Category Archives: Fantasy

Cover Reveal: Breaking Bad Anthology

COVER REVEAL

Book Title: Breaking Bad
Authors: A.M. Griffin, Billy London, Bridget Midway, Caitlin Dare, Eve Vaughn, Koko Brown, LaQuette, Nia Foxx, S.W. Frank, Sharon Cooper, Shyla Colt, Theodora Taylor, Victoria H. Smith, Xyla Turner
Genre:Contemporary, Time Travel/Fantasy, Sci-Fi, Paranormal, Sports Romance, Romantic Suspense
Release Date: July 11, 2017
Hosted by: Book Enthusiast Promotions

book blurb

Nice guys finish first, said no one ever. But we guarantee you’ll finish this collection filled with dark and dangerous alphas who obey no one, play by their own rules, and least of all allow anything to come between them and what they desire most. Download these 14 tales of Lawless Love and you’ll never look at thieves, hit men, bounty hunters or ex-cons the same way again. Break bad and our sexy-as-sin bad boys will steal your heart.

Follow the Authors

AM Griffen: Website | Facebook | Twitter

Billy London: Twitter | Website | Newsletter

Bridget Midway: Facebook | Website | Twitter

Caitlin Dare: Facebook | Goodreads

Eve Vaughn: Website | Facebook | Twitter

Koko Brown: Website | Facebook | Twitter

LaQuette: Website | Facebook | Twitter

Nia Foxx: Website | Facebook | Goodreads

S.W. Frank: Website | Twitter | Facebook

Sharon Cooper: Website | Facebook | Twitter

Shyal Colt: Website | Facebook | Twitter

Theodora Taylor: Website | Facebook | Goodreads

Victoria Smith: Website | Facebook | Twitter

Xyla Turner: Website | Facebook | Twitter

500x500 BEP Square

 

If you liked this post say thanks by sharing it!

Release Day: THE PINE FOREST By Michelle Dare

One touch, one spark, two lives forever changed.

Pine and Azure. The war between the two kingdoms lasted far too long. Peace was finally established, but the survivors would never forget who fought on the front lines. Oliver Sage had a reputation for being a ruthless knight. He’d seen enough death to last a lifetime and worked on putting the past behind him, although not all would let him forget.

Addison was the only daughter of King and Queen Azure. With three brothers, she knew she’d always be protected, but she also wanted to learn how to take care of herself. She was strong, had a good heart, and wanted to be treated as an equal. Magical abilities ran in her family, and she had one no one knew of.

Oliver had given his heart to one princess, until the night he dreamed of another. Addison was the last woman he should desire, especially given who she was. However, what if she wanted him as well? They’d hated each other their entire lives, but suddenly couldn’t resist the desire which built between them. There were also those who didn’t think they should be together. Forbidden romance could only stay hidden for so long in the dark depths of the Pine Forest.

Amazon US I Amazon UK I B&N I iBooks I Kobo

Book One

Amazon US I Amazon UK I B&N I iBooks I Kobo

Michelle Dare is a romance author. Her stories range from sweet to sinful and from new adult to fantasy. There aren’t enough hours in the day for her to write all of the story ideas in her head. When not writing or reading, she’s a wife and mom living in eastern Pennsylvania. One day she hopes to be writing from a beach where she will never have to see snow or be cold again.

If you liked this post say thanks by sharing it!

Sunrise Over Brasov by Stephanie Burkhart

mbb_tourbanner_sunriseoverbrasov

Welcome to my stop for SUNRISE OVER BRASOV by Stephanie Burkhart.  Stephanie will be awarding a $10 Amazon or B/N GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour. You can follow the tour here: http://goddessfishpromotions.blogspot.com/2016/11/book-blast-sunrise-over-brasov-by.html

a Rafflecopter giveaway

bookcover_sunriseoverbrasov

BLURB:

Rosa Getzi lives a life of intrigue at Poiana Brasov with Clement, a werewolf, and Cassandra, the witch. Her past doesn’t matter to her – until she discovers what it holds.

Prince Michael Sigmaringen joins his sister-in-law, Caroline, and the vampire prince, Darius, in a daring rescue, igniting Rosa’s desire to find her family. However, all is not as it appears. Rickard, Rosa’s friend, escapes with her. Clement will go to any lengths to get Rosa and Rickard back.

At Darius’ fortress, Michael soon discovers Rickard is a new breed of werewolf – one who can control the change, and Clement hopes to exploit Rickard’s abilities.

Michael’s courage, strengths, and convictions will be tested like never before. Can Michael and Rosa find true happiness and the rid the lupine haunting of the Sigmaringens once and for all?

Excerpt:

 The door flung open and a man stepped into her room. Who was he? The vaguely familiar scent of sandalwood and pine filled her senses. Her heartbeat spiked, but she held her ground and set her chin, determined not to show him an ounce of fear.

There was no denying his masculinity. He was tall and his massive shoulders filled out the cloak he wore. Shadows enveloped most of his features, but she could make out his penetrating amber-hazel eyes through the darkness. A soft gasp escaped her.

He raised his hand and lowered his hood. An inherent strength filled his profile. Confidence. Concern. Relief.

Rosa’s breath jammed in her throat. He looked familiar. He smelled familiar.

“Rosa, it’s Michael. Let’s go.”

“I’m not going anywhere with you.”

A frown set against his rugged features. “I don’t have time to argue — now put on a warm dress and cloak.”

“No.” She was not going anywhere with him despite the relief in his voice.

He sighed and shut the door. Moving with fluid grace, he crossed the room, jerked the

door to her closet open and threw the items he wanted her to wear on her bed. “Get. Dressed.”

“No.” She was determined not to budge, despite the danger outside.

“Rosa, we’re leaving.”

“I’m staying.”

“Why would you want to stay? Clement kidnapped you.”

Disconcerted, she pointedly glanced away from his hard stare. What did he mean by kidnapped? Clement didn’t keep her behind bars and feed her only bread and water. Rosa could even go into Brasov to shop as long as Lucien or one of the bodyguards went with her.

“I’m going to take you back to your mother.”

 

authorphoto_sunriseoverbrasov

AUTHOR Bio and Links:

Author Bio: Stephanie Burkhart is a 911 dispatcher for LAPD.  She was born and raised in Manchester, New Hampshire.  After serving 11 years in the US Army she currently calls Castaic, California her home. Stephanie was married in Denmark in 1991 and has two young sons. She adores chocolate, is addicted to coffee and enjoys early morning walks.  She’s also an assistant den leader for her son’s Cub Scout den and is a Boy Scout mom. She writes paranormal, contemporary, and steampunk romance and has two children’s books published with 4RV Publishing.

FIND ME ON THE WEB AT:

WEBSITE:

http://www.stephanieburkhart.com

TWITTER:

http://twitter.com/StephBurkhart

FACEBOOK:

https://www.facebook.com/StephanieBurkhartAuthor

GOOD READS:

http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/4031660.Stephanie_Burkhart

YOU TUBE CHANNEL:

http://www.youtube.com/user/botrina?feature=mhee

PINTEREST:

http://pinterest.com/sgburkhart/

BUY LINKS FOR SUNRISE OVER BRASOV:

AMAZON: Sunrise Over Brasov (Moldavian Moon Book 3)

BARNES & NOBLE:http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/moldavian-moon-book-three-stephanie-burkhart/1116009842?ean=2940148123552

DESERT BREEZE PUBLISHING:http://www.desertbreezepublishing.com/moldavian-moon-book-three-sunrise-over-brasov-epub/

ALL ROMANCE EBOOKS:https://www.allromanceebooks.com/product-moldavianmoonbookthreesunriseoverbrasov-1230728-162.html

If you liked this post say thanks by sharing it!

The Wolf’s Torment by Stephanie Burkhart

mbb_tourbanner_thewolfstorment

Welcome to my stop for THE WOLF’S TORMENT by Stephanie Burkhart.  Stephanie will be awarding a $10 Amazon or B/N GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour.  You can follow the tour here: http://goddessfishpromotions.blogspot.com/2016/10/book-blast-wolfs-torment-by-stephanie.html

a Rafflecopter giveaway

mediakit_bookcover_thewolfstorment

The Wolf’s Torment by Stephanie Burkhart
BLURB:

It’s 1865 and Moldavia is a country nestled against the shores of the Black Sea. Lady Theresa travels from Austria to this country that’s haunted by tales of vampires and werewolves. She’s going to marry the Crown Prince, but she harbors her own unspoken secrets.

Prince Mihai has just returned to Moldavia to discover he’s a witch. He’s intent on being a good husband and modernizing his country, but he must find a balance with his supernatural heritage. His best friend, Viktor, accompanies Mihai and marries Mihai’s sister. In an unfortunate twist of fate, a werewolf bites Viktor.

Viktor’s transformation threatens everyone around him, including his wife’s safety and Mihai’s happiness, but he’s especially dangerous when he’s near Theresa. Can Mihai save his family from Viktor’s lies and deceptions?

 

Excerpt:

“Introducing Austrian Duke, Georg von Kracken, and his daughters, Ladies Theresa and Beatrice.”

All the eyes in the ballroom turned on Theresa. The weight of the silence fell onto her shoulders. Why did it feel like she had an itch on her nose that under no circumstances she should scratch right now, though she was tempted.

Her father placed his hand in the small of her back and escorted her right up to the Moldavian royal family. King Stelian stood in the middle, Princess Sonia was on his left, and Prince Mihai was to his right.

She lightly nipped at her lower lip with her teeth. Her dream had done Prince Mihai no justice. He stood straight and tall, his stance emphasizing the force of his thighs and the slimness of his hips. His body was beautifully proportioned with dark, smoldering green eyes framing his handsome face. What firm lips he had. She tried hard not to stare at him, but his good looks had totally captured her attention.

Her father tapped her lightly against her back. Damn. She had to curtsey. Lowering her eyes, she did just that. Beatrice curtsied as well.

