Welcome to the book blitz for WYATT WATKINS AND THE ADDER STONE,the first book in the young adult fantasy series, Wyatt Watkins, by Jacob Tate and Kate Callahan. See below for information on the book and series, buy links, and details on their giveaway. To celebrate release day of book 2, you can pick up both books for just $0.99!
WYATT WATKINS AND THE ADDER STONES (Wyatt Watkins #1) by Jacob Tate and Kate Callahan
About Book 1 – $0.99 for a limited time!
Title: WYATT WATKINS AND THE ADDER STONE Series: Wyatt Watkins #1 Authors: Jacob Tate and Kate Callahan Publisher: New Paradigm Productions Release Date: June 8, 2015 Genre: Young Adult Fantasy Links: Goodreads | Amazon | Amazon UK | Amazon CA | Amazon AU
Synopsis Wyatt Watkins is like most young boys his age. He’s an excited daydreamer, always eager to make friends – and he always keeps an eye out for his next adventure.
Life in New York City has always been simple and pleasant for Wyatt and his siblings, Josh and Rose. Wyatt works hard in school, gets good grades, and enjoys a reliable and fun circle of friends. But when tragedy strikes the Watkins family, they are forced to relocate from the city to Upstate New York and the rural, forgotten town of Cloverbrook.
A seemingly harmless, small town of roughly 3,000 people, nestled at the base of the Adirondack Mountains, Cloverbrook welcomes the family quickly as it prepares for its 72nd Annual Pumpkin Smash and Harvest Festival. Wyatt finds the massive forests, blanketed in a sea of orange, red and yellow leaves, the perfect playground to adjust to his new life, while the family struggles to cope with their loss.
But deep in the dark forests that surround the town, a hidden evil lurks…waiting…watching. And while the evil forces in the forest continue to grow, Wyatt uncovers an artifact with untold power that will thrust the entire family into the middle of an ancient struggle between good and evil.
WYATT WATKINS AND THE TABLE OF THE MARKED (Wyatt Watkins #2) by Jacob Tate and Kate Callahan
About Book 2 – $0.99 for a limited time!
Title: WYATT WATKINS AND THE ADDER TABLE OF THE MARKED Series: Wyatt Watkins #2 Authors: Jacob Tate and Kate Callahan Publisher: New Paradigm Productions Release Date: March 31, 2017 Genre: Young Adult Fantasy Links: Goodreads | Amazon | Amazon UK | Amazon CA | Amazon AU
Synopsis Wyatt Watkins used to be a restless daydreamer – and like most boys his age, eager to make friends. But the moment he and the rest of the Watkins family crossed over the border into the town of Cloverbrook, everything changed. Surrounded by an endless forest and a massive, grey mountain range to the north, Wyatt found himself pulled into an ancient struggle between good and evil. Using the powers bestowed upon him by his Adder Stone, Wyatt became a reluctant hero, battling an army of creatures set upon seizing his Adder Stone – even if it meant destroying Wyatt and his family along the way.
Then, in the final moments of what seemed to be a battle won, Wyatt faced some of his most crippling fears – the death of someone close to him and the mysterious disappearance of one of his family members. In Book 2, Wyatt Watkins and The Table of the Marked, Wyatt must decipher clues left behind that will help him find those that he lost and unlock the secrets of his family’s past. He will find himself surrounded by some who wish to help him and those who wish to do him harm.
Faced with the reality that they can no longer hide from their past, each member of the Watkins family will find themselves in their own danger – as they seek a way to unite and confront their family’s destiny. And as a massive winter storm threatens all of Cloverbrook from behind the cold Adirondack Mountains, they will all come to know the one true evil that threatens to alter the very fabric of existence and bring an end to the world itself.
Author Jacob Tate
About the Author Jacob Tate is an Amazon Best Selling Author in both Dark Fantasy and Horror Occult. His writing mixes paranormal, horror and fantasy related themes. He is the author of three novels from the adult horror/humor series, Max Cutter and The First Black Book and the young-adult fantasy series, Wyatt Watkins and the Adder Stones.
Welcome to the release day book blast THE IVORY QUEEN, a novella in the young adult fantasy/fairy tale retelling series, Order of the Bell,by Jacob Devlin. See below for information on the book and series, buy links, and details on his giveaway.
THE IVORY QUEEN (Order of the Bell #1.5) by Jacob Devlin
Synopsis Twenty-five years ago, the venomous Queen Avoria was banished from the enchanted realms of Florindale and sentenced to spend eternity inside a cursed mirror.
After a seemingly endless tumble through the mirror’s abyss, Avoria awakens in a gloomy metropolis in the darkest corner of Wonderland. There she meets the shrewd King of Hearts, Cornelius Redding, and the two strike a turbulent alliance. As Avoria helps Cornelius execute his conquest of Wonderland, she plots her own vengeance against the world that cast her out. In the city’s cold shadows, Avoria finds pawns in the souls that defied her, truth in the reflection that calls to her, and power in the past that forged her. And thus, the Ivory Queen begins carving a path to the ultimate throne.
THE CARVER (Order of the Bells #1) by Jacob Devlin
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.
Author Jacob Devlin
About the Author When JacobDevlin was four years old, he would lounge around in Batman pajamas and make semi-autobiographical picture books about an adventurous python named Jake the Snake. Eventually, he traded his favorite blue crayon for a black pen, and he never put it down. When not reading or writing, Jacob loves practicing his Italian, watching stand-up comedy, going deaf at rock concerts, and geeking out at comic book conventions. He does most of these things in southern Arizona.
New York Times and USA Today bestselling author, Nicole Blanchard, is revealing the cover to DEAL WITH THE DRAGON, the first book in her adult fantasy romance series, Immortals Ever After, releasing May 1, 2017. See below for the cover, information on the book, and a pre-order link.
DEAL WITH THE DRAGON (Immortals Ever After #1) by Nicole Blanchard
About the Novella Title: DEAL WITH THE DRAGON Series: Immortals Ever After #1 Author: Nicole Blanchard Publisher: Bolero Books LLC Release Date: May 1, 2017 Genre: Adult Fantasy Romance Links:Goodreads | iBooks
Synopsis My birthright was stolen from me.
It should’ve been my throne, my crown, but I was banished to a temple when my darkest secret was discovered. Now, I’m forced to live out the rest of my life alone, as nothing more than a forgotten princess.
Until my brother makes a deal with a dragon.
In exchange for peace between our lands, my brother promised Rhysander Blaque a bride. Despite our passion, Rhys is a constant reminder that I will never be more than a bargaining chip for the throne that should rightfully be mine.
I may be bound to the last living dragon, but I refuse to be a prize he can claim. He may own my body, but I will always soar free.
DEAL WITH THE DRAGON (Immortals Ever After #1) by Nicole Blanchard (Full Cover)
Author Nicole Blanchard
About the Author New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Nicole Blanchard lives in Mississippi with her family and their menagerie of animals. She chooses each day to chase her own fairy tale even if they contain their fair share of dragons. She is married to her best friend and owns her own business.
Nicole survives on a diet of too many books and substantial amounts of root beer and slim jims. When not reading, she’s lavishing attention on her family or inhaling every episode of The Walking Dead and The Big Bang Theory.
THREE WISHES is now available in paperback for the first time! This heartwarming and epic love story from New York Times bestselling author, Kristen Ashley, returns with an amazing new cover. And that’s not all. THREE WISHES is being re-released in eBook form with beautiful, new formatting! So make a wish, grab your copy, and prepare to fall in love all over again. See below for all the details.
Synopsis When Lily Jacobs was born, she inherited Fazire – a genie. Her family had three wishes and they’d only ever used one so Fazire was stuck in the human world. This worked since he’d become a member of the family anyway.
Even with a genie, Lily’s young life wasn’t perfect. To escape the kids making her miserable at school, Lily buried herself in romance novels. One day, when the teasing was just too much, she used one of her wishes. She told Fazire she wanted to find a man like in her books and she made the most complicated wish Fazire had ever heard. Her wished-for man had to be impossibly handsome, virile, fierce, rugged and ruthless (amongst a dozen other things).
He also had to think she was beautiful and he had to love her more than anything in the world.
Nathaniel McAllister wasn’t born to a life where there were such things as genies granting wishes. His life was filled with drugs, crime and neglect. He was running errands for a gangster before he was in his teens and, even though life and hard work led him to wealth and respectability, he always knew, deep down, he was dirty. When Nate met Lily he knew he was no good for her but as virile, fierce, rugged and ruthless as he was, Nate was no match for the pull of sweet, innocent Lily.
Unfortunately, Lily’s wish included that she and her hero go through trials and tribulations to test their love. And Fazire wasn’t only a good genie, he loved Lily – so he gave her exactly what she wanted.
Excerpt Nate didn’t know what he wanted but whatever it was, it certainly was not Georgia.
He was saved from answering Victor when he spied a youth wearing a gray hooded sweatshirt, the hood worn up even though it was a warm day. The boy was slouching down the pavement, head bowed, hands in the front pocket of the sweatshirt, his head swinging this way and that, looking for his mark.
Nate’s guard, already on alert—always on alert—went into overdrive.
Nate’s eyes narrowed as he watched the youth, and Victor started to get into the Rolls. Then, as expected, the boy darted toward his target and Nate heard a woman’s outraged cry.
“Hey!” she yelled.
He watched the boy snatch the woman’s purse, his body tensing for action.
And then his eyes moved to the woman and uncharacteristically, he froze.
“Hey! He stole my purse! Stop him! He stole my purse!” she shouted.
Nate vaguely registered she was an American tourist. Nate also absently noticed that no one moved to assist.
In that brief moment in time, Nate was too busy drinking in the vision that was her, he himself didn’t move a muscle.
She was tall, incredibly tall.
And curvy, delectably curvy.
She had the most unusual colored hair. Hair that he knew from vast experience living in a house with Laura and Danielle for years came through a supremely talented and expensive stylist’s hands.
And she had an exquisite face, flawless skin and a bearing that was extraordinary. She had been given a wide berth around her even on the crowded pavement. Not because she was screaming her head off but instead because she was majestic, radiant, elegant…
In a stupor from simply looking at her, the boy with her purse charged right by Nate.
Not in a stupor, she realized no one was going to help her, gave up screaming and charged right after the boy.
At the noise, Victor turned away from the car and Nate shifted to watch in astonishment as she deftly and agilely dodged the crowd, her long legs a match for the short boy. Then Nate watched in stunned surprise as she jumped onto the thief’s back with a graceful leap.
Everyone stared in shock but no one lifted a finger except a few started to take photographs.
“Give me back my purse, you thug!” she shouted.
Wrapping her long legs around her prey, one arm around his neck, she slapped him around the head with the other hand.
The thief staggered back then he staggered with intent and slammed her against the side of the building. Her head snapped back and cracked against the stone so loudly Nate could hear it from where he stood twenty paces away.
At the sound Nate jerked out of his stupor and forged forward.
Author Kristen Ashley
About the Author Kristen Ashley was born in Gary, Indiana, USA and nearly killed her mother and herself making it into the world, seeing as she had the umbilical cord wrapped around her neck (already attempting to accessorise and she hadn’t taken her first breath!). Her mother said they took Kristen away, put her Mom back in her room, her mother looked out the window, and Gary was on fire (Dr. King had been assassinated four days before). Kristen’s Mom remembered thinking it was the end of the world. Quite the dramatic beginning.
Kristen grew up in Brownsburg, Indiana and has lived in Denver, Colorado and the West Country of England. Thus, she’s blessed to have friends and family around the globe. Her family was (is) loopy (to say the least) but loopy is good when you want to write. They all lived together on a very small farm in a small farm town in the heartland. She grew up with Glenn Miller, The Everly Brothers, REO Speedwagon and Whitesnake (and the wardrobes that matched).
Needless to say, growing up in a house full of music, clothes and love was a good way to grow up. And as she keeps growing, it keeps getting better..
Welcome to the book blitz for THE SUPERNATURAL PET SITTER, the first book in the middle grade fantasy series, The Magic Thief, by Diane Moat. See below for information on the book, buy links, an exclusive excerpt, and details on her giveaway.
THE SUPERNATURAL PET SITTER (The Magic Thief #1) by Diane Moat
About the Book Title: THE SUPERNATURAL PET SITTER Series: The Magic Thief #1 Author: Diane Moat Release Date: March, 2017 Genre: Middle Grade Fantasy Links:Goodreads | Amazon | Amazon UK | Amazon CA | Amazon AU
Synopsis Every animal can talk to you. You just have to know how to listen.
Pepper Neely is better at this than most, especially because she is in charge of pet sitting all the familiars in her neighborhood. A familiar is a pet magically linked to a witch or warlock. As a gnome, Pepper is no stranger to spells and sorcery. She also knows that, despite their special name, familiars aren’t all that different from regular animals. They get anxious when separated from their people, so Pepper uses her special gnome powers to calm them down. She watches Cranky the high-strung ferret, Frank the laid-back parrot, King Arthur the elderly tortoise, and many others.
