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.
 
 
 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Apr 152014
 


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.
 
 
 
 
 

 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Apr 142014
 
 
 
 


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!
 
 
 
 
 

 

 

 

 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Apr 142014
 

 

 

 


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)
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Apr 142014
 

Summoned 2

What preconceived notions do people have about being an author?

Some people seem to think coming up with concepts is the hard part. Telling me I should write about a guy who does this one thing is not, in fact, “half the work done already”. Now I just say “Great idea!” and bust out with the plotting charts, scene outlines, and character development papers. That usually stops the little hamster in its wheel mid-spin, and I can go back to eating unhealthy amounts of chocolate and making weird faces at the monitor.

What is one piece of advice for aspiring authors?

Don’t mistake terrible writing with “voice.” I would like to elaborate on this, but that pretty much covers it. If nine of out ten people in the critique group say they have no idea what’s going on in your story, and the tenth person is fascinated with their fingernail dirt, chances are you need to pop open an energy drink and get back to work.

What process do you go through before writing?

Step 1. Do the dishes because that won’t happen again for a while.

Step 2. Stock up on caffeine like beer for a frat party.

Step 3. Apologize to the significant other that for the next few weeks, he will be known as Person Who Doesn’t Let Me Starve.

Step 4. Say farewell to the sweet bliss of sleep.

Step 5. Make an awesome playlist.

Did a character or plot in Summoned take an unexpected twist?

Silvia Walker. She started out as just a logical piece of the world building—of course the master would have an heir—but once she stepped into her first scene, it was on. He role became so fundamental to the story, I can’t believe she wasn’t part of the original outline.

How did you decide on the cover?

Ha, the cover. That’s a topic all on its own. I actually wrote a post about it, and it turned out two pages long. The short version: I tracked down the model for the concept photo, then drove my graphic designer insane until the cover was perfect. Hey, that was less than 140 characters! I knew all that Tweeting would pay off.

Cover Design: Kris Wagner https://www.facebook.com/digitalgunman

Model: Adam Jakubowski https://www.facebook.com/LadyJakubowsky

Photographer:  Marcin Rychły https://www.facebook.com/karrdepl

Summoned 1

 

Blurb

Twenty-three year old Dimitri has to do what he is told—literally. Controlled by a paranormal bond, he is forced to use his wits to fulfill unlimited deadly wishes made by multimillionaire Karl Walker.

Dimitri has no idea how his family line became trapped in the genie bond. He just knows resisting has never ended well. When he meets Syd—assertive, sexy, intelligent Syd—he becomes determined to make her his own. Except Karl has ensured Dimitri can’t tell anyone about the bond, and Syd isn’t the type to tolerate secrets.

Then Karl starts sending him away on back-to-back wishes. Unable to balance love and lies, Dimitri sets out to uncover Karl’s ultimate plan and put it to an end. But doing so forces him to confront the one wish he never saw coming—the wish that will destroy him.

Summoned is represented by Rossano Trentin of TZLA.

 

Find out more at http://www.summonedtheseries.com

 

Author Bio

Rainy Kaye is an aspiring overlord. In the mean time, she blogs at RainyoftheDark.com and writes paranormal novels from her lair somewhere in Phoenix, Arizona. When not plotting world domination, she enjoys getting lost around the globe, studying music so she can sing along with symphonic metal bands, and becoming distracted by Twitter (@rainyofthedark). She is represented by Rossano Trentin of TZLA.

 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

 

Author Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/rainyofthedark

Author Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/rainyofthedark

Author Blog: http://www.rainyofthedark.com

 

Cover Design: Kris Wagner https://www.facebook.com/digitalgunman

Model: Adam Jakubowski https://www.facebook.com/LadyJakubowsky

Photographer:  Marcin Rychły https://www.facebook.com/karrdepl

Apr 142014
 

 

 

Excerpt:

 

Dear #######’

DO NOT BE ALARMED. I would never give away your cloying secrets. But don’t kid yourself; I know who you are.