“King Stelian, Crown Prince Mihai, Princess Sonia, may I introduce you to my daughters, Theresa and Beatrice.”

Theresa’s gaze swept over Mihai. His red, rich lips curved into a smile and he took her hand, placing a delicate kiss on her knuckles. A pleasant wave of heat slid up her arm and she took a quick breath to steady herself.

“Lady Theresa, you are more beautiful in person than in a dream.” Mihai’s wonderfully deep voice warmed her to her toes.

“Thank you, Your Majesty.”

mediakit_authorphoto_thewolfstorment

AUTHOR Bio and Links:

 Stephanie Burkhart is a 911 dispatcher for LAPD.  She was born and raised in Manchester, New Hampshire.  She served 11 years in the US Army and currently calls Castaic, California her home. Stephanie was married in Denmark in 1991 and has two young sons. She adores chocolate and is addicted to coffee.  She writes paranormal, contemporary, and steampunk romance and has two children’s books published with 4RV Publishing.

FIND ME ON THE WEB AT:

WEBSITE:  http://www.stephanieburkhart.com

TWITTER:  http://twitter.com/StephBurkhart

FACEBOOK: https://www.facebook.com/StephanieBurkhartAuthor

GOOD READS: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/4031660.Stephanie_Burkhart

YOU TUBE CHANNEL:  http://www.youtube.com/user/botrina?feature=mhee

PINTEREST:  http://pinterest.com/sgburkhart/

Buy Links for The Wolf’s Torment:

AMAZON KINDLE: The Wolf’s Torment (Moldavian Moon Book 1)

BARNES & NOOK NOOK: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/moldavian-moon-book-one-stephanie-burkhart/1031031928?ean=2940012459787&itm=2&usri=stephanie%2bburkhart

ALL ROMANCE BOOKS: http://www.allromanceebooks.com/product-moldavianmoonbookonethewolf039storment-544310-139.html

PUBLISHER’S LINK: http://stores.desertbreezepublishing.com/-strse-163/Stephanie-Burkhart-Moldavian-Moon/Detail.bok

 

 

If you liked this post say thanks by sharing it!

Cover Reveal: Saint’s Row (Book 1) By Elizabeth Blair

 

saints-row-cover

Saint’s Row by Elizabeth Blair

Rich, powerful, and deadly, the Saints serve as guardians for New Orleans, keeping the precarious balance between light and dark. Returning to the city after a self-imposed exile, Cael Saint throws himself into his work to try and drown out the tormented visions in his past. Light magic, dark magic, desperate humans with broken souls…he believed he’d seen it all. Then he met her.

Fiery and untamed, Becca Riley seemed the perfect one night stand to match Cael’s relentless nature. Striding into the local bar, she was confident, passionate, and sexy as hell. But what he took for drunken lust soon spirals into emotional chaos when he realizes she has secrets of her own…secrets that could destroy everything he has sworn to protect.

In a city where magic and humanity intertwine, neither a saint nor a sinner is safe.

saints-row-book-1-3d-cover

Excerpt:

“Becca, you catch one Saint, you catch us all. Just remember that, okay?”

“What the hell does that even mean?”

He stepped closer, his hand light on my arm. “It means, we don’t share. So don’t make a drunken mistake that ruins your chance to get the Saint you really want.”

“Did you just call me a whore, Ethan?” I laughed. “The more I get to know you-”

“No, Becca. I know you’re hurting. I know you are hiding things from Sarah, and I know it wasn’t just drunk hormones flooding through you when you were in Cael’s arms last night. So just don’t make a mistake you’ll regret.”

“Ever my big brother,” I grumbled. “Thank you for the concern. Now go take care of my sister before she makes a mistake that you’ll regret.”

His eyes flashed to the bar where Sarah was leaning hard on the shoulder of some stranger, her giggling voice echoing. “Damned Riley women will be the death of all of us,” he chuckled then kissed my cheek before setting off to retrieve her.

I turned, slipping a fluted glass off the tray of a passing waiter. Just as I lifted the glass, my eyes found Cael. He was across the room, deep in feigned conversation, and he pursed his lips at me. I sighed and traded the champagne for a bottle of water. I tipped it his direction, and he chuckled. Pride or arrogance…I wasn’t sure what emotion he was emanating, but it caused every tuxedo-clad Saint to turn my direction. Territorial. He was laying claim. A shiver of desire mixed with indignation ran up my spine and I exhaled. It was going to be a long fucking night.

I managed to stay around long enough to seem presentable and not undermine Sarah’s efforts. She was half toasted, but Ethan’s arm was tight around her waist, keeping her in check. He was doting on her, and I had to admit, it was cute. In a nauseating kind of way. He’d managed to slow her alcohol intake and get some food in her before she could end up like the rest of the revelers. Drunk on free liquor and high on whatever being offered in the private back rooms, the guests would never notice my escape but, no matter how long I waited, there was always a sober Saint in my periphery. When an old grandfather clock chimed one a.m., my last bit of patience evaporated and I made a break for the seclusion of the upper decks. Saint bodyguards be damned.

“You’ve stayed sober.”

I didn’t bother to turn but waved my water bottle Cael’s direction. “Sadly, yes.”

He slipped to the railing and traded my bottle for a champagne flute. “Your anxiety is blaring through our brains like bad zydeco music so, please, have a drink before we all go insane.”

I laughed but swallowed the drink. He poured me another, loosening his tie as he watched me finish it as well. “You know this area isn’t safe. It’s off limits until the refurbishment is complete. There are signs everywhere. Chains even.”

“I’ve always found off limits to be a vague term worth investigating.”

“You would.” He refilled my glass once more before putting the bottle aside and leaning against the railing beside me. “You aren’t much for socializing, hm?”

“Not this week. Do I need to worry about Ethan’s newfound fascination with my sister?”

“I don’t think it’s newfound. Her name was on his lips the moment I returned to the city. Do you think you need to worry?”

“Despite the things I don’t know, there are several I do. You aren’t actually related, you all have an uncanny knack for intervening in the worst trouble in the city, and I have watched at least one of you Saint boys crush a man’s larynx with a single hand. So, I repeat, do I need to worry for my sister’s safety?

“I take offense to the term boys, but no, you do not.”

Taking my arm, he slipped it to balance on the railing, his fingers tracing the veins up and down my forearm. I wanted to remain combative, but the move was too silky, too meditative, and I could only manage a soft plea. “Make me believe you.”

“We were all chosen for this job for different reasons, but the one thing in common was that we were all pretty useless human beings. We were guilty of being drug dealers, kiddie porn fans, abusers, sexual deviants or a million other lesser crimes. We were the parts of society people wish they could forget. Ethan is the exception. Ethan was in the seminary, on his way to becoming a priest. Illogically, he fell in love. Then she was viciously attacked on the night he intended to propose. His devastation was all consuming and, had the Saints not taken him when they did, he would have destroyed himself and anyone within a ten block radius. For love, Becca. So, no, there is no one on the planet less likely ever to hurt your sister.”

I stretched over, kissing tense muscle along his neck and staying there seconds longer than required so that I could inhale his scent…sunshine in the dead of night. “Thank you.”

“Were you afraid your sister is getting involved with a murderer?”

“I know she’s getting involved with a murderer. It’s more the drug dealer, kiddie porn, self-gratification thing that gives me pause.”

saintsrow_bookone

About the Author:

Elizabeth Blair writes dark, contemporary fiction with a modern twist to create novels where everyone wants to root for the bad guy. In addition to writing, she works as a rural librarian and holds positions in several state and national library associations. On a rare free weekend, she can be found riding the jeep trails near her home in the national forests or playing World of Warcraft with her family. You can keep up with her reading and writing at www.elizabethblairbooks.com

WebsiteTwitter

Instagram: @elizabethblairbooks

If you liked this post say thanks by sharing it!

Cover Reveal: KISS MY CROWN By Alexis Noelle

 

Kiss My Crown Cover Reveal
Releasing November 7th!
 
 

 


My name is Kate and I’m a princess. 
I had it all. Every little girl’s dream: Working as a princess in a theme park five days a week. Prince Charming and I really hit it off, until he hit every other princess in the park.
After beating him with his own sword I decided it was time to find a normal guy. I met one- or at least I thought I did. 
Now the princesses are snubbing me and the princes won’t even look at me. Worse, I’m about to be demoted to a fairy, which is like being sent to the seventh level of hell.
What do you do when the fairy tale ends?
When happily ever after sucks ass?

 

Amazon – http://amzn.to/2dXyRsP

Goodreads – http://bit.ly/2994sbX




Author Bio
Alexis Noelle lives in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania with her husband, and two kids. On top a writing career, she is a full-time student and a full-time mom. She loves spending time with her kids, although she has to hide the computer from them when she is writing! She loves being active and being outdoors, especially if it involves any kind of shopping.
She has always been passionate about writing. She loves to read romance books and feels like being able to lose yourself in a book is one of the more exciting aspects. The books she loves to read and write will be ones that make you feel for the characters. Alexis believes that you should have an opinion on every character in a book whether you love them, hate them, or think they are up to something.
She also believes that the most important critic is your reader, so she loves to hear from the readers. She wants her fans to be open & talk to her about what they want for the characters in the story, and what they would like to see happen.
 
Twitter – @_alexisnoelle_
Instagram – _alexisnoelle_
Snapchat – alexisnoelle01
Newsletterhttp://bit.ly/1T8MzWx
Goodreads – http://bit.ly/1vW0nib
Amazon Author Page http://amzn.to/1D7JIHb
Facebook Reader Group – http://bit.ly/1MSsYxF
Event Pre-order Formhttp://bit.ly/15B6oEG
Paperback Order Form http://bit.ly/1GVHkcD

 

If you liked this post say thanks by sharing it!

