by Ava Wood
Genre: YA Romance
Release Date: October 28th 2016
Missy Shaw thought she had her life planned out perfectly; do well in school, take her basketball team to state, and get a free ride to college. Her life wasn't perfect, but it was constant. With her best friend Karley at her side, she could handle anything.
After the death of her mother, however, her dad had other plans. Moving Missy from everything she knew in Kansas to the great unknown created a new set of problems. Attending a new school, all she really wanted was to be invisible, but that simple feat proved difficult when she had a run-in with the school's basketball star, Adam Miller, on her very first day.
Adam is every girl's dream; charming, sweet, and gorgeous. And for some reason, he's very interested in Missy. His attentiveness is unnerving as Missy does everything in her power to evade his interest. Living with secrets she's not willing to share, Missy works to push Adam away in order to keep her family safe. But will keeping secrets really keep her safe?
To my surprise, I looked up to find Adam waltzing in. It was rather unexpected to find him there, but I was overjoyed nonetheless. His turquoise eyes looked across the room and found mine. I had almost convinced myself that they sparkled when he looked at me.
“What are you doing here?” I mouthed to him.
One eyebrow raised as he tried to make out what I said. Before I could repeat myself, the instructor snatched his attention.
I got back to my project, trying to get the shadows and light just right. I was smudging the pencil in the darks of my face when I felt a tingling down my spine.
“That’s really good,” Adam’s rich voice spoke in my ear.
I turned to look at him and we were practically nose to nose. He was so close, I could smell the mint on his breath. “Thank you.” I sat frozen, staring at him, waiting for him to make the next move, but he sat completely still, looking back at me. I could feel knots forming in my chest and had to break the silence. “What are you doing here?”
“I’m in charge of the displays in the hall and I needed some new artwork from Miss Kaplan.” He paused to look back at my piece. “How long ‘til this is finished?”
“I should have it done by the end of class. Why?”
“I’d like to put it up on the display. It’s one of the best I’ve seen.”
All of the blood rushed to my cheeks. “Thank you.” I was so afraid of what the student body would think of my work, but I couldn’t tell Adam no.
Ava Wood is an insomniac who writes to calm the voices. When the voices get too loud, stories are formed.
Ava was born and raised in Texas but got to Florida as quick as she could, enjoying the fresh sea air and summer storms. She believes there is nothing more beautiful than an evening summer light show.
She’s married to the love of her life whom she shares two beautiful daughters and four sweet fur babies. Their marriage is the perfect “North-meets-South” pairing.
When she’s not writing, Ava can be found chasing her children all over the county, snapping photos of any and everything, visiting one of her local theme parks, or just spending quality time with her family.
Katriona Hughes has no idea how she’s managed to find herself in 16th century Scotland, but she’s beginning to think the emerald gem she picked up on an archeological site may have had something to do with it. Wanting nothing more than to return to her own time, Kat is betrayed by the first person she meets and forced into a marriage with a loathsome stranger. Now running for her life, Kat meets the one man who deserves her trust, but can she give it to him.
Nick Mackall is happy to finally be back in his beloved Scotland after accidentally being transported to twenty first century San Francisco and spending the last two years of his life there. His home and family are calling to him, but things are not about to go smoothly for the handsome highlander as he meets a young woman fleeing her husband and an old foe returns from the dead. Two things are certain - he must gain the woman’s trust in order to save her and he must stop his foe from unleashing the power of an imprisoned sorcerer.
Available for purchase at
About The Author
Jennae Vale is an author of romance with a touch of magic. Her Scottish Medieval time travel series The Thistle & Hive, Books One through Four, is available in print and ebook versions from Amazon. The first book in her new series, The Mackalls of Dunnet Head has been released, with more to come throughout 2016.
Jennae started life in Massachusetts as part of a large extended Irish and Italian family of imaginative story tellers, but now lives in the San Francisco Bay Area with her husband, her dog, two cats and four chickens. Storytelling is her passion, but Jennae also loves to quilt, cook, read and indulge in her crafting obsession when she’s not writing.
THE DEVIL'S FLOOD
by Pearl R. Meaker GENRE: Cozy Mystery
Can a house vanish without a trace? What is the "super booze" that's available at clandestine drinking parties in Golden County? When mummified bodies show up at an archeological dig and a young man gets shot in a duel at a party, can Emory and Madison find the answers in the midst of a flood year?
No one ever found out what happened to Melvin Sutton. Like the house that had been provided to the Sutton family by the man he sharecropped for, Melvin had disappeared. What remained wasa legend and a lake bearing his name … and a very angry young descendent.
“What was that?”
The cry brought me out of my reverie to see Ronnie McLaren leap to her feet.
A second later we all felt a tremor.
Jumping up, we all clumped together as if that would help against … whatever was happening.
“Look!” Nancy pointed toward the shoreline a few yards away from the pavilion. She then started clicking away at it with her Canon. The water’s edge twitched.
I’d never seen water twitch like that. It did it again …
… And then it started to slide away from the shore. With an explosive roar and a huge plume of spray, the water ripped through the levee a hundred or more yards due south of where we stood.
Within moments the water’s edge was ten feet lower and twenty feet further away.
Slightly quirky, always creative, Pearl R. Meaker has been an artist, singer and craftsperson her whole life. Although she's always had stories in her head, they didn't come out to play with others until the advent of home computers with their ease of making corrections and moving bits around.
After several years of writing fanfiction in the world of Tolkien's Middle-Earth, she took a couple of writing courses and dove into writing original works of fiction, and The Emory Crawford Mysteries were born.
When not playing with story ideas you can find Pearl playing with yarn either knitting or crocheting, doing other arts and crafts, bird watching and photographing nature, playing bluegrass fiddle (her husband plays banjo) or relaxing with her hubby on the sofa watching mystery shows on Netflix.
Oh - and reading all sorts of books, but especially cozy and other types of mysteries!
The books in The Emory Crawford Mysteries Series are reminiscent of Agatha Christie's Miss Marple mysteries, which is why Pearl has chosen to characterize her stories as "murder genteel."
Thank you so much, Silver Dagger Scriptorium, for hosting me today.
Telling something unique/quirky about ourselves is an interesting proposition. Most of us, the longer we live, discover there are few truly unique people, thereby reaching the conclusion that we aren’t all that unique either.
This is okay as unique can either lead to persecution or being shown off as an oddity – and I don’t think most of us want either.
Quirky is easier.
Quirky is like noticing that both “unique” and “quirky” have “q’s” in them, making that combination of words a bit . . . well . . . quirky.
My quirk that I’m sharing is that I take a stuffed bear traveling with me. Not only does he travel with me, as in seeing the inside of various hotel rooms, he even goes sightseeing with me.
3B – short for Billy Boyd Bear (and yes, there’s another story there) – is an 18 inch size Build-a-Bear who was adopted by me at one of their stores in the Chicago metro area.
His biggest excursion was with my daughter and I on our trip to England and Scotland in 2005 to attend the Tolkien Society’s conference celebrating the 50th anniversary of the complete publication of “The Lord of the Ring.” 3B went with us to the London Zoo (he wanted to see some of his relatives), to Trafalgar Square and the tower of London. He even attended the fabulous Edinburgh Military Tattoo at Edinburgh Castle.
My husband likes 3B as well. In fact he gave the lad his nickname. He has gone with Hubby and I to several bluegrass festivals and to Cave in Rock, Illinois which at one time was a pirate hideout on the Ohio River.
3B is a genial traveling companion who never complains about the bed or temperature in hotel rooms or the food in restaurants. The only complaint I ever heard was about having to ride in my backpack while in the UK. He grew weary of never seeing where we were going – only where we’d been.
If you’d like to see some photos of 3B on his adventures to Cave in Rock, IL and the United Kingdom, you can find them here: https://www.pearlrmeaker.com/3b-s-adventures.html
And who knows, if we meet someday, maybe he’ll be with me at the book signing or conference. I know he’d love to shake paws with you.
Click on any of the below book covers to be taken to the page that has more information on the novel as well as the Buy Links! Please make sure to scroll down as each page will consist of many titles in that same genre!
October starts out warm and sunny, but this is the month when everything changes. Mornings grow frosty, leaves change colors, and the breeze takes on a bite.
It’s a time for harvest celebrations. A boy loans a girl his coat. She snuggles a little closer and takes his hand. A riot of autumn splendor accompanies the farmer’s market where they stroll.
But the vibrancy of daylight doesn’t compare to the darkness of night. Is that chill on your neck the breeze or something else?
You walk a tad faster and look over your shoulder. The trees creak when the wind whips through their branches—at least, you hope that noise came from the undulating bows.
You check under the bed and inside the closet before climbing under the covers. Sleep doesn’t come easy. The old house groans its complaints, and the night magnifies every innocuous noise until terror paralyzes you—because you know nefarious things go bump in the night.
Welcome to the
Paranormal Bar & Grille Blog Tour
…where you can rub elbows with everyone from a gargoyle or vampire, to a creature from urban legend, or the ghostly realms of myth. Step up to the bar, grab a booth. You never know what’s on the menu, or if you might end up there yourself.
Sound like your kind of hangout? Then you’ve come to the right place. We’re a group of five authors who love nothing more than to trigger the chill that crawls up your back, the nervous glance tossed over your shoulder. We invite you to discover outstanding books and check out our awesome tour prizes.
Just be careful of what the bartender serves you. That heady brew may not be a beer, and witches can’t be trusted to provide effective antidotes.
Will O’ the Wisp by Craig Boyack A Thousand Yesteryears by Mae Clair Vampire Island by Sandra Cox The Glade by Harmony Kent Love Set in Stone by Staci Troilo
Just a fiction writer, trying to reach the world.
Craig came to fiction writing later in life than most authors. He always had to write, to one degree or another as part of various jobs. Early one winter morning, he conquered the Internet and didn’t feel like shoveling the sidewalk until the
sun came up. He tried a few pages of fiction and got hooked.
Craig doesn’t like limitations and calls himself a writer of speculative fiction. It’s a broad field, but he limits himself to science fiction, paranormal, and a bit of fantasy.
He has eight published works—six novels and two collections of short stories.
You can find him at the following locations:
Amazon Author Page https://www.amazon.com/-/e/B00ILXBXUY
| His blog: Entertaining Stories https://coldhandboyack.wordpress.com/
| Twitter https://twitter.com/Virgilante
Mystery & Suspense…with a dash of Myth & Romance
Mystery, Psychological Thrillers, Supernatural Suspense, Romantic Suspense
Quirky fact I don’t want anyone to know:
(or maybe I do)….I saw a UFO when I was six. Probably why I write some of the stuff I do.
They say everyone has a story to tell.
I wrote my first childish “masterpiece” at six and was immediately bitten by the writing bug. Since then, I’ve been composing nonstop, and have dabbled in multiple genres over the years, writing everything from fantasy, westerns, and horror to inspirational fiction, romance, and sci-fi. It took me a while to find my niche, but I’ve settled comfortably into the mystery/suspense genre (with a just a dash of romance tossed in).
Several of my earlier works have strong romantic themes, but all are infused with threads of mystery. I have a passion for folklore, myth, and urban legends and that attraction often factors into my writing. You’ll find threads of archaic tales and mysterious places woven throughout many of my novels.
I am a member of the International Thriller Writers and a past president of the Central Pennsylvania Writer’s Organization. If I’m not camped out at my keyboard or have my nose buried in a book, I’m likely looking up blurry images of cryptids on Google, sorting through vintage photographs or imagining life as a cat.
Living life. Writing fantasy.
Sandra writes YA Fantasy, Paranormal and Historical Romance, and Metaphysical Nonfiction. She lives in sunny North Carolina with her husband, a brood of critters and an occasional foster cat. Although shopping is high on the list, her greatest pleasure is sitting on her screened in porch, listening to the birds, sipping coffee or a latte and enjoying a good book. She's a vegetarian and a Muay Thai enthusiast.
The author who gets write into your head.
Quirky Fact I don’t want anyone to know: Wrote the entirety of The Glade while listening to the Twilight movie soundtrack. And she’s not mentioning the glass of white (ahem) ‘grape juice’ that kept finding its way to her computer station.
Harmony Kent is famous for her laughter, and has made quite the name for herself … she’s also, um, a writer … and fairly well known for that too. She’s even won a few awards. Harmony lives in rural Cornwall with her ever-present sense of humour and quirky neighbours and refuses to admit to her age.
If you catch her at work, you’ll see that she also offers editing, proof reading, manuscript appraisal, and beta reading services. Not to mention being passionate about supporting her fellow authors.
Links to Harmony and her books:
Amazon US Author Page: http://www.amazon.com/Harmony-Kent/e/B00CO0AR7U/ref=ntt_athr_dp_pel_pop_1
Amazon UK Author Page: http://www.amazon.co.uk/Harmony-Kent/e/B00CO0AR7U/ref=ntt_athr_dp_pel_pop_1
Quirky fact I don’t want anyone to know:
The socks in my sock drawer and the books on my shelf are arranged in rainbow order.
I’ve always loved fiction, ever since my parents read me fairy tales when I was little. Today, my interests are much more eclectic. I love getting lost in sci-fi battles, fantasy realms, horror worlds, suspenseful intrigues, and romantic entanglements.
As goes my reading, so goes my writing. I can’t pick a single genre to focus on, so I don’t even try. I’m proud to say I’m a multi-genre author.
When I’m not reading or writing, I’m spending time with family and friends, possibly cooking for them, or maybe enjoying an afternoon in the pool. To learn more about me, visit me at http://stacitroilo.com or connect with me on social media.
Songs of Seraphina Jude Houghton
Publication date: June 30th 2015
Genres: Fantasy, Young Adult
Some battles bleed so much, and for so long, that the earth never truly forgets their dead. Some battles are born of oppression, and some of greed, and some simply because it was written in the stars.
Three sisters—Charlemagne, Cairo and Pendragon Agonistes—are sent from America to England to live with their eccentric grandparents after their mother disappears and their father falls to pieces. But before the girls have time to find their feet, Charlemagne is married off to a dead man, Penny takes a nap and wakes up as a boy, and Cairo is swept into a dangerous romance with a man who wants her for more than her considerable charm. With the girls wrapped up in a conflict they barely understand, they don’t notice that their grandmother is transforming, or that the two demigod assassins who took their mother are now coming for them—if one of them can get over his crisis of conscience.
