Beauty And The Werewolf, by Kristin Miller 1

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5 out of 5

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Review:

I loved this book. This was a really good love story. Some of this story reminded me of Romeo and Juliet. Her family did not like his family. If she married him the families would be at war. Well that is how Isabelle’s father felt. But being the fabulous man that Jack is he bowed out without her knowing so as to not cause problems for the woman he loved. Would they get another chance at a happily ever after? The only way to find out what happens is by reading the book.

Reviewed by Epiphany

Our Blog was given this book in exchange for an honest review.

 

Description:

Unmated werewolves don’t normally live past three hundred years old…and billionaire Jack MacGrath is cutting it close. Sure, he has almost everything—the respect of his peers, a mansion in San Francisco, a private jet, and fast cars. But without a mate, Jack’s in trouble. Then he sees her. Gorgeous, proud…and his enemy.

Isabelle Connelly is good at hiding things from her father. Like her success as a painter, or the incredibly intense attraction she has to Jack MacGrath. After all, she’s royalty and falling for anyone lesser—to say nothing of a rival pack—would be, er, unseemly. Now she must choose between her duty to her family and her pack…or her perfect fated mate.

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Excerpt:

He had eleven Bella Nolan paintings.

Werewolf in Venice would make twelve.

And he wasn’t about to be outbid by the tiny little pixie sitting in the row across from him. She had dark hair that dropped past her shoulders and curled up at the ends. Bright green eyes lined with thick lashes. Freckles covering her plump cheeks. She was a werewolf—he could tell by the sweet and spicy smell of her—but she wasn’t from the San Francisco Wolf Pack.

He would’ve run into her by now, and he never forgot a face.

The pixie wore a thick black scarf, black heels, and a black dress that revealed the porcelain-smooth length of her legs when she crossed them. Judging from her attire, she was either headed to a funeral after the auction or stuck in a permanent state of melancholy. Or maybe she simply thought the monochromatic color would make her incognito.

Yeah, no way. With legs like that, anonymity was impossible.

As the bid tiptoed higher, reaching six hundred fifteen thousand, Jack raised his paddle with a flick of his wrist. He couldn’t care less about the money spent. He’d accumulated an estate worth billons, but even if he hadn’t, he’d go in debt to hang Werewolf in Venice on his walls.

Besides, he couldn’t take his billions with him when he died, so he might as well spend his money on something he could enjoy in his final days.

Seeing as how he was a 320-year-old werewolf who’d yet to find his Luminary—his one and only fated mate—he was weakening. Werewolves could only live about three hundred years without going through the bonding process with their Luminary. With every year that passed by, he was pushing the envelope.

He’d searched tirelessly for his mate. Scoured wolf packs throughout the country, and had come up empty-handed. Luminaries could feel the spark of connection at first touch.

He’d failed. End of discussion. End of his life.

A shaky breath ripped from his lungs.

Just then, he picked up something else in the pixie’s scent. Hints of something rich and creamy. It smelled almost like—no, it couldn’t possibly be—Guinness? Smooth and full. Bittersweet underneath. Had she drunk the beer recently? Was it still on her breath?

He couldn’t tell.

The pixie lifted her chin—a slight move, but he caught it—and raised her paddle.

Guess she was a Bella Nolan fan, too.

Without thinking twice, he rebutted.

She craned her neck to the side and glared at him, kinking one eyebrow. It was clear that she was trying to give him attitude, but she looked downright adorable. Like a puppy gearing up for battle against a more formidable dog. He couldn’t help but smile.

Sweetheart, I’m 320 years old. I’ve met and outbid enthusiastic bidders like you before.

But you’ve never met me.

Her thoughts struck him like a hammer to the temples. He hadn’t meant to project his thoughts, or for her to hear them. But now that she’d responded, he couldn’t get the sweet sound of her voice out of his head. Her tone was light and airy, like the winter wind, carrying a soft accent.

He couldn’t place it. English? Irish? Definitely European.

With a huff, the pixie redirected her attention to the front. And raised the bid again.

I can do this all day. Her lips twitched in irritation as her words pulsed through his mind. You might as well go home now. It’ll save you some embarrassment.

Exhilaration fired through his veins.

There was only one thing he loved more than a challenge: a tantalizing game of cat-and-mouse.

Keeping his eye on her, Jack bid until the price reached seven hundred fifty thousand and the room erupted in excited whispers. Pixie fidgeted in her seat, shifting her weight from one hip to the other.

Don’t overextend yourself, he projected.

Don’t worry about me. She waved her paddle. Worry about what your friends in the auction circuit are going to think when you’re outbid and lose this painting.

He bid again. Without hearing the next price.

She matched him.

A smirk curled the corner of his lips as he met her eyes. Fiery determination burned in those emerald depths. Her eyes stunned him, twinkling bright and holding him captive. But not enough to miss the price of the painting rise near a million.

He winked. And then lifted the paddle slowly.

 

Kristin Miller

 

About the Author:

New York Times and USA Today best-selling author Kristin Miller writes sweet and sassy contemporary romance, romantic suspense, and paranormal romance of all varieties. Kristin has degrees in psychology, English, and education, and taught high school and middle school English before crossing over to a career in writing. She lives in Northern California with her alpha male husband and their two children. She loves chocolate way more than she should and the gym less. You can usually find her in the corner of a coffee shop, laptop in front of her and mocha in hand, using the guests around her as fuel for her next book.

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Blood Slave, by Kathleen Collins Reply

3D Blood Slave

4 out of 5

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Review:

An exciting storyline keeps your interest the whole way through. I had fun reading and the Pomeranian zombie is a funny touch. The characters personalities are believable and easy to get into. Thomas is quite the understanding guy I tell you what. I don’t think many people would take it so easy on their mate for putting up shields while leaving town like Juliana did. The ending ties up nice without leaving you hanging.

Reviewed by Fawnzy

Our Blog was given this book in exchange for an honest review.

 

Description:

There are zombies in the Dead Zone and Juliana Norris is sent to take care of the problem. And for there to be zombies, there had to be bodies. When vampires are found to be the culprits, Juliana is sent undercover in the red light district of Kansas City. Lying to her mate, Thomas Kendrick, isn’t something she wants to do, but she’s in another vampire’s territory and Thomas would not be pleased. Besides, she’s more than capable of doing the job and she needs to prove it to everyone. Most of all herself.

Charles Morgan is in control of the Kansas City area, making a rich living off his various enterprises. Juliana goes undercover at the strip club Lust and gets sucked into his dark, decadent world. More victims turn up and the Agency is positive they’ve got their man, but Juliana is not so sure. When the Agency refuses to listen, she reluctantly turns to Thomas for help. He intervenes but finds Juliana unaware of the danger she is in and discovers she may just be too deep for him to save.

 

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Excerpt:

The zombie Pomeranian yipped at Nathaniel in between growling and tugging at the leg of his jeans. Juliana pulled her foot back to kick the creature away from her friend and made ready to bring her sword down on it as soon as it was clear.

“Don’t,” Nathaniel protested as he held up a still-clawed hand. “You might hurt it.”