You see, I’ve seen you staring at me in the foyer when I come to take charge of Sisco on Saturday mornings. Your hazel eyeballs have given you away. Don’t think I don’t get IT. I’ve noticed how your eyes hover over me, darting around my body like a laser. Picked up on your malingering stare. (I caught you eyeing my butt one day when I left the bathroom door open to tease my hair. Mirrors do reflect in case you didn’t know.) When you do acknowledge me (if you do at all), your retinas hover around my chest instead of making eye contact. OMG! Do you think I’m that much of a dumb blonde? Really…

So in deference to the fact that you will never, ever have me, I am sending you these tokens of esteemlessness. (1) Since you would no doubt like to run your gruff fingers through my saintly pubic hairs (not to mention your liar’s tongue), I have sent you one (enclosed). And (2) since you’d love to use your sizable nose to sniff me in luscious places I have rubbed certain of my pheromones on special spots (UR, LL) so that you may inhale (which is as much as you can ever hope for) (just the thought of you turns my tummy icky) the essence of my sensuality. Enjoy…

Yours truly,

Misha T, the babe

P.S. I’m even hotter than your pathetic, perverted little mind could ever imagine.

Trust me.

 

Turning the envelope upside down, something fell out. Hesitant to exhale, lest it vanish, he pulled a small magnifying glass from his desk drawer and examined the specimen. There it was, a curly fury of blackness culled from the mine of her smoky mound.


HE: A Sexual Odyssey
Stephan Morsk
 
ASIN: B00E3GZPTI
ISBN: 0-7414-8224-X
 
Genre: erotica
 
Book Description:
 
In HE the unnamed protagonist, a law student, is involved with a series of women who either loathe him, try to poison him, save his life or exploit him sexually. The first is the nanny of his ex boss’ kid. She sends him a hateful letter, enclosing a pubic hair and rubbed with pheromones. After observing a woman in a coffee shop whose breasts are ‘freaks of nature’ she leaves a briefcase and departs. He’s unsuccessful in returning it to her, but this karmic event exposes him to a bevy of dangerous and seductive paramours.
 
Available at  Buy Books on the Web and at Amazon
 
 
 
About the Author:
 
Stephan Morsk is a mental health professional who writes daily.  He won a 7th and an 8th place in the Writer’s Digest competition 2001 out of a field of 19,000 writers.  He has published a short story and won honorable mentions in other years.  His web site morsklitmonthly.com offers a new short story each month.  He is interested in novellas and recently submitted “Parrot Moon” to the Paris Literary Prize.  He’s finished several other short books, part of a four part series including “HE”, “Trashy Novel-A Love Story”, “She” and “I”.  He lives in rural Minnesota with his family.  Favorite novelist, Normal Mailer.  He enjoys exercise and is a reasonable amateur magician.  
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

 

 
Apr 112014
 
 
 
 
 


The Devil’s Breath
Sydney Rye Series
Book Five
Emily Kimelman
 
One of Sydney Rye’s dear friends, Hugh Defry, has been accused of a brutal murder, but even though he has no memory of the night, Sydney believes he is incapable of such violence.
 
Called to investigate by Robert Maxim, a man she has until now, considered her greatest enemy, Sydney flies to Miami searching for the real killer. Rye’s suspicions are raised when she learns that Maxim not only wants to work together but also wants to build a friendship. She doesn’t begin to understand his motives until her former lover follows her to Florida to tell her a devastating secret.
 
As more people from her past turn up, and not knowing whom to trust,  Sydney sees that her personal fight for justice has become something more than she had ever imagined and she is pushed towards making a decision that will change not just her life but possibly the future of the crime fighting.
 
The Sydney Rye Series:
 
UNLEASHED  (A Sydney Rye Novel, #1)
 
DEATH IN THE DARK (A Sydney Rye Novella, #2)
 
INSATIABLE (A Sydney Rye Novel, #3)
 
STRINGS OF GLASS (A Sydney Rye Novel, #4)
 

THE DEVIL’S BREATH  (A Sydney Rye Novel, #5)

About the Author:
 
Emily Kimelman is the author of the best selling “Sydney Rye” series of mystery novels including UNLEASHED, DEATH IN THE DARK, INSATIABLE, STRINGS OF GLASS and the forthcoming DEVIL’S WEED. Emily lives with her husband, Sean Gilvey, and their dog, Kinsey Millhone “Pup Detective”, on a trawler docked in the Hudson Valley during the summer. She spends her winters traveling to where ever the next Sydney Rye Novel takes place. Right now she is in Costa Rica working on Sydney Rye #6.
 
If you’ve read Emily’s work and liked it please contact her. She loves hearing from readers. You can reach Emily on  twitter @ejkimelman. Follow her on Instagram to see pictures from Emily’s latest adventures. Visit www.emilykimelman.com to learn more about Emily and the Sydney Rye series.
 