Then, something terrible begins happening to the familiars. Someone is stealing their magic! It not only prevents Pepper from communicating with them but breaks their magical connection with their people. When King Arthur’s magic is stolen, his owner’s powers stop working too. Pepper can sense that the tortoise is very scared.
In order to protect the animal’s magic, Pepper decides to track down the culprit. With the help of her best friend, Luna, and her brother, Jax, Pepper fights to protect all of the special pets..
Excerpt #3 As they moved deeper into the earth, each member of her family (including Pepper) let out a sigh of relief. Even though they spent most of their lives above ground (well, except for Dad), something deep inside each of them relaxed when they were underground.
Pepper fondly touched the walls of the tunnel. Her action was echoed by the rest of the family. Long ago, gnomes were born under the earth. For generations, the earth had been protector and provider. Nonna told stories of huge cities underground, at a time when gnomes went their whole lives without ever seeing the sun or sky. For Pepper, the earth told her different things at different times. Quiet. Dark. Time. Unchanging. Water. Air. Comfort. Safety.
Sometimes she thought she heard the earth speak to her, at other times she had feelings she translated into words. Sacred places lay underground: well-traveled areas, as well as sites where humans had never been.
Pepper sensed this was one of the spots where humans had either never been, or hadn’t been in a long, long time. The cave sloped downhill, and the four followed it straight ahead for five minutes, until they came to a dead-end. Pepper could see a boulder where one shouldn’t have been.
Jax must have seen the same thing. Walking up to the enormous rock, he took hold of it on the right top and right side. He didn’t pull the boulder to him, but rolled it to the left.
He made the movement look easy, but gnomes were much stronger than humans were.
Plus, we know how to move rocks.
The air changed, alerting Pepper to a huge cavern nearby. Together, the family
entered the now-open doorway. Inside, Pepper’s mom rolled the boulder back into place,
then showed them how to secure it from this side. Cool.
Author Diane Moat
About the Author Diane is a Tennessee transplant, animal rescuer, and nurse. Dog Gone is her debut novel, born from years of hearing animal rescuers say about animal abusers, “If only I could get my hands on that person…” Diane is assisted by her many rescue dogs.
Welcome to the book blitz for BIRTHRIGHT, the first book in the young adult paranormal romance series, Legacy, by Jessica Ruddick. See below for information on the book, buy links, an exclusive excerpt, and details on her giveaway.
BIRTHRIGHT (Legacy #1) by Jessica Ruddick
About the Book Title: BIRTHRIGHT Series: Legacy #1 Author: Jessica Ruddick Release Date: March 20, 2017 Genre: Young Adult Paranormal Romance Link: Goodreads | Amazon | Barnes & Noble | iBooks | Kobo
Synopsis How do you live with yourself when you decide who dies?
Ava Parks would have killed for an iPod for her sixteenth birthday. Anything would have been better than coming into her birthright of being a seeker for the Grim Reaper, an arrangement made by her fallen angel ancestor in exchange for his re-admittance to heaven. And she isn’t just any seeker—she finds souls that have the potential for becoming angels and sentences them to death.
A year and two souls into her role as a seeker with her conscience overflowing with guilt, Ava comes up with a plan to thwart the system. When it goes awry, she is forced to submit the name of a classmate, Cole Fowler, an ornery, rough around the edges guy who always seems to come to her rescue, whether she likes it or not. Her feelings for Cole prompt her to intervene, and she saves him from death, upsetting the Grim Reaper’s agenda.
While Ava schemes to find a way to save Cole, she learns he has some secrets of his own. She lets him believe he is protecting her, and not the other way around, until a final showdown with the Grim Reaper forces Ava to make choices Cole may never forgive.
Excerpt As soon as I opened the front door, the hair on the back of my neck stood up and a tingle ran down my spine. The scent of cinnamon filled my nostrils. It was like having those little candy Red Hots shoved up my nose. Dread in the form of a knot settled in the base of my stomach.
Xavier was…I wasn’t sure what he was. Was he the descendant of a fallen angel like me? Was he an angel himself? Or was he something else, something more sinister?
He certainly looked it. He certainly acted it. He exuded evil.
He was lounging on our couch, his arms spread out over the back of it and his right ankle propped on his left knee. His black hair was slicked back, and he’d grown a goatee since the last time I’d seen him. As usual, he was dressed in a black suit with a red tie, what I mentally referred to as his “villain suit.”
I couldn’t believe he was the same man who used to read me bedtime stories and tuck me in when my mom had to work nights.
A smile stretched across his face and his black beady eyes watched me enter the room. The only thing that could possibly make him more snakelike was if a thin red forked tongue flitted out of his mouth.
I’d be less surprised than if a hippo flounced around my living room in a pink tutu in true Fantasia style.
My mom sat stiffly on a chair across from him. It was our home, but Xavier was in control here. Her eyes met mine, and she shrugged her shoulders slightly. She had no idea why he was here either. We hadn’t expected him for at least a couple more months.
“Welcome home, Ava,” Xavier said. “Why don’t you have a seat?”
“No, thanks. I’ll stand.”
He chuckled. “Suit yourself.”
Xavier took a moment to inspect his cuticles, as if he weren’t in the middle of our living room, as if we weren’t waiting for him to say whatever it was he came to say so he would leave again. I’d say he was oblivious to the effect he had on us, but that wouldn’t be true. He knew, and he relished it.
I crossed my arms over my chest. “What do you want?”
He raised his eyebrows. “Is that any way to treat a guest in your home?” He looked at my mother. “You should really teach her better manners.”
I laughed bitterly. “Calling yourself a guest implies that you’re wanted here.”
“Ava,” my mom said, her tone sharp.
Xavier just threw his head back and laughed. “No, Mary, let the little vixen spew her venom. I like it. It’s honest. Honesty is underrated in society today, don’t you agree?”
I glared at him.
“I have your next assignment.”
My glare faltered as I fought to keep the air moving in and out of my lungs. An assignment from Xavier meant the blood of an innocent would be on my hands again.
When I said I worked for the Grim Reaper, that was oversimplifying it a bit. There’s actually more than one. Think about it—with all the people who die every day in the world, how could there possibly be just one?
The particular Grim Reaper I worked for was special, though. He collected souls that were worthy of being angels. It was my job as a seeker to find those souls.
How’s that for an after school job?
“Forgive me, Xavier, but isn’t it a little soon?” my mom said quietly. “She hasn’t even had a chance to get settled in her new school.”
He glanced at her before returning his attention to me. “She can handle it. Besides, it’s time.”
“But her last assignment was just last month!” my mom protested. “Are you sure—”
“I’m very sure.”
I closed my eyes and pinched the bridge of my nose. The knot of dread in my stomach exploded, seeping into the rest of my body. I breathed deeply, desperately trying to keep control. The last thing I wanted was to lose it in front of Xavier.
“How long do I have?”
Two weeks. I had two weeks to put a plan into motion that would change lives irrevocably.
My classmates’ faces popped into my mind. I hadn’t bothered getting to know anyone or even learning names. I told myself it was easier that way, easier being a relative term.
But did any of them have a white aura? When I was at school, I always blocked them out. Otherwise, the barrage of auras became a colorful assault on my senses. School was difficult enough as it was. I didn’t need the added distraction. Moving around so much had left gaps in my education, so even though I was pretty smart, I perpetually struggled to maintain decent grades. Why I even bothered anymore was a mystery, though. I would probably end up a waitress just like my mother. It was hard to develop a career or even think about college with our transient lifestyle.
I squared my shoulders and looked Xavier in the eye, faking the bravado I lacked. “I guess I’ll see you in two weeks.”
Author Jessica Ruddick
About the Author Jessica lives in Virginia with her college-sweetheart husband, two rambunctious sons, and two rowdy but lovable rescue dogs. Since her house is overflowing with testosterone, it’s a good thing she has a healthy appreciation for Marvel movies, Nerf guns, and football.
Welcome to the book blitz for THE SECRETS OF EDEN, a young adult LGBTQ fantasy romance, by Brandon Goode, releasing March 18, 2017. See below for information on the book, pre-order links, an exclusive excerpt, and details on his giveaway.
THE SECRETS OF EDEN Brandon Goode
About the Book
Title: THE SECRETS OF EDEN Author: Brandon Goode Release Date: March 18, 2017 Genre: Young Adult LGBTQ Fantasy Romance Links: Goodreads | Amazon
Synopsis When Eden discovers he possesses forbidden magic, keeping his affair with the crown prince a secret becomes the least of his worries.
Eden has always obeyed the laws of Rolaria. He spends his days teaching children how to read in order to distract him from his mother’s bizarre disappearance. She worked in the castle before suddenly vanishing, and when Eden mistakenly receives an invitation to the Royal Ball, he goes to feel closer to her.
That same night, Prince Jared must find a bride. But after an unexpected encounter between Eden and the prince, a relationship begins. After a night with the prince, Eden explores the castle on his own. Lost in the corridors, he stumbles upon a hidden room and finds his mother’s journal, whose pages reveal a lineage of outlawed magic.
He soon realizes the castle walls not only hide his romance with Jared but secrets about his mother’s disappearance. In order to unravel the mystery and understand his awakening abilities, Eden must risk exposing his relationship and thwarting Jared’s chances to rule Rolaria.
The closer Eden gets to the truth, the closer he finds himself facing the same fate as his mother.
I arrived at the ball with no help from a fairy godmother, no pumpkin carriage at my disposal, and certainly no glass slippers on my feet. The clock struck at half past eleven while serenading music emanated from the room as a chamber orchestra played a familiar composition. Being from the impoverished side of the kingdom, I wouldn’t usually attend a masquerade ball, but somehow a royal invitation arrived at the front door of my cottage.
In the Kingdom of Rolaria, there were strict laws forbidding us lower class citizens associating ourselves with the upper class. It had been said since the beginning, Rolaria would be frozen in time. The penalty for breaking any of the kingdom laws was death or a lifetime in prison. In any case, I was already at the ball so if the invitation was delivered to me by mistake or coincidence it was too late.
After giving my coat to one of the royal doormen, I proceeded toward the dance floor where I saw the King’s Waltz already in progress. I arrived alone and couldn’t participate in the graceful dance. The king and queen were at the center of the dance floor, boasting their mediocre dancing skills to all of their admiring guests. Taking advantage of this affair, I made my way to the banquet tables where all of the delicious food was residing.
Two roasted ducks served as the centerpiece for the lavish feast. Blue sweet potatoes sat next to the golden corn, and squared briberry dinner muffins were neighbors with the tangy kimberry sauce. Sweet little dessert pastries were sprinkled throughout the table so that guests did not have to fight over them in one location. To the east of the buffet tables were two sets of double doors that opened out into the castle garden and to the west were seating areas to enjoy your plate of delicious goods.
The last meal I had like the feast before my eyes was the one my mother prepared for me before she disappeared. Every evening she would prepare a grand feast of chicken breast with two fixings that we would share, but one night was different. She prepared more than just the usual chicken breast. She prepared a turkey that evening for our dinner. She encouraged me to begin eating without her because she had important business to attend to that wouldn’t keep her long, but she never returned.
My mother vanished when I was ten years old, and my father ran away with a woman from the market before I was born. I grew up in a cottage in the kingdom marketplace with my mother. Growing up, she would always tell me stories about princes who fought dragons and saved the day, fairies, and other magical things. At the end of every tale she would say, “No matter who you are or where you come from, everyone has a story that should be told. Why not go out and make yours a remarkable one?”
My mother always made sure I never lacked anything while growing up. She was able to sneak me books from her job within the castle and taught me reading, writing, and arithmetic. If my mother were here, she would’ve forced me to attend this ball. There was nothing more interesting to partake in this evening, other than teaching young children in the marketplace how to read.
The King’s Waltz finally ended, and everyone began socializing. I overheard conversations about the royal prince and when he would marry and, if so, to whom. At a side table, there sat a few gossiping women in identical bird masks, talking about the king’s numerous extramarital affairs he had with his maids. This was the typical talk I assumed happened at balls, so I nodded to seem interested although I felt out of place. My eyes searched around the room to escape the remedial conversations and to admire the costumes being worn by all of the guests.
I was surrounded by extravagant colors such as ivory and lavender on my left, and on my right the colors of peach, olive, and cream circled in socialization. There was a slender woman sporting a skin-tight green silk gown with a golden wire masquerade mask. Her slim figure and costume choice reminded me of a green tree python. Royal army men wore black masks with their scarlet uniforms. When they would group together it portrayed the image of a sea of rose petals, fighting across the current of the dance floor.
Everyone was dressed in some of the best clothes I’d ever seen. I was definitely out of place. My costume was made from drapes I stole from the marketplace bookstore. They were black with golden lace and white pinstripes. I made my mask from one of the white lace dresses my mother used to wear so a piece of her would be with me tonight.
“Are you Thaddeus?” a drunken gentleman who wore a harlequin mask asked me from behind. It startled me, but I didn’t want to be rude. I turned around to introduce myself.
