Man Candy by Jewel Quinlan

 

 
And then I saw a guy in black pushing his way through the crowd. He held a flashlight

overhead and flicked it to and fro trying to clear a path. It wasn’t until he was right next to me

that I realized it was Cole. He towered over me, his lips parted in a bright white smile.

“Oh my god! Cole! There you are,” I squealed and hugged him.

“Hey, Ava!” he said, swooping me up in an exuberant hug.

My breath whooshed out as my feet left the floor and I was cocooned in male muscle. When

had he gotten so built? It was like being enfolded simultaneously by all the models in the latest

issue of Muscle Magazine. I remembered staring at Cole’s butt often enough during our group

runs— his was particularly round and tight— but how had I failed to notice the rest? My

heartbeat quickened as it registered how nice it felt to have my breasts pressed against him.

“It’s good to see you,” he said, giving me an extra squeeze that made me giggle, before

setting me down.

He wore a black cap backwards on his head and a gray t-shirt that hugged his muscles. His

jaw was shadowed with the dark growth of stubble and his blue eyes twinkled at me with

warmth. Cole looked different somehow from when I saw him in our running group; taller, with

a hint of danger. But maybe it just seemed that way because we were standing so close and he

was wearing black.

“I was in the back and glimpsed you at the door so I radioed TJ to let you guys in. Sorry I

wasn’t able to answer your text. It’s a little nuts in here as you can see.”

His t-shirt was tight in that complimentary way that made his biceps look tasty and he wore

jeans that had seen better days. But the frayed edge looked cool over his work boots. Instead of

detracting from his looks it added to them in a way that was uniquely male.

“Thanks,” I said, “We tried dropping your name but that didn’t get us anywhere. Looks like

you radioed at just the right time.”

Cole laughed. It was a throaty chuckle that always sent shivers down to my toes.

Bree turned around from the bar with two drinks in her hand. “Vodka tonic,” she said handing

a plastic cup to me.

“Thanks,” I told her. “Bree, this is Cole.”

“Hey,” she said. Her eyes widened and she looked him up and down.

“Nice to meet you,” Cole said shaking her hand. Then he pressed his fingers to the piece in

his ear and looked at us apologetically. “Sorry, I have to go. But I’ll be back around. Instead of

the door they have me bouncing tonight.”

“No problem at all,” I said.

We both watched as he walked away, lifting the flashlight back up over everyone’s heads to

clear the aisle as he went. The edge of his shirt lifted from his raised arm and we got a good look

at his jeans-clad butt before the crowd blocked our view.

 

Jewel will be attending RomCon in Denver CO
September 25-27.


Readers can get tickets to sit with her
at the luncheon event, 
she would love to meet you!
 
Man Candy
The Cougar Journals
Book 1
Jewel Quinlan
Genre: Contemporary
Publisher: Evernight Publishing
Date of Publication: January 9, 2015
Word Count: 13692
Cover Artist: Sour Cherry Designs
Book Trailer: N/A
Book Description:
Commercial real estate agent, Ava Baldassari, is done with being a good girl. Recently having revamped her self-image, home and wardrobe she finds there is one thing left that needs updating; her sex life.
She runs into her friend and running partner, Cole, one night when she is out with a friend. A bit drunk she flirts with him and is surprised by the enthusiastic response he gives back.
Things reach a point where she has to make a decision whether or not to cross a line she never has before.
Ava is forty and Cole is twenty-five, is she really ready to become a cougar?
About the Author:
Jewel Quinlan had an abundant imagination and a strong desire to write novels from a young age. She particularly enjoys writing paranormal and fantasy romance but also writes contemporary as well.
An avid traveler, she has visited fifteen countries so far (which she enjoys using as settings in her novels) and has plans to see more of the world. She has a particular fondness for Bavaria and studies the German language as one of her hobbies.
During the day, she works as a pharmaceutical sales representative and, at night, she writes romance. She currently lives in Orange County, California with her dog Penny.
For more information about Jewel Quinlan
 
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One is Come by C. H. MacLean

Excerpt:

Haylwen ran. Her knees hurt, her thighs chafed, her belly and boobs jiggled out of

control. Stupid bras were either hideous or didn’t do anything, she thought. She hated running,

and still she ran faster. The pain in her knees and thighs distracted her from thinking about how

sad she felt. Moving again! I wouldn’t even get to tell Kim goodbye! So she ran, and didn’t care

how she looked holding her chest.

She ran from her stupid parents telling her they were going to move again, knowing it

was all her fault this time. She ran from the fear she would never have any friends. She ran away

from her creepy doll, and the fact that it didn’t matter that Cadarn’s present was confiscated, it

was still so much better. She couldn’t even really see where she was going, but still she ran. She

left the road and took to a hiking trail.

Maybe I’d never go back. Maybe I’d get so lost that I couldn’t go back. That would teach

them. Stupid brother would probably be happier without me there. She finally slowed to a walk

when she realized she really had no idea where she was. She looked back, and around. Where

did the hiking trail go? Surrounded by trees, she heard water trickling nearby. This must be the

woods on the other side of the old train tracks. She didn’t remember crossing train tracks. She

went a bit further, then stopped where the little creek came out of a small lake. Looking back, it

wasn’t really a trail, just happened to be where there were fewer bushes and ferns, where the tree

leaves had collected randomly. She could be the first one who had ever been here. Struck by a

feeling of loneliness that overwhelmed the last of her anger, she fell to her knees and cried.

Something in the lake came up to investigate. As it got closer, it took the form of a giant

catfish. It swam closer to where Haylwen’s tears were falling on the creek bank. It hesitated for a

second, its long antennae slowly waving. Then it swam up to Haylwen and poked its head up out

of the water.

Haylwen heard the soft sound of the big fish’s head coming out of the water and sat up,

her tears suddenly stopping. “Crap!” she blurted, startled.

The fish didn’t move, just slowly waved its long antennae.

Haylwen choked out a laugh of a sort. “Or, carp?”

The fish just floated there. Somehow its wide mouth and whiskers made it look solemn.

Haylwen looked back. “Um, hello?”

Nothing. But it didn’t swim away. That’s weird, she thought. Or maybe I’ve gone crazy.