The Ever Fiend by Randy Ellefson

mbb-book-blast-the-ever-fiend

Welcome to my stop for The Ever Fiend by Randy Ellefson.  Randy will be awarding a $10 Amazon or B/N GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour. You can follow the tour here:  http://goddessfishpromotions.b logspot.com/2016/09/book-blast -ever-fiend-by-randy-ellefson. html

a Rafflecopter giveaway

mediakit_bookcover_theeverfiend

GENRE: Fantasy

~~~~~~~~~~~~~

BLURB:

Only a fool steals from a wizard.

Talon Stormbringer thought he knew the risk of stealing from Viland Shadowbreaker – until he got caught. The wizard will spare him if Talon performs a service – fetch the deadly silver elixir from the Everway, a supernatural land that Talon assumed wasn’t real. Only children believe the stories about what lies within – lost souls, corrupted magic items, and mysterious destinations that most people never escape. Ruling over it all is the Ever Fiend, a bogeyman that people use to scare unruly youngsters into behaving.

Talon agrees to go, if only to stop Viland from doing something unholy with the potent elixir once retrieved. Joining him are a band of people he can’t trust. Their leader, a sorelia with nefarious plans of his own. The sorelia’s battle-trained mynx, a large cat who obeys only its master. An alluring swordswoman who wants to enchant her blades with the elixir. A cocky guard whose bravado might prove more liability than asset. A warrior kryll whose curiosity about the elixir might cost him more than his life. And a tortured Knight of Coiryn who seeks redemption in a place where most are damned. Of all the things they might discover on their journey, one is the most obvious and yet the hardest to learn…

Excerpt

While most in Talendor slumbered, Talon Stormbringer crept through a hallway dark with flickering shadows, his human ears and eyes alert. He’d already slipped undetected past a jhaikan and a mynx, undeterred by their ferocity and taste for man-flesh. Even the dozen sleeping riven in the courtyard hadn’t given him pause, when even fully armored knights would have turned away. The little monsters were infamous for stirring at the slightest sound and waking to become like a whirling dervish of steel, not unlike what Talon himself could unleash from the sword he gripped in one hand.

Now he heard nothing, not even his own passage, the supple black leather pants and tunic he wore never squeaking as he crept toward the doorway and his prize—the gold figurine of a great bird of prey, said to be magical and worth a fortune. Stories in taverns had piqued his interest but also warned him of the dangers, the greatest of those being the wizard whose white tower he now prowled. Some said Viland Shadowbreaker enjoyed unsavory habits when few were looking, his public persona of benevolent charm masking a dark truth. But men with great secrets often hide things of greater importance than their private sins.

AUTHOR Bio and Links:

Randy Ellefson has written fantasy fiction since his teens and is an avid world builder, having spent three decades creating Llurien, which has its own website. He has a Bachelor’s of Music in classical guitar but has always been more of a rocker, having released several albums and earned endorsements from music companies. He’s a professional software developer and runs a consulting firm in the Washington D.C. suburbs. He’s married and loves spending time with his son and daughter when not writing, making music, or playing golf.

www.RandyEllefson.com

www.llurien.com

FREE eBook: http://fiction.randyellefson.com/freebook/

Twitter: http://twitter.com/randyellefson

FaceBook (as author): www.facebook.com/RandyEllefsonAuthor

If you liked this post say thanks by sharing it!

The Azure Kingdom By Michelle Dare

 

Azure Kingdom CR Banner

The Azure Kingdom Ebook Low Res

GoodReads

Synopsis

One key, one door, one man, one leap.

Alison Wescot inherited the antique store the day her mother died. It was nothing she wanted, but she couldn’t part with it. The antiques inside were all she had left of her mother. She thought she knew every piece in the store, until one day she discovered a box with a key inside, along with a letter from her mother. A key to a door she never knew existed.

Lucas Azure is the leader of the kingdom’s elite guard, a group of men whose sole purpose was to protect their territory and people. The youngest of the king’s four children, he was also the deadliest. The men in his group followed him faithfully, never questioning his orders. When Alison appeared, he knew he had to protect her at all costs.

The day Alison walked through the door, her recurring dream became a reality. The man who always remained a mystery was standing before her. There were dragons flying overhead and a castle in the distance. She was now in the Azure Kingdom.

OUAA_Header_PreOrder

Amazon US I Amazon UK I B&N I iBooks I Kobo

Azure Small

Teaser

Sexy couple in lingerie

BookTrailer

AboutTheAuthor

Michelle Dare is a romance author. Her stories range from sweet to sinful and from new adult to fantasy. There aren’t enough hours in the day for her to write all of the story ideas in her head. When not writing or reading, she’s a wife and mom living in eastern Pennsylvania. One day she hopes to be writing from a beach where she will never have to see snow or be cold again.

AuthorLinks

OUAA_SocialMedia_FacebookTwitterWebsiteNewsletter

tour-host-ouaa

If you liked this post say thanks by sharing it!

Release Day: Have a Bite By R.G. Emanuelle (Vampires of Brooklyn)

Have a Bite

release blitz

 

Have-a-Bite-800 Cover reveal and Promotional

Book Title: Have a Bite
Author: R.G. Emanuelle
Genre: Paranormal/Urban Fantasy
Release Date: May 13, 2016
Hosted by: Book Enthusiast Promotions

book blurb

The world of vampires is, by nature, one of darkness, secrecy, and covertness. Vampires are invincible. No one can hurt them. Except vampire hunters.

Delphine Bouchard is a celebrity chef and owner of a world-renowned restaurant in Brooklyn, NY, where the chic and bespoke crowd mingle with neighborhood denizens. She enjoys fame, money, and women, and lives life by her own rules. She also happens to be a vampire.

Del’s life and the local vampire community are rocked when a vampire hunter begins picking them off, and Del has reason to believe that she might be next. Del is also being watched and criticized by the vampire hive council and persecuted by a coven of witches, who are the enforcers of behavior for the supernatural set. In the midst of all this turmoil, Del meets and unexpectedly falls hard for Jocelyn, who she soon discovers is holding back a disturbing secret. Del must decide whether or not to put aside her feelings of betrayal and pursue the relationship.

Meanwhile, when a food critic with a grudge sets out to ruin her business and reputation, Del has to protect her staff and restaurant. But the situation spirals out of control when a human shows up dead, her restaurant is sabotaged, and Jocelyn is threatened. Del must save her business, protect her loved ones, and find out who the vampire killer is before she is the next victim.

Set against a backdrop of elaborate meals and passionate cooking, Have a Bite is book one in the novella series The Vampires of Brooklyn Chronicles. The world of vampires and hunters meets the world of restaurants, foodies, and celebrity chefs—a recipe for paranormal mystery seasoned with suspense, peppered with romance, and flavored with a dash of humor.

excerpt

LISTEN TO AN EXCERPT

CHAPTER 1: FIRE UP

Flames shot up, threatening to set the ceiling ablaze. Metal against metal sounded a rhythm as white-coated women and men dashed around in a mad panic, trying to keep everything to an organized chaos. Papers fluttered as they passed between hands, water splashed as used utensils landed in the sink, and more than a few collisions nearly resulted in people being sent to the hospital with head injuries or stab wounds.

The crew shouted out what they needed as the orders kept coming in at regular clips, and finished plates went out with the kind of speed that comes with experience.

“Lamb rack, fire up!”

“How long on the potatoes Dauphinoise?

“I need more sorrel!”

Delphine expedited, checking the plates before they went out of the kitchen to the patrons. “Pay attention, people. The plates are getting sloppy.”

Nervous glances from the crew went in Delphine’s direction. No one wanted to piss off the boss. Ramona, the sous chef, eyeballed the other cooks on the line, as she as tossed caramelized onions in a pan.

One by one, waitstaff rushed in and out and shouted out customers’ orders, cutting through the kitchen noise.

“I need one gluten-free manicotti, pronto.”

“Two roast chicken, sauce on the side.”

“One pork paillard, no mushrooms! One duck, no garlic!”

“Please, make sure I have that porterhouse black and blue!”

“I need a refire on this wagyu. Customer wants it rare, not mooing!”

“We got an Elaine Benes!”

The Seinfeld reference, the staff’s code for someone requesting a big salad, which was not on the menu, always made Del chuckle.

Tracy, the head server came bustling in and handed Del two more tickets. “Eight salmon, all day!” Del shouted.

“Eight? Shit,” said Ramona. “We’re running low on the salmon.”

“All right, don’t panic.” Delphine ran into the walk-in to check on the inventory. She re-emerged and pressed the button on the intercom that went to the offices. “Ophelia, go out and assess the room. How many people look like they haven’t ordered yet?”

“Okay,” came the crackled response from her restaurant manager.

“Gluten-free manicotti at the pass!” the pasta cook shouted a few moments later.

Ramona reached into an oven and pulled out a sheet pan of thin, ruddy beet chips. “Hot behind!” She quickly walked behind the others with the pan in her hands and set it down on a work table just as Ophelia came into the kitchen.

“Chef, it looks like a few more guests came in. But according to Mariel, most of the people invited are here. Maybe a few more are going to come.”

“Okay, thanks,” Delphine replied. To her kitchen crew she said, “Let’s pump it out, guys. We’re heading into the home stretch.”

Ramona, back at her station, lifted the lid off a pot, pulled what looked like a clean spoon from the arm pocket of her jacket, and dipped it into the pot. From where she stood, Delphine could see that it was the chestnut-celery root bisque, recently added to the menu to accompany the Arctic char in a ramekin. With a satisfied look, she replaced the lid and wiped her hands. “Fire up the char!” she called out.

Del loved the rhythm and energy of a kitchen, especially hers. Every sense was engaged, every single day. The sounds of pots and pans hitting the burners, utensils scraping against stainless steel, oil sizzling, smoke spitting, and voices and music from the dining room filled the kitchen. With minimal banter, the staff performed their duties, chopping, roasting, braising, frying, boiling, steaming, or otherwise preparing what they were responsible for.

It was all magic. The smell of the kitchen—an intoxicating blend of spices, roasting meats, vegetables being transformed into nectarous edible jewels, and sauces stirred into a magical essence. The intense reds of paprika and cayenne, the glitter of sea salt, the gray fog of smoke rising from a hot pan, or the swirling verdant green of cilantro being puréed for salsa verde. The sensation of flour sifting through your fingers, or the ache in your knuckles after shucking dozens of oysters. The slow burn on your skin after chopping chiles. Or the numbness of your fingertips after rinsing lettuce in ice-cold water. She almost missed the last two—they were pleasurable pains.

She thrived on it all and couldn’t imagine doing anything else. She’d fought against the efforts over the years to take her restaurants down by egotistical reviewers, jealous competitors, and others with more personal agendas, and she always came back strong. And she knew that her crew felt the same way, particularly here at Vie Sang. But nights like this were trying.

