Apr 222014
 
 

An Excerpt From: MAKE ME WET

 

Copyright © NARA MALONE, 2013

 

All Rights Reserved, Ellora’s Cave Publishing, Inc.

 

A piercing cry rose above the thunder of surf. Human? A seal could sound so human it was hard to tell the difference. Whichever, Maille recognized it as a wail of mortal distress. She couldn’t say how she understood that, no more than she could say how she wound up on the beach. One fact she was certain of—she couldn’t ignore it.

 

Without thought for consequences she plunged into the surf, diving under swells, power-stroking through roiling water.

 

Once past the breakers Maille paused, treading water as she turned in circles, searching in the inky swells for the curve of a human head. Impossible with the waves breaking moonlight into sequined facets and the rise and fall of swells tall as houses. She’d never find him. She needed him to cry out once more.

 

“Come on. Give me a hint.”

 

An irregular shape, not seal-like or wavelike, caught her attention. As she paddled closer, she made out a man waving, heard his hoarse cry before his head disappeared below a wave. He resurfaced choking.

 

She dove under the water, swimming straight for where she’d seen him last. She resurfaced as he went under again, but she was close enough now to reach his long hair, swirling like dark kelp in the water. She grabbed a handful.

 

It was surprisingly easy to pull him along, as if he had managed to overcome his instinctive terror and submit to her rescue. He might not have been so submissive had he realized, as she did now, that they weren’t making progress.

 

Riptide. Crap.

 

Maille fought down a sudden kick of panic in her chest, struggling to swim parallel to the shore, caught by swells that tossed them dangerously close to jagged rocks. She had to concentrate her energy on swimming north until they were beyond the rip where she was free to swim shoreward.

 

When her feet finally found ground, a wave slammed her, flinging them both onto the sand. Depositing them in a tangle of limbs. Maille on top.

 

A small wave washed over them, and the sensation was that of a liquid blanket settling around her shoulders and then melting away. Panting, draped over his body, Maille was too spent to lift her head from a pillow of seaweed.

 

Another wave swept up, warm liquid fingers caressing her thighs.

 

She needed to move him higher up the beach, away from the rising tide, see to his needs. With a groan she pushed up to hands and knees, still straddling his body.

 

Damn! She’d hauled in one hell of a wet dream. Jet-black hair fanned out on the sand. His body lean, long and lusciously muscled. She started to lick her lips, caught herself, and forced her tongue back in her mouth. She was supposed to be saving his life, not jumping his bones.

 

Something was wrong. That realization drowned attraction in a wave of adrenaline.

His chest didn’t seem to be moving. Her breath caught and her heartbeat kicked up to double time. Maille thought there’d been a slight rise and fall of his chest beneath her breasts when they’d first washed ashore. His lips looked blue. But when she put her ear to his chest, the beat of his heart was strong and quick.

 

She scraped her mind for facts.

 

Fact—a heart could beat for several minutes after breathing stopped.

 

Would his lips still be blue?

 

Fact—in the moonlight everything looked blue.

 

Fact—his eyelids were at half-mast, and there was a barely perceptible gleam aimed at her. He probably didn’t need to be resuscitated.

 

Fact—she could discover the state of his respiration in other ways than this slow descent of her head and the pressing of lips to his. He tasted like sin and secrets.

 

His lips were warm and firm under hers, and they parted in a humid mingling of breath. Goddess, he smelled wonderful. She inhaled the scent of male and mystery laced with magick. Worries over what was real, what wasn’t, where she was, trickled away like so many grains of sand.

 

Fact…

 

Fuck a bunch of facts.


Make Me Wet
Passions Portal
Book 2
Nara Malone
 
Genre: Paranormal
 
Publisher: Ellora’s Cave
 
ISBN: 9781419948081
ASIN: B00GGMWAGI
 
Number of pages: 77
Word Count: 23,500
 
Cover Artist: Syneca
 
Ellora’s Cave       ARe     Amazon     BN
 
Book Description:
 
Seven tears cast upon the water summon the selkie, summon seal across the ocean, summon man from beast—liquid keys to break the curse. Freed one night every seven years, Ronin is doomed to repeat that cycle into eternity. Unless he can find a woman powerful enough to resist a selkie’s irresistible pheromones and sex magick.
 
Maille believes she lost reality between Maine and New Mexico. Between where she is now and where she should be. She believes in facts, not magick. But facts can’t explain how she wound up naked on a beach with the sexiest man she’s ever laid eyes on. Or how she knows in her bones that losing herself in the passion Ronin offers is a path to disaster.
 
It’s going to be a long, hot, wet night. Caught between sex magick and a sexy selkie, disaster is inevitable for Maille. To break the enchantment she has to rely on the oldest magick of all—the power of love-drenched hearts.
 

Book Trailer: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yO2moGX-IhU

About the Author:
 
Whether it’s a shapeshifter romance exploring the primal power of the wild feminine, or BDSM romance where love digs into a character’s shadows, Nara believes romance should open the door and push lovers into a new dimension: sexually, emotionally, and sometimes physically.
 
Nara Malone is an award winning novelist and poet. As a freelance journalist and writer, her feature profiles on women entrepreneurs and her romantic short stories have been published in newspapers, magazines, and digital publications.
 
 
 
Twitter @nara_malone 
 
 
 

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Apr 222014
 

Quinn scowled as he rummaged through the giant wooden chest in his specially created basement that contained his treasured library and most of his magyckal paraphernalia, potions and spells. He’d bought this place on the heath especially because it had a huge subterranean basement, large enough for him to store everything he’d accumulated in his thirty-six years as a Warlock as well as Taliesin’s possessions, accumulated over the last fifteen centuries.

It was no mean feat having the ability to store such exotic items as unicorn hair, dryad tears, kairax root and thousands of other obscure items that Taliesin bought back from his travels. Quinn applied the same method of preserving his Withinner’s treasures as he did his own very precious and rare collection of books and artefacts.

The purpose-built library in the concealed basement was a hermetically sealed room, guarding against such human risks such as improper lighting, airborne pollutants, insect infestations and mould. Minimal human contact featured strongly in there too, with the only person able to enter either of the rooms being Quinn or his Withinner and then only by a retinal scan. Quinn really couldn’t afford to have anyone from the outside world find his Warlock treasure trove. The need for secrecy was paramount. To reveal it could be disastrous.