Her brows arched up into her hairline. “That would be the general idea.” The thing growled again and she looked down at it where it was doing its utmost to gnaw a hole through Nathaniel’s jeans. And she wasn’t entirely sure it would stop when it got to skin. I realize you have a particu-lar kinship with all things canine, but it’s gnawing on your leg.”

“Just my jeans.” Now back in fully human form, he bent and disengaged the dog from the denim.

“Easy there, boy. Good dog.” When the Pomeranian continued to express its displeasure with the situation in general and Nathaniel in particular, he lifted the beast above his head, looked at it nose to nose and growled back. Evidently recognizing an alpha even in its altered state, the dog curled in on itself and whimpered before darting its tongue out to lick Nathaniel’s nose. Juliana grimaced. Zombie breath couldn’t be pretty.

“See, he doesn’t mean any harm,” her friend said as he tucked the abomination under one arm. Their scruffy brown hair made them look surprisingly similar.

She blinked at him in disbelief before taking another look at the creature in question. When she bent closer, it growled and she straightened with a huff. “She.”

“What?”

“She. Name tag says Fifi. Last time I checked that was a girl’s name.”

Nathaniel snorted in derision. “Fifi. What a prissy name.”

“Hate to break it to you, partner, but that is a prissy dog. And it smells like mold.”

 

 

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About the Author:

Kathleen Collins lives and works in Missouri. By day, she labors in the local prosecutor’s office. At night she writes while surrounded by her husband, two boys and two loveable mutts. She is constantly thinking of her next project and loves to connect with her readers. You can fine her most often on Facebook or on her website.

www.Kathleencollins.net

@kathy_collins

www.facebook.com/kathleencollinsauthor

http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7191208.Kathleen_Collins

 

 

 

Velicious, by Shelique Lize 1

4 out of 5

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Review:

Velicious starts out with a young readers feel, then shifts to a more adult with the romantic desires giving it a more mature feel. The first half was enough to keep me reading, but the second half is what didn’t let me put the book down. The drama and information builds to a blowout ending. With this being part one it is quite the cliffhanger leaving you desperately trying to turn to the page that’s not there.

Review by Fawnzy

 

Description:

Justice Labelle always had her life perfectly planned.

Her goals were to graduate from University and get into law school.

Then one day, Justice tried to kill herself.

Well, not her technically. It may have been her body, but those actions weren’t intentional and the suicidal thoughts were not hers. Or, so she keeps telling her therapist and family. Justice is afraid she’s losing her mind and just wants to forget everything. But when her best friend is murdered, another one is being mind-screwed by a Vampyre, and her ex is back in town, looking as scrumptious as ever and very suspicious, maybe she isn’t all that crazy!

 

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Escerpt:

I said, meeting his gaze, “This is protection against the Vampyres?” Then I remembered when that grey eyed hottie at the club said that I was protected. This piece of jewelry is why he said that.

Calvin nodded. “Promise me.”

“I will never take it off.”

“Goodnight,” Calvin said, somber, as he leaned in and hugged me. It was a strong hold, warm, and it said everything else that my ex did not say that night.

I felt myself melting into his familiar sturdy hold, I felt my legs giving away, hot tears were swelling and there was a lump forming in my throat. My hands trembled slightly clinging to Calvin and, I will not break. Nope, I can’t. With great amount of effort, I pushed the bubbling emotions, ready to explode down, and I held them there with every deep breath I inhaled. I was afraid of my emotions, afraid of what might come out of me, after everything tonight.

Embracing my ex, I took in a deep breath of Calvin and it was the same scent as always- the body Axe spray. The commercial product that has all the girls chasing after the guy, who wears that body spray. This right now, his smell, his hold was weakening my shields.

I told Calvin that I was okay and he only hugged me tighter. He didn’t believe me.

Releasing me from the hold, Calvin kissed me on the forehead. “I will fight to the end to keep you safe.” Then a kiss on the cheek and he paused while his dark brown eyes stared into my brown eyes―contemplating.

I could feel it, read it in his soulful pairs―he was waiting for me to give him the go ahead. Could I give him permission? Did I really want to sleep alone tonight? No, not a chance in the world. Not after everything that happened and that I now remembered. Who would want to sleep alone once they realized the boogie men in their closets were real?

 

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About the Author:

I’m an awesome mother of two beautiful baby girls and wife to the luckiest man on the planet. I love anything to do with the paranormal world. I’m a proud Canadian but I dislike winter. Author, reader, blogger. Inspirational quotes, meditating and photography I appreciate. Sailormoon, movie-holic and hopeless Romantic. Shopaholic and I’m an Aries.

http://www.sheliquelize.com/

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http://www.amazon.com/Shelique-Lize/e/B00MW88Y24

https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/8440204.Shelique_Lize

 

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Spotlight: Sweet Temptation, by Wendy Higgins Reply

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Description:

Bad boy Kaidan Rowe has never wanted for anything—money, popularity, musical talent…hot girls—but seducing them is part of his duty as a Nephilim, slave to the demon Dukes. As the son of the Duke of Lust, Kaidan has learned his father’s ways, becoming a master of passion, a manipulator of chemistry. Disobeying his father would mean certain death. Thankfully for Kaidan, he’s good at his job. And he enjoys it.

Until he meets Anna Whitt—sweet, smart, feisty, and inexplicably good—the one girl seemingly immune to his charms. The daughter of a guardian angel and a fallen one, she has a certain power over him, one that makes him wish for more than he could ever deserve.

Determined to save all the Neph from their dark lives as the influencers of sin, Anna joins forces with Kaidan to overcome the demons’ oppressive ways. In the light of her affections, Kaidan must undergo his toughest test of all, a battle of the heart.

Sensual and swoon worthy, this companion volume to the acclaimed Sweet Evil series from New York Times bestselling author Wendy Higgins, told from the perspective of the irresistibly sexy and mysterious Kaidan Rowe, gives readers revealing insights into his struggle, his intense connection to Anna, and most of all, the true emotions that drive him.

Author Note:

Sweet Temptation will encompass the entire trilogy in a condensed version, beginning with Kai’s life before he met Anna, and taking readers through the epilogue of Sweet Reckoning. Sweet Temptation is a companion novel, not meant to be a stand alone story. It will definitely be a richer experience for those who have read the original trilogy.

 

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Kaidan Pinterest board, which has all of the graphic teasers plus lots of other sexy Kai stuff: https://www.pinterest.com/wendyhiggins/kaidan-rowe-from-the-sweet-trilogy/

 

Wendy

About the Author:

Wendy Higgins is the USA Today and NYT bestselling author of the Sweet Evil series from HarperTeen and her independently published Irish fantasy, See Me. She is a former high school English teacher who now writes full time, and lives on the Eastern Shore of Virginia with her veterinarian husband, daughter, son, and doggie Rue.

Wendy earned a bachelor’s in Creative Writing from George Mason University and a master’s in Curriculum and Instruction from Radford. Writing Young Adult (YA) stories gives her the opportunity to delve into the ambiguities of those pivotal, daunting, and exciting years before adulthood.