“Sorry if I am disturbing you, Mr. Fish,” she said. Oh, for sure, she was crazy, talking to

a fish. Not that she cared, at this point. Apparently, she was desperate enough for a friend that

even a fish would do, never mind if it wasn’t a very attentive fish. So, she started talking. Softly,

starting with how she was going to have to move and that it was her fault, somehow. Soon, she

was crying, telling about all the times she had lost friends… well… kids who could have been

friends if she stayed anywhere long enough. About how lonely it felt to have no friends, and how

maybe it would be better if she just didn’t exist. She had never really said that out loud, never

really even thought it out loud before. She just sat there and sobbed, the tears pouring down her

face.

Her sobs slowed, then stopped. She looked up, and was somehow not surprised to see the

fish was still there, antennae waving calmly. She wiped the tears from her face, shaking them off

her hands with a flick. She saw the tears hit the fish right between the eyes, heard the soft splat.

The fish blinked in surprise.

“Oh, sorry, Mr. Fish,” she said. “But it’s water, right?”

The fish seemed to smile. I am crazy, Haylwen thought. Fish don’t smile. They can’t.

They can’t blink, either, she thought. Well, I don’t think they can blink. I saw it blink, didn’t I?

The fish turned and swam underwater, disappearing. Haylwen looked for it for a moment,

and was rewarded with a rapidly growing spot coming toward her in the water. The catfish poked

its head up, then spun around. With a quick flip of its big tail, so quickly Haylwen could do

nothing other than gasp, the fish splashed water directly on her face. A lot of cold water.

Stunned, she felt it slide down over her chin and seem to settle at the hollow of her neck.

She sat up, and tried to wipe her face off somewhat, and looked at the fish in shock. She may be

crazy, but that was not her imagination.

The fish smiled, or whatever it was, again. It tucked its antennae back against its head,

giving it a pleased expression.

Haylwen sat there for another moment, then laughed. “It’s only water, right?” She

couldn’t help herself. She laughed again, laughed some more, laughed until she was crying

again. She purposely flicked those laugh-tears at the fish, but missed every time. The whole

situation was so ridiculous, her emotions were so out of control that she could do nothing but

laugh.

When she finally stopped laughing, the fish started swimming in circles, slowly heading

back to the center of the pond. At the point nearest Haylwen, it poked its head up.

She got up and brushed herself off. “Yeah, I guess I should get home too.”

The fish winked and slipped away under the water.

Haylwen shook her head. Even if she had friends, they would think she was crazy if she

told them. She touched that spot on her neck that was still cool and promised herself she would

get her mother to go bra shopping when she got home. Whenever that was. And look up if fish

can wink. She got up and started walking back, not even feeling a gentle touch on her mind.

By the time she got home, she was exhausted and starving. She went to the bathroom,

then into the kitchen to get a snack. Her father was there, making a cup of tea.

“Hey, Hayl.”

Haylwen attempted to ignore her father. She didn’t expect him to let her get away with it,

and he didn’t.

As she stood there with the door to the fridge open, he stepped in front of her. “I said,

Hey, Hayl. And you say…” He had a small smile on his face, but his eyes were searching hers.

Haylwen closed the door, trying to squish her father into the fridge. “Excuse me,” she

said.

Abrennin stepped out of the fridge and looked at her again. “Where did you get that

necklace?” he asked quietly.

“Necklace?” Haylwen said, touching her neck. The spot that had stayed cool, the spot

where the water had collected now held something there. Had it always been there? She could

feel a cool metal necklace around her neck, with a small round ball dangling in the hollow of her

throat. Part of her would have sworn it had not been there two seconds ago. But somehow it felt

like it had been there since she could remember…

One is Come
Five in Circle Series
Book 1
C. H. MacLean
Genre: Fantasy, YA
Publisher: CNH Publishing
Date of Publication: February 23, 2014
ASIN: B00IMF6APE
Number of pages: 251
Cover Artist: Heidi Sutherlin
Book Description:
One is Come is the first installment in a YA fantasy saga full of hidden plot twists and turns. The centuries-old prophesy of the One is being fulfilled, and the ancient dragon clans are coming out of hiding to remake the world. The king of the magic users will stop at nothing to be sure the prophecy is fulfilled the right way–with his oppressive government ruling. As they struggle for power, Haylwen (14) and her brother Cadarn (16) just happen to be caught dead center.
In this first book, meet fourteen-year-old Haylwen Rightad. She doesn’t think “crazy” runs in her family, but she might be wrong. Fish seem to listen when she talks. She finds herself wearing jewelry she can’t remember putting on. And then there was the explosion at school…and her ex-principal trying to kidnap her…and her brother? Don’t even ask. All she wants is to be an ordinary teenager. Live a normal life. Go to school, make friends, and not have to move a zillion times. Oh, and getting the bullies off her back? That’d be nice, too.
What Haylwen doesn’t know is why all this crazy stuff is happening to her. But she’s about to find out. The bad news? Things aren’t going to be “normal” any time soon!
With a mysterious prophecy, magical secrets and more than a few dragons, ONE IS COME is the first book in the adventures of siblings Haylwen and Cadarn as they come to discover they have powers they never dreamt of — and a destiny only they can fulfill.
Available at Amazon
Free January 22-26

 

About the Author:
To young C. H. MacLean, books were everything: mind-food, friends, and fun. They gave the shy middle child’s life color and energy. Amazingly, not everyone saw them that way. Seeing a laundry hamper full of books approach her, the librarian scolded C. H. for trying to check them all out. “You’ll never read that many before they expire!” C. H. was surprised, having shown great restraint only by keeping a list of books to check out next time. Thoroughly abashed, C. H. waited three whole days after finishing that lot before going back for more.
With an internal world more vivid than the real one, C. H. was chastised for reading in the library instead of going to class. “Neurotic, needs medical help,” the teacher diagnosed. C. H.’s father, a psychologist, just laughed when he heard. “She’s just upset because those books are more challenging than her class.” C. H. realized making up stories was just as fun as reading, and harder to get caught doing. So for a while, C. H. crafted stories and characters out of wisps and trinkets, with every toy growing an elaborate personality.
But toys were not mature, and stories weren’t respectable for a family of doctors. So C. H. grew up and learned to read serious books and study hard, shelving foolish fantasies for serious work.
Years passed in a black and white blur. Then, unpredictably falling in love all the way to a magical marriage rattled C. H.’s orderly world. A crazy idea slipped in a resulting crack and wouldn’t leave. “Write the book you want to read,” it said. “Write? As in, a fantasy novel? But I’m not creative,” C. H. protested. The idea, and C. H.’s spouse, rolled their eyes.
So one day, C. H. started writing. Just to try it, not that it would go anywhere. Big mistake. Decades of pent-up passion started pouring out, making a mess of an orderly life. It only got worse. Soon, stories popped up everywhere- in dreams, while exercising, or out of spite, in the middle of a work meeting. “But it’s not important work,” C. H. pleaded weakly. “They are not food, or friends, or…” But it was too late. C. H. had re-discovered that, like books, life should be fun too. Now, writing is a compulsion, and a calling.
C. H. lives in a Pacific Northwest forest with five cats, two kids, one spouse, and absolutely no dragons or elves, faeries, or demons… that are willing to be named, at least.