“I’m sorry, but I’m not Thaddeus. I’m…I’m…”, I paused before I told him my name. I feared that I could be identified from the marketplace, and I could be kicked out of the ball or even punished. But then I remembered that he was drunk and he would probably forget it in a matter of seconds. “My name is Eden.”
My mother told me that my name was one of the most creative and appealing in the entire kingdom. Every other boy in the kingdom was named something like Lancelot, Arthur or Charles. They were named after heroes that set out to make a name for themselves with impossible feats.
“Eden? I think I have heard that name somewhere before. Are you related to the Micklen family by chance?”
“No, sir. I’m not.” Nervously I readjusted my mask to make sure my face was not recognizable. Wasn’t he supposed to be drunk?
“Oh, I did not mean to bother you, young man. I thought you looked like someone I knew. I will be on my way now. By any chance have you seen any of the champagne being served tonight? I would love another drink. I feel like a fish out of water.” he said with a drunken grin. I pointed toward the end of the buffet tables where the champagne was being poured, and he skipped his way to another glass.
After my exchange with the drunkard and with sudden dizziness from the gaudy costumes I made my exit to the garden. I’d never been inside the castle before but I needed air, and the garden seemed to be the best place to go catch my breath and rest for a minute.
Stepping out into the garden, the aroma of jasmine and lilies permeated the air and struck my nose with a gentle kiss. Beautiful cherub inspired sculptures and two large fountains called the garden home. Looking around, I noticed different types of flowers were planted in a design that paid tribute to the royal family’s crest of white, lavender and green.
“It’s magnificent isn’t it?” A voice startled me from behind.
“Why it is one of the most magnificent gardens I have ever seen. You must have read my mind,” I replied without turning around.
“Why are you out here by yourself? Why aren’t you inside with the other guests dancing and parading around?”
“I just needed some air, but I was going to go back inside soon.” realizing that my response might sound insulting, “The ball is very wonderful, but I wanted to escape for a few minutes to admire this garden.”
The lie escaped from my mouth to cover up the truth that I really did not belong in there; hopefully, this inquirer would believe me. Quickly turning around to see the stranger, I was shocked at what I saw; this mysterious gentleman was handsome.
He was about a foot taller than me with straight brown hair styled over his forehead and down onto his mask. His skin was like milk mixed with a pinch of cinnamon and some honey, which gave him a rich complexion. The bone structure of his face was sharp with his defined jaw line. He had slight stubble prickling out, and his nose was slender and raised at the tip making it the perfect shape. He flashed a short smile from behind his full lips, and his amber eyes became illuminated in the mystical moonlight. I could tell this gentleman was established from his exquisite white and silver costume, and the mask that covered the top of his face was lined with diamonds. He stood with his arms folded tapping his foot. He then started to shift his weight from one foot to the other.
“Do I know you? You look like someone who has played a game of royal chess with me.”
“I don’t believe so. I’m new to the kingdom,” I lied again.
“Ahh, I see. There aren’t that many young gentlemen at this ball, so what brings you here?”
“I received an invitation from the royal messenger, and I try not to disappoint people so I came.” I smiled because I could feel his eyes trying to hypnotize me. They were staring right into mine and the moonlight gave them a celestial gleam.
I started to walk back inside to escape this stranger, but he stuck out his arm blocking the doorway back inside. His attractiveness was leaving me defenseless to his questions and my escape back into the ball would have been the quickest exit.
“Don’t leave yet. We’ve just started to get to know each other. I rarely talk to people in this kingdom because they seem so mundane, but, looking in your eyes, I feel that you are different. So, don’t leave so soon. I may be making a new friend.” He then looked into my eyes again, and, this time, I felt drawn to this mysterious gentleman. We both reached out our hands to go for a handshake, but my hand fell short and his hand brushed the top of mine.
When our hands brushed there was a spark, and I knew from that moment, this mysterious stranger would possibly become something more than a friend to keep me company at the ball.
“I’m sorry. I’m normally good at these things. I know how to shake hands and introduce myself. I don’t know why my hand didn’t quite meet yours.”
“It’s okay, and no need for apologies.” His lips curled into a grin, and I could tell he was thinking of something by the way his eyes started to wander.
“Okay, so why are you out here in the garden talking with me instead of inside enjoying the ball?” I questioned, attempting to throw off whatever he was thinking.
“To be completely honest, I needed to get away. There are just so many people, and I wanted to avoid my parents, so why not slip outside? Then all of a sudden a drunken man approached me and said he spotted someone from the marketplace among the guests in the party, and suggested I check it out. The only issue with that is this is a masquerade ball, so how would I be able to identify this attendee? Anyways, none of that is important.”
“That’s understandable. I, too, had a run in with the drunkard.” I nervously laughed. I was glad that he paid no attention to the drunkard’s words of an uninvited guest. I noticed that he was situating himself closer to me. If anyone else tried to get close to me I would have run away by now, but for some reason, this felt different. He was taking baby steps thinking that I wouldn’t notice, but I caught on to his movements. The moon that was playing hide-and-seek behind the clouds all night finally decided to reveal itself. When the moon was out completely, I noticed that the stranger’s features were ten times better than when they appeared in the shade.
“You know what they say about the moonlight and two people?” he asked, and I felt puzzled. I didn’t have a clue as to what he was talking about. I’ve never heard anything about two people and moonlight. Was this something important that only certain people knew around the kingdom?
“I don’t know what they say. Would you care to enlighten me?”
He then flashed that notorious smile of his and quickly leaned in close right before our noses were going to meet and whispered, “They kiss in the moonlight.”
Before I could react to his answer, he grabbed my shoulders and kissed me. Our lips met as if they were hungry animals going in for a kill, and I became intoxicated. The kiss didn’t last long, but I was now hooked onto this mysterious friend I had made.
After the kiss, I was silent from shocked passion, and my words couldn’t formulate properly in my head. The stranger analyzed my paralysis and he looked worried.
“I hope I did not frighten you, it just felt like it was the right thing to do.” He then began to pull me in closer to him, and our eyes met again.
“It’s okay,” I assured him. “I trust you for some reason, and oddly, it felt fitting to me, as well.” I’d never kissed a stranger before, but it seemed right.
“I lied to you earlier.” he looked at me nervously, “The reason I’m in the garden is because I saw you come out here. I saw you when you made your entrance into the ball and I had to introduce myself. You arrived alone, and I took it as a sign that you don’t belong to anyone so I acted on my instincts to talk to you before tonight was over. I also noticed your slight dismissal of the King’s Waltz, and I have to admit that I don’t care for it either.” His eyes were locked in on mine, and I could feel him trying to convince me not to leave.
“Well, thank you. I’m charmed. No one has ever said that to me before. I guess I should tell you my name?” I wondered if he would care that I was from the marketplace instead of coming from wealth like him. Would he run away from me after knowing the truth about who I was?
“Not just yet, I do like the mystery between us. Something about this mystery makes our meeting more interesting. It’s like fate brought us together tonight and led into the garden where the moon would bless our meeting.” His words were soothing and everything that he said sounded like pure perfection.
“If you don’t want to know just yet I guess our identities can be a secret for quite some time longer.”
He then took my hand and led me to a bench that sat closer to one of the fountains in the garden. We spent almost an hour talking about the evening and where we hoped our connection would go. The evening started off isolated and confusing then somehow turned into something special. Who knew that coming to a masquerade ball would end with such a lovely encounter?
Suddenly, I heard the king cry out from inside, drunk and slurring. “Jared! Jared!” I had never met the prince, but from the way the king was yelling I could tell he probably always avoided his father. “Jared! There is someone in here I would like you to meet! Jared!” In my time with the stranger, talking in the beautiful garden, I had forgotten where I was. I was at a ball. It sounded like the king wanted to show him off to a lovely young lady he’d found sitting alone inside. “Jared! Where are you hiding?” The king was known for being loud and boisterous, and if I were his son I’m pretty sure I would try to disappear when he was drunk as well.
I felt my handsome stranger begin to move, and I started putting this puzzle of an evening together. He gently removed himself from my side, stood in front of me and casually removed his mask. For some reason, it felt as if my eyes were playing a cruel trick on me or I was in some sort of sick dream because the friend that I had made now stood before me with all of his mystery gone. The man who stood before me was none other than Prince Jared.
Jared was the prince that all of the women and their daughters swooned over. The gentleman every little girl in the kingdom said they were going to marry when they’re older. There were rumors that he was a womanizer, and that he only took pleasure in taking advantage of girls he courted. After our little garden session and the kiss, I assumed that girls never interested him, and these were just silly stories gossips created about him. I couldn’t believe I kissed Prince Jared. What would his parents think if they found out? They threw the ball in hopes of finding him a beautiful bride. The king and queen were known for trying to set him up with some young girl. This was the third ball they held this year.
Here stood the prince before me, no longer mysterious. He flashed his smile that I swooned over and promised me, “I’ll return as soon as I can. Do you see why I was trying to avoid them? They enjoy embarrassing me in front of guests. Please don’t go anywhere; I want to get to know you more. I promise that I will return, so please don’t leave the ball without me coming back to see you. ”
Prince Jared dashed away as quickly as I could blink. I heard the crowd from inside applaud when he made his royal appearance of the evening. The room quickly went back to their business, I assumed, because the orchestra started playing again.
So, here I sat on a cold bench in the castle garden, surrounded by cherub statues waiting alone in the moonlight for the prince to return to me. What would my mother have thought of this meeting? Was this where she saw my life story going? I was the only one masked away in mystery, with many questions crossing my mind and not knowing how this night would change the rest of our lives. Who knew what the gossips would say about him now?
Author Brandon Goode
About the Author Brandon Goode grew up in the small beach town of Melbourne, Florida. He attended Eastern Florida State College and Florida International University. He has written for publications such as Florida Today, Florida International University Student Media, and the Disney Internships and Programs Blog. Brandon loves motivating and inspiring others, enjoys traveling, and eats an insanely amount of sushi every chance he gets. Oh, and he is obsessed with all things on the Bravo network..
Welcome to the book blitz for BELLAMY AND THE BRUTE, a young adult fairytale retelling of Beauty and the Beast, by Alicia Michaels. See below for information on the book, buy links, information on this modern retelling of the classic tale, and details on her giveaway.
Bellamy and The Brute by Alicia Michaels
About the Book
Title: Bellamy and the Brute Author: Alicia Michaels Publisher: Clean Teen Publishing Release Date: March 13, 2017 Genre: Young Adult Fairytale Retelling Links: Goodreads | Amazon | Barnes & Noble | iBooks | Kobo
Synopsis When Bellamy McGuire is offered a summer job babysitting for the wealthy Baldwin family, she’s reluctant to accept. After all, everyone in town knows about the mysterious happenings at the mansion on the hill—including the sudden disappearance of the Baldwin’s eldest son, Tate. The former football star and Golden Boy of Wellhollow Springs became a hermit at the age of sixteen, and no one has seen or heard from him since. Rumors abound as to why, with whisperings about a strange illness that has caused deformity…turned him into a real-life monster. Bellamy wants to dismiss these rumors as gossip, but when she’s told that if she takes the job she must promise to never, ever visit the 3rd floor of the mansion, she begins to wonder if there really is some dark truth being hidden there.
Tate’s condition may not be the only secret being kept at Baldwin House. There are gaps in the family’s financial history that don’t add up, and surprising connections with unscrupulous characters. At night there are strange noises, unexplained cold drafts, and the electricity cuts out. And then there are the rose petals on the staircase. The rose petals that no one but Bellamy seems to be able to see. The rose petals that form a trail leading right up to the 3rd floor, past the portrait of a handsome young man, and down a dark hallway where she promised she would never, ever go…
As Bellamy works to unravel the mysteries of Baldwin House and uncover the truth about Tate, she realizes that she is in way over her head, in more ways than one. Can her bravery and determination help to right the wrongs of the past and free the young man whose story has captured her heart?
Tale as Old as Time … Made New: Retelling a Classic
Retelling a fairy tale is hardly a novel concept. There are certain stories that become so timeless, that the themes lend themselves well to being reused, revamped, and retold. As an author who has retold many classic fairy tales, I’ll admit that Beauty and the Beast was one I never wanted to touch. It’s been retold so many times that I wasn’t sure that I could offer a fresh enough perspective. But, as the old saying goes … “Never say never”. I promise, it’s an old saying, used well before Justin Bieber made it the title of a song/album/documentary.
When I decided to tackle the story of Beauty and the Beast, I gave a lot of thought to ways I could preserve many of the original themes and ideas, while telling a modern story for young adults. The result became Bellamy and the Brute, and I couldn’t be prouder of the way it turned out. As a fan of the original story and Disney movie, I thought it appropriate to share the differences and similarities between the original and my version. It is my hope that readers will find comfort in the familiar, while also discovering something completely new and original.