In this richly painted tale, at whose heart is the unbreakable bond of family and blood, the world of Seraphina collides with our own as three unique girls are dragged into twilight lives past, fighting for vengeance, retribution, and the survival of their exiled people.
Jude developed a love of fantasy from a relatively early age after realising an innate talent for making stuff up could result in something other than detention. Working across the globe in fields as diverse as journalism, data entry, sales, management consultancy and babysitting, Jude has partially succeeded in putting an English and History degree from Oxford University to good use. A somnambulist, insomniac, lover of letters, Jude writes late into the night, most nights, tumbling down the rabbit hole to dream of other lives. Jude currently lives in Pennsylvania with an over-enthusiastic family and absurdly entitled dog.
Crimson Fire Author: Mirren Hogan Genre: Fantasy
Magic was the last thing on Tabia's mind — until she discovered she could use it. When her father hands her over to the princess of a neighbouring country to pay his debts, she may have the chance to learn how to control her new abilities. But her new mistress' enemies have plans of their own. Caught up in a web of divided loyalties, coercion and betrayal, Tabia can trust no one. Can Tabia find a way to regain her freedom and return home — or will the struggle cost her the ultimate price?
In the centre of the ornament was a tiny pinprick of red. It was the smallest of flaws, but she frowned. Perhaps it was a trick of the light? She leaned in for a closer look, but the glass had risen and was hovering a double handspan over her palm. She blinked, sitting back against the wall, her head as far away from the floating ornament as possible. It bobbed in the air for a moment and then moved toward her, the pinprick of red growing larger until the entire piece of glass was glowing with it. Tabia rose to her feet and took a few steps away. The glass followed her every step for several seconds, until Tanatu cried out loudly. Tabia only looked away for a moment and the ornament fell out of the air and shattered on the ground. The light seemed to leach out and disappear into the dirt. "What in the name of Zuleso was that?" Tanatu demanded, staring at her, his eyes so wide they showed as much white as iris. Tabia didn’t think the situation was bad enough to invoke Iljosk’s god, even though she was trembling with fright. "I didn't think the trader would miss it, he had so many things—" "Ay, you should have taken some food." Tabia agreed. "I didn’t know it did that or I would have." She poked a sliver of glass with her toe. For a fraction of a second, it winked at her with red light and then went out. She stepped away from it. "Let's go to the river for a swim," she suggested. It was a hot day and she needed to cool off after her fright. Tanatu probably would as well. He didn’t agree. "I have to go home." Tanatu took a few steps back, his eyes goggling more than usual. "My mother’s expecting me, you know how it is." No. I have no mother. Tabia’s had died soon after giving birth to her. "Tanatu, since when did your mother expect you home before dinner time?" Tabia tried to laugh, her hands resting on her hips, but the look he gave her stole her mirth. "Uh, since… right now." Tanatu shrugged. "That flying glass was scary, all right." "Tanatu, I didn’t do it, it was just a… a… I don’t know." "You said a sorcerer made it." "You don’t believe that, do you? It was just a story so someone would buy it." "I don’t know, Tabia, glass doesn’t float by itself." "Well no, but…" "I have to go," Tanatu said apologetically. "I don’t think I should talk to you any more. Just in case." "Tanatu, you coward!" Tabia called after his back as he ran off. "Fine, I don’t care!" she yelled.
Mirren Hogan lives in NSW Australia with her husband, two daughters, dog, cat, rabbits and countless birds. She has a Bachelor of Arts (English/ history), a Graduate Diploma of Arts (writing) and a couple of degrees in education. She writes fantasy, urban fantasy, paranormal fiction.She has several books due for release with The Dragon's Rocketship publishing within the next year, including a trilogy co-authored by Erin Yoshikawa. She's also had several short stories published and has co-edited two charity anthologies; for breast cancer research and Plan Australia.
The Color of Love Author: Ty Mitchell Genre: Contemporary Romance
Daisy, a struggling artist working as a bartender in Los Angeles, wants to use Mike’s connections in the art world. Mike, not accustomed to rejection, wants to use Daisy to prove to his friends that he is man enough for the ultimate conquest. So when Mike cozies up to Daisy, she doesn’t reject his advances. But both are surprised when ulterior motives fall by the wayside, and they find themselves entangled in feelings they never expected. Daisy must decide where her heart is leading her—and if she wants to follow.
Ty Mitchell is an American freelance writer who writes about life and relationships on his blog, The-VPF.com, and publications such as Elite Daily.
What-if moments inspire Mitchell’s writing, as he explores the different turns his life could have taken if he had made different decisions.
Mitchell enjoys drawing and writing short stories, novels, and screenplays. He happily lives with his Sicilian wife, newborn son, and German-born beagle.
Burden Lucy Trilogy Book 1 Winged Series Book 11 By L.M. Pruitt Genre: Urban fantasy/paranormal romance
All my life, I've had plans. Dying the day before beginning the final year of my surgical residency wasn't one of them. Finding myself drafted in the eternal war between good and evil wasn't one of them, either. And dealing with friends, enemies, and lovers I don't remember? Definitely not in my plans.
Curse Lucy Trilogy 2 Winged Series Book 12
The problem with plans? Even the best ones can go awry. And when they do... all hell breaks loose. If I've learned only one thing in the last few months, it's the past never dies. Four plagues down. Six more to come. We need more than a plan. We need a miracle.
Redemption Lucy Trilogy Book 3 Winged Series Book 13
The problem with miracles? They require a deity who cares. And if you don't have one of those... you need a sacrifice. Or the world ends
I Won’t Say (I’m in Love) Author:Evee Lamb Genre:Contemporary Romance / Erotica
After being stuck in a dead end relationship with her abusive ex-boyfriend, Zelda wants to say goodbye to relationships and say hello to no-strings sex. Preferably with a man who owns a lingerie collection larger than her own. So when Pytor Valentine pings into her inbox after Zelda decides to navigate the world of online dating, Zelda thinks she’s found the perfect man. He’s everything should could as for: handsome, well-read, owns an extensive collection of lingerie, and is looking for unattached sex.
But after seeing Pytor wrapped up in silk, all of his hard muscles and sharp curves trimmed with lace, Zelda isn’t sure one night of white hot passion is enough. But with Derek muscling his way back into her life and Pytor not looking for a relationship, Zelda doesn’t know if she’ll ever get more than sex.
If Zelda wants to survive with her heart in tack, she can’t fall in love. Too bad she’s pretty sure she already is.
Zelda snatched the tequila bottle from Antonia and took a quick pull. The liquor burned down her esophagus. Usually she wouldn’t be drinking. But then again, it wasn’t every night that she was dumped by her boyfriend of three years. She eyed the amber liquid in the bottle and took another swig. Technically, Derek had dumped her a few days ago, but the pain hadn’t lessened any since Monday. She passed the bottle back to Antonia. The lingering fire in her gut made her wince.
“You’re right,” Zelda retorted. “Fuck him. I don’t need him—or any man!”
Antonia paused, her hand stretched out for the bottle. “Any man?”
Antonia wrapped her manicured fingers around the neck of the bottle. “What about sex?”
“Who needs sex? It wasn’t like we were having it in the end, anyhow.” Zelda’s stomach rolled. By the end, she’d barely even been seeing Derek. She reached for the bottle, but Antonia hugged it close. Zelda shot her a glare and waved her hand. “Hand it over.”
Antonia took a drink and passed it back. Zelda tipped the bottle, made a noise, and shook her head as if that would help ease the tequila down. She caught sight of herself in the mirror hung on the dining-room wall. Her already rouged cheeks were flushed even more from the alcohol.
“So, wait. You weren’t having sex? Like any?”
Zelda clutched the bottle. Antonia gawked at her. Zelda saw the disbelief in her eyes, watched her mouth fall open. Zelda bit her bottom lip, wishing she could snatch back the words. They were out there, though, and from the look in Antonia’s eyes, she wasn’t going to let it go.
“Yeah, like any.” Zelda chased the confession down with another drink.
“For how long?”
Good question. She scrunched her eyebrows together. Zelda eased the bottle from her lips. How long? Long enough for Zelda to establish a much deeper relationship with her vibrator. She shrugged. “Six months, I guess?”
“You guess? Jesus, Mary, and Joseph Gordon-Levitt! How didyounot leavehim?” Antonia reached for the bottle. Zelda let her take it. A black cat jumped onto the table and sat down. Zelda picked him up and deposited him into her lap. “No, Tolstoy.” Tolstoy wriggled out of her grip and leaped back onto the floor, his tail up and twitching. Zelda watched him go, her alcohol-filled stomach sinking to the floor. Why hadn’t she left Derek? It’d been evident before they’d stopped having sex that things were going downhill. His temper had grown shorter. He had become petty and jealous. And he was never there for her. He was always busy. How many times had he worked late? The precinct couldn’t need himthatmuch.
“I’m an idiot, aren’t I?” Zelda choked out. She covered her face with her hands, trying to stave off tears. “Christ, I wasted half a year trying to salvage something that was already gone!”
“You aren’t an idiot.”
Evee Lamb lives in Columbus, Ohio with her two cats Mo and Cheedo. She publishes male x male romance under the penname Evelyn Shepherd. Between writing and working as a graphic designer, she spends her free time expanding her library and traveling.
Portraits of the Dead
by John Nicholls GENRE: Psychological Thriller
Emma didn’t know how long he hid, silent and unmoving, in the large Victorian wardrobe to the side of her single bed. She didn’t know how long he peered out, salivating and drooling, between the two heavy dark oak doors, and watched, mesmerised, as she slowly drifted into fitful sleep. She didn't know what time he pushed the doors open and crept towards her in the drab grey darkness of the night.
Detective Inspector Gravel finds himself floundering when a local nineteen-year-old university student is abducted and imprisoned by a sadistic serial killer, who has already tortured and killed five young women.
A gripping page-turner of a serial killer thriller packed with suspense. If you like Rachel Abbott, Robert Bryndza and Karin Slaughter, discover John Nicholl’s chilling new thriller today.
2:20 A.M. Saturday, 2 May 1998
Emma didn’t know how long he hid, silent and unmoving, in the large Victorian wardrobe to the side of her single bed. She didn’t know how long he peered, salivating and drooling, between the two heavy dark oak doors and watched, mesmerised, as she slowly drifted into fitful sleep. She didn’t know what time he pushed the doors open and crept towards her in the drab grey darkness of the night. But he did. She knew that he did.
Emma woke with a start, tense, alert, and opened her bleary eyes, telling herself insistently that the dark silhouette slowly approaching her was the nightmare construct of her subconscious mind. But initial anxiety became blind panic as the inky shadow took on an obvious human form that suddenly gained pace and loomed over her. And then a hand, a large hot clammy hand, pulled the bedclothes over her head, clamped her mouth tight shut and silenced her scream before it materialised.
A myriad unwelcome thoughts invaded her troubled mind as he pinned her head to the pillow and raised his free arm high above his head, before closing his fingers tightly, forming his hand into a formidable weapon and bringing it crashing down, again and again and again, with all the force he could muster, rendering her unconscious and bleeding.
She didn’t know how long she remained senseless, or what he did to her while she slept. She didn’t know what time he lifted her from her bed and carried her from her student bedroom, down the creaking wooden staircase and out into the Welsh city street. But he did. She knew that he did.
John Nicholl, an ex-police officer, child protection social worker, manager and lecturer, has written three dark psychological suspense thrillers, each of which are Amazon international bestsellers, reaching # 1 in multiple categories in the United Kingdom, France, Spain, Australia, Canada and the USA. John is always happy to hear from readers, bloggers or anyone interested in proposing a joint creative project. He can be contacted via his author website at: http://www.johnnicholl.com https://www.facebook.com/john.nicholl.988 https://twitter.com/nicholl06
Oh, to be honest, that can be a tough one, particularly for new writers who aren’t used to what, at the end of the day, is very public praise or criticism that’s there for anyone to read online for ever more. Writers tend to be sensitive souls in the main, and bad reviews can feel a bit like someone criticising your children when you start your journey on the writing path! I think that’s particularly the case when it’s your first book.
You really do have to grow a thick skin and take it on the chin when someone doesn't like your work in the slightest. I used to ‘tear my hair out’ when I received poor reviews, but thankfully they form a small minority of the total. My books are emotive, and they will draw strong emotional reactions. I’ve come to accept that. You can’t please everyone however much you’d like to, and that’s just fine. If everyone liked the same things the world would be a pretty boring place. Some say there is no such thing as bad publicity. I’m not sure if that’s true or not, but I’m just glad that people are buying and reading my books in the first place. Most successful books have about 10% poor reviews, even some of my all-time favourites. Not everyone is going to love your writing. In fact, not everyone is going to like your writing. Some people won’t like it at all. You just have to accept that and focus on the positives.
Spells and Sorcery S. Usher Evans
(Lexie Carrigan Chronicles, #1)
Publication date: October 4th 2016
Genres: Fantasy, Young Adult
You have magic.
One sentence, three words, four syllables. Enough to change my life forever. And I’m not talking about the whole spells and sorcery thing.
Lexie Carrigan thought the weirdest thing about her was she preferred watching documentaries and reading the newspaper to reality TV and Twitter. But on the eve of her fifteenth birthday, her aunt and sisters drop a bomb–she’s magical.
Now the girl who never made waves is blowing up her nightstand and trying to keep from wreaking havoc on her school. When a kind stranger shows up with all the answers, Lexie hopes he’ll be able to help her control her newfound powers. But Gavon may not be as kind as he seems, and soon Lexie finds out that being magical is the least weird thing about her.
Spells and Sorcery is the first YA fantasy from S. Usher Evans, author of the Razia series, the Madion War Trilogy and Empath.
