Welcome to the book blitz for The Kingmaker, the first book in the young adult fantasy series, The Kingmaker Trilogy, by Gemma Perfect. See below for information on the book, buy links, an exclusive excerpt, and details on her giveaway.
The Kingmaker (The Kingmaker Trilogy #1) by Gemma Perfect
Synopsis “I am sixteen years old and I will die on the morning of my seventeenth birthday. As tradition dictates, I will be sacrificed and my life’s blood will determine which one of my two brothers will be King. My blood will kill one and crown one. My name is Everleigh and I am the Kingmaker.”
The legend of the Kingmaker goes back millions of years. Their magic chooses the rightful King of the Realm and they all die on their seventeenth birthday.
Except this one.
Everleigh is special.
She is the Kingmaker who will live, the Kingmaker who will rule, the Kingmaker who will be Queen.
But not everyone agrees with an age old prophecy that says that a girl will rule the Realm and soon Everleigh is locked in a deadly battle for the throne.
Excerpt #1 Lanorie
Because there’s less than a week till Everleigh’s seventeenth birthday, it’s the Kingmaker’s feast. It’s the biggest celebration I’ve ever seen and I’ve been with her since I was seven and she was nine.
The food – more dishes than I’ve ever seen, and they usually have a lot. This is something else, though. There’s a cooked duck with all the feathers pushed back in so it looks like it’s still alive and a peacock with his tail all fanned out.
Everleigh is eating and drinking like she hasn’t a worry in the world. I think I’d feel too sick if I was her. To be honest with you, I don’t know how she does it; she’s never miserable. If I knew someone was going to slit my throat in less than a week’s time I wouldn’t feel like a feast.
Ah, well, that’s that – she’s the Kingmaker as her aunt was before her. She’s a princess too so she gets the best of everything. Oh, you should see some of her clothes, the dresses and furs – fit for a Queen, never mind a princess. And her jewellery, you’ve never seen anything like it. One of the King’s favourites sent her an emerald the size of an egg.
She lets me have her cast-offs too – I’m the best dressed hand maiden this castle has ever seen.
I mean princess is one thing, but Kingmaker is something else. Everyone loves her, no one can take their eyes off her. It’s like everyone wants to make up for the fact that she’ll die so young.
Look at Addyson. She’s a princess too but no one cares about her. But then she’s got the curse on her, so maybe they would if she wasn’t cursed. We’ll never know that though, will we?
The curse? Oh, well her mother died in childbirth. It’s so unlucky, to start your life by ending another – it’s the worst thing. She’s cursed now. Of course, lots of women die during child birth, so all those children can’t be cursed, but little Addyson killed a Queen, see. A Queen is sacred. The King himself can hardly look at her. Her brothers are nice enough and Everleigh’s like a mother to her. But she probably won’t ever marry, nor have children of her own. What man would want to marry the cursed one? Poor Addyson. Of course, she doesn’t know any of that. She doesn’t understand why the King can’t stand the sight of her and bless her, she trails around after him, like one of the hounds trailing around Cook for some scraps. Poor girl.
Hang on, Everleigh’s caught my eye. I bet she wants topping up – the amount of wine she can put away – oof.
I was right; wine.
Oh, it’s just so fancy and lovely here tonight. I topped up her drink and then Millard caught my eye – that’s her brother, you know – one of the brothers who might be King. I reckon it’ll be him – Macsen’s too soft. Kings need to be strong and powerful – and you should see the muscles on Millard.
So, I topped him up too. Oh, he’s awfully handsome. He’s younger than Macsen but I bet it’ll be him. They don’t even look like brothers really, if you didn’t know you’d never be able to tell. Millard is more handsome. He is tall, with a mop of dark hair and dark eyes. Macsen is shorter and fatter, his hair is blonde like Addy’s and his eyes are a lighter brown than Millard’s. He’s not ugly but he’s not as pleasing on my eye as his brother.
Anyway, where was I? Oh yes – this feast. So, I’m standing on the side of the great hall and, oh, it is great. When you walk in through the doors, the throne is straight ahead of you, but so far it would take you five minutes to get there. It’s full of tables and benches now but usually it’s a bit less crowded. The walls and the ceiling are painted with glorious pictures. It’s so beautiful. I’m on my tiptoes trying to see it all.
I’ve never seen a Kingmaker’s feast before and it is fancy. The main table’s enormous and covered in dishes of food and jugs of ale and wine, too much for any of them to eat – we’ll have a feast tonight in the kitchen, I tell you.
There are so many visitors here too – hundreds of people that I’ve never seen before. A Kingmaker’s feast is something to behold, apparently. It makes me sad and cross. We’ve always known it was coming, of course, but knowing it and being here are different. I feel sick all the time.
Everleigh’s face is flushed from wine, and she’s eating loads. She’s waving her spoon around as she talks to Macsen. She looks so lovely tonight. Lots of the King’s men have their eye on her, especially Brett. Not that there’s much point, though. Poor Everleigh, she’ll never marry, of course. What would be the point? She’ll be dead soon.
Oh, when I say it like that, so matter of fact – which it is – oh, it still makes me shiver. How can she live knowing she’ll die at such a young age? It would kill me.
I think this feast is quite sad really, celebrating the last days of her life. Cook said there’ll be a blessing later, not sure who does it though, probably the wise woman. Wait till you see her, oh she is creepy.
Well the entertainment has started, there’s singing now and it’s wonderful. There’s the usual crew, three of them. They sing and play for the King’s entertainment and it’s so good.
Hang on, summoned again.
Oh, cheeky Millard – he just patted me on my backside. He’ll be King for sure – I might not be Kingmaker, but you can just tell, can’t you?
Why not just make him King then? Indeed. It would spare Everleigh’s life, wouldn’t it?
No, the tradition of Kingmaker has been around forever. Every King is made by the Kingmaker. It’s always the first-born daughter that comes after at least two boys. That’s the one who holds the magic. Well, magic’s not my word – I’m not one for all that dilly dallying. But magic they say it is.
So, King Henry had his two boys and then Everleigh, and then Addyson. So Everleigh will die and so will one of the boys.
Oh, I don’t understand it all really. Apparently, the Kingmaker has the magic blood of the royal line in her. So, when she dies this magic passes on to one of her brothers. Whichever one survives drinking her life’s blood will be King. Eugh, I know – I love Everleigh but I wouldn’t want to drink her blood. They don’t drink much but it will kill one and crown the other.
Ah well. So, the singers have finished and now come the dancers. Soon they’ll all join in and well, to see Everleigh dance you’d think she hasn’t a care in the world.
I love dancing. We dance up a storm in the kitchen at night. I’m not allowed to dance here, of course, but I can’t stop my feet tapping.
I don’t sleep in with Everleigh – she likes her peace, so I leave her to it. It means I get to eat, dance and drink in the kitchen all night, so I’m happy.
Well, there’s something to see. The King is dancing. He doesn’t normally dance. In fact, this might be the first time I’ve seen it. And tonight, of all nights. He probably feels guilty.
Well, the mood’s a funny one. Macsen is his normal self; I can tell – nothing seems to bother him. Cook reckons he’s a little soft in the head, but that seems a bit harsh to me. He’s always smiling. And Millard seems happy enough too. He’s a born King, if you ask me. And our poor King Henry. Maybe he’s dancing to celebrate his last week as King. He’ll be shipped off somewhere when the new King is crowned. Not sure where they go, really. I’ll have to ask Cook.
Only thing is he’ll have to go by himself. Oh, poor man, he never got over the Queen dying like she did. Everleigh looks so much like her, and Addyson probably will as well. No wonder he can’t look at Addyson. It broke his heart when the Queen died.
What can I say? One daughter’s got the death curse on her and the other’s the Kingmaker. One boy will die and one will rule and the King’ll be sent elsewhere anyway.
Who would ever want to be King?
Anyway, he seems happy enough tonight. I like watching him dance. He looks younger. They’re good dancers, both of them. He adores Everleigh. Don’t know how he’ll cope when she dies, but what can he do? She is the Kingmaker. That’s what she was born to do.
I only asked her about it once – being Kingmaker, you know, and she was so matter of fact about it I didn’t ask again. There was no weeping or wailing, no tears. Not that I was hoping for any, of course. She just said: I am the Kingmaker, with a little shrug of her shoulders.
I suppose if you’ve known something since you were so young you wouldn’t even think to question it.
That’s what she said to Cook when Cook asked her too. She said, do you question why you are a cook and I’m a princess? Why one man is King and another a pauper? Why one new born child will die and one will live? How some can survive the black death and others will die almost instantly?
It’s true though. This world is a funny one – I think I’d rather be me than her. Poor Everleigh – she’s too lovely to die.
Well, I’m glad I’m just her handmaiden. Maybe once she’s gone, Millard will give me a job in the new royal household. Aye, he’ll be looking for a wife too. You never know my luck.
Oh, I can’t believe I even thought that. Don’t listen to me. I’m quite giddy with this wonderful night. The music, the laughter, the dancing – the spirits are high in everyone, not just me. Cook brought out a dish earlier and was dancing a jig with one of the stable boys, and she normally just hits them. The girls are grinning and the boys are laughing. The would-be Kings are relaxed and smiling. The King is as happy as I’ve ever seen him. And I see him every day.
Well, this girl who will die too soon is something else. All eyes are on her. She’s so lovely.
So, this is it. Less than a week to go. I can hardly believe it. It’ll fly by, I tell you.
Oh, hang on the King’s on his feet, Everleigh’s taken his arm. They’re going to the throne. Oh, he’s sitting down now. She’s kneeling in front of him. Hang on; I’m going to stand on my stool. She’s still kneeling on the floor and he’s still sitting.
I can’t see – I think someone’s come in to the hall – everyone’s looking but it’s too far away. Curse me for being short.
It’s the wise woman.
Ooh, I can’t help but shudder when I see her. She scares the life out of me. I avoid her at all costs. Whenever I pass her, wherever we are, I can’t meet her eyes. I did once, when I first came here and a shiver went right through me and I swear, all my hair stood on end.
She has the highest place in the court, except for the King and his children, but she’s a scary old thing, if you ask me.
She’s shuffling across to the throne. Her face is covered with the dark hood she always wears. She’s stopped in front of Everleigh.
Oh, I hope she’s not the one who sacrifices her. She’s enough to frighten someone half to death without raising a knife to them. I don’t like to ask Everleigh anything about it so I just nag Cook.
Everleigh’s head’s still down, her neck must be killing. The King is watching the wise woman. Her name’s Halfreda and I make it my life’s work to stay out of her way. I like the witch from the village better, Ginata. She’s so pretty. I try not to take much notice of Halfreda to be honest. She looks at me like she’s judging me. I keep right out of her way.
She’s put her hands on Everleigh’s head. Ooh, I did – I shivered again – I can’t help it.
Everleigh’s standing up now, everyone’s looking at her. Millard’s eyes are so wide. He’s smiling too. I bet he’s thinking he’ll be King.
Oh, what’s she doing now? She’s saying something but I can’t hear it, I’m too far away. Everleigh’s kneeling again and now the King is standing. He’s talking now.
I can hear mumbling but I can’t make out the words.
Oh, Millard and Macsen are going to the throne now. One’s standing either side of Everleigh. Halfreda has a hand on each head.
Everleigh just stood up. She’s got a hand on each of their heads now too. Ooh, they’re kneeling.
Oh, I don’t really know what it’s all about. Another question for Cook. No wonder she rolls her eyes when she sees me coming.
Now the singers are singing again and Everleigh’s hugging her father and her brothers.
Oh, they’re coming back to their seats. I think it’s all over with.
Well, it was a bit exciting. The countdown begins now I guess.
Less than one week until she’s dead. And then what?
Author Gemma Perfect
About the Author Gemma Perfect loves to write. She’s been doing it since she was nine. After a few false starts – self publishing children’s books, and being traditionally published with her romance novella, she has finally found her feet writing young adult historical fantasy books. She is currently writing The Cursed Princess, set five years after The Kingmaker Trilogy finishes, following the adventures of Everleigh’s sister, Addyson.
Gemma lives in Wales with her husband Craig and their three boys, Sam, Corey and Oliver. She is happiest when writing, day dreaming and eating smelly blue cheese.
Welcome to the book blitz for The Unleashed, the second book in the young adult contemporary/fantasy series, The Undelightened, by Bentz Deyo. See below for information on the book, buy links, a couple of exclusive teasers, and details on his giveaway.
The Unleashed (The Undelightened #2) by Bentz Deyo
About the Book
Title: The Unleashed Series: The Undelightened #2 Author: Bentz Deyo Release Date: January 13, 2017 Genre: Young Adult Contemporary/Fantasy Links: Goodreads |Amazon | Amazon UK | Amazon CA | Amazon AU
Synopsis Culter Fuller came back into my life on the day my mother died, as if losing my mother wasn’t bad enough.
We hated each other since childhood. Well, I hated him. He had a very different story.
When I moved to my dad’s house to finish my last semester of high school, we went from bitter enemies to. . . something else. He was suddenly everywhere, occupying my space, determined to pull me into his life, filling me with thoughts I knew were wrong.
I knew that soon we would cross a line that should never be crossed.
I knew crossing that line could have very serious consequences; because Culter Fuller wasn’t just any irresistible boy, Culter Fuller was my stepbrother.
But, I was always very bad at making the right choices.
[Recommended 16 + this is a mature YA or New Adult book]
Author Bentz Deyo
About the Author Deyo is a New Jersey native who can usually be found running, writing, jotting new ideas in his million notebooks… or explaining things like “why pee is yellow” and “what is wind?” to his three year old daughter. He’s a fantasy nerd at heart and is currently writing book 3 of The Undelightened Series.
Skyscape Publishing and author Emily R. King are revealing the cover to The Hundredth Queen, a young adult fantasy, releasing June 1, 2017. See below for the cover, information on the book, and pre-order links.
The Hundredth Queen by Emily R. King
About the Book Title: The Hundredth Queen Author: Emily R. King Publisher: Skyscape Publishing Release Date: June 1, 2017
Genre: Young Adult Fantasy
Links: Goodreads | Amazon
Synopsis As an orphan ward of the Sisterhood, eighteen-year-old Kalinda is destined for nothing more than a life of seclusion and prayer. Plagued by fevers, she’s an unlikely candidate for even a servant’s position, let alone a courtesan or wife. Her sole dream is to continue living in peace in the Sisterhood’s mountain temple.
But a visit from the tyrant Rajah Tarek disrupts Kalinda’s life. Within hours, she is ripped from the comfort of her home, set on a desert trek, and ordered to fight for her place among the rajah’s ninety-nine wives and numerous courtesans. Her only solace comes in the company of her guard, the stoic but kind Captain Deven Naik.
Faced with the danger of a tournament to the death—and her growing affection for Deven—Kalinda’s only hope for escape lies in an arcane, forbidden power that’s buried within her.
In Emily R. King’s thrilling fantasy debut, an orphan girl blossoms into a warrior, summoning courage and confidence in her fearless quest to upend tradition, overthrow an empire, and reclaim her life as her own.