Double Alchemy
Susan MacNicol
 
Genre: m/m paranormal romance
 
Publisher: Boroughs Publishing Group
 
ASIN: B00J7FVYRC
 
Book Description:
 
Powerful yet tormented modern warlock Quinn Fairmont must initiate the silver-eyed Cade Mairston into the world of witchfinders, Withinners, and what can happen when two men fall truly, madly, deeply in love.
 
THE WORLD IN SHADOW
 
In modern London there lurks a warlock, Quinn Fairmont. Dangerous, powerful, tortured, sharing his body with the soul of an ancient Welsh sorcerer, Quinn is never alone—and never wholly himself. He fights against all those who would exploit his kind. He takes pleasure where he can find it.
 
In the forest of Hampstead Heath, Quinn’s hometown, Cade Mairston appears to him like a waking dream. Lithe, lean and silver-eyed, he evokes feelings in Quinn unlike any other: lust with true affection, immediate and shocking. Cade is clearly more than he seems. And yet, if a man of the world, Cade is innocent. He knows nothing of warlocks, witchfinders or Withinners. He knows nothing of what he is, what he might be, or what he might feel. For him, the story is just beginning. Magyck, peril and passion await.
 
Available on Amazon

Book Trailer : http://youtu.be/Un64l7-7P8k
 
About the Author:
 
Sue Mac Nicol was born in Leeds, Yorkshire, in the United Kingdom. At the age of eight, her family moved to Johannesburg, South Africa where she stayed for nearly thirty years before arriving back in the UK in December 2000. She has written ten novels, two novellas and a screenplay since February 2012 and clearly believes in keeping herself busy. She has found herself wanting to stay in the genre that is M/M Romance so more can definitely be expected.
 
Sue is a member of Romance Writers of America and Romantic Novelists Association in the UK. She is also a member of a rather unique writing group, called the Talliston Writer’s Circle, which in itself has a story all of its own to tell and lives in the rural village of Bocking, in Essex, with her family. Her plan is to keep writing as long as her muse sits upon her shoulder. Her dream is to one day make enough money to give up the day job and get that big old house in the English countryside overlooking a river, where she can write all day and continue to indulge her passion for telling stories.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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Apr 212014
 
 
 
 


Eyes Only
H.K. Sterling
 
Genre: Suspense Thriller Romance 
 
Publisher: Breathless Press
 
Date of Publication: March 28, 2014
 
ISBN: 978-1-77101-276-8
Heat Rating: 3
 
Number of pages: 24
Word Count:  5965
 
Cover Artist: Fiona Jayde
 
Book Description:
 
In the shadowy world of covert operations it’s hard to tell the good guys from the bad. Is there even room for romance? Sometimes romance fits in only too well. 
 
Read along with the twists and turns of “Eyes Only” where trust is a rare commodity and you’ll never know which side to root for until the very end.

Amazon     Breathless Press    ARe
 
About the Author:
 
H.K. Sterling is an author with Breathless Press known for stories with imagination, intelligence, a kick, and twist endings. H.K. likes to focus her writing on suspense, science-fiction, shorts, and anything that is spicy and unexpected. Sometimes her books may even go dark. H.K. lives in Virginia with her husband who graciously puts up with her passion for writing. H.K. currently has a Mystery/Thriller out: A Taste For Killing; and two short stories in the Breathless Press Anthology, My Bloody Valentine. Her new book, A Taste For Danger has just been accepted for publication and Breathless Press also just published H.K.’s short-short titled Eyes Only. H.K.’s books are suitable for 18+.
 
Catch up with H.K. Sterling on the following media:
 
 
Twitter: @HKSterling
 
 
HK Sterling “Undercover Blog”: http://hksterling1.blogspot.com/
 

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Apr 212014
 
 

The Calm Before the Storm

“Nine to fourteen inches!” Jamie nudged me with his foot from the far end of the couch. “I can’t wait!”

“That’s what she said.” I looked up at him over my laptop and we both burst out laughing.

“Dude, they are going to be shutting this state down! You’re totally going to have the day off tomorrow.” Jamie swayed back and forth to the beat in his own head.

“Wouldn’t that be awesome?” God, I hoped so. The bank I worked at never called off work for anything. Everyone in my department was considered an essential employee. “We didn’t get to try out the hill at all last year.” There was a huge hill, just outside our apartment building, perfect for sledding. Last year we didn’t get any snow. “You should go to Benny’s tomorrow and get sleds.”

“Yes. That’s what I’m talking about. We’ll run those little fuckers that live across the street right off the hill.” Jamie got up to grab a pen and paper. “What else do we need?”

“Hot cocoa, and something to mix in it.” I tapped my finger against my chin then smiled at him. “And condoms.”

Jamie dropped to his knees. “Thanks be to Jesus.”

Now it was my turn to kick at him while he bowed at my feet. “It hasn’t been that long.”

“My darling Melanie, my sweet darling Melanie. The box I had withered and blew away in a strong breeze.”

“You’re a brat.” I put down the laptop beside me and slid off the couch so I almost landed in his lap. “I hate that stupid job. I just want to hang out with you. Maybe it will snow forever.”

“Quit.” He whispered in my ear, then nibbled on my neck. I gasped, it felt so good and it had been way too long. This had been the most contact we’d had in weeks.

“Soon. I hope.” I pulled him in closer to me. But enough about work right now. We had more important things to figure out. “What do you want me to wear under my snowsuit?”

Jamie moaned, peeling himself away from my neck just long enough to answer. “Do you still have that red lacy bra and panty set?”

“I bought a garter belt and stockings to go with it.”

He looked up at me, his eyebrows high. “And I’m finding out about this now?”

“I wanted to surprise you.”

“I want you to make snow angels in nothing but that outfit.”

“I’ll get frostbite.”

We stopped kissing only to watch the updated weather report. Now they were calling for fourteen to eighteen inches. Everything was working in our favor.

Jamie picked up where he left off when the report went to commercial. I shied away from him and he groaned in frustration.

“I just need to get this done.” I’d totally killed the moment. “Tomorrow, I promise.”

This storm was just what we needed. Now I just had to pray I got the day off.

