Flash Point by Ronelle Antoinett

 

Flash Point
Elemental Trials
Book Two
Ronelle Antoinette
Genre: fantasy romance
Publisher: Ronelle Antoinette
Date of Publication: 7/7/17
ISBN: 1537201891
ASIN: B072JNPYZ4
Number of pages: 320
Word Count: approx. 92,000
Cover Artist: Mar Fandos
Tagline: The choices of a few will ignite a realm
Book Description:
Scandal will shake foundations.
A night of careless passion leaves Battlemage Jex Xander and Adept Enari Alycon in a precarious position. Long-time lovers they might be, but the Imperial ambassador and the daughter of Egalion’s High Mage have rather public roles in the court—whether they wish it or not—and scandal couldn’t come at a worse time.
Treachery will tip balances.
When a hostile kingdom reluctantly agrees to parley, the fate of two-thousand years of peace is on the line. In the midst of negotiations, Enari becomes the target of one of the Greater Maelstrom. She and Jex must race against time to save her life and that of her unborn child. What happens when an earth-shattering secret, a demon bent on destruction, and a kingdom teetering on the brink of war collide is anyone’s guess.
Choices will have consequences.
The decisions of a few will determine the fate of many, and who or what will remain standing in the end is still uncertain. Hearts and lives are on the cusp of irrevocable change…and not necessarily for the better.
And secrets? Those will change everything.
Excerpt:
Enari Alycon and
Jex Xander were the last two mages to enter the shadowed chamber.
She hesitated on
the threshold, instinct making her clutch his hand as her eyes struggled to
pierce the darkness. The single tapers that stood to either side of the altar
were small and insufficient to dispel the thick gloom. Dizziness and nausea
overcame her as the strong incense permeated her lungs. The room felt
oppressive, claustrophobic, and her mind screamed at her to retreat.
Jex’s hand
closed around her wrist in warning.
“Remember,” he
whispered, “once we step inside, you’ll need to remain absolutely silent until
the ceremony is complete. No matter what happens, do not make a sound,
understand?”
His breath was
warm and the soft kiss he pressed to her temple made her shiver. She nodded and
hesitantly followed her Chosen inside.
He closed the
door behind them. The soft boom reminded her of the latch on the door to the
Hall of the Dead; solid and inexorable.
Final.
Jex led her up
the aisle at a slow and measured pace, their steps muffled more than they
should have been in the stone chamber. The shadows seemed to whisper words too
soft to discern, a dark susurration against her senses. The sensation was like
cobwebs and moth wings and the touch of a burial shroud all mixed together.
After passing
the last row of benches and their silent occupants, Enari discovered that what
she had originally taken for a shadow cast by the altar was instead a large,
smooth-edged opening in the floor. Her Chosen’s hands guiding her with confidence
as he directed her to kneel, adjusted the fall of her skirt, and placed her
hands in her lap. He cupped the back of her head and tilted it forward until
all she could see were the stones beneath her knees and that yawning pit. The
touch withdrew and she heard the rustle of his robes as he took his place
behind her.
It was only at
this angle she saw the faint reflection of candlelight in dark water. A pool
then, and not an empty well as she first assumed.
The realization
was not as comforting as it should have been.
“Enari Alycon,
daughter of Eryk Alycon and Tanith Hithaerien, today is the day of your
Ascension. You have entered this chamber in a state of flux, tempered from
apprenticeship but not yet forged as an adept. You are Initiate, the in-between.”
The deep, strong voice of her father issued from within the dark cowl of the
figure in front of her. “As those who came before were tried, so you shall be.
Who among you will stand witness?”
Enari was
confused. What trial? Hadn’t she passed all the tests the week before? She’d
thought the Rite of Ascension a mere formality, if a secret one, but now it
sounded that assumption had been incorrect.
“We will,” came
the unified and ringing response from those seated behind her.
Enari shivered
again, cognizant of the power behind the declaration. The touch of their voices
was the only warmth in this brooding place and she was grateful for it.
“And who among
you will hold the door for her?”
“I will,” Jex
confirmed, his voice strong and certain.
“Then let it
be.”
Her father
turned to the altar and picked up the metal fragment. Motioning for Jex to step
forward, he pressed the weapon into his hand.
Enari watched
from beneath her lashes without raising her head, seeing the glimmer of
candle-flame slide along the razor’s edge.
Her Chosen went
to his knees in front of her. He raised the shard, letting her examine it for a
heartbeat or two, then used the blade to cut her palm and his own. Enari winced
at the line of pain that blazed across her skin, biting back a hiss just in
time to keep from breaking the mandate of silence. Jex pressed their weeping
palms together and laced his fingers through hers.
She could almost
taste her own dread now, bitter as a mouthful of lemon rind.
“Blood to blood
and gift to gift,” Jex intoned, “I lend you my strength for the test ahead. I
will hold the door so you may pass and may it be with joy that I close it after
your return.” There was a hint of fear in his emerald eyes as he spoke the
final words.
 “Initiate, it is time for you to face The Pool
and The Dweller below,” her father announced.
Sweat broke out
across her forehead and the back of her neck as her eyes settled on The Pool.
Jex rose to his
feet, fingers still twined with hers, and she balked, not wanting to go any nearer
to that still and menacing water. He reached behind her and seized her belt,
forcing her up and forward. His hand remained at the small of her back to hold
her in place once they stood at the very lip of The Pool.
Her stomach
knotted and a slithering nausea twisted its greasy fingers around her throat.
She swallowed hard and tasted bile.
Jex put his
mouth against her ear and began to speak.
“We have to
lower you into the water. Take a deep breath, close your eyes, and don’t be
afraid. It’ll be over before you know it.”
She turned to
him, shaking her head. More than anything, she did not want to let that black
water touch her. Blue eyes met green and she pled the only way she could.
His expression
went flat and his voice hardened. “You asked me to serve as your Chosen. Let me
do my duty.”
“Be silent!” the
High Mage barked.
Jex gave him a
dirty look, but nodded once and the two men took hold of her, each putting a
hand under one of her arms and grasping her hands in theirs. With agonizing
slowness, they began to lower her.
The first shock
of bitter cold stole her breath.
As the velvet of
her robe became wet, it dragged on her and clung to her legs. She kicked,
trying to free her feet but the heavy fabric stuck fast.
Before she was
half-submerged, she started to tremble. The water felt just short of freezing
solid and had a slimy quality that disgusted her.
Soon, only her
head remained clear and Jex was crouching at her side, still gripping her
bloody hand. His other settled on her hair.
“Deep breath,
now,” he directed.