Belle It is my opinion that the very essence of Beauty and the Beast lies in the heart of Belle, the heroine who sees past the Beast’s outer appearance to the man inside. Without her there can be no story. For me, it was important to preserve what makes Belle who she is, while turning her into a modern day teenager. And so, Belle from France, became Bellamy from small-town Georgia.
What’s the same: Bellamy (AKA Bell), is a bookworm with a heart of gold. She’s a bit of an outcast because of her father’s eccentricities, and doesn’t have very many friends. But she’s not a pushover … Bell is strong, and stands up for herself, and others, when it becomes necessary.
What’s different: The only true difference between Bellamy and Belle—aside from the obvious youth and modernization—is appearance. Bellamy is African-American, in a twist that I thought could add some much-needed diversity to the world of fairy tales and retellings. I am excited at the idea of using the essence of ‘Belle’ to create a heroine who offers representations to girls who don’t often get it, while still preserving what makes the ‘beauty’ of the story who she truly is … inwardly kind and loving.
The Beast In Bellamy and the Brute, ‘The Beast’ becomes Tate Baldwin (AKA The Brute). Just as important to the story as Belle, the ‘Beast’ needed to be wounded, deformed in some way, and spoiled. There is no ‘Beast’ without those characteristics.
What’s the same: Tate is part of the wealthiest family in town, making him like royalty (he might as well be a prince). He’s been cursed because of his arrogance and cruelty toward others … one person in particular. He’s physically deformed and has secluded himself in his mansion to escape the eyes and scorn of everyone in town.
What’s different: Tate is deformed, but he’s not an actual animal. His deformity manifests itself in his face only, which only makes his seclusion necessary because of his own pride. Tate also lives with an entire family, not by himself like Beast from the movie. However, he might as well live by himself, because he stays shut away in one wing of the house and is rarely ever seen.
Gaston Some of my favorite scenes from Beauty and the Beast portray Gaston hitting on Belle and getting shot down. And, of course, we all know that he goes from being an annoyance to an all-out threat. There was no way I could retell this story without including a Gaston-like character. Thus, Lincoln Burns was born.
What’s the same: Lincoln wants Bellamy … badly. Mostly because she’s the only girl in school not falling all over herself in his presence. It annoys him that she is so indifferent toward him, and never ceases to remind her how amazing he is and what an opportunity she’s missing out on by spurning him. He’s got big muscles and a tiny brain.
What’s different: Lincoln and Tate have a past history, which makes him even more of a threat when the poo hits the fan.
The House The home of the Beast is as important to the story as the characters. With furniture coming alive and plotting to help Beast win Belle’s heart, it added life and vibrancy to the tale. Because Bellamy and the Brute has a bit of a darker, almost horror-ish feel to it, some changes had to be made with the backdrop of the house, while still making it an important part of the story.
What’s the same: The house is still a mansion—as close to being a castle without actually being a castle as possible. It’s a bit gothic and haunting, while still being beautiful. There’s still a painting of ‘The Beast’ in his former appearance, which Bellamy stumbles upon in part of the story. There are still forbidden areas of the house, and there are consequences if Bellamy ever decides to venture there.
What’s different: Talking furniture doesn’t translate as well into a modern reboot as one might like, so I had to approach the ‘magical’ aspect of the story a bit differently. Baldwin House is haunted by two very angry spirits who leave trails of rose petals everywhere they go. Why? You’ll have to read Bellamy and the Brute to find out!
Author Alicia Michaels
About the Author Ever since she first read books like Chronicles of Narnia or Goosebumps, Alicia has been a lover of mind-bending fiction. Wherever imagination takes her, she is more than happy to call that place her home. With several Fantasy and Science Fiction titles under her belt, Alicia strives to write multicultural characters and stories that touch the heart. V-Card, the first book of the Sharing Spaces series, was her first Contemporary Romance.
The mother of three and wife to a soldier, she loves chocolate, coffee, and of course good books. When not writing, you can usually find her with her nose in a book, shopping for shoes and fabulous jewelry, or spending time with her loving family. .
Synopsis A teen writer discovers that every mirror is a portal into an alternate version of her life in this romantic YA fantasy by author L.E. DeLano.
Jessa has spent her life dreaming of other worlds and writing down stories more interesting than her own, until the day her favorite character, Finn, suddenly shows up and invites her out for coffee. After the requisite nervous breakdown, Jessa learns that she and Finn are Travelers, born with the ability to slide through reflections and dreams into alternate realities. But it’s not all teacakes, pirates and fantasy lifestyles…Jessa is dying over and over again, in every reality, and Finn is determined that this time, he’s going to stop it… this Jessa is going to live.
My Review This was a fresh take on the urban fantasy genre. Jessa discovers she’s a Traveler, someone who can move between parallel universes. The purpose of the Traveler is to keep all the universes orderly, fixing things that can become catastrophic if left unchecked. Together with fellow Traveler, Finn, Jessa reluctantly accepts her fate until she discovers someone is trying to kill her, one universe at a time.The tale is magical with incredible world-building and complex characters. Because each character is slightly different in each universe, the author crafted a wonderfully deep cast. As Finn and Jessa race through portals, they develop a deep bond, but Jessa’s best friend, Ben, has strong feelings for her, setting up one of the most unique love triangles I’ve come across. The teen angst is palpable without being overly dramatic.
Plot The plot centers around Finn and Jessa’s search for whoever is trying to kill her. There’s a solid mystery component to it with some exciting moments. The romance almost takes a back seat, though. I was hoping for more romance earlier in the book. It takes a good three-quarters of the story to fully develop. Even so, it is well done and I feel as conflicted as Jessa does about the two boys in her life.
Characters While this is definitely a plot-driven story, the character development really shines. I loved seeing all the slight ripples in personality from Jessa’s viewpoint as she traveled. It’s clear the author spent a lot of time getting to know her characters.
What Didn’t Work for Me
1. Pacing. The story took too long to really get ramped up. At least for me. I had to plod through the first third waiting for it to grab me, and some sections I ended up skimming.
2. World Building. Don’t get me wrong, I love the world the author created, but I found some of the rules confusing and hard to follow.
What I Enjoyed About TRAVELER 1. Ben. I liked him immediately and I love how much he cares for Jessa.
2. Danny. Jessa’s brother takes different shape throughout the story as she travels to different dimensions, but her love for Danny, and seeing him the way he is in other realities and the way it affected her, was one of my favorite aspects of the story.
3. The ending. Even though it took awhile to build, once the story reached its pinnacle, it was a non-stop ride to the finish.
4. Alternate Universes. Or AUs as my teen likes to call them. This is almost as fascinating as time travel.
5. Finn. He’s such a tormented, complex hero. Strong, resilient, and so easy to love.
6. The cover. Seriously, this is absolutely gorgeous!! I’d totally frame it and hang it on my wall!
Bottom Line TRAVELER is everything I hoped it would be, a fascinating plot with plenty of twists.
I was provided with a copy of this book by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.
About the Book Title: TRAVELER Author: L.E. DeLano Publisher: Swoon Reads Release Date: February 7, 2017 Pages: 351 Genre: Young Adult Fantasy/Romance Rating: 4 out of 5 Stars Links: Goodreads | Amazon | Barnes & Noble | iBooks | Kobo
Author L.E. DeLano
About the Author L.E. DeLano is a YA novelist rep’d by Barry Goldblatt Literary agency, author of the upcoming “Traveler” (Swoon Reads/MacMillan 2017) and lifelong writer. Her work has been featured on various online outlets and she lives in Pennsylvania with two very adventurous kids and two very ridiculous cats. In her spare time, she writes (of course) and binge-watches way too much Netflix.
Welcome to the book blitz for EERIE, an upper young adult fantasy romance, by C.M. McCoy. See below for information on the book, buy links, and details on her giveaway. From now through March 21, you can pick up the eBook for just $0.99.
Synopsis Hailey Hartley has just enrolled in the world’s premier supernatural university. It’s a school she’s never heard of, located in a town called The Middle of Nowhere, and run by a creature that’s not supposed to exist. But at least she got a scholarship…
Hailey’s dreams have always been, well…vivid. As in monsters from her nightmares follow her into her waking life vivid. When her big sister goes missing, eighteen-year-old Hailey finds only one place offers her answers–a paranormal university in Alaska. There, she studies the science of the supernatural and must learn to live with a roommate from Hell, survive her otherworldly classes, and hope the only creature who can save her from an evil monster doesn’t decide to kill her himself..
Praise for EERIE:
“EERIE, full of voice and romance, is a thrilling and beautifully crafted story that had me up late, racing through the pages to get to the end.” – Thief of Lies Author Brenda Drake
“5 stars! I felt there was a mash-up between Hogwarts, Xavier Institute for Exceptional Youngsters, and Beauty and the Beast, AND I LOVED IT! The creatures, the classes, the college, the Middle of Nowhere! How awesome!” – Truth About Books by A. Fae on EERIE
“Eerie is an unexpected, delightfully charming surprise. Equal parts creepy and inventive, there’s a light-hearted vibe that will keep you going til the bitter end. Romance, murder, mystery, and all things paranormal coupled with Fringe-worthy science, this book is perfect for fans of Eureka, Haven, Supernatural, and X-Files.” –YA Book Madness Blog
“Eerie is Harry Potter meets Twilight meets the Bible with a little bit of the abusive/controlling 50 Shades male mixed in. This is a really fast-paced, exciting novel. There is plenty of drama, romance, mystical beings and mystery to keep you flipping the pages and promising yourself “just one more chapter” before bed. And then before you know it, ten o’clock turns into two in the morning…again.” – Amanda’s Own Little Corner Book Reviews
Author C.M. McCoy
About the Author CM McCoy has one pointed ear, a 70-pound puppy from Hell, and a very active imagination. She’s well aware nobody can say or spell her real last name, hence the pen name. You can call her Colleen. She’s the PR manager for Inklings Literary Agency. When she’s not chatting with her imaginary friends, she’s interviewing with PEOPLE Magazine, ABC’s 20/20, the local morning news show, or INSIDE EDITION, where she promotes writing for mental and emotional health. She also mentors pre-published authors through workshops and contests. Though she holds a BS in both Chemical Engineering and German, she’s far happier writing near misses and awkward kisses. Some of her off-the-wall talents include speaking in 10-codes (which she learned working with Alaska State Troopers), flying helicopters, and Irish dance.
Author Desiree Williams is unveiling the cover to ILLUSIONARY, a young adult urban fantasy, releasing April 4, 2017. See below for the cover, information on the book, pre-order links, and an exclusive excerpt.
Now, Kamryn Kensington finds herself in a strange new world. Within minutes of her arrival, she dodges an archer’s arrow and avoids getting sliced up by a cosplay reject holding a dagger to her throat. And that’s before the storyteller’s breath brings stories to life.
Home is the mission—to return to her family and pursue her life’s dream of art and travel. Yet the longer she’s in the Land of Ur, the harder it is not to feel for the people she meets. Even her artistic side can’t help but breathe in the beautiful wonder and magic of this new world. So when the Oracle hands her a different quest, she takes it on the condition he sends her home afterward.
No one thought to warn her of a jealous queen and her dragon minions. Or that, by helping her, the cute storyteller would go crazy. Or that her heart would rip in two when she left. Those would’ve been great facts to know ahead of time.
Considering that nothing in Ur is what it seems, the mission proves to be more than she ever imagined. But more than her own future will be in jeopardy if Kamryn doesn’t succeed.
Excerpt The twittering of birds tugged at Kam’s consciousness. Heat warmed her back. She groaned and stretched her legs out. Hair tickled her face, and she pushed it out of the way, propping herself up with the other arm.
Rubbing the back of her throbbing head, she blinked until squashed blades of green grass came into view. Something stuck to her forehead. She swatted at it, clearing away flecks of dirt.
She drew her legs up to sit upright. Her heart hammered into her ribs, and her eyes widened.
A wooden grove encircled her. Vibrant bushes dotted with red flecks swayed with the wind. Sunlight streamed through slits in the canopy of leaves above. Tiny, fluffy birds fluttered along the sunbeams, their merry tunes lending more credibility to her insanity.
“Whaa …” She fingered the knot growing on her head.
Unconscious and dreaming. That’s what was happening.
She staggered to her feet. Her muscles tightened, screaming in protest. She arched her back and then leaned to the side to stretch.
Pain shouldn’t occur in a dream. So hallucination was the next logical step, right? She must have cracked her head pretty hard. Rubbing her sore hip, she allowed her gaze to wander. Pieces of bread littered the ground near a far bush. She squinted, bringing cheese, meat, and a scrap of fabric into focus.
Something rustled the bush. She pressed against a nearby tree. The rough bark ground into her tender flesh.
A whoosh shot through the grove, followed by a stinging of her cheek and a vibration near her ear.
Multi-colored feathers of blue, green, and yellow stuck off the end of an arrow shaft.
Kam scooted over, her hair tangling against the tree trunk.
The arrowhead lay embedded mere centimeters from where her face had been.