 


Night Moves
The Night Songs Collection
Book 2
Kristen Strassel
 
Genre: NA Paranormal Romance
 
Publisher: Foreword Literary
 
Date of Publication: 3.26.14
 
ISBN: coming soon
ASIN:coming soon
 
Number of pages: 294
 
Book Description:
 
We bonded in darkness, over darkness.

Melanie Vaughn’s job ruined everything. Her social life, nonexistent. Her relationship with her boyfriend, a hostile roommate situation. She resolves to fix everything one snowy afternoon, but instead comes home to discover her boyfriend is already exploring other options. Blonder, bustier options. Rage drives Melanie to do the unthinkable.

When Soul Divider was on the top of the world, so was Ryder Maddox. When the band faded into obscurity, Ryder’s luck plummeted with it. In a last ditch effort to rekindle the band’s heyday, Soul Divider teams up with powerful vampire clan leader, Talis de Rancourt. In return for her services, the band pays the ultimate price for never ending fame.

Now on the run, Melanie meets Ryder in a middle of nowhere hotel. She never expected her teenage rock star crush to be as lost and as in need of a companion as she is. Their connection is all consuming, even before they find they share another kinship: murder.

The newly turned vampires in Soul Divider still have a lot to learn. The police and public begin to connect the girls that go missing or die in sync with the band’s tour schedule. Back at home, clues are also adding up against Melanie as well. Between constant media coverage and unrelenting attention from the authorities, Melanie and Ryder find themselves in uncharted territory.

About the Author:
 
Kristen shares a birthday with Steven Tyler and Diana Ross.  She spends each day striving to be half as fabulous as they are.  She’s worn many hats, none as flattering as her cowboy hat: banker, retail manager, fledgling web designer, world’s worst cocktail waitress, panty slinger, now makeup artist and aspiring author.  She loves sunshine, live music, the middle of nowhere, and finding new things to put in her house.  Kristen is represented by Pam van Hylckama Vlieg of Foreword Literary.
 
 
Twitter: @kristenstrassel
 
 
 
 

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Apr 212014
 
 
 
Kaylee: The “What If?” Game
The SoCal Series
Book 2
Christine Dzidrums
 
Genre: Young Adult
 
Publisher: Creative Media
 
Date of Publication: 03/05/2014         
ISBN: 978-0983539346
ASIN: 1394180171
 
Number of pages: 172
Word Count: 27,114
 
Cover Artist: Joseph Dzidrums
 
Book Description:
 
“I play the ‘What If?’ Game all the time. It’s a cruel, vicious cycle.” In the follow-up to Cutters Don’t Cry, meet free spirit Kaylee McMathews, the most popular girl in school. But when the teenager suffers a devastating loss, her sunny personality turns dark as she struggles with debilitating panic attacks and unresolved anger. Can Kaylee repair her broken spirit or will she forever remain a changed person?
 
Amazon Print      Amazon Kindle     BN     Kobo
 
 About the Author:
 
Christine Dzidrums holds a bachelor’s degree in Theater Arts from California State University, Fullerton. She has written biographies on many inspiring women: Joannie Rochette, Yuna Kim, Shawn Johnson, Nastia Liukin, The Fierce Five, Gabby Douglas, Sutton Foster, Kelly Clarkson, Idina Menzel and Missy Franklin. Christine’s first novel, Cutters Don’t Cry, won a Moonbeam Children’s Book Award. She also wrote the tween book Fair Youth and the beginning reader books Future Presidents Club and the Princess Dessabelle series. Ms. Dzidrums lives in Southern California with her husband, three children and two dogs.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

 
Apr 182014
 
 

Excerpt

 

Genesis ~ The Story So Far

 

In the beginning of all things, there was a song, and starlight, and a Garden within eternity’s shadows. There, God created three great angels, and they were destined to rule all of Heaven from three majestic thrones.

          Israfel, the Creator Supernal, was considered to be the most beautiful of these angels. A vision of bronze feathers and grace, he found favor in the eyes of God and Heaven and soon outstripped his siblings in both popularity and power. His brother Raziel, the Preserver Supernal, became known for the virtues of wisdom and gentleness. And then there was Lucifel, the Destroyer Supernal embodying creation’s fathomless darkness and depths, who despite her taciturn personality still managed to snare the hearts of creatures.

          The storms and upsets of the universe could not touch these three angels. Sickness and death were beneath them.

But they were not immune to the passions of the heart.

As Israfel’s favor grew, so did Lucifel’s frightful envy and discontent.

          Seeing herself as an equal to her sibling and with a loyal band of angels to support her claim, Lucifel finally broke with the established order and challenged Israfel’s position as Heaven’s supreme ruler under God. When Raziel–who had always seemingly vacillated in his loyalty between both siblings–took Lucifel as his lover, a bloody revolution exploded. The children of their forbidden union were executed, but in retaliation Lucifel engulfed Heaven in a War that ended in Raziel’s suicide, Israfel’s abdication, and her own tragic destiny.

Though defeated by both fate and circumstance, Lucifel chose to begin a new regime in lower, darker places. Yet she was swiftly imprisoned in her new kingdom of Hell.

Those who had once worshipped her in her glory were now her fearful jailers. They called themselves demons.

          In the darkness below all things, caged and alone, Lucifel’s ideals twisted even as her shadow of influence grew. From Hell it then spread like a poison, touching even the mortal world.

          Though her true motives remain unknown, she is now suspected of wishing to open Raziel’s fabled Book, seeking to use its power to silence the universe and the light within it that mocks her. Lucifel moves quicker by the day to manipulate events in her favor. But Raziel’s death was not completely in vain. He has returned as the guardian spirit of a human girl to see that his sister Lucifel fails in her goal. This human girl is called the Archon.

          The Archon is the only soul believed to be capable of opening the Book for the power of good. But like all creatures She has a choice, and will either stand against Lucifel and destroy her, or kill her only to take her place on the Throne of Hell and begin a darker era of Ruin.

          In either instance, Her decision must be made quickly.

With the ties that once held the universe together brutally severed, an order long teetering on the edge of collapse has started to slide toward complete annihilation. A silence more threatening than Lucifel’s looms over all creatures–one without hope of resurrection. The whereabouts of the Lock and Key of Raziel’s Book are unknown, and the task of opening it to save what remains of the world verges on the impossible.