Author Emily R. King
About the Author Emily R. King is a reader of everything and a writer of fantasy. Born in Canada and raised in the USA, she has perfected the use of “eh” and “y’all” and uses both interchangeably. Shark advocate, consumer of gummy bears, and islander at heart, Emily’s greatest interests are her four children. She’s a member of the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators and an active participant in her local writers’ community. She lives in Northern Utah with her family and their cantankerous cat.
Synopsis The asteroid hurtling toward the earth will kill billions.
The Emperor and his Gold Court will be safe in their space station, watching from the stars. The Silvers will be protected underground. But the Bronzes must fight it out at the Shadow Trials for the few remaining spots left on the space station.
When an enigmatic benefactor hands Maia Graystone a spot in the Trials, she won’t just get a chance at salvation for her and her baby brother, Max: She gets to confront the mother who abandoned her in prison, the mad Emperor who murdered her father, and the Gold prince who once loved her. But it’s the dark bastard prince she’s partnered with that will make her question everything, including her own heart. With the asteroid racing closer every day, Maia must trust someone to survive. The question is who?
Author Audrey Grey
About the Author Audrey Grey lives in the charming state of Oklahoma, with her husband, two little people, and four mischievous dogs. You can usually find her hiding out in her office from said little people and dogs, surrounded by books and sipping kombucha while dreaming up wondrous worlds for her characters to live in. .
Synopsis Eight weeks after sixteen-year-old Andie Hamilton gives her virginity to her best friend, “the stick” says she’s pregnant.
Her friends treat her like she’s carrying the plague, her classmates torture and ridicule her, and the boy she thought loved her doesn’t even care. Afraid to experience the next seven months alone, she turns to her ex-boyfriend, Neil Donaghue, a dark-haired, blue-eyed player. With him, she finds comfort and the support she desperately needs to make the hardest decision of her life: whether or not to keep the baby.
Then a tragic accident leads Andie to discover Neil’s keeping a secret that could dramatically alter their lives, and she’s forced to make a choice. But after hearing her son’s heartbeat for the first time, she doesn’t know how she’ll ever be able to let go.
The Carver by Jacob Devlin
About the Book
Title: The Carver Author: Jacob Devlin Publisher: Blaze Publishing, LLC Release Date: July 19, 2016 Genre: Young Adult Fantasy/Fairy Tale Retelling Links: Goodreads | Amazon | Barnes & Noble
Synopsis THE GIRL IN THE RED HOOD has been looking for her mother for six months, searching from the depths of New York’s subways to the heights of its skyscrapers . . .
THE PRINCE looks like he’s from another time entirely, or maybe he’s just too good at his job at Ye Old Renaissance Faire . . .
THE ACTRESS is lighting up Hollywood Boulevard with her spellbinding and strikingly convincing portrayal of a famous fairy. Her name may be big, but her secrets barely fit in one world . . .
Fifteen-year-old Crescenzo never would have believed his father’s carvings were anything more than “stupid toys.” All he knows is a boring life in an ordinary Virginia suburb, from which his mother and his best friend have been missing for years. When his father disappears next, all Crescenzo has left is his goofy neighbor, Pietro, who believes he’s really Peter Pan and that Crescenzo is the son of Pinocchio. What’s more: Pietro insists that they can find their loved ones by looking to the strange collection of wooden figurines Crescenzo’s father left behind.
With Pietro’s help, Crescenzo sets off on an adventure to unite the real life counterparts to his figurines. It’s enough of a shock that they’re actually real, but the night he meets the Girl in the Red Hood, dark truths burst from the past. Suddenly, Crescenzo is tangled in a nightmare where magic mirrors and evil queens rule, and where everyone he loves is running out of time.
The Surrendered by Case Maynard
About the Book
Title: The Surrendered Author: Case Maynard Publisher: Blaze Publishing Release Date: September 20, 2016 Genre: Young Adult Dystopian Romance Links: Goodreads | Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Kobo
Synopsis After a financial collapse devastates the United States, the new government imposes a tax on the nation’s most valuable resource—the children.
Surrendered at age ten—after her parents could no longer afford her exorbitant fees—Vee Delancourt has spent six hard years at the Mills, alongside her twin, Oliver. With just a year to freedom, they do what they can to stay off the Master’s radar. But when Vee discovers unspeakable things happening to the younger girls in service, she has no choice but to take a stand—a decision that lands her on the run and outside the fence for the first time since the System robbed her of her liberty.
Vee knows the Master will stop at nothing to prove he holds ultimate authority over the Surrendered. But when he makes a threat that goes beyond what even she considers possible, she accepts the aid of an unlikely group of allies. Problem is, with opposing factions gunning for the one thing that might save them all, Vee must find a way to turn oppression and desperation into hope and determination—or risk failing all the children and the brother she left behind..
Welcome to the book blitz for Light in My Dark, the first book in the young adult fantasy series, Beyond the Wall,by Jean Gilbert and William Dresden.See below for information on the book buy links, an exclusive excerpt, and details on their giveaway. For a limited time, you can pick up the eBooks for just $1.99.
Light in My Dark by William Dresden and Jean Gilbert
One of pro-hockey’s golden couples, Andrew and Caryn Chadwick live in the limelight reserved for elite professional athletes. On their second anniversary, Andrew receives an unexpected contract offer to join the Tampa Suns. As they look forward to a new adventure, neither foresees an event that challenges their love and threatens their marriage.
Until the day it doesn’t.
A sudden and senseless accident threatens Andrew’s life and inexplicably drives a wedge between the couple. Shattered by the incident, paralyzed by fear that it could happen again, Caryn finds herself at odds with her husband and unable to provide the support he needs—at the time he is most vulnerable.
As their perfect world crumbles, each makes choices that take Andrew and Caryn further apart. Distrust, fears, and secrets construct walls. This Piece of My Soul follows the joint and separate paths the couple navigate as each hopes to rediscover the love that can conquer all.
**Although This Piece of My Soul is the second book in the Clearing the Ice Series, it can be read as a standalone novel.**
A shadow disengaged from a tree and moved into the twilight. It was a hooded man in black, one of the three that were chasing him. In his hand glinted a curved sword. Jack turned to run but froze when the second hunter approached from the other side of the clearing. He too held a curved blade. Both men trained on him, stalking him.
“What do you want from me?” Jack cried out.
Silence filled the forest.
The black clad hunters continued to advance from both sides through the underbrush. When they came to the grass of bluebells, they entered without hesitation and raised their swords in unison.
A strange melody danced up from their knees as they moved to pin him in. Fear blinded Jack’s mind as he scooted to the center of the glade. The taste of bile came up into his mouth. He was going to die. He knew it.
The hunters tightened their grips on their swords, ready to strike down, when a silvery point suddenly jutted through the chest of one of them. His stormy blue eyes bulged in shock as blood spurted out around the point and poured down his black tunic. A grunt came from his mouth. His sword fell to the ground as he grabbed the steel point sticking out of his chest.
Behind him stood the pale-haired man. In his hand, he gripped the sword that was thrust through the hunter’s chest. With a jerk, he pulled it free, letting the man drop to the ground in a heap at his feet.
Author William Dresden
About the Authors William Dresden is an author and award-winning screenwriting. He spent several years as a script doctor and pursued the dream of writing hollywood blockbusters. Now he mostly writes fiction and enjoys spending time with his family and friends. William currently lives in Virginia with his wife and two children.
About the Authors Jean Gilbert is an award winning speculative fiction writer from New Zealand. She is a Core member of SpecFicNZ, and is also the coordinator for SpecFicNZ Central. Jean’s novels include the Vault Agency Series: Shifters, Ardus, and The Vault. You can find her short stories Blonde Obsession in Baby Teeth: Bite Size Tales of Terror, and Pride in the Contact Light Anthology..
Welcome to the book blitz for Seasons Within, an young adult fantasy by Lele Iturrioz. See below for information on the book, buy links, an exclusive excerpt, and details on her giveaway.
Seasons Within by Lele Iturrioz
About the Book Title: Seasons Within Author: Lele Iturrioz Publisher: Acorn Publishing Release Date: December 15, 2016 Genre: Young Adult Fantasy Links:Goodreads | Amazon
Synopsis Most teenage girls know their name, where they came from, who they are. Not G, a beautiful redhead with unusual markings on her wrist. She gets her name from a silver locket she keeps around her neck, unaware the engraved letter “G” on its front holds the secret to her past.
G’s life before the age of six has been a mystery to her. Each night for the last twelve years she’s been haunted by the same nightmare—a war. Horrendous beasts, warriors able to wield the four elements, and a boy who saves her by means of blue fire taunt her memory. But on her eighteenth birthday, G’s life begins to unravel. When she meets her new Chemistry professor, a man with an uncanny resemblance to the boy who saves her, she knows there must be more to her dreams.
It’s dangerous not knowing who you are, what you’re capable of, and what future awaits you. Especially when the darkness that slaughtered your entire world, just found you. .
Excerpt Chapter 1 The Dream
DUST. Everything was covered in dust and ashes.
Nádúr Noc, the main city of Terra was once beautiful and full of life. Not like that night, the night the darkness descended from the far land of Ifreann.
Now, the round city of Nádúr Noc was dark, burned, and destroyed.
Trees were no longer big and full of different green and golden, bright colors. The river Enosi, a river that surrounded the city with its peaceful crystalline water was now a rapid of blood and death. As for the sky, once bright and blue, it was now filled with dark smoke so thick, it made it nearly impossible to see the remains of the Zansèt Palace; a magnificent castle in the middle of the city made of pearls, flowers, rocks, and vines.
On that night, there was no music and laughter. The only thing anybody could hear were screams and the desolate pleas of the in-habitants. Fear, pain, and unimaginable loss.
This city wasn’t the ruins of any ordinary war, it was the ruins between the light side of nature and the darkest of evils. Beasts and other horrendous creatures destroyed everything that they came across. Killed everyone in their sight. Soulless creatures who lived to torture. Answering to no one, no one except Him, the one who owned the darkness. The one who hell itself was afraid of.
On the outskirts of Nádúr Noc, across river Enosi, four of the elite warriors of Terra stood above the city on a grassy knoll. They watched as their sacred city burned to ashes. One of those men was Hans; a tall, strong, man with bright blue eyes, bushy blond beard and a bear’s claw scar down his neck and chest. Hans was no ordinary warrior, at an early age of twenty-seven he was an outstanding earth wielder and the youngest leader the Elder Clan ever had. He was also the one in charge of assuring the survival of their one last mission.
That night, Hans carried a brown forty pound bundle. Cargo whose value was far greater than all the riches of the world, as it was the world itself that depended on its survival.
“We are late,” cried a taller bald warrior.
“We are, but we can still make it,” said Nobu, a shorter, more muscular Asian man with two Koi tattoos across his left shoulder.
“Look at it.” The bald warrior pointed out at the ongoing war.
Houses burning, people running, beasts and fire destroying everything at their will. His body might’ve been rock solid but his hand was shaking. “It’s impossible to reach the palace. There has to be another way.”
“There isn’t. Our only hope is getting to the castle,” Nobu explained.
Hans looked around in all directions. Besides surrounding the city, the river Enosi had ten equally spaced creeks that flowed from the river’s bank, inwards, to the main plaza. “We’ll go through one of the river’s creeks to reach the plaza. From there we’ll have a short distance of running to the palace,” he said. “Get ready.”
As the warriors prepared to cross the waters into the city, the fourth warrior asked, “Is it true? Is He really here?” Each syllable trembled with fear. There was a moment of silence. The answer was obvious, as was the dread of speaking it out loud.
Finally, Hans stared at his entrusted cargo. “He was the first to arrive. He needs to make sure we don’t succeed.” Hans gave Nobu a nod. The soldiers descended the hill and, in the stealth like manner they had been trained for, ran through the tall grass until they reached the Enosi’s river bank. Nobu walked to the water’s edge and raised his hand in the direction of the thrashing bloody water.
The water began to churn, eventually opening to create a hollow circle between the bottom of the river and its surface. Once the waters were in his control, Nobu walked down the water cave into the river followed by Hans and the rest of the warriors.
As they walked undetected inside the water tunnel, the beasts continued shattering the bodies of those who were in their sight. The thick smell of iron and blood clung to their lungs as they choked their last breaths.
With a calculated pace, the group of men arrived at the base of the main plaza. Nobu slowly moved his hand through the air allowing a small portion of water to leak into the tunnel around their feet. Hans checked to make sure the dry bundle was cradled securely in one arm, preparing himself for his swimming ascent. The creek flooded, lifting the warriors up as the water levels rose towards the plaza’s ledge.
With the water almost at the top, Hans and the rest climbed up to the main plaza. A place where there once were dozens of jewels incrusted on the floors, smiling people, and flowers all around, was now replaced by corpses, blood, ruins, and stench. A place that separated the bank of the ten creeks and Zansèt Palace. Halfway between the creek’s bank and the castle, stood a burnt tree with a mix of symbols from every culture known to mankind engraved in its trunk.
This was known as The First Tree.
With silent ease, the men crept onto the dry land and darted behind some nearby ruins. In the market, the screams came louder. The smell of death grew stronger. People ran in every direction but it was useless, the smoke was so thick and the beasts were so used to darkness that their prey never stood a chance.
In the middle of the chaos lay the decaying castle. Its flag, half burned, still waved Nádúr Noc’s emblem of the four elements etched on the First Tree.
Out of nowhere, a twelve foot tall, black spider jumped from one of the ruins and landed a few feet away from the group. In all the universe there has never been an abomination like the Skuggor. With red eyes that could see movement even in the darkest place and three scorpion tails so hard and thick it was almost impossible to penetrate, Skuggors were nasty creatures of darkness preying on every living thing. They enjoyed ripping apart their victims and were so fast it was said they could out run any creature ever created.
Undetected by the group, a particularly large Skuggor leapt and grabbed the fourth warrior tearing him into pieces with its tails and teeth. The group ran without looking back, but the beasts were faster. Another beast jumped out of the ashes, only this time, Nobu opened his palm and water flew from his pores. The water spouted and formed three pointy solid daggers. Nobu flicked his hand and shot the daggers into the beast’s eyes.
A chilling hiss flew closer to them. “Draak!” screamed the bald warrior with gushing terror seconds before he was taken away. The Draak were horrifying beasts which preyed from the sky. Twenty five foot, dragons made of bones with spikes on their arms, tail, and at the top of their enormous bat wings. Draaks were the most feared creatures. They were also known as death’s whisperer since the last thing their victims heard was a soft whisper right before the Draak’s claws punctured their skin and took them away.
Hans moved away, lifting his hand and summoning two thick roots from the earth. The roots grabbed the Draak’s leg, smashing it against the floor. The beast stood up as if nothing happened and attacked a villager.
“Stay on route!” screamed Hans as he sped up the pace towards the castle.
The warriors’ lungs filled with ash, their feet were drenched in blood, but they kept running to the castle.