Viking King by Sky Purington

    

When a roar came from the ship, a louder roar echoed all around her.

Excitement crackled in the air as three men left the boat and started down the dock.

Megan narrowed her eyes as they drew closer.

Tall, muscled, all were too damned good looking no matter the century.

But only one gave her an acute case of tunnel vision. The one in the middle. A

black fur cloak stretched over his broad shoulders. With a black, leather jerkin and

long leather encased legs that led down to heavy boots, he had a confident, easy

swagger.

A searing burn broke over every inch of her skin and she dug her nails into

her palms as he drew closer. Wind-blown, shoulder-length black hair brushed the

nape of his strong neck and a light beard did nothing to hide his well-sculpted face.

Her body started to tremble when he was only halfway down the dock. Clenching

her teeth, Megan breathed deeply through her nose, her need to smell his skin so

strong she put her hand on Guardian’s head to ground herself.

When had she ever wanted to smell a man?

Valan pulled Megan aside as several women were allowed to pass. There

was never a more torturous moment than watching the young, beautiful women

swarm around him. Like any ‘normal’ red-blooded pirate, sailor, or Viking, who

had been out to sea for days would do, all three men linked arms with the women

so that they each had one on either side. Megan barely comprehended that the low

growl she heard was coming from her own throat until Valan looked at her and

shook his head.

Megan cleared her throat and continued to stare at the man approaching.

To look away was impossible.

Suddenly, he stopped. When he did the girls on either arm purred and leaned

closer. But it didn’t much matter. It almost seemed that he caught a scent on the

wind because he leaned his head back slowly, closed his eyes and inhaled.

All went silent.

Megan watched, enthralled by the display. How did one man make so many

people go silent in a moment? But somehow she knew deep down inside. A simple

man couldn’t.

But a king could.

It almost felt like the shock wave she’d felt eighty feet beneath the Atlantic

once more hit her when his eyes turned her way. Megan dug her hands further

into Guardian’s pelt as he untangled from his women and approached. His eyes

flickered to Valan then back to her before he stopped.

Holy mother of any god listening was he gorgeous.

Skin darkened by the sun, his face was a masterpiece up close. A little over a

foot taller than her, his lips curved so well they’d make a woman stare forever. His

jaw line was a fraction off from being square and his eyebrows arched slashes. But

none of that compared to his eyes.

They were his everything.

A light but bright cobalt blue framed by a bizarre circle of dark blue with

flecks of silver, they were so unusual that it almost seemed a mirror was behind

them. In fact, one nearly got the impression they were looking back at themselves

when they looked into this man’s eyes. Megan was tempted to look away from his

unusual gaze but knew she couldn’t…that she never would. He’d captained that

Viking longship. Desire pounded through her blood so harshly it took years of

dealing with powerful men to keep her body tremble-free and eyes locked. Because

there could be no doubt…

He was her Viking king.

“Naðr Véurr,” she whispered.

And she knew she was right.

Of course he wasn’t fazed by his name on a stranger’s lips. He’d likely dealt

with it before. And unlike most men, he wasn’t put off by her unnatural eye color

in the least. Rather, he seemed to spend an overly long moment holding her gaze,

so much so that she had to work at keeping a neutral face. No easy task. One thing

was for sure, she’d never had such a strong sexual reaction to a man.

He smelled of sea and storms, of dark nights and even darker pleasures.

Thump. Thump. Thump.

Hell, was her heart going to beat out of her chest?

Megan worked at breathing evenly and never let go of his gaze. For a split

second, she thought he sensed her nervousness. And it seemed she might be right.


Viking King
The MacLomain Series
Viking Ancestors
Book 1
Sky Purington     
Genre:  Time-travel fantasy romance
Date of Publication:   January 16, 2015
ASIN:  B00Q8TK1W4
Number of pages:  240
Word Count:  82,000
Cover Artist:  Tamra Westberry
Book Description:
Determined to take a break from her past, Megan cozies down in her million dollar Winter Harbor Maine home and focuses less on money and more on dreams. Building boats was a childhood desire she’s determined to pursue. With a love for Viking shipwright skills, she constructs a small scale longship. What she doesn’t anticipate is an unexpected call from the past.
Of dragon blood, Viking King, Naðr Véurr Sigdir ‘the bold’ knew that the bargain he struck with the seers would likely lead to an unpredictable outcome. What he didn’t foresee is a beautiful, headstrong woman from the future washing up on his shores.
Caught between twenty-first century America and ninth century Scandinavia, two souls connect. Both determined and willful, their battle soon becomes not one made of the eras separating them but all the unexpected moments that drive them closer together.
Anger. Need. Distrust. Hope. Never-ending desire. All merge, warring and passionate, when a modern day woman and a Viking king surge forward together to conquer not only their enemies but what lies within their hearts.

 

Available at   Amazon    iTunes   Kobo   BN
 
About the Author:
Sky Purington is the best-selling author of fourteen novels and several novellas. A New Englander born and bred, Sky was raised hearing stories of folklore, myth and legend. When combined with a love for nature, romance and time-travel, elements from the stories of her youth found release in her books.
Purington loves to hear from readers and can be contacted at Sky@SkyPurington.com.
Interested in keeping up with Sky’s latest news and releases?
Visit Sky’s website, http://www.skypurington.com to download her free App on iTunes and Android or sign up for her quarterly newsletter.
Love social networking? Find Sky on Facebook and Twitter.
Website:   www.skypurington.com

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Greenwode by J Tullos Hennig

Readers love

Greenwode

Winner in the 2013 Rainbow Awards: First: Best LGBT Novel, Best B/T & LGBT Debut, Best B/T & LGBT

Fantasy, Paranormal Romance & Sci-fi / Futuristic

“I loved this story for taking a legend and giving it a twist … I have to recommend this to those who love

folklore, mystical legends, historicals, fighting for a love against insurmountable odds, danger, betrayal and an

ending that is devastating while giving you faint hope.”