Sasha Ziegler, the Grammy-winning singer, had booked the entire restaurant for three hundred guests and requested that the menu, in its entirety, remain available throughout the night as guests came and went and ate at their leisure. This was in addition to the hors d’oeuvres and cocktails that the celebrity had ordered. For the amount of money Delphine was charging, she’d agreed. But in exchange, she and her staff had hell to pay. Just managing the extra seating was a nightmare.

Tracy came rushing back in. “Where’s my tofu teriyaki? I needed it yesterday.”

Delphine looked toward Leslie, who was handling the vegetarian and vegan meals. Leslie was new and had to build up her pace. “Leslie, speed it up. Let’s get that tofu up. I want to see it at the pass in three. Please.”

“Yes, Chef!” Leslie swiftly moved around her station and began squirting soy sauce and rice vinegar from squeeze bottles into a bowl.

The roar of flames hit Del’s ears and she looked toward the grill station. The grillardin, the grill cook, jumped back suddenly as another huge burst of flame shot up. A skillet slammed against the wall, sending pan sauce splattering across the floor and wall. The cook fell to the floor screaming, his hand on his face.

Delphine ran to him. “Stu! Are you all right? Let me see your face.” As she kneeled down beside him, Ramona ran to the grill and salted the blazing burner until it was doused.

Stu writhed on the floor while Delphine tried to move his hand from his face. The other cooks looked on with worried expressions, but continued to cook. Stopping for any amount of time would be disastrous.

Ophelia came running in. “Holy shit! What happened?” She dropped to her knees near Stu’s head.

“Get me the first aid kit,” Delphine said, with a hand on Ophelia’s forearm.

Ophelia jumped up and returned in seconds with the kit. Delphine opened it up and pulled out the burn ointment. “Somebody get me a glove.” A latex glove appeared near her face, although who had proffered it, she didn’t know. She grabbed it and smeared some ointment on Stu’s cheek, which seemed to have taken the brunt of the fiery assault.

Stu cringed with the touch. “Ow! Ow!”

“Shit,” she muttered. “I should have had that stove looked at. Do you want to go to the ER?”

Stu stopped squirming and began to sit up. “No. I’m okay. It just hurt for a few minutes. But I’m fine.” His cheek was a mottled, angry crimson, a bit swollen, and already blistering in one spot.

“Are you sure?”

“Yeah.”

Delphine helped him get up and step back to the stove, where he paused briefly to take a few deep breaths. He lowered his head, seemingly to regroup and calm the beat of his heart, which must have been racing. He checked the food on the other burners and plucked a clean pan from the wall to replace the one he’d dropped.

Ophelia looked stricken and stood frozen. “Ophelia. You okay?” Delphine asked.

“Um, yeah. That was just…God.”

“I know.” Delphine sighed heavily. “Listen, get back out there and see what’s happening, okay?”

“Yeah, okay.” Ophelia made her way toward the door, a lingering gaze on Stu’s back.

Delphine grabbed her apron and tied it on. Things were getting out of control, and she needed to jump into the fray to help. “Ramona, get over here and expedite. I’m going in.”

Ramona stepped up to the front of the kitchen, where the dishes came to rest on the counter—the “pass”—just before being transported out to the dining room by the waitstaff.

“Okay, listen up, everybody,” Delphine said, “We’re in the weeds here, but we’re going to get through this. I just want everyone to take a deep breath and relax. Don’t stop, just relax.”

The pace and intensity remained high as the orders kept coming in. Unlike the usual controllable private party, this was a free-for-all.

To make things more stressful, the Council had also taken this opportunity to spy on her. She spotted a few agents among the partygoers. They were enjoying themselves, but observed everything. Tough job.

By one a.m., the food orders had stopped coming in. Del wiped her hands on her towel and stepped outside of the kitchen for a breather, taking the opportunity to assess the dining room.

The partiers were having a great time, if the cacophony of laughter, chatter, and clinking glasses were any indication. Sasha Ziegler held court at the center table and smiled brightly as people stooped next to her to take selfies with her. Despite the insanity, there was a pleasant hum throughout the restaurant that told Del people were enjoying the food. She could always tell when a crowd of people didn’t like what she’d offered up that night—there would be a pall that would pervade the air. Not that it happened often.

She was enjoying her usual game of spotting the insecure sycophant or the nose-in-the-air celebrity who feigned boredom when something made her stop. On the left side of the room was a gorgeous woman in a black halter cocktail dress, her dark hair slicked back, holding a martini glass. The golden flecks of salt and shards of caramel that adorned the rim of the glass told Del that it was one of her bartender’s signature salted-caramel martinis. The woman’s neckline plunged low and Del found herself staring at the flesh peeking out of the material. She looked up and discovered the woman looking back at her. Too busy to get involved in the art of seduction, she returned to the kitchen.

On her way there, she noticed a man with his back turned toward her. Nothing really stood out about him, but that was precisely why she noticed him. He didn’t seem to fit in with the ultrachic, bespoke celeb crowd. He wore baggy-in-the-butt, faded-looking slacks, a wrinkled half-tucked shirt, and a well-worn denim jacket that looked as if it could use a good washing. He stooped slightly, as if life had beaten him down. It was then that she realized that he actually had a small hump on his back. He stood alone and very still, as if afraid to turn around. The only part of him that moved was his thumb, which rubbed nervously over what Del could see was a lighter, an old-school kind with a flip-top.

Del’s hackles stood up. Although she couldn’t see his face, he seemed familiar somehow. She was about to move into the crowd to try and find out who he was, when Ramona stuck her head out of the kitchen.

“Chef, we’re gonna start breaking down the stations,” Ramona said. “Chantel’s almost ready to roll out dessert.”

Dell nodded and went back into the kitchen, taking one last look at the man. He turned his head slightly, then quickly turned it back, as if surreptitiously checking to see who was behind him.

Del went to the basement kitchen to check on her pastry chef, Chantel, who was calmly slicing her opera cake. With agonizing precision, she positioned a long, sharp knife over the cake and sliced straight down, apparently using some imaginary guides to cut down the length of the twenty-four-inch, seven-layer cake. Delphine waited until Chantel had finished the slice and had pulled the knife out of the sheet, bits of almond sponge cake, coffee buttercream, and chocolate ganache clinging to the razor-sharp blade.

“Hey, Chantel.”

Chantel looked up and smiled. “Hey. How’s it going up there? I heard you got in the weeds.”

“Yeah, but we got through it. It’s almost over. How’s it going down here?”

Chantel’s face was coated in sweat. “Fine. Everything’s ready. God, I hope we don’t run out of anything.” Finished with cutting, she gazed one more time at her creation, then put her knife into a stainless steel hotel pan filled with water.

“Don’t worry.” Delphine looked at the list hanging on the refrigerator with the desserts and quantities. “I think you made plenty. How did the sugar cage turn out this time?” She referred to one aspect of Chantel’s latest signature dessert that she had been trying to perfect, a complicated affair that also featured chocolate foam, white chocolate-covered rose petals, and caramel-pistachio brittle.

Chantel smiled bashfully. “Really good.”

Del smiled as well and patted Chantel on the back.

Upstairs, the bustling continued but was slowing down. Her garde-manger, who handled appetizers and salads, was standing with her back against her work station, hands perched on the counter. The bussers were coming in with tubs of dirty dishes, as Chantel turned the corner of the staircase with a sheet pan of plated opera cake. The crew oohed and aahed at the plates of perfectly cut slices, a squirt of cappuccino cream atop each and flanked on one side by a rectangular piece of chocolate with a white design on it, along with a pool of vanilla sauce, dotted with raspberry coulis.

After the servers had served all the guests, the crew each got a piece of cake as well—the throwaways—and toasted each other with their forks.

“Thank you for working so hard tonight, guys,” Del said. “I really appreciate it.” They all beamed before taking huge bites of their cake.

When the partiers had left and the kitchen was cleaned up, the crew began filing out, all ready to meet up at one of their favorite post-dinner hangouts. A beer at three in the morning helped take the edge off a crazy dinner service.

“Night, Boss.” Chantel was the last one to leave.

“Thanks, Chantel. Good work tonight.”

Chantel chuckled. “Did you expect anything else?”

“No.” Chantel was an artist, which was why Delphine had hired her, and probably what had enticed her when they’d had their brief fling. That and her smooth, dark skin and startlingly blue eyes, the legacy of her African-Dutch-Curaçaoan heritage. The clincher was her accent, a sensuous combination of Dutch, Spanish, and African languages. Delphine had made her whisper things in her native Papiamento during the night, when the best thing they could think to do was explore each other’s bodies.

“You are perfection,” Delphine said.

Chantel smiled. “You always were bright.” After a moment, she added, “It was a rough night. Are you all right?”

“Yes, I’m fine. Go on home.”

“All right. Good night, then.” She put a reassuring hand on Del’s shoulder as she walked past her.

When Chantel was out the door, Delphine locked up, went into her office and grabbed her jacket. Everything else could wait until tomorrow. As she shrugged on the jacket, she remembered the strange man at the party. Unfortunately, it was too late to ask anyone about him. Damn. She shut out the lights and walked out the back door to the small parking lot.

It had been a brutally hot day for Brooklyn. But that heat had given way to a cool evening with a breeze coming off the Upper New York Bay and down the East River. When she was human, she would have shivered on a night like this.

Right next to the door was her Kawasaki Cruiser. About to settle herself on the motorcycle’s seat, she stopped.

She smelled it right away. The heady aroma of desire, need, and surrender filled the air, and she knew it was close. But she waited until the source chose to reveal itself. A woman stepped out of the shadows and into the floodlight of the parking lot. She approached the doorway where Del stood.

“Do you desire anything, madam?”

Delphine turned to face the woman. She was young, maybe about twenty-five, slender, with blond hair down to her shoulders and edged with blue. Her skin was pale, and her eyes half open with the promise of seduction. This was nothing new for Delphine. Many pretty young things had waited for her outside the restaurant, ready to offer themselves to her. They were like groupies.

Delphine moved a little closer. “What’s your name?”

“Roxanne,” the young woman responded, taking a deep breath, obviously so that her bosom would rise closer to Delphine’s face. Delphine obliged her with a direct stare down her low-cut blouse, which Delphine was sure had been selected just for the purpose. “Well, Roxanne, I do find myself in need of a little something.”

book trailer
playlist

meet the author

New York native R.G. Emanuelle spent more than 20 years as an editor, writer, and typesetter. When she was child, a neighbor called her a vampire because she only came out after dark, so it’s fitting that she writes about creatures of the night, which includes her first novel, Twice Bitten. She is co-editor of the Lambda Literary Finalist anthology All You Can Eat: A Buffet of Lesbian Erotica & Romance, and the Golden Crown winner Unwrap These Presents, as well as Skulls and Crossbones: Tales of Women Pirates. She is also a culinary school graduate, which is what inspired her to write her romantic novella, Add Spice to Taste, and Have a Bite, the first of The Vampires of Brooklyn Chronicles novella series. Her short stories can be found in numerous anthologies.