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Giveaway:

1 Paperback of SWEET TEMPTATION and a signed bookplate and bookmarks. US Only.

Ends on September 18th at Midnight EST!

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Spotlight: Hidden, by Amy McKinley 2

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Description:

Cursed since birth, hunted by gods, and desperate for love—Jade never stood a chance.

Half-demon, half-goddess, Jade’s fate makes her a pawn in an epic battle among the gods. Hidden on Earth with her sisters, she successfully avoids the Oneiroi—the dream gods—bent on her destruction until the prophecy, long dormant, awakens a dark shadow within her.

Roen, a reclusive Worr demon known for his battles against the Oneiroi, is called to protect Jade. Together they must unlock their mysterious connection and find a way to beat back destiny. Can she outsmart the prophecy, change her fate, and find love—even when she learns who is connected to her destruction.

 

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About the Author:

Amy McKinley is a freelance writer and author. She lives in Illinois with her husband, their four talented teenagers, and three mischievous cats. Her debut novel, Hidden is the first in the Five Fates Series.

Connect with Amy

www.amymckinley.com

Twitter: Amy McKinley@amymckinley7

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Giveaway:

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Deception by A.S. Fenichel Reply

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Review:

Deception has a sweetly romantic and modest feel.  You get the historic atmosphere from the way things are done such as a proper lady sits on a side saddle.  The paranormal you get as Dorian is busy trying to court Lillian while they are fighting demons. I was momentarily messed up during reading when a character changed names in the middle of a fight scene.  All in all a historical paranormal romance is what A.S. Fenichel has accomplished here.

Reviewed by: Fawnzys

Our Blog was given this book in exchange for an honest review.

 

Description:

When Demons threaten Regency London, only a Lady can stop them.

Lillian Dellacourt is beautiful, refined and absolutely lethal. She’s also the most feared and merciless demon hunter in The Company. She’s come a long way from the penniless seamstress’s daughter sold to the highest bidder, and it wasn’t by trusting a man, let alone an exiled Marquis with more on his mind than slaying the hellspawn . . .

For Dorian Lambert, Marquis de Montalembert, being sent to keep track of Lillian is no mean task. He’s wanted the fiery vixen since he first heard of her five years ago. But wooing the lady while fighting the demon uprising is no easy feat, especially when the lady’s tongue is as sharp as the Japanese sai blades she favors for eviscerating the spawn of hell.

These two will have to learn to trust each other fast, because the demon master is back, and he’s planning to turn Edinburgh into a living hell…

 

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Excerpt:

Gripping the chair arms to keep herself seated, Lillian fought an urge to leave and never set foot inside Castle Brendaligh again.

It had been a demoralizing battle and they had lost, but they had lived. They had done all they could, but still the demon master had ascended into man’s world.

“You failed and we are all likely to die because of it. I hold every person at this table responsible for the state of England. You have ruined us.” Lord Clayton’s voice grated on Lillian’s nerves.

Accounts of the battle were clear. Nearly everyone in the room had risked their lives trying to disrupt the ascension, not to mention keep the earl’s daughter, Belinda, from becoming a demon sacrifice. Making such a show of ferocious reprimands insulted their brave and selfless efforts. If not for the fact that he was her best friend’s father, she might have indulged her desire to pull a sai blade from her boot and slice his throat.

As if Lord Clayton, the Earl of Shafton, needed to attract more attention, he waved his hands. “You had one mission, to keep the master from entering our world. All you had to do was kill one demon, but you failed. You should all be shot for treason. Treason!”

His bright red face gave her hope his heart might fail and save her the trouble of killing him.

Other hunters at the table murmured, but no one spoke out.

Everyone in this room is to blame. You had the perfect opportunity to end this mess. Now

the master is free of his realm and living in ours. It’s only a matter of time before he is strong enough to destroy everything we hold dear. When your families are killed mercilessly, will you sit here so unrepentant about failing in your duty?”

“Father, really.” Belinda Thurston rolled her eyes.

Lillian missed Reece’s steadying presence. Reece might have even been able to stop his lordship’s tirade with a few quick-witted remarks. Her partner had nearly died, and now lay upstairs recovering from demon poisoning.

“Don’t you roll your eyes at me, Belinda. You are equally to blame. You were with the master for days and made no attempt to destroy him.”

Gabriel, Belinda’s husband, bristled. It was of course a ridiculous statement. The Earl of Tullering was not used to public abuse of his family. “Just a minute, my lord. You are out of order. Belinda was in no position to defeat the demon master. The information she gathered will be very helpful in our eventual victory.”

Shafton pointed a fat finger. “I do not want to hear about information that will take years to decipher. You, Tullering, are by far the most culpable. You and that woman”—he pointed at Lillian—“made a conscious choice not to destroy the master.”

Lillian reached toward her boot and let the hard steel of her sai blade handle bring her comfort. One second and Shafton’s head could be rolling down the long table and land in Drake Cullum’s lap.

Besides Shafton, Drake and his assistant, Dorian Lambert, were the only ones present who had not been at the battle. Their leader, Drake, had attended to assign new orders to the hunters.

Shafton said, “You could have destroyed the beast as it rose and was weakened. I know you had the opportunity, but you chose to save yourself. It was selfish and stupid.”

Lillian could kill him and no one would be able to stop her. Of course, there were always consequences when dealing with men in power. She’d lose her home within The Company. Yet another arrogant earl would not take her from her rightful place. She was in control. It was nothing like her youth and the titled man who’d ruined her life.

Belinda said, “They saved my life, Father.”

“It was the wrong choice, Belinda. You might have cost us our one chance to stop this.” Shafton narrowed his eyes on Lillian.

Lillian said, “I can imagine your pleasure if we had allowed your only child to become the master’s sacrifice. Perhaps we should have stood by and watched until the master, with his full power rose, from the depths of hell and destroyed us all. As it is, Reece Foxjohn is still recovering from battle and the rest of us might have been sucked into the demon’s realm. But by all means, my lord, go on and tell us how you know we willfully failed on our mission. I do not recall your life being in danger that day at Fatum Manor. You were safely tucked away in your castle while the rest of us faced death or worse.”

“You are out of order, Dellacourt.” Shafton said her name as if it were a curse.

Lillian wasn’t sure when she had stood up, but clutching the leather wrapped steel, she rounded the table toward the earl. “If you have something you want to say about my abilities, my lord, I suggest you do so. I will be happy to display them for you, and we can evaluate them together.”

“Miss Dellacourt.” A warning came from the other end of the table.

“You were not there. You cannot know if we could have destroyed the master. As far as I’m concerned, we made the only choice possible under the circumstances. Maybe if your intelligence had supplied us with the location of the gateway before the master had grown so powerful, we might have been able to seal him in.”

“How dare you imply that I failed in some way? You who completely disregard orders at will.”

She had only ever hated one man the way she despised Shafton, and he too was an earl. At least that one was dead. Steeling her nerves, she slid the sai blade through the pocket cut in her skirt. “You speak of orders that were selfish and almost succeeded in getting your own family killed.”