—MM Good Book Reviews

“This is a gutsy twist on a major classic that works.”

—Gerry Bernie

“There is so much good about this book I’m not even sure where to start. … This one is a highly recommended

—Better Read Than Dead

“Greenwode is legend. It is epic storytelling. It is fantasy and history. It is religion and spirituality. It is a world

in which faith is a weapon, faith is a tool, faith is the enemy, and faith is the last vestige of hope… when there

seems nothing left to hope for. If you love epic fantasy, I can’t recommend this book highly enough.”

—The Novel Approach

“I can assure you the weaving of themes and legends in GREENWODE is mesmerizing. … This novel will

always be the one against which I will judge all the others.”

—Christopher Hawthorne Moss

—Rainbow Book Reviews

“I highly recommend this any fan of an epic fantasy with historical settings. It is long but worth it. I can’t wait

—Hearts on Fire Reviews

 Prelude 

Firelight flickered against rock, as if in time to the low melody. Both light and song wavered as they

traveled into the depths. Not that the voice was not strong or the fire not warm—the caverns were that deep.

An old man, lean and crystal-eyed, stared into the fire. Every now and then the fire would jerk and start, as

if some giant had spat upon it, but the cause was natural enough. Thunder rumbled in the forest above, sending

puffs of wind through unknown entrances into the caverns. The old man could hear the stones embedded in the

earth above him creak, almost in reply; he tuned his low voice as if in reverent time. Those rocks that formed

the circle above him might be a tiny imitation of the ring stones on the plain of Salisbury far to the south, but

no less eternal in their observance of the powers that he, too, had served for….

How long had it been? Stubble had scarce grown on his now leathern cheeks when he’d first taken up the

mantle of the god. He had put aside his real name when, on a midsummer night not long after King Stephen

had taken up another, more politic authority, a peasant gathering had crowned a young man with antlers and

Cernunnos. Horned One. Green-Father. Hunter.

Stephen had relinquished his crown to his nephew Henry even as Cernun had groomed his own successor,

moving from Hunter to Hermit’s guise. It was the way of things. Shaking a twisted lock of silver from his

eyes, Cernun grumbled to himself again, stirring at the fire with a long stick. He was old, but not infirm. The

Sight was still strong in him, his body still hale and sound of limb; the forces of nature had rewarded him well

for his service. Most men who had seen over fifty winters were bent and aged, senile from hard, miserable

lives. The blood of the Barrow-lines ran strong. And he had been lucky.

He could only wish his successor such fortune.

The fire sparked. Cernun leaned closer, scrutinizing the writhing embers, watched them swell then flare

white, reaching for the low limestone overhead. Yes? he asked, silent beneath the swell of power. You speak,

Images assaulted him. He saw what had been: the midsummer madness of dancing and singing, the

rejoicing in rites, which, for a short, sweet time, took his people from the harsh reality of toil and hunger. Saw

Horned Lord take Lady, clothed in Hunter and Maiden, horns and moon-crown.

Saw children born, Beltain-gotten, and the sweet green Wode prosper. As above, so below.

The fire damped, the vision strayed. Cernun spoke a low, guttural word, grabbed a handful of herbs from

the cauldron at his side, and threw them onto the fire. The past was a given—to what future led this vision?

Scented smoke rose. It blossomed, damp cavern mists and heat writhing, tearing into wisps then

A scream. The Mother’s face reflecting flames and terror, the woods aflame, and the Horned One on the

Hunt. Downed in snow, horns broken, wolves with blooded jaws snapping and snarling….

“No!” Cernun hissed. He caught his breath as more shapes danced in the smoke, dissolving then

A cowled figure draws a freakishly long bow, the arrow’s flight swift and sure, to split another arrow

already in the black… a sister of the White Christ bends over a kneeling soldier… clad in the red and white of

the Temple, he raises his fair head to let her make the sign of the Horns upon his brow… a booted foot stomps

Cernun blinked, shook his head. It made no sense, none of it. Smoke hissed, twisted into a pair of cowled

One slams the other up against a tree, yanks his head back, and brings a drawn sword against the exposed

artery, only to have the sword fall from his hands, to stagger back as if he has seen some demon… or ghost….

Another twist of smoke, and abruptly the flames flared high, gusting char against the old man’s face. He

A figure, crouching naked in the fire, a silhouette amidst burning ruins. The fire rises again, a spiral of

sound and wind, and the figure rises with it, backlit, stepping barefoot over the coals and extending pale arms

And, suddenly, it is. Flames whip, clad and cowl the figure in brilliant scarlet that ebbs to black… then

gray-ash rags. Winter blows through, snow hissing in the coals and covering the figure. It walks back and

forth, and in its footsteps ice crystals form. Green, sharp-edged leaves unfurl amidst the winter ice, revealing

blood-red berries in their depths. The figure turns to him, eyes glowing within its cowl, still pacing, like to a

Wolf, it says, but does not speak. Witch. Hawk.

Wind gusted through the cavern in a bank of noise and cold. The fire pitched down from copper into

Cernun did not bother to stir it. Instead he closed his eyes, tried to make sense of what he had seen.

Wolf. The most skilled of hunters, yet hunted throughout the land by another, even more treacherous

predator. Or… outlaws were known as wolfshead. Perhaps? But not likely. Cernun would tolerate no outlaw

Witch. What the White Christ’s followers called those who followed the old ways of the heath and

Barrow-lines, a calling turned to hatred by outside forces, even as the Romans had done with another naming:

Hawk. Proud birds, another hunter/predator forced to perform beneath nobleman’s rule, barely tamed and

“Hooded.” It came out in a soft rush of breath. Not only the hawk but wolf and witch—predators

cornered—the struggling figures, the flame-gotten one… all cowled. By fire, by ash, by blood. “Great Lord

who lies incarnate in us. Has it come to this?”