The Archon is a soul born in mortal misery, and she has only recently grasped the virtue of friendship. There are many who believe that her dark destiny is–like Lucifel’s–unavoidable.

          But if Ruin and Death born of three unhappy angels sparked the end, it is also true that covenants broken can be remade, and that the wheels of fate can be turned backwards despite all odds. Hearts call to one another, undoing the knots that have strangled hope, and imprisoned peace. For darkness to exist, there must be a brighter light. The world has always known pain, strife, and wars.

Yet it is the bonds between souls that have moved the stars.

 

 

 

Zero

 

          Many doors begged to be opened in the city of Luz. Kim was certain he’d at last found the only one that mattered.

          Like all ominous things, it had materialized in the darkest hour of his life. Now he stood in front of its immense black wood and gasped for breath, cold sweat trickling down the side of his nose. A thousand warnings sounded off in his brain, and his lungs ached as they sucked in the freezing air. His hands had gone numb. Ice shellacked the tips of Kim’s hair, and the strands swept punishingly against his neck. The wind strangled him with every breath, searching relentlessly for other lives to snuff out, sighing like a cold song through the alley.

A soft hiss shivered through the bone cold night, and the harsh breeze died for a moment. The damp and stone-filled city had hushed, as if waiting. Flurries drifted serenely to the ground.

Kim glanced over his shoulder, shuddering. Fear throbbed through him in waves.

He would have to move fast. He didn’t have much time to make a decision before she caught up to him.

The door beckoned, suspicious and dark. Should he? Shouldn’t he? 

Kim stared at the door, gasping for breath. He peered at the odd carvings and symbols in the wood. Impulsively, he reached for the snake-shaped iron knob.

Reality twisted and warped like a flash of lightning. Without warning the iron serpent came alive and lunged.

Inch long metal fangs sunk into Kim’s palm. Needles of agony wrenched through his arm.

Kim cursed under his breath, tears of pain bunching at the corners of his eyes. He snatched his hand out of the snake’s reach, wrapping fingers around his injured palm. Blood seeped hotly between his fingers. The iron snake recoiled back to its original position, glaring into him. Its reptilian eyes glowed with an unnerving yet familiar shade of orange. Try again, they seemed to say.

Frantically, Kim searched every inch of the wood for a keyhole. But there was none, and he realized with a newer shot of panic that he had no key anyway.

Another icy hiss echoed through him, drifting through the alley along with the snow. A soft rattle, like the sound of tiny bones rubbing together, cut through the silence.

Kim peered around again, sweaty bangs screening his vision.

A pair of phosphorescent yellow eyes gleamed back at him from the end of the cobbled road. Sickle-shaped black wings flickered once within the night. The sad glow of a gas lamp brushed the tips of his cousin’s nails, and then her devilish form melted back into the darkness.

In a few more breaths, those nails would rip him apart. His hunter was badly hurt, but that wouldn’t buy Kim enough time to escape.

He glanced around pathetically and sucked in more horrendously cold air. Silvery ice shellacked the surrounding walls of brick and stone, the hard ground. Snow drifted, fell, tumbled in the renewed gusts of winter wind. He didn’t want to die in the cold depths of Luz alone. Too much life awaited him, and possibly love.

He clung to that last hope with fanatical loyalty.

          Kim clutched the cross necklace at his chest, and his mind raced and filled with thoughts of Angela Mathers and how much she needed him without even realizing it. He pictured her brave face, deep red hair, and cool blue eyes. He felt her kiss on his mouth and ached for the part of his heart he’d unwillingly left with her in a moment of such irrational anger. He heard an angel’s voice say like it had said before that Kim was about to get exactly what he deserved.

          A terrible, crushing sensation threatened to stop his heart. The hair stood on the nape of Kim’s neck. His veins throbbed with terror. Blood rushed and roared in his ears. He fought off the screams rising up into his throat. Unseen and silent, death’s stealthy approach felt keen as a knife in his back.

          Kim threw himself at the door, pounding on the wood with his fists.

Seeing Angela’s face in his mind one last time, he knew he’d give anything to reach her again. The screams left his mouth at last, reverberating in the icy air. Someone, anyone, for the love of God let him in. He knew footsteps were behind him and ragged breaths and pitiless teeth and the thought was unbearable. He banged harder and harder, ignoring the threat of another bite from the snake because his hands were dead with cold and pain.

He would do anything, if someone would save him.

The world paused. A voice like a snake’s touched the edge of his thoughts.

Anything? It sounded amused.

Yes. Yes. ANYTHING.

A tremulous click broke the silence.

Kim jumped backwards and stared, his heart pounding. The immense black door had opened, and a sliver of nothingness peeped at him from the gap between door and wall. Like a man in a trance, he opened the door wider, revealing a worn stone stairway that led down into a dimly lit darkness. A stale but warm breeze wafted upward from the depths. There was no telling what waited for him down there. For a single moment longer, he hesitated.

Pain slammed into him like a thunderbolt.

The door slammed shut. Kim whipped sideways into the bricks, scraping his cheek on bitter ice.

His hunter rolled to the slippery ground next to him, her sparsely feathered wings beating the stone in a frenzy. Ice cracked and split beneath her weight. Cold air rushed over him in merciless waves.

Scabs covered Troy’s black pinions, and her entire body had become even leaner with hunger. Growls of rage peppered her almost unintelligible words. Kim stole one more glimpse of his cousin’s lethal angelic beauty, the sight of her sharp teeth, the terror of her hypnotic eyes, and he wrenched himself from the slick wall and once again flung open the door.

Troy grabbed his leg, cutting more blood out of him.

Frustrated shrieks sliced into him like her nails. Her broken ankle had cost her time and speed, but it was her other injuries that had brought her close to starvation. Kim screamed a prayer.

Shuddering, she let go.

In a second she was on her hands and feet, preparing to pounce again. Kim swung himself through the doorway.

Troy’s bony hand grasped the bloody tatters of his coat and pulled. Kim slammed to the ground. Her wings buffeted him, punishing his legs and waist. She scrabbled for a foothold on the unfamiliar ice, and he fought against sliding into biting range. Troy’s hot breath reached his skin. The chain of his necklace threatened to choke him.

