Enlightenment by Liz Keel

 
“No!” I screamed. It had happened again. This was the fourth night in a row I had

woken up with a start, beads of sweat dampening my forehead and a sick feeling

swirling in my stomach. Rubbing my face whilst trying to sit up I thought back to the

same terrifying dream that had been haunting me for weeks now. Not that I expected

it to be any other way. I mean, watching your parents die in a car crash will have that

effect on you. The difference was that I was supposed to have died. I know it sounds

crazy but there was no way I should have survived that; yet I had, and I was sure

that the only reason I was still alive was because of the bright light that had

emanated from my body.

We were supposed to have been setting off on a three-month expedition around

India, but only got as far as our local town in Montana before it happened. One

minute I was sitting in the back of the car fiddling with my iPod and the next second

I’d heard Mom screaming. I’d looked up just in time to see a car skidding along on

the road before it hit us side-on, flipping us into a ditch. Even now the fear I’d felt at

the time – the fear of what was to come – still swallows me whole. Time had seemed

to slow down as I had watched my mom and dad being thrown around as the car

had turned upside down. Our screams had been overwhelming and I’d been

reaching my breaking point, when suddenly all went silent and

I had been engulfed in a bright, orange glow that had blinded me. Everything

after that was hazy. I remember smacking my head on the window, which had been

followed by an unbearable pain that had made my skull feel as though it would

explode. I put my hand to my forehead, feeling a warm and sticky liquid trickling

down the side of my face. Putting my hand out in front of me, I saw it was blood, but

my fuzzy brain couldn’t comprehend what I was seeing. It was at that point black

spots started to creep into my vision, making everything seem blurry. Then, however

much I tried to stay awake, the darkness won and I slipped out of consciousness.

I awoke to an incessant bleeping and hushed whispers of ‘So young’ and ‘Such a

shame’ and it was at that point I knew both of my parents were dead. Upon opening

my eyes, a numb feeling began to take over as I realised I was in the local hospital

with doctors giving me sympathetic looks and calling me sweetie whilst a nurse

asked me who they should contact. That was an easy answer: no one. My parents

had both been only children and their parents, my grandparents, had died when they

were young. There was no one else.

A couple of hours later Eli turned up with his family. Who’s Eli? Explaining him

isn’t exactly one of the easiest things to do, as our relationship was complicated to

say the least. Foremost, he’s my best friend, even with his over-protective nature,

which I think stems from his need to look out for me, kind of like how I imagined a

brother would for a sister. This would make sense as I’ve always been really close to

his family, who seem to have been in my life for forever. Yes, it was helped by the

fact they lived in the same neighbourhood as us and that he went to the same high

school as me; but more than that Eli seems to have been there at all my major life

events. From losing my first tooth, to falling off my bike and then taking me for walks

in the forest when I needed the company, he’s always been there, someone I could

rely on.

And again on this eventful day, he turned up knowing exactly what I needed: for

someone not to say anything, but instead just to sit with me. He completely ignored

his mother’s sobs as he only had eyes for me, walking quickly over to my bed and

wrapping his arms around me. He pulled me onto his lap and once again I seemed

to fit perfectly as he cocooned me, wrapping his arms around my back, his warmth

spreading through me like a drug. We were both seniors but he looked older,

probably due to the growth spurt he had had over the summer. At six foot one he

was a whole seven inches taller than me and had these tanned muscular arms that

were freakishly strong, probably due to his part-time job as a labourer on the local

farm. His dark blond hair spent most of the time being brushed back from his

forehead, as it always fell into his eyes, but it always really suited him that way. One

of the things I loved most about him were his eyes, which sparkled different shades

of emerald green and I swear just looking at them let me know how he was feeling.

On that day they had been a dull green.

I know the way I’m describing him might make you wonder why I’m not talking

about him as something more than just a friend, but that’s the complicated part. You

see, my feelings for him are purely platonic, but I don’t think he feels the same. The

way Eli looks at me sometimes…the subtle hints…the way he grabs my hand and

won’t let go, I think he wants something more and I’m not sure what to do about it.

And however selfish this might sound, I need him in my life and can’t mess up our

friendship, even to see if there could possibly be something more to our relationship.