He stared at the dying embers, not wanting to believe. But the image persisted.

The one to walk all worlds, to breathe the fates of dark and light and dusk between, male and female; the

Arrow of the goddess and the Horns of the god. The champion of the old ways—and the beginning of their

 I 

The weanling tensed, twitched long, wide ears. Blinked. Then greed overcame any start of panic. The deer

crept closer, switching its buff-colored tail and chewing as if it could taste the goodies being offered. Its

benefactor was kneeling in the fern and bracken, quiet as the mists hanging in the thick trees. It almost seemed

he wasn’t wholly there, a ghostly, hooded figure holding too still for mortal folk, offering a small measure of

“Rob!” Then the sound, coming closer, of running feet.

This did penetrate. The fawn started and fled, tail flagged high. With a growl, the figure rose, revealing

itself to be no forest sprite but a mere lad, lanky and unfinished as the weanling deer.

He’d almost fed the creature, almost felt whiskers and soft lips tickling against his palm. Almost touched

the wild. Throwing back his hood from black hair and an even blacker expression, the lad rounded on the one

“Marion! You’re noisy as a browsing cow!” She had slowed, picking her way through the copse, skirts

tucked up to reveal sensible hose and worn leather boots.

She was not impressed, either by the considerable scowl or the inflammatory accusation. Her cinnabar hair

was tucked beneath a kerchief, twining down her back with bits of bark clinging to it. The sopping edges of her

skirts and boots slapped and squeaked as she walked. Her cheeks were pink, her breath steaming into the

morning’s chill; she’d run at least this far.

“Da wants you. He’s an errand for you.” Gray eyes took in Rob’s clenched palm, the suspiciously bulging

bag tied to his waist. “And if he finds you’ve been feeding deer again, you’ll be in for it.”

Rob grinned, crossed his arms, and leaned against a young oak. “We-elll, mayhap if I let slip—out of fear

of punishment, mind—that I saw you in the fodder bin with Tom, the carter’s son?”

“You treacherous little sod,” Marion replied, but there was admiration in it. “All right, then. Pax. You

waint tell about Tom, and I say nowt to your little assignation.”

“Little what? Are you calling me an ass?”

Marion rolled her eyes, leaned forward, and grabbed him by one grass-stained woolsey sleeve. “As-sig-

nation, y’fool. It means a meeting. Tryst.”

“Well, why didna you just say that?” Rob protested as she began to propel him, hand still on his arm,

“I did just say that. Can I help it if you’re a daft knob who canna be arsed to pay attention to his learning?”

“Parchments are a waste of time—ow!” He tried to pull from her grip; she just grabbed tighter and kept

him on the march. “G’off me, I’m going, I’m going! And I’ve no need for smelly old tomes, I’ve my bow.”

“I’ve a bow too. Sometimes I outshoot even you, lad. It doesna mean I’ve no need for my brain.”

“You’ll drive young Tom off, you will. Men dinna fancy clever women.”

Marion snorted. “Like you would know, boy.”

“Da married Mam when he was fifteen!”

“You’re not even looking fifteen in the eye yet; I know ’cause I saw you born. How about we wait at least

’til your voice breaks to speak of it again?”

Rob tried to answer this, found “fuming” to be a word he did know.

“Anyway, you’re assuming I ent clever enough to hide my cleverness. Not that I’m planning on marrying

“You keep on with what I saw you two about in the hay ricks and you might have to—Ow!” Bloody hell,

but she had a fearful left cross. “I dinna know what you see in Tom.”

“He’s got nice eyes. And golden hair—”

“What’s so special about that? He looks like corn that’s been in the ground too long. He’d never have a

chance in the forest; anyone would see him coming for miles.” Rob shrugged free of Marion’s grip only to

have her grab him again. “’Tennyrate, the only reason Tom’s so fair-haired is that he uses lime paste.”

Marion shot him a look—clearly this was news to her. Unfortunately, it didn’t stop her from continuing to

propel him forward. “You’ll understand soon enough. You’ll see some girl that tilts your braies and then you’ll

“This is more than I really wanted to know about you, thanks awfully. I dinna like girls. Giggling, silly

things, all sick-sweet flowers from their skirts to their empty heads.”

“You ent a girl, then, are you? You’re me sister.”



THE house was off to itself, really; close enough for convenience to Loxley village but set apart, right on the

forest’s edge, a proper location for land and chattels let to a king’s forester. It was also sturdier than the wattle-

and-daub siding of most dwellings near the forest’s edge, a one-room cob cottage with a small loft. Rob liked

to sleep on the little platform on wet nights, up next to the rafters and thatch, to hear the rain patter.

Not a bad place to call home, as such things went.

Marion started for the garden, but jerked her head toward the small barn; Rob turned to see their father

walking from it. He was a brown man, from swart skin to curly hair and shaggy beard, with startling blue eyes.

Rob often wondered if—hoped—he would ever grow to be as strong and statuesque as Adam of Loxley. In

one hand Adam gripped a small folded parchment; the other held the reins to a sturdy little bay jennet.

“I need you to ride to Loxley, Rob.” His father’s speech, a deep, rounded dialect of the local-born, was

clipped with impatience. “I would go, but there’s still the nor’west section to cover before night. That poacher

Rob nodded. Adam was known to the sheriff’s guardsmen as an aloof and steady customer: hard to bribe,

fair to a fault. The common folk knew him as their own: the one constant in a hard place. For them, Adam

would overlook a kill amongst the king’s deer during starving times, claim it beneath his own sparse yeoman’s

rights. Abandoned or senseless butchery, however, he would not tolerate. This latest transgressor had slain four

deer already, taken their hearts and horns, and left the rest to rot. An outlaw, no doubt. Such waste infuriated

Adam, and Rob himself was sickened by it. Everyone knew that if you held such disregard, it would fall back

Rob found his father’s gaze fastened upon his clenched fist. Marion had hot-footed him so smartly home

that Rob had forgotten what he held. With a grimace, he opened it, displaying the handful of grain.

Adam pressed his lips tight and shook his head. “Feeding animals again, when food’s short enough for the

“Weren’t thinkin’,” Adam growled. “Son. You’re getting to be of an age to understand such things. This

harvest has been good so far, and one would think we’d eat for years, but it won’t last forever. The only

luxuries we can afford are our own beasts. You and your mother, you’d have the entire forest in our laps.”