 
 
 

 

 

 

 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Apr 112014
 
 

Chapter 1

 

I don’t smoke, drink or do drugs. Not because my body is a temple or any of that nonsense. It’s because in my line of work I never know when I will have to throw hands, and being inebriated would slow my reflexes; not to the point where I would lose the fight—I’m very good—but it would be very unprofessional to have to go to work with a black eye or split lip. I do have my vices however, primarily the long-legged and shapely variety. I don’t tend to have a type as much as a numerical range starting at 9.5 and ending at 10. I will consider a nine if she has a spectacular personality and can cook.

How rude, I haven’t even introduced myself. My name is Helmut Haase, and I am part owner of the locally famous Fog City Detective Agency. I am the half that does all the legwork and pays all the bills. Shamus O’Sheagan, my business partner, mostly drinks beer and naps. I keep him around because he’s my best friend and he happens to have a far different skill set that isn’t so common on this side of the pond. Shamus spent his early years training to be a Druid, and due to his natural affinity for all that mystical nonsense, was being groomed for a leadership position. I’m sure they weren’t happy when I snuck him out in the dead of night and we hopped a steamship to the States.

Back home on the Emerald Isle, adoptive in my case and Sha’s by birth, everyone and their cousin seems to at least know a guy who works for a Druid. However, here in the Confederated States of Hespera, the idea of a Druid is akin to that of a mermaid or unicorn. Hesperians have little history, the western hemisphere of the “new world” only having been colonized a few hundred years ago, but what they lack in shared culture has been made up for with progress and innovation. This is where the industrial revolution started after all. So in a new land with a booming economy, we fill a niche that no one else can.

Shamus and I work in an old remodeled fire station in Wudong, overlooking the bay. We got it from the city for a song after finding the mayor’s daughter. Turns out she wasn’t exactly kidnapped, and the mayor and city council felt it better that the true details of the case never surfaced. We kept our mouths shut and scored ourselves a sweet pad. The area is mostly industrial and pretty quiet at night. Shamus was happy about the old gnarled oak tree at the back of the property. He actually lives in the upstairs apartment, although he usually sleeps in the tree.

I, on the other hand, after scraping by and living with Shamus in a less-than-stellar abode our first few years in town, have chosen to live a more upscale lifestyle in the Gaoshan district. The view from my balcony in and of itself is worth the king’s ransom I pay each month. On the right I get an incredible view of the bay, at least in the afternoon in between the fog rolling out and back in again. To the left I can see most of Independence Street, or Suicide Hill as it’s known locally, and its iconic tower at the very top.

Skateboarders came up with the street’s nickname and it stuck. The thinking was a person had to be suicidal to ride down a hill that steep. One of the cafes I like there has outside seating, and I’ve spent many a morning sipping cappuccino and watching brave young souls egging each other on at the top—and being carted away by paramedics at the bottom.

When we first started our little venture, we took whatever case we could get and charged on the low side of market rates. Over time our reputation grew and so did our fees. We became known for solving cases that others had taken a shot at and failed. After we broke a few high-profile cases early in our career, the cops began quietly coming to us when they were stuck. We even did some pro bono work for the poor and downtrodden for the good publicity. Now we have a commercial, and the ladies have told me I look quite dashing in it. Shamus even combed his hair before filming, and for that I am thankful. We don’t take the freebie cases anymore unless Shamus is feeling charitable. I never feel charitable.

I’m in charge of doing all of the real work that is required to run a detective business. I meet and greet the clients, do all the classic detective work and knock heads when necessary…and sometimes when not. Truth be told, I would do the head-knocking for free. You wouldn’t begrudge a talented artist painting a masterpiece would you? It’s not my fault that my great talent involves blood and concussions. Shamus has referred to my style as a ballet of violence. I think it’s kind of catchy.

I would say 90 percent of the time I don’t even need the little Eirishman. But, when leads dry up, Shamus can look at tea leaves or talk to birds and all of the sudden we’re back on track. Sounds simple right? Alas, it’s not. Shamus is hard to motivate. We’ve made enough money the last few years that he could live his simple existence up in his room for the rest of his life. He’s perfectly happy drinking beer with Willie the Wonder Dog and reading books all day. Yes, the dog drinks beer too. He also eats my shoes if they are left lying around and pees on my car tires. The dog, not Shamus…unless he’s really drunk.

