The Demon Within by Josh Gagnier


The Demon Within
The Last War
Book One
Josh Gagnier
Genre:  Urban Fantasy
Date of Publication:  February 2015
ISBN:  9781520103358
ASIN:  B00T69ZCRC
Number of pages:  213
Word Count:    61,401
Paradise or The Abyss, you decide
Book Description:
Joe grew up listening to the voice in his head. It helped him through school, helped him gain wealth in his career.
The final temptation of power was too much. He hadn’t considered the cost.
Now he must find a way to defeat The Demon Within.
Little does he know, his every move is being recorded. Every misstep is being judged. As he gets ever closer to winning over his demon, heavenly eyes watch from above. Some root for his success while others hope he’ll fail.
While Joe fights his demon on the battlefront, the angel Michael fights for his Soul.
Will Joe win out?
Will Michael be able to save Joe’s soul?
Or will the Demon win and thrust Joe into the Abyss.

 

        Excerpt:

“You must be new
to these parts.  Name’s Belath,” says a
figure standing over a young man lying against a large trash compactor.  A look toward the sound of the voice reveals
what appears to be an older man who, by the looks of him, has had, to put it
lightly, a less than spoiled life.  His
dark skin is loose with an almost leathery roughness, like a stretched hide
left in the sun too long.  Several of his
teeth have long escaped the captivity of his smile and those left plot against
the warden.  The lines of time can be
seen through his mostly grey with spattered black scruff.  His posture is the only thing that doesn’t
match his rundown appearance.  He stands
straight and proud holding his shoulders square, almost in a protest, refusing
to look weak.  He bears the righteous
indignation of an innocent man facing the gallows. 
“Just passing
through,” replies a shaky voice trying to sound formidable.  A young man, thin, but seemingly fed well
enough, slowly stands and dusts himself off.
His posture seems closer to a beaten animal than a grown man.  His boots are scuffed and old, but the heel
gives him a few inches in height, which is probably why he wears them.  His knuckles are cracked and healing; more likely
from the heat than any type of hard labor.
The dark circles under his eyes and his unkempt appearance hint that he
hasn’t slept an entire night in years.
His jacket makes him appear even smaller, as it is a few sizes too big
and has small rips that don’t appear to be from wear and tear.  He probably fished it from a dumpster.  His jeans seem to be the least worn of the
man.  Though dirty, they’re nearly
new.  This poor sap doesn’t look like he
could fight his way through a paper bag.
The only things that don’t match his overall demeanor are his eyes.  Visibly swimming between pale yellow and
bright green, they draw you in and make you trust him. 
“Well, ya may
want to make yourself scarce before patrols make their rounds.  They let me stay because I’m the only one
within a few hundred miles with a distiller.
I can’t guarantee they won’t haul you off to camp,” Belath warns.
“What’s your name son?”
“Don’t want to
know you.  I’m not your son and I’m not
staying.  Just need a little rest,”
replies the young man.  He pulls his hood
over his head and turns to walk down the alley toward the main street. 
If he were
watching where he was going instead of ignoring the world around him, he would
seen the group of four large men, obviously armed, moving quickly toward
him.  He would have heard Belath’s
warning, and wouldn’t have cost himself such precious time.  Belath reached him just in time to be added
as a target.  The young man realized what
was happening a moment too late.  A fist
hit him square in the side of the head, knocking him to one knee.  Belath runs to his side and helps him to his
feet.  The men must have recognized
Belath because three of them took a few steps back.  Even the big one, the apparent the leader,
took a hesitant step backward.  They must
have decided they had the advantage because they began to advance yet again. 
“Gentlemen, do
not ring a bell you can’t unring,” says a stern, direct voice.  It came from the young man who, only moments
earlier, seemed too weak to speak.  “This
is a fight you will not win, regardless of your numbers,” the young man
continues.
In response, the
leader grabs a bat from one of his men and swings at the young man’s head.  Before anyone can realize what is happening,
the young man lunges at the leader.  In one
motion, he sidesteps the life ending swing, pulls a long black knife from a
sheath under his jacket, and plunges it deep into the leader’s temple with his
right hand while grabbing the bat from the ground with his left.  With his next step, he swings the bat at his
second target, and finds such purchase the man’s head nearly spins
backward.  Next, the young man yanks the
blade from the leader’s head and stabs the third man in the side of the neck,
almost as a cobra striking its prey.  The
young man looks for the last of his adversaries, and sees him running down the
alley toward the main streets.  The young
man takes a deep breath, lifts the bat, takes aim, and hurls it at his
target.  The bat’s aim is precise and the
man falls to the ground, screaming in pain.
As the young man calmly walks toward his now-felled enemy, he cleans the
blood off of his knife on his pant leg, and puts it away with such dexterity it
can’t be known exactly where the sheath is hidden. 
“Today you
benefit from being last, sir,” says the young man as he sits on the ground by
the last man’s head. “Enough whimpering! You merely broke your ankle on my
bat.  I have no desire to take your
life,” he says as he pulls out a cigarette and lights it. “You will do
something for me.  To that end, I spare
you life.” His voice is calm yet direct, “You will tell whomever you work for
it was Jekyll who reduced these men to corpses.
You will tell him this and,” he takes a long, slow drag of his
cigarette, and continues, “you will tell them this, and you will tell them,
they do not wish to meet Hyde.  Do we
have a deal?” the last being more statement than question. 
The man,
believing he is being played, but not wanting to die, gives an exaggerated
nod.  The young man stands and begins
walking back to where he had been resting and calls out over his shoulder. 