Kim pulled with all of his strength.

The coat fabric ripped from between her fingers. The necklace chain snapped. With a cry of triumph he dashed for the stairway again and turned, slamming the door shut.

Troy’s feet and hands clanged like a sharp wind against the wood.

Kim staggered back, nearly pitching down the stairs. Grasping blindly, he clung to an iron bar on the door’s inside, trying to keep his balance. In a fury of Jinn nails and thundering wings, Troy scratched against the door and rasped his name, screeched out her fury. Her voice was like a song of terror.

The door shivered beneath the onslaught. Kim was sure a mere two inches of wood separated them.

It didn’t seem to matter. Something was protecting him and Troy knew it.

Her hisses of defeat continued, cutting through him like poisonous ice. Kim let go of the iron bar and stood at the top of the stairway, keeping his hand on his other bleeding palm, whispering every exorcism prayer in his memory.

Hours passed. Every so often, chalk-white fingers and sharp nails slipped under the door, searching for Kim’s skin. Above the howling wind, he heard Troy’s hiss or the rattle of the bones in her hair, and sometimes the screech of the crow that haunted her side. So he waited with her, certain that one of them would eventually give up but that, God willing, it wouldn’t be him.

Finally, unbelievably, she left.

Kim’s sanity returned by degrees. With it came suffocating hunger and thirst. He’d been running from Troy for so long, food and drink had become hasty and disgusting occasions. Now the overwhelming need for both began to overcome his terror at what might be waiting outside the door. He touched it, weighing his fortunes. No, he couldn’t bear it anymore–

Kim set his jaw, pushing on the door from the inside.

It wouldn’t budge. There was no interior knob either, only the iron bar that had left his arm muscles aching. He was trapped.

A warm breeze rose out of the darkness and brushed against his skin. The ice coating his hair dripped onto the stone.

Kim patted his chest, sensing emptiness. His cross necklace was gone, probably lying on the icy ground where Troy had torn it from his neck. There was no sense in grieving. That memento his foster-father had given him was now long past its usefulness. The memories it symbolized would best stay where Kim had left them, half-buried in snow and ice. Besides, he couldn’t return even if he wanted to.

With the most furtive glances, Kim examined the staircase.

He breathed hard, his chest aching. His throat was raw from screaming, and as he stood, every muscle screamed back at him in protest. Carefully, he stepped onto the first set of stairs.

Troy’s steady breathing sounded from the door’s other side.

She’d never left at all.

With his next step, she breathed louder, as if growing desperate.

Kim knew better than to walk down a mysterious set of stairs, after entering a mysterious door, all because he’d made a desperate promise. Yet he had no other choice, and deep inside, he couldn’t help feeling that this was somehow the right one. A whisper at the edge of his memories called from far below. Perhaps this was the moment he’d been waiting for.

Here is your chance, the voice called to him again.

Despite Kim’s better judgment he believed it. He needed to believe it. So he left death behind to meet salvation where it waited–darker and darker down.



 


 
Covenant
The Books of Raziel
Book 2
Sabrina Benulis
 
Genre: Paranormal Fantasy
 
Publisher: Harper Voyager
 
Date of Publication: 4/1/2014
 
ISBN: 9780062069412
 
Number of pages: 400
Word Count: 98,000
 
 
Book Description:
 
The haunting gothic tale started in Archon continues-a mesmerizing work of the paranormal in which a young woman discovers that she is caught in a labyrinth of intrigue where angels, demons, and all the creatures between Heaven and Hell will stop at nothing to possess her.
 
A year ago, Angela Mathers, a talented artist with a tortured soul, enrolled at the Westwood Academy and encountered the angels who haunted her dreams. Then she discovered the dark truth … she is the Archon, a being of supreme power who will determine the fate of the universe. But with such power comes great danger, and for every force seeking to aid Angela there is another burning to stop her. After a scheming demon kidnaps the Book of Raziel, Angela must find her way through a nightmarish game and enter the Door to Hell to rescue her only friend before it is too late.
 
The perilous fate of both Heaven and Hell rests on her success.
 
 
About the Author:
 
Sabrina Benulis graduated with a Masters in Writing Popular Fiction from Seton Hill University. She currently resides in the Pocono Mountains of Pennsylvania with her husband Mike, and her spoiled cockatiel Caesar. COVENANT is the follow-up to ARCHON, her first novel.
 
 
 

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Please see following for Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award contest 284 word pitch and 1100 word opening chapter.

 

“Do not suppose that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I did not come to bring peace, but a sword”

- Matthew 10:34

 

Jonathon Tait, whose demon-enhanced 170-year-old life has helped make him the richest man in the world, secretly renounces his alliance with demons in order to save his twins and redeem himself in the eyes of the two women he loved and lost. Jonathon has visions that his beautiful college-aged adopted daughter, Jennifer Ainsley, may be the key to humanity’s survival and works with an underground movement to fight back against both the demons and the human leadership that is guiding our civilization towards total annihilation.

 

Can Jennifer wield the Sword of Jesus to fulfill her destiny even as the planet hurtles towards its destruction? Is she mankind’s only hope and can Jennifer save everyone that she loves; including her destined soul mate Andrew Walker, or are we all doomed?

 

Jennifer Ainsley: The Final Demon War is a gripping, fast-paced fantasy/horror novel grounded in the contemporary world. The characters are extremely likable and engaging, and a great deal of humor is successfully incorporated into the book, despite its often grim and macabre themes.  There are several action packed tour-de-force chapters including “Scenes from the End” and “Kasey and Tracey’s Amazing Adventure”.

 

The book deftly tackles issues of greed, humanity’s neglect for its weakest members, the race for power among individuals and nations, and the ability of love and courage to transcend personal weaknesses. It is a tale that combines horror and fantasy to tell a story of love, loss, sacrifice and redemption. It is the first chapter of an exciting new trilogy that deserves to find a wider audience.

 

Chapter One

Heather

 

Heather couldn’t believe she was going to die in front of her peacefully sleeping twins, who were oblivious to the unspeakable acts occurring in their nursery. These infants, this life, were all she had wanted, and in those lonely nights before sleep overtook her, she admitted to herself that she had been groomed for this since birth. She had been groomed to be a beautiful, nurturing wife to a wealthy and powerful man and she had been groomed to care for his children and teach them to take their rightful place in the world while she also maintained this lovely home—with a slew of maids, servants, and other staff of course. She threw the best dinner parties and had a special banquet hall included in the new Napa Valley estate just for that purpose. She knew all the right people to invite, and they raised all the right money for all the right charities.