“I waint forget again,” Rob murmured. As Adam held out his hand, Rob traded the grain sack for the

“Rob?” another voice called. “Would you also take something for me?”

Rob turned to see his mother walking toward the barn, her tread mindful of the neat rows and beds of the

east-facing garden. Marion was following, carrying a wood-and-hide pail—probably going to milk. Marion

shrugged as she saw Adam holding the grain sack, but her lips betrayed a slight smirk.

I dinna have to, she mouthed back. Wank, that is.

“Did you say something?” his mother asked.

Rob shook his head. Eluned was clad for working, her gray overdress tied up at her waist for comfort, a

wide, straw hat over her braided hair, and a basket spilling greenery hooked over one arm. She wasn’t half as

old as the wortwife who dwelt in Nottingham’s fortress and tended to the sheriff and his retinue, but she was

twice as skilled—and thrice as beautiful, Rob amended, thinking of Ness’s craggy face. Surely the old white-

bearded Christian god was not so ancient or scrawny as Ness. Not to mention that unlike Ness, Eluned still

smiled with all her teeth, was small-boned and plump, with only a few silvered streaks in her black hair. It

seemed that just the touch of her hands could cure a fever, that the least of simples and remedies prepared by

her could cease any pain. Some of the villagers called her “The Maiden”—despite that she’d already had two

healthy children and buried two—in tones of awe and respect. It was even said she had the Old Blood of the

Looking at her, Rob could believe it.

She handed him a cloth packet. “Anna, the carter’s wife, is sickening from her pregnancy. Tell her this

“Ent that Tom’s mam?” he asked easily.

From behind their parents, Marion shot him a look that, had it been an arrow from her bow, would have

slain him instantly. Marion really was a fine shot.

“I do believe Tom is one of her children, aye.” Eluned had been away from the Welsh borderlands for

many a year, yet still had the singsong lilt to her voice—one both Marion and Rob seemed to fall into more

often than not. She raised an eyebrow. “Why?”

He opened his mouth and watched with no little amusement as Marion’s glare moved from well-aimed

death arrow to lop your bloody head off with a very shiny axe. Rob grinned, merely said, “I was just asking.”

Eluned peered at him, then slid her eyes to take in Marion, who suddenly found it imperative that she milk

that cow, and the sooner the better. She started off for the barn, swinging her bucket with no little nonchalance.

His mother’s eyes narrowed. Aye, Eluned of the March was as canny as her rumored people.

“Off with you, then.” Adam grabbed at his son, boosted him onto the jennet’s back. “No dawdling. Give

Willow a good run, mind your business and be back before dark. And.” He caught Rob’s gaze, held it. “Mind

you take no shortcuts through th’ Wode. Go around.”

Rob visibly deflated. This put a proper nick in his plans. “I was going to catch some fish. I thought you

said outlaws only have the stomach to attack at night.”

“This poacher’s no reasonable outlaw. There’s plenty fish to be had that dinna bide in forest pools.” His

father patted the furry bay neck, with the final justification, “You know good ’n’ well mating season’s to hand.

Think of Willow’s welfare—to a buck blind with rut, she might be no’ but another challenge to take on. Be

The boy sighed and put heels to his mount’s sides.



ROB rode at a brisk trot, posting against Willow’s short-legged gait, casting a longing eye upon the thick tangle

of Loxley Chase. It was several miles via the plowed roads to Loxley village; it was barely a mile through the

forest, and Rob knew every deer trace as well as the map of freckles on his narrow, sunburnt nose.

Even now, he saw a trail; faint, but unmistakably there if one knew how to look. Too many people didn’t.

The villagers were scared of the forest. Though Loxley Chase was just the tip of what became the great Shire

Wode to the south, most of the farmers that lived in its shadow were convinced that all manner of h’ants and

boggarts bided there. They told tales that put even the real dangers of wolves or boars to shame. Or the lord’s

men. For it was a fact that those men given leave to hunt—the few not scared of deep forest—tramped through

it as if it were merely a woefully overgrown and tangled common, aiming their crossbows at anything that

Crossbows. Rob’s lip curled. Cheating, that was. A simple shortbow—aye, that was a man’s weapon.

A quirk drawing between his dark brows, Rob considered that faint trail with no little longing. As if in

answer, more distant than it sounded, the click and smack of antlers tangling stayed and reminded Rob of

Adam’s caution. He patted Willow’s neck. She was too nice to get gored by some hey-go-mad buck thinking

more with his balls than what little brain he had. Even better not to chance his father’s ire two times in one

day. Adam was already up in arms about something. As Rob had heard it, there was a new clutch of noble-born

tenants in the castle sitting athwart the shire borders of York and Nottingham, rehashing some perpetual

dispute over who should own the rents from Loxley and several other villages. Rob didn’t understand half of it.

The lords never came around, only sent others to do their dirty work, soldiers to threaten or sheriffs to bully.

The villagers should just look to Adam as they always did; he was more thane of Loxley, it seemed, than the

At least, that was the only explanation that Rob could come up with when the people of Loxley and its

He rode on, keeping to the road, quite chuffed with his own virtue. The air was nippy, pleasant and cool;

Rob smiled as the little mare toyed with the bit. Mabon was drawing ever nearer, the equinox and harvest

celebrations. There was excitement in the air even Willow could feel. The year had been prosperous, and the

feasting would be good… and on the plowed road, they could make up time with speed. With a small yip, he

dug his leather-clad feet into Willow’s brown ribs.

The little bay leapt forward, eager, as if she had been waiting for Rob to ken that well-cleared roads

equaled a good—and easy—run. Rob laughed and leaned forward; her black mane rose to slap his face,

commingling with his own hair as he urged her on.

Over and down one hillock, then another, and as they came over the third and around a long curve,

something exploded from the forest edge almost atop them.

Willow shied and rolled sideways on her muscular haunches as if some fire-breathing dragon had come

roaring from the forest, primed for horseflesh. Rob was first tossed onto Willow’s thick neck, then slid under

her chest, then smacked heavily to the dirt. He made an instinctive snatch at the rein, but missed as Willow

swerved at the last moment. She trotted off a few paces then halted with a jolt, head seemingly sucked against

the earth as she set to a thick patch of grass.