What if it all went wrong?

“Hey Thea,” Eli had whispered into my ear. “Mom says that when you’re

discharged you’re coming home with us, period. No arguing.” I’d squeezed him back,

gratefully burying my face in the crook of his neck, unable to communicate how

much he and his family meant to me. At least they would be able to keep the

loneliness at bay.

We sat like that for ages, me just breathing in his woody, musky smell, wondering

how I was meant to function again. He twisted strands of my dark brown hair around

his fingers and occasionally stroked his thumb along the side of my chin in a

soothing manner. I could hear his mother and father in deep discussions with the

police officers, and heard them say it was a miracle I was alive. Tell me about it. The

only other person who had been around was Eli’s four-year- old sister Leela, who

kept coming up with big, round, sad eyes, patting me on the leg whilst trying to get

me to take Buggles, her much loved toy rabbit. She had known something was

wrong and had tried her hardest to fix it in the only way she knew how.

That was four months ago, and although I’ve spent most of my time since then

feeling numb and totally lost, I have begun to smile again and do normal things like

getting up in the morning and going to school. If only these dreams would go away.

There was nothing I could do about what had happened, but still my brain was

making me re-play it over and over again. However, this latest dream was different.

Whenever I had dreamt about the crash, before the part where the orange glow

appeared, I could see the faces of the bystanders with their horrified looks as we

began to tip over. But this last time there was another face of a man who looked at

me – and I mean really looked at me – as though he knew me. For some reason his

eyes glowed with an intense ferocity and the sneer on his face only added to the

anger that seemed to radiate off him. I couldn’t work out what I had ever done to him,

or why I hadn’t seen him in my dreams before.

 

 

 


Enlightenment
The Driel Trilogy
Liz Keel
 
Publisher: Fire Quill Publishing
 
Release Date: 21st April 2016
 
ISBN:  9780996974875 
ISBN:  9780994664198 
 
Book Description:
 
After losing everything, all seventeen-year-old Thea wanted was to be a normal teenager. Instead, she was attacked by a mysterious creature she thought only existed in fairy tales. 
 
Now thrown into the unknown realm of Faey, Thea is forced to determine the difference between reality and fantasy, in a world ruled by a dark elite and a society wracked by intolerance and prejudice. With the support of her new friends and a mysterious dark haired, blue-eyed guardian watching her every move, Thea will discover that when it comes to Faey, nothing is what it seems. 
 
Will her courage and desire to save this new world from darkness be enough? Or will Thea be the next victim to fall to the dark whispers of fate…
 
 
 
About the Author:
 
I live in Surrey, England, a short walk from the beautiful Windsor Park, with my husband Richard and our two gorgeous children Noah and Olivia. For me, writing is nothing short of an addiction and I often find myself sneaking out to my writing shed for just a few minutes, which can often turn into hours of pure, unadulterated bliss catching up with my characters and continuing their story. 
 
In-between writing, I teach in a primary school where there’s never a dull moment! I will also often be found Kindle in hand, reading a wide variety of genres but with YA fantasy and paranormal romance at the forefront of my reading list. Although I’m currently writing the second book in the Driel trilogy, other characters involving all things fantasy, paranormal and YA romance are jockeying for position, wanting me to write their story next, so watch this space! It is such a privilege to share my stories with you the reader. Thank you enough for taking the time to find out more about me. 
 
To find out more about Liz, visit her website: www.lizkeelauthor.com
 
 
 
 

 

Of Cinder and Bone by Kyoko M

Excerpt:

“They’re gone,” Jack whispered. “I don’t…I don’t understand. They were right here,

Kam. What did I miss?”

She squeezed his hand. “Jack, this isn’t your fault. Maybe something went wrong and

their health destabilized while we were out.”

“All that work,” he said hoarsely. “Years’ worth. Just like that. Gone.”

He shook his head again. “I shouldn’t have dragged you into this.”

“You didn’t drag me into anything. I chose this. I chose you.” She caught his chin and

made him face her. Fierce brown eyes blazed at him. “And I’d do it again in a heartbeat.”

“This kind of thing can end a career. Let me take the blame. Please.”