Yet here she was in midair, swaying back and forth, seeing herself reflected in the rectangular Craftsman-style floor mirror she personally had picked out for the nursery. The demon Palvakia held Heather by her strawberry-blonde hair, a mane her husband Jonathon Tait called “gorgeously luxurious,” while her lithe and toned, almost split-in-two body, spilled her blood and guts onto the new Berber carpet (a lovely light blue she also had personally picked out for the nursery). How important Heather had thought every design detail of this room was. She had placed so much importance on the mundane materials that now meant nothing. She was escaping into the blackness now, the dark abyss whose passage she hoped ended with a consummating light. Was there light beyond death and beyond this horror?

It was insane, Heather thought, that her husband, the man she loved and admired, was watching this scene unfold with an expressionless face as Mordock, a repulsive and despised demon, stood next to him. Mordock was in human form right now, unlike the demon who had torn her in half, but Heather still felt the evil lurking underneath. She had tried to banish Mordock from their lives and had pleaded with her husband to stand up to him. Yet Jonathon had done nothing to remove him from their lives or to stop Mordock from carrying out her murder. If there was a light at the end, how could the Keeper of Light cause this to happen or not prevent it in the first place?

And what of the twins? Alexander and Sophia were so beautiful and full of life, with old-soul eyes, even as infants. My lovely babies, Heather thought with her last bit of consciousness. Who will keep you from harm? Can your father somehow be your guardian angel? Will he succeed with you where he failed with me? The darkness with the light behind it is approaching. Will I see you in heaven? How long will I have to wait? Hopefully a long, long time…

Heather took her last breaths just as Palvakia began to devour her. To her horror, though, death did not come instantaneously. A morbid trick of the demons is to keep their victims on the cusp of dying so they can witness themselves being eaten. Heather couldn’t even scream as the pain ripped through the ever-decreasing parts of her body.

When Palvakia was finished, not one ounce of the physical being that once had been Heather Tait was left in the room. Even the carpet was clean…and the twins continued to sleep peacefully.


Jennifer Ainsley
The Final Demon War
Sidney Stone
 
Genre: Urban Fantasy/Suspense/
Horror/New Adult
 
Date of Publication: December 2013
 
ISBN: 1491200960
ASIN: B00HFYK99Q
 
Number of pages: 308
Word Count: 102,400
 
Cover Artist: Pencilbox Studios
 
Book Description:
 
“Do not suppose that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I did not come to bring peace, but a sword” – Matthew 10:34
 
Demons are preparing to launch the Final War to destroy humanity. 
 
Can one young woman wielding the Sword of Jesus ensure our survival and redemption?
 
Will she lose both her love and her soul in the process?
 
Available at Amazon in Paperback and Kindle formats
 
 
About the Author:
 
Sidney Stone is a hiker, deer whisperer and non-pretentious wine connoisseur. An addicted reviewer on Yelp, he is also creator of affordable housing (although technically he is homeless part-time), thinks The Replacements are the best band of the Eighties and loves to boost his LinkedIn count with people he doesn’t know.
 
He lives in both Northern and Southern California while constantly traveling to Orange County to visit his son, who can now beat his father at ping pong and chess rather easily (and is charmingly arrogant while doing it). A graduate of UC Irvine and Pepperdine University, Sidney wishes he chose at least one university to attend that had a college football team to root for.
 
The first scene Sidney thought of for Jennifer Ainsley: The Final Demon War included a rather large massacre (take that for what it is worth). However, inspired by the works of Stephen King, Dean Koontz and Clive Barker; the book’s violence is offset by dark humor and deep human emotion just like in real life where Sidney’s darkness is offset by creatively placed sarcasm and an overwrought romanticism. For example, while Jennifer Ainsley: The Final Demon War is a Fantasy-Horror novel, Sidney also still tears up at the end of both Field of Dreams and An Officer and a Gentleman.
 
 
 
 
 

 

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Complication
Chronicles of the Uprising
Part 2
K.A. Salidas
 
Release Date: April 14, 2014
 
Book Description:
 
Narrowly escaping death at the hands of the Magistrate, Mira travels west, toward the coast. With three weakened human fugitives accompanying her, she searches for the mythical land of Sanctuary.
 
After encountering a pack of wolf shifters, headed by the charismatic—and brazen—Stryker, Mira learns that Sanctuary is real after all.  Caldera Grove: home of the Otherkin. Hidden in the mouth of a dormant volcano, it has protected its residents from humans since the early days following the great cataclysm. For Mira— a vampire— Caldera Grove is a land of peace; an escape from the relentless persecution of the humans who once enslaved her, and an end to the daily struggle and bloodshed of being a gladiator.
 
For the humans accompanying her, Caldera Grove means death. Humans, greedy and untrustworthy creatures, are destroyed before they can penetrate its borders.
 
To plead her case for entry into Caldera, Mira must abandon her companions, albeit temporarily, and follow Stryker into the heart of the city. What she finds within Caldera Grove presents her with an unenviable decision between her own desires for freedom and peace, or honor and the human companions who risked it all for her.
 
Amazon     Amazon UK      BN       Kobo      Smashwords

About the Author:

 
Endowed with special powers and abilities, beyond those of mortal women,  I can get the munchkin off to gymnastics, cheerleading, Girl Scouts, and swim lessons.  I can put hot food on the table for dinner while assisting with homework, baths, and bedtime… And, I still find time to keep the hubby happy (nudge nudge wink wink). I can do all of this and still have time to write my novels.
 
Sorry… I can’t even write that with a straight face.
 
Lies all lies.
 
Here’s the reality. I’m a sleep-deprived, overworked, mom who just doesn’t know the meaning of the word balance. I try so hard to do it all, (be super mom, wife, & author) and at the end of the day I fall face forward into the couch.
 
Yes, you read that right, I tend to sleep on the couch. It’s a point of frustration for my hubby and a thing of comedy for my daughter. Imagine waking up to your little child yelling, “Mom slept on the couch again!!!”
 