“I assure you, wanderer,” a masculine voice called from beyond the brush. “That is the only warning my archer will give you.”
Her heart dropped to her stomach. She reached shaky fingers to her cheek, only to swallow a whimper when the tips drew back coated with blood.
Someone had shot at her. Actually shot at her!
Author Desiree Williams
About the Author Desiree Williams is a dreamer by day and chocoholic by night. She lives in the beautiful state of Kentucky with her husband and daughter, where she juggles life as a wannabe supermom. Desiree is a lover of food and avoider of dirty dishes. She delights in making people laugh and strives to bring hope and love with her wherever she goes.
Welcome to the book blitz for SONGS OF INSURRECTION,the first book in the adult fantasy series, Daughter of the Dragon Throne, by J.C. Kang. See below for information on the book, buy links, an exclusive excerpt, and details on her giveaway.Also, for a limited time, you can pick up all three books in the series for just $0.99 each.
SONGS OF INSURRECTION (Daughter of the Dragon Throne #1) by J.C. Kang
About the Book
Title: SONGS OF INSURRECTION Series: Daughter of the Dragon Throne #1 Author: J.C. Kang Publisher: Three Moons Press Release Date: March 2, 2016 Genre: Adult Fantasy Links: Goodreads | Amazon
Synopsis Princess Kaiya’s voice could charm a dragon.
Had she lived when the power of music could still summon typhoons and rout armies, perhaps Cathay’s imperial court would see her as more than a singing fool. With alliances to build and ambitious lords to placate, they care more about her marriage prospects than her voice.
Only the handsome Prince Hardeep, a foreign martial mystic, recognizes her potential. Convinced Kaiya will rediscover the legendary but perilous art of invoking magic through music, he suggests her voice, not her marriage, might better serve the realm.
When members of the emperor’s elite spy clan– Kaiya’s childhood friend Tian and his half-elf sidekick (or maybe he’s her sidekick?)– discover mere discontent boiling over into full-scale rebellion, Kaiya must choose. Obediently wedding the depraved ringleader means giving up her music. Confronting him with the growing power of her voice could kill her.
Excerpt #1 CHAPTER 1
If marriage were a woman’s grave, as the proverb claimed, sixteen-year-old Princess Kaiya suspected the emperor was arranging her funeral. Entourage in tow, she shuffled through the castle halls toward the garden where General Lu waited. Given his notorious dislike of the arts, the self-proclaimed Guardian Dragon of Hua had undoubtedly envisioned a different kind of audition when he requested to hear her sing.
After all, she was dressed like a potential bride.
She buried a snort. The Guardian Dragon—such a pretentious nickname. The only real dragon, Avarax, who lorded over some faraway land, might make for a more appealing audience. A quick trip down his gullet would spare her a slow death in a marriage with neither love nor music.
And it wouldn’t matter what she wore.
The gaudy dress compensated for her numerous physical imperfections, but stifled the only thing that made her special. How was she supposed to sing with the inner robe and gold sash squeezing her chest, in a futile attempt to misrepresent her woefully underdeveloped curves? The tight fold of the skirts concealed her lanky legs, but forced a deliberate pace. At least the short stride delayed the inevitable, while preventing her unsightly feet from tripping on the hanging sleeves of the vermilion outer gown.
At her side, Crown Princess Xiulan glided across the chirping floorboards. Kaiya suppressed a sigh. If only she could move with the nonchalant grace of her sister-in-law, or even the six handmaidens trailing them. She dug her nails into clammy palms. Through this choreographed farce, appearances had to be maintained, lest she embarrass her father, the Tianzi.
Chin up, back straight. A racing heart threatened to ruin her already meager semblance of imperial grace. Eyes forward. Servants knelt on either side of the looming double doors, ready to slide them open. She forced a smile, with her best approximation of feminine charm. If only she’d lived before Dragon Songs had faded into legend, she could’ve sent the realm’s victorious hero fleeing with the song he supposedly wanted to hear.
An aging palace official stepped into her line of sight.
Singular focus on the doors broken, she blinked. Her fluttering pulse lurched to a stop as she blew out a breath.
His blue robes ruffled as he tottered forward with averted eyes and a bobbing head. He creaked down into a bow. “Emergency, Dian-xia,” he said, using the formal address for her rank. “The Tianzi commands you to greet a foreign delegation in the Hall of Bountiful Harvests.”
About the Author JC Kang’s unhealthy obsession with Fantasy and Sci-Fi began at an early age when his brother introduced him to The Chronicles of Narnia, The Hobbit, Star Trek and Star Wars. As an adult, he combines his geek roots with his professional experiences as a Chinese Medicine doctor, martial arts instructor and technical writer to pen epic fantasy stories..
Author Kayla Lavan is unveiling the cover to TO BETRAY MY KING, the first book in the young adult fantasy romance series, The Betrayal Legacy, releasing May 1, 2017. See below for the cover, information on the book, and pre-order links.
TO BETRAY MY KING (The Betrayal Legacy #1) by Kayla Lavan
About the Book Title: TO BETRAY MY KING Series: The Betrayal Legacy Author: Kayla Lavan Release Date: May 1, 2017 Genre: Young Adult Fantasy Romance Links: Goodreads | Amazon
Synopsis Would you choose to save your kingdom or follow your heart?
Brave and kindhearted, Arianna is a princess of a kingdom that nobody wants. The magicless. Marrying the charming, flirtatious, and egotistical Prince Roland was the last thing either of them wanted, but for the sake of their people they agreed. War breaks out with the neighboring kingdom, forcing the prince’s hand to join in the fight. He leaves his new wife with the only man he trusts, his childhood friend, a dutiful, strong, and handsome knight.
A sweet romantic tale of forbidden love in a dark fanatical world.
TO BETRAY MY KING (The Betrayal Legacy #1) by Kayla Lavan (Full Cover)
Author Kayla Lavan
About the Author I’ve been writing half of my life, starting at the ripe old age of 13. Back then my favorite pass time was doodling in class, sleeping in class, and studying tests or homework that was due the next class period. But by night I lead a secret life. I would go home, turn on my computer, and get on my dialup Internet (which makes me sound really old) and I would write. At first it was for fun. I was brave back then and posted everything online. In the 14 years I have been writing, I have posted over 1.5 million words, all of which is still available to read for free. My most well known story being “Fun ‘N’ Games at Ouran”. A year or so ago I posted a one-shot that was 50k-60k in words. Afterwards, I looked at it laughing, and said to myself “I think I would like to get paid for this now” and then ‘To Betray My King’ was born. It seems so simple as I’m sitting here, typing this for you to read, but it’s the truth. ‘Betray’ is my first book, but it won’t be my last. I love writing. I would never give it up for anything in the world.
Author Diane Moat is revealing the cover to THE SUPERNATURAL PET SITTER, the first book in the middle grade fantasy series, The Magic Thief, releasing March, 2017. See below for information on the book and a link to add it to your Goodreads TBR.
THE SUPERNATURAL PET SITTER (The Magic Thief #1) by Diane Moat
About the Novella Title: THE SUPERNATURAL PET SITTER Series: The Magic Thief #1 Author: Diane Moat Release Date: March, 2017 Genre: Middle Grade Fantasy Links:Goodreads
Synopsis Pepper is a 12 year old who pet sits magical animals. When someone steals their magic, Pepper must find the thief before the thief finds her!
Full Description TBA
Author Diane Moat
About the Author Diane is a Tennessee transplant, animal rescuer, and nurse. Dog Gone is her debut novel, born from years of hearing animal rescuers say about animal abusers, “If only I could get my hands on that person…” Diane is assisted by her many rescue dogs.
Curiosity Quills Press and author, Katie Hamstead, are unveiling the cover to MYTHS OF MISH, the second book in the space opera/scifi fantasy series, Fairytale Galaxy Chronicles, releasing on March 14, 2017. See below for the cover, information on the book and series, and a link to add it to your Goodreads TBR.
MYTHS OF MISH (Fairytale Galaxy Chronicles #2) by Katie Hamstead
About the Book Title: MYTHS OF MISH Series: Fairytale Galaxy Chronicles #2 Author: Katie Hamstead Publisher: Curiosity Quills Press Release Date: March 14, 2017
Genre: Space Opera/SciFi Fantasy
Synopsis Hansel and Gretel Herrscher survived the witch in the woods, but the experience has made Hansel paranoid for the past ten years. He sees dark magic at every turn. When Gretel has a marriage arranged to a much older man, and Hansel discovers he’s about to be sent halfway across the galaxy, he knows something sinister is afoot.
Wilhelmine Nordon has plenty of experience with Hansel’s quirkier side. So when she catches him and Gretel running away in the middle of the night, she follows to keep them from getting killed. The siblings have never left the capital of Mish on their own, so they need a babysitter. Except when she’s discovered, Hansel gives her his usual cold shoulder, and Gretel secretly begs her to take them back.
The problem is, Hansel’s paranoia turns out to be well founded, and they’re all being hunted.
Princess of Tyrone (Fairytale Galaxy #1) by Katie Hamstead
About the Book Title: Princess of Tyrone Series: Fairytale Galaxy #1 Author: Katie Hamstead Publisher: Curiosity Quills Press Release Date: March 31, 2016
Genre: Space Opera/SciFi Fantasy
Links: Goodreads | Amazon | Barnes & Noble
Synopsis Apolline is happy hunting magical creatures on her pirate infested outer-perimeter planet. She is a fantastic shot, and doesn’t flinch at the blood and guts of her kills. Never once did she consider she could be the missing Princess of Tyrone.
All her life, she has heard the story of the Princess, cursed to sleep for eternity, unless her betrothed, the Prince of Oran, gave her true love’s kiss. Although Apolline knows she is betrothed, she thinks her fairy guardians arranged it out of ignorance of human ways. The thought she could be a princess is inconceivable.
Then Allard appears. Handsome, charming—but he’s not hers to have. He’s betrothed, too. Her guardians warn her against her new found friendship, but she and Allard meet in secret anyway. Despite her rough exterior, he sees beyond her gun-slinging bravado, and their love blossoms.
But the deadline for the sleeping curse is approaching. If Apolline falls in love with the wrong person, she could end up sleeping forever.
A quirky, adventurous retelling of Sleeping Beauty, with a less than princess-ly princess!
Author Katie Hamstead
About the Author Born and raised in Australia, Katie’s early years of daydreaming in the “bush”, and having her father tell her wild bedtime stories, inspired her passion for writing.
After graduating High School, she became a foreign exchange student where she met a young man who several years later she married. Now she lives in Arizona with her husband, daughter and their dog.
She has a diploma in travel and tourism which helps inspire her writing.
When her debut novel, Kiya: Hope of the Pharaoh, climbed into bestselling status, she believed she was onto something, and now has a slew of novels now available, and is published through Curiosity Quills Press, Soul Mate Publishing, and REUTS Publishing.
Katie loves to out sing her friends and family, play sports, and be a good wife and mother. She now works as an Acquisitions Editor to help support her family. She loves to write, and takes the few spare moments in her day to work on her novels.
Welcome to the book blitz for THE PIPER’S PRICE, the second book in the young adult fantasy romance/fairytale retelling series, The Neverland Wars, by Audrey Greathouse. See below for information on the book and series, buy links, and an exclusive excerpt and details on her giveaway.
THE PIPER’S PRICE (The Neverland Wars #2) by Audrey Greathouse
About the Book Title: THE PIPER’S PRICE Series: The Neverland Wars #2 Author: Audrey Greathouse Release Date: February 21, 2017
Genre: Young Adult Fantasy/Fairytale Retelling/Romance
Links: Goodreads | Amazon | Barnes & Noble | iBooks | Kobo
Synopsis Peter is plotting his retaliation against the latest bombing. Neverland needs an army, and Peter Pan is certain children will join him once they know what is at stake. The lost boys and girls are planning an invasion in suburbia to recruit, but in order to deliver their message, they will need the help of an old and dangerous associate—the infamous Pied Piper.
Hunting him down will require a spy in in the real world, and Gwen soon finds herself in charge of locating the Piper and cutting an uncertain deal with him. She isn’t sure if Peter trusts her that much, or if he’s just trying to keep her away from him in Neverland. Are they friends, or just allies? But Peter might not even matter now that she’s nearly home and meeting with Jay again.
The Piper isn’t the only one hiding from the adults’ war on magic though, and when Gwen goes back to reality, she’ll have to confront one of Peter’s oldest friends… and one of his earliest enemies.
Excerpt #1 They found the forest’s hiking trail moments before breaking the tree line. “Where are we going, Peter?” He was heading toward a mobile home community next to the state park.
He continued to walk with confidence. His usual cocky stride looked surprisingly like the swagger of an ordinary teenage boy. “My friend lives here. Don’t worry. Don’t look like such a stranger here.”
She didn’t want to appear conspicuous, but Gwen was too baffled to help it. The unkempt lawns were boxed in by chain-link fences covered in varying degrees of rust. They passed a lawn littered with bicycles; on the other side of the gravel street, two different cars were parked on the lawn, clearly non-functional. Satellite dishes were on every trailer home. Despite all being painted differently, the track housing still managed to present a uniformity of depressing color.