“It’s my career to end. We tell them together. End of story.”

He shut his eyes at her words, shuddering slightly. “I’m so sorry.”

“We’ll find our way again. I promise.” She stroked the side of his face before turning

towards the increasingly uneasy spectators around them.

“Ladies and gentlemen,” Jack said after clearing his throat. “I’m afraid that something’s

happened. Our hatchlings have flat-lined. They’re…they’re gone.”

A frigid hush fell over the room. The lead reporter stepped forward. “They’re dead?”

Kamala nodded grimly. “Stillborn. We’re not sure how, but we’ve tried everything to

resuscitate them and nothing has worked. I’m afraid we’ve lost them.”

Edie’s hands rose to her mouth, and her eyes fell on her son. “Oh, honey.”

“You’ve got to be kidding me,” the reporter moaned. “I got pulled off a hot lead at the

Mayor’s office for this crap and you’re telling me the whole thing’s off? Get a defibrillator and

bring the little bastards back to life.”

“Watch it,” Jack said very quietly.

“No, you watch it, pal. Everyone’s been talking you up like you’re gonna save the world

and yet here we are with nothing to show for it.”

Jack stepped forward, gritting his teeth. “No one put a gun to your head and told you to

come here. That’s three years of my life lying on that table over there, dead. Cry me a fucking

river.”

Kamala gripped his arm. “Jack.”

The reporter snorted, not backing down even though Jack practically towered over him.

“This was just a publicity stunt, wasn’t it? Something to get MIT some attention, since that’s

where all the washed up scientists go to spin their wheels and pretend like they’re making a

difference. What’s the matter? The real world too much for you?”

“The real world?” Jack laughed bitterly. “You’re about to find out how real the world can

get.”

“Jack!”

“No, let him go, sweetheart. This’ll look good on the front page. I can see the headline

now: ‘Failed Scientist Socks Award-Winning Reporter for Hurting His Feelings.’”

Jack grabbed two handfuls of the guy’s shirt and a couple of people darted between them,

shouting for them to cool off and separate.

Crack.

Jack froze.

Crrrraaaaaaack.

He craned his neck slowly towards the table.

The furthest egg to the left had a fracture running down the length of it.

Crick-crack.

The egg wiggled once, twice. The fracture widened.

Jack and Kamala stumbled towards the table together, their eyes transfixed on the tremors

going through the lone egg. A moment later, a tiny green snout poked through a hole in the top

and embryonic fluid oozed outward.

Jack snatched up a box of gloves and handed it to Kamala, snapping a pair on, and then

reached a shaking hand towards the creature. He lifted the small piece of shell that the dragon

had stuck on his snout and watched slack-jawed as it sneezed and pushed its glistening, spindly

limbs out. It was the size of a large gecko. The scales were leafy-green over most of its body,

with paler shades along its belly, and dark green splotches along its spine. It had four limbs like a

normal lizard, but two thin yellow membrous wings stuck out from its shoulders. Its head bore

similarities to a bird, with a triangular head with bright eyes, its pupils thin slits like a snake.

Each foot ended in pinpricks of claws and it had a set of needle-like teeth just barely poking out

of its gums.

“Kamala?”

“Yes?”

“You’re seeing this, right?”

“I am.”

Jack let out a thready, borderline manic giggle as the young dragon wobbled on its legs

and let out a needy chirp, its yellow eyes focusing on the two of them after a moment. Jack

cupped one hand and brought it forward slowly, his deep voice soothing.

“Hey there, buddy. Welcome to the party. Nice timing.”

The dragon chirped a couple more times and sniffed his fingers one by one. It nipped

them, coughed, and then crawled clumsily into his arms. Kamala handed him a small towel and

cleaned the little reptile off, smiling as it nuzzled its head against her touch.

“She’s beautiful, Jack,” she whispered. “What should we call her?”

“Pete.”

She choked on laugh. “You’re such a sap. Hello, Pete. Welcome to MIT.”