A third Skuggor ran in their direction and jumped, aiming for Hans. The Skuggor was about to reach him, when SLAM, a ball of fire hit the beast throwing him off target. The Skuggor turned its focus to a young villager with his shaky palm pointed at him. Its red eyes glowed with molten fury as he growled and ripped the young villager’s body apart. Another life lost, a willing sacrifice made to ensure the survival of their precious cargo.
With the extra time given by the sacrificing villager, Hans stopped and passed the brown bundle to Nobu. “Whatever you do, don’t let them near.”
Nobu took the bundle. There was a moment of hesitation but Hans placed his left hand on Nobu’s left shoulder. “Agnosco,” he said and placed his right hand on Hans’s right shoulder creating an X and repeated the same words. “Agnosco.”
Hans smiled and moved his hand away. “Run my friend, run.”
As instructed, Nobu ran. Hans waved his right palm in both directions and smiled at the beast. The floor cracked until vines and roots climbed out and reached Hans’s hand. With a slight movement of his wrist, the vines lifted, creating a tall, thick wall between the warriors and the beasts. Nobu hugged the bundle and ran faster until he heard the horrifying whisper of a Draak followed by the gushing screams of Hans. The vine wall came down with a loud crack and he knew it was over. The blood in Nobu’ veins went cold and his feet stopped moving. There was no way to outrun the Skuggor. No one ever had, no one ever would. Not in that realm.
Defeated, Nobu knelt down and unwrapped the bundle. A small six-year-old girl with gray eyes and tangled bright red hair blinked at him.
“Hide here, I’m going to go the other way to draw the Skuggor away from you. When they are gone you run as fast as you can to the castle.” Nobu passed his hand over the girl’s hair. “Do you remember where the special entrance is?” The girl nodded. “Good.” He smiled but his eyes remained sad and worried. “No matter what you hear, do not stop running.”
Nobu kissed the girl’s forehead. “And when you see her again, please tell my daughter I love her,” he whispered in her ear before hiding her between the bodies of two fallen villagers.
After quickly making sure the girl wasn’t visible, Nobu stood up and ran the other way luring the Skuggor away from the little girl. Once all the creatures were gone, the girl raced toward the castle. Within minutes, the Skuggor had killed Nobu and went on the hunt for her.
She could see it, the secret entrance to the Zansèt Palace, but there was no way to reach it in time. She sat on the ground letting the roots of the First Tree reach out of the concrete to create a barrier around her in order to shield her. She kneeled down in the protective fort of roots and caressed one of them. “Thank you” she whispered.
She cleaned the dust on her face with her fists so she could focus better. She was only a child but there was something about her that felt like an old spirit. To keep herself undetected, she concentrated on her breathing. It was as if she understood everything around her; she was calm and steady, ready to fight if it came to that. She wasn’t afraid, she knew what she had to do and acknowledged the fate she would face if discovered.
Pounding footsteps startled her. The sound came from the castle’s direction and grew louder and louder as they neared the girl’s hiding spot. The First Tree’s roots grew bigger in order to provide her more coverage. This is it, He found me she thought. She raised her left palm at the intruder’s direction and narrowed her eyes for a better aim.
Shining on her wrist was her birthmark, a Five Fold symbol.
At the moment she was about to attack, a nine year-old boy with fierce green eyes and messy light brown hair, stopped her. “Watch it kiddo! It’s me.” The girl lowered her hand, and Edan kneeled in front of her. Trying to calm her, he covered her eyes with his hand and pulled her into a hug with his other one “I’m right here.” Edan moved his hand from her eyes, allowing the girl to look up at him. Her cold strong features vanished leaving a scared child who needed someone to hold her.
“That’s more like it,” he said with a reassuring smile. “Now let’s go. She’s waiting for you and we don’t have much time out here.”
Edan picked up the little girl. He held her steady, her face gently pressed against his chest and he ran as fast as possible. Four of the Skuggor noticed the movement and changed direction. Even at top speed, they couldn’t catch up with Edan. They couldn’t sense him either.
Edan wasn’t running straight, he was bolting into different directions and changing his route as much as possible. It wasn’t until he stopped stone cold when the girl knew something was wrong. She prepared herself to fight the beasts, but there were no beasts attacking them, it was Him, the feared one. He stood in front of the thin, muscular boy. The dark figure talked, but the words were muffled since the girl’s ears were covered by Edan’s chest and arms.
For the first time in her life, the girl couldn’t understand what was happening. She’d heard the dreadful stories about Him. Stories that could send chills of terror to the bravest warrior. And yet, Edan was there, standing without shaking or even blinking his eyes. By the rhythm of his heart and the movements of his body, the girl knew Edan was affected, but it wasn’t fear, it was something else, only she couldn’t tell what.
Edan whistled a high pitch note. A nearby Skuggor lost control and charged them. Edan grabbed a small crystal with a black powder out of his pocket, back-kicked it towards the Skuggor’s eyes, and without letting her go, he ducked.
The crystal broke on impact releasing the black powder into the Skuggor’s eyes. The beast leapt over Edan’s stooped body and attacked Him, giving the boy a small window of time to escape and run to the castle.
Speeding up his pace, the boy finally arrived at the main gates of the Zansèt Palace and closed them before anyone or anything could get in.
Unlucky for the boy, it took Him a matter of seconds to snap the beast’s neck and take off after them. Edan hid behind a column and placed his finger against his lips. The girl remained quiet as instructed. Edan moved against a wall and opened a secret compartment between a series of branches and trees.
They walked between roots and dirt, eventually reaching a room that was not yet touched by darkness. It remained pure and completely breathtaking. The place was made of petals, vines, precious stones, and water. Screams of the torture and death happening outside could not be heard, blood couldn’t be seen. It was the true essence of an intact Nádúr Noc.
“Tanya?” Edan called out. A woman with soft flowing black hair and wide gray eyes came out of one of the doors, ran to the girl, and hugged her. “My baby!” she covered the girl in kisses. “My beautiful girl, thank you Edan.” She smiled and kissed the girl’s forehead for a second time. “You are finally here, you made it.” Her face changed from happiness to a pain so strong that only a mother who’d lost a child could understand. “You made it, but we won’t. I’m so sorry for that.”
Tanya moved her hand and branches grew out until they reached her hand. Out of the branches, a small box fell into her palm. Tanya opened the box and took out a vintage silver locket with an engraved “G” in the middle.
Tanya walked to the girl’s back and opened the chain. The girl moved her hands in circles and a small gust of wind made her hair curl up into a bun. Tanya clasped the necklace and caressed her neck.
A loud thump was heard across the wall. The screams and cries were now audible inside the room. That only meant one thing. He found them. He was getting closer. “Edan!” Tanya gasped. “Quick!” The little girl’s hair fell back down her back, and Tanya lifted her into her arms.
Without wasting time, Edan moved his arms in circles creating a beautiful bubble of blue fire. The girl clung to her mother’s neck. “Sweetie, let go,” begged the mother.
“I can’t, I don’t want to.”
“You have to, for all of us.” The little girl lowered her arms and her mother kissed her goodbye before she placed her inside the fire bubble. A heartbreaking moment between a mother and her child, knowing that would be the last time they would see each other. Tanya kissed the girl’s nose and gently pressed the locket against the girl’s chest. “Never take it off,” she said while the fire ball closed up.
Once it closed… everything went dark, everything went silent…
Everything…until an alarm clock blared like crazy.
Author Lele Iturrioz
About the Author Major geek by day, hermit writer by night! Love books, sugar gliders and everything that comes in a delicious taco.
I’m the author of the YA fantasy series, Seasons Within
I spend my time writing, planning on writing, reading, drinking coffee like there was no tomorrow, MMA and chilling with my friends and loved ones. .
Welcome to the book blitz for The Elf, a young adult fantasy/fairy tale, by Max Dune. See below for information on the book, buy links, the book’s trailer, an exclusive excerpt, and details on his giveaway.
The Elf by Max Dune
About the Book Title: The Elf Author: Max Dune Publisher: David & Duke Publishing, LLC Release Date: October 18, 2016 Genre: Young Adult Fantasy/Fairy Tale Links:Goodreads | Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Kobo
Synopsis This Christmas…it’s war. Grab your weapon and join the fight in this modern Santa Claus retelling with a dark twist. Fans of Guardians of the Galaxy and Avatar will be riveted by The Elf‘s action, humor and romance!
Elves are dying in the North Pole, and none of their scientists can find a cure. They believe it’s a virus, unleashed by a powerful enemy. All signs point to Jack Frost, who’s been biding his time from afar. Watching. Waiting. Plotting. One brave elf, to save his kind, will venture out to meet evil in the eye. But he uncovers a mystery more dangerous than he could have ever imagined. Now Lucian must join a group of warriors and fight. Fuego; a flame-wielding pyro. Tiktok; a brilliant bomb expert, Yuriko; a deadly ninja assassin. And Bullets; a hot-headed gun aficionado. These unlikely heroes must learn to work together and defeat the rising evil. Or Christmas will soon be lost…forever.
Excerpt #3 By the time we reach the forest, though, my enthusiasm has dwindled. The place seems to have been drawn out of a nightmare. The black trees twist violently out of the ground, and their equally dark leaves form a canopy so dense that hardly any sunlight breaks in. I bite my lip, staring at the path of gloom and uncertainty that cuts through the densely packed trees. A plethora of worries swirls around in my head, especially since we already encountered one mythical monster who tried to kill and eat me. I do my best to shove those grim imaginings aside and strap on my headlamp. After it’s turned on, I snap Blitzen’s reins.
The reindeer remains still as a statue. He stares into the dark labyrinth of timbers.
“I’m not thrilled either, but what other choice do we have? Going around the forest will take much longer, and our supplies might run out. We have to go through it.”
He huffs unhappily, then proceeds.
I can almost feel the darkness pressing down on me. It has a suffocating effect as we move carefully through miles of eerie maze. My ears strain to pick up any animal sounds, but apart from the distant howling of winds above us, silence fills the air. I turn my face from side to side, shining my headlamp beam on the massively thick trunks. These trees make the pines of the forest that encircles Santa’s Village seem like twigs by comparison. I’ve never seen anything like them, which makes me think magic is at work here.
And that makes me nervous.
After awhile, I begin humming Christmas carols. It helps calm me, and I’m sure it brings comfort to Blitzen too. I have to question the logic of my current plan. Because, to be honest, I don’t know the full extent of Frost’s powers. Santa hasn’t told us much. Apart from his flying, all we know is that Frost has dangerous ice-wielding powers. But what if he has other secret powers at his disposal? Such as super healing, for instance. If that’s the case, he could have recovered from the bullet wounds by now. I frown at the possibility; a healthy Frost will be much tougher to kill.
Off to the right, leaves rustle.
I stop humming and turn my head. I see them. A pair of golden eyes, shining in the darkness. I inhale sharply, then increase the intensity of my headlamp for better visibility. I instantly regret the decision. The eyes belong to gigantic black wolf. It rests on its haunches, with hits head lowered, perfectly positioned for an attack. A low growl escapes its throat, sending chills up my spine.
Before it moves, I raise my crossbow and take aim.
It doesn’t budge. It just maintains its battle-ready crouch, never blinking, sizing us up, salivating hungrily as it does. My chest tightens to the point of aching. God, what do I do? I think, shaking in fear. Should I shoot it or wait for it to make a move?
Blitzen lowers his pointy antlers and waves them in the wolf’s direction. A warning to our enemy: “Back up or I’m making wolf-kebabs.”
A smile forms on my face, half from nerves but half in great pride. Blitzen the Barbarian doesn’t mess around. I couldn’t have asked for a better companion, and I’m beyond grateful for my comrade’s brazenness, not to mention his intimidating physique.
Suddenly the wolf throws its head back and howls. As if on cue, more yellow eyes appear in the inky blackness surrounding us. The pack joins him, releasing their own haunting wails. The reverberations of the cries crackle through my eardrums and make my hair stand on end all over my body.
“Go, Blitzen. Go!” I cry.
Author Max Dune
About the Author Max Dune is a Southern writer who spent most his childhood watching TV, devouring comic books and weaving magical worlds in his head. In his mid-twenties, he decided to follow his true passion. He has since created a number of short stories, novels, screenplays and TV pilots. To be alerted to future books and giveaways, please sign up for his newsletter.
Welcome to the book blitz for The Travelers, a young adult fantasy, by K.L. Kranes. See below for information on the book, buy links, an exclusive excerpt, and details on her giveaway.
The Travelers by K. L. Kranes
About the Book
Title: The Travelers Author: K.L. Kranes Publisher: Saguaro Books Release Date: October 2, 2016 Genre: Young Adult Fantasy Links: Goodreads | Amazon | Barnes & Noble
Synopsis Dagny lives a dangerous life. Pursued by an unknown enemy, Dagny and her family are always on the run and must use magic to stay hidden and safe. When Dagny meets Marc, everything changes. For the first time, she can imagine a future that doesn’t involve constantly changing her life. Despite the risk, Dagny vows to stop running. But as their enemies start closing in, Dagny wonders if she can ever really live a normal life and if she can actually trust Marc.
This fast-paced debut novel by K.L. Kranes merges fantasy and romance and takes the reader on an exciting magical adventure.
My fingers shook violently as I dragged them across the smooth, cool surface of the metal coffin. It was pitch black inside the eight-foot cell and there was no way for me to tell if my sight had returned. I had been through this before but my new heartbeat still quickened with fear every time. In darkness and confinement, rational thought did not always prevail.
Suddenly, a spasm raced through my right leg. The sensation was more intense than I ever remembered feeling. That wasn’t saying much. I forgot a lot of things. The power to magically move your soul to another person’s body was not as exciting as it sounded. It had consequences. For me, one of those was memory loss.
To fit my soul into this new body, I had to chip away little pieces of myself and let them fall into oblivion. Every time I ‘Traveled’, I lost more and more of myself. I was just a bunch of broken pieces inside the shell of a body. I didn’t even know what it meant to be me anymore. When my limbs began to wiggle, I knew I’d finally whittled away just enough to resemble a real person.
A jarring crack of a metal door thrown open announced one of my siblings was free.
“Where’s Dagny?” my brother asked, with a grunt.
“This is unacceptable. Look at this. I’m ugly,” my sister barked, ignoring my brother’s question.
Hiding in my cold, dark container, I felt as if millions of wires were attached to my body. With every word spoken, another wire jerked and compelled me to leave my cell. But I wasn’t ready yet.
When I ‘Traveled’, which is what we call it when we move from one body to the next, I felt free, at least for a little while. My soul floated above the earth. I had no weight, no burdens. I didn’t have eyes in that state of being. But my mystical vision saw all the auras on earth.
Beneath me millions of colored lights pulsed in the darkness. My parents called it flying on the wings of the raven because the raven ushered souls across realms. We Traveled by summoning its power. This was the first part of the transition. It was beautiful. It was peaceful. It was fleeting. Then came the second part, my parents called that the landing, which was a nice way of describing it. It was more like crashing. I crashed down into someone else’s dead body and had to force my way through the flesh and into the marrow. I can’t lie. That part hurt.