 

 

And before she
could even think to scream, he jerked his hand free of hers and thrust her head
beneath the surface.
About the Author:
 
Ronelle Antoinette lives in western Colorado with her husband, two cats, and one dog-who-believes-he’s-a-person. While she is a mother to none, she’s an auntie to what should qualify as a small army. She is an admitted caffeine addict, chocoholic, and hopeless romantic who has carried on a passionate affair with the genre of fantasy since she was old enough to read ‘chapter books’. She dabbled in creative writing for many years and even considered it as a major in college. (She ended up getting a Bachelor’s degree in Counseling Psychology.) She published her first novel, Errant Spark, in July of 2016.

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Illumination by Susannah Sandlin

Illumination
Penton Legacy
Book 5
Susannah Sandlin
Genre: PNR/UF
Date of Publication: July 11, 2017
Number of pages: Approx. 330
Word Count: 90,000
Cover Artist: Kim Killion
Tagline: Nik wants to escape his family curse. Shay wants to change the world. Together, they are the only hope to save the vampires of Penton.
Book Description:
He came to Penton seeking peace. Nik Dimitrou joined the Army to escape his family legacy, only to have his psychic abilities exploited as a weapon. Now, as a civilian, he turns to the bottle to veil the images that haunt his mind whenever he touches anyone—except vampires. With them, he has finally found a home. But as Penton, Alabama, moves into open warfare with the Vampire Tribunal, Nik finds himself a linchpin in the deepening conflict, not to mention facing a transformation in his own body more frightening than anything he’s encountered before.
She wanted to change the world. Shay Underwood watched her Peace Corps parents move from one third world country to another—until both died following an outbreak of fever. Driven to her own career in tropical medicine, Shay works in New Orleans to cure the disease that killed her parents—until a careless weekend outing draws her into a world far more dangerous than the diseases she studies: a vampire society engaged in human trafficking and on the verge of all-out war.
Two cities, two strangers, one world. With Penton rebellion leader Aidan Murphy making risky choices and chief vampire lieutenant Mirren Kincaid forced to take a leadership role in Penton, it will fall to two outsiders, Nik and Shay, to find a way for the town—and themselves—to survive in this much-anticipated conclusion to the multiple award-winning Penton Legacy series.