“You have no right to question me or my motives.” To his credit, he faced her and stared her in the eye.

“I have every right when you point your fat finger at me.”

“Who do you think you are? I know where you come from Lillian Dellacourt. I know what you are.”

Drake Cullum pounded the table. “Shafton, that will do.” The demon hunters’ leader stood rigid, narrow-eyed. He was formidable when he was calm, but enraging him was never a good idea. He was furious now.

Had she gone too far? The idea she might have overstepped her bounds with Cullum was enough to make her relax the grip on her blade. Lillian turned and stormed from the dining room.

Shafton yelled something about not having dismissed her from the meeting.

Once in the hallway, she pulled her second blade and turned to go back in and finish what she’d started. It would be nothing to remove his pompous head from his shoulders.

Cullum stood in the doorway. He smiled at her and closed the door, baring her reentry.

Had she ever seen him smile before? No instance came to mind. She stomped toward the front entrance. She’d leave the damn castle, get her carriage, and ride like the devil back to London. Yet the one person in the world she could really talk to was a resident of Brendaligh. Holding her full skirts with both hands, she sprinted up the curved grand staircase.

 

A. S. Fenichel

 

About the Author:

A.S. Fenichel gave up a successful career in New York City to follow her husband to Texas and pursue her lifelong dream of being a professional writer. She’s never looked back.

A.S. adores writing stories filled with love, passion, desire, magic and maybe a little mayhem tossed in for good measure. Books have always been her perfect escape and she still relishes diving into one and staying up all night to finish a good story.

Multi-published in historical, paranormal, erotic and contemporary romance, A.S. is the author of The Demon Hunters series, the Psychic Mates series, and more. With several books currently contracted to multiple publishers, A.S. will be brining you her brand of edgy romance for years to come.

Originally from New York, she grew up in New Jersey, and now lives in the East Texas with her real life hero, her wonderful husband. When not reading or writing she enjoys cooking, travel, history, and puttering in her garden. Her babies are both rescues and include a demanding dog and a temperamental cat both of which bring constant joy and laughter.

Web Site- http://asfenichel.net/

Blog – http://asfenichel.net/blog/

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4 ebook copies Deception

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A Tale of Two Kingdoms (Knights of Black Swan Book 6) by Victoria Danann Reply

 

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Reviews:

5 out of 5

As the story Victoria Danann has created continues, it gets better and better and better and better…

The sixth book in the series The Knights of Black Swan was a wonderful surprise and a rollercoaster journey on my emotions.

A Tale of Two Kingdoms reminds me of stories through history, whether they be fiction or non fiction, of forbidden love.

The two love birds Aelsong (elf) and Duff (fae) should be sworn enemies. However their attraction for each other which started in the second book of this series, The Witch’s Dream, has not faded but has grown.

Will the love birds ever find true happiness? Will their families ever approve? This is something you will have to find out by reading this fabulous book.

My favorite line from this book is “There you are.” “Here I am.” Just six little words but when you read this love story OH what a punch they make.

Come join us on the journey that Victoria Danann has so wonderfully created. I know you will love it as much as her devoted readers do.

Reviewed by Epiphany

 

5 out of 5

Another great book in the Knights of the Black Swan series. This is Duff and Song’s epic love story with all the fantasy mixed in. As a huge fan I couldn’t wait for this book. I was not disappointed!!!

Reviewed by Babygotbooks

 

Description:

#1 Listopia BEST BOOKS OF January 2014. Night Owl Reviews TOP PICK BEST PARNORMAL ROMANCE SERIES of 2013, Reviewers’ Choice Awards, The Paranormal Romance Guild

Duff Torquil is heir to Scotia, the kingdom of Fae, who have been at war with the Elves for two thousand years. Fae and Elves are both species who have evolved to respond to one fated lover with whom they will mate for life. Duff Torquil’s predestined mate is perfect for him in every way: beautiful, smart, polished, strong willed and a talented psychic who works for The Order of the Black Swan. The only problem is that she’s Aelsong Hawking, the only daughter of the royal house of Elves.

If you love romance, paranormal, science fiction, fantasy, strong female leads, alpha males and complex storylines, this series is right for you. 17+

 

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Excerpt:

This passage from The Witch’s Dream recalls that first meeting of a star-crossed pair.

Though Aelsong had her back to the room, she kept getting the feeling that someone was staring. She finally turned to see who it was and her eyes locked on the navy blue gaze of a dark-haired angel sitting across the room. He didn’t look away or try to hide the fact that he’d been staring. She let her eyes wander down his body and back up again before turning back to her group.

The pub had better food than Elora had expected. Everybody had eaten well and seemed to be having a good time. Well, everybody except Litha. Storm had decided to nip the pursuit in the bud by making a big show of flirting with an array of unattached women in the bar while ignoring her. Observing this, Elora concluded that he must be very afraid of Litha’s potential power over him to engage in such un-Storm-like behavior.

Song also seemed more distracted than anything. Several times more she turned around to see what her admirer was up to. He was out with friends, raucous friends, but, whenever she turned his way, he stopped what he was doing and looked back like she was the only one in the room of any importance.

Out of nowhere someone yelled, “Elves!”

The music stopped. The talking stopped.

Aelsong said, “Great Paddy. The crap has hit the wind.”

Ram looked at Song and Elora and said, “Stay here,” forcefully enough to let both know he meant it. As she slid out of the booth right behind him to follow and cover his back, Elora wondered who in the world he thought he was talking to.

When Ram reached the middle of the room he was facing several perturbed-looking Fae, but he was also flanked by a recently cured vampire and three Black Swan knights, one of whom was a berserker and another of whom was his wife who could destroy the building if she had cause.

He said to the crowd in general. “We do no’ want trouble. We are here on official business. If our presence makes you uncomfortable, we’ll be leavin’.”

One of the Fae staring down Ram smirked, raised his voice and said, “Hey, Duffy. The Fen is sayin’ he’s here on official business.”

Aelsong’s angel came through the crowd and stood in front of Ram. As she approached, she noticed he was as tall as her brother, which meant he was tall for a Fae. She stopped beside Ram in a show of solidarity.

The angel looked down at her. “You’re with him, then?” 

“For all eternity. He’s my brother.”

The prince’s mouth turned up at the edges. Then he looked at Ram. “And what be the nature of your official business?”

“Again, we do no’ want trouble and are willin’ to leave, but why should we be tellin’ you our business?”

One of the challengers pointed a thumb at Song’s angel. “Are ye daft? You’re talkin’ to Prince Duff Torquil. You could be sayin’ he’s the last word on official.”

Prince Torquil noticed that Ram showed no outward sign of being either intimidated or impressed.

Aelsong raised her chin and let her eyes wander over him again. A dark fae.

“‘Tis no’ for public consumption,” Ram said.

“I see. And is your sister privy to this intrigue?”

“Aye.”

“Very well. Have her come o’er here and whisper it in my ear.”

“My sister is no’ chattel. I do no’ tell her what to do.”

