the second book in the young adult fantasy/scifi series, Lantern, by Chess Desalls. See below for information on the book, buy links for both books, an exclusive excerpt, and details on her giveaway. Book 1, LANTERN, is now available for free.
Synopsis When Serah’s life in Havenbrim becomes unbearable, she accepts an apprenticeship with a celestial mechanic and glazier. Her master assigns her the task of opening a globe framed in copper. But the glass and seal are unbreakable. The solution to the puzzle traps Serah inside the globe, and transports her to a world where she longs for home.
Excerpt #2 Machin turned around and pointed the tongs at the shelf. “Which of the two bulbs do you prefer, Serah Kettel?”
She rubbed her chin. I wonder if this is a test. What do I say? If I choose the wrong one, will he turn me away?
“It’s not a difficult question, child. There is no wrong answer. I’m merely asking for an opinion, your preference.”
The flesh on Serah’s back and arms crawled with a spidery, tingly feeling. “May I take a closer look?”
Machin shrugged and stepped out of her way. The clink of metal hitting metal rang from somewhere behind her. She guessed he’d dropped the tongs back inside the bucket. Flame from the furnace reflected off the glass objects before her, both crystal clear and hollow. Though she found the diamond-shaped bulb more pleasing to look at, there was something about the round bulb—the first of the two Machin had pulled from the furnace. Her knees shook.
Serah pointed a finger at the round bulb.
“Are you sure?” Machin called from behind her.
She stepped forward. Her knees knocked together. Yes. No. I don’t know.
The tip of her finger kissed the glass.
The bulb filled with smoke. A blue spark formed in its center, and then stretched to a finger-sized lightning bolt that crackled and reached out to her. When it zapped her finger, she fell back.
Serah stared at the ceiling, her finger still pointing—not to the lanterns, but to the round bulb on the shelf.
She lifted her head. Her mouth opened wide in horror. The bulb was empty, as if she’d imagined everything.
Warmth surrounded her outstretched hand and pointed finger. Large eyes blinked down at her from behind goggles.
“Serah Kettel,” Machin said, pulling her to her feet. “You must go now. If you wish to accept the position, return here in two weeks’ time.”
Author Chess Desalls
About the Author Chess Desalls is the author of award-winning young adult fiction. Her nonfiction writing has been included in academic and industry publications, with a focus on law and technology. She’s also a contributing editor for WritersTalk, South Bay Writers’ monthly newsletter. When she’s not reading or writing, she enjoys traveling and trying to stay in tune on her flute.
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