Author K. L. Kranes
About the Author K.L. Kranes lives in the Washington, DC metro area with her husband, daughter and their adorable dog. She graduated from Virginia Tech with a degree in Communications. K.L. moved to New York City after college and worked in public relations before returning to her true passions of writing and editing. She currently works as a freelance writer and editor. In her spare time, she enjoys hanging out with her family and trying out new potential hobbies. Her latest endeavors include driving her dog crazy as she learns the guitar and making a fool of herself as a novice swing dancer.
Welcome to the book blitz for Acca, the third book in the young adult fantasy/romance series, Angelbound Origins, by Christina Bauer. See below for information on the book, buy links, an exclusive excerpt, and details on her giveaway.
Acca (Angelbound Origins #3) by Christina Bauer
About the Book
Title: Acca Series: Angelbound Origins #3 Author: Christina Bauer Publisher: Ink Monster, LLC Release Date: December 13, 2016 Genre: Young Adult Fantasy Romance Links: Goodreads | Amazon | Barnes & Noble | iBooks | Kobo
Synopsis In just one week, supernatural warrior Myla Lewis must discover enough evidence to send the evil House of Acca to prison… or she’ll end up in jail herself, along with her fiancé, Prince Lincoln. No pressure.
To gather proof, Myla and Lincoln go undercover at an all-girl’s high school on Earth. Lincoln acts as the new gym teacher; Myla becomes the school’s least popular transfer student ever. To stop them from getting the goods, Acca releases Hell on Earth. Literally. Good thing Myla and Lincoln aren’t afraid of a tough fight. This one promises to be the hardest yet. After all, who ever said high school wasn’t hell?
Excerpt (Chapter 1) I haul ass across a tenement rooftop. The sky threatens rain, but what else is new? This is Purgatory, after all. Land of blech. On the next building over, Desmond the klepto demon scrambles his lizard-like butt off as he attempts to escape. Attempts being the key word in that sentence.
At every step, my fiancé Prince Lincoln keeps a steady pace by my side. A warm sense of happiness seeps through my chest.
We’re demon hunting together again. At last.
Ahead of us, Desmond leaps onto another rooftop. This part of town is cramped and deserted, so he can easily scramble around without freaking out the general populace. Desmond’s a lanky dude with green skin, a flat nose, and an enchanted book in his possession that he just snatched from me when I exited my limo.
What a douche.
Anger pulses through my bloodstream.Desmond stole the Rixa Codex—a small book of evidence that’s hugely important.
I want it back like now.
I force my breathing to slow. Even though the book is crucial, I need to be patient. Plus, the chase is all part of the fun, right? And hell knows I haven’t had any demon-fighting fun in ages.
Speaking of which, what’s the rush to grab Desmond anyway? It’s not like he stands a chance against both Lincoln and me.
From the corner of my eye, I give my guy a quick once-over. Hmm. Someone looks mighty spicy in his new black body armor.
Maybe if I let Lincoln run ahead a little, I can get a quick peek at his butt.
I take care to pant excessively while slowing my pace across the uneven shingles. Sure, it’s unlikely that I’d actually be tired at this point. Like every native of Purgatory, I’m a quasi-demon. That means I’m mostly human with a little bit of demon DNA. It’s what gives me a kick-ass tail as well as powers across two of the seven deadly sins, namely lust and wrath. My lust side grants me a pretty face, curves that stop traffic, and auburn hair that looks amazing without any product. Thanks to my inner wrath demon, I can fight like hell and run full out for days.
Even so, sometimes a girl just needs to slow down and check out her fiancé’s butt, so that’s what I do right now. Carpe assem.
Lincoln runs ahead of me. “For the record, I know what you’re up to.”
“Sure, it’s called conserving energy. Why should we kill ourselves to catch Desmond?”
“Ah, then this is only about the klepto demon?” Lincoln leaps super-high over some kind of ancient television aerial. From this angle, it’s a mighty lovely sight. “Not my glutes?”
I’m so shnagged.
“Fine. I like the view.”
“We’re hunting a demon, Myla.” There’s no missing the smile in his voice. Lincoln loves it when I’m sassy.
“Hey, I can multitask.”
More smiling-voice-ness. “I’ve noticed.”
Here’s the deal. Six months ago, I was the baddest-ass warrior in Purgatory’s Arena. Then, I got transformed into a supernatural called the Great Scala, which means that I’m the only being who can permanently move souls to Heaven or Hell. Trouble is, if I’m hurt, it’s a showstopper for the spirit world. Long story short, until a Scala Heir is named, I have to be a responsible demigoddess. That means working behind a desk instead of killing things. It sucks. Hard.
“I concede your multitasking skills.” Lincoln makes another mouthwatering leap. “You’ve got two minutes to dawdle.”
“Did you just say dawdle?” I put on a tone of mock outrage. “What are you, eighty?”
“I’ll pass along your critique to my royal tutors.”
“Like they’ll listen.” I snap my fingers. “Hey, I’ve got an idea. How about you watch some television?” Or any, really. “That’ll help you sound like you’re from this century.”
“Last time I checked, resembling a young human wasn’t one of my life goals, and you’re not changing the subject. One minute of dawdle time remains.” He places extra emphasis on the word dawdle, the cheeky monkey.
“Eh, bite me.”
“No comment.” He looks back over his shoulder and winks. When the situation calls for it, Lincoln does love to use his teeth, and not in a bad way. At all.
After that, my guy goes quiet, so I return to ogling mode. Lincoln is tall and broad-shouldered with strong bone structure and messy brown hair. He’s twenty—a year older than me—which some say is too young for us to get hitched. Whatever. I can’t wait for our wedding. Plus, Lincoln’s a kind of demon hunter called a thrax. His people are part angel, obsessed with tradition, and live deep under the Earth’s surface. Lincoln’s their High Prince. More importantly, he’s whip-smart, honest, noble almost to a fault, and a great kisser. Now that we’re engaged, we’ve been working up to bigger things than kissing. It involves a lot less body armor and tons more skin.
Mmmmm, a partially naked Lincoln is a beautiful sight.
“Time’s up,” says Lincoln.
“Honestly, we have to hustle. We need that codex.”
Okay, Lincoln has a point. The Rixa Codex is where we’ve been storing up evidence for a trial against Acca, a House of thrax asswipes who need to be brought down. Once we get that book back from Desmond—and use it to record our last interview for the thrax court—then we’ll finally have enough proof to officially tear Acca apart. And after what those freaks put me through last month, I really want to destroy them. I mean, who enters into a secret pact with none other than Armageddon, the King of Hell?
Acca, that’s who.
Lincoln and I almost died cleaning up that particular mess. In fact, Lady Adair of Acca did end up dead. She might have been a bit of a bitch, but still. The whole situation isn’t something we can let slide.
I pick up the pace so I’m running shoulder-to-shoulder with Lincoln once more. “For the record, you spoil all my fun.”
“Huh.” Lincoln glances in my direction while arching his brows ever so slightly. “I know for a fact that I’m your main source of fun.”
I stick my tongue out at him. He’s totally right.
Lincoln laughs, which is a rich and rolling sound that makes everything in Purgatory seem a little less crappy. Together we leap toward another rooftop and land in perfect sync. A few pigeons flap off. When Desmond sees us closing in, he pulls a vial from his pocket, downs the contents, and picks up his pace. For a demon who has to waddle-walk everywhere, that guy sure starts hustling. The vial probably contained a velocity potion.
That said, even if Desmond can go extra fast, I’m not worried that he’ll actually escape. While most full-blooded demons fall into the Not Too Bright category, Desmond brings dumbass to an entirely new level. He can’t stop stealing junk, dresses like a homeless clown, and has stalker issues with my family. Yet the biggest giveaway of Desmond’s stupidity is the fact that he’s running away from us right now.
Come on, showing your back to a pair of hunters? Seriously? That’s like predator crack. The dude must have a death wish.
Desmond jumps off the roof to land on the pavement in a roll. That’s no easy feat when your spine’s extra long. Interesting. I’ve never seen Desmond so motivated before. Lincoln and I share a puzzled look before leaping off as well. We sprint a few blocks in silence.
“Does any of this seem odd to you?” Lincoln finally asks.
“I was thinking the same thing. This isn’t Desmond’s MO.”
For months, Desmond’s been trailing my family in the hopes of stealing random bits of our junk. No real shocker there. Mom’s the President of Purgatory and I’m the Great Scala. As a result, we both have our share of stalkers. Some are cute, even if they do rummage through our trash, looking for keepsakes. Others are creepy.
I shake my head. “Normally, Desmond never runs. He just hands over whatever he stole. Which is what should have happened back at the limo.”
“It’s what he did last time, and without any complaint.”
“Yeah, that was at the Toys for Quasi-Demonic Tots thing.”
Last week, Desmond lifted some stuff from Mom’s purse while she was speaking at a fundraiser. Not a great idea. While Mom’s the President of Purgatory, my father’s a badass archangel. All Dad had to do was glare at Desmond, and the klepto handed over what he took. That time, it was Mom’s brush and an old Tic Tac from the bottom of her purse. Like I said, Desmond’s not the brightest star in the demonic sky. Sure, it’s in his nature to steal, but most klepto demons are a little more strategic about it.
Okay, a lot more strategic.
A sinking feeling runs through my belly. Maybe Desmond isn’t too smart, but someone else is. “He could be a pawn here, you know. Who would expect Desmond to get mixed up in something seriously evil?”
Lincoln’s voice gets crazy calm. “Go on.”
“Let’s look at the facts. Desmond is running from us. You know we can’t resist that.”
“Next, how does a klepto demon go so fast on those stubby little legs? That vial must have contained a velocity potion. Enchantments like those are pricey. You don’t pay for them with stolen Tic Tacs. And then there’s what he took. To grab the Rixa Codex, Desmond had to know when and where we’d be…And whether we’d have the book.”
“All of which requires some serious scheming.”
“Exactly. The whole thing is totally out of character. Desmond’s a demon who spontaneously grabs junk. He doesn’t plan complex heists.”
Lincoln’s full mouth thins to an angry line. “And now, he’s lifted our codex, the very evidence that we need to put Acca behind bars.” Thrax are all about tradition. Since we’ve challenged the House of Acca to court, thrax rules state that one side must go to jail. If it isn’t Acca, then it’s Lincoln and me.
Prison. What a sucky way to spend your honeymoon.
The more I think about it, the more I’m convinced. “Desmond is doing someone else’s dirty work. Guess who.”
A muscle ticks by Lincoln’s jawline. That means he’s pissed. Only one group gets him this angry. “Acca.”
“Yup.” Boy, do I ever hate those fuckers.
The House of Acca wants to rule the thrax homeland of Antrum. Since Lincoln’s next in line to the throne, my guy stands in their way. Which is why Acca tried to marry Lincoln off to their Lady Adair. Too bad for them, Lincoln fell in love with me first, mostly because an oracle angel named Verus stuck her nose in our business. Long story. Anyway, not only does Acca still want the crown, but they also really, really, really want me dead. Meh.
More silence follows as we run along and ponder. Lincoln’s the first to speak again. “There’s a flaw in your logic. Acca must know that we’ll get the codex back from Desmond.”
He’s got me there. Even if Desmond has a dozen spells on him, we’ll still take that klepto down. I mean, I haven’t even called on my little supernatural buddies for help yet. To move souls to Heaven or Hell, I have power over tiny lightning bolts of energy called igni. If worse comes to worst, I can summon my igni to send Desmond back to Hell, and keep the codex right here. Sure, that would be a total pain in the ass—once igni start moving souls, it’s hard to get them to stop—but I have that option as a last resort.
So what’s Acca really up to?
My tail arches over my shoulder. It’s a beauty, what with being all long, black, and covered in dragon scales. The arrowhead-shaped end jabs in Desmond’s direction. That’s its way of saying we need to grab the klepto, fast.
“Don’t worry, boy.” I give my tail a comforting pat. “We’ll get him.”
Desmond rounds a corner, and the street turns from bad to worse. The downgrade in neighborhood quality is awesome, in my humble opinion. Here’s why. Most of the after-realms have issues with demons sneaking in and causing trouble. On Earth, it’s the thrax who clean things up. In Purgatory, that work falls to our police. However, our government’s still reeling from Armageddon’s recent invasion (I kicked his ass back to Hell, by the way). As a result, our police haven’t been cracking down on demonic squatters.
Long story short, crappy areas like this one? They’re classic hangouts for the truly evil. My heart thuds faster in my chest. Deserted ruins filled with über-nasty demons?
The day’s looking up.
I grin from ear to ear. “I think I know what plan Desmond was given.”
“We’re not supposed to fight a klepto demon.”
“Could’ve fooled me.”
“Desmond’s leading us somewhere else.”
Lincoln nods slowly. “Such as straight into a Class A battle.” Thrax categorize demons by letter. Class A are the hardest to kill.
“Fighting a Class A would be soooooo awesome.” I shoot Lincoln a sly look. “Maybe we’ll get to take down another tinea.” I let out a wistful sigh. “Together.”
Lincoln chuckles. “I love your idea of date night.” I know that laugh. Lincoln is as excited as I am.
“How about we make this even more interesting?” I ask.
“What are you thinking?” The husky tone in Lincoln’s voice says that he knows exactly what’s on my mind.
“We bet on who makes the killing blow to the Class A.”
“And the prize?”
“Same as always. The winner names the next kiss.”
This is my favorite game in the history of ever. Whoever wins the bet gets to demand when and where our next kiss will take place. And no matter what the time or location, the so-called loser must comply. Typically, these interludes don’t end with kissing, either. Our last bet was who could first cross the Plains of Rixa on horseback. Lincoln won and demanded a kiss in the royal stables. We ended up naked, and I was picking hay out of my hair for days. The whole thing was beyond great.
I wag my eyebrows. “So, what do you say?”
Desmond turns down another deserted road. Actually, road is a generous word. It’s more of a pathway through piles of rubble. Lincoln and I speed along behind our prey. I would skip-run if it didn’t slow me down.
I am so winning this bet.
Bring it on, Desmond.
Author Christina Bauer
About the Author
Christina graduated from Syracuse University’s Newhouse School with BA’s in English as well as Television, Radio, and Film Production. Her day job is in marketing for companies like Microsoft, Cisco, and Zerto. Back in the go-go 90′s, she founded her own software start-up, Mindful Technologies. Christina believes that, upon close examination of Tolkien’s text, it’s entirely possible that the Balrog was wearing fuzzy bunny slippers..
Welcome to the book blitz for Grail, the third book in the young adult fantasy romance series, La Fay, by Realm Lovejoy. See below for information on the book and series, buy links, an exclusive excerpt, and details on her giveaway.
Grail (Le Fay Series #3) by Realm Lovejoy
About the Book Title: Grail Series: Le Fay #3 Author: Realm Lovejoy Release Date: December 6, 2016 Genre: Young Adult Fantasy Romance Links:Goodreads | Amazon
Synopsis A hero has fallen, and darkness threatens a splintered Camelot. In the midst of turmoil, the last hope for the kingdom is Morgan le Fay. Morgan is both feared and revered . . . and currently in prison for treason.