Multiple houses had motorcycles out front or a dog milling around their yard. When she and Peter passed a pack of Rottweilers, the dogs ran up to the fence and began snarling until all the other dogs in the neighborhood were barking too. “Ignore it,” Peter advised her.
She was scared. This was not the sort of place she ever expected to visit with Peter. She didn’t trust his ability to protect her here. This wasn’t his world, but it wasn’t hers either. They were both out of their element. Peter just didn’t have the sense to realize it.
Winding down the gravel road, Gwen matched Peter’s pace almost step for step. They approached a blue-and-grey house. Like the others, it had wooden latticework around the bottom to help obscure the fact it didn’t have a foundation in the ground. The square house reminded Gwen of how she would take shoeboxes and try to turn them into homes for her dolls by decorating them. It was hard to fathom that she was walking up the plastic steps of the porch to knock on the door.
She waited, feeling her heartbeat in her throat, her toes, and everywhere besides her chest. Even the predictable noise of the door opening startled her.
A woman with a long, black braid and beige cardigan stood in the doorway. Gwen looked up at her, and then watched as the sharp features of her dark face dissolved into unadulterated shock.
The startled woman ushered them in. She was just as uncomfortable with their presence in the trailer park as Gwen. Once inside, they stood in a living room full of old furniture, facing a kitchen with old electric appliances. There was no unity or romance to the orange recliner, chipped mixing bowl, off-white blender, dull toaster, and sunken couch. It was a bunch of old stuff that looked like it represented several decades of objects abandoned at Goodwill. The chingadera and bric-a-brac wasn’t any more cohesive: porcelain angles, an antique pot, a vase full of bird feathers, and a stopped clock made the place confusing and strange in the same way her grandmother’s house had been.
“What are you doing here?” she hissed, pulling her cardigan close and tossing her thick braid over her shoulder and out of her way. She had a shapeless housedress underneath the beige sweater, and a pair of black leggings insulating her legs as she stomped around, heavy-footed in her leather slippers. She looked comfortable, except for the unexpected guests who were putting her so ill at ease. “You shouldn’t be here.”
“I need your help,” Peter said.
“They’re still keeping tabs on me.”
“That’s why I came in disguise.”
“You’re being irresponsible. You’re jeopardizing us both, and Neverland to boot.”
“I took all the right precautions. This is important.” Hollyhock and Foxglove wrestled their way out of the pixie purse and came twinkling out now that they knew they were safely inside.
“You brought fairies here?” she exclaimed. She leaned down and grabbed a hold of his arm, forcing him to look her dead in her dark eyes. Gwen wanted to leave. This wasn’t a friend, not anymore. This was a grown-up, and unlike Antoine the aviator, she was not amused with Peter’s wartime antics.
“What happens if they figure it out and come to question me?”
Peter scoffed. “You won’t tell them.”
“What if they threaten to arrest me? They could put me away forever until I told them what they needed to know, and nobody here would stop them.”
Peter broke free of her hold with ease; she wasn’t actually trying to restrain him. “Preposterous,” he declared. “If they did that, you would sit, stone-faced and silent in your cell until they all died.”
“What if they beat me?”
“You’d take the blows as though you were made of rock, and you would not speak.” Peter seemed to disregard the question.
“What if they tortured me and stuck blades under my nails?” she demanded.
“Then you would not even scream, but stay silent as a stone!” Peter insisted, hopping up onto a wooden kitchen chair at her dining table, looking down at the woman.
“What if they bring knives and cut off my fingers, one at a time, until I told them how to find you?”
Peter yelled right back, “Then you would steal their knives and scalp them all like the redskin princess you are!”
Her anger slunk off her face and out of her shoulders. She shook her head, frowning as a sad laugh escaped her. She clung to her sweater, blinking back tears, until, at last, she flung her arms around Peter. Still on the chair, he had to bend down to return the embrace.
“Oh, Peter,” she muttered, unaware of the tears slipping off her smiling face. “Oh, Peter.”
“It’s good to see you, Tiger Lily.”
THE NEVERLAND WARS (The Neverland Wars #1) by Audrey Greathouse
About the Book Title: THE NEVERLAND WARS Series: The Neverland Wars #1 Author: Audrey Greathouse Release Date: May 9, 2016
Genre: Young Adult Fantasy/Fairytale Retelling/Romance
Links: Goodreads | Amazon | Barnes & Noble | iBooks | Kobo | Smashwords
Synopsis Magic can do a lot—give you flight, show you mermaids, help you taste the stars, and… solve the budget crisis? That’s what the grown-ups will do with it if they ever make it to Neverland to steal its magic and bring their children home.
However, Gwen doesn’t know this. She’s just a sixteen-year-old girl with a place on the debate team and a powerful crush on Jay, the soon-to-be homecoming king. She doesn’t know her little sister could actually run away with Peter Pan, or that she might have to chase after her to bring her home safe. Gwen will find out though—and when she does, she’ll discover she’s in the middle of a looming war between Neverland and reality.
She’ll be out of place as a teenager in Neverland, but she won’t be the only one. Peter Pan’s constant treks back to the mainland have slowly aged him into adolescence as well. Soon, Gwen will have to decide whether she’s going to join impish, playful Peter in his fight for eternal youth… or if she’s going to scramble back to reality in time for the homecoming dance.
Author Audrey Greathouse
About the Author Audrey Greathouse is a lost child in a perpetual and footloose quest for her own post-adolescent Neverland. Originally from Seattle, she earned her English B.A. from Southern New Hampshire University’s online program while backpacking around the west coast and pretending to be a student at Stanford. A pianist, circus artist, fire-eater, street mime, swing dancer, and novelist, Audrey wears many hats wherever she is. She has grand hopes for the future which include publishing more books and owning a crockpot.
Radiant Crown Publishing and author Amber R. Duel are unveiling the cover to FRAGILE CHAOS, a young adult fantasy romance, releasing July 11, 2017. See below for the cover, information on the book, and details on her giveaway.
FRAGILE CHAOS by Amber R. Duel
About the Book Title: FRAGILE CHAOS Author: Amber R. Duel Publisher: Radiant Crown Publishing Release Date: July 11, 2017
Genre: Young Adult Fantasy Romance
Synopsis A GOD OF WAR SEEKING RESTORATION.
AN UNWILLING SACRIFICIAL BRIDE.
BETRAYAL THAT COULD DESTROY THEM BOTH.
“[E]very fiber of my being is woven from the rage of mortals.”
Theodric, the young God of War, has a talent for inciting conflict and bloodshed. After being stripped of his powers by his older brother, King of Gods, he sets out to instigate a mortal war to prove himself worthy of being restored to power.
“I loved Kisk once; it was my home… But that was before. This is now.”
Sixteen-year-old Cassia, like many in the modern era, believes gods and goddesses to be just a myth. Enemy to her country and an orphan of the war, she has no time for fairy tales. That’s until religious zealots from Theo’s sect offer her up as a sacrifice.
Can Cassia and Theo end the mortal war and return balance to the earth and heavens? Or, will their game of fate lead down a path of destruction, betrayal, and romance neither of them saw coming?
Author Amber R. Duel
About the Author Amber R. Duell was born and raised in a small town in Central New York. While it will always be home, she’s spent the last six years living in Germany and Maine as a military wife where the next step is always an adventure.
When Amber isn’t writing, she’s wrangling her two young sons. She is a lover of history, a fan of snowboarding, and a travel enthusiast. In her downtime, she can be found curling up with a good book and a cat or two.
Welcome to the book blitz for Obsidian Sky, the third book in the young adult dystopian romance series, Dark Sky, by Amy Braun. See below for information on the book and series, buy links, an exclusive excerpt, and details on her giveaway.
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..
The storm came out of nowhere. They always did.
I gritted my teeth and held up the crate lid, protecting my face from the fresh torrent of hail that came on the wind. The shards of ice pummeled the battered wood, then vanished completely when the wind changed. I tossed down my makeshift shield, grabbed the spokes of the helm, and fought the wind.
“Hard to port!” I bellowed. My throat was already burning from constantly shouting orders, and more yelling wasn’t helping.
Good thing it’s raining, I thought grimly.
I watched Nash sprint across the deck below, racing for the trap door to repeat my command to Gemma. We were in the air when the storm hit, and Nash refused to follow any order until Gemma was safely tucked away in the engine room, using the airship’s automated controls to alter our course instead of changing sails by dangling hundreds of feet in the air on a piece of rope.
I didn’t argue with him. I knew what it was like, to be so in love with someone that you couldn’t think about anything but protecting them.
But you didn’t. You let her go. You weren’t strong enough to defend her. You weren’t strong enough to save her.
Shoving the truth back down, I wrenched the wheel to the left. The Dauntless Wanderer pitched, pushed by the savage wind. I twisted the helm around and around, my biceps burning as the Dauntless struggled to obey me. I could feel the wooden slats of the quarterdeck vibrating under my feet as the generator struggled to turn the sails. I watched the masts twist and grind in their riveted sockets on the deck. If I pushed them too hard against the wind, they would bend and we would lose control. The top of the main mast was already swaying ominously in the punishing wind.
I mastered the ship. Not the weather.
From the corner of my eye, I saw Nash race up the deck steps and came to a halt next to me. All my focus was on the ink black clouds ahead. I was searching for darker ones.
“Sawyer, we have to go back,” Nash shouted in my ear.
“Not yet,” I yelled back. “We can hold another five minutes.”
As if hearing me, the wind shifted again. I grabbed the crate lid. Nash ducked down and covered his head with his hands. Chunky blocks of hail beat down on us, but I shielded Nash and myself from the worst of it.
As soon as the hail switched to rain, I dropped the crate lid. Nash rose to his feet and swung in front of me. He grabbed some empty spokes on the helm and kept me from turning the wheel.
“Sawyer, we can’t stay out here.”
I looked at my friend, the first person I recruited to my crew. He’d been with me for nearly four years. I trusted him more than anyone else in the world. He would never lead me astray, never abandon me, never tell me something I didn’t need to hear.
Right now, I wanted to punch his lights out.
“Let go,” I warned.
I tried to jerk the wheel out of his grasp, but even when my arms weren’t sore from maneuvering an airship in a rain-wind-hail storm, Nash was stronger than me. His muscles were almost twice the size of mine. I knew how to fight with a blade. Nash earned his reputation with his fists. The dog-faced tattoo from his old marauder life– when he was forced to fight for survival against fiendish killers– snarled up at me from the dark skin of his arm. Cuts from sharp hail lined his cheeks and arms. He was bruised, exhausted, and worried. But he wouldn’t back down.
“We won’t find anything out here,” he said. “The storm will get worse, and the Dauntless can’t risk taking major hits. We don’t have anyone to repair her if she does.”
Anger and pain spiked in my chest. But Nash wasn’t done.
“We have a little girl on board, Sawyer. Or did you forget about her?”
Abby. How could I forget her? Every time I looked at those blonde curls and bright green eyes, I saw them on an older, willowy young woman. I thought about her pale skin, soft lips, and achingly sad eyes. I remembered how heartbroken she’d been when she walked away to save our lives.
To save my life.
Abby was a wreck, same as me. Her big sister would never forgive me if anything happened to her.
If that wasn’t enough, Nash had one more nail to drive into my heart.
“Do you think Claire would want us risking ourselves like this to find her?”
He was asking a question that would hurt in more ways than one, because it was the only way I would listen. I knew the answer, of course.
She would be furious. In fact, she would probably try to punch me again. I would probably welcome it, if that meant I would see her and know she was safe.
Not a warrior, but a fighter at heart. That was my Claire.
My chest tightened. I closed my eyes and sighed. It hurt to breathe.
“The storm’s coming from the north. Tell Gemma to keep turning south. We’re heading back to the ports.”
Nash checked my eyes, making sure I wouldn’t break my word. It stung to know he doubted me now.
He let go of the wheel and raced down the stairs. I kept turning the helm, shifting toward the dull grey skies of Westraven. I steadied the wheel and waited a couple more minutes until I was sure
Nash would be safe below deck with Gemma.
Then I took a deep breath, hit the accelerator, and left another hope behind.
Now that the Dauntless sailed freely, I constantly expected an attack. Someone to ambush us and take my ship. I would be killed and my friends enslaved. I dreaded to think what would happen to Abby, who was little more than a scared child.
But even now, with the Behemoth destroyed, no one ventured into the ports. When the Hellions entered Aon and attacked Westraven a decade ago in The Storm, dozens of survivors fled to the expansive tarmac. It used to be the Westraven Trade Board’s landing pad for other provincial airships to land with their goods, and it was assumed that the five hundred foot square air hangar in the middle of the concrete tarmac would be filled with enough supplies to outlast the Hellions.
But it didn’t matter when the monsters landed in their raiding skiffs and burst into the building. They were always watching, always hunting, and always knowing where to strike.