social media WEBSITE | BLOG | FACEBOOK | TWITTER | PINTEREST | GOOGLE + | GOODREADS

buy the book

Have-a-Bite-800 Cover reveal and Promotional

Amazon:  Have a Bite (The Vampires of Brooklyn Chronicles Book 1)

YLVA Publishing

500x500 BEP Square

 

If you liked this post say thanks by sharing it!

Argonauts By Kevin Kneupper

Argonauts

Argonauts-800 Cover reveal and Promotional

Book Title: Argonauts
Author: Kevin Kneupper
Genre: Science Fiction & Fantasy
Release Date: March 28, 2016
Hosted by: Book Enthusiast Promotions

Goodreads

book blurb

Some called her a sorceress, though what she did was science. Medea was a genomancer, a programmer of human genetic code. She could extend someone’s life, turn an ugly duckling into a startling beauty, and cure the most stubborn of diseases. She’d have spent her life helping those who needed it, if only she could have.

But the Argo Corporation didn’t pay her to help people. It paid her to remake their warriors into the ultimate fighting machines. Men with claws, and teeth to match. Men with the reflexes of cats and the strength of a bear. What was once the stuff of fantasy was now real, and corporations the world over were all using genomancers to build armies of their own.

Medea was comfortable in her lab, and she would have stayed there given the choice. She was one of the few who still had a job, now that most of the world’s occupations had been automated away, and she lived a life of relative luxury. But she didn’t count on being pulled into the machinations of two of the biggest corporations on the planet.

And she didn’t count on meeting Jason.

Jason was a shareholder, one of the few, and wealthy beyond the wildest dreams of the masses. He was tall, handsome, and rich, and he could have lived an idle life of ease. He’d chosen to be a warrior instead. But his father had kept him from fighting any actual battles, and years of grueling training left him with disgust for anyone who’d stoop to using a genomancer to cut to the front of the line.

Now Jason’s father is dead, and things have changed. He’s been summoned by Pelias, the CEO of the Argo Corporation, and assigned to a dangerous mission in a strange land full of wonders. And he hasn’t been given a choice about who he’ll take with him: Medea. She was born in the city they’re heading to, and she’s indispensable to the mission. Now Jason is forced to protect someone he sees as a cheater, someone whose genetic shortcuts can only taint a warrior’s honor. He can’t stand her, and he can’t stand what she does for a living. But he’ll need her if he expects to survive the trials to come.

excerpt

CHAPTER ONE

Some called her a glorified nurse. Just a pusher of pills, a dispenser of shots. Just the woman who sat on the sidelines while the warriors did their deeds and fought their battles. A cog in their machine, meant to stand behind them, always in their shadow and always in her place.

But she was more than that. She was the woman who healed them in battle, the woman who patched them up when things went wrong, the woman who controlled their very genetic code. She was the woman who changed them, and made them something more than what they’d been. And without her, they’d all be nothing: just ordinary men, with ordinary skills, and ordinary genes.

She was in her lab, perched atop the city of Argos, windows on all sides looking out on the skyline below. There were people who would die for that view, and the privileges that came with it. There were people who’d fought and clawed their entire lives just to get near it. They could call her what they liked, the warriors. They were glory hounds one and all, and none were fond of sharing the limelight. They could mock her, and they could insult her, but beneath the bluster they all knew who needed whom.

Her lab was state of the art, the best tools for the best of her trade. Sleek white machines hummed their metal songs as they worked, processing her data and mixing her concoctions. Stocky little robots whizzed around the floor, running materials back and forth wherever they were needed. Giant hydraulic arms did the grunt work, pumping liquids into trays and beakers in just the right amounts, at just the right times, all according to her specifications. She had everything she could want, everything that could possibly save her time or make her work go just a little bit more smoothly. It was valuable, what she did, and no expense was spared in making sure she did it well.

She walked along the rows of machines, checking each against the data on her tablet, confirming that every detail was correct before she went through with the procedure to come. She was a beauty, but then, everyone in her trade was. Appearances could be tailored, altered from one day to the next on a whim. Cheekbones could rise and fall, noses could thicken or thin, eyes could whirl through a kaleidoscope of colors according to one’s tastes. She controlled it all, and the outside was the easiest part to change. At present, her eyes were dark and her skin was olive. She wore a white lab coat, the uniform of her profession, and one that had protected her clothing from more spills than she could count. Her hair was jet black, and she kept it long, tightened into a neat bun while she worked. But she liked to tinker with herself, just as she did with others, and what she’d look like from one week to the next was anyone’s guess.

Her lab was a lonely place, and often she had only robots to keep her company. But today she had a patient: a man, strapped to a chair, thick metal wires coiled around his arms and legs to lock them into place. He was a warrior’s warrior, a muscle-bound bruiser who killed who he was told to kill and did what he was told to do. His hair was a shaggy, sandy mop, his eyes a dull brown topped by a thick brow. He wasn’t a thinker; you could tell that just looking at him. But they all wanted to climb the ranks however they could, and here he was to make himself just a little bit better at what he did. Just a little edge, the kind that could make all the difference in battles where everything was at stake on the outcome.

“Four more injections,” said Medea. “Then you’ll be the warrior you’ve always wanted to be.” They were lined up in a row on the counter, the little vials of green liquid she was about to pump into him. She plunged a syringe into the first, filling it up and double-checking to make sure the dose was precise.

“This better not fuck me up,” said Antaeus. He gave his restraints a wary eye, tugging against them just to be sure. “I’ve heard stories, about what this does to people. About what happens if you get things wrong. And I’ve heard the things they say about you.”

“That’s all black market stuff,” said Medea. “You go to a back alley genomancer, who knows what you’re injecting? I splice everything myself. And we don’t skimp on quality.” She waved a hand to a row of machinery taking up an entire wall in the lab: a vast computer attached to an array of tools, ranging from centrifuges spinning biological materials to bubbling vats of pink goo. “The best the Argo Corporation has to offer. The best you’re going to get, anywhere.”

Antaeus didn’t trust her, but none of them ever did. It used to irk her, that they’d let her do something so intimate to them and yet treat her like an outcast. The comments they made once cut, and deeply, but now they merely stung. They thought of her as an enchantress, working her unfathomable magics upon them. They couldn’t understand her, and so they wanted to control her, chopping away at her just to be sure she was still safely under their thumbs. She hurt a little with every slight, but she’d built up a shell, a persona they couldn’t fluster, and it kept her safe inside even when they were at their worst.

She held the syringe above his arm, poised for the first injection. “Last chance. Once this code goes in, it’s not coming out, not for months. It’ll be a part of you. Every last strand of your DNA will change. You can go back, if you change your mind, but it won’t be easy. And it won’t be cheap.”

“Do it,” said Antaeus. “Let’s get this over with.”

“I’m not going to lie,” said Medea. “This will hurt. Just for a few days. Just until your system processes the new code, gets it merged in with all the rest.” She stuck the needle into his arm, dumping the first of her concoctions into his veins.

“I can handle it,” said Antaeus. “I can handle anything.”

“We’ll see,” said Medea. She emptied shot after shot into his skin, continuing on until the course was done. Then a final needle: a nutrient tube, attached to a machine nearby. It began pumping yellow fluids into his body, concentrated proteins, vitamins, and other biological raw materials, the fuel he’d need to make the change he was about to undergo.

They waited, and everything was quiet at first. She checked the diagnostics, watched his heart rate, watched his blood pressure, watched anything that could go wrong. Nothing did; he was healthy, and he was young, and she was good at what she did. He sat there in the chair, and for a time all was still. For a time, there was no sign she’d done anything to him at all.

But as the minutes passed, his hands began to twitch. First the right one, then the left. He gave a grimace, and he kept looking back and forth between the two. “I can feel something. Under my skin. It itches.”

“That’s normal,” said Medea. “That’s okay. Just let the shots do their work.”

“It’s in my throat,” said Antaeus. “Is it supposed to be in my throat?”

She shined a light in one eye, then the other. Then she picked up a black, handheld diagnostic device, holding it against his arm as it pricked his skin with a tiny needle and sampled his blood. “Everything’s fine. Vital signs are good. Your code’s changing, right on cue. Just roll with it, and keep calm. You know what’s going to happen to you, and you know it’s going to be a bit of a shock to your system.”

He tried to keep it together, but big as he was and strong as he was, he wasn’t prepared for what came next. None of them ever were.

“My fingernails,” said Antaeus. “They’re turning black.”

And they were, little spots of pigment appearing at random across them. They spread until they were pools, and as he wiggled his hands the nails themselves seemed to change: thinning, growing longer, clicking against the arm of the chair as he moved. “Good,” said Medea. “That’s good. Keep them still. Just let them do their thing.”

“It hurts,” said Antaeus. “My skin. Everywhere, it hurts.”

“You’re a big boy,” said Medea. “And you wanted to be a bigger one.”

He was getting bigger, in fact, and visibly so. He’d been tall and muscular beforehand, but now he was growing cartoonishly oversized, his biceps bulging against the restraints, his pectorals moving under his shirt as they added pound after pound of muscle beneath. She could see hairs crawling out of the neck of his shirt, long, brown strands that probed their way out millimeter by millimeter until they joined together in thick, scruffy patches.

“Hurts,” said Antaeus. But it was barely a word as it came from his mouth. He bit down upon the sound as it left him, and his lips flared to reveal the cause: overgrown canines, poking down further than they should. Soon he couldn’t even close his mouth around them, and his voice lowered and wavered until nothing was left but a growl.

“It’s supposed to hurt,” said Medea. She wiped a damp cloth against his forehead, dabbing away his sweat, speaking to him in soothing tones as he became more and more a beast. “You’ll get better. Just keep yourself centered, and don’t panic. Everything’s fine. Everything’s under control.”