S. Usher Evans is an author, blogger, and witty banter aficionado. Born in Pensacola, Florida, she left the sleepy town behind for the fast-paced world of Washington, D.C.. There, she somehow landed jobs with BBC, Discovery Channel, and National Geographic Television before finally settling into a “real job” as an IT consultant. After a quarter life crisis at age 27, she decided consulting was for the birds and rekindled a childhood passion for writing novels. She sold everything she owned and moved back to Pensacola, where she currently resides with her two dogs, Zoe and Mr. Biscuit.
Evans is the author of the Razia series, Madion War Trilogy, and Empath, published by Sun’s Golden Ray Publishing.
Autonomy Jude Houghton
Published by: Grimbold Books
Publication date: July 29th 2016
Genres: Dystopian, New Adult, Science Fiction
Balmoral Murraine works in a Battery, assembling devices she doesn’t understand for starvation pay. Pasco Eborgersen is the pampered son of an Elite, trying to navigate the temptations of the Pleasure Houses, the self-sacrifice of the Faith, and the high-octane excitement of Steel Ball. They are two strangers, who never should have met, and now they will rip apart the world.
What happens when ninety percent of the world lives on skaatch – a jellyfish and insect composite?
What happens when mankind spends more time in alternative life sims instead of in the “real” world?
What happens when economic interest is the sole determinant of global decision making?
What happens when a single secret is discovered that calls into question everything we have ever believed?
Jude developed a love of fantasy from a relatively early age after realising an innate talent for making stuff up could result in something other than detention. Working across the globe in fields as diverse as journalism, data entry, sales, management consultancy and babysitting, Jude has partially succeeded in putting an English and History degree from Oxford University to good use. A somnambulist, insomniac, lover of letters, Jude writes late into the night, most nights, tumbling down the rabbit hole to dream of other lives. Jude currently lives in Pennsylvania with an over-enthusiastic family and absurdly entitled dog.
To the world, Best Lightburn is a talented writer rising up the masthead at international style magazineJames, girlfriend of a gorgeous up-and-coming actor, and friend to New York Cityâs fabulous. Then thereâs the other Best, the one who has chosen to recast herself as an only child rather than confront the truth. Ten years ago, on Christmas Eve, Best and her two older brothers took a shortcut over a frozen lake. When the ice cracked, all three went in. Only Best came out. People said she was lucky, but that kind of luck is nothing but a burden. Because Best knows what she had to do to survive. And after years of covering up the past, her guilt is detonating through every facet of her seemingly charmed life. Itâs all unraveling so fast: her new boss is undermining and deceitful, her boyfriend is recovering from a breakdown, and a recent investigative story has led to a secret affair with the magazineâs wealthy publisher. Best is quick-witted and headstrong, but how do you find a way to happiness when youâre sure you havenât earned itâor embrace a future you feel you donât deserve? Evocative and emotional,The Thunder Beneath Usis a gripping novel about learning to carry loss without breaking, and to heal and forgiveânot least of all, ourselves.
Nicole Blades is a novelist and journalist who has been putting her stories on paper since the third grade. Born and raised in Montreal, Quebec, by Caribbean parents, Nicole moved to New York City and launched her journalism career working atEssence magazine. She later co-founded the online magazine SheNetworks, and worked as an editor at ESPN and Womenâs Health.
Now a freelance writer, her features and essays have appeared inMORE magazine, Cosmopolitan, NYTimes.com, WashingtonPost.com, MarieClaire.com, BuzzFeed, SELF, and BlogHer. Nicole has been a speaker and panelist at BlogHer and MA Conference for Women. She also created Ms. Mary Mack, a blog that aims to bring compassion and common sense back to parenthood.
Nicole lives in Connecticut with her husband and their son.
When Johnny Doesn’t Come Marching Home Author: Marian Small Publisher: Friesen Press Pages: 341 Genre: Memoir
First-time author Marian Small’s WHEN JOHNNY DOESN’T COME MARCHING HOME does for World War I what Tom Brokaw’s THE GREATEST GENERATION did for World War II.
Written as a memoir of her father, WHEN JOHNNY DOESN’T COME MARCHING HOME expands to pay tribute to the generation that fought in the trenches and on the battlefields of what has been called the “forgotten war.”
Employing an inherited cache of her father’s letters home, his diary of the war, and voluminous family and historic photographs, Small, at age 89, has scrupulously created a narrative rich in vivid, sometimes heartbreaking detail of First Sgt. John Small’s experiences on the front lines and as a returning wounded veteran.
As a young man touched with the “spirit of adventure,” John R. Small enlisted in the Ohio National Guard in 1916, when he was 20 years old. He was first sent to Gen. John J. Pershing’s command on the Texas/Mexican border in pursuit of the legendary revolutionary and bandit Pancho Villa. When America entered World War I, in 1917, Small was mustered into the Army and promoted to sergeant. His unit was sent to France in 1918. Among his personal possessions was a diary given to him by his wife, Mary. He made almost daily entries during his time witnessing and enduring the horrors of the war.
John Small was severely wounded by a high explosive during the Meuse-Argonne campaign. His legs were badly mangled. After six months in hospitals in France, he was sent home. “At the tender age of 23 years, Johnny didn’t come marching home,” says Marian Small.
Although John Small’s incredible story took place nearly 100 years ago, it is still relevant today as American troops continue to be deployed around the world in harm’s way. WHEN JOHNNY DOESNT COME MARCHING HOME is certain to appeal to military history buffs, veterans, their families and friends, and readers who enjoy a compelling tale.
Marian Small believes that her book is unique “in that every word is true as told by Johnny in his diary or in his letters as narrated by me. I do not believe it can be compared to any other World War I war story that I have read or that has been written.”
Readers are sure to agree with her. For More Information
When Johnny Doesn’t Come Marching Home is available at Amazon.
LETTERS to MARY August 1: Worked hard all day taking over and assigning more men to my Platoon sector. Aeroplanes continually flying over our dugout. A few shells went over early in the evening. Wrote letter to my wife this night while lying on the floor of my dugout with only a candle to light the darkness. *** August 1st, 1918 — Somewhere in France My Dear Wife: It has been several days since you last heard from me, and now, while waiting for ‘mess’, I will endeavor to keep you acquainted with the experiences I am allowed to tell you about. I say ‘experiences’, Honey, for since I last wrote to you, they have been many. War has vividly impressed them in my memory and I will never forget them. I will be able to tell you all when I come back to you, free from all the privations which we soldiers have to encounter. We will live and love all over again. I have been on the go since I last wrote to you. We left our station and marched through shell-torn towns, up and down hills, and reached a place where we stopped to camp at three in the morning. Everyone was almost dead from the long march in the dark. To tell you the truth, ‘War is Hell’, emphasis on the ‘Hell’. We lay in the Camp undercover, not allowed to march in the daytime on account of enemy aeroplanes. We left this Camp in the evening at 8:30 and, with the heavy load we each had to carry, hiked again in the night with aeroplanes flying overhead and bombs bursting everywhere. Six hours later we reached our destination. When we set out on these marches, we never know where we are going. We are now in the trenches, I know not where. From here, my experiences and love for adventure grew and I will relate only parts of it since we are severely censored now. The first thing that I took notice of was the crack and roar of the heavy shells passing overhead. Honest, I never felt so lonesome as then for our little cottage in Camp Sheridan.
Marian Small was born in Cleveland, Ohio; she has been writing for most of her life. She began her 25 year business career as a secretary, a cashier and manager of a Detroit mortgage company, and as an Operations Manager of a Florida stock-brokerage firm. She moved to Beverly Hills, Calif. with her the 10-year-old son from her first marriage and became the Administrative Assistant to a Vice-President of the Regional Office of the same brokerage firm, which entailed frequent stints within the Wall Street office. She married again in 1973, at age 46. She and her husband shared a 34-year long marriage before they divorced. After surviving breast cancer and minor strokes, Marian resumed writing at age 86 and has been writing ever since. For More Information
At the Heart of the Stone By Roxanne D. Howard
Genre: Contemporary Romance, Paranormal Romance, Contemporary Fantasy
Dreams are the perfect shelter for our fantasies, safe havens to step inside without changing our daily lives. For Lark Braithwaite, all that is about to change. During the last six months, Lark has dreamt of a mysterious Irish lover who knows what she wants and gives her exactly what she needs. In her waking life in busy London, things aren’t as ideal, as her long-term relationship with Charles, her controlling fiancé, has hit a dry spell.
When Lark is called home to Oregon for her father’s funeral right in the middle of a high-stakes corporate merger, she heads back to face the demons from her past. What she doesn’t expect is to meet her dream lover in the flesh. Niall O’Hagan steps straight out of her fantasies and right into her life, and the powerful connection they share rocks her foundation. Although she's dealing with the bitterness of being betrayed by Charles and his jealousy, Niall soon stirs Lark’s awareness of the superficiality of her existence and reawakens not only her sexuality, but her soul.
The blindfold was tied on and made of soft black material that caressed her skin. Though she knew it was light out, the mask bathed her in darkness. Still, she was aware of his touch, his heated, pulling kisses that moved away from her lips and trailed down her jaw to her throat, over her collarbone, toward her breasts.
A tug pulled her hoodie up a little, and he slowly zipped it open, yanking the front of her T-shirt down, her bra right along with it. She couldn’t see anything, but knew it was him. Her dream lover.
She expected him to latch on to her nipple, but he didn’t. He caressed it instead, flicking his fingernail along the sensitive bud, marking a trail of pebbling, tantalizing kisses around the entire circumference of her right breast. He laved the sensitive underside with his warm tongue, making her whimper, while his hand came up to fondle her left breast.
Lark was aware they were both lying on the porch swing, but he distracted her by seizing her nipple with his teeth.
She groaned. He chuckled, the vibrations reverberating through her whole body. She clutched him tighter. Lark wanted to pull off the blindfold, but he had her pinned down. He continued his ministrations, kissing his way over her bared, flat stomach, across her hip bone, and closer to his ultimate goal. She covered his hand at her hip with hers and grasped it. She was a sweaty mess from her run, but it seemed like he was taking in everything about her.
“Wait,” she said. “I-I can’t see you. I want to. Take this off.”
“I’m here,” he assured her, crawling back up over her body.
Knuckles brushed softly down her cheek, and she could feel his gaze on her. “You’re so beautiful,” he murmured.
Lark gave up fighting her blindness and self-lamentations as his lips pressed against her own. “Mmm, yes,” she moaned between kisses. “Kiss me, God, yes. I don’t want to feel anything anymore but you.” There was something about the darkness that emboldened her. She felt his chest and encountered the lapels of a jacket of some sort. She yanked him all the way down, moaning and sucking his lower lip between her teeth.
In an instant, the full weight of his body came down upon her, and his kisses changed from having been demanding and passionate to the complete polar opposite.
It was as if he was timid and reluctant, yet the more she gave to him--putting her arm around his neck and releasing the fury of her frustrations out on him--the more he began to respond. Tentative at first, with a hint of reluctance he’d never shown before. What was this? A cool breeze blew past her face, and a sense of déjà vu of the night before overtook her.
* * * *
If the kiss had stayed careful and guarded, she might have continued to question it. But the blindfold disappeared, and she realized she’d fallen asleep. Her eyes flew open, and he was there. Oh my God. He was there! Heated eyes watched her. Rakish dark hair fell over his forehead as he breathed hard, and the morning sun lit up the world behind him. She took a deep, shuddering breath to speak, but his hands moved to cup her face. He held still and closed his eyes as his lips took her mouth. Right then and there, it was very clear that this was real. That was the weight of a real man on top of her, clothed, and smelling citrusy and clean. What in the hell is happening here?
How did he get here? He was only her dream lover.
Or was he?
Confused beyond all comprehension, Lark didn’t have any time to contemplate what was really going on. His lips delivered a breath-stealing, soul-shattering kiss, and then they were all over each other. This, ah, this she knew. Lark hooked her ankle over his and put a hand on his shoulder, trying to rid him of his jacket and draw him closer. She clenched her hand in his hair as he devoured her mouth. He tasted the same as her dream lover, and she put her tongue in his mouth to savor more of that tangy sweetness.
They were both making noises they never had in her dreams, little breathy gasps and blasts of air as their mouths met and separated as they sought new angles and depths to their passion.
He made a disgruntled sound as he tried to get more comfortable in the cradle of her hips over the hindrance of clothes, and she realized she really wasn’t dreaming anymore. He nibbled on her lower lip as she opened her mouth to tell him to stop, but then she was carried away in the undercurrent of his large, warm hands, which were caressing the skin of her stomach beneath her hoodie and T-shirt. She continued to accept his kisses but pawed down her still zipped-up sweat jacket. Okay, so she was still clothed. He was rock hard against her, and he ground his hips into her, a disbelieving grunt escaping his lips. Lark rolled her eyes back, shivering at the jolt that went through her.
“Wh-- Mmm. Whoa. Stop!” She finally managed to say against his mouth. She furrowed her eyebrows and scrutinized him as he breathed in and out, bracing himself on the weight of his hands above her, his bright green eyes bearing into hers. His face was the face of her dreams--the sensual, bowed lips and cleft chin, the built body, and the thick hair. His hair... She blinked. It was cut at the nape and styled for a day at work. She glanced down at what he was wearing.
“Um, why are you wearing a suit and tie this time?” she asked, squinting against the sunlight. Please, God, let this be a dream. He moved his head, putting her in shade.
“This time?” He lifted an eyebrow, perplexed. “You’ll have to forgive me, lass, but I’ve no idea what the devil you’re talking about.” He maneuvered himself off her and sat upright at the end of the swing.
She tucked her feet against her and sat up, unable to do anything more than blink at him in utter disbelief.
“I was coming up to knock on the door when I saw you lying here, and given how you were tossing and the noises you were making, it looked like maybe you were having some sort of a seizure.”
He seemed contrite, and he turned his head as he licked his lips, full and abused from her kisses. Something close to mortification bloomed inside her.
“Erm, you...begged me to kiss you, and then you yanked me down. One thing led to another and, well, that was pretty much the way of it. I am only human, though I know that’s no excuse.” He swallowed and stared at her, his Adam’s apple moving in his throat. “I apologize. I shouldn’t have gone down when you pulled me, but it was strange--like you knew me or something.”