Because being supermom (or trying to) means a lot of time devoted to family, writing is often done when said family is peacefully snoozing away. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve fallen asleep with my laptop, on the couch. It just happens. Then, bright and early at 7am either my hubby (on his way to work) or my daughter (getting ready for school) wakes me up.
 
Writing is my passion. It’s a part of me. More than just a hobby, it’s a compulsion. I have to do it. If I don’t do at least one writing related thing each day I get cranky.
 
Hopefully, my passion can be your entertainment!
 
 
 
 
 

 

 

 

 

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Prologue

         Nestled deep within the dark mountains that neighbor the Black Sea lay an ancient castle in a valley, forever hooded by a swirl of thunderous clouds. It looked as though some god or deity had taken an inkbottle and poured the contents into the dip between the mountains. It cloaked the ground, the water, the stone, and even the air. To each molecule of oxygen clung a droplet of shadow, tinting the air so black no torch could pierce it. The air hung heavy, masking Waelwulf Castle and its residents. Any sign of Mother Nature’s beauty had long escaped this land, all vegetation long gone. In its place resided an evil force, something far more vicious and deadly than any visitor could imagine. It belonged to the family who lived within the impenetrable stonewalls: the royal family of Wulf, the head of the Black Sea Pack, the sole survivor of the Great Wars, the most ancient and powerful pack on planet Earth.

         In front of their home was a vast plain, stretching deep into the darkness. Two massive wolves emerged from the shadows simultaneously. Upon catching sight of each other’s glittering eyes in the blackness, their hackles rose and growls erupted from deep within their chests. Circling slowly with teeth bared, each step was calculated, measured, carefully placed. Wolves crossing paths on the barren grounds that surrounded the castle were rare. A direct challenge such as this was always met with death for the offending party. Both wolves had this in mind as they faced each other off.

         A howling wind brushed across them then, curling around their paws and tails and the hills of their tense raised shoulders before sweeping into the darkness. With it though the wolves caught each other’s scents and relaxed with recognition. They moved in unison towards the castle.

         They reached the scarred metal gates that stood a few dozen paces from the castle’s front door. For centuries all that had stood between the foe in battles and the castle had been these gates, somehow untouchable by the enemy. Warriors believed it was protected by magic.

         The wolves shifted into their human forms. ”Axel,” one said, nodding. His appearance was much like his wolf: black hair, confident brown eyes, square jaw, long legs and a tall frame. Even his gait was like his wolf’s, the slow cadence of a predator.

         “Robinson,” Axel said in return. He was short with a brush of red hair across his head and jaw, and small, nervous eyes. He didn’t have any of the grace his comrade had, due to his short stature.

         After the brief exchange, they took the time to make themselves presentable, straightening the rumples in their clothing. The old gate creaked open, allowing them to pass and approach the castle’s front doors. Robinson stepped forward then and knocked evenly three times.

         After a long pause, one of the doors slowly creaked open, revealing a thin young man dressed in plain black clothing with royal red embroidering, leaning heavily on a wooden cane. Recognizing the two men, he quickly hobbled aside. They strode past him without any acknowledgement. It was later, after they had moved out of earshot of the handicapped porter, that Axel said something.

         “Learn a lesson from Dane, Robinson. Never ever question your superiors. Look at him, once one of the kingdom’s finest warriors. And now condemned to a life of servitude, and with a damaged leg! He doesn’t even have the option of marrying, poor fellow.”

         Robinson merely nodded. There was not much too be said, in any case, as he knew more about Dane’s offense than Axel thought or knew himself.

         Any chance to continue the conversation was ended as they reached the end of the cold corridor. Axel reached out almost hesitantly, and knocked a specific beat on the plain little door. A peephole was opened, revealing a menacing eye staring down upon the two men.

         “I am here to see King Cronan. He is expecting me,” Robinson said confidently, silently challenging the eye to deny him.

         “I am also here to see His Majesty,” Axel added, a slight quaver to his voice.

         The eye flickered from one spy to the other several times before taking a few slow, long blinks. After a long minute, the eye finally withdrew itself and the peephole slammed shut. Then the door opened to reveal the owner of the eye, a large man, taller than Robinson and thicker than Axel’s height, with an array of battle scars that shone in the light as he grunted at them and led them down a narrow hallway.

         It eventually opened into a large, majestic room. The walls were covered in looted swords, shields, heads of enemies, and other treasures; priceless paintings of the kings who had ruled over Waelwulf Castle long ago were hung over the multiple crackling fireplaces. Yet even with the candlelight and the fires burning, the room was still dark, darker than much of the castle Robinson and Axel had traveled through.

         The most ornate chandelier hung over a painting of a bearded man standing beside a dark brown wolf, their shoulders touching. In the center of the room was almost an exact replica of the portrait, minus the wolf, who had simply been the same man posing in his other form. In fact, it appeared as if the King had barely aged a day since the portrait was finished over sixty years ago.

         “Axel. Robinson. I trust you bring news?” King Cronan asked, sipping wine from a silver goblet.

         “Yes, Your Highness. I have returned with information of the Orarius Pack, as you requested,” Axel announced puffing his chest out grandly.

         “And you, Robinson? What do you return with?”

         “I return with good news, Your Highness,” Robinson replied with a shadow of a smirk. Cronan chuckled slightly, mildly impressed by Robinson’s word choice. Axel didn’t find it amusing.

         “Your Highness, the descendant we have been watching—his mate is with child,” Axel said, disgruntled.

         The King’s expression grew somber once more and he focused a penetrating gaze on Axel. “And do you know the sex of the child?”

         Axel hesitated before bowing his head. “I do not, Your Highness. My deepest apologies.” 

         “Your apologies will not tell us the gender of the offspring, Axel, no matter how deep they may be,” the King said in a cold, detached voice. Axel swallowed audibly.

         Suddenly the King snapped his fingers and a dozen wolves emerged from the shadows of the room. They prowled forward, snarls erupting from them one by one as they closed in on Axel.

         “It will be a she-wolf, Your Highness,” Robinson said calmly, as if the proceedings around him didn’t bother him in the slightest—which, knowing Robinson, actually didn’t. He knew that in light of Axel’s disappointing performance, he would be rewarded for the morsel of information.