Rob used a word for which his mother had once washed out his mouth with lye soap. Fingers full of dirt,

he stood up, brushing at his tunic and leather breeks. His gaze darted about, quickly found the “dragon” that

It was another horse. A gray stallion, pale as a thick-stacked thunderhead; tall and long-limbed, blowing

and wide-eyed and ready to take to the hills if necessary. He was tacked with a saddle and bridle that together

would have paid several years’ worth of Loxley’s taxes. One of the fancy, inlaid stirrups was flung over the

seat and the saddle itself kinked to the left. A scabbard pointed skyward, its sword clinging only by the grace

No commoner’s mount, this. Rob smirked, considering that the stallion seemed quite the overbred noble

set adrift, peering down his nose at having his day interrupted by some grubby peasant lad and his hairy jennet.

He also bore several telltale gashes along one ivory flank.

“Easy, lad.” Rob held out a hand, soothing. “Did that buck get the better of you, then?”

The stallion stretched his neck and deigned to let Rob approach. Then, nostrils flaring, he promptly

dropped his aloof pose, stuck out his knob, and pranced past Rob over to Willow, arching his neck and

Willow greeted this overture with an unearthly grunt, letting fly with a back hoof. She returned to grazing.

Despite the pose of indifference, however, her black tail lifted; the roll of her eye was flirtatious.

Rob rolled his own eyes. “Bloody…. You too?”

He knew better than to get in the middle of the poncy stallion and his common paramour—at least, not

until the mare had definitely said “aye” or “nay.” Not to mention the possible spoils come eleven moons from

now: a fine, if late-gotten, colt from a stallion whose fee they’d never otherwise approach. Rob shrugged and

left them to it, once again scanning the terrain.

There had to have been a rider with that horse.

The trail was easily discerned, leading into the dusky canopy of green and fawn. The horse had been

panicked, not terribly choosy about where he’d fled, leaving crushed bracken and rent branches and torn-up

earth in his wake. He was just as noisy outside the confines of the forest; his loud dalliance with Willow could

still be heard. Rob ignored it, ducking beneath branches and sidestepping thick bracken, treading the damp

ground light as down and watchful as a priest on tithing day. His father and mother both had taught him well.

He made no moves other than ones he intended, left no trace that couldn’t be mistaken for animal spoor, was

silent until he saw it, and then that, too, was a mere breath into the forest.

A leather boot, worn but well made, was snagged against a gorse near Rob’s eye level. Just beyond that

was a bundle of fabric crumpled against the gnarled roots of an old oak.

The bundle of fabric revealed itself, just as he’d figured, to be clothing. Unfortunately it was not empty,

but again, just as he’d figured, was wrapped around what had to be the stallion’s rider. The boot in his hand

matched the one still worn; of course the other leg was bare, stocking yanked half off. More freckles than Rob

himself had ever possessed sprayed across that pale calf.

Tale was as easily discerned as trail. Whoever this was had been riding, run across a buck deer looking for

a scrap, the poncy stallion might have challenged the deer—probably not, those gashes were on his butt end,

after all—and the likely as poncy rider had been thrown and then dragged a short ways before he met the oak.

Rob knelt, fingered the cape bunched and flung sideways. Fine stuff, all right, soft woven and well oiled to

keep out the damp. Finer than the boots, even. Contrarily, the dark-blue tunic beneath it had seen better days,

as had the woolen braies. What kind of lad—and it must be a lad, with that garb—wore such rich clothes until

Grabbing the limp figure by his tunic, Rob gave a heave, turned him over. A pale shock of gingery hair

spilled from the confines of the cape’s hood. A lad, sure enough, and about Rob’s own age. Rob grimaced as

he saw the gash on the high freckled forehead.

Tempting to just leave it all to lie, let this trouble find another target. Rob did, after all, have important

business in the village. He could tell the headman there what he’d found….

Nay, he really couldn’t. Because sure as crows flew with ill news, that gray stud would follow Willow

home, and then wouldn’t Rob have some explaining to do as to why he’d not gone looking for its owner.

Rob sighed, then reached out and tapped his fingers at the lad’s shoulder. “Hoy. You, there. Wake up.”

Greenwode
Book One of The Wode
J Tullos Hennig
Genre: Historical Fantasy, Robin Hood
Publisher: DSP Publications
Date of Publication: Oct. 28, 2014
ISBN: 978-1-63216-437-7 Paperback
ISBN: 978-1-63216-438-4 eBook
ASIN:  B00NPD85GU
Number of pages:  350
Word Count: 151,000
Cover Artist: Shobana Appavu
Book Description:
The Hooded One.  The one to breathe the dark and light and dusk between….
When an old druid foresees this harbinger of chaos, he also glimpses its future.  A peasant from Loxley will wear the Hood and, with his sister, command a last, desperate bastion of Old Religion against New.  Yet a devout nobleman’s son could well be their destruction—Gamelyn Boundys, whom Rob and Marion have befriended.  Such acquaintance challenges both duty and destiny. The old druid warns that Rob and Gamelyn will be cast as sworn enemies, locked in timeless and symbolic struggle for the greenwode’s Maiden.
Instead, a defiant Rob dares his Horned God to reinterpret the ancient rites, allow Rob to take Gamelyn as lover instead of rival. But in the eyes of Gamelyn’s Church, sodomy is unthinkable… and the old pagan magics are an evil that must be vanquished.
Available at Amazon     BN    Kobo    iTunes    Audible   OmniLit
About the Author:
J Tullos Hennig has maintained a few professions over a lifetime–artist, dancer, equestrian–but never successfully managed to not be a writer. Ever. Since living on an island in Washington State merely encourages–nay, guarantees–already rampant hermetic and artistic tendencies, particularly in winter, Jen has become reconciled to never escaping this lifelong affliction. Comparisons have also been made to a bridge troll, one hopefully emulating the one under Fremont Bridge: moderately tolerant, but. You know. Bridge troll.
Jen is blessed with an understanding spouse, kids, and grandkids, as well as alternately plagued and blessed with a small herd of horses and a teenaged borzoi who alternates leaping over the furniture with lounging on it.
And, for the entirety of a lifetime, Jen has been possessed by a press gang of invisible ‘friends’ who Will. Not. S.T.F.U.