Lark leaned forward and rubbed her eyes. This couldn’t be real. She was hallucinating. She had to be. When she opened her eyes she’d see a man in his fifties with a receding hairline, glasses, and a beer gut. She reopened her eyes, and there he was: The full package. In the flesh. There was an air of intelligence in the way his eyes scrutinized her. She sat up and planted her feet on the porch, then put a hand to her head. The vertigo from earlier returned. “No, I’m sorry. I was dreaming...”
“Excuse me for saying so, but it must’ve been one hell of a dream.”
Lark nodded and tried not to black out as a wave of dizziness came over her.
“You look like you’re dehydrated. Hold on.”
The lilt of his familiar Irish accent soothed her like warm milk. He stood and walked over to a black laptop case propped near the front door that had several thick manila folders sticking out of its open center, one of which she could see said BRAITHWAITE in large, capital letters on an index label. He crouched down and unzipped the front pocket, extracting an unopened plastic water bottle.
“Here,” he said, unscrewing it and holding it out to her.
“Thanks.” She accepted the bottle and took a long sip of the cool water. It almost instantly revived her. She wiped a little water off the corner of her mouth with the top of her knuckle as he watched her. She offered it back to him, but he shook his head and reclaimed his seat next to her.
“Keep it. Drink.”
“Thank you.” She closed her eyes and took several large gulps, the cool liquid a balm to her throat.
“My name’s Niall O’Hagan.”
His voice was deep and pleasant. It sounded different, lighter than the sultry bedroom voice she was used to from her dreams.
“I’m the Braithwaites’ attorney.”
Lark paused in midsip and lowered the bottle in her hands. “You--no.” She laughed, glancing at him.
His mouth lifted at the corners, as if it were dawning on him he was the butt of a joke he wasn’t aware of. “I...what?”
Oh, the irony of dreaming about her father’s lawyer this whole time. Oh my God. She started giggling. This was it; she was officially losing it. She got up and walked over to the top step of the porch, put a hand over her face, and plunked herself down. “I am so messed up.”
A sudden, unwanted flash of Gemma saying “darlin’” to Charles yesterday surfaced, and tears stung her eyes. She went silent and willed them not to fall. It was no use.
After a moment, Niall sat down on the step beside her. “I’d offer you a drink, but I quit ten years ago.”
Lark laughed, despite the tears. “An Irish attorney who doesn’t like Guinness is like an Englishman who doesn’t like fish and chips or something.”
“I know; shameful,” he said with mock contrition. “Don’t hold it against me. I’m doing the world a favor. Trust me. I was a horrible drunk. Seriously, though, are you okay, miss?”
Lark scoffed and gesticulated with her hands to the sky. “It’s Lark. And what a loaded question of the day.” She couldn’t look at him, not after what happened. She clenched the edge of the step on either side of her and stared out at the trees.
“Well, considering we’ve already gone to second base, we might as well be open with each other. Forgive me if I’m candid, but it seems you were having an alleged, eh, intense dream, and you woke up and believed I was him. Is that right?”
Horror dawned on her at what she’d done, and her jaw dropped. “No!” Yes. She glanced at him, and his knowing expression said he knew that was exactly what happened.
“I see,” he said, his tone careful but persistent. “Then why did you kiss me like that?”
“I-I don’t have to answer that.” She lifted her chin with defiance.
He scooted closer to her. “No, you don’t. But I wish you would.”
She scratched her head in frustration and jumped up, moving toward the door.
“I’m sorry to embarrass you,” he said, and she paused with her hand halfway to the doorbell. “I’m decent. I would never-- I never meant to take advantage of you at all, please know that. When you kissed me like that, so familiar, I...”
It occurred to her Niall was being a lot more of a gentleman about the whole thing than most men would be, given how horrid the situation was. And she, meanwhile, was being a total bitch. And the poor guy had no clue as to why.
He met her in two quick strides, and his proximity alarmed her. They’d never both been standing in any of her dreams. He was at least a few inches over six feet, well built with wide shoulders and a lithe, muscular frame to complement the height.
He assessed her as well, and his eyes widened with realization. “Wait. Lark? Rick’s daughter? But you’re so little,” he said, surprised. “From the pictures, I assumed you’d be, erm-
“Fatter?” she asked, glad she was at least back on sure ground. She could always toss jokes around about her heavy days. “It’s okay. You can go ahead and say it. I’ve lost a lot of weight.”
Niall put a hand to the back of his neck. His eyebrows rose. “I think ‘a lot’ is an understatement. Good on you! My mam struggled with her weight too; I know from growing up with her how hard it is to lose it. Well, you look amazing. Wow.”
He rolled his eyes at himself and glanced away. The bizarreness of seeing him act misplaced and common, and not at all like a sex panther, was messing with her.
“I’m sorry.” He laughed. “I sound like an idiot. Listen, I hope you don’t think I’m some leering wanker. This is...awkward.”
“You can say that again,” she murmured with a small smile, wondering what he would say if she told him she’d been having erotic dreams of him every night for the last six months. It was bad enough she’d just made out with the guy.
She held out her hand but didn’t make eye contact. “So listen, how about we forget it ever happened, okay? I’m Lark Braithwaite. I flew in a couple of days ago from London.”
He took her hand and closed his long fingers over hers. “Niall O’Hagan. Pleasure.” He stepped a little closer. “And I’m all for a clean slate, but forgetting’s not on my agenda, lass. I’m taking that one to the grave. Hands down the best snog I’ve ever had in my life. Client’s daughter or no, you can’t take it back.”
Roxanne D. Howard is an author with Loose Id. She has two titles published and one series coming out over the holidays. She is a U.S. Army veteran, and has a bachelor's degree in Psychology and English. She loves to read poetry, classical literature, and Stephen King. She is also an avid Star Wars fan, musical theater nut, and loves everything related to marine biology. She resides in the mid-western United States, and is the proud mother of two beautiful girls, several pets, and loves to spend time with her husband and children when she's not writing. Roxanne loves to hear from her readers, and she can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.
To find out more, please visit her website at www.roxannedhoward.com
Silencing The Seam Kathleen Groger
(Seam Stalkers, #2)
Publication date: October 18th 2016
Genres: Horror, Paranormal, Young Adult
Sixteen-year-old Sam Drake thought she’d left the horrors of spring break and Defiance Castle behind her. But back home, the spirits swirling around her are more demanding, more aggressive.
Fear of being institutionalized by her skeptical mother drives Sam to follow her dad to New Orleans. There she hopes to take back control of her life. But the French Quarter and the cities of the dead have other plans. Hour by hour they drain her, making it next to impossible to fight off a ghost who is determined to use her for its own revenge.
Ensnared in an ancient power struggle where Voodoo rituals, betrayal, and murder rule, Sam must determine who to trust. One step in the wrong direction will lock her inside the Seam to walk among the dead for eternity.
Kathleen wrote her first story in elementary school about a pegasus named Sir Lancelot. It had no plot or conflict, but it sparked a dream. After serving a fifteen-year sentence in retail management, the bulk in big box bookstores, she turned her love of reading into a full-time career writing dark and haunting characters and stories. She writes paranormal, fantasy, suspense, horror YA books. She is a contributing member of READerlicious, writers who love readers. Check out her blogs here.
She lives by the mantra that a day is not complete without tea. Lots of tea. Kathleen lives in Ohio with her husband, two boys, and two attention-demanding dogs. When not writing or editing or revising, you can find her reading, cooking, spending time with her family, or photographing abandoned buildings.
We're happy to have Deborah Ann Davis, author of the new adult novel, Fairly Safe, here with us today! Please leave a comment to let her know you stopped by!
About the Book:
Title: FAIRLY SAFE Author: Deborah Ann Davis Publisher: D&D Universe Pages: 356 Genre: New Adult
When Mistaken Identity collides with Secret Identity, who wins?
JACOB HAS COME A LONG WAY FOR AN ORPHANED FOSTER KID. He has a mentor, a great job, and has finally fallen in love. Granted, she mistook him for a stalker when they met, but every relationship has its little problems. Unfortunately, for the past few years, as the object of his affection pops in and out of his life, she has refused to share any personal info, like where she’s from, or her real name. Regardless, Jacob is ready to take their relationship to the next level. Now, if only he can locate her so he can tell her.
CASEY’S FAMILY IS IN THE WITNESS PROTECTION PROGRAM. Safety has to be their only priority. Their cover has been blown before, so Casey knows at any given time they could be forced to disappear again. Obviously, a shy young man with hopeful eyes cannot possibly be added to the mix. You cannot build a relationship like that. Now, if only she can stop thinking about him.
JACOB’S AND CASEY’S WORLDS UNEXPECTEDLY COLLIDE when Jacob inadvertently helps hide her family. Exposed to their 24-7 vigilance, Jacob realizes he must come up with a plan to keep them out of harm’s way, because this time if Casey disappears, she will be taking with her Jacob’s heart, and his hopes of finally having a family of his own.
Discuss this book at PUYB Virtual Book Club at Goodreads.
Jacob Kent stepped out of his car as he scanned the fair on the other side of the parking lot, his heart pounding. As with many country fairs, the parking lot was no more than an abused pasture. This one was about the size of two football fields. Fair employees decked in bright yellow directed the early trickle of cars to their temporary berths. Jacob ignored them, choosing instead a parking spot near the exit. Anticipating the possible need for a quick getaway outweighed a pimply teen’s futile attempts to redirect him.
He regarded the rides twirling and spinning above and around the strolling families. Despite the morning sun, the lights flashed merrily, beckoning to all. At11 a.m.it wasn’t crowded, but he knew that would soon change. Locking his car, he slowly picked his way through the beaten grass, combing all directions for a clue the girls were there. As the unmistakable sound of carnival music floated toward him on the warm summer breeze, he reviewed his plan.
First, he would walk through the fair to familiarize himself with the layout they had printed out. Then he would adjust their escape route to where he parked the car. After assessing the grounds, he would plant himself somewhere along the concourse, and watch the crowd. That’s how he had always found Casey in the past, and that’s how he was going to find her again.
A voice came over the loudspeaker, momentarily dimming the carnival noise. “Would the owner of a red ford truck, license plate AIP537, please return to your vehicle? Your lights are on.”
Jacob tensed. Was that some kind of clue? He looked over the parking lot. No, he could see the lights of the red truck from here. He smiled ruefully to himself.
Get a grip,Kent,he thought as he watched a portly balding man march exasperatedly toward the truck.
He sighed. Intellectually, he had to acknowledge they might have pieced together a bunch of randomly forgotten items into a fantastical story, but emotionally, he couldn’t help but believe the items served an ultimate purpose. If The Herd was here, he was going to find them. He also knew if he wasn’t careful, he could spend the entire day jumping at shadows and following dead ends.
Like that little commotion over by the edge of the fair.To his over-active imagination, that game of tag could look like a child trying to escape from the evil clutches of--
“HAHAHAHAHAHAHA, WIPEOUT!” sang out over the loudspeaker.
His head jerked up. As the pounding drums from the familiar song drowned out the carnival music, all doubt was erased. The loudspeaker was sending out a warning. His eyes darted back toward the commotion he had noticed. That was no game of tag. That was a child trying to escape a man in hot pursuit. Jacob couldn’t be positive at this distance, but it sure looked like Robin.
With his heart in his throat, he broke into a run, zigzagging between cars, trying to intercept the fleeing child as it headed toward the side of the parking lot. In this surreal moment, the same song they had used for obstacle course training was being piped out like background music to a scene in a movie. But this scene was real, where a real menace was gaining. Caught in his own nightmare, Jacob was watching Robin run for her life, and he was not close enough to help.
As the predator and prey crossed the area between the fair and the parking lot, the longer legs of the adult closed the gap between them, but once they reached the cars, the advantage became hers. Robin’s small size and training put some distance between them as she dodged around vehicles. However, her constant change of direction made it difficult for Jacob to maintain a course of interception.
Watching Robin’s progress, Jacob realized she was trying to head back toward the fair. Silently applauding Robin’s decision to get closer to other people who could help her, Jacob altered his course accordingly.
So did Robin’s pursuer.
Suddenly, her stalker eliminated the space between them by clambering up and over two pickup trucks, and landing an arm’s length away. Skidding, Robin veered around another vehicle with the man on her tail. As Jacob frantically tried to reach her, a brunette Sam suddenly popped out from behind a car and neatly took the man out with one magnificent sweep of a skateboard to the head.
Where did she come from?A stunned Jacob skidded to a stop, gasping for breath, his chest burning.
With a quick high-five, the sisters raced back to the fair. Jacob tried in vain to get their attention, but he hadn’t quite recovered enough breath to formulate sounds louder than gasps. He shook his head as he tried to calm the burning in his lungs. He was a wreck, but they were able to run off.
And I was going to save them?He weakly chuckled. What was I thinking?
Sobering, he trotted over to the man who was staggering to his feet. With rage marshalling all of his strength, Jacob drew back and smashed his fist into the man’s face. The unexpected pain in his fist was nothing compared to the satisfaction of watching Robin’s former threat drop like an anchor.
Shaking the pain out of his hand, Jacob aimed a vindictive kick at the ribs of his girls’ attacker. Any qualms he might ordinarily have about hitting a man when he’s down were nonexistent when it came to someone threatening his family.
Satisfied the man was no longer a danger, he took off in the direction he had seen his girls disappear, trying to calm the fear rising in his chest. He doubted this man had come alone. The girls probably knew that, too, and would be hiding. How was he going to find them before their pursuers did?
The light glinting off the speaker perched atop a telephone pole caught his eye. Jacob skidded to a stop and stared at it. Of course. When Robin had been trying to escape, that speaker had been blasting out WipeOut, but now he only heard carnival music. With a grin, Jacob decided it was time to stop believing in coincidences. Someone at the fair must be helping them. If he found that person, he’d be able to find the fugitives.
About the Author
DEBORAH ANN DAVIShas been writing since she was assigned to keep a Journal in her 5th grade English class. She began to look around for writing inspiration. Lo and behold, she found her world was full of funny stories just waiting to be told. As she grew older, occasionally she could manipulate one into some school assignment, but it never occurred to her to pursue writing, not even when she discovered her flare for telling stories at college parties.