At that so very public statement of confidence, Aelsong’s heart swelled with pride and affection. She looked at her brother with unconditional adoration for all of two seconds before she walked to the Scotia prince purposefully and stood on tiptoe to whisper, “Black Swan,” in his ear.

Duff experienced a moment of sensory overload, a little light-headedness, when Song came near enough to kiss. He couldn’t decide whether to focus on her very arousing scent which would have to be called Carnal Knowledge if it could be bottled, or the warmth of her breath on his ear, or the sound of her tinkling wind chimes voice, or the actual words she said. When he managed to restart his mental processes, it registered that she had mentioned The Order.

He looked down into those hypnotic Hawking blue eyes and said loud enough that everybody in the bar could hear, “The elves are in Scotia under my protection.” Under his breath, quietly enough that only she could hear, he said, “Fae’s gods, it can no’ be.”

Aelsong swallowed and looked up with wide eyes, her heart shaped mouth forming a silent “o”. She started to take a step backward, but he grabbed her wrist. “What’s your name?”

“Aelsong Hawking.”

He looked like his future had just turned inside out and his brows drew together as he looked down at her. “Hawking?” His heart was sinking.

She backed up a couple of steps unable to look away then Duff’s boisterous friends grabbed him and dragged him away.

 

Victoria Danann

 

About the Author:

Victoria Danann is the New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of eleven romances. Her Knights of Black Swan series won BEST PARANORMAL ROMANCE SERIES TWO YEARS IN A ROW (2013, 2014). Reviewers Choice Awards, The Paranormal Romance Guild. Victoria’s contemporary romance series is the Sons of Sanctuary MC, TWO PRINCES, Book 1 also contains the Prequel as a bonus. Victoria’s paranormal romances come with uniquely fresh perspectives on “imaginary” creatures, characters, and themes. She adds a dash of scifi, a flourish of fantasy, enough humor to make you laugh out loud, and enough steam to make you squirm in your chair. Her heroines are independent femmes with flaws and minds of their own whether they are aliens, witches, demonologists, psychics, past life therapists, or financial analysts from Dallas. Her heroes are hot and hunky, but they also have brains, character, and good manners – usually – whether they be elves, demons, berserkers, werewolves, or vampires. The first book of the Knights of Black Swan Paranormal Romance Series, My Familiar Stranger, was nominated for Best Paranormal Romance of 2012 by both Reviewers’ Choice and Readers’ Choice Awards. All of her books have opened on the Amazon Best Sellers list and earned Night Owl Reviews TOP PICK awards. Many have appeared on Listopia BOOK OF THE MONTH as #1 across all genres. For books published in 2013, Black Swan won three awards. 1. Best Paranormal Romance Series 2. Best Paranormal Romance Novel – A SUMMONER’S TALE 3. Best Vampire~Shifter Novel – MOONLIGHT. In 2014, Solomon’s Sieve won Best Vampire Novel. If you’re interested in Victoria personally, she is also a classically trained musician who defected to Classic Rock music. Until 2013 she was the utility player for Houston’s Roadhouse band, which means she played rhythm guitar, keyboards, sang back ups and female leads. Her band covered everything (note for note) from Styx to Led Zepellin to Rush. She lives in The Woodlands, Texas with her husband and a very smart, mostly black German Shepherd dog. FACEBOOK AUTHOR PAGE:www.facebook.com/authorvictoriadanann

BLACK SWAN FAN PAGE:www.facebook.com/vdanann

 GOODREADS FAN GROUP:https://www.goodreads.com/group/show/108735-victoria-danann-order-of-the-black-swan

TWITTER: @vdanann

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Spotlight: STRANDED WITH THE CYBORG, by Cara Bristol 2

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Description:

The daughter of the Terran president, Penelope Aaron resented the restrictions imposed upon her, but that was no reason to take it out on the man assigned to protect her. She regrets how she got Agent Brock Mann booted from the security force. But now that she’s an interplanetary ambassador about to embark on her first diplomatic mission, she still doesn’t want him tagging along. Especially since he seems to be stronger, faster, more muscled, and sexier than she remembers. And pretending to be husband? This mission couldn’t get more impossible!

Ten years ago Penelope Isabella Aaron had been a pain in Brock Mann’s you-know-what. Much has changed in a decade: “PIA” as he code-named her, has grown up and is about to attend her first Alliance of Planets summit conference, and Brock was transformed into a cyborg after a near-fatal attack. Now a secret agent with Cyber Operations, a covert paramilitary organization, Brock gets called in, not when the going gets tough, but when the going gets impossible. So when he’s unexpectedly assigned to escort Penelope to the summit meeting, he balks at babysitting a prissy ambassador. But after a terrorist bombing, a crash landing on a hostile planet, and a growing attraction to his protectee, Operation: PIA may become his most impossible assignment yet.

 

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Excerpt:

What was so urgent it couldn’t wait until I got back from Darius 4?” Brock flung himself into the wide-backed sensa-chair, which conformed to the angles and lines of his body to provide optimal support and comfort. He would have preferred that an android pleasure worker fit her realistic feminine form around him than a piece of furniture—as he’d been about to experience when the Cyber Operations director’s summons had come through. “You’re the one who insisted I take respite time.”

“Drink?” Carter punched a button on his console, a cabinet slid open, and he removed a decanter. After pouring two shots of bronze liqueur, he shoved one across the desk.

Brock’s internal warning system flashed an alert. “What’s the bad news?”

“Why do you assume that?”

“Whenever you break out the Cerinian brandy, you’re either trying to butter me up or soften the blow.” He eyed the man who’d been his friend since they served together in the Terran Central Protection Office fifteen years ago. Carter’s blank expression betrayed nothing, but the brandy sang like a yellow songbird.

The director knocked back his shot, then thumped his chest with his fist. Cerinian brandy went down smooth until the afterburn lit your throat on fire. Or it did to one who was unaltered. Brock downed his and felt only slight warmth.

“I have an assignment for you,” Carter said, his voice hoarse from the liqueur. “The Association of Planets Summit is on Malodonus next week. There’s been a threat against…the Terran ambassador,” he hesitated like he expected Brock to short-circuit a computer chip.

 

About the Author:

Multi-published, Cara Bristol is the author of more than 20 erotic romance titles. She writes science fiction romance, contemporary romance, paranormal, and spanking romance. No matter what the subgenre, one thing remains constant: her emphasis on character-driven seriously hot erotic stories with sizzling chemistry between the hero and heroine. Cara has lived many places in the United States, but currently lives in Missouri with her husband. She has two grown stepkids. When she’s not writing, she enjoys reading and traveling.

Author Newsletter: http://eepurl.com/9aRJj

Author Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Cara-Bristol-Erotic-Romance-Author/178661122147994

Author blog: http://www.carabristol.com

Author Amazon Page: http://www.amazon.com/Cara-Bristol/e/B004D8KZTQ/ref=sr_ntt_srch_lnk_1?qid=1440706448&sr=8-1

 

Giveaway:

$20 Amazon/BN gift card to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour

Rafflecopter Link

http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/28e4345f1282/

 

Blood Sky by Traci L. Slatton Reply

3 out of 5

Available for Purchase on  Amazon

Book Trailer: https://youtu.be/moBlcXPG33o

 

Review:

I had a little difficulty getting into this story at first. I finally looked it up and realized this is book number four. I was halfway thru before I could get into the momentum. There is quite a few places that refer to things that had happened in the prior books so I was still able to keep up. There’s quite a dramatic storyline and one fast sex scene. The apocalyptic world was a very interesting one to read about. Not your typical story there.