 

 

 
Excerpt:
Cage caught the human before he
made it two steps toward the door and freedom. “Oh, no you don’t, my friend. I
said we had things to discuss, and I quite meant it.”
            Nik
retrieved a set of handcuffs from a pocket and held them out. “Try these.”
            “I
like a man who comes prepared.” Cage grinned and jerked the man’s arms behind
his back, slapping on the cuffs with an ease that told Nik he was no stranger
to using them. From his long mercenary days, maybe.
            “What’s
your name?” Robin looked up at the human. “Who are you working with?”
            The
guy just looked at her with a smirk.
Enough of that. Nik didn’t like
the guy’s attitude, and they didn’t have time to waste.
            Apparently,
Cage was thinking the same thing. “Just take what you need from him, Nik. He
must be bonded to some bloody vampire or other and he’s more afraid of his
master than he is of us. A mistake, I might add.”
            Nik
approached the man, flexing his fingers. He didn’t bother with a wrist or touch
on the shoulder. He wrapped the fingers of both hands around the man’s head and
held on. Good thing about vampire strength. No matter how much the man
squirmed, he couldn’t escape Nik’s grip.
            Robin
took advantage of the moment and patted the guy down, extracting his wallet
from a back pocket. “Jonathan Lachey. Probably his real name. Doesn’t look
smart enough to use a fake I.D.”
            “All
right, Jonathan. Let’s see what you can tell me.” Nik closed his eyes, and the
clarity of the visions made his breath catch. Direct touch had always amped his
visions, but nothing like this. As with the images from objects, however, he
could now sort through the guy’s memories and thoughts instead of suffering an
uncontrollable onslaught. “He’s bonded to someone and trying to reach out
mentally.”
            “Better
work fast.” Cage held Jonathan more firmly in place while Nik plundered inside
his head.
            Nik
paused on an image and tightened his grip on the man’s skull. Nothing escaped
but a strained whimper. “You raped my sister.”
            And
a lot of other women. So many. Several of the girls were pregnant—including the
woman he now knew was his old high school classmate, Shay.

 

“Don’t kill him, Niko.” Robin put
a hand on his arm, her voice low and lethal. “At least not yet.”
 
About the Author:
Susannah Sandlin writes award-winning paranormal romance, including the popular Penton Legacy series for Montlake Romance, and romantic suspense and thrillers, including two series, The Collectors and Wilds of the Bayou, also for Montlake. Writing as Suzanne Johnson, she writes the Sentinels of New Orleans urban fantasy series for Tor Books. Suzanne grew up in Alabama halfway between the Bear Bryant Museum and Elvis’s birthplace and lived in New Orleans for fifteen years, so she has a refined sense of the absurd and an ingrained love of college football and fried gator on a stick. She currently lives in Auburn, Alabama, where she is a full-time author who does copy editing on the side through Reedsy.com.
Twitter: @SusannahSandlin, @Suzanne_Johnson

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The Rake’s Bride by Lynn Winchester


The Rake’s Bride
Dry Bayou Brides
Book Five
Lynn Winchester
Genre: Historical Western Romance
Publisher: Charizomai Press, LLC
Date of Publication: June 27th
Word Count: 57k