After a string of college majors, she realized she could have a captive audience EVERY DAY in the public school system. As it turns out, teenagers love to laugh, and what could be more entertaining than Biology, Earth Science, and Environmental Science? Then there's the added bonus that once kids know you like to laugh, they want to make you laugh.
In addition to Writing, she is also an Educational Speaker and a Certified Personal Trainer. She taught for 25+ years, although somewhere in the middle of all that educating, she stepped out of teaching for 6 years to do the Mommy Thing, and run the office for their family construction company.
Even though they had followed separate paths, Deborah reunited with, and married her childhood sweetheart, twelve years after their first kiss. Together they coached their daughter’s AAU Basketball Team, which swept States two years in a row. (Yay!) Then, for several years their daughter and their money went to college.
They currently reside on a lovely lake inConnecticut. She enjoys dabbling with living a sustainable life, writing novels for her Love of Fairs series, dancing, playing outside, and laughing really hard every day. She promotes increasing the amount of movement throughout your day via Wiggle Writer posts on Merry Meddling, her blog at www.DeborahAnnDavis.com. Follow her @DeborahAnnDavis.
Remember, you can do anything if you set your mind to it— including becoming an author at any age— but it’s way more fun if you are grinning back when the Universe smiles down on you.
“You ever broken the law before this, Eden?” I expected a quick and unequivocal no, but it didn’t come as fast as I thought it would. “I don’t think so. I mean, I’m sure I have by accident sometime. I’ve jaywalked. But I’m not some kind of criminal.” Well, that makes one of us, I thought. My anger from earlier started to fade and be replaced by the heat of the knowledge that Eden’s naked tits were only inches from my chest, separated by water I could see right through. Last time I’d seen them under her pink bra, she’d been too fucked up for me to take advantage . . . but tonight she was completely sober. I raised my gaze from her chest, expecting her cheeks to be red when she realized I was staring at her nipples, but she wasn’t watching my face. She was staring down at my body. “Like what you see?” That got her attention. Eden jerked her head up to meet my eyes, and the blush colored her skin like I’d timed it. “You’re . . . big.” A booming laugh broke free from my throat at her unexpected response, and her cheeks flamed even brighter. “No, that’s not what I meant. I mean . . . everywhere. Not just, in the . . .” She looked down, then jerked her gaze back to mine. “I’m going to shut up now.” That kind of awkward and fumbling response couldn’t be faked, and protectiveness rose in me again. Eden was no con artist. She was a girl who couldn’t even say the word cock without turning red. “Ain’t no shame in my game.” She reached out a hand and covered my lips with her fingers. “Stop. You’re just making it worse. I wasn’t checking out your . . . package. I mean, I did before you got in the pool, but that’s only because I thought you’d have underwear on because who doesn’t wear underwear?” The babbling continued, and so did my laughter. Hell, I hadn’t laughed this much since Delilah had given in to a customer’s request and tattooed a flexing veined eggplant cartoon on a client so he could send pictures of it instead of dick pics. Eden pulled her hand back and covered her face. “I’m going to stop talking now. I seriously can’t be trusted to say anything that’s not completely humiliating when you’re standing this close to me naked.” “I disagree, and since I’m not ready to get out and put my clothes on, you’re going to have to deal with it.” She mumbled something under her breath. “Come again?” Eden pressed her lips together for a beat before saying, “I don’t know how to deal with it. This isn’t something I’ve ever dealt with before.” A crazy thought popped into my brain. “Are you a virgin?” If there was a red brighter than fire engine, that was the color of Eden’s cheeks. “No! Of course not. Really. I’ve touched a dick before. I mean, just the one, but it still counts. Well, I didn’t really touch it. Except, you know, inside me. Oh my God, I’m just going to shut up now.” Realization dawned on me as her babbled protest silenced. “You’ve had sex with one guy? Once? How old are you?” Eden turned to bolt, but instead smashed her tits into my arm. I stepped close enough so that only an inch of water separated us. Her gaze went skyward. “This is so humiliating.” That’s where she and I had differing opinions. “Why? Because you haven’t fucked every guy you’ve ever met? What’s wrong with that?” Eden’s gaze snapped down to mine and her brows drew into slashes. “Hey, whoa now. You can toss that double-standard crap right in the trash. What if I had screwed every guy I ever met? Would that make me less of a person? I mean, it’s not like you probably haven’t been with dozens and dozens of women. I’m not judging you. Except for maybe that Kitty girl. I mean, really? You’ve got to have some standards.” My laughter boomed out again across the courtyard. “Cupcake, just because I can get most any pussy I want, doesn’t mean I do it.” “Still, double standards are—” When she started on another tirade, I decided to silence her the best way I knew how. I leaned down and covered her lips with mine.
About Meghan March:
Meghan March has been known to wear came face paint and tromp around in woods wearing mud-covered books, all while sporting a perfect manicure. She’s also impulsive, easily entertained, and absolutely unapologetic about the fact that she loves to read and write smut. Her past lives include slinging auto parts, selling lingerie, making custom jewelry, and practicing corporate law. Writing books about dirty talking alpha males and the strong, sassy women who bring them to their knees is by far the most fabulous job she’s ever had. She loves hearing from her readers at email@example.com.
Synopsis: Prince Kael has just lost his father to an assassin, and he’s the next target. A murderer is on the loose, the kingdom is in disarray, and Kael is determined to make the person responsible for killing his father pay. But falling for the beautiful Cara, panther-shifter and main suspect in his father’s murder, wasn’t part of the plan. He’s not at all sure she did it, and he finds himself going against everything he’s ever known just to claim her.The ceremonial Hunt is approaching, and mates must be chosen to run together. The hatred between the tiger and panther species is all they know. If Kael and Cara follow their hearts, it could mean treason and death.
THE HUNT BOOK TRAILER
ABOUT HARPER A. BROOKS
Harper A. Brooks lives in a small town on the New Jersey shore. Even though classic authors have always filled her bookshelves, she finds her writing muse drawn to the dark, magical, and romantic. But when she isn’t creating entire worlds with sexy shifters or legendary love stories, you can find her either with a good cup of coffee in hand or at home snuggling with her furry, four-legged son, Sammy.She writes historical and paranormal romance.
Bleeding Hearts Demimonde Book One By Ash Krafton
Genre: urban fantasy
Sophie Galen is an advice columnist whose work leaves her neck-deep in other people's problems. Thanks to her compassion, her gut instinct, and her magnetic charm, Sophie really knows how to attract little black clouds.
Marek Thurzo is no little black cloud; he's a maelstrom. Marek is Demivampire, a race with the potential to evolve into vampire. A warrior who's taken his share of spiritual damage, he hovers dangerously close to destruction.
He seeks salvation. She's driven to save him. But what if he can't be saved?
Sympathy for his plight becomes true empathy as Sophie's hidden nature is revealed. Marek suspects she may be one of the Sophia, oracle and redemption of the damned Demivampire. She alone can turn back the evolutionary clock.
All she needs is the courage to face her fears. Can she save him from Falling?
"Well, Sophie, you've been busy." My editor placed the typed sheets on her desk and pushed her reading glasses to the top of her head, smiling in a way that suggested she wasn't simply commenting on my productivity.
Barbara Evans was definitely fiftyish but her exact age remained a secret closely guarded by her mother and the clerk at the Department of Motor Vehicles. No gray, no dye. No kidding. The wrinkles around her eyes were laugh lines; gravity had yet to wage war on the softer parts of her body.
I made a noncommittal noise as I fooled around at the coffee station in her office at The Mag. I swore I kept this job just so I could drink her coffee. An invitation to Barbara's office for coffee was like receiving royal honors.
"Unfortunately, I felt really inspired this week." I took a shallow sip of the coffee so I didn't scald my tongue. Carrying the mug over to her desk, I flopped into the big red leather chair across from her.
"I'll say. These letters make, what..." She shuffled through the perpetual piles on her desk until she found what she wanted. Barbara was old school, preferring paper to electronic files. "Seven. You made the regular issue as well as the summer bonus. I'm impressed."
Nodding, I reached for my cup. The summer bonus was a pain, if anyone asked me. However, I got paid to do it. Money was nice, so I kept my opinion to myself. I had yet to master a passable poker face and Barbara was a champion player.
"But you don't look like someone who's free and clear until next issue," she said. "You look more like you expect someone to jump out at you."
"I just... eh, it's nothing." I tried to downplay it but her assessment was dead-on, hopefully no pun intended. Her slight frown insisted she wanted a better answer and I grimaced, knowing she wouldn't like the answer. "I've been thinking about Patrick."
"Him again?" She clucked her tongue and walked around the desk. Perching on the edge, she softened her firm tone with a sympathetic look. "He needed professional help and you told him so. You did what you could."
"I don't feel like I did."
"Enough. You're not a psychiatrist. Let it go."
Barbara was right. I was an advice columnist. People sought me out because they wanted my help. Didn't help matters that, before joining The Mag, I'd spent more than a decade in nursing. I was driven to help, to care, to make things all better.
Didn't I have an obligation to help them? "But—"
"But nothing," she said. "I know you like to dwell. At least dwell on something cheerful. Think about those you help."
I scowled into my cup. She was right—I did get too hung up on people and their problems. It was just the way I was wired.
"What brought him up, anyway?"
"I got a letter from him yesterday," I said.
She gave me a careful look as if she were determining whether or not our friendship would survive a phone call to Crisis Intervention. "You mean from someone who sounds like him."
"No, him. His handwriting, his signature."
"I thought you said—"
"I did." I scooted on the slippery cushion so I could look up at her. "You saw the obituary."
"Dead is dead, Sophie." Barbara flipped through the stack in her inbox before selecting several pages from the middle. She tugged a paperclip free and dropped it into a tray as she reclaimed her seat. "They don't come back. Maybe he sent it before he—you know."
I cradled the cup, feeling the sting of heat through the ceramic. The warmth failed to travel past my palms and I tucked my arms to my chest. "It was postmarked this week."
"Do you want the column mail screened?"
"Wouldn't help. It was mailed to my apartment."
Now I had her attention.
She sat back in her chair, papers forgotten. "How could anyone have gotten your home address?"
"Beats me. The column mail comes here and I use a post office box for freelance subs."
"Anything else? Phone calls? Hang ups?"
"No. Just the letter." After a brief deliberation, I added more. Might as well spill all the beans and not just the ones she'd believe. "And the feeling someone's... waiting for me."
Barbara's expression said Okay, I think you finally cracked but her mouth issued more diplomatic words. "Seriously? Maybe you're being stalked."
"No, I don't think so. Just a vague feeling, like someone's waiting for me to... I don't know, open my eyes. See them." I didn't ask if she ever had that feeling. Most people didn't get impressions the way I did. I'd stopped asking that question a long time ago.
However, this was the first time a simple impression worried me. It was a solid, hovering kind of expectancy that killed my concentration and made me look over my shoulder wherever I went.
"That's probably because the letter came to your apartment." The phone rang and Barbara poked the voice mail button. "You feel vulnerable. Keep your eyes open and try to ignore it."
I half-agreed with her, raising the cup and hiding my mouth behind it. I couldn't shake the distinct feeling something awful loomed. The sense of foreboding was like wearing a turtleneck—a constant, constricting pressure. "Maybe I'll take self-defense classes."
"Never a bad idea for a woman living alone in the city. Then again, you might not need them. Your witticisms are sharp enough to draw blood."
I grinned. "Eh, it's a defense mechanism I developed from working with Donna. I used to be such a nice person."
"Speaking of her, she's looking for you."
I slid down in my chair so my head wasn't visible from the door. "Maybe I'll just stay in here while I finish my coffee. Wouldn't do to be caught out in the open."
Barbara removed her glasses and tossed them onto her desk. "What did you do now?"
"Nothing," I protested. "Just--that Expo thing. She's in charge."
She pressed her lips into a stern line. "Haven't you signed up yet?"
"Heck, no. I have stuff to do. Me stuff."
"Your job is me stuff."
"Easy for you to say. You're salaried. Saturday is my day off."
"Well, I won't blow your cover." She glanced over my head toward the door before she waved her pen warningly. "But she'll get her claws into you. One way or another."
I scowled and took a double mouthful of coffee so I wouldn't have to respond. Claws, Expo, anything Donna—they all topped the list of Things I Wanted Least.
I stayed long enough to complete my hedonistic coffee experience before slinking back to my desk. This was work, after all; I wouldn't remain a staff writer if I didn't act like one.
I lived in Balaton, a harbor-dependent city halfway between Philadelphia and Wilmington. Halfway was an apt description in more ways than one. Big enough for a downtown but lacking the sprawl of a mega-city. Too small for a subway but wide enough for several bus routes. Taxes weren't as high as Philly but we didn't get a free ride on sales tax like glorious Delaware, either.
We weren't a major tourist destination, just another city people passed through on the way to somewhere else. I guessed that was why I never left. Balaton was midway between point A and point B—just like me.
This job was the closest fit I'd felt in a long time, even if the inseam wasn't quite right. I had a leg up in the game, at least. My inner voice. My gut instinct. My compassion.
The job was easy. All I had to do was tell people what they probably already knew. Nine times out of ten it was what they wanted to hear anyway, but they didn't trust themselves enough to follow their own advice. If people were brave enough to listen to the spark of wisdom that lived in each of us, I'd be out of a job.
Thank God for that one out of ten who actually needed my advice; they went a long way to validate me. Only problem was, they were the ones who kept me awake at night.
I sighed and plucked my mail from the basket hanging outside my cubicle before dropping into my chair. My position at The Mag was a haven for me. At least, it had been until Patrick's needy letters arrived. Damn those depressed men who get attached to the first sympathetic person they encounter. Damn the way they kill themselves and leave the rest of us to feel like it was our failure, not theirs.
Damn them for coming back.
I knew it couldn't be him. I knew dead was dead. Plenty of dead had happened around me in the past and never once had it been undone. Patrick could be no exception.