“Belath, I guess
I’ll be staying a while longer,” once again speaking in the same shaky voice he
had spoken with earlier.
 

                               

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Witch for Hire by Shyla Colt

 

Witch for Hire
Shyla Colt
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Publisher: Vamptasy
Date of Publication:  11-27-1017
ASIN: B075GN5Q68
Number of pages: 300
Word Count: 85,000
Cover Artist: Dreams 2 Media
Tagline: Against the approaching darkness, I am the light.
Book Description:

Young, terrified, and bound to a vampire, Louella Eschete fled the bayou and swore off magic. Years later, she’s returned to the tiny town of Cypress, Louisiana to take her rightful place as head of her magical family, whether she likes it or not.
In order to keep the tentative peace formed between the various races of powerful beings who rule side by side, she must face her own demons. Mainly one, Cristobal Cortez.
Now a master vampire, and lord of the seven cities surrounding New Orleans, her former lover has moved up in the world. Their relationship gets way more complicated when his court is framed for a rash of murders they didn’t commit.
Forced to play her role as his bond mate, and launch an investigation into the darkness threatening to overturn truces, she may be in over her head.
  
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Excerpt:
I spot his form
on the outskirts. Though, I’m loathe to admit it, my night vision is better
than a human’s. Energy crackles on my fingertips. Bright green sparks break the
inky blackness of night. My stomach sours. Being in the same space works as an
amplifier for us. I’m manifesting new powers. He’s turned me into something
foreign. Physical manifestation of magic is rare and left to the most powerful.
I curl my hands
into fists. He foresaw this all those years ago in that graveyard. He
recognized the potential of the two of us could create together. My chest
aches. Some wounds cut too deep to ever fully heal. Angers pools in my belly. I
wanted love. I got lies and manipulation instead. A pulsing ball of energy
forms in front of me. I’m hypnotized by the technic-color glow. How could this
come from me?
I shake under
the strain of maintaining it. What was created in anger is burning off my
reserves.
“Let. It. Go.”
The command
given in a dulcet tone snaps my hold on the newly discovered power. The ball
hurtles toward him. I resend the magic, knowing the back lash of the abrupt
interruption of signal flow is going to be a bitch. Lifted off my feet by a
form of magical feedback, I’m pitched back violently. My stomach drops, and
then I’m caught in a strong pair of arms. The gravity of seeing him in person
so close up presses down on me as I drown in his chocolate colored gaze. My
tongue sticks to the rough of my mouth. All thought flees as my barriers buckle
like the compromised hull of a ship. The high, well-sculpted cheek bones lead
down to a strong, diamond shaped jaw rounded out by a dimpled chin. His button
nose gives an eternal boyish quality to his rugged good lucks. He swallows and
my gaze is drawn to his throat as my mind his worked over by years of memories.
We’re exchanging
information like two computers updating. He cups my face. “Louella.” I twitch
as I ride the wave of power being exchanged between us.