Angel Rising Redemption by LaVerne Thompson

 
Excerpt:

Opening up her senses, she sniffed out the most depressed in the city block around her.

While she had no human sense of smell, the scents of emotions to her were as potent, as humans

would say a bouquet of freshly cut roses.

Right across the street a man entered the park. The scent of his depression floated right

to her on the wind. Hot, potent and yummy, she would feed on it for a few days. There were no

others of her kind in the area, so she wouldn’t have to warn anyone off. Although, quite a few

soulless resided in New York, the size of the area ensured she didn’t run into others if she didn’t

want to, which she usually didn’t.

Going back inside her penthouse condo, she walked across thick sand-colored carpet.

Her artist friend, Franklin, would have both loved and hated the great room. Loved it for the cool

colors—reds, beiges, and golds. Those had been his favorites, but then she’d stuck a long, extra-
wide black leather sofa smack in the center of it. He hated leather and black.

Franklin, long gone…just another from her past.

She put on her long coat, and headed for her private elevator. She didn’t need it but she

wanted to blend in. Tonight she would act normal. Normal, at least for a human. As an additional

benefit, when she walked through her lobby to get to the street, she would open her senses to her

immediate surroundings, sampling a taste of surface emotions as she passed by.

Not all of her kind could suck out emotion without touch but as an olden, one from a

time long past and more powerful than most, she could. But other things also set her apart from

those like her. She did not need to kill her providers or have them kill others to satisfy her needs.

Draining humans of their depression, her emotion of choice, more than satisfied her. Humans

carried it in abundance. She merely put her providers to sleep and afterwards, they usually woke

up feeling less depressed. Hers represented a more symbiotic relationship. She actually helped

people, much like a psychiatrist would. Only, instead of talking them out of their depression, she

drained it right out of them.

The elevator door opened and she got on.

The hotel where she lived also housed private residences, but a few guests milled around

the lobby for the evening. Just enough people around with some serious issues to make her grin

and tremble within her ankle-length leather coat.

“Delicious,” she purred. Red knee high stiletto boots clicked as she crossed the polished

marble floor. She ignored the appreciative looks of the men and women as she glided among

them, intentionally projecting a do not approach compulsion. Look but don’t touch, unless she

was the one doing the touching.

The doorman opened the door for her and smiled. “Good evening. Cold one tonight.”

Bundled in layers and with a wool cap on his head, he stood directly beneath a heating vent to

stay warm.

He always spoke. She rarely did and tonight, she didn’t. She flashed him some teeth in

the semblance of a smile. At least she hoped it looked like a smile and not a grimace. Happiness.

It rolled off him in waves. She’d never tried draining that emotion from her providers, although

over the centuries she’d met a few of her kind who preferred it. Anything to fill the void in

the soulless place. But stealing someone else’s happiness always seemed unnecessary to her.

Depression worked just fine.

Out on the sidewalk, the scent hit her again. Like a shining point of light in dark woods,

the depressed man she’d sensed beckoned her to follow him. After crossing the street, Thalya

entered the park. It didn’t take long to find him.

He sat on a bench at the other end of the park, leaning over with his head in his hands.

She wouldn’t be able to read his thoughts until she actually touched him. No matter, she

sensed his depression.

She sat on the bench next to him; he didn’t even bother to look up. Thalya placed her

hand on his shoulder and her inner feminine muscles contracted to the point, she almost had an

orgasm.

Depression, and so potent.

“Mmm, good,” she murmured.

At her touch, he raised red-rimmed eyes in her direction.

Finally, she had his attention.

He pulled back slightly, some form of self-preservation kicking in. “Who—are you?”

“Shhh. It will be all right. I promise,” she whispered.

The man sat up and she wrapped her arms around him.

Unable to help himself, he let her.

Hmm, handsome. She always seemed to gravitate toward the young, good-looking ones,

although she’d never sleep with any of them. Well, hardly ever. She nuzzled the side of his neck.

Under the alcohol he’d indulged in, he exuded a nice clear human scent. Given his emotional

state, she’d expected the scent of alcohol to be stronger. Surprisingly she only caught a slight

whiff. No more than a beer. Maybe he just started on his drinking for the evening. Didn’t matter.

Whatever he’d ingested, she didn’t care about.

“What—?”

She didn’t give him a chance to say more. Instead, she made her way to his mouth,

which opened as soon as she pressed her lips against his. Unleashing her powers, she inhaled his

depression into the starving emptiness that should have housed her soul, and at the same time,

began to read his memories.

Poor thing. Karl, yes…Karl Hammer. He’d recently lost his job and his wife, pregnant

with their first child, didn’t know about it. He’d swallowed his pride and asked his blood uncle

of sorts for help. Except Karl hadn’t spoken to his uncle in years. Mmm, interesting. She probed

for the reason why.

Samuel and the others like him lived a dangerous life. Samuel, a master hunter of the

soulless and Karl, merely—bait.

 


Angel Rising Redemption
Redemption
Book 1
LaVerne Thompson
Genre: paranormal/ interracial romance
Publisher: Isisindc Publishing
Date of Publication: January 2, 2015
ISBN: TBD
ASIN: TBD
Number of pages: 248
Word Count: 91,272
Cover Artist: Fiona Jayde
Book Description:


To walk the earth she must feed her hollow soul.Some of the most beautiful people in the world are not human. They have no soul, feel no emotion and are pure evil. You can tell by the color of their dark, dead eyes. Samuel Glaus knows this. He is the son of a human mother and soulless father. He is after all half human and a hunter of the soulless. He is also in love with one who cannot love him back.

Thalya is a soulless creature, but unlike others of her kind, she does not kill to feed her hollow soul. She hungers only for emotion and above all, she hungers for Samuel’s love. Her enemy. Her redemption. And she’s willing to kill for it.

Adult situations. Violence. Must be 18+

Book Trailer: http://youtu.be/wcRjCtD-a14



Available at Amazon


About the Author:
LaVerne Thompson is an award winning, best-selling, multi-published author, an avid reader and a writer of contemporary, fantasy, and sci/fi sensual romances. She also writes romantic suspense and new adult romance under the pen name Ursula Sinclair.
She is currently working on several projects. Both of her daughters are now away at college. However, she and her husband don’t like the term empty nester. She’s added a cat to the household to keep the dog of the house company. Hopefully writing will keep her sane. 

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