Reviewed by Fawnzys

Our Blog was given this book in exchange for an honest review.

 

Description:

In a time of apocalyptic despair, love is put to the test… Deep in the badlands of Outpost City, in the Dark Horse saloon, a poker game is being played. The stakes are life and death—for the world.

What can Emma afford to lose? Will she gamble on herself, or on Arthur?

Will love find a way when the apocalypse closes in? A mystical odyssey, a haunting love…

 

Excerpt:

The seeds of all time are planted in every discrete moment. If you pause, breathe, and come to presence, you’ll discover this marvelous truth: that all of time is contained within each single instant, like a giant oak is contained within a fragile brown shell. It’s all laid out for you, all of it, the past and the future, events and people and destiny. All you have to do is come to awareness.

So I should have known that there would be trouble. I, Emma, should have known that love would fail, that it wouldn’t be enough to protect us all from the very person who had plunged us into the apocalypse a few years ago.

It was all there to be seen in the first moment we met, when he saved my daughter Mandy from the obliterating mists and then accepted my trade: myself for his protection of the band of orphans I was shepherding around France. We talked about food, and I pointed out that he was eating well. One notices such things after a global ecological cataclysm that has destroyed most of the planet’s buildings and people—and all of its manufacturing capabilities. One cares about who is eating well when one has been scrounging for scraps for several months. Priorities come into sharp focus.

He spoke of the mists and of rebuilding. I wanted to take Mandy back home to my husband and older daughter Emma in the Safe Zone of Edmonton, Canada. He had his goals and I had mine; his were lofty, mine were personal. I should have known a conflict was inevitable. But could I have predicted that the fate of the world would be tangled up in it?

Could I have foreseen that he would be taken by madness, a madness that had slept within him since before the day his invention erupted to scour the Earth clean of structures and human beings? Even with all the mindfulness of the world, could I have known in advance that Arthur would be possessed by madness?

We left a mist-ravaged Outpost City and traveled east, mostly along the old Trans-Canada Highway. It was summer and we were en route to Quebec, where a boat waited to take us to Europe. ‘We’ consisted of Arthur and me and our beloved friends from the original camp in Europe: warrior woman Jeannie and Robert her Irishman and their infant twins, sharp-tongued French beauty Laurette and her companion Charles Nwokocha, who had been a famed linguist in the Before, and Serbian Theo and young Marco, the Italian whose madness had been cured by Arthur mere seconds before the mists swarmed around us. Other comrades from Canada had joined us: Donny who had once been a cop and inscrutable Kangee his Sioux wife, and pretty but feral Susie, saved from a band of raiders, and the sly pickpocket Gaff from Outpost City.

We were riding at a good clip, about fifty kilometers a day, and we were south and west of Winnipeg. In the late afternoon, we rode along a flat, straight road into a small community named Starbuck. It seemed deserted. There was no movement, no wild dogs or skinny cats or desperate rats scrounging for food. It felt empty and lifeless despite leafy trees and tall grass, and desolate in the way that ghost towns often did now, in the After. Even when a town wasn’t devoured by the mists, people didn’t want to live outside the Safe Zones where mists never encroached.

“Let’s check houses for food,” Arthur called, from the front of our peloton of horses and riders. He swiveled around in his saddle and nodded to Theo and Donny, who peeled off together, trotting toward a small brown cape on the right with an abandoned car in the driveway. He turned toward me and Laurette and nodded again, and we picked up our reins to veer off to the left.

“Some of these homes look sweet to me,” Jeannie called. A worn expression scrolled over her lovely dark face with its pronounced cheekbones. “How about we find a place with food stock and we settle in for the evening?” She was as staunch in the saddle as ever, but since giving birth to twins a month ago, she tired easily. She pressed her lips gently to the forehead of the infant strapped onto her chest.

Arthur eyed her without responding.

“Aye, come on, Big Mister, let’s take a breather,” said Robert. “It’s not often me lady asks for one.”

“Every break slows us down, lengthens the time it takes us to get back to Europe and make a stand against the mists once and for all,” Arthur said.

“Arthur, we have two babies with us,” I called.

Arthur stared at me. Abruptly, he nodded. He could still see reason, at this point. He called, “Let’s find a place big enough to accommodate all of us. Then we’ll send out scouts for food.”

So Theo and Donny rejoined the group, and Laurette and I stayed tight to the flank.

We rode along Arena Boulevard past a school and a recreation center to Birch Street. Tall, fragrant pines planted in neat rows and colorful perennials showed that the inhabitants had once taken loving care of their yards.

“Arthur,” Theo called, “big yellow house ahead, green Ford truck out front. Look good. Check out?”

Arthur waved his assent.

Theo and Donny trotted out ahead of us to a sprawling yellow place with a spacious yard. I watched them dismount and take out their guns. This was the After, and they couldn’t be too careful. There was no telling who might be hiding in the house, and how sane they might be. Billions of people had died on The Day, that terrible Christmas eve that the mists rolled across the globe and devoured structures, people, animals, objects…anything with the wrong balance of metals in their chemical composition.

Fortunately, many millions of people, perhaps hundreds of millions, hadn’t died. But some percentage of the survivors were mad, and were a threat to the rest of us. The mists had made them mad.

“Emma,” said a quiet voice from my elbow.

I turned, and it was Susie. Her heart-shaped face was solemn. She jerked her blonde head to one side, wanting to speak to me privately. I guided my horse out a few meters away from Laurette. Susie followed so close that my horse danced anxiously beneath me.

“Quit!” I said firmly, dropping my heels in the stirrups. I looked over at Susie, who was practically at my shoulder. “So?”

Susie frowned. “Something’s wrong. Something here in this town.” “You’ve seen something?”

“Not exactly.” “Felt something?” “Not really.”

“Then what?” I pressed, in a low voice. Perhaps Susie had felt something with a sixth sense stimulated by the mists. All too often, the mists left strange psychic gifts in their wake, extrasensory abilities that both tormented and enhanced the recipient. We all feared these gifts because they often preceded madness. I had a gift, a healing gift in my hands, and I kept careful watch over my internal state, lest I descend into a chaos from which few people emerged.

Susie shook her head ferociously. She uttered, “Yah!” Her horse quickened its pace and she rode off toward the yellow house without answering me.

I stared after her in bemusement. Susie who lived to kill raiders was uncomfortable with something in Starbuck, and she couldn’t, or wouldn’t, explain her feeling to me. Perhaps it was ordinary intuition, perhaps it was something more. I looked around carefully, steering my horse in a tight clockwise spin when my neck wouldn’t turn anymore. I didn’t see anything out of the ordinary. Streets were empty, houses were quiet and dark. There was no movement apart from our group.