 

 

Of Cinder and Bone
Kyoko M
Genre: SciFi Romance/Action-Adventure
Date of Publication: December 23, 2016
Number of pages: 268
Word Count: 139, 893
Cover Artist: Agata Broncel 
Book Description: 
After centuries of being the most dangerous predators on the planet, dragons were hunted to extinction. That is, until Dr. Rhett “Jack” Jackson and Dr. Kamala Anjali cracked the code to bring them back. Through their research at MIT, they resurrected the first dragon anyone has seen alive since the 15th century. There’s just one problem.
Someone stole it.
Caught between two ruthless yakuza clans who want to clone the dragon, Jack and Kamala brave the dangerous streets of Tokyo to steal their dragon back in a race against time before the world is taken over by mutated, bloodthirsty monsters that will raze it to ashes. 
About the Author:
Kyoko M is an author, a fangirl, and an avid book reader. Her debut novel, The Black Parade, has been ranked #5 in Amazon’s Bestselling Occult novels. She has a Bachelor of Arts in English Lit degree from the University of Georgia, which gave her every valid excuse to devour book after book with a concentration in Greek mythology and Christian mythology. When not working feverishly on a manuscript (or two), she can be found buried under her Dashboard on Tumblr, or chatting with fellow nerds on Twitter, or curled up with a good Harry Dresden novel on a warm central Florida night. Like any author, she wants nothing more than to contribute something great to the best profession in the world, no matter how small.

 

X-Rated by Lily Harlem

Excerpt:

Polly glanced at her watch as she stepped into the house. Good, she had plenty of time to

indulge herself before Lucan came home. She shut the door and ignored a bill that lay on the

mat.

All day she’d steamed through her to-do list, knocking each thing off with a tick of

satisfaction. She’d even forgone lunch, choosing to eat her salad at her desk. Her colleagues had

soon taken the hint, when she’d given one-word answers to their chatty questions, she just wasn’t

in the mood.

Some solo fun was what she needed before Lucan walked through the door. He’d toss his

keys into the ceramic bowl on the dresser in the hallway, hang his jacket in the cupboard and

then plant a chaste kiss on her cheek. She’d bet money on him commenting on “thank goodness

it’s the weekend,” then he’d put on his old Oasis t-shirt and worn jeans, and pop a beer.

She’d cook, they’d watch TV, then it would be their usual Friday night missionary sex

beneath the duvet. The highlight of his week, he always told her afterwards as he pulled his

boxers back on.

Trouble was, their sex routine had become so stale if it were bread it wouldn’t be any

good for even the ducks. He tweaked her nipples, rubbed her clit for thirty seconds and then

pushed in. After that it was a predictable four minutes until he came.

Polly never did.

She’d tried to push him onto his back so she could climb on top and get herself off,

encouraged a little oral fun with a sexy whisper, even hinted that they take a trip to a sex shop for

some toys. Her suggestions were met with a big strong body that had only one plan for their

bedroom sequence and, much to her dismay, had fallen on deaf ears.

Maybe she hadn’t been firm or loud enough.

For as long as she could remember, frustration burned hotly through her veins. It was an

itch she couldn’t scratch. A longed for possession she would never afford. And she had no idea

what to do about it.

Until, that was, a few weeks ago.

She’d been scrawling through Facebook on her laptop when she’d seen a Gucci handbag

on sale—the GIF flashing excitedly—and clicked the link. Only it wasn’t a handbag sale, not by

a long shot. Before she knew it a porn site had filled her screen and the wails of a woman in the

throes of climax echoed around the room. She’d been alone but still glanced about the kitchen,

embarrassed at the wild cries of release.

As she’d watched, heat had traveled up Polly’s spine and her cheeks had flushed. She’d

squirmed on the seat and curled her toes in her fluffy pink slippers. The woman on screen was

getting a good seeing to, the black man she was with pounding into her hard and fast. The

camera angles were rude and crude, up close and personal. A big dark cock disappeared over and

over into her wet, pink pussy.

Polly had stared wide-eyed, knowing she should turn it off. The link could be full of bugs

or viruses or whatever else infected computers. But she couldn’t, she was utterly mesmerised.

The woman’s breasts jiggled, the camera gave a shot of the man’s ass cheeks as he thrust

with ever-increasing speed.