In the wake of King Uther’s tragic death, the wicked Mordred is closing in on young King Arthur, and the boy king turns to Morgan for help. Freed from her imprisonment through his order, Morgan searches for a way to protect him. But she is still an outcast, and no one believes her suspicions about Mordred.
To save King Arthur, Morgan must reach the greatest Royal Relic in the world—the Grail—before Mordred does. It’s a journey that will challenge her in ways she’s never been challenged before. Traveling deep into a land of darkness, she will need to overcome the ghosts of her past to find her true power.
Can Morgan defeat Mordred and save King Arthur? And this time, can she defend Camelot without destroying herself? In this third book in the Le Fay series, author Realm Lovejoy reveals secrets from the past as Morgan’s epic journey unfolds.
Praise for Le Fay Series, book 1: “Camelot meets Hogwarts meets Panem in this intriguing, well-written beginning to a planned YA series.”–Kirkus Reviews
Excerpt Footsteps sound across the marble. I swallow and get back to mopping, watching the marble and wood patterns beneath become shiny with the cleanser. It’s a small relief to be surrounded by beauty after being locked in my closet room. I study the depth of the wood grains, the slices of gold and sparkling black marbles.
The steps stop in front of me. A clearing of the throat.
I grab the handle of the bucket, preparing my leave. “I will be out of your way,” I say briskly.
“Morgan?” the voice says.
I halt, meeting eyes with Lancelot.
He looks a bit older too. The grays in his eyes more somber like the ancient temple rocks I saw in Avalon, stained with mist and forgotten by man. There’s a welt over his left brow that wasn’t there earlier.
The space between us seems defined as the light rays slice past me, toward him. We stand there with dust glinting in front of us for what seems like minutes.
“Sir Lancelot,” I say, straightening. “I’m in your way. Excuse me.”
“Morgan,” he repeats.
I tighten my grasp on the handle, worried as to where this is going. I push away the memories of him.
“I’m sorry,” he says, not taking his eyes off mine. “I didn’t know what to do. I saw you in the cafeteria serving the food and I… well, I froze up with shock. I heard about the parole thing. I didn’t know you’d be… doing work like this.” He shakes his head. “What am I saying? I’m glad you’re alive.”
“Thank you,” I reply stiffly.
“I wanted to see how you’re doing.”
Having someone want to “see” me seems worse than being invisible.
“This is how I’m doing,” I say, motioning to the mop and my work—the shiny floor.
The glossiness ends at the halfway point between us, like a dividing line. He moves his foot, the boot coming a smidgen closer.
“This is… not acceptable,” he says.
I tense even more, afraid to know what he means.
“This,” he says again, pointing to the mop, the bands, and my terrible jumpsuit. “You are so much more than this. The Cabinet is crazy to have someone so gifted waste away.”
“Lancelot,” I blurt out, terrified by his care and where it has led to before. “Don’t pity me. Just move on. Forget about everything—about me. That’s what everyone else is doing.”
“Nobody will ever forget about you. Right now everyone is desperate to feel safe and normal. I admit even I’m desperate and tempted to jump into denial. And you. I’ve never seen you like this, not even in prison.”
I snort. “Jumpsuits weren’t my thing, exactly.”
He points at my face. “I mean, your eyes. You have dead eyes. It’s not like you to meekly mop and serve food quietly while keeping your head down. What happened to your inner fire?”
I open my palm to observe my burn wounds with a bitter smile. “I’m a little burnt out, I guess.”
“At least you still have your morbid sense of humor,” Lancelot comments.
Henge (Le Fay Series #1) by Realm Lovejoy
About Book 1 Title: Henge Series: Le Fay #1 Author: Realm Lovejoy Release Date: November 11, 2014 Genre: Young Adult Fantasy Romance Links:Goodreads | Amazon
Synopsis 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.
Sword (Le Fay #2) by Realm Lovejoy
About the Book Title: Sword Series: Le Fay #2 Author: Realm Lovejoy Release Date: November 10, 2015 Genre: Young Adult Fantasy Romance Links:Goodreads | Amazon
Synopsis Evil lurks. Camelot sits, vulnerable. The fate of a future king hangs in the balance.
After surviving a string of brutal trials, sixteen-year-old Morgan le Fay is an official member of Camelot. But beneath its shining façade, Camelot is a crumbling government where loyalties are divided.
Nobody believes Morgan’s suspicions that enemies are closing in. Prince Arthur, a boy more interested in playing video games than ruling, will not listen to her, and neither will Lancelot, Camelot’s head of security. Even Morgan’s friend Merlin refuses to take action.
When Morgan discovers that someone is plotting to assassinate the future king, she must take her destiny—and his—into her own hands. With the sword Excalibur beckoning in the distance, Morgan embarks on a seemingly impossible mission. And before her journey ends, everyone will know what she is truly capable of . . .
In this second book in the LE FAY series, author Realm Lovejoy takes readers deep into the heart of a splintering Camelot.
________ Praise for the first book in the LE FAY series, Henge: “Camelot meets Hogwarts meets Panem in this intriguing, well-written beginning to a planned YA series.”–Kirkus Reviews
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 artist in the video game industry. CLAN is her first book. You can find out more about her and her books at realmlovejoy.com
Welcome to the book blitz for Golden Dragon, the first book in the science fiction/historical steampunk series, Code Black, by V.E. Ulett. See below for information on the book, buy links, and details on her giveaway.
Golden Dragon (Code Black #1) by V.E. Ulett
About the Book Title: Golden Dragon Series: Code Black #1 Author: V.E. Ulett Release Date: October 30, 2016 Genre: Science Fiction/Historical Steampunk Adventure Links: Goodreads | Amazon | Barnes & Noble | IndieBound
Synopsis Romance, Intrigue, and Airships – Code Black Book 1
Miriam Kodio Blackwell is caught between East and West. When a Code Black arises she is recruited by Lord Q, head of British intelligence and airships, who helps Miriam escape Iran only to press her into service of the Crown. Will Miriam survive when she’s put aboard the airship Nonesuch—with her captain, crew, and a Hell-Cat of fearsome reputation—and the assignment to rescue the niece of a Dutch ally taken captive in the South China Sea?
Golden Dragon is a witty new steampunk adventure, set in the Romantic age of Byron and Shelley.
Praise for Golden Dragon – “Miriam is a great character. She figures out quickly how to use what she has in order to make an impact. I am very excited to see what new adventures will await the characters in the next book! This is a solid pick!” – MEGAN WESSELL, A Bookish Affair
“…a delightful fusion between historical fiction and fantasy with believable characters and an entertaining plot: highly recommended.” – ALARIC BOND, author of The Guinea Boat, Turn a Blind Eye, and The Fighting Sail Series
Author V.E. Ulett
About the Author V.E. Ulett is a long time resident of California, but spends most of her time in a romantic nineteenth century world of airships and adventure. When she isn’t head down in a first hand account of capture by pirates, battle at sea, or experimental flight, V.E. is an ordinary Silicon Valley warrior. Rare leisure hours are spent with her own small Hell-Cats.
Author Amy Braun is unveiling the cover to Obsidian Sky, the third book in the young adult dystopian romance series, Dark Sky, releasing February 7, 2017. See below for information on the book and series, and a link to add it to your Goodreads TBR.
Obsidian Sky (Dark Sky #3) by Amy Braun
About the Book Title: Obsidian Sky Series: Dark Sky #3 Author: Amy Braun Release Date: February 7, 2017 Genre: Young Adult Dystopian Links: Goodreads
Synopsis The final struggle against the Hellions has arrived. A trapped engineer and a desperate marauder scramble to fight an enemy with unspeakable power on its side. Time is running out, and one world will be destroyed…
After sacrificing herself to save the lives of her friends and family, Claire Abernathy struggles to outwit her Hellion captors. They torment and terrify her into working on a weapon with the sole purpose of obliterating the world, friends, and love she has struggled to save. If Claire has any chance of saving those she loves, she must delve deeper into the Hellion world, and witness nightmares she could never imagine.
In Westraven, Sawyer Kendric is desperate to find the woman he loves. To do so, he must finally embrace his family’s atrocious past and heal the wounds it has caused. He will be forced to make new allies, uncover secrets that change all he knows, and find the courage to lead a ragtag crew into the darkest, deadliest battle of their lives.
Claire and Sawyer fight to save their broken world in the final installment of the epic DARK SKY trilogy..
Ten years ago, the sky shattered and the Hellions emerged. No one was able to keep them from destroying the city of Westraven. Now that the bloodthirsty monsters rule the skies and have forced the few remaining humans underground, Claire Abernathy lives in a nightmare. She survives by using her skills as an engineer for a ruthless tyrant connected to her mother and father’s past failure.
Then Claire’s world is torn apart when her sister Abby is kidnapped by the Hellions, and Claire herself is taken by dangerous sky pirates known as marauders. But Claire will not be intimidated by them while her sister’s life hangs by a thread, and so she strikes a deal with them: If they help rescue Abby, she will fix their ship and give them the chance to take the revenge they desperately seek.
As Claire fights for her sister’s life, she begins to realize that the Hellions are not the only dangers she’ll face. Burdensome secrets and devastating betrayals threaten her at every turn, and if she loses herself to them, it won’t just be her life that is destroyed…..
Synopsis There are secrets, there are betrayals, and there are sacrifices…
The Behemoth has been destroyed, and the bloodthirsty Hellions seem to have left Westraven. But Claire Abernathy’s mind is not at ease. A terrible disease plagues her sister, appearing to have been brought on the Vesper, the leader of the Hellions beyond the tear between worlds– the Breach.
To save Abby and stop the Hellions for good, Claire must find the machine her parents built before the attacks, and fix it before the monsters return. To do so, she needs the help of her crew, and must ignore the secrets and rivalries between her captain and the man she saved.
Because the Hellions are not the only dangers following Claire. Twisted humans and old enemies surface to stop her and destroy all she loves. While she is determined to endure the trials, a single betrayal could shatter the hope of a better world, and force Claire to make a choice that will cost her dearly…..
Author Amy Braun
About the Author Amy is a Canadian urban fantasy and horror author. Her work revolves around monsters, magic, mythology, and mayhem. She started writing in her early teens, and never stopped. She loves building unique worlds filled with fun characters and intense action. She is the recipient of April Moon Books Editor Award for “author voice, world-building and general bad-assery,” and the One Book Two Standout Award in 2015 for her Cursed trilogy. She has been featured on various author blogs and publishing websites, and is an active member of the Writing GIAM and Weekend Writing Warrior communities. When she isn’t writing, she’s reading, watching movies, taking photos, gaming, and struggling with chocoholism and ice cream addiction.
Author Michael W. Garza is revealing the cover to The Last Shadow Gate, the first book in the young adult fantasy series, The Shadow Gate Chronicles, releasing March 3, 2017. See below for information on the book and a pre-order link.
The Last Shadow Gate (The Shadow Gate Chronicles #1) by Michael W. Garza
About the Book
Title: The Last Shadow Gate Series: The Shadow Gate Chronicles #1 Author: Michael W. Garza Release Date: March 3, 2017 Genre: Young Adult Fantasy Links: Goodreads |Amazon
Synopsis Summer vacation was never supposed to be like this.
It was bad enough Naomi had to be shipped off to her dad’s home for the summer and deal with her half-brother Gavin, but when the siblings are forced to spend their break with their great-grandmother in upstate New York, everything changes. An investigation into the strange disappearance of their great-grandfather forces them to retrace his footsteps. They discover a gateway between worlds and encounter extraordinary creatures in a land where the people are desperate to escape the coming of a shade lord. To survive their adventure, Naomi and Gavin must settle their differences and find the elusive shadow gate that will take them home again.
THE SHADOW GATE CHRONICLES: Book 1: The Last Shadow Gate
Book 2: A Veil of Shadows (Coming 2017)
Book 3: The Shadow of War (Coming 2018)
Advance Praise for THE LAST SHADOW GATE: “If this book had been around when I was a kid, I’d have held it right up there with The Chronicles of Narnia and Lord of the Rings.” – Sunshine Somerville, Author of THE KOTA SERIES
“You won’t want to miss out on the thrilling yet perilous world beyond the shadow gates!” – J. Cornell Michel, Author of JORDAN’S BRAINS
*If you love fast-paced, YA Fantasy, THE LAST SHADOW GATE is the book for you.*
Gavin Walker sat in a dining room chair at the head of the table. His dirty-blond bangs were pushed to one side revealing a wide-eyed expression. His mouth hung open, and he was at a loss for words, which was something that didn’t happen often in the twelve-year-old’s daily life.
“The whole summer?”
His father stood at the opposite end of the table resting his hands on the back of a chair. The similarities between father and son were unmistakable. Mr. Walker’s expression was calm, unlike his son’s overreaction. Gavin could see his father wasn’t going to back down, so he resorted to repetition.
“The whole summer?”
Mr. Walker didn’t budge. “Don’t be so dramatic.”
“It won’t kill you,” Mr. Walker said. “You haven’t seen Mama Walker in over two years and she’s not getting any younger.” His face was stern. “Look, she’s nearly eighty-five and I’m not sure how many more opportunities the two of you will have to spend time with her.”
Mama Walker was Gavin’s great-grandmother. She lived alone on the outskirts of Albany, New York, in the town of Gum Springs. To a twelve-year-old boy from Southern California, Gum Springs was on the far side of the moon. Gavin didn’t know Mama Walker very well.
“But she’s crazy, Dad,” he said. “You said so yourself.”
Mr. Walker’s brow wrinkled. “I don’t think she’s crazy. She’s lonely since Papa went away and…”
He went on, but Gavin stopped listening. He crossed his arms and sulked. He wanted to protest, but he already knew his father wasn’t going to give in. He focused on something else he’d heard. “What do you mean by the two of you?”
Mr. Walker smiled and hesitated.
“Well,” he said, “that’s the rest of the story. I want you and your sister to spend the summer together with Mama Walker.”
Gavin rolled his eyes. Naomi was his half-sister who lived in Florida with her mother. The two siblings were forced to tolerate each other over summer vacations and an occasional holiday break. She was older than Gavin by three years and reminded him of it every chance she could. “What about football camp?” He was playing dirty now.
“Already took care of it,” Mr. Walker said, and Gavin’s smile disappeared. “First day of camp is at the end of August, and it just so happens that you’ll get back with plenty of time.”
“You already bought the ticket?” Gavin asked as his voice filled with dread.
“Yep,” Mr. Walker said, “school’s out next Friday, and you and I fly out on Saturday.”
“I’m flying with you. We’ll meet Naomi in Albany then I’m going to stay a few days and fly back.”
“Very brave of you,” Gavin said.
Mr. Walker got up, came around the table, and took a seat next to his son. He put his hand on Gavin’s shoulder and gave it a squeeze. “I know I’m asking a lot, but come on, Gavin, do this for me,” he said. “Your mother and I have talked about this for a while. Mama Walker has been distant from the family for a long time. This will be good for her and good for the both of you kids too.” He let go and stood up. “You know, you might even have a good time.”