I have different persuasive tactics that I have used over the years. Guilt works, but it’s not my favorite. Outright begging is a last resort used only in emergencies. Not because it’s ineffective, but because it’s unseemly. There is one sure thing, but she is unfortunately not under my control. More about that later.

Why am I telling you all this? So someday I can receive some credit for saving the world. Maybe not the entire world, and maybe not all by myself, but I still deserve a medal and some official recognition. And perhaps a cash prize.


 

 

 

Helmut Saves the World
Matt Sheehan
 
Genre: Urban Fantasy
 
Publisher: Carina Press
 
Date of Publication:  3/10/14
 
eISBN: 9781426898020
 
Number of pages: 120. 
Word Count: 31000
 
Carina Press           Amazon  
 
Book Description: 
 
My name is Helmut Haase and I’m one half of the Fog City Detective Agency–specifically, the half that pays all the bills. My partner, Shamus O’Sheehan, mostly drinks beer and naps. I keep him around because he’s my friend, but also because he’s a Druid. I’m just a detective, and there are plenty of those in Wudong, the Confederacy of Hesperia. There’s not another Druid for miles.
 
We had it pretty good until the day we met Alek Pallas. He hired us to track down a thieving employee, and even though something was off, his big fat check was too much to pass up. But the man we found wasn’t what we were led to believe, and neither was Alek.
 
I’m talking shape-shifters, fallen angels and a conspiracy involving the vicious Cretan Empire. At least we didn’t die. Hope that doesn’t ruin the story.
Why am I telling you all this? Someday I’d like some credit for saving the world. Maybe not the entire world, and maybe not alone, but I still deserve a medal. And perhaps a cash prize.

 

 
About the Author: 
 
Moody and sarcastic at the best of times, the author should not be conversed with prior to his morning cup of coffee.  He excels at sitting with his feet up and drinking coffee or beer while reading, but has yet to find someone willing to pay for that service.  He has always been, and will always be, his mother’s favorite child.  Has been known to dangle participles.  Dreams of someday moving to a deserted island that supports coffee beans and hop vines.
 
@shamusshlomo
 
 
 
 
 

 

 

 

 
Apr 102014
 

ONE

Cooper

The wind kicks up as I round the corner and enter the town square. Old Town came by its name honestly. The town never seems to change. The main street looks the same as it did when I was a kid, and probably not much different than when my parents were young, or even their parents. A few of the stores and restaurants have changed hands over the years but for the most part, the town looks like it’s been frozen in time.

 Why does it always seem so much windier in Old Town than anywhere else in New Jersey? It even feels windier here than lower Manhattan, which is a feat. The way the wind often howls around the financial district, you’d think it was haunted.

I can’t believe I’m back in Old Town. When I got a job on Wall Street, I swore I’d never come back. The last time I set foot in Old Town was about six months ago, for my father’s funeral. Six months before that, it was for my mother’s.

I told my brother, Jake, I’d only stay for two weeks tops. That’s every bit of vacation time I’ve earned to date. Then I’m going to back to Manhattan and back to my life in the city. The last thing I want is to be a hick from the sticks again. I’ve worked too hard to rid myself of that stigma. I’m never going to be that guy again.

I’m an Ivy League graduate. I work on Wall Street. I have an apartment in lower Manhattan. I drive a BMW 6-Series convertible. And I’m well on my way to making my first million before I turn thirty, which is four years from now.

I’m not a country kid anymore.

And no matter what my brothers say, there’s no way in hell I’m ever going to be a Wilde Rider again. When I left home, I packed up my guitar and sealed away any musical aspirations I may have had right along with it. Being in a small town country band is fun when you’re a teenager but it doesn’t pay the bills and it certainly doesn’t pay for a Manhattan lifestyle.

Not unless you’re really good, and really lucky…and the Wilde Riders were neither.

I park my convertible on the street outside of Haymakers. It’s only eleven. The bar doesn’t open until noon. The only vehicle in the bar’s dirt lot is my brother Jake’s old Dodge Ram Pick Up. He’s been driving the thing since I left for college. I bet the vehicle has well over a hundred thousand miles on it. The way it looks, like it’s on its last legs, you’d think it had double that amount.

Even though it’s late August, there’s a bit of a chill in the air. The wind feels wet, like it’s going to rain. I put the top up on my convertible just in case. It’s the first car I’ve ever owned that wasn’t a junker and I’m proud as hell of it.