“What’s wrong?” It was Arthur, who had guided his horse close to mine. He studied my face.

“Susie feels uneasy,” I murmured, still scanning the surroundings.

“She has good sensitivity, she’s open psychically,” he murmured back. “I always think she’ll be a key piece of the equation, when we mount an attack on the mists.” He looked around. “I don’t see anything.”

“Me, neither.” I frowned as I caught his eyes. “That’s what worries me.”

His gray eyes lit up, the way they always did when his genius struck him. Before the mists, Arthur had been a professor of sorts, a polymath inventor involved in military research and development. “I know what you mean. It’s all a little too quiet.”

“Why are the yards all so tidy? And where are the dogs?” I wondered. “Packs of wild dogs run through every ghost town. We should have seen some.”

He scowled and gathered his reins in one hand, and then pulled out his pistol with the other.

I followed his example.

“What are we fearing?” Robert asked, riding up to us. He didn’t wait for us to answer but drew his weapon, as well, holding it firmly in his hand despite the baby nestled on his chest.

“The quiet,” Arthur answered.

Theo yelled for us to come to the house, breaking the unnatural silence of the sunny afternoon. Arthur motioned the rest of us to go ahead while he took up the rear and scanned the countryside.

The yellow house was spacious enough, a living room with a fireplace, four bedrooms, and a nicely appointed den. We were eleven adults and two babies, and Laurette assigned us all rooms. She delegated bedrooms to couples and gave Donny his own in case Kangee showed up, put Susie in the den, and told Marco, Theo, and Gaff to figure out their accommodations in the living room.

“I like this place, it is very well kept,” Laurette approved. She stood in the kitchen with her arms akimbo.

“Too well kept.” I was going through the pantry. There was little in it, though it was very well organized and spotlessly clean.

“I know what you mean, but why question it, it is so pleasant? You are so suspicious, Emma,” Laurette said. She peered over my shoulder into the cabinet. “There are dried beans, we can use those.”

“Someone will have to hunt something, there’s not enough.” “We can look into nearby homes, also,” Laurette said. “Susie—”

“I don’t want to go out,” Susie said. She seated herself at the kitchen nook.

I pulled out a box of Earl Grey sachets. “Cup of tea? If I can get some water boiling.”

“There’s no electricity,” Susie said. She laid her head on her arms.

“The water runs,” Laurette said, turning on the faucet for a few seconds. “There’s a fireplace,” I said.

Jeannie came into the kitchen with a twin on each hip. “I’m so thankful to be off a horse! Emma, what have we got? Anything to snack on?” She slid into the nook table opposite Susie, who didn’t pick up her head.

“Not much, yet. I’m still looking,” I said. Shaggy and awkward, Gaff stood in the doorway. “Arthur is sending us to scout for food in nearby houses.”

“Don’t go anywhere alone,” Susie murmured.

“He said to stay in pairs,” Gaff said. “I’ll be with Marco.” He watched Susie. “You okay?”

“Shut up,” she answered, but her voice sounded listless, without its usual snap for Gaff.

“Go on, then, Gaff,” Jeannie said. She started unbuttoning her shirt so she could nurse the babies.

Gaff shrugged but he scowled at Susie and then made a face at me before he went outside.

I took his point: something was up with Susie.

Something more than what was usually up with her, that is. Susie was often quiet, depressive. She had been kept by a group of raiders after the mists had ravaged her home town and killed her family. The raiders had used her badly and the residue of their cruelty stayed with her. I had helped her get free after a mist incursion, and she was closer to me than anyone else, but she was still often remote.

“I will start a fire in the fireplace,” Laurette announced. She took a large pot from inside a cabinet and filled it with tap water, then went to the living room.

“It won’t matter,” Susie said. “Even if she gets the fire going and she boils the water. It won’t matter. Nothing matters.”

I leaned back against the sink, scrutinizing the girl. “Susie, you want to talk about it?”

She turned her head to look in the other direction.

“So, food supplies?” Arthur asked, coming in. He walked over to me and put his hands on my hips. He smiled. “Didn’t we have our first encounter in a kitchen?” He touched my hair, lifted a blond lock to his lips. Then he leaned into me, his tall, muscled form lithe and warm along the length of me. He breathed deeply as if inhaling me and then he kissed me, running one hand along my neck and the other along my bottom. He lifted his mouth from my flesh to murmur, “We’ll have our own bedroom tonight.

Privacy. Finally. It’s starting to feel like a long, long trip to Quebec without any time alone together.” He kissed me again, hungrily, his hands roaming over me.

I felt myself melting, responding, as always. I had this response to Arthur, an instinctive physical surrendering. I couldn’t help myself.

“Yuck,” Susie muttered. Jeannie chortled.

Arthur pulled back. He threw a glance over his shoulder at Susie, and then raised an eyebrow at me.

I shook my head.

He stood back and reached past me to open the pantry door. “It’s tidy.”

“Too tidy,” I agreed. “Not a speck of dust or an insect carcass or anything. From what I’ve seen, the whole house is that way. Like it’s been hermetically sealed since the Before. Which is not possible.”

“There are no cairns commemorating the dead, either,” Arthur said, his voice deep and thoughtful. “We see them everywhere. But not for the last ten miles or so, and not in town.”

“Little food, clean homes and yards, no dogs or cats or dead gerbils, and no cairns,” I summarized.

“Someone’s in town,” he decided. “We don’t see them, but they’re here. They’re taking care of the homes.”

“I wonder why they didn’t greet us, one way or another. I doubt they’re mad.

Maybe OCD, but not crazy, not when they’re doing this much housekeeping.”

“Perhaps they were concerned about our sanity, or our intentions,” Arthur mused. “We’re an armed group riding in tight formation. It’s a reasonable concern.”

“They know you’re not crazy,” Susie said, her voice hollow. “They’ll come.” She refused to say more even when Arthur and I pressed her.

Marco shot a deer with his bow and arrow, his first since returning to sanity a few weeks ago. Theo and Robert dug a shallow pit in the front yard and made a fire for roasting the deer, as they’d done many times before when we were on the road both here and in France, traveling hard and fast on a mission. Tucked away in the cellar of a house down the street, Gaff found a stash of food, including some canned goods. The big score was Ramen noodles. Laurette used a cast iron skillet in the fireplace to make a feast of the noodles, which had an expiration date sometime in the next millennium.

We wouldn’t have cared if the expiration date was last year, the piquancy of the seasonings made the noodles such a treat. We all appreciated simply having food, but delicious food, food that was well-seasoned, was cause for special celebration.

It was a warm dusk under a vast azure and plum sky. We sat outside around the fire to eat our meal. Gaff and Marco had dragged chairs out for us, and Laurette and I had found and lit citronella torches to discourage mosquitos, so we sat in comfort. Crickets trilled and cicadas whirred and bats streaked overhead and moths fluttered and the air smelled bright and fresh beneath the smoky pine of our kindling. Poplar and birch logs, found stacked behind a neighboring home, streaked the orange flames with dancing blue, red, and green nymphs of light.