Gavin doubted that very much.
Destin, Florida is a popular vacation destination. It’s known for white, sandy beaches, and clear, blue water. That beauty is a part of life for the people who live in Destin and across the bridge in the city of Fort Walton Beach. Naomi Walker happened to be one of those lucky people. She sat on the school bus staring out at the clear, blue water counting down the days until summer. The ninth grade was particularly difficult for Naomi. She calculated she’d spent more days grounded during this year than all of the years before it combined. She wasn’t a bad student, quite the opposite, she enjoyed most of her classes.
She’d always had an interest in science and history, but this year she spent more time interested in gossip and boys than any academic pursuit. Naomi’s mother was forgiving for the most part. She and her step-father were willing to give Naomi some slack as she dealt with becoming a young woman. Her father was a different story altogether. Naomi knew her father lived in California, but sometimes she thought he was somewhere closer to Mars. Her parents divorced when she was young, but Mr. Walker did everything in his power to keep a close relationship. Naomi cherished that bond as a little girl; however, her needs had changed over the past few years. In a short time she’d be shipped off to California while all her friends would be having the time of their lives.
She decided looking at the beach was only making matters worse and spun around to stare at the back of the seat in front of her. Chloe, her little sister, sat next to her. All of Chloe’s attention was focused on the screen of a hot pink, handheld game. Naomi pulled the game from her hand for no good reason, and the two fought over it for the rest of the ride home.
The walk from the bus stop to the front door felt longer than usual. Naomi passed the time by snatching her hand away from Chloe as the little girl tried to hold on. At fifteen, Naomi was at a peculiar crossroads in her life where adulthood and individualism was a goal and childhood just plain stunk. To Chloe, only seven, holding hands was still all the rage.
“Mom, we’re home.” Naomi threw her backpack on the sofa and walked to the kitchen with Chloe close on her heels.
“What about peanut butter?” Chloe asked.
“What about no,” Naomi said.
Chloe stuck her tongue out. “Fine then,” she said, “I’ll make one myself.”
The little girl pulled a chair in from the dining room as Naomi poked through the cabinets and settled on a half-finished bag of chips. Naomi slumped down on the couch, leaving Chloe to make a mess in the kitchen. She began a never-ending search for something to watch on TV with the chips in her lap and the television remote secured. The sliding door in the rear of the house opened and closed, announcing their mother’s arrival.
“We’re home, Mom,” she said.
“Just finishing up the laundry.”
Naomi was convinced her mother did the laundry for the entire block.
“What in the world?”
Naomi grinned. She knew her mom’s outburst had something to do with the mess Chloe was making in the kitchen. A moment later her mother made it into the living room. Her hair was frazzled and her eyes were focused in a disapproving glare.
“What?” Naomi asked.
“You could have helped her.”
“She’s not a baby, you know.”
Her mother sat down on the love seat. “I want you to turn that off, Naomi. We need to talk about something.”
Naomi didn’t like the tone her mother took. This was the tone she used when delivering bad news. It was that very same tone she’d used to tell her and Chloe their beloved cat, Tinker, was in heaven. Naomi eyed her mother closely as she hit the mute button on the remote control.
“Your father and I have had a long talk about your summer vacation,” her mother said. Naomi pulled a handful of chips out of the bag and ate through them in an unnecessarily loud manner. “And…” her mother’s voice rose to match the chip-chomping, “I believe we’ve come to an agreement.”
“I can stay here for the summer?” Naomi asked.
Naomi sank back into the couch.
“Your father wants you and Gavin to spend the summer together.”
“What’s so different about that?” Naomi asked. “I have to put up with him every summer.”
“Yes, but—” Her mother was interrupted by a ring. She pulled the phone out of her back pocket, looked at the number, and smiled. “I’ll let him explain.”
Naomi took the phone from her mother and answered it. She recognized her father’s voice at once. “Hey, Dad.” She saw her mother smiling and noted it was the smile you give when you feel sorry for something. Naomi’s face scrunched as Mr. Walker explained what awaited her on summer vacation. “But,” she cut in.
Mr. Walker pushed on.
Mr. Walker continued to talk.
Her father didn’t let up.
Naomi popped up off the couch.
“But, Dad, that old lady’s crazy.”
Want more? Download a sample chapter book available for THE LAST SHADOW GATE containing the first 8 chapters HERE.
Author Michael W. Garza
About the Author Michael W. Garza often finds himself wondering where his inspiration will come from next and in what form his imagination will bring it to life. The outcomes regularly surprise him and it’s always his ambition to amaze those curious enough to follow him and take in those results. He hopes everyone will find something that frightens, surprises, or simply astonishes them.
Welcome to the book blitz for Snowed, a young adult fantasy/mystery by Maria Alexander.See below for information on the book, buy links, an exclusive book blitz excerpt, and details on her giveaway.
Snowed by Maria Alexander
About the Book Title: Snowed Author: Maria Alexander Publisher: Raw Dog Screaming Press Release Date: November 2, 2016 Genre: Young Adult Fantasy/Mystery Links:Goodreads | Amazon | Barnes & Noble
Synopsis Charity Jones is a 16-year-old engineering genius who’s much-bullied for being biracial and a skeptic at her conservative school in Oak County, California. Everything changes when Charity’s social worker mother brings home a sweet teen runaway named Aidan to foster for the holidays. Matched in every way, Charity and Aidan quickly fall in love. But it seems he’s not the only new arrival: Charity soon finds the brutally slain corpse of her worst bully and she gets hard, haunting evidence that the killer is stalking Oak County. As she and her Skeptics Club investigate this death and others, they find at every turn the mystery only grows darker and more deadly. One thing’s for certain: there’s a bloody battle coming this holiday season that will change their lives – and human history – forever.
Will they be ready?
Excerpt (Chapter 3) I can hear Mom and Dad chatting in the living room, asking questions. Another softer voice with a strange accent gives staccato answers.
“Charity?” Mom calls out. She sounds annoyed.
I shuffle through the foyer, inhaling the smell of baking lasagna. When I enter the family room, Mom and Dad are sitting on the couch with mugs, tea bag tags draped over the edges. Some guy I don’t know sits with them in the easy chair. I can’t help checking him out. He’s my age, average height, with skin pale as cream and wavy ebony hair. His light blue eyes shimmer under long, inky lashes. His wrinkled, striped dress shirt is much too big for his narrow shoulders, and his scuffed black boots with pointed toes peek out from the cuffs of his baggy jeans. He gives off a weird vibe, like he’s been in prison or working for suicide bombers.
He must be a stray.
My mom’s a social worker. She’s always bringing home people for meals. Damaged people.
Mom wraps an arm around my shoulders, kissing my ear. “Where have you been? Did you get my message?”
I shake my head.
“Hey. How’d it go?” Dad hugs me as well. I kiss his big scruffy face.
They are being very nice. Something’s up.
“Not great. I’ll tell you later.” I stare at our visitor.
“Charity, this is Aidan MacNichol. Aidan, this is my daughter, Charity.”
“How do you do?” He holds out his hand. His eyes barely meet mine. His voice is a notch higher than I expect and kind of sing-song. What century is this guy from? Who says stuff like that?
“Hi,” I say and give him The Boneless Hand. I’m touching you but I’m not happy about it.
Except I am. His skin is incredibly soft, like my mom’s charmeuse dress. He
lets go. At the last second, I almost don’t.
And he almost doesn’t, either.
“Where’s your brother?” Dad asks.
“I don’t know. In jail?”
“Charity, stop it,” Mom sighs.
“What? I never know where he is.”
A car roars into the gravel driveway. It must be Charles’ ride. The music escaping the car windows sounds like someone is grinding the air into steelshavings. As the car retreats, Charles bursts through the front door and makes for the staircase.
“Hey! Charles, come here.” Dad motions to him.
Charles looks as if he’d rather snack on rat poison than join us, but he does.
“Hey.” Charles lifts his chin at Aidan. Aidan nods back.
“We want to talk to you guys.” Mom puts her hand on Aidan’s shoulder.
“Aidan is going to be staying with us for a little while.”
“This is bullshit,” Charles announces and heads for the staircase. He looks
at Aidan. “No offense.”
“Hey, get back here!” Dad yells.
“No family meeting? You just drop this on us?” I ask.
Mom looks mortally offended. “Charity!”
“It’s not fair. We never get a say in anything that happens around here. Not
about Aunt Bulimia—”
“Or the dog I wanted?”
“Honey, you know Charles is allergic.”
“The only thing he’s allergic to is school!”
“Shut up, Cherry.” Charles glares at me, his hamster face squinching up.
“We have guests from my work all the time,” Mom says, “and you’ve never cared before.”
“Yeah, for dinner.”
Aidan slinks back, hands in his pants pockets. He watches the sky through the sliding glass door on the far wall of the living room. He’s humming a familiar tune under his breath. I can’t quite place it.
“I should go.”
Aidan’s announcement cuts through the room. Everyone falls silent.
“I can’t stay here,” he says. “I’m sorry, Mr. Jones. You’ve been very kind.”
“You’re not going anywhere, Aidan.” Mom invokes The Voice. It’s from her days as a trial lawyer. “If you leave, I have to call the authorities. You’re underage, your legal residency is in question, and the county has put you in our care. You can stay with us or you can go to juvy.” Mom darkened. “I don’t recommend juvy.”
“Neither does Charles,” I say.
“Shut up, Cherry!”
Aidan sighs. “I don’t know what this ‘juvy’ is but I suppose I don’t want to go.”
“Are you from like England or something?” Charles asks.
Aidan looks confused. “I beg your pardon?”
“Where is he sleeping?” I ask.
“Your room,” Dad says.
My face heats with horror. I bury it in my hands.
“Kidding!” Dad says, throwing an arm around me for a bear squeeze.
“Sewing room. Now let’s have some chow.”
Mom shuttles us to the dining table. She interrogates Charles as to why he stinks like cigarette smoke, but he claims it’s from riding with his friend Noah. I say nothing. As we set the table, she brings out the salad and lasagna, which smells heavenly.
Humiliation and disappointment haven’t affected my appetite at all, apparently. I wish something would.
I notice that Aidan holds the fork like he’s strangling it. He scrapes the plate. Everyone winces. Where is this guy from? And why is he so strange? Who doesn’t know how to use a fork?
I want to flee to my room to cry but I can’t. I want to make up with Keiko. I feel terrible about that fight. But Mom has laid down the law: No running off before the meal is over. Supposedly this encourages Charles to stay put and bond with us. If I ran upstairs and flung myself onto the bed now, I’d be doubly busted because we have a guest. I just want to be alone and this weird stranger is keeping me from my snug room where I can just melt down.
“Are you all right?” Aidan looks at me, concerned. “Don’t worry. It wasn’t
you who misbehaved at school today.”
Wait—what? How could he know? Or does he?
Mom shoots Aidan an anxious look, then me. “Honey, is there something going on?”
“Cherry started a riot at school today,” Charles offers.
“A riot?” Dad eyes me with disbelief.
“Shut up! That’s not what happened!”
“And then she made the Christian girls cry.”
“Charity!” Mom says. “Was this your club?”
“Mom, I didn’t do anything to anyone.”
“Then they sent Cherry like a million text messages so she can’t use her phone anymore.” Charles beams with triumph.
I want to slam his face into the Pyrex dish. “You! Did you give them my cell number?” My face heats with the rage. My hand balls into a fist on the table.
“That’s enough.” Dad points at Charles. “Did you give out your sister’s cell number?”
“Of course not,” Charles says, indignant. Dad eyes him suspiciously, but lets it drop. There is no justice.
Mom wearily passes Dad the wine bottle. “Charity, what happened?”
“Nothing. I put up a flyer about the Skeptic’s Club and the BFJs picketed my meeting, calling me a lot of unspeakable names. They harassed everyone who was there. They were harassing me with texts calling me a Satanist even before the club meeting. I had to turn off my phone. That’s why I didn’t get your call.” Tears scald the corners of my eyes.
“Where were the school officials?” Mom asks. “I can’t believe they let this happen!”
“Don’t worry. Mr. Vittorio told me he’s reporting it. He’s the librarian.”
Aidan sits with his hands folded in his lap, eyes trailing to the window.
Mom narrows her eyes at Dad and polishes off her glass of wine.
And then there’s Keiko… I can’t take it anymore. I manage to stand up and choke out, “Excuse me,” before dashing for my room.
I hear Charles complaining behind me. “So Cherry gets to have a tampon tizzy and get out of dishes?”
I slam the door and the tears spill out. As I fall on the bed, I look to Mr. Spotty and Miss Yoyodyne, who squat beside my desk. These aren’t stuffed animals. They’re robots I built. I feel like kicking one of my plastic component bins but I hurt so much, I just double over on the bed.
Footsteps pound up the stairs and Mom taps on my door. I know her knock.
Mom sits on the bed and hugs me. Between sobs, I tell her what happened with Keiko.
“Honey, these people are serious bullies. Do you want me and Dad to talk to the principal?”
“No. That’ll only make it worse. Besides, the school says they’ll deal with it. Can we wait and see what happens?”
She looks unconvinced, wiping hair out of my eyes. “If they lay a hand on
“…I have a good lawyer.”
After Mom leaves, I text Keiko.
I’m so sorry, K. Please don’t be mad. I won’t put up any more flyers. I promise! Xoxo
As I read One Hundred Years of Solitude for AP English, I can hear thebumps and scrapes of Dad and Charles setting up the cot in the sewing room. Despite his protests, Charles enjoys showing off that he can lift more than Dad, who had back surgery several months ago. Mom digs through the sewing room closet. “We’ll get you more clothes this weekend,” I hear her tell Aidan. They wish each other a good night.
After two long hours of AP Calculus followed by Honors Chemistry and French, I eventually crawl into bed, exhausted and wishing that I believed in something—anything—that I could pray to and make things okay with Keiko.
Everything falls quiet except for Aidan. I hear him humming. The wall is thin between us.
I remember hearing Mom crying in the sewing room after we first moved here. She and Dad weren’t getting along. I hate thinking of my mom being weak. She has to be strong, the badass lawyer who torches anything in her way with her words. I love her for that. To hear her sobbing was haunting.
Aidan keeps humming. It’s that same tune as before but this time I know what it is.
Carol of the Bells.
A Christmas song.
Author Maria Alexander
About the Author Maria Alexander is a produced screenwriter, published games writer, virtual world designer, award-winning copywriter, interactive theatre designer, fiction writer, snarkiologist and poet. Her short stories have appeared in numerous publications and acclaimed anthologies alongside living legends such as David Morrell and Heather Graham.
Her debut novel, Mr. Wicker, won the 2014 Bram Stoker Award for Superior Achievement in a First Novel. She’s represented by Alex Slater at Trident Media Group.
When she’s not wielding a katana at her Shinkendo dojo, she’s being outrageously spooky or writing Doctor Who filk. She lives in Los Angeles with two ungrateful cats and a purse called Trog.