Question was: Who? Who now? Who was going to yank my heartstrings, get me completely tied up in their emotional plight, and bail on me at the end? Who would be the death of me?
I didn't want to find out.
Blood Rush DemimondeBook Two Ash Krafton
Genre: urban fantasy
Sophie doesn't believe in happily ever after. These days, she'd settle for alive after sunrise.
Advice columnist and newly-appointed oracle to the demivampire, Sophie Galen has more issues than a Cosmo collection: a new mentor with a mean streak, a werewolf stalker she can't shake, and a relationship with her ex's family that redefines the term complicated. And then there's her ex himself, who is more interested in playing leader of the vampire pack than in his own salvation.
Becoming a better oracle is tough enough, but when Sophie encounters a deadly enemy - one she never dreamed of facing - it will take everything she's ever learned in order to survive.
I don't believe in happily ever after. These days, I'd settle for alive until sunrise.
I never thought I'd become a nine-to-fiver. Certainly never thought I'd be too preoccupied to make fun of myself for being one. Sometimes the irony was too great to appreciate.
While I waited for the elevator to arrive at The Mag's foyer, I smoothed my scarf along the back of my neck and hefted my tote bag a little higher on my shoulder. Every chime increased my trepidation, tightening the fist of anxiety in my chest and the sensation of bees swarming in the top of my stomach. I hated quitting time.
More underappreciated irony. Why not?
People chatted around me but I fidgeted with my zipper, keeping my gaze lowered and my mouth closed. Leaving at five in the afternoon meant more than crammed elevators and crowded buses; it meant the light would fade soon and with it my peace of mind. The autumn wasn't a happy golden foliage time of year for me anymore.
Although it was only early October, already the longer nights and shorter days made me feel nervous and brittle. Bad enough I didn't have a sweetheart to share the long nights but even worse now that I knew what came out when the sun went down. Although I hadn't had any problems with vampires over the last year, the threat never left my mind.
Vampires were out there. It was just a matter of time until I had to deal with them again.
Halfway during our descent, I felt a vibe. It was a mild one but, over the past year, my empathy had become sensitive to the point of being squirrelly. The thin thread of power wound its way around each of the passengers as the Demivampire who owned it checked out who else was in the car. When it reached me, it felt like a poke on the arm. I glanced over my shoulder, catching the eyes of an older dark-eyed woman near the back. She sent a tiny pulse of apology-laden power and lowered her eyes.
I smiled politely and concentrated on tugging my scarf loose. The DV didn't approach me in public where any old human could see. We kept our dealings distant and private. That was the way I preferred.
The door opened and I flowed out with the crowd, sunglasses on and scarf over my hair. I hoped everyone would more or less continue on together today so I could hide in the crowd a bit longer.
Without turning my head, I saw a rail-thin guy, his scruffy head and jeans out of place amongst the exiting office employees. He leaned against the wall, scanning the people emerging from the other elevators. Seemed to have missed me—good. Taking shelter behind a taller woman and her chatty companion, I hustled out the front doors.
Outside, my luck ran out. My camouflaging crowd of co-workers suddenly scattered like roaches when the kitchen light is turned on. I hesitated, taking too long to pick a direction.
It was all he needed to spot me. I looked back through the glass into the foyer of The Mag's building. He was on the move, eyes locked onto me.
Startled faces blurred past as I hurried through the five o'clock exodus, bumping into one man, dodging another, and rounding the corner at a speed unfitting for heeled pumps. Steve Madden would be horrified if he knew what I did in his shoes.
Well, Steve could kill me later. Right now, I was facing a much more immediate threat.
At the corner, a bus was loading and at this point I didn't care if it was mine or not. An elderly lady with a big shopping bag struggled on the steps and I danced behind her like a first grader with a full bladder. Once she cleared the last step I leapt up, slamming my token into the fare box.
The door closed behind me just as my pursuer caught up. For once I was glad for the driver's rude efficiency. The bus leveled and lurched forward. I grabbed the bar, almost swinging into the laps of the front seat passengers. As we pulled away from the curb, I met the man's stare through the grimy glass of the door.
Rusted-orange eyes with wide pupils.
Non-people eyes. Werewolf eyes.
I sank onto an empty seat, heart thumping, gradually slowing. Glancing up at the sign over the driver's seat, I realized I'd ended up on the round-about route. Close enough for me. I tugged my necklace out of my shirt and kissed the pendant, my good luck charm, and offered a silent thankful thought to whatever divine powers had saved my behind, yet again.
Reaching into my bag, I pulled out a book of poetry and readied for a long ride home. Ironically, when I'd flipped to a random page, I opened to one of Dylan Thomas's poems. Do not go gentle into that good night. Rage, rage against the dying of the light.
I had no energy left for rage. All I could muster was a thankful thought because at least today's escape had gone better than most.
A beast of a different sort met me at the door once I got home, but I was prepared for this one. Since moving to my current apartment, Euphrates had become a one-hundred-percent-indoors cat and poor kitty was not coping well.
I squeezed through the narrowly-opened door and blocked his escape with my tote bag. He'd made it out into the hall twice since moving here, which could have caused major fallout. The other apartment on this floor was occupied by a No Pets Allowed vigilante who seemed intent on catching me with the furry goods. Mrs. Petterson already suspected Euphrates wasn't a television and frequently warned me something dire would happen should I dare bring in a dog.
As if. I definitely didn't swing that way.
Luckily, Euphrates wasn't up to any cat acrobatics so my bag was enough to contain him. He accused me with a heavy-lidded glare and a toothy wail that made me pity his near-solitary confinement.
Scooping him up, I dropped my bag on the couch and glanced around with dismay. Stacks of cardboard boxes exaggerated the tight fit of the room. I'd begun to unpack when I moved in three months ago but quickly grew disheartened by the lack of space. If I'd had time when I was planning the move, I could have picked an apartment that was at least big enough to fit the couch. Instead, it sat at a strange angle across one corner of the room. Either that or block the doorway.
I would have gotten a place that allowed pets, too, but I just didn't have the luxury of time to browse through rental listings. Once that Were had discovered my last apartment, I was out of there in four days flat.
What was the point of unpacking when it didn't feel like home?
Life hadn't been exactly all new-pumps-and-Oreos since my soul mate Marek and I split more than a year ago. Well, more precisely, he split. Demivamps pushed to the brink of evolution tended to do that, since their own society generally wants nothing more to do with them. Evolution is a one-way street, more or less. Nothing can bring a brinking DV back from that terrible edge.
Nothing, except maybe for me. Still, it didn't make me immune to being dumped. Marek had made it crystal clear he didn't want to see me anymore when I tracked him down after the Crap That Almost Killed Me. I was an old fashioned girl, you know? If a guy made love to you one night then tore out your throat and exsanguinated you the next, he should at least call you in the morning.
I sighed and pulled out a stack of mail I'd brought home from the office. Before meeting Marek and the rest of the DV, writing my column was barely enough to justify my gainful employment at The Mag; I usually contributed to other features in order to claim a regular paycheck and benefits. (It shames me to admit the lengths to which I'd go for health insurance.)
Unfortunately, being Sophia for the American Demi-vampire also made writing my advice column a full-time job, since the DV decided it was the perfect way to petition me. Every once in a while, a letter would contain an emotional signature so strong it evoked the Sophia. I couldn't risk having my eyes change color in front of the mail clerk again.
It was almost like face-on petitioning, really. I could simply sort the petitions from the human letters and get on a roll. Once the Sophia responded, the answers flowed smoothly. First drafts were last drafts and, when I included select petitions for print in the column, they were the ones that impressed my editor most. I would then mail the remaining responses off to their respective petitioners.
Sometimes the petition was doubled with a pushy compulsion, a "read mine first" or some other obnoxious request. That sort of thing really bunched up my boy shorts. Of course, I couldn't complain about it at work because no one knew about the Demivampire, much less that I was their spiritual guardian. Hence, all the off-the-clock work.
Give Until It Hurts Sophie, that's me.
Flipping through the mail, I breathed a tiny sigh of relief. None of the envelopes triggered a compulsion so I figured there was probably nothing I couldn't handle today.
I sliced open the envelopes and began to sort the letters into piles.
Column, column, petition.
The petitions were easy to spot even to someone who couldn't sense DV power; each was addressed Dear Sophia and signed with a real name, not a witty pseudonym. I had a growing number of regulars who made me think I ought to start charging them.
Column, petition, column, Rodrian.
I blinked, trying to focus my eyes and dispel my surprise, recognizing the handwriting on the envelope at once. Rodrian Thurzo preferred writing to typing and he had a real thing for fountain pens.
Yep, that Rodrian. Marek's brother.
When I pulled out the letter, the power signature tripped a switch in my brain, triggering my Sophia. My eyes changed so fast I swore I could feel them flow from brown to oracular blue. I had to sit down before I fell over and felt behind me for an afghan to wrap around my shoulders. The chills were so intense I thought my teeth would chatter.
Damn that Rodrian.
Once my Sophia settled, I unfolded the letter and read it. The letter contained a brief request to meet him at his Tenth Street office. Some sort of business proposition. I couldn't imagine what business he could possibly have with me.
I especially couldn't imagine what was so important that he'd send enough power to turn my intestines into balloon animals. I came this close to throwing up on Fraidy. I'm sure the cat would have loved that.
So. Business with Rodrian. Now the question remained: would I go?
Wolf's Bane DemimondeBook Three Ash Krafton
Genre: urban fantasy
Since becoming oracle to the demivampire two years ago, advice columnist Sophie has battled werewolves and survived a vampire attack (or two). However, not only was she powerless to save her lover Marek when he slipped to the brink of evolution, she also witnessed his transformation into a falcon, the symbol of Horus United.
Sophie’s quest to save Marek is further complicated when rock star Dierk Adeluf – who also happens to be the king of the Werekind – invites her backstage after a concert. Just when it seems she will find respite from heartache, Sophie is bitten by a werewolf and Dierk decides she is destined to be his queen.
Sophie is caught between the demivamps she loves and the Were who commands her to love him. Throw in his jealous wanna-be girlfriend—a true bitch if ever there was one—and an ambush by witches, and there you have the big mess that Sophie calls her life. And, hello? Her soul mate is still a bird.
The man sitting across from me absolutely hated himself.
I didn't need to unzip my barriers to make that assessment. The way his shoulders crept up his neck, the curve of his back that left his face parallel to his thighs, the way he avoided looking at me or anyone else—body language said it all. And when he did finally raise his too-heavy head to look at me, his eyes were stony and hollow, too dead to even care what anyone saw in them.
He wore his self-loathing the way I wished I wore Jimmy Choos—right out there for the whole world to see. Difference was, he didn't care who looked.
I glanced at the Demivamp who hovered behind him like a first-year teacher. She toyed with the end of her braid and looked ready to throw herself onto him if need be. Maybe he was a flight risk. Maybe he was a danger to himself.
Maybe he was a danger to me. In that case, the other DV wasn't necessary. I didn't worry so much about myself anymore. I'd learned a thing or two about staying alive.
Not to mention, I had an entire courtroom full of DV that perched on the semi-circles of benches, elbow to elbow, each waiting their turn with the Sophia. I knew full well every single one of them would fling themselves between me and whatever peril might arise here.
I was well-guarded. Perks of being a national treasure.
I flicked my gaze up to the DV who stood behind my client, dismissing her. Once she took her place in the audience, I sank into my Sophia sight. Finding my center, I called up my barriers, peeling away the outermost layer and expanding it until it encompassed us both in an invisible but completely soundproof bubble.
A nifty little trick I'd learned since Dorcas removed the last remaining obstacles between me and my power. She hadn't been much of a dresser and had a weird thing for vampires, not to mention acting like the scariest damned thing I'd ever seen, but I had to hand it to her. She'd done me a solid.
When the barrier went up around us, there was a little ear-pop of sensation. He seemed to notice me then. His eyes took up a pale light, gleaming like the teeth he hid behind the disdainful curl of his lips. His power seethed out like the odor of a hot dumpster—the feel of it decayed and ugly and absolutely desperate.
I smiled, grim and hard. This guy might be the farthest gone DV I'd ever meet. He was going to be a challenge.
I decided to start the same way I always did, knowing this one might not end the same way. "What's your name?"
He stared me down for several moments. "You want my current name or the one that's waiting for me?"
Obviously, he was referring to the name change that happened when a DV Fell. Vampires never kept their DV names. All part of the whole born-again (dead-again?) persona of a newly-minted vamp.
"You have one name," I said, my voice like tungsten. "And you're going to keep it."
"Like you can stop me."
I smiled again, glad I had chosen to wear lip gloss because my mouth was so dry, my lips would have split without it. "I can. And I will."
"Look, lady." He leaned forward, elbows on his knees. The pale light in his dark eyes looked like an early hard frost on a green lawn. Untimely end of a sweet season. "I know who you are, and I know what you do. Sometimes, you just gotta let nature take its course."
"This isn't nature. This is self-punishment."
He smiled, open-mouthed to show all his teeth. Sharp, elongated, a mouth full of knives. A vamp's mouth. "And I earned every single minute of it."
Okay. Tough guy. Proud of the shitty things he's done. That was part of the thrill of being so close to Falling. Kind of like passing over the event horizon into a black hole, when one part of you accelerates faster than the rest. His soul was a ragged plastic bag caught on a tree branch, waiting for the last big wind to come along.
His heart had already flown loose. In his heart, he was a vampire.
Well, his body was still here, and his soul was still here, and I was still here. He was in for a surprise.
I surveyed his power, using Sophia-sight to visualize it. It was dark, like cooling lava, black and cracked and sullen red showing through the seams. The black crust was his resignation. He'd stopped fighting. But maybe he just needed the right sparring partner.
How did you get rid of hard, black cooling lava? Why, you heat it up, of course. Nothing got a man hotter than his temper.
Well, that wasn't exactly true. There were other things, but that wasn't my brand of therapy.
I pushed through his brittle ugly shell into the lava beneath, then through the lava to his inner core. It was tiny, but it was cool, and green, and still had the essence of who he used to be. His feelings were still packed away inside and I latched onto it, expanded it, examined it. Family. He had kids. A job. He'd been a lawyer, and a good one. He was proud of what he'd done—in the beginning.