ASIN: B072VVRP1N
Cover Artist: Dar Albert
Tagline: Lies, Fate, Redemption…
Book Description:
Jean-Luc La Fontaine is tired of sowing his wild oats. So, after a disastrous summer in France, he’s back in Dry Bayou, ordering himself a mail-order bride. A new wife will help him forget about the siren with sapphire eyes…
Intelligence, wealth, prestige… It means nothing when you fall in love with the wrong man. So, when scandal chases Isabeau Montefret from France, she runs to America, determined to forget the man with the wicked smile. Isabeau hoped becoming a mail-order bride was the answer to her problems. She’d change her name, start a new life, and lose herself in a small town. When she discovers that the man who disappeared with her heart is the man she agreed to marry, Isabeau settles in for the fight of her life.
When the one woman he’d left France to forget arrives in town, claiming she’s his new bride, Jean-Luc doesn’t know what to feel. But when pain gives way to the truth, he must risk keeping a dark secret, one that would steal every chance at happiness. Isabeau once made him believe in happily ever after, now he must learn how to keep his new bride at a distance, lest he lose everything.
Can Jean-Luc be a true husband to the woman he’s been deceiving? Can Isabeau convince Jean-Luc she’s his one true love? Will these two rediscover what they had once upon a summertime?

#2
Luc
stared down at her, his jaw muscles working, his nostrils flaring, and the
black eyes behind his dark lashes flashing fire.
Isabeau
spun and walked toward the desk, trying to put distance between them. Enough
distance that she could take a deep breath. The sound of the door closing and
lock turning made every hair on her neck stand on end.
She
was trapped.
Silence
ruled, and the ticking of the clock on the wall only reminded her of each
pressing moment.
Finally,
he stepped forward. She could feel his heat burning into her back, his very
presence thrilling through her blood. Oh, how she missed him. Did he miss her?
Hope flared to life within her, but she remembered what Tilly had said: You already know Mr. La Fontaine? Luc La
Plume, the man she’d met and fallen in love with one summer in France, was
Jean-Luc La Fontaine, the man she was there to marry. A man who had no idea the
woman he’d left behind was the same woman he’d agreed to wed.
She
swallowed as the truth hit her: he’d left. He’d forgotten about her. And had
planned to marry someone else. It didn’t matter that she was that someone else. It only mattered that he hadn’t cared
enough to tell her he was done with her.
The
trickle of apprehension she felt when she’d first spotted him across the
restaurant slowly gave way to the cool head that would serve her much better in
this situation.
“Marielle.”
Deep and resonant, his voice vibrated through her, and she nearly moaned at the
memory of the words that voice had spoken in the warm and fragrant gardens of
La Chateau du Montebleu.
Sucking
in a deep breath, Isabeau spun on her heel and pinned Luc with her gaze. He
cocked an eyebrow, and something she recognized from their summer together
blazed in his eyes—but then it was gone. Swallowed up by disdain. Pain took
shape in her chest, but she swallowed down the rising ache. Don’t look away, don’t look away. Don’t let
him know how much he hurt you.
“Mr.
La Fontaine, I see you aren’t dead,”
she said in French. She thanked the Lord her voice was stronger than she’d
expected. Though, it shouldn’t have been a surprise. She always seemed to find
her strength when she was with Luc. All her life, she’d fooled herself into
thinking she thrived in the shadows, hidden away from the people and the
chatter and the expectations. It’d taken a dashing rake, his astute
observations, and his gentle manner and touch to show her she wasn’t thriving
along the wall of her life—she was dwindling. Like a rosebush planted in
perpetual shade.
With
Luc, she’d learned to speak with frankness and face challenges with courage.
Challenges like leaving the only home and family she’d known to travel across
the ocean and make a new life in a wholly terrifying place.

 

 
About the Author:
Lynn Winchester is the pseudonym of a hardworking California-born conservative, now living in the wilds of Northeast Pennsylvania. Lynn has been writing fiction since the 5th grade, and enjoys creating worlds, characters, and stories for her readers.
When Lynn isn’t writing she is running a successful editing business, reading whatever she can get her hands on, raising her four children, making sure her husband is happy, and binge watching shows on Netflix.

 

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