         King Cronan held up a hand, signaling the wolves to halt and return to their designated spots. “And do we know anything about the garden?” he asked, looking thoroughly pleased at the vague wording of his question.

         But Robinson understood perfectly. “The tree has sprouted, but it can barely be distinguished from the weeds,” Robinson replied.

         “So we will have to wait,” said the King, making it sound more like a statement than a question. He locked his eyes onto his spy’s. Robinson did not waver, holding his gaze calmly as the atmosphere in the room grew tense until, finally the King began to chuckle and they both looked away at once.

         With a flick of his wrist, King Cronan dismissed the two men. Axel was the fastest to bow and turn his back on the king. Eager to leave the room, he didn’t notice the change of his superior’s expression.

          Robinson had been slower, and paused at the subtle shift in the air. “You must be wondering why I told both of you to report to me at the same time.” While the question was directed at both of them, the king’s gaze did not waver from Axel’s back. The ginger man had frozen, eyes closed, still facing the door, though there was no denying the fear that trembled through his body. Cronan continued as if he had not noticed. “You see, I suspected that one of you was, perhaps, a spy. An infiltrator.”

         Robinson froze as well, despite his best efforts. No, surely no…

         Another snap of Cronan’s fingers and the wolves re-emerged, more aggressive and terrifying than before. Half moved towards Axel, the others towards Robinson. Axel turned to his king. “Your Highness—please—I don’t understand.” The words slipped from his tongue and into the room before he had a chance to stop them.

         That was a mistake.

          Cronan’s nostrils flared and a hand twitched towards the goblet. “How can I be more clear, Axel?”

         “Yes Axel, what has His Majesty said that you find so difficult to understand?” Robinson said, against his better judgment. The king’s eyes snapped to Robinson, growing ever more black but still holding a sparkle of amusement. What boring company he must keep for Robinson’s words to hold such humor.

          Axel looked at Robinson, eyes full of betrayal and fear. In return Robinson looked back with remorse.

         A second snap of fingers signaled two wolves to grab each of Axel’s arms. The cries echoed around the room as sharp teeth sunk into tender flesh. “You see, I think that you know more than you are revealing to me. If Robinson was able to discover the gender of the child and find the tree, surely you would be able to as well. So why not tell me? Ah, yes. Because you had something to protect. Because your loyalties lie elsewhere—with the Orarius Pack, the Coastal Pack,” Cronan spat at Axel.

         “You are mistaken, Y-your Highness.” Axel’s voice hitched as the wolf holding his right arm tightened his grip, sinking his teeth deeper into the muscle. Axel’s knees gave out, and his face paled.

         “I am not mistaken, Axel. You are. You pledged allegiance to the wrong pack,” the King deadpanned before drinking the rest of the liquid in his goblet. He smacked his lips a couple of times before returning his gaze to the man on his knees, now quietly sobbing. Robinson discreetly bowed his head, but turned it at a slight angle so he could catch Axel’s eye. Through the tears, the doomed man watched as Robinson mouthed sacred words to him: Father Moon, may you carry my brother’s spirit and his wolf safely to the Sacred Land and may you-

         Robinson stopped and turned his head away as droplets of blood splattered across his face and screams pierced the air. The sound of tearing flesh was not unfamiliar, but it still made Robinson feel a deep, inconsolable sadness. He finished the prayer in his head, hoping it caught onto Axel’s spirit in time. Soon the screams stopped and silence fell, except for the quiet drip-drop of blood. Robinson slowly raised one hand and wiped away the red stain on his cheek. It smeared instead.

         “Well then, I suppose we will just have to pay them a visit. Go find Prince Naples and tell him to get ready,” Cronan, said, continuing the conversation as if nothing had happened. And indeed, it appeared as if nothing had, the wolves having returned to the shadows while King Cronan and Robinson stood facing one another. The stench of death was easy to ignore if you tried hard enough. The sound of dripping blood, however, still echoed.

         “Yes, Your Highness,” Robinson said. He stowed away his remorse and grief for Axel. They had only known each other briefly and compassion was not welcome in the Mara Negra’s court. Turning his head away, Robinson allowed himself a small triumphant smile. Everything was going according to plan.

          The king rose from his seat, empty goblet in hand. He approached Axel’s torn and mangled body and lowered the goblet into one of the deeper pools of blood, making sure to fill it as much as he could before he took a sip. So perhaps it had not been wine.

 
 
The Hazel Tree
Julia Debski
 
Genre: YA Fantasy Romance
 
ISBN: 1493510789
 
59,990 words
282 pages
 
Cover Artist: Julia Debski
 
Available at Amazon and  BN
 
Book Description:
 
The Hazel Tree revisits a classic Cinderella tale of abuse and sought after freedom from the confines of a cruel life.
 
Ivy Lune is not your ordinary girl for within her blood flows the secrets of an ancient species of werewolf; a secret that also foretells of a great war and a struggle for ultimate supremacy.
 
Ivy lives a life of isolation torment at the hands of her aunt and cousins for the majority of her life. Mistreated and neglected, she longs to escape the shackles of her prison-like life. And in that longing, she learns the truth of her identity. She learns her place in a long line of events that were set into motion many years ago. She finds intimacy and belonging in a much larger family.
 
All the while, unknown to her, there are dangerous forces are at work; old blood ties and murderous plots threaten her chance at happiness beyond her current life.
 
The Hazel Tree is a tale of mystery and romance set against a supernatural backdrop of terrifying and awesome power.
 
 
 
 
About the Author:
 
Julia Debski was born in Warsaw, Poland in 1996. Her family moved around a lot during her childhood before finally settling down in Chattanooga, Tennessee. It wasn’t until the 8th grade that she found her passion for writing. It was thanks to a particularly inspiring English teacher and a story that needed to be told. So she began to write, and she never stopped.
 
Four years later she found herself with nearly a dozen started novels and short stories. As junior in high school she was introduced to Greg Wilkey, a self-published independent author of four novels. He soon became a mentor to her as she worked to write and self-publish her own novel. After two years of hard work, and a nearly a year of mentorship The Hazel Tree was published in October 2013.
 
 
 
Twitter: https://twitter.com/juliadebski  (@juliadebski)
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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