Welcome to the book blitz for Air, the second book in the new adult fantasy/paranormal romance series, The Elementals, by USA Today bestselling author, L.B. Gilbert. See below for information on the book and series, buy links, an exclusive excerpt, and details on her giveaway. Also, see below on how to pick up book 1 for just $0.99!
Air (The Elementals #2) by L.B. Gilbert
About the Book Title: Air Series: The Elementals #2 Author: L.B. Gilbert Release Date: November 28, 2016 Genre: New Adult Fantasy/Paranormal Romance Links:Goodreads | Amazon
Synopsis Despite being the junior Elemental, Logan’s never had to worry about failing a mission before. Not until an overgrown and annoyingly attractive shifter comes along.
Being an Elemental is in Logan’s blood. Hers is the gift of Air, a vast power she’s still struggling to control. Then a Were named Connell hunts her down. His wolf is missing, and he blames her.
A den of werewolves is the last place Logan wants to be. The testosterone alone is enough to make her choke. But she has a mystery to solve. She will find out who is stealing wolves even if kills her.
Unfortunately, that’s exactly what the enemy has planned…
Excerpt Connell tried to drag the Elemental toward him, but she didn’t budge. Instead, she glanced at his hands. For a second, he could have sworn amusement flashed across her face. Then she was gone—wind whipping him in the face so hard it stung.
He turned around in a circle, scanning the air and the land around him. God, he couldn’t lose her now. He needed to get his wolf back. Not having the extra other in his head was tearing him apart. The empty space inside him was like a crawling emptiness. Sometimes, it was in his head. Other times, it was in his heart.
I can’t believe I lost her.
He’d had her in his hands, and then poof. At this point, she could be anywhere. A strangled sigh escaped from deep in his chest. It sounded pathetic and broken, even to him. He checked the house to make sure she wasn’t there, and then he walked back out to his rented jeep. Damn it, he was going to have to start tracking her all over again.
“Hey, what’s your name?”
Stunned, Connell tripped. Pivoting on his heel, he turned to see the sprite standing on a huge boulder in the distance. He was so damn surprised to see her that he lost his tongue. He just stared at her like an idiot.
Apparently, she agreed. “I can’t keep calling you tall, dark, and stupid, now can I? What…is…your…name?” she repeated, over-enunciating each word.
He was too relieved to get upset over the fact she was talking to him as if he were slow. “Connell Maitland.”
The imp turned away and started addressing the air around her, “He says he’s one of the Maitlands. American accent, so one of the Colorado ones. Yeah. It’s severe. I haven’t seen anything like it. It’s like his wolf was torn out of him somehow. He thinks we did it. Hold on a sec—” Her words broke off as Connell started to run toward her.
A gust of strong air slammed him down to the ground before he cleared the rise.
“Stay there,” the sprite ordered in a glacial tone.
Frigid as the wind, he thought as he regained his footing. Hell, everything about her should be ice-cold. Instead, he felt like he was burning up around her. It was disconcerting. So was the hard edge in her voice. That kind of steel shouldn’t be coming out of such a tiny, doll-like girl.
“Yeah, yeah. It’s fine. He’s on a leash,” the imp said a touch smugly.
Connell growled low in his throat. At least that hadn’t changed. Prey the world over would still react instinctively in fear at that sound.
But the imp didn’t even blink. And she had heard him. She just hadn’t cared. She kept on talking like some gossipy housewife on the phone. Except she was addressing no one.
“Who the bloody hell are you talking to? Invisible fairies? Can anyone even hear you?” he asked incredulously.
The imp bustled here and there. He watched her without a word, trying not to be annoyed at how non-threatening she found him. No one else he’d ever come up against had turned their back to him. Of course, none of them could disappear into thin air either.
Minutes passed, and a new smell began to fill the air. “Are you making cookies?”
Connell had spent months tracking the imp, and now she was playing Suzy Homemaker, baking cookies. Was this really happening? Everything felt surreal. He watched her bend down to open the oven, half-expecting her to start glowing or sparkling like a cartoon fairy.
“Chocolate chip and walnut,” she replied, setting down a baking sheet.
A dozen large, gooey cookies were on the rectangular sheet. Connell’s stomach rumbled audibly, but he ignored it.
The imp lifted a brow. “Do you want one?”
“No,” he said curtly.
His stomach growled again, and he closed his eyes in irritation. He’d had a huge lunch at a nearby inn, but he was used to four large meals a day, at least half of which he ate communally with the pack.
Connell took a deep breath. “I don’t believe you didn’t do this. Or one of the others like you. If it had been a witch, I’d be dead right now.”
The imp cocked her head and stared at him with that same unnerving calm from before. He shifted, suddenly more warm than angry.
Why did she have to be so damn cute? He didn’t even like Asian girls. He went for tall, busty blondes like Riley.
Don’t waste time thinking about that mess, he reminded himself.
“I don’t think that’s necessarily true,” she said, still studying him. “And I can’t tell what’s wrong with you yet, so I’m not ruling anything out. Witches included. How long have you been this way? Start at the beginning.”
Her tone made it a command. He wanted to shake his head in disbelief. The imp looked like jailbait, and yet she issued orders like a general. She had the innate authority to back it up too. Connell was an alpha, but he wanted to bow down to her. It was unnerving.
“How old are you?” he asked suspiciously.
“How old do I look?”
The answer was so cheeky that he wanted to grab her. But putting his hands on her was a bad idea.
When he didn’t answer, she dropped her shoulders. “Start at the beginning,” she repeated, a trace more gently this time.
Frustrated, he ran his fingers through his hair until it stood on end. Could he trust her? Did he even have a choice?
“If you want me to help, you have to explain what happened to you.”
He stepped to her aggressively, eyes flashing green fire. “I didn’t come all this way to chat, little girl. I came here so you could fix me. Even if you didn’t do it—if an Elemental didn’t strip my wolf away—you can put it back. You have that power. It’s what you’re supposed to do.”
Connell expected her to warily back away. But the imp stood her ground and met his stare. Her eyes were kinder than he expected, filled with sympathy.
He hated it.
“That isn’t what we do. Elementals aren’t healers. We’re soldiers. I can’t fix you, not yet. I don’t even know how this happened. You have to tell me. And it’s Logan, not little girl.”
Connell blinked. “Like the airport?”
Logan scowled at him. And like everything else about her, it was adorable. Shit. He was not attracted to cute.
“Like the Wolverine,” Logan snapped with a ferocious frown on her face.
Connell flared his nostrils. What the hell was he supposed to do now? There was no trace of a lie in her scent. And despite losing his wolf, he could still tell when others lied to him. Like Riley. And he knew from first-hand experience what a skilled liar she was.
Logan had to be telling the truth. And if she wasn’t, he didn’t have another alternative. The witches his pack contacted after his attack hadn’t known how to help him. The healer his father had found had taken one look and said it was beyond his skill. He had nothing to lose by telling Logan what little he knew.
“I don’t know how it happened. Whatever it was, I was out for most of it,” he said, reaching for the quiche at the end of the counter. It was ham and tomato, conveniently cut into quarters. He inhaled one piece and reached for another.
“Help yourself, why don’t you?” she said in a neutral tone as he bit into the second piece.
“I’ve tracked you through four different countries. I’m hungry,” he growled.
The thick wedge was good. So was the dirty look Logan was giving him. It made him feel alive again.
Logan took in the flirtatious grin on Connell’s face and felt her face get even redder than it already was. None of Michel’s most practiced moves had ever turned her on as much as one smile from this man. He was carnal sin on two legs.
Except he prefers four.
Narrowing her eyes, she reminded herself how much she disliked Weres. She schooled her expression. “Something tells me you’re used to handling yourself just fine,” she said with a meaningful glance at his groin region.
Her voice was sweeter than sugar, but her insinuation didn’t put him off. Instead, his smile deepened, and she was suddenly in danger of not being able to catch her breath.
“Are you sure?” he teased.
“Bathroom’s up the stairs, first door on the right.” She pointed, all business.
Connell backed away with a long, lingering look. He was wearing that panty-melting smile when he turned and headed up the stairs.
“Don’t forget to check the soles of your feet too,” she called after him, her voice perfectly even. Once he was gone, Logan let out a long, hard breath. Damn, that man was hot.
She wished she had taken Michel up on one his many offers to take her to bed. Recent sex might have acted as a shield against Connell’s supercharged pheromones.
Well, you didn’t sleep with him, and there’s no point regretting that now.
Sighing, she dematerialized, heading outside for a quick trip to the air currents. It was better than a cold shower any day.
Connell watched the wind whip around the cabin as it knocked napkins off the table to the floor with considerable force. He felt like shit for teasing Logan now, but he hadn’t expected her discomfort to escalate into a full-blown panic attack.
Feeling helpless, he stood, his arms out in front of him, as the wind continued to circle in the small cabin. His concern for the sprite turned into worry for himself and the pilot. If Logan didn’t calm down, she was going to depressurize the cabin and possibly take down the jet.
The wind whipped past his head. Closing his eyes, he instinctively reached out. Not bothering to analyze the stupidity of his move, he grabbed at the gust of wind. Suddenly, Logan was there, in his arms.
He didn’t know which one of them was more surprised as he looked down at her. For a moment, they simply stared at each other—his eyes wide and her rosy lips an O of surprise.
“How did you—”
He cut her off by doing what he’d wanted to do from the first moment he’d seen her dancing at that club.
He kissed her. Hard.
His lips crashed down on hers, taking her mouth aggressively, possessing it with a growl that came from deep inside him. Logan was too disoriented to shove him away. Instead, she lay limp in his arms, her mouth soft and pliant under his.
Connell took advantage of his imp’s confusion to plunge his tongue into her mouth. The world narrowed down to that touch—his tongue stroking hers. She was like nothing he’d ever tasted, and he was two seconds from tearing their clothes off when she pushed him away. He didn’t make it easy; he didn’t want to let her go. But it soon became clear that he didn’t have a choice.
He landed on the leather couch with an oomph as most of the air in his lungs was expelled by the force. That much strength in such a little body was unnatural. It was like being moved by a forklift.
Logan was standing over him with a confused expression on her face. “Huh,” she said.
Connell sat up straight. “What does that mean?” he asked.
He wanted to grab her again, but the dent he just made in the couch was a good reminder not to do it again without permission. But later…she would beg for his touch. He’d make sure of it. In the meantime, he waited with uncharacteristic patience for her to answer.
“It means huh,” she replied, sitting on the sofa opposite the one he was in and cocking her head at him.
She was watching him as if he were a curious specimen of insect. Other than mild interest, there was no reaction to what had happened. And annoyingly, it also didn’t appear as if she wanted to do it again.
“Okay,” he rumbled as she reached up for the nearest bottle on the bar next to her. He frowned. “What are you doing?”
“I think I need that drink after all,” she said, pouring a large measure of his favorite twenty-year-old scotch into a glass.
“Fine. Just don’t get drunk,” he muttered. “You don’t even look old enough to be drinking. I feel like I’m contributing to the delinquency of a minor.”
Logan snorted at that, but she didn’t respond. He took that as a silent confirmation that she was older than she looked.
Meanwhile, Logan downed scotch that was older than she was.
Fire (The Elementals #1) by L.B. Gilbert
About Book 1 – NOW JUST $0.99! Title: Fire Series: The Elementals #1 Author: L.B. Gilbert Release Date: October 24, 2015 Genre: New Adult Fantasy/Paranormal Romance Links:Goodreads | Amazon
Synopsis Invested with the powers of Mother Nature, four women have been charged with the almost impossible task of maintaining order in the supernatural world and—when the crimes are extreme—the human world as well.
Diana, a fire Elemental, is almost burned out. Alone in the world (save for her Elemental sisters), she takes satisfaction in punishing those who’ve strayed so far into the black they’ve disrupted the balance. But her contentment is increasingly short-lived as she struggles with the limitations of her ability. An Elemental can track murderers to the ends of the earth, but not before it’s too late for their victims.
So when a child from a previous case goes missing, Diana is determined to find her. The only problem is, she may have to take on an entire coven of vampires to do it.
Author L.B. Gilbert
About the Author USA Today bestselling author L.B. Gilbert spent years getting degrees from the most prestigious universities in America, including a PhD that she is not using at all. She moved to France for work and found love. She’s married now and living in Toulouse with one adorable half-french baby.
She has always enjoyed reading books as far from ￼her reality as possible but eventually the voices in her head told her to write her own. And so far the voices are enjoying them. You can check out the geeky things she likes on ￼twitter @elementalauthor, facebook www.facebook.com/elementalsauthor, or www.elementalauthor.com
*If you like a little more steam with your Fire, check out the author’s Lucy Leroux titles*
Welcome to the book blitz for Shadow Fall,the first book in the young adult fantasy romance series, Shadow Fall, by Audrey Grey. See below for information on the book, buy links, an exclusive excerpt, and details on her giveaway.
Synopsis The asteroid hurtling toward the earth will kill billions.
The Emperor and his Gold Court will be safe in their space station, watching from the stars. The Silvers will be protected underground. But the Bronzes must fight it out at the Shadow Trials for the few remaining spots left on the space station.
When an enigmatic benefactor hands Maia Graystone a spot in the Trials, she won’t just get a chance at salvation for her and her baby brother, Max: She gets to confront the mother who abandoned her in prison, the mad Emperor who murdered her father, and the Gold prince who once loved her. But it’s the dark bastard prince she’s partnered with that will make her question everything, including her own heart. With the asteroid racing closer every day, Maia must trust someone to survive. The question is who?
Excerpt My legs wobble as I step into the now lukewarm water. I sink to the bottom. Tiny bubbles escape my nose as I watch all the ugly remnants from the last seven years leave my body.
Lungs burning, I rise and come face-to-face with Pit Boy.
I glare at him. “You really have to work on the knocking thing.”
Despite the fact that I’m indecent, his attention never falls from my face. I almost wish it would, just to give me a break from the intensity of his focus.
“I only get a few more hours to be the ‘one-eyed freak’ from the pit. Might as well take advantage.” He doesn’t dare crack a smile, so it’s hard to tell if he’s joking or serious.
“Don’t worry. In my heart, that’s exactly who you’ll always be.”
His words remind me that soon we’ll be reconstructed using forbidden nanotech. But it won’t just be our flesh they’ll reengineer. It will be our brains, too.
I don’t foresee my rewiring being too complicated, but Riser needs to upload almost twenty years of false memories. That will be tricky and time-consuming.
And time is the one thing we don’t have.
Riser flicks his gaze to the mirror. He lifts a hand, touches the patch of mottled flesh where his eye should be.
“How did it happen?” I ask.
“Careful, my lady.” His gaze settles on my face. “You’re beginning to sound like you care.”
I roll my eyes. “And I thought I was lacking in conversational skills.”
He focuses his attention on the graffiti sprayed across the mirror.
“It’s written language,” I blurt, even though all I want to do is end the conversation so Pit Boy can leave. His presence unnerves me more than the other Pit Leeches ever could. “It’s how we communicate.”
“I know what it is.” He examines his jagged thumbnail. “I just . . . can’t read it.”