Polly clenched her internal muscles as another shout of “It’s here, oh yes, oh yes, fuck

me, fuck me harder,” rattled from her laptop speakers.

The man groaned, deep and guttural, a sound that spoke to Polly. When had she last

heard Lucan moan like that? He seemed to hold his pleasure in, a few panting breaths, a low

rumble in his throat perhaps. Why couldn’t he let go? Allow his release to be unharnessed and

escape wild and free. It wasn’t as if they had any children to worry about, their house was their

own, they had all the privacy a married couple needed.

Quickly Polly dumped her work-bag on the counter. She reached into the fridge for a

bottle of Chardonnay and poured herself a large glass. Then, with her laptop under her arm, she

headed up the stairs.

The cat was on the bed. “Tilly, come on, out you go. I don’t want an audience,” she said

as she tugged the covers.

Tilly voiced a quick complaint then sauntered from the room. She’d likely been asleep all

day so Polly didn’t feel guilty. Her own needs were greater and they needed seeing to.

After taking a few more big sips of wine, she began to strip. When she was down to

knickers and bra she flicked on the shower in the en suite. She had at least an hour and a half

before Lucan came home. The traffic was always heavy on the ring road on a Friday with

everyone escaping London for the weekend. Perhaps he’d be even later than she expected. But

she couldn’t count on that, she had to presume he’d be in at the earliest time possible.

She pulled the curtains closed, even though it was still daylight, then shucked her

underwear.

Humming a happy tune, she twisted her hair on the top of her head and stepped into the

stream of warm water. She filled her palms with coconut scented shower gel and rubbed it over

her breasts. Her nipples spiked and she held her face to the water, letting it tap on her eyelids and

run over her lips. Her breasts were heavy and had always been very sensitive, especially on the

outer curves. She adored having the skin there lightly brushed, stroked, caressed, because it sent

a tingle to her clit. Shame Lucan only thought it was her nipples that needed stimulating.

Had he always been that way?

 

 

 


X-Rated
Down and Dirty
Lily Harlem
Genre: Contemporary Erotic Romance
Publisher: All Romance eBooks
Date of Publication:  12/1/2016
ISBN: 978-1-945193-80-4
ASIN: B01N02GECX
Word Count:  21000
Cover Artist: Erin Dameron Hill          
Book Description:
This weekend, Polly and Lucan work the kinks into their relationship.
When Polly is caught in a compromising position with a toy and a hardcore video, she doesn’t think her husband will ever go near her again. She feels twisted, nothing like the sweet wife he married. Little does she know, she’s awakened a monster by prodding Lucan’s sexual beast and making him sit up and take notice.
Finally.
What about Lucan’s needs? He’s been so busy at work that things have gotten out of his grip to the point he can’t even remember his fantasies.
During a weekend of passion and turmoil, heat and pleasure, they vow to never drift apart again. Neither can imagine just how far they’ll go to please the other, or how well matched their particular variety of kinks are.
ARe    Amazon    iTunes    Kobo
About the Author:
Lily Harlem lives in the UK and is an award-winning author of erotic romance. She writes for publishers on both sides of the Atlantic including HarperCollins, All Romance eBooks, Totally Bound, Pride, Evernight, and Stormy Nights Publishing. Her work regularly receives high praise and industry nominations.
Before turning her hand to writing Lily Harlem worked as a trauma nurse and her latest HarperCollins release, Confessions of a Naughty Night Nurse draws on her many experiences while nursing in London. Lily also self-publishes and The Silk Tie, The Glass Knot, Bite Mark, Shared, and Cold Nights, Hot Bodies have been blessed with many 5* reviews.
Lily writes MF, MM and ménage a trois, her books regularly hit the #1 spot on Bestseller lists and Breathe You In was named a USA Today Reviewer’s Recommended Read of 2014. Her latest MM novel is Dark Warriorand you can grab Part One of her series Caught on Camera for FREE! Don’t miss HOT ICE, a popular hockey series, again first book FREE!
One thing you can be sure of, whatever book you pick up by Ms Harlem, is it will be wildly romantic and down-and-dirty sexy. Enjoy!
For more information on other books by Lily, visit her website: 

 

a Rafflecopter giveaway