 

About the Author:
Shyla Colt is the sassy international bestseller of the popular series Kings of Chaos and Dueling Devils M.C. This genre-hoppers stories feature three of her favorite things: strong females, pop culture, and alternate routes to happy ever after. Listening to her Romani soul, she pens from the heart, allowing the dynamic characters, eccentric interests, and travels as a former flight attendant to take her down untraveled roads.
Born and raised in Cincinnati, Ohio, this mid-west girl is proud of her roots. She used her hometown and the surrounding areas as a backdrop for a number of books. So, if you’re a Buckeye, keep an eye out for familiar places.
As a full-time writer, stay at home mother, and wife, there’s never a dull moment in her household.
She weaves her tales in spare moments and the evenings with a cup of coffee or tea at her side and the characters in her head for company.
You can interact with Shyla Colt online via her website

 

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Riding with James Dean by David-Matthew Barnes

Riding with James Dean         
David-Matthew Barnes
Genre: Young Adult
Publisher: Blue Dasher Press
Date of Publication: November 7, 2017
ASIN:
Number of pages:
Word Count: 12,500
Book Description:
When seventeen-year-old Johnny moves to a sleepy new town and meets the enigmatic Marco, the glamorous Mary, and the punk princess Jemma, his summer nights are soon filled with friendship and love.

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Excerpt:
From a distance, I could’ve sworn
I saw the ghost of Marilyn Monroe.
            There
was a beautiful woman standing next to Marco in the parking lot of the 50’s
hamburger palace. They were leaning up against the side of his vintage car,
waiting and doused in the shadows of slow pulsing neon lights. His arm was
draped around her shoulders. It appeared she was propping him up. She laughed
when she steadied him and the sound was sweet and melodic. She was a platinum
blonde, dressed in a black pencil skirt and a low-cut white angora sweater.
There was a red chiffon scarf tied around her neck. She exuded power in her
black stiletto heels. She was a movie star in the making, a glamorous goddess
just waiting for someone to discover her and catapult her to fame. If anyone
had been born for a life on the silver screen, it was her.
            She
pried herself away from Marco and stepped in my direction. “You must be
Johnny,” she said. I nodded in reply, mesmerized by the seductive green color
of her eyes and the tenderness of her voice. She leaned in, kissed my cheek,
and then spent the next few seconds trying to wipe her lipstick off my skin.
Her touch was soft and comforting. 
 “Are you Marilyn Monroe?” I asked. My words
fell into her cleavage.
            “You’re
close,” she said. “I’m Mary.”
            “Yes,”
I said. “Marco mentioned you.”
            “He’s
like a brother to me,” she whispered. “Be gentle with his heart.”
            Marco
moved to us, wrapping an arm around us, connecting and cementing us as a trio.
“I’m a lucky guy,” he said. “I get to spend the night with my two favorite
people.”
            “Marco
doesn’t have many favorites,” Mary explained. She was clearly his interpreter.
“So, I guess that makes us the lucky ones.”
            Marco
gently guided us in the direction of his parked car. “I wish we could go to
Vegas,” he announced.
            “Why
don’t we?” I challenged.
            He
shook his head. “We wouldn’t make it there until dawn.”
            “Dawn’s
a lovely time to arrive in Vegas,” Mary said. “You can sleep all day and then
be ready for the night.”
            “Are
we vampires?” I asked, with a small laugh.
            “In
another life, yes,” explained Mary. “In this one…”
            Marco
glanced up to the dark, starlit sky and said, “We’re the ones everybody else
wants to be.”
            Mary
shook a finger at him, reprimanding. “Careful, Marco,” she said. “You almost
sound smug.”
            “Do
you think they know?” he asked. “About how much we’ve been through?”
            They
looked into each other’s eyes when Mary spoke. “If they did,” she said, “they
wouldn’t care. But our sorrow would ruin the façade.”
            “Façade,”
he repeated. “I like that word.”
            Mary
insisted on sitting in the backseat, but not before pulling me aside. “You
belong up front now,” she explained, in a hushed tone. “Next to Marco. He needs
you by his side.”
            “But
you were here first,” I reminded her.
            “I
appreciate your chivalry,” she said. “But you’re new.”

 

            I
slid across the bucket seat and into the shelter of Marco’s arms. He pulled me
closer to him.  “There,” he said. “That’s
better.”
 
 

About the Author:

David-Matthew Barnes is the award-winning author of several novels and collections of stage plays and poetry. His acclaimed screenplays have earned many accolades including a 2017 Los Angeles Film Award. David-Matthew has written over fifty stage plays that have been performed in three languages in ten countries. His literary work has appeared in over one hundred publications. He is a member of the Dramatists Guild of America, International Thriller Writers, and the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators. He earned an MFA in Creative Writing at Queens University of Charlotte in North Carolina. He has been an educator for more than a decade.
For more information, please visit:

 

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