My stomach tightens as I approach the front door of the bar. The last time I was here was the night after we laid my father to rest. His final wish was for all the regulars to have a drink on the house in his honor. I made a promise to myself that was the last time I was ever going to set foot in the place.

Yet here I am getting ready to walk back inside again. I made it clear to Jake that coming here to help him doesn’t mean I’m walking back into my old life. That’s a life that I’ve worked desperately to leave behind. But when Jake phoned, he sounded scared, which isn’t like him at all. He’s Mr. Carefree. Troubles slide off his back like syrup glides off pancakes. 

I’m here because Jake asked for my help. He said he might lose the bar, everything our dad ever worked for, if I didn’t give him a hand.

Being the oldest, Jake followed in our dad’s footsteps. He was the gregarious one of the Wilde boys, so it only made sense that he’d take over and run the town’s one and only bar. Jake has always been Mr. Personality. He’s great with people. But from the little he told me on the phone, he’s apparently not as great with money.

That’s where I come in. I guess having a degree in finance from Columbia and a job on Wall Street means that I’m like emergency services in a financial shit storm. I just hope it’s not too late to fix whatever mess Jake has found himself in.

I inhale and let out a deep breath before I push open the large wooden doors.

The first thing I see when I enter the bar are pink cowboy boots. They’re apparently attached to a female who is also wearing extremely tight black jeans. The rest of her body is hidden under a table. It looks like she’s trying to retrieve something. 

I clear my throat so she realizes she’s not alone.

I hear a loud thump, followed by, “Oh, shit!”

As she extricates herself from below the table, the young woman rubs the side of her head.

It takes me a moment to realize that it’s Harley Davis. She looks a lot different than the little blond girl she was when I left home.

She stops dead in her tracks when she realizes it’s me. She gulps. “Coop?”

Harley has definitely grown up. She’s still thin but she’s not a tomboy anymore. She has curves in all the right places and full rack, which I’m having trouble keeping my eyes off of.

“What are you doing here?” she asks, her blue eyes are filled with concern. “Is everything okay?”

“Yeah,” I lie. “What are you doing here?”

She laughs. “I work here now. Jake gave me a job.”

“Aren’t you still in high school?”

She rolls her eyes at me. “I graduated two years ago.”

How is it possible that little Harley Davis, the girl who has had a self-proclaimed crush on me since she was twelve, is now an adult?

“Cooper,” I hear my brother call from the other end of the bar.

As I head over to him, I take a good look at the place. Some things are exactly the same as when dad ran the place. The old wooden bar that my dad liked to brag he built with his father hasn’t changed. And neither have the matching wooden bar stools. Even some of the liquor bottles behind the bar are dusty and don’t look like they’ve been touched in years.

 


Wilde Riders
Old Town Country Romance
Book One
Savannah Young
 
Genre:   Contemporary Romance
 
Publisher:  Short on Time Books
 
Date of Publication:  February 11, 2014
 
ISBN: 1495442977
ASIN: B00IDWDWJ8
 
Number of pages: 186 pages
Word Count:  49,000
 
Cover Artist:  Tony Bryson
 
 
Book Description:
 
FOUR WILDE BROTHERS…ONE WILDE COUNTRY BAND
 
WILDE RIDERS is the first novel in a spicy new contemporary romance series about four sexy brothers, their small-town bar and their local country band. WILDE RIDERS can be read as a STAND ALONE NOVEL or as part of the SERIES.
 
Cooper Wilde spent his entire adolescence counting the days until he could escape rural northwest New Jersey. Now at 26, he can’t believe he’s coming back. But his late father’s bar, Haymakers, is in financial trouble and his older brother, Jake, has asked for Cooper’s help.
 
Riley Smith, 25, is fresh out of her Ivy League MBA program and wants to make an impression on her employer, H & C Bank. Her first solo assignment is a fraud investigation on a business loan they made to Haymakers.
 
Even though Old Town is less than 90 minutes from New York City, Riley feels like she’s stepped into another world in this remote, one-bar town. Riley can’t wait to do her business and get back to the city as quickly as her sports car will take her…until she meets Cooper Wilde. He’s not like the other guys in this rural town and Riley feels inexplicably attracted to him.
 
About the Author:
 
Romance novelist Savannah Young grew up in rural northwest New Jersey in a place very similar to the fictional Old Town, which is featured in her books. When she’s not at her computer creating spicy stories, Savannah is traveling to exotic locales or spending time with her husband and their bloodhounds.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

 

a Rafflecopter giveaway