Ah. That's where it started to turn. I sifted along the line of those memories and found the point when he started fighting for the bad guys.
"A dirty lawyer?" I snorted and rolled my eyes. "There's a shock. Your parents must be so proud."
He growled and dug his fingers into his thighs. "Shut up."
"No wonder you turned into this." I waved my fingers at him as if I were calling out a Coach bag knock-off at a street vendor. "I thought you were going to say you ate babies or something but a corrupt lawyer? That's sick."
Rage filled him like a burning warehouse, the fury consuming his power. If it weren't for my personal shields, I'd have been incinerated. The fire of his anger melted the hard shell of his former apathy and he became a miniature sun of murderous intent.
He wanted to end me, wanted nothing more than to get his hands on me.
I beat him to it.
With the flick of a mental finger, I opened the door in my mind where all the bad stuff went. It was like a vacuum in there and once it was open, it just sucked at his power, the ugly, the hate, and the agony he'd surrounded himself with. I pulled.
It hurt. It hurt me, it was like sandpaper on the eyes and it hurt him. He howled as I ripped away all the fury of his self-loathing and hate.
Normally, I did this in steps, gently, kind of a leeching away. Not this guy. I had to over-power him because at this stage, he could just grow it all back. Vampires were infinite wells of hate and evil and this guy was so damned close.
His howl became a roar and he made a lunge for me. I slid a ramrod of my shields at him and held him at a mental arm's length. He struggled to reach me, his clawed hands inches from my eyes and if he got to me, if he reached me, he'd tear my throat out.
No, he wouldn't. I was stronger than that. I bit down on my lips and tasted the tang of blood and continued to strip his agony away.
This little man wasn't big enough to break me. I continued to pull away the damage of his soul, and sent a simultaneous stream of the Sophia into him, a cool mist against the acrid hate. His soul had been dried and withered and it soaked up the Sophia's healing rain, swelling and anchoring itself once more.
The fight was going out of him. He dropped his hands, fighting to breathe. Part of my brain screamed to stop, this was too much, too fast. But a part of my heart was intent on pushing the limits, almost wishing to break because maybe then—just maybe—I'd break past whatever unknown obstacle had been holding me back. Desperation drove me just as surely as it had driven him.
So I was relentless. I continued the pull and the push and I found myself standing over his slumped body. He'd slid down in his chair, head dropped against the back of the cushion, his eyes darkening into a deep green, like spring grass. And I didn't stop.
I didn't stop until he'd fallen to his knees before me, forehead pressed to my feet, crying and repeating words I couldn't hear because the Sophia was too much in control. My ears didn't work right when she was filling my head. I kind of got used to it.
When it was all gone, all the damage and the negativity and the self-hate, the Sophia pulled itself back, sealing the drain. Sound returned, and I could hear his labored breathing, his murmured chanting. My insides still felt raw. That would take a day or two to settle down.
I was aware the outer barrier was still up and I dispelled it. Another ear-pop and we were both submerged in a cacophony of applause and happy shouting. Several people rushed forward to embrace him, hugs for him, awkward hugs for me. I backed away from the jostling and let his family and friends bear him back to the seats. He beamed at me, incredulous joy and gratitude on his face.
And it didn't touch me at all.
I only had two thoughts. The first was: I had just gotten inside him, battled his demons, saved his soul, but I never learned his name. Maybe it was better that way. There were so many DV. I couldn't remember all their names and keep my sanity.
The second was: it hadn't been enough. He was, by far, the worst I'd encountered and it still wasn't enough. There had been no revelation, clue, no hint how to fix the one problem I needed to fix.
I'd come no closer to solving Marek's problem.
A terrible panic tried to grip me but I squashed it down. I swallowed hard and pinched myself and turned to the crowd. The entire group fell silent, hanging on my words.
"Another," I called. "Please. I need another."
And I continued to heal, and I continued to need, and I continued to fight the growing fear that in the end, I might save a million DV and still stand to lose the one I truly loved.
Another stepped forward, and after him another, and it was pushing dawn before I realized none of it had given me what I needed to save Marek.
I stared bleakly at the sea of hopeful faces. So many saves, so many solutions, all of it dwarfed in the shadow of my heart's crushing failure. All my exhaustion, all my despair, all of the raw edges inside me, seething with the scalds of so much negative energy, and all I could think was that I had to do this all again for the next envoy in three days' time.
Einstein's Definition of Insanity Sophie, that's me.
Ash Krafton writes because if she doesn't, her kids will…and NOBODY wants that. A speculative fiction girl through and through, Ash writes paranormal romance and urban fantasy novels as well as poetry and short fiction. Her work has won a bunch of awards and was even nominated for a Pushcart Prize. When she's not writing, she's practicing Tai Chi, listening to loud rock and metal, or crushing on supervillains.
Most recently, she's re-released her urban fantasy trilogy THE BOOKS OF THE DEMIMONDE because she never really left the world of Sophie and her Demivamps.
Worthy of Song and Story Stian the Viking SeriesBook One Neal Chase
Middle Grade Fantasy
Twelve year-old Stian’s plans to be The Greatest Viking Ever appear to be over before they even begin. He’s captured by Dahlia—a dark elf and a girl. If that wasn’t bad enough, he discovers he may be the son of Loki, the greatest enemy of the Viking gods and the one foretold to bring about the end of the world.
Knowing he is meant to be extraordinary, Stian decides to discover the truth for himself and free Loki from the clutches of Odin. Only then, will he discover who he is and what he is meant to do.
Stian must out-think, misguide, and defeat Thor’s children. To do this he will need the power of Gram—a sword with magical powers. There is one catch, only one pure of heart with the desire to help others, is worthy of wielding it. If Stian succeeds, he will become the world’s most famous Viking, but if he fails he will fall victim to the gods’ merciless justice.
Neal Chase lives in San Antonio, Texas, with his wife, two children, two dogs, and a bird, which strangely has the same name as his dad. He is a member of SCBWI and the Writers’ League of Texas. When he is not writing and reading, you can find Neal coaching football or adventuring with the help of his PlayStation.
The first time someone asked me why I wrote Worthy of Song and Story, I’m sure I had the deer in the headlights look. After stumbling through the answer, I realized it came down to wanting to write about something I enjoyed and a desire to entertain kids and hopefully get them to discover that reading can be fun.
Ever since I was a kid, Norse mythology fascinated me. Its stories are big, full of adventure, and largely not well known, which is great for story telling. I just needed to put my own twist on them. Not the same old Thor did this or Odin did that. I wanted a hero who saw the Viking world unlike anything seen in the traditional myths. Thus, Stian was born, a twelve year old wanna be Viking, desperate to show the world his greatness.
Now that I had a story idea, I wanted it to appeal to both boys and girls. With all of the options out there, tablets, youtube, video games, etc., it’s hard to encourage kids to read. If a book doesn’t grab them right away, they’ll put it down, Even if it does manage to get their attention, the book still needs to hold it all the way through. A couple boring chapters and goodbye book. And good luck trying to peel their hands away from the electronics next time.
Kids think a lot of the books they have to read for school are boring and because of this, many think all books are boring. Don’t believe me? Go ahead and ask them. They aren’t shy about telling how bad something is and how it’s a waste of time. I wanted to write something they actually wanted to read. Something to take them away from their normal day to day world. Kids face enough real life issues and troubles already, they need somewhere they can escape and their minds are free to wander and imagine. Magic, gods, giants, and Vikings are pretty hard to beat for that.
That is why I wrote Worthy of Song and Story. What kind of stories did you read and enjoy as a kid? What type of stories do you think will get kids to put down their electronics and read?
Detective Madison Knight Series
by Carolyn Arnold GENRE: Police Procedural/ mystery/suspense
Ties That Bind
When an isolated incident turns into a hunt for a serial killer, Detective Madison Knight is not going to back down—even if it pits her against her superiors
Book 1 in the series. The hunt for a serial killer begins…
Detective Madison Knight concluded the case of a strangled woman an isolated incident. But when another woman’s body is found in a park killed with the same brand of neckties, she realizes they’re dealing with something more serious.
Despite mounting pressure from the sergeant and the chief to close the case even if it means putting an innocent man behind bars, and a partner who is more interested in saving his marriage than stopping a potential serial killer, Madison may have to go it alone if the murderer is going to be stopped.
Ties that Bind, the first book in the series is FREE
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SOMEONE DIED EVERY DAY. Detective Madison Knight was left to make sense of it.
She ducked under the yellow tape and surveyed the scene. The white, two-story house would be deemed average any other day, but today the dead body inside made it a place of interest to the Stiles PD and the curious onlookers who gathered in small clusters on the sidewalk.
She’d never before seen the officer who was securing the perimeter, but she knew his type. The way he stood there—his back straight, one hand resting on his holster, the other gripping a clipboard—he was an eager recruit.
He held up a hand as she approached. “This is a closed crime scene.”
She unclipped her badge from the waist of her pants and held it up in front of him. He studied it as if it were counterfeit. She usually respected those who took their jobs seriously but not when she was functioning on little sleep and the humidity level topped ninety-five percent at ten thirty in the morning.
Her name died on her lips as Sergeant Winston stepped out of the house. She would have groaned audibly if he weren’t closing the distance between them so quickly. She preferred her boss behind his desk.
Winston gestured toward the young officer to let him know she was permitted to be on the scene. The officer glared at her before leaving his post. She envied the fact that he could walk away while she was left to speak with the sarge.
“It’s about time you got here.” Winston fished a handkerchief out of a pocket and wiped at his receding hairline. The extra few inches of exposed forehead could have served as a solar panel. “I was just about to assign the lead to Grant.”
Terry Grant was her on-the-job partner of five years and three years younger than her thirty-four. She’d be damned if Terry was put in charge of this case.
“Where have you been?” Winston asked.
She jacked a thumb in the rookie’s direction. “Who’s the new guy?”
“Don’t change the subject, Knight.”
She needed to offer some sort of explanation for being late. “Well, boss, you know me. Up all night slinging back shooters.”
“Don’t get smart with me.”
She flashed him a cocky smile and pulled out a Hershey’s bar from one of her front pants pocket. The chocolate had already softened from the heat. Not that it mattered. She took a bite.
“What are you doing here, anyway?” she asked with her mouth partially full.
“The call came in, I was nearby, and thought someone should respond.” His leg caught the tape as he tried to step over it to the sidewalk and he hopped on the other leg to adjust his balance. He continued speaking as if he hadn’t noticed. “The body’s upstairs, main bedroom. She was strangled.” He pointed the tip of a key toward her. “Keep me updated.” He pressed a button on his key fob and the department-issued SUV’s lights flashed. “I’ll be waiting for your call.”
As if he needed to say that. Sometimes she wondered if he valued talking more than taking action.
She took a deep breath. She could feel the young officer watching her, and she flicked a glance at him, now that the sergeant was gone. What was his problem? She took another bite of her candy bar.
“Too bad you showed. I think I was about to get the lead.”
Madison turned toward her partner’s voice. Terry was padding across the lawn toward her.
“I’d have to be the one dead for that to happen.” She smiled as she brushed past him.
“You look like crap.”
Her smile faded. She stopped walking and turned around. Every one of his blond hairs were in place, making her self-conscious of her short, wake-up-and-wear-it cut. His cheeks held a healthy glow, too, no doubt from his two-mile morning run. She hated people who could do mornings.
“What did you get? Two hours of sleep?” Terry asked.
“Three, but who’s counting?” She took another large bite of the chocolate. It was almost a slurp with how fast the bar was melting.
“You were up reviewing evidence from the last case again, weren’t you?”
She wasn’t inclined to answer.
“You can’t change the past.”
She wasn’t hungry anymore and wrapped up what was left of the chocolate. “Let’s focus on this case.”
“Fine, if that’s how it’s going be. Victim’s name is Laura Saunders. She’s thirty-two. Single. Officer Higgins was the first on scene.”
Higgins? She hadn’t seen him since she arrived, but had been her training officer. He still worked in that capacity for new recruits. Advancing in the ranks wasn’t important to him. He was happy making a difference where he was stationed.
Terry continued. “Call came in from the vic’s employer, Southwest Welding Products, where she worked as the receptionist.”
“What would make the employer call?”
“She didn’t show for her shift at eight. They tried reaching her first, but when they didn’t get an answer, they sent a security officer over to her house. He found the door ajar and called downtown. Higgins was here by eight forty-five.”
“The security officer?”
“Yeah.” Apparently they finished each other’s sentences now.
“Terrence Owens. And don’t worry. We took a formal statement and let him go. Background showed nothing, not even a speeding ticket. We can function when you’re not here.”
She cocked her head to the side.
“He also testifies to the fact that he never stepped one foot in the place.” Terry laughed. “He said he’s watched enough cop dramas to know that it would contaminate the crime scene. You get all these people watching those stupid TV shows, and they think they can solve a murder.”
“So is Owens the one who made the formal call downtown, then?” Madison asked.
“Actually, procedure for them is to route everything through the company administration. A Sandra Butler made the call. She’s the office manager.”
“So an employee is even half an hour late for work and they send someone to your house?”
“She said it’s part of their safety policy.”
“At least they’re a group of people inclined to think positively.” She rolled her eyes. Sweat droplets ran down her back. Gross. She moved toward the house.
The young officer scurried over. He shoved his clipboard under his arm and tucked his pen behind his ear. He pointed toward the chocolate bar still in her hand. “You can’t take that in there.”
She glanced down. Chocolate oozed from a corner of the wrapper. He was right. She handed the package to him, and he took it with two pinched fingers.
She patted his shoulder. “Good job.”
He walked away with the bar dangling from his hand, mumbling something indiscernible. “You can be so wicked sometimes,” Terry said.
“Why, thank you.” She was tempted to take a mini bow but resisted the urge.
“It wasn’t a compliment. And since when do you eat chocolate for breakfast?”
“Oh shut up.” She punched him in the shoulder. He smirked and rubbed his arm. Same old sideshow. She headed into the house with him on her heels.
“The stairs are to the right,” Terry said.