He didn’t seem to believe it. He kept looking at his hands, watching the spread of fur upon them, watching his wrists balloon until they pushed up against the very edges of the restraints. He pulled at them, trying to break free, shouting unintelligible sounds all the while. His eyes were wild, and he lunged his head toward her, trying for a bite, before falling back exhausted as the changes slowed and his body stabilized.

“The worst part’s over,” said Medea. “Now you’re what you wanted to be.”

He was still a man, mostly. But he was something else as well. The fur had spread all across his body, a thick coat of light brown. His fingers were tipped with sharp black claws, nasty enough to maul anyone foolish enough to face him in battle. He was stronger than ever, and he looked it: his chest was a barrel, his arms oversized pistons, and all of him bigger than any human had a right to be. But the biggest change of all was to his face. His teeth were daggers, the whites of his eyes had gone brown, and his nose looked distinctly like a snout. If one didn’t know better, and were to catch him in the dark, they might think him nothing more than a big, angry bear.

Medea drew a sample of blood, running it through her diagnostics. She pressed a button on one of the machines and he was bathed in a blue light, scanned from head to toe by the laboratory’s systems. She put a finger to his wrist and counted his pulse by hand, just to be sure. She went over the bloodwork, for both check and double-check, before turning back to the creature sitting before her.
“Everything’s green,” said Medea. “Vitals are good, code is functioning, chromosomes are stable. You’re everything you hoped you could be, and you’re exactly what the Argo Corporation needs in a warrior. Looks like today’s your lucky day. Welcome to the Argonauts.”

meet the author

Kevin Kneupper is an attorney living in Austin, TX.

social media FACEBOOK | GOODREADS

buy the book

Argonauts-800 Cover reveal and Promotional

AMAZON US | AMAZON UKgiveaway a Rafflecopter giveaway

500x500 BEP Square

 

If you liked this post say thanks by sharing it!

Eolyn by Karin Rita Gastreich (With Author Interview)

VBT_Eolyn_Banner copy

Welcome to my stop for EOLYN by Karin Rrita Gastreich.  Karin will be awarding a $15 Amazon or B/N GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour.  You can  follow the tour here:  http://goddessfishpromotions.blogspot.com/2016/03/vbt-eolyn-by-karin-rita-gastreich.html

a Rafflecopter giveaway

MediaKit_BookCover_Eolyn

BLURB:

In a land ravaged by civil war, the Mage King Kedehen initiates a ruthless purge of the magas. Eolyn, last daughter of the magas and sole heiress to their forbidden craft, seeks refuge in the South Woods.

When she meets the mysterious Akmael, heir to the throne of this violent realm, she embarks on a path of hope, seduction, betrayal, and war. Desire draws Eolyn toward Akmael’s dark embrace, but fate binds her to Corey of East Selen, a cunning mage whose ambition challenges the limits of love and loyalty.

Can she trust either man?

Hunted in a realm of powerful wizards and brutal deceptions, Eolyn must find her own path to freedom or she will burn on the pyre.

“Vigorously told deceptions and battle scenes, with a romantic thread.” -Publishers Weekly

Excerpt:

A Nest of Vipers

Mage Corey closed the distance between them. His magic spread in a hush through fallen leaves, surrounding Eolyn, cutting off all retreat, and daring her to defend herself with a counter spell. He stopped just in front of her, his face a breath away.

“Sometimes I like to imagine you and I live in a world where we do not feel compelled to keep secrets from each other,” he murmured.

Eolyn’s throat went dry.

“Indulge me in this fantasy and tell me: Why do you desire to go to the King’s City?”

Eolyn willed her eyes to remain steady on his. “It is a child’s wish. I had a friend growing up. I believe he lives there. I wish to find him. That is all.”

Mage Corey studied her a moment. Then he stepped away and continued his walk. The autumn earth released Eolyn’s feet. She quickened her pace to catch up with him.

“A friend,” Corey asked, his voice a mask of idle curiosity, “or a lover?”

“A friend. We were only children when we knew each other.”

“I see. I am sorry, Eolyn, but I cannot take you to the city, not because I object to you finding your friend, but because I am averse to leading fawns into nests of vipers. Still…” Corey stopped, his expression thoughtful. “I know many people in the city. If you give me the name of this friend of yours, perhaps I could…”

Eolyn’s expression put a stop to his words.

“I see I am pressing too hard. Very well, Eolyn. We have had a fair exchange: one truth for one truth.” Touching Eolyn’s chin, Corey brought her gaze back to his. “Perhaps we can continue down this path when I return.”

Q&A With Author

Where do you get your book ideas?

Everywhere. People I meet. Places I visit. Stories I read. Dreams I have. Experiences I’ve lived. A good story can pop up at any moment, often in the most unexpected of situations. I also find that my stories tend to spring out of character ideas, as opposed to characters springing out of story ideas. I get an idea for an interesting character, and then his or her story begins unfolding in my mind.

Do you write outline to start or just start writing?

Up until now, I’ve never written down an outline, but I always have a pretty solid idea of where a story is going and how it will probably end before I begin writing. That being said, I always allow myself flexibility to change course or alter the ending, depending on how the characters and events develop.

How long does it normally take to write the book before edits?

I count editing and revisions as part of writing. Since I don’t separate these processes in my mind, so I haven’t separated them on my calendar either.

My first novel, Eolyn, took about four and a half years from the time I started it to the release of the first edition by Hadley Rille Books in May 2011. The second edition, which we are releasing now, required an additional six months of editing and revision. Subsequent novels have taken less time. The first edition of The Sword of Shadows, published under the titled High Maga, took about three years; Daughter of Aithne about two and a half. All of these are full-length novels, about 110,000 words (300 pages) a piece.

Are you an indie author or mainstream author?

If I’m to be honest, I think the co-opting of the term “indie” by self-published authors was a bit of a disservice to authors in general. In my mind, all authors are independent authors, especially in today’s market. We make our own decisions, story by story and novel by novel, as to what publishing route we want to take and why.

In my case, I’ve done both traditional and self-publishing, and I intend to take advantage of both tracks moving forward. The first edition of Eolyn was published by the small press Hadley Rille Books. When time came to renew the contract and roll out the second edition, I decided for many reasons I’d rather strike out on my own. I very much enjoyed the support I got from Hadley Rille Books. Now, I very much enjoy having complete control of my own publishing project.

Each path – self-publishing, small press, large press – has advantages and disadvantages. Even as I launch into self-publishing, I continue to look for agents and publishers I would like to work with. I wouldn’t shy away from any contract if I believed it was the best decision for that particular novel or set of novels. At the same time, self-publishing gives me a great opportunity to share my stories and continue building an audience.

How did you get started, can you give people wanting to write an idea how to get started?

The first story I ever wrote was based on a dream I had as a child. A lot of great stories can be inspired by dreams, because during sleep imagination is uncensored, even unhinged! I suggest keeping a dream journal by your bed and writing down every dream, even fragments of dreams, that you remember.

Also, keep a writing journal, just like an artist might keep a sketch journal. Exercise your writing skills by going places and “sketching” what you see with words. Settings, people, conversations, events. Don’t censor yourself during these exercises; don’t worry about good prose or even grammar. Just let thought flow to pen and see what comes.

Listen to the people around you. Get to know them and care for them, learn to understand their perspective on life, even when you disagree. Especially when you disagree. The core of any good writing is characterization, and strong stories have well-developed three-dimensional characters. You can’t create realistic characters if you don’t have a solid understanding of what real people are like.

Most of all, write. All the time. The more you write, the better your writing will become. And write from the heart. As long as the story you are crafting comes from the heart, you will always have something unique to offer to the world.

 

MediaKit_AuthorPhoto_Eolyn

AUTHOR Bio and Links:

Karin Rita Gastreich writes stories of ordinary women and the extraordinary paths they choose. She lives in Kansas City, Missouri, where she is part of the biology faculty at Avila University. An ecologist by vocation, Karin has wandered forests and wildlands for over twenty years. Her past times include camping, hiking, music, and flamenco dance. In addition to The Silver Web trilogy, Karin has published short stories in World Jumping, Zahir, Adventures for the Average Woman, and 69 Flavors of Paranoia. She is a recipient of the Spring 2011 Andrews Forest Writer’s Residency.

Website: http://krgastreich.com
Twitter: @EolynChronicles
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Eolyn-110814625640244/

Purchase link for EOLYN: Eolyn (The Silver Web Book 1)

If you liked this post say thanks by sharing it!

The Spirit Tree – A Tessa Lamar Novel by Kathryn Hearst

Spirit Tree

Spirit_Tree-eCover1667x2500

Book Title: The Spirit Tree – A Tessa Lamar Novel
Author: Kathryn Hearst
Genre: Paranormal Romance/Urban Fantasy
Hosted by: Book Enthusiast Promotions

Goodreads

VOTE TODAY!

Kathryn M Hearst‘s new novel, THE SPIRIT TREE, is live on Amazon Kindle Scout—it’s a competition of sorts where the prize is a contract with Kindle!

Here’s the deal: Follow the link below, read about the book (including an excerpt), and cast your vote/nomination if you like what you see/read.

Voting period is from April 16th until the 28th.

VOTE for The Spirit Tree today!

book blurb

Tess, a southern girl with a crazy family and a brand new college degree, wants nothing more than for her life to start. When her uncle dies unexpectedly, she inherits more than his old truck. Lifetimes of family secrets unravel and nothing will ever be the same. After learning that she is not only a Fire Bird, but also half Nunnehi—the Cherokee equivalent to a fairy—Tess is forced to fight for her life. Good thing she was raised by two tough southern ladies.

teasers

Trailer Screen Shot

pexels-photo poster

Marin poster

 

book trailer

meet the author

Kathryn M. Hearst is a southern girl with a love of the dark and strange. She has been a story teller her entire life, as a child she took people watching to new heights by creating back stories of complete strangers. Besides writing, she has a passion for shoes, vintage clothing, antique British cars, music, musicians and all things musical (including theater). Kate lives in central Florida with her chocolate lab and two rescue pups. She is a self-proclaimed nerd, raising a nerdling.

social media

websitetwitterFacebookpinterestGoodreads
 

VOTE TODAY!

Spirit_Tree-eCover1667x2500

KINDLE SCOUT VOTING!

500x500 BEP Square

 

If you liked this post say thanks by sharing it!

Calling the Reaper by Jason Pere

BB_CallingTheReaper_Banner copy

Welcome to my stop for CALLING THE REAPER by Jason Pere.  Jason will be awarding 1 print copy of Calling the Reaper,(international winner) or 2 ebooks (one of Calling the Reaper and the second winner’s choice) to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour. You can follow the tour here: http://goddessfishpromotions.blogspot.com/2016/03/book-blast-calling-reaper-by-jason-pere.html

a Rafflecopter giveaway

MediaKit_BookCover_CallingTheReaper

GENRE: Dark Fantasy