“It’s just stuff about the Chosen. You know, insults.” The populace is finicky. As much as they love watching the Chosen with their petty intrigues and court life, they would be just as happy to see their heads on a pike.
Time to explain what you are, Everly, Nicolai’s voice grates inside my head. Riser’s eyes flutter just enough that I know he’s heard Nicolai’s voice too.
You do it, I think, watching Riser’s reaction. But his face remains emotionless; either he’s a good actor or only Nicolai can hear my response.
“The Royalist astronomers discovered the asteroid twenty-one years ago,” I begin. “It’s actually a slow moving planet called an earth-crosser, meaning its orbit and ours intersect every twenty-thousand years. Usually it’s too far away to affect us, but this time it will pass close enough to wreak havoc and make the earth uninhabitable for years.” I stir the water with my big toe. “Before I was born, the Emperor decided that creating a population of genetically superior humans would be a great idea, you know, just in case the Caskets don’t work or the asteroid does more damage than predicted.”
Riser’s hyper-focused gaze bores through me. “You’re one of them?”
“Yes.” I run my hand through the filthy water. “But my father’s a Bronze, so even though my mother comes from a Gold House, the Emperor only allowed them one Chosen instead of the customary twins. So it’s just me . . . not Max.”
“What makes being Chosen so special?”
“I don’t know . . .” I bite my lip, trying to remember everything my parents told me. “My genes are perfect, I guess.”
For some reason, talking about my body makes me remember that I am naked in a room with a boy. As if reading my mind, Riser slowly lets his gaze fall, his expression both curious and unapologetic as he takes me all in, his thoughts cryptic.
“What are you staring at?” I blurt, smashing my breasts beneath my hands. Not like there’s much there to cover. “Haven’t you seen a naked girl before?”
A smile twitches his lips. “Not one that’s genetically flawless.”
“It doesn’t work that way! You can’t just look at us and tell. We look like everyone else—”
“No.” Riser shakes his head, a dark swath of hair covering his damaged eye. “You don’t. Whatever you are.”
“You must be happy . . . about our reconstruction, I mean,” I mumble, trying desperately to change the subject. “They’ll fix your eye . . . and . . . and all those horrible scars.”
I freeze as he slides off the counter, unable to look away as he hooks one finger beneath his shirt and lifts.
Scars ravage his anemic body in varying shades of red and silver and white. Some deep and pitted like the craters of a far-away planet, others smooth and neat. One particular nasty scar carves down his shoulder, tunneling across his chest and stomach. A fresh red wound nestles just below his throat.
He carefully touches the long ugly one. “I’m not ashamed for surviving.”
Author Audrey Grey
About the Author Audrey Grey lives in the charming state of Oklahoma, with her husband, two little people, and four mischievous dogs. You can usually find her hiding out in her office from said little people and dogs, surrounded by books and sipping kombucha while dreaming up wondrous worlds for her characters to live in. .
Welcome to the blog tour for Destiny, the fourth book in the young adult dystopian fantasy series, The Geneva Project, by Christina Benjamin. See below for information on the book, buy links, and a couple of exclusive teasers.
Destiny (The Geneva Project #4) by Christina Benjamin
Alone and imprisoned by the Ravinori, Geneva’s legendary power is tested as Malakai’s quest for supremacy threatens the people she loves. It’s do or die as she faces her overwhelming destiny head on. Despite the cost, Geneva will give everything she has to fulfill her mythical prophecy. She’s forged the strength and courage to face her fate, but can Geneva’s light surpass the darkness?.
Author Christina Benjamin
About the Author Christina Benjamin is the Award-Winning Author of the bestselling Young Adult fantasy series The Geneva Project.
Benjamin’s writing hooks fans of mega-hit YA fiction like Harry Potter and The Hunger Games, offering a new series to obsess over. She paints a vivid world where magic and imagination run wild in her epic tale of adventure, courage and friendship.
Benjamin resides in Florida. She’s a proud book nerd, 100% Gryffindor, has entirely too many book boyfriends and loves coffee and tacos!.
Fates Entwined (Halven Rising #3) by Jules Barnard
Synopsis They can never be together. The notion is laughable. Humans are inferior, a scourge on the Fae and on the magic passed down to them by angels millennia ago. And if Keen finds himself drawn to the tiny human female, he keeps it to himself. He won’t add to the half-breed problem that threatens his people’s existence.
Reese can’t stand Keen. He criticizes her clothing, won’t answer a straight question, and is too handsome for her peace of mind.
Her entire life, people have pegged Reese for a shallow, ditzy blond. She won’t accept the stereotype from the large, arrogant Fae too. But after Keen saves her life, she begins to question what truly lies beneath his stoic demeanor.
Forced together, Keen and Reese fight to survive among enemies, and Keen makes choices Reese couldn’t have predicted. She glimpses a side of him that is protective and dangerously seductive.
But Keen refuses to acknowledge their connection.
Until he’s faced with the decision to betray his people, or lose Reese forever.
*This mature YA series is intended for readers 17 years and older.
**Each Halven Rising novel features a different couple and may be read as a standalone, but an overreaching story arc connects the series, so it’s fun to read them in order.**
My Review Fates Entwined picks up where Fates Divided left off, only this time we get Elena’s roommate, Reese’s, point of view along with Keen’s, Elena’s fae body guard. There is more angst this time around, which is my not so secret passion. The whole forbidden love thing is a favorite of mine and it works really well here. When Reese is kidnapped at a frat party and taken into the fae realm, Keen lives up to his promise to Elena to find her and bring her back. The problem is, the evil fae queen is using her as a bargaining chip. With the war of the fae worlds about to erupt, there’s more action this time around, and Reese is a little spitfire caught in the midst of it all.
The main plot is really the battle between the old and new world faes with the romance as a strong subplot rather than the main plot. However the romance drives Keen’s and Reese’s actions for much of the story. The pacing is well-done, and I never got bored. I loved the way the author teased us throughout with the whole “will they or won’t they” trope.
We get both Reese’s and Keen’s points of view, but Reese is the narrator for well more than half. She’s spunky, smart, and brave, but she also experiences growth throughout the story. It was fun watching her evolve from the opening pages through the nail-biting ending. Keen has his own character arc and his is more full than Reese’s as he’s forced to acknowledge his Halven bigotry in order to get what he wants — Reese.
Once again, Jules Barnard delivers an imaginative world in vivid detail. Everything from the landscape and castle to the clothing is richly detailed. The rules of the fae world are as intricate as many of Reese’s formal gowns.
Top Five Things I Enjoyed About Fates Entwined
1. Reese. She’s so awesome. I love her attitude, her strength and courage. Really everything about her! She was my favorite character in Fates Divided, so I was thrilled to read her point of view.
2. Keen. Still love him just as much as I did in the first book, and maybe more now that I’ve been inside his head.
3. Fae politics. Come on, what’s not to love about that?
4. The action. I loved all the battles in this installment.
5. The angst. The best kind of romance.
My favorite book in the series so far. I can’t wait to read the next one!
Disclaimer I was provided a copy of this book by the author in exchange for an honest review.
Before turning to storytelling, Jules earned a master’s degree in public health and spent many an hour running statistical analysis–until she realized her favorite part of the job was writing reports.
She decided to cut out the math and add in some hot guys, and so began her career as a novelist.
Jules is a Northern California native living on the coast with her husband and two children. She has no impulse control around cupcakes and credits herself with the ability to read while running on the treadmill or burning dinner. .
Welcome to the book blitz for Weariland, a young adult fantasy adventure, by Mary Shotwell.See below for information on the book, buy links, the book’s trailer, and details on her giveaway.
Weariland by Mary Shotwell
About the Book Title: Weariland Author: Mary Shotwell Publisher:Merge Publishing Release Date: May 10, 2016 Genre: Young Adult Fantasy Links:Goodreads | Amazon | Barnes & Noble
Synopsis For fifteen-year-old Lason Davies, it all started with a text.
The last words of her murdered grandmother haunt Lason as she travels to England with her sheltering mother for the funeral. The crime is a sensation, but the clamoring reporters and news photographers aren’t the only ones interested in their arrival.
As her mother’s behavior borders on erratic (on a good day), Lason encounters a stranger from Weariland, a dreary world once known as Wonderland. He petitions Lason’s help in finding a secret family heirloom, a key to saving his land—and to Lason’s past. Lason is swept in an adventure through Weariland’s unpredictable realm, encountering colorful, fantastical characters and discovering her family’s elusive history. But if she isn’t careful, she may never return…
Author Mary Shotwell
About the Author Mary grew up in northeast Ohio, so it was only natural for her to pursue a degree in marine biology. After studying dolphin behavior and estimating great white shark populations, she earned her Ph.D. in Biostatistics in Charleston, South Carolina. It was there, during the arduous dissertation process, where she had the idea to write a book.
With Alice and the crazy characters from Wonderland staring her down from her bedroom poster, Mary envisioned what that fantasy realm would look like in current day. Creative writing served as a natural escape from technical writing, wedding planning, pregnancy, and job hunting.
Mary is excited to debut Weariland (Merge Publishing, 2016), a novel introducing Lason Davies, a teenager who learns about her family’s past in a world once called Wonderland. She currently resides in Tennessee with her husband and three children.
Welcome to the blog tour for The Lost Codex, the fourth book in the new adult fantasy romance series The Collectors’ Society, by Heather Lyons.See below for information on the book and the series, buy links, and an exclusive excerpt.
The Lost Codex (The Collectors’ Society #4) by Heather Lyons
About the Book
Title: The Lost Codex Series: The Collectors’ Society #4 Author: Heather Lyons Publisher: Cerulean Books Release Date: November 7, 2016 Genre: New Adult Fantasy Romantic Adventure Links: Goodreads | Amazon | Amazon UK | iBooks
Synopsis Allies, once inseparable, splinter until they break apart.
An insidiousness carves its way through Wonderland, challenging the land’s very existence.
Battle lines will be drawn as pages, long languishing in darkness, are finally illuminated.
Swords will clash, blood will be spilled, and lives will be lost.
For what is written can still be erased.
Excerpt #1 My window is opened, tiny as it may be, and I do not waste it. I dart forward, the vorpal blade firm in my hand as I mentally count down seconds. The beast releases a mournful gurgle of frustration, its elongated whiskers and scaly jowls limply sagging around massive teeth. When I skid to a stop, the tips of my leather boots collide with its tail.
Another gurgle sounds, one ripe with helpless fury.
A satchel is thrown to the ground before I pry thick scales off with the end of my blade. “My apologies.” I gasp as I wrench off bits of its tough hide. “I promise, I’ll depart momentarily.”
Its body shudders, as if allowed, it would quake with indignation. Once I reach the count of ten, I shove my treasure into the satchel and sprint out of the jabberwocky’s lair.
The earth beneath my feet rumbles.
Jubjub birds explode from the trees at the sheer intensity of the beast’s wrath.
Rumbling turns to assured quaking.
I barrel over broken branches and bushes, my hair snagging upon greedy twigs.
I shift my sword, lifting up a free arm.
Jace grabs hold, lifting me up to settle between his chest and his stallion’s withers. I take hold of the reigns, laughter burbling from the both of us as we gallop through the remaining thicket. Bursting into the Dark Meadows, sunlight warms my face. My smile is so wide, my cheeks hurt. My lungs sting, the breath from them comes in exhilarated bursts.
The Caterpillar often accuses me of enjoying life on the edge of my blade. His point holds validity, because goodness, do I feel alive right now.
The Collectors’ Society (The Collectors’ Society #1) by Heather Lyons
About Book 1
Title: The Collectors’ Society Series: The Collector’s Society #1 Author: Heather Lyons Publisher: Cerulean Books Release Date: October 23, 2014 Genre: Fantasy Romantic Adventure Links: Goodreads | Amazon | Amazon UK | Barnes & Noble | iBooks | Kobo
Synopsis From the author of the Fate series and The Deep End of the Sea comes a fantastical romantic adventure that has Alice tumbling down the strangest rabbit hole yet.
After years in Wonderland, Alice has returned to England as an adult, desperate to reclaim sanity and control over her life.
An enigmatic gentleman with an intriguing job offer too tempting to resist changes her plans for a calm existence, though.
Soon, she’s whisked to New York and initiated into the Collectors’ Society, a secret organization whose members confirm that famous stories are anything but straightforward and that what she knows about the world is only a fraction of the truth.
It’s there she discovers villains are afoot—ones who want to shelve the lives of countless beings.
Assigned to work with the mysterious and alluring Finn, Alice and the rest of the Collectors’ Society race against a doomsday clock in order to prevent further destruction . . . but will they make it before all their endings are erased?
The Hidden Library (The Collector’s Society #2) by Heather Lyons
About Book 2
Title: The Hidden Library Series: The Collectors’ Society #2 Author: Heather Lyons Publisher: Cerulean Books Release Date: February 26, 2015 Genre: Fantasy Romantic Adventure Links: Goodreads | Amazon | Amazon UK | Barnes & Noble | iTunes | Kobo
Synopsis Sometimes, the rabbit hole is deeper than expected . . .
Alice Reeve and Finn Van Brunt have tumbled into a life of secrets. Some secrets they share, such as their employment by the clandestine organization known as The Collectors’ Society. Other secrets they carry within them, fighting to keep buried the things that could change everything they think they know.
On the hunt for an elusive villain who is hell-bent on destroying legacies, Alice, Finn, and the rest of the Society are desperate to unravel the mysteries surrounding them. But the farther they spiral down this rabbit hole, the deeper they fall into secrets that will test their loyalties and pit them against enemies both new and old.
Secrets, they come to find, can reveal the deadliest of truths..
The Forgotten Mountain (The Collector’s Society #3) by Heather Lyons
About Book 3
Title: The Forgotten Mountain Series: The Collectors’ Society #3 Author: Heather Lyons Publisher: Cerulean Books Release Date: June 25, 2015 Genre: Fantasy Romantic Adventure Links: Goodreads | Amazon | Amazon UK | Barnes & Noble | iBooks | Kobo
Synopsis After years spent in Wonderland, Alice Reeve learned the impossible was quite possible after all. She thought she left such fantastical realities behind when she finally returned to England.
Now Alice has become a member of the clandestine Collectors’ Society, and the impossible has found her again in the form of an elusive villain set on erasing entire worlds. As she and the rest of the Society race to bring this mysterious murderer to justice, the fight becomes painfully personal.
Lives are being lost. Loved ones are shattered or irrevocably altered. Each step closer Alice gets to the shadowy man she hunts, the more secrets she unravels, only to reveal chilling truths. If she wants to win this war and save millions of lives, Alice must once more embrace the impossible and make the unimaginable, imaginable.
Sometimes, the rabbit hole leads to terrifying places..
About the Author Heather Lyons has always had a thing for words—She’s been writing stories since she was a kid. In addition to writing, she’s also been an archaeologist and a teacher.
Heather is a rabid music fan, as evidenced by her (mostly) music-centric blog, and she’s married to an even larger music snob. They’re happily raising three kids who are mini music fiends who love to read and be read to.
She and her husband and children live in sunny Southern California and are currently working their way through every cupcakery she can find..