“Holy crap, it’s freezing in here.” The sweat on her skin chilled her. It was a refreshing welcome.
“Yep, a hundred and one outside, sixty inside.”
When she was two steps from the top of the staircase, Terry said, “And just a heads-up—this is not your typical strangulation.”
“Come on, Terry. You’ve seen one, you’ve—” She stopped abruptly when she reached the bedroom doorway. Terry was right.
It’s Christmastime, and this year murder doesn’t take a holiday. The killing of a woman leads detective Madison Knight in many directions to find a killer. Book 2 in the series. Madison Knight should have ignored the call. Now she is spending Christmas Eve dealing with her least favorite thing…blood and lots of it. When a female victim is found in her home, it has Madison and her partner tapping into the vic's personal life. With a rash of former business partners and lovers, all of whom wanted her dead, there are not enough hours to question them all.
But trying to find the person who had the most motive isn't all that's on Madison's mind. As she struggles to establish balance in her own life, she knows she has to get her focus back. Justice requires it.
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Detective Madison Knight will need to call upon her tenacity when the murder victim is the son of a local businessman who is “in bed” with the police chief.
Book 3 in the series. Finding justice comes at a high price…
When the son of business tycoon Marcus Randall, washes up on the shore of the Bradshaw River, Detective Madison Knight must sacrifice everything including her career to find justice for the "perfect murder."
With Marcus Randall already on the radar of the Secret Service for fraud and counterfeiting, the investigation sheds new light and they require the full co-operation of the Stiles PD. But with power and money to back him, Marcus has a reach that extends right inside the police department.
If Madison's going to find out the truth, she'll have to sort through the lies and balance diplomacy with politics.
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In trying to solve a new murder, Detective Madison Knight may have to dishonor the blue wall of silence when findings in a past case are called into question.
Book 4 in the series Sometimes the pursuit of justice becomes personal…
There's one code when it comes to the wall of blue…and Madison Knight may have to cross it.
Any good cop knows you never report a brother for mishandling a case or accuse him of misconduct, but in order to find justice, Madison may not have a choice.
Lacy Rose had one goal for her twentieth birthday--to be found innocent of past sins--but her life is cut short.
When Lacy's remains are found in a garden and the investigation becomes connected to a closed case, Madison must face her past. The lead detective on that case was Madison's ex-fiancé. At the risk of jeopardizing departmental relationships, and churning up the attention of an old flame at the same time, Madison must push hard before the guilty are found innocent.
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Detective Madison Knight’s obsession with a cold case comes to a deadly conclusion. With a rising body count, Madison finds out her own life is at risk.
Book 5 in the series. Sometimes cold cases are deadly…
The past threatens the future and puts Detective Madison Knight's life in danger.
A cold case pits Madison against the Russian Mafia, but things take a swift turn when the unthinkable happens—a new threat arises and has Madison hunting down an unknown killer.
While trying to make sense of the clues, bodies are piling up, and the brass is hungry for explanations. In addition, Madison must balance all of this while nursing an injury, talking out her emotions with a therapist—a bureaucratic necessity—answering to an eager journalist, and facing an internal affairs investigation.
As the answers come together, Madison narrows in on a possible link between the Russian Mafia and someone within the Stiles PD.
Will she have the courage to confront the person she believes is playing both sides, even though they hold a position of great power?
Things are about to be shaken up, and, for Madison, that means she just might have to let go of the past to embrace her future.
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Three murders occur within the span of twenty-four hours, but Detective Madison Knight is adamant they’re not looking for a serial killer. But can she prove it?
Book 6 in the series. Looks aren’t the only things that can be deceiving…
When a sixty-eight-year-old woman is found dead outside the hospital in a wheelchair with an anti-abortion sign strapped to its back, Detective Madison Knight expects it to be an open-and-shut case. On the surface, there are no signs of foul play, but the deeper she digs, the more convoluted the homicide becomes. And when two more bodies appear, including those of a girl just barely old enough to drink and a homeless man, the direct links between the three murders are anything but simple.
Without a consistent MO, Madison doesn’t buy that a serial killer is on the loose, despite the conviction with which her ex-fiancé and fellow detective try to convince their superior. But Madison already has enough to juggle without having to defend her reputation. Debilitating flashbacks of being held hostage by the Russian Mafia mere months before haunt her on an almost daily basis, and the promises she made to herself while in captivity are becoming more and more difficult to keep. Learning to trust is hard enough without constant reminders of what destruction—fatal or otherwise—trusting the wrong person can cause.
Now, as both personal and professional friction within the department mounts, she and her partner, Terry, must figure out what motivation could span generations to cause someone to murder these people. But catching this killer is like grasping at straws, and grabbing the wrong one could mean losing not only her pride but also her boyfriend, her credibility, and her faith in humanity…
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In the Line of Duty
Slated for release September 29 2016.
Book 7 in the series.
He devoted his life to seeking justice. But would she get any for him?
It was an ordinary day for police officer Barry Weir. It was the end of shift, he was tired, and he just wanted to get home to his wife and kids. But someone had other plans for him, shooting him down and forcing him to make the ultimate sacrifice.
When news of Weir’s murder reaches the department, it leaves Detective Madison Knight and every cop in the Stiles PD itching for revenge. It cuts Madison’s boyfriend, colleague, and Weir’s childhood friend, Troy Matthews, deepest of all, driving him away from everyone he loves just when they need one another the most.
With evidence pointing to a gang-related drive-by, Madison and her team investigate the town’s seedy underbelly in search of justice for their fallen brother. But the deeper they dig, the more convoluted the case becomes. Now they need to figure out if this was a random shooting as part of a gang initiation, a straight-up hate crime, or a targeted kill. But with members of the Stiles PD under attack, they have to do it fast…before more officers pay with their lives.
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CAROLYN ARNOLD is an international best-selling and award-winning author, as well as a speaker, teacher, and inspirational mentor. She has four continuing fiction series—Detective Madison Knight, Brandon Fisher FBI, McKinley Mysteries, and Matthew Connor Adventures—and has written nearly thirty books. Her genre diversity offers her readers everything from cozy to hard-boiled mysteries, and thrillers to action adventures.
Both her female detective and FBI profiler series have been praised by those in law enforcement as being accurate and entertaining, leading her to adopt the trademark: POLICE PROCEDURALS RESPECTED BY LAW ENFORCEMENT™.
Carolyn was born in a small town and enjoys spending time outdoors, but she also loves the lights of a big city. Grounded by her roots and lifted by her dreams, her overactive imagination insists that she tell her stories. Her intention is to touch the hearts of millions with her books, to entertain, inspire, and empower.
She currently lives just west of Toronto with her husband and beagle and is a member of Crime Writers of Canada.
This is the perfect book series for fans of Law & Order, CSI, Blue Bloods, Rizzoli & Isles, Women’s Murder Club, and Hawaii Five-O. Read in any order or follow the series from the beginning: Ties That Bind, Justified, Sacrifice, Found Innocent, Just Cause, Deadly Impulse, In the Line of Duty, Life Sentence (Bonus Prequel).
You can also visit the author’s McKinley Mysteries Series page: http://carolynarnold.net/detective-madison-knight-series/
What inspired you to write this book?
My love for law enforcement served as my inspiration for writing In the Line of Duty. I wanted to show the human side of policing, let readers go inside the police force and really see what it is like for them when they lose a fellow officer. I wanted to show the world that police are people, too. That they have dreams and hopes and they experience emotion just like the rest of us.
Detective Madison Knight and her colleagues face the loss of a brother when one of their own is gunned down in the line of duty. They must deal with their grief while working to find the killer, and this heartbreak tears some relationships apart while it strengthens others. Just as is the case in real life, the loss of someone we care about has far-reaching effects and elicits different reactions. In the Line of Duty shows this spectrum of human emotion.
And in light of what’s happening on the world stage, the topic of violence against police is especially pertinent right now. We have people targeting police and killing them. Some feel that the police take liberties or have made the wrong decisions—and sure there are some bad cops—but most are on the streets because they have a love for people and a desire to make a positive difference in this world. It’s out of a deep-seated love and respect for these law enforcement officers that compelled me to not only write In the Line of Duty but to dedicate this book to all who serve, have served, and in memory of those who have made the ultimate sacrifice.
Synopsis: Colliding with a prince while walking four dogs isn’t how Rowan Palotay pictured meeting royalty, but then lately her life hasn’t gone according to plan. With one teensy tiny mistake, her job as a news reporter took a turn for the worse and now she’s lucky to have a small pet column in the local newspaper. Christmas is supposed to be a time of joy and magic, but she feels like she’s forever stuck on the naughty list.Prince Theodore Chenery is in Marietta shortly after the death of his mother to meet his grandparents for the first time. When an accidental run-in—literally—with Rowan leads to an unexpected friendship, he finds himself enchanted with the outspoken, feisty country girl. She’s unlike anyone he’s ever met and her special brand of kindness and honesty make it harder and harder to keep temptation away.Giving into the passion and deep-rooted emotions between them, Theo and Rowan discover what matters most. But when their relationship makes worldwide news, Theo must decide whether or not to follow his heart or his royal duty.
ABOUT ROBIN BIELMAN
When not attached to her laptop, USA Today Bestselling Author Robin Bielman can almost always be found with her nose in a book. A California girl, the beach is her favorite place for fun and inspiration. Her fondness for swoon-worthy heroes who flirt and stumble upon the girl they can’t live without jumpstarts all of her story ideas.She is a 2014 RITA Finalist, loves to frequent coffee shops, and plays a mean game of sock tug of war with her cute, but often naughty dog, Harry. She cherishes her family and friends and loves to connect with readers. Get the scoop on Robin, her books, and sign up for her newsletter on her website at http://robinbielman.com.
Bottom of the Ninth: Seattle Skookums Baseball Game On in Seattle #6
By: Jami Davenport
Releasing October 21, 2016
This long-awaited story of the third Wolfe brother introduces the Seattle Skookums baseball team.
Zeke Wolfe, the man who’s written off his entire family, rescues a young woman and three children on a stormy Seattle night. Before he knows it, he has an instant family and a fake fiancé he’s certain he doesn’t want.
Paisley Madison dreams of having a real home for herself and her sister's children. When a handsome baseball player drops into her life, she knows a gift when she sees one and hires herself as his assistant.
As their business arrangement turns into something much more personal, Paisley and Zeke's pasts threaten to destroy their precarious hold on a future together. Can they conquer their demons and find love, or will they run from their pasts and abandon their future together?
He’d been traded to fucking Seattle.
Zeke Wolfe still couldn’t believe it, even though he’d made a few trips to the rainy city since the deed had been done, and he’d been wearing the Seattle blue and green during spring training.
Hell, he hadn’t come to terms with his new reality even as the Boeing 737 banked a steep turn to land at Sea-Tac Airport. He caught glimpses of Puget Sound and the Space Needle through the dark, oppressive clouds hanging over everything, including his life as of late.
Why did God hate him so much that he’d done this to him?
Truthfully, he probably didn’t hate Zeke. More likely, God didn’t know he existed. The big guy hadn’t been there for Zeke any more than his brothers had. At least he’d had his sister—until he didn’t have her anymore, either.
Zeke disembarked, hating the place that was his new home. It was bad enough he’d been yanked from sunny California to this dark, dreary place where the sun never shone and mold grew in every crack and crevice, but even worse, his brothers both lived here and played for Seattle’s professional hockey and football teams. Maybe God did hate him after all and was laughing his ass off at this latest cruel twist of fate.
Turning on his phone, he frowned as message notifications blipped across the screen. Them again. Why couldn’t they just leave him the hell alone? He’d just changed his number a month ago. Now he’d have to change it again.
Despite being irritated, Zeke put on his happy face in case anyone with a trigger finger on their cell camera happened to recognize him. Grabbing his bag from the baggage carousel, he found his recently purchased silver Jaguar F-PACE SUV, parked exactly where Al, his agent, promised it would be. The bastard was thorough. He’d give him that.
Relaxing into the plush leather seat, Zeke allowed himself a moment of forced calmness, then he pulled onto the wet streets. He listened to the GPS as he navigated to the house his agent had also bought for him in a quiet Seattle neighborhood of older but upscale homes. Al promised the house boasted views, views, and more views. Zeke didn’t give a shit about views right now, but he’d kill for something more substantial than airplane food, along with a blissful night’s sleep.
He stopped at a takeout place and grabbed a couple pizzas, before continuing his journey. The aroma of pepperoni and melted cheese merged with the new-car smell. His stomach growled, and he pressed harder on the accelerator.
Cutting the corner as he turned onto a side street, Zeke hit a deep mud puddle, hydroplaning and throwing water in all directions, including his windshield.
Shit. He couldn’t see a damn thing.
Slowing, he noticed a bedraggled woman standing on the sidewalk completely drenched—thanks to him. The hood of her ancient car was up, and she held the hands of two equally bedraggled and drenched little kids while a third stood nearby.
Judging by their piece-of-shit car piled high with crap, they were probably homeless. He fully intended to drive on by. They weren’t his problem. At the last minute, he made the mistake of glancing in their direction. His gaze connected with the pleading, soulful brown eyes of the woman. She was young, but not too young; probably his age, yet way too young to have children this old unless she’d had them when she was just a kid herself.
Despite her miserable state, she was beautiful, with long blond hair and a cute figure. She looked like the girl next door, sweet and kind and needy.
Zeke so did not do needy.
Well, not too much. At least, not to the point he couldn’t extricate himself without some messy drama to go along with the neediness.
With a sigh, Zeke glanced at the time and pulled over. Pizza and sleep would have to wait a little longer because of his damn pesky conscience.
USA Today Bestselling Author Jami Davenport writes sexy contemporary and sports romances, including her two new indie endeavors: the Game On in Seattle Series and the Madrona Island Series. Jami's new releases consistently rank in the top fifty on the sports romance and sports genre lists on Amazon, and she has hit the Amazon top hundred authors list in both contemporary romance and genre fiction multiple times. Jami ranked Number Seven on Kobo's Top Ten Most Completed Authors, an honor bestowed on the year's "most engaging" authors based on an average page completion rate by their readers.