~~~~~~~~~~~~~

BLURB:

The time of the Unity has ended. Now, the realm of man is stranded between Paradise and Purgatory. The Valkyrie and Reaper battle over the fate of all who pass from the land of the living and into the afterlife.
Eight mortal spirits from vastly different worlds tread the same, inevitable path toward their last, crucial decision. Within them all exists the defining conflict every man must face—to look upon the end of their life with glory and honor, or to give credence to their baser longings, calling the Reaper to their own demise.

In this rich, harrowing tale of pride, deceit, honor, vengeance, and redemption, each individual must battle their inner turmoil, facing the sacrifices they have made before their unavoidable end in the land of the living.

But their last day in life is also their first day of death amidst the terrors of the underworld. Lord Master Death wants them all…and the real battle has only just begun.

Excerpt:

“In the beginning. In the time before. When the Unity sat atop the throne in Paradise and reigned over the world of man below, all was good and fruitful. There was life without end for every spirit drawing breath within the embrace of the Unity. Things were as such for a time longer than memory itself. But such things end. The day of the Shattering came upon us all. Paradise above and the realm of man below were forever changed. The Unity became no more, and from it was born both Life and Death. On that day, it was decreed that all who lived must one day die. And we the Valkyrie, the children of Paradise, became its warriors. Our robes were replaced with armor, and hands once empty now grasp sword and shield. Our charge is to watch over those who dwell below in the realm of man. We are tasked with the guardianship of every spirit that yet holds life. We shall protect them until that life is at an end. Then it must leave the realm of man. For each spirit that meets its end with virtue and courage, we the Valkyrie shall fly to them and bid them welcome into the warmth of Paradise. For each spirit that meets its end with fear and wickedness, they shall call the Reaper, and I shall mourn them as they are cast into the cold realm filled with weeping and the gnashing of teeth.”

—Laurel, ArchValkyrie of the Thorn Crown

MediaKit_AuthorPhoto_CallingTheReaper

AUTHOR Bio and Links:

Jason Pere is a born-and-raised New Englander. He always had a passion for the arts and creative storytelling. At the age of thirteen, Jason took up the craft of acting for film and theater. He pursued that interest for over a decade until refocusing his medium of expression into writing.

At first, Jason took a causal interest in writing, starting with poetry and journaling. Over time, he honed his direction and finally began writing larger works. In November of 2012, Jason self-published his first book, Modern Knighthood: Diary of a Warrior Poet.

Since then, Jason has continued writing on his own, mostly short stories and poetry. Calling the Reaper was his first experience committing to a full-length Fiction title.

In early 2015, Jason became affiliated with Collaborative Writing Challenge (CWC). Since then, he has joined many other writers on numerous collaborative projects. Jason is a regular contributor to CWC and is scheduled to have multiple pieces of his work appear in their publications throughout 2016.

You can find out more about Jason Pere’s involvement and publications in collaborative fiction at: www.collaborativewritingchallenge.com

To connect with Jason, check him out at: www.facebook.com/jason.pere.7

Jason also writes fanfiction for Team Covenant on their Blog of the Pheonixborn, dedicated to the new game by Plaid Hat Games, ‘Ashes’. Go to http://teamcovenant.com/ashesonline/ to read Jason’s flash fiction work.

Amazon: Calling the Reaper (First Book of Purgatory) (Volume 1)

 

If you liked this post say thanks by sharing it!

Till Death Us Do Part by Cristina Slough (99 Cents) Q&A W/Author

Till Death

blog tour

Till Death Us Do Part Cover only

Book Title: Till Death Us Do Part
Author: Cristina Slough
Genre: Military/Romance Suspense
Release Date: December 29, 2015
Hosted by: Book Enthusiast Promotions

Goodreads

book blurb

The fateful day Mimi Marcus has dreaded begins with a phone call…

The wife of a U.S. Marine, Mimi spent countless nights worried that her husband Joel would fall in the line of duty. He had fought valiantly and served his country with honor. That’s exactly what they tell her when they deliver the news—Joel was taken by the enemy in Afghanistan. Her husband is dead.

In desperate need of closure, Mimi travels to the one place Joel still has ties—The Marcus Ranch in Texas, inherited by his handsome younger brother Austin.

New beginnings are only an illusion…

The closer Mimi grows to the Marcus family, the more she considers it home. But when suspicions of Joel’s past surface, Austin refuses to disclose family secrets—even to his brother’s widow. It’s only by accident she uncovers evidence of Joel’s tainted past. Devastated by his lies and betrayal, she slowly opens up to Austin, and together they unfold layers of pain and grief.

Mimi is sure she’ll never love again, but is Austin the man to prove her wrong? Then the unthinkable happens…

Just as Mimi finds new hope in a future with Austin, Joel returns home from war. Enraged, traumatized, and teetering on the edge of insanity, Joel confesses to a history of deception, revealing yet another secret—this one too terrible to forgive.

In an awful twist of fate, Joel proves marriage vows are made to be honored.
No matter what.

fun facts

Q&A with Cristina Slough

Getting to Know Cristina

Five Fun Facts

  1. I love writing to music, it sets by mood and puts me in the zone.
  2. When I was little, I believed one day I would really fly just like Supergirl!
  3. I have jumped out of a plane, by choice!
  4. I know the words off by heart to over 20 movies, but I can never remember song lyrics!
  5. I love the water but I can’t swim.

Top Three Writing Essentials

  1. Google is essential, so I must have internet (I’m a writer not a serial killer!)
  2. Music (I cannot write without it.)
  3. A notebook and pen (I have to write down ideas immediately.)

Best Piece of Advice for Aspiring Writers

If you are going to invest hours, weeks and months writing a book, make sure that you are deeply connected to it. Don’t write about zombies and vampires just because that is where the market is right now, if you really want to write a World War love story. Writing is a very personal art. If you don’t believe in your own story, how can you expect others to?

If your aim is to be a published author, don’t expect an easy ride. Even famous authors have had rejections, just remember that failure only exists if you quit!

interview

About TILL DEATH US DO PART

Q: That ending….Many Readers didn’t see it ending as it did. How much of that ending was you and how much was you letting the characters take the wheel?

A: That ending was all them. I didn’t even know what was going to happen until my fingers typed the final words. Suddenly, my mind raced right back to the opening chapter of the book where Mimi was dreaming about Joel; his body, bloody and wet. All of the feelings and emotions I had throughout the story came together in the final scene. The best way to describe it would be—putting a needle and thread throughout the book and stitching it all together. Truly, it felt like I was right there with them. The ending resulted in showing readers what I saw…even I was shocked!

Q: Favorite Scene of TILL DEATH US DO PART?

There were quite a few scenes that I loved writing. If I had to make a firm choice then it would have to be Chapter 30 titled: Joel. This is where my emotional investment to the story hit its highest level. It is the moment that my voice was no longer my own. It was all theirs.

Q: Team Joel or Team Austin?

Ultimately, Team Austin. But I loved writing about Joel, he was very complex, there was far more about him than meets the eye.

Q: Who is your celebrity dream cast for TILL DEATH?

Scott Eastwood would make the perfect Austin. I’d love to see Zac Efron play Joel, although he would have to be more rough around the edges.

Looks wise, Shay Mitchell would fit Mimi perfectly but I have no idea if she could pull off a British accent!

I think that Julianne Hough would also fit the physical profile of Meg, but again, she’d have to be able to pull off being a Brit.

Q: If you can pick one song that encompasses the whole story, what would that song be?

I won’t give up by Jason Mraz. I wrote the end scene to this song. It could have been from either Joel or Austin’s POV.