For a few months, smaller bands of survivors tried to sneak inside the ports during daylight and the rainy seasons, trying to get inside the hangar and assuming the Hellions wouldn’t find them.
They always did.
It didn’t take long for most of Westraven to decide that the ports were cursed, and nothing in them was worth the risk of being devoured. I suppose that even with the Behemoth gone, they wanted to keep thinking that. Maybe they would keep thinking that until the Breach was closed. If that was the case, the ports would stay cursed for a long time.
I had a bad habit of taking potentially suicidal risks. While the other survivors assumed the ports were cursed, I decided to take them over. It was a safe place for me to hide my ship– and myself.
I dropped the speed of the Dauntless, letting her glide over the concrete tarmac toward the hangar. I liked speed, but I understood the value of patience. It had taken me two years to find my ship and set up traps so it wouldn’t be stolen. Another year to clean up the worst of the damage. Two more years to move the damn ship in the rainy seasons and daylight, constantly watching the skies to make sure the Hellions wouldn’t blast it to pieces, and yet another year to do more thorough repairs in the hangar.
Not easy to do when you’re a lonely, orphaned seventeen-year old––or was I eighteen now? I couldn’t remember––with a family name that everyone hates.
Even with all those years of labor and fighting for survival against the people I stole from, it hadn’t been enough. The generator had been damaged, and I hadn’t gotten the Dauntless to fly no matter what experimental repairs I did. No one had been able to fix it.
Not until Claire came along.
Hiding the pain again, I eased the Dauntless Wanderer to a stop fifteen feet from the main building, where the concrete met sheets of metal plating that circled around the hangar. Hidden by the plates was a Pitfall, a trap that would react when it sensed any kind of vibration moving over it. A trap that would send a devastating electric pulse over and above the metal plates and shock whatever was standing on it.
Claire’s way of protecting us.
Once the ship came to a stop, I let it idle and walked down the steps. I glimpsed Nash slipping on heavy electrical gloves, slinging a rope over the side of the Dauntless, and climbing down. Gemma stood at the railing, watching him with anxious eyes. I stood next to her while Nash knelt down by the metal plating and began to search for the wire that would disarm the Pitfall until we were inside.
“What the hell was that out there?” Gemma asked me, never taking her eyes from Nash.
I looked at her. Gemma was my master gunner, my ship’s rigger, and my friend. She was tall, lithe, and beautiful. She wore a sleeveless leather jumpsuit, heavy black boots, and had her short brown hair tied in a loose ponytail at the nape of her neck. Her pale skin was smeared with soot and grime, her dark brown eyes intense and focused on what mattered to her. Two knives and a flintlock pistol were strapped to her waist. When I met Gemma, she was a thief set on corrupting both Nash and me. But she saved our lives, and proved her loyalty a thousand times over. I valued her opinion.
I just wasn’t looking forward to the barbs that would come with it.
“Nash already gave me an earful, Gemma,” I muttered, resting my arms on the railing as Nash worked cautiously. “I’m not in the mood for another one.”
Her hand curled on my shoulder and yanked me away from the railing. Sometimes I forgot how strong Gemma was. It was the mistake her enemies made, one that they paid for in the worst ways.
Then again, she’d never used that strength against me.
“Too bad,” she said, dark eyes burning. “You need to hear it.”
I glared. “I give the orders. Not you,” I reminded.
As if that bit of truth would stop Gemma.
“You’re not the only one who wants to find Claire,” she snapped. “We all do. But did you forget why she gave herself up in the first place?”
I balled my fists, wishing I could crush my memories in them. They surged without my control.
The pain as the Vesper, King of the Hellions reached into my mind with his own, bent on demolishing me. The empty look of the man who’d betrayed us. The cruel smile of my enemy when he knew he’d won. The heart-wrenching pain on the face of the girl I loved as she was taken, even as I gave her my deepest promise.
I’ll save you.
But that was what Claire did for us instead. She gave herself up to build a Palisade– a two towered device that could cut through the thin fabric of dimensions– in exchange for our lives. Claire was the daughter of Westraven’s most famous engineers, and easily as skilled as they were. She repaired the Palisade her mother and father created, and used it to fend off the Hellions that had swarmed us.
But it had been a rush job, nowhere near as destructive as the original Palisade was ten years ago when it created the Breach. Yet Claire claimed she could make another one, just as powerful.
If she did…
But Claire wouldn’t do that. She was too good, and too smart. If she made a deal with the Vesper, she had another reason to do so. She had a plan.
Except I didn’t know what it was, and I couldn’t help her if–
Gemma punched me in the arm. She didn’t hold back, either. I would feel that bruise for days.
“What the hell was that for?” I snarled.
“To prove a damn point,” she shot back. “You’re distracted, Sawyer. Claire is in every inch of your mind, and you can’t think about anything else. You can’t think like a captain.”
I wanted to argue, but she was right. Claire was all I could think about, even before her surrender. She’d gotten under my skin, into my very soul, the way no one else had. I didn’t think anyone could do that, because of who I was.
But she did. She didn’t even have to try.
“You’re not the only one who’s in love, Sawyer.”
I narrowed my eyes at Gemma. She just rolled her eyes. “Please. As if we all didn’t see it.” A sly grin crossed her lips before she turned her gaze to Nash. The smile fell from her face, but love continued to burn in her eyes.
“We’ve been with you for years. You made a choice, we followed it. You made enemies, we fought them. You made a stupid decision, we shrugged and went along with it.”
A sardonic grin twisted my lips. Gemma wasn’t one to mince words.
“But this is different. You’re not asking us to cross into marauder territory and swipe a few goods. This isn’t even like when we stormed the Behemoth. We only did that because we had armfuls of explosives and a crazy engineer.” Gemma shook her head, sadness cutting out the love in her eyes.
“You’re asking us to go through the Breach. The heart of Hellion territory, where they will absolutely see us coming. If they don’t, the Vesper will know. We don’t know the terrain. We don’t have the numbers or weapons to fight them. We’ll be dead before we touch ground. If we’re lucky.”
Luck. She said that word like it existed in our situation. If the Hellions captured us, our lives would become nothing but torture and pain until they grew bored of us. I remembered the stories Riley told of his captivity on the Behemoth. The things he claimed to have seen and endure. I had no love for the man, especially after what he’d done to us, but I hadn’t thought he was lying about the horrors he suffered.
My heart lurched at the thought of Claire enduring them now.
“I want to live, Sawyer,” Gemma said, her voice barely above a whisper. “I have something good in my life, and I don’t want to lose him.”
I glanced at Nash. He stood up and began peeling off the thick electrical gloves used to handle the Pitfall. He glanced at Gemma and smiled. She returned the expression.
“If you don’t slow down to think up a plan to get Claire safely, then we’re going to leave.”
I whirled my head so fast it almost wrenched off my neck. “You’re not serious.”
Gemma turned her sad eyes onto me, and gave me her answer. I would have rather she sucker-punched me again.
“We wouldn’t want to, but you wouldn’t give us a choice. Not if we wanted to live.” The hardness returned to her eyes. “So sort yourself out. Act like a leader. At the very least, pretend to care.”
I flinched. I couldn’t help it, because I did care. I cared too much.
And that was the whole problem.
Gemma winced when she saw the slip of my composure. Her eyes were pained, and she took a breath to apologize.
“Tell Nash to guide us in,” I said quietly. “You can open the door.”
I walked away before she could say anything else. I was glad that she didn’t call me back. I didn’t trust myself not to say something I would regret.
At least this way I could try and get some sleep.
I walked to the cabin door, then hesitated. Ever since her rescue, Abby had been sleeping in the captain’s cabin. The poor girl had been kidnapped by Hellions and turned into a blood donor for the monsters. As if standing for days on end, strapped to a cold table and having her blood drained from her ounce by ounce wasn’t enough, Abby was plagued with a disease that slowly turned her into a Hellion. Seeing her sister tortured in such a way nearly shattered Claire, and part of her bargain with the Vesper was to relieve Abby from the disease.
Abby was cured, but she couldn’t stop crying. I’d done my best to comfort her, but it had been a long time since I was an older brother. In the end, I failed at that, too.
Putting Micah in the back of my mind before memories of losing him could hurt me, I knocked on the door. There was no answer, but at least she would hear me. I twisted the doorknob and walked into the cabin.
It wasn’t as extravagant as it had been when my father was captain. The windows were covered with black cloth. Crates were piled in every corner. Clothing and blankets lay tossed over leather trunks. Hurricane lanterns were tacked to the walls. The wide oak desk was covered with swords, knives, pistols, and rags to clean them with.
At the far side of the room was a wide couch that doubled as a bed. Sitting on top of it, surrounded in sprinkles of sugar and nibbled bread, dressed in a baggy shirt and pants shortened and hemmed to fit her small frame, was Abby.
Claire’s baby sister reminded me of a cherub. Bouncy golden curls, pale skin, rosy cheeks, big green eyes filled with wonder. When she grew up, she would be a heartbreaker. She probably wouldn’t even know it. Her sister hadn’t, and Claire had caught my heart hook, line, and sinker.
Abby looked up from the book cradled in her lap. I smiled at her and crossed the hardwood floor to the bed.
“Hey, Stargazer,” I said.
Abby smiled at the nickname. She loved the sky. Her happiest moments seemed to be when we hovered in the cloudless night sky. Abby used a periscope to chart the constellations, drawing lines to connect them and turning stars into smiling faces.
It had been a long month since she’d drawn anything.
“Hi, Sawyer,” she said, scooting over so I could sit on the bed. She looked at the tiny crystals of sugar spotting the blanket and gasped lightly. She quickly brushed them away with her tiny hands.
“Sorry, I didn’t mean to make a mess.”
I smiled. “Don’t worry about it.” I wasn’t the least bit irritated. Abby was eating again, no longer looking pale and fragile. It hadn’t taken long for us to realize that Abby was obsessive about putting sugar on any and all foods. Even meats.
Moira, the caretaker who’d joined the crew a few months ago, had tried a few times to tempt Abby into eating by coating her food in sugar when she was sick, but the poor girl had been so plagued by the Vesper’s control and disease that it hadn’t worked. Moira would have been so happy to see that Abby was getting better, looking more like a little girl and less like a hollowed child. But she had died trying to defend Abby from Davin when he raided our home at the ports.
Moira had become another victim of my brother.
I kept the smile on my face and pushed the rage and hurt down, storing it for whenever I faced Davin next. He didn’t matter right now. This bright-eyed, curly haired girl did.
“How are you doing?” I asked, settling down next to her. “Are you okay?”
“Yeah, I’m good,” Abby told me. She closed the notebook and clutched it to her chest.
“Are you sure? I was sailing pretty wildly.”
“It’s okay,” she assured. “It was kinda fun.”
I grinned. “Glad to hear it. Maybe I’ll do it on purpose next time.”
Abby giggled, summer green eyes sparkling. Claire’s did the same when she was consumed by a project, or was intensely arguing a point.
I turned away from Abby and rubbed my chest, wishing I could shift the pain from it.
“You didn’t find it, did you?”
I dropped my hand. There was no point in trying to soothe the ache. Abby’s crushed voice just made it worse.
“No,” I told her honestly.
Abby and I sat in heavy silence. She sniffled quietly beside me. I gripped my kneecaps and stared at the floor.
“I’m trying to remember what Riley showed me,” Abby said after a long, long time.
When I looked at her again, she was shuffling closer and opening her book of constellations. But I wasn’t seeing stars. Dark, uneven circles were scrawled on the page. A jagged black shape spread across the middle of the pages, as if sketched by an angry fist.
“That’s what it looks like,” Abby continued. “The Breach.”
I stared at the drawing, wishing it would tell me where it was. How I could find it. Which direction to turn the ship. How to rescue the girl I loved without losing my crew in the process.
All I saw were scribbles.
“Did he tell you where it was?” I hedged, though I knew the answer. “Did he tell you exactly where the Breach was?”
Abby sucked in her lower lip. I could see her struggling to find an answer, to lie and keep up the search for her sister. Like me, she would rather scour the skies day and night, looking for any trace of the Breach or Claire. But Abby was a scared little girl. She wasn’t a fighter. She didn’t know how to operate an airship or work on the engines. She just wanted her big sister back.
The Vesper probably implanted the image of the Breach into Abby’s mind to scare her. He’d tortured her with nightmares of what she would become unless Claire surrendered, likely showing her the Breach to let her know the bleakness that waited for her in another world.
Now she was cured of the Vesper, and trapped in a different nightmare.
Abby made a choked, hiccupping sound. A hopeless noise.
I gently pried the notebook from her little fingers and set it on the blanket. I put my arm around her shoulders and pulled her to my side. Abby didn’t need further invitation, throwing her arms around my ribs and squeezing with all her strength. Her tears soaked my shirt. I rubbed her back, like I’d done for Micah so many times whenever Davin scared him. My older brother took pleasure in tormenting anyone he thought below him.