“Does anywhere have more stars than here?” asked Robert.

“Aye, France, where we met,” Jeannie said. She exchanged a smile with Robert. “Less light pollution here, I think, because the spaces are so vast,” Arthur

commented. He was chewing a piece of venison backstrap, the succulent meat, tender yet lean, along the spine of the deer. “Theo, your recipe for this meat gets better all the time.” “Use what I find for cooking,” Theo said modestly, but he looked pleased. He’d

found some spices in the cache of noodles and used them with great efficacy. “Something’s off,” Donny said. He set his plate on the ground beside him and stood up. His dark, pockmarked face wore a brooding expression. He was a portly man of African descent, grounded, calm, and steady; he’d been a cop in the Before. We all trusted him implicitly. He muttered, “I feel it with my…other sense.”

We all grew quiet and a little tense. The mists had given Donny a special ability to sense other minds. Sometimes he could even influence other minds. We had relied on this mental power in other, prior missions.

“Do you feel a presence?” asked Nwokocha. “Alexei?” Arthur asked, sitting straighter.

Donny shook his head, No. It wasn’t the Russian psychopath who had bedeviled us over the past few years.

“Alexei will come to us, eventually,” Arthur stated. He was counting on it, in fact. “Maybe it’s Kangee returning?” I asked, hoping to see her.

Kangee had been given a mysterious ability to travel great distances. She would begin walking and the air would morph into red streaks and she’d be miles ahead of where she started out. I had experienced this myself once when she carried me on her back. Since she was unfettered by distances, she came and went from our group as she pleased. We kept her horse with us for the occasions she joined us.

“Not Kangee, I can feel my wife from, well, wherever she is when she starts to come back,” Donny rumbled. He stroked his chin, hard, as if he had something on it that he wanted to rub away. “I can’t tell. I don’t know. What’s wrong with me?”

“We are all curious, Donny, but don’t fret yourself,” Nwokocha said. He pushed his glasses up his nose and smiled at Donny.

“I don’t know,” Donny said in frustration. “But I know they’re here. They’re here, I can feel them.”

“They, who?” I asked. But I didn’t wait for an answer. I took my gun from my backpack at my feet and rose.

Arthur and a few others rose, also. Susie buried her face in her hands. A small voice piped up, “They, us.”

A small rustle of movement intensified until it saturated the space around us. Scattered gossamer ribbons of light twisted in the firelight like DNA helixes, and then several small forms slowly became visible, first as columns and then as people.

I yelped, and exclamations flew up from Laurette, Jeannie, Gaff, and Marco. “We’re here to talk to her,” said the small voice. It belonged to a dark-haired, dark-eyed girl of about nine years old. She was one of dozens of children who suddenly encircled us in the yard. The girl pointed a slim index finger at Susie.

Arthur took in a quick, startled breath. “What do you want with her?”

The girl looked at him and tilted her head, a birdlike pose. “She can do it. You can help her, maybe. She can do it. Susie, come.”

“Do what?” Arthur asked.

The girl turned away from him to gesture to Susie. “I am Irina. Come with me. You’re the one we’ve been waiting for.”Susie got up and walked toward Irina. “No, Susie—” I started.

“Susie, stay where you are,” Arthur said, in his command voice.

But Susie kept walking. Her face was blank, expressionless. She took Irina’s hand. The two of them vanished.

Theo, Laurette, and I lunged toward the now vacant spot. Gaff yelled, “Susie!”

“Bring her back this instant!” I yelled. I drew myself up, placed my hands on my hips, and made a ferocious face of command. I had two children of my own, Beth and Mandy—I knew how to scowl effectively.

“Don’t worry,” said a boy by me. He was six or seven, with ragged red hair and missing front teeth. “Don’t worry, Emma.” He patted my arm and then he vanished, too.

All at once, all the children were gone.

Robert squeaked. “Where’d the little birds fly with our girl?”

The rest of us stood aghast, unmoving. The appearance and disappearance before our eyes of so many people—children—was so unexpected that it befuddled us.

I was at high alert and almost jumped out of my skin when Arthur touched my shoulder. “Arthur? We have to get Susie back!”

“Sh,” he said, his head cocked. “Listen.”

So I froze. I strained to hear what Arthur did. It was a steady susurration, a kind of syncopated snicking that receded into the ethers. Then I got it: it was the sound of many bodies breathing as multitudes of little feet pattered over grass and pavement.

Arthur saw the comprehension grow on my face. He nodded. “Yes. They’re cloaked. They’re not teleporting the way Kangee does.” “Grab one?” I asked, under my breath.

He shook his head, No.

“Why do they want Susie?” I wondered. “Where did they take her?” “They have to bring her back,” Gaff said. He lifted his hat off his head and scraped his hands back over his thicket of dirty-blond hair. His narrow face was set and stern. “I mean, she’s a heinous bitch and all, but they can’t have her. She’s one of us.”

“I think she knew they were here all along,” Laurette said slowly. I nodded. But now what?

 

Traci L. Slatton

About the Author

Traci L. Slatton is the international bestselling author of historical, paranormal, and romantic novels, including IMMORTAL (BantamDell) and BROKEN; the award-winning dystopian After Series which includes FALLEN, COLD LIGHT, FAR SHORE, and BLOOD SKY; the bittersweet romantic comedy THE LOVE OF MY (OTHER) LIFE; and the vampire art history romp THE BOTTICELLI AFFAIR. She has also published the lyrical poetry collection DANCING IN THE TABERNACLE and THE ART OF LIFE, a photo-essay about figurative sculpture through the ages. Her book PIERCING TIME & SPACE explores the meeting ground of science and spirituality.

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Cover Reveal: Free Spirit, by Jennifer Wells 1

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Description:

Wild child Rachel is having a week so terrible, not even a pitcher of margaritas will help. When her evil boss shows up on her doorstep with a sob story, her request to stay a few nights turns into a whole lot more. She can’t even escape into some of her favorite haunts in the Quarter since she seems to have garnered the unwanted attention of some rabid readers. When her ghost-hunting assignment goes unexpectedly awry, Rachel unknowing releases a vengeful spirit.

Enduring a wicked houseguest and hiding from an over-enthusiastic fan all while trying to put a spirit back in her grave where she belongs is more challenging than sobriety during Mardi Gras. Can she and her family work some magick to put things right in the Crescent City or has Rachel bit off more veggie muffuletta than she can chew?

 

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About the Author:

Jennifer has been writing since she was in middle school. When she discovered romance novels in junior high, she knew she wanted to write them someday. Her writing remained a hobby while she studied biology and forensic DNA science. She worked as a molecular biologist and published cancer research before finally leaving the lab and taking up her laptop full time.

She currently lives in Northern Virginia with John, her husband of seventeen years. John is a professional tarot card reader and astrologer. John and Jen have two children who happen to be cats: Morgana Madison and Luna. MoMo is a possessive Scottish Fold who loves to knead Jen’s hair. Luna is the baby, an affectionate Scottish Fold who thinks her name is “Cute.”

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