Q: Do you have plans to write more with the characters from TILL DEATH?

No. I truly feel like my journey with the characters has ended. That being said, they will forever be a part of me.

Q: What is in the works now?

I am working on a new standalone novel about a woman that fakes her own death to escape from her abusive husband. Some of my research is being carried out by working with a lady who has been a victim of domestic violence. She has offered to share her experiences with me. It is not based on her life, however she is helping me to understand what some women may be feeling that are or have been in an abusive relationship. This one is going to be emotional for sure.

Teaser 3 Till Death Us Do Part

book trailer


playlist


meet the author

Novelist, movie addict, and animal lover, Cristina Slough is the author of:

Till Death Us Do Part, her debut novel.

Cristina has always been a bookworm, rarely seen without a pen and paper in her hand, she loves delving into a literacy fictional world of her own.

At the age of 11, her junior school teacher told her mother that she would be wasting her life if she didn’t become an author. Throughout her teenage years and beyond, her parents spurred her on to keep writing. She later began a career in commercial real estate, working in London’s West End, a corporate bubble where she was unable to fuel her passion to write.

It was on her Californian honeymoon in 2012 that the bug to write was becoming increasingly difficult to ignore. After visiting Yosemite National Park she was inspired by the natural beauty of the land that surrounded her. Holding a special place in her heart, Yosemite would later be written into her debut novel.

She finally gave up the ‘big smoke’ when her son, Lucas, was born in October 2013.

When Lucas was a newborn, Cristina was told to sleep when the baby sleeps. She never could. There was a calling inside her to write. After getting to grips with her new role as a mother, she began working a psychological thriller, but she couldn’t fully connect to the characters she created. She ditched the manuscript and started Till Death Us Do Part(Limitless Publishing, 2015).

Cristina is married to Adam, who runs a successful business; together they share their Bedfordshire home with their son, crazy white German Shepherd and three spoiled cats. They can be found trekking through woodlands, or around the many shops Cristina loves to explore. As a family, they love to travel frequently, the United States being a firm favourite.

social media

Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads | Newsletter | Instagram | Pinterest

buy the book

Will be exclusively 99¢ on Amazon for a limited time only!

IMG_6084

Amazon US | Amazon UK | B&N | Kobo

giveaway

 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

cropped-BEP-SquareLogo.jpg

If you liked this post say thanks by sharing it!

The Midnight Sea by Kat Ross Preorder & Cover Reveal

The Midnight Sea

Preorder Blitz
The Midnight Sea - Ebook

Book Title: The Midnight Sea (The Fourth Element)
Author: Kat Ross
Genre: Fantasy
Release Date: May 24, 2016
Hosted by: Book Enthusiast Promotions

Goodreads Button with Shadow

book blurb

They are the light against the darkness.

The steel against the necromancy of the Druj.

And they use demons to hunt demons….

Nazafareen lives only for revenge. A girl of the isolated Four-Legs Clan, all she knows about the King’s elite Water Dogs is that they bind wicked creatures called daevas to protect the empire from the Undead. But when scouts arrive to recruit young people with the gift, she leaps at the chance to join their ranks. To hunt the monsters that killed her sister.

Scarred by grief, she’s willing to pay any price, even if it requires linking with a daeva named Darius. Human in body, he’s possessed of a terrifying power, one that Nazafareen controls. But the golden cuffs that join them have an unwanted side effect. Each experiences the other’s emotions—and human and daeva start to grow dangerously close.

As they pursue a deadly foe across the arid waste of the Great Salt Plain to the glittering capital of Persepolae, unearthing the secrets of Darius’s past along the way, Nazafareen is forced to question his slavery—and her own loyalty to the empire. But with an ancient evil stirring in the north, and a young conqueror sweeping in from the west, the fate of an entire civilization may be at stake…

excerpt

On my seventeenth birthday, the magus summoned me to his study.

I sat down and waited while he shuffled through a stack of papers. Finally, he looked up.

“I’ve found you a daēva,” he said.

I sat very still, hardly breathing.

“His name is Darius. He was raised by the magi in Karnopolis. By all accounts, obedient and devout. And powerful.” The magus held my eyes. “Very powerful. The strongest in generations, if his keepers are to be believed. You were chosen because your gift is so great.” He sighed. “And because I can’t leave either of you unbonded much longer. You’re nearing the time when your mind will become too rigid to accept him, Nazafareen. And so that is my present to you. Are you happy?”

“Yes, magus. Very happy.” I was happy. I was also nervous.

“Do you wish to meet him?”

My heart lurched. “He’s here?”

“In the yard, waiting for us. Oh yes, and his curse is a withered left arm. I thought the fact that you are left-handed would be a nice complement.”

I let out a long breath as we walked outside. Bonding my daēva meant I could hunt Druj. Go on patrol with Ilyas and the others. I’d been waiting for this moment for three years. And yet part of me still wanted to run in the other direction as fast as I could.

We came around the corner of the barracks and there he was. A boy still, although not for much longer. I took in the close-cropped brown hair and pale, serious face. His sky-blue tunic matched his eyes, which were not particularly warm. More along the lines of one of the glacial lakes I’d bathed in as a child.

I walked right up to him, refusing to be cowed. It seemed prudent to let him know who was in charge immediately.

“I’m Nazafareen,” I said.

Darius nodded. His face was perfectly impassive, but did I see a spark in those eyes? Of fear? Contempt? It came and went too fast to tell.

I had no idea what to say next, so we just stood there in awkward silence for what felt like an eternity. Finally, the magus spoke.

“Come. Satrap Jaagos and the other Water Dogs are waiting.”

The bonding ceremony took place in the audience chamber of the satrap. It was a cavernous room, with vaulted ceilings of gilded tile and three marble pillars. The walls were carved with bas-reliefs of horses, their arched necks and braided manes rendered in exquisite detail.

Jaagos sat on his throne, his Water Dogs arrayed to either side. Half of them wore tunics of sky blue, the other half of a deep, bloody red.

I’d seen Jaagos from afar a few times, but this was the closest I’d ever been to him. In the moment before I prostrated myself, I saw a chubby man dressed in a rich gown of silver thread. He was bald as an egg, with thick lips and sloping shoulders. A housecat among lions.

I pressed my forehead to the stone. To my right, Darius did the same.

I was keenly aware of the eyes of the Water Dogs on me. They were the ones I wanted to impress, especially Ilyas. I didn’t give a fig about the satrap, except that I knew I didn’t want to make him angry. His authority was absolute, the hand of the King in Tel Khalujah, and if he wanted me dead, he had only to make the slightest gesture and it would be done.

“Get on with it,” Jaagos said after an appropriate amount of time had passed for the obeisance.

The magus stepped forward. “You are Water Dogs, the holiest of all dogs,” he said. “Without water there is no life, yet water has the power to destroy as well as to create. May your impurities be washed away.” The magus slowly poured the contents of a silver bowl over our heads.

“May the Holy Father keep you and guide your actions,” he intoned. “May the bond bestowed this day be true and pure. May you always serve the cause of light and shun the darkness.”

He set the bowl aside and pulled on a pair of leather gloves. Then he took out a gold cuff, thick and worked with snarling lions. Had he touched it with his bare hands, he would have bonded Darius himself instantly.

The magus’s face swam in my vision as he knelt before us. Darius had gone a deathly pale, but he looked at the cuff—the twin of one already encircling his right arm—without wavering. I resolved not to show him how afraid I was. Not to give him that victory.

“You will fight as one, live as one,” the magus said. “You will carry out the will of the Holy Father, as directed by your King and satrap. Good words, good thoughts, good deeds. By the Prophet and the Holy Father are you bonded.”

Then he snapped the cuff around my wrist and locked it with a tiny golden key. I may have cried out. I probably did. Because I wasn’t alone anymore. Floodgates opened in my mind, releasing a torrent of alien emotions. Next to me, Darius drew a sharp breath as the same thing happened to him, although I barely heard it.

Panic surged through me, followed by an aching loss so deep it tore a hole in my heart. I didn’t know if it was mine or his, or both feeding off the other. And I felt his power, a deep, churning pool of it, held tight in my fist.

“It is done,” the magus said.

My knees trembled as I stood. Darius offered me his hand but I was afraid to touch him so Ilyas took charge of me, leading me from the audience chamber to the fire temple. We knelt there together. I tried to pray, but my teeth were chattering.

“It gets easier with time,” Ilyas said in a soothing tone, as if he was talking to a small child. “You’ll learn to tell the difference between your own feelings and his. To separate them. To hold onto yourself.”

I nodded but I didn’t believe him. I just wanted to tear the cuff from my wrist. To get Darius and his bottomless despair out of my head. But that was impossible. It was locked in place.

“Look into the flames,” Ilyas said. “Imagine them burning your fear away. Scouring your mind clean of thought. Feed it all to the holy fire. You have the gift, Nazafareen. Now you must learn to control it, or it will destroy you.”

I tried to do as he instructed. For a moment, I felt as though I’d broken the surface, that the torrent was easing a little, but then it came back stronger than ever.

I jumped to my feet and just made it to the courtyard before I threw up.

They let me go to my bed after that for the rest of the day. Everyone left me alone. They understood that I couldn’t bear to be near even a single other person. I had enough of them in my head already.

meet the author

Kat Ross worked as a journalist at the United Nations for ten years before happily falling back into what she likes best: making stuff up. She lives in Westchester with her kid and a few sleepy cats. Kat is also the author of the dystopian thriller Some Fine Day (Skyscape, 2014), about a world where the sea levels have risen sixty meters. She loves magic, monsters and doomsday scenarios. Preferably with mutants.

social media websiteblognewsletter signuptwitterFacebookinstagramGoodreads

preorder the book

The Midnight Sea - Ebook

AMAZON US:  The Midnight Sea (The Fourth Element Book 1)

amazon UKgiveaway a Rafflecopter giveaway

500x500 BEP Square

 

If you liked this post say thanks by sharing it!