And now he had Claire. She was tough, but Davin’s greatest joy came from breaking someone strong.
“I’m scared, Sawyer,” Abby sobbed into my chest. Her tiny fists balled my shirt. She trembled violently. “I’m scared she won’t come home. He… he’s going to hurt her, I know it, worse than he hurt me, he’s going to––”
I pushed back from Abby. I couldn’t handle the details right now.
But I wasn’t going to lie.
“Claire is tough, Stargazer. Tougher than me. Smarter, too. She’ll survive. And I’m going to get her back. I swear it, Abigail.”
Tears stained the little girl’s cheeks and still brimmed in her eyes, yet her sobs had quieted. She stopped shaking. She believed me.
I just wished I believed in myself.
Sort yourself out. Act like a leader.
Gemma’s words vibrated through my skull, and as Abby cuddled next to me for comfort, I knew she was right. If I was going go through with this crazy mission and save the stubborn, feisty engineer that captured my heart, I had to stop moping. I had to think of a way to outsmart my enemies.
Riley, my newest and traitorous former crewmate. Davin, the cruel man-turned-Hellion who shared my blood. The Vesper, a nightmare King with harrowing power.
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.
Welcome to the blog tour for ISLAND OF EXILES, the first book in the young adult fantasy series, The Ryogan Chronicles, by Erica Cameron, releasing February 14, 2017. See below for information on the book, pre-order links, an exclusive excerpt, and details on her giveaway.
ISLAND OF EXILES (The Ryogan Chronicles #1) by Erica Cameron
Synopsis In Khya’s world, every breath is a battle.
On the isolated desert island of Shiara, dying young is inevitable. The clan comes before self, and protecting her home means Khya is a warrior above all else.
But when following the clan and obeying their leaders could cost her brother his life, Khya’s home becomes a deadly trap. The only person who can help is Tessen, her lifelong rival and the boy who challenges her at every turn. The council she hoped to join has betrayed her, and their secrets, hundreds of years deep, reach around a world she’s never seen.
To save her brother’s life and her island home, her only choice is to trust Tessen, turn against her clan, and go on the run—a betrayal and a death sentence.
Excerpt: I breathe the briny air and try to consider the options objectively. As objectively as I ever can when my brother is involved.
Yorri was the first person to tell me that one day I’d be kaigo, just like our blood-parents, serving the Miriseh and earning high honors in Ryogo. I’d flicked him on the shoulder and said “Of course I will be,” but his faith had been what convinced me I was right.
Yorri gets so excited he stumbles over his own words when he’s explaining how he solved some new, impossible puzzle. He devotes himself with frightening fervor to anything that ensnares his arrow-quick mind, but sometimes needs reminding that the rest of the world exists.
Forget objectivity. It’s worth the risk.
I am going to keep him safe, just like I always have.
“You’re going to be late for the vigil if you stand here staring into nothing for much longer, Khya.”
I tense, keeping my eyes on the angry, dark, blue white-capped waves. I’d heard the footsteps approaching, but several people had come and gone already and left me alone.
Tessen, however, never was able to keep his thoughts inside his head.
“I won’t be late.” I answer without looking at him until he moves into my peripheral vision.
He leans against the wall to the left of me, his forearms crossed on the ledge and his head tilted up. With his arms folded on the ledge and his body held slightly away from the wall, I can make out the lines of muscle under layers of cloth, all of it hard-earned—though I probably won’t ever admit that to him. I don’t look directly at him, but I turn my head enough to get a better look at his face.
He’s taller than me, so looking down on him like this is strange. Seeing him without the hood and atakafu we always wear on duty is stranger. I don’t think I’ve seen his whole face since he became nyshin over a year ago.
His thick eyebrows sit low over his deep-set eyes and the line of his nose is straight, because somehow he was always quick enough in training to avoid all but the most glancing blows to his face. The setting sun highlights the red in his terra-cotta skin and makes his oddly pale eyes flash. Usually they’re limestone gray, but now they’re paler than ever and gleaming almost as bright as the sunlight off the ocean.
“Shouldn’t you be off training? Or guarding something?” I ask before he speaks.
“I am.” He smirks at me. “I’m guarding the mad nyshin girl who’s decided to perch on the walls and imitate a mykyn bird.”
“I’m not planning on attempting flight.” I wave my hand at him, trying to brush him off. “You can go, Nyshin-ten.”
His lips purse; I hide a smile. It was delightful discovering exactly how annoyed he got when I called him by his class and rank instead of his name. The flash of aggravation disappears quickly, replaced by his more usual sardonic smile. “Should I guess what has you lost in your own head the night of a vigil?”
“No. I don’t have that much time.”
“Then I won’t guess. Only your brother puts that look on your face.”
I look at him, expecting to see mockery in his eyes. There isn’t any. He looks almost…serious?
“You’re worried about his herynshi. Unless he’s in trouble again? It’s been a while. He’s overdue.”
“It’s been a while because he doesn’t have to deal with people who point out his every mistake anymore. Like you.” Gritting my teeth, I bend to brace my hand on the ledge and jump down to where Tessen stands. At six feet, he’s only an inch or two taller than me. Our eyes are nearly level when I square off against him. “You’re one of the reasons he ever got in trouble in the first place.”
“And you spent years trying to make him invisible.” Tessen’s lips thin, and the muscles in his jaw clench for a moment. “Even before you found your wards, you shielded him from everything. What he can do now that you’re not there to monitor his every move should be all the proof you need.”
“He would have died if I hadn’t protected him.” Nothing will ever convince me it was wrong to keep him alive. “You can’t seriously be suggesting I should have let that happen?”
“No, that isn’t— You don’t even know what he’s capable of! How long has it been since you’ve seen him fight? It’s been—” He steps back, his lips pressed tight and his hands held away from his weapons. “Bellows, Khya. I didn’t come here to fight with you. This isn’t how this was supposed to go.”
I blink. “What?” Tessen backing away from an argument? This has to be a trick. “How what was supposed to go?”
He shakes his head, a small smile quirking up the corners of his mouth. “I only came to ask if you’d dance with me tonight at the celebration.”
He can’t be serious…but there’s not a single sign that he isn’t being sincere.
I drop my gaze to hide the confusion that has to show on my face. My focus catches on the pendant gleaming against the undyed cloth of his tunic—a two-inch iron disc etched with crossed zeeka swords. Blood and rot, I hate seeing that around his neck. The zeeka is the symbol of the kaigo; the pendant is a symbol of their students.
Tessen is wearing the kaigo-sei pendant that should have been mine.
Out of the whole clan, the Miriseh and the kaigo only choose one nyshin-ten per year. His blood-mother, Neeva, is on the kaigo council. Being named a kaigo-sei isn’t a guarantee of advancement, but it is a sign that the leaders of the clan are keeping an eye on you. The kaigo-sei are given extra training and have to face additional tests of magic, skill, and leadership. Not every nyshin named a kaigo-sei student becomes a council member, but no one who isn’t a kaigo-sei will ever become one. I can still earn one—and I will, sooner rather than later—but it seems like they’re already grooming Tessen to take Kaigo Neeva’s place one day.
Rot take him, it was supposed to be me.
Swallowing the fruitless envy building in my chest, I raise my eyes to meet Tessen’s again. “I don’t make promises I don’t intend to keep.”
“But that’s not a no, so I’ll ask again tonight.” He smiles, inclines his head, and then walks away whistling. I hate that sound, and I’m almost positive he knows that.
Author Erica Cameron
About the Author After a lifelong obsession with books, Erica Cameron spent her college years getting credit for reading and learning how to make stories of her own. Erica graduated with a double major in psychology and creative writing from Florida State University and began pursuing a career as an author.
Erica is many things but most notably the following: writer, reader, editor, asexual, dance fan, choreographer, singer, lover of musical theater, movie obsessed, sucker for romance, Florida resident, and quasi-recluse. She loves the beach but hates the heat, has equal passion for the art of Salvador Dali and Venetian Carnival masks, has a penchant for unique jewelry and sun/moon décor pieces, and a desire to travel the entire world on a cruise ship. Or a private yacht. You know, whatever works.
Welcome to the book blitz for Curse of the Stars, the first book in the young adult fantasy series, Diamond Crier, by Donna Compositor, releasing February 19, 2017.See below for information on the book, pre-order links, an exclusive excerpt, and details on her giveaway.
Curse of Stars (Diamond Crier #1) by Donna Compositor
About the Book – NOW ON SALE – $0.99! Title: Curse of the Stars Series: Diamond Crier #1 Author: Donna Compositor Release Date: February 19, 2017 Genre: New Adult Contemporary Romance Links: Goodreads | Amazon | Barnes & Noble | iBooks | Kobo
Synopsis Sabi Perez is the last Diamond Crier, only she doesn’t know it. Not until a crazed ruler from another world comes to collect her priceless tears and won’t take no for an answer.
Living in New York, Sabi’s seen some nasty things, but the lengths to which her captor will go to keep his crown are things found only in the darkest nightmares. Afraid and alone, Sabi finds solace in her cellmate, Anya, and Cabal, a fellow Crier who also has powers, a rare combination that buys his favor from the ruler. Only it’s a favor he doesn’t want.
In a fit of rage, power erupts out of Sabi, the same power Cabal has, and a spark of hope ignites. Together they may have a chance at escape, something no other Crier has done. Except a ruler hellbent on draining them of every last diamond tear isn’t their only hurdle. If they escape they’ll be hunted to the ends of the earth, if they survive the trek to safety. If they stay the ruler will leech them dry. Sabi would rather die trying than lie down and die, even if that means running away into even more danger.
“. . . vividly imagined and deftly plotted dark fantasy . . .” BookLife Prize in Fiction
“You must be Sabina,” he said.
Her heart felt ready to explode. Ringing in her ears made it hard to hear but she could have sworn he called her Sabina. She didn’t know whether to answer him or not. She went by Sabi but her birth certificate said Sabina. He wasn’t wrong, but she wasn’t about to admit that.
The sound of his voice was soft, almost welcoming. But the way he looked at her, how his gaze bored directly into her eyes, it sent goose bumps across her skin. All she wanted to do right then was leave.
“Sorry,” she choked, the word barely making it out. “You have the wrong house.”
The thin smile that sliced across his face like a paper cut cracked open to reveal gleaming teeth underneath. Sabi couldn’t help but think of a wolf and how he would eat her with his big teeth.
“I don’t think so. But maybe it’s Perez now, yes? At least that’s what my sources say.”
Every thought she had smashed together in her head. He had her name. Her name. But who was Sabina Petris? And why did he say Perez like that wasn’t her real name? Crap, she needed to get out. Now.
“Baby, you okay?”
Sabi jumped and nearly choked on her heart. Keeping her eyes on the man in front of her she called down to Mrs. Wexler in the steadiest voice she could muster, “Fine. I’m fine.”
Nothing about her cracking voice sounded fine.
“Why don’t you come on down? Come sit with me until your Mama gets home?”
Yes! That’s what she’d do. Nothing could happen if she stayed out in the open with Mrs. Wexler. She took a step backward, not daring to turn her back on the man, but she stopped when he spoke.
“Perhaps you shouldn’t. Or your sister, Matti is it? Could feel the effects of that poor decision.”
Bile burned Sabi’s throat and her vision swam. The man took a step closer.
“You are my property, Sabina. Your parents knew this. They knew this would happen. Come with me now and I’ll forgive their indiscretions. I can’t say the same for their people, of course. So many deaths piling up behind your parents. Something like that is hard for people to forgive.”
Everything in Sabi’s head cleared and one thing rang out above it all: Matti. Get to Matti. Whoever this guy was, whatever he was saying, he wasn’t right. In the head, in life, in anything. Except just looking at him Sabi knew he was far from harmless. He was too casual, too confident. He was the wolf and she the prey and she was getting too close to backing into a corner.
With every ounce of air she had in her lungs Sabi screamed Mrs. Wexler’s name and booked back down the stairs. Footsteps thundered up to meet her and Mrs. Wexler mumbled ‘outside’ and nearly pushed Sabi down the rest of the stairs. But she didn’t need any help. And she didn’t stop on the stoop or to see what her neighbor was going to do.
Guilt slowed her down, but the way Matti rolled off the man’s tongue made her pump her legs harder. It was blocks to the school, but Sabi wasn’t about to wait at a subway stop, sitting like a duck with a price on its head. She needed to get to Matti.
Author Donna Compositor
About the Author Donna has been writing since she was in the single digits when she first realized she needed to do something about all the thoughts in her head. After a stint with bad poetry she finally found her way to novels, mainly of the young adult fantasy variety. When she’s not cranking out more stories she works a regular 9 to 5, reads anywhere from 2 to 3 books a week, drinks copious amounts of tea, eats way too much, and makes her own beauty products because her skin turns into a sentient hive if she uses anything else. This is mostly because she lives in the desert where the air siphons water clean out of her. She lives with a man named Steve and several quadrupeds: three cats named Renfield, Sam, and Dean; and a MinPin named Malfoy..