Wild Spirits of the Hollow by Lea Ryan

Wild Spirits of the Hollow
Lea Ryan



Genre: Contemporary fantasy/Supernatural fiction

Publisher: NightLark Publishing
Date of Publication: 08/28/2018
ISBN: 1721041397
ASIN: B07DN3CH9H
Number of pages: 163
Word Count: 43000
Cover Artist: RL Bender
Tagline: An ancient evil is murdering residents in the isolated village of Mistwalk. Can Shannon survive long enough to save them all?
Book Description:
Shannon lies to almost everyone she meets. When she gets lost and winds up trapped in an Appalachian valley village, her lies don’t get her far.
Mistwalk Vale may look like a fairy tale, but nightmares lurk in the shadows.
Villagers are dying grisly deaths, their bodies reduced to bones and left in the streets for their friends and family to find. Worse, some people suspect that Shannon is involved. They accuse her of coming from the tribe of vicious earth witches down in the hollow.
A man named Owen believes Shannon is innocent. He tries to protect her as best he can, but there’s only so much he can do. She feels herself falling for him, despite her plan to leave as soon as she gets an opportunity.
Caught between angry mobs and an ancient darkness, she will be forced to fight for her survival. Can she save herself and the village before evil consumes them all?

Excerpt
from Chapter 1
I stood at the
edge of the trees, staring at the light deep within the forest. Between it and
me, a sea of shadow concealed the underbrush and all that lurked there. This
forest, like many other forests, would have its insects, snakes, tangles of
who-knew-what, maybe wildcats or some other thing ready to pounce on and maim
me.
After hours of
walking along a secluded, mountain highway, my brain was thoroughly scrambled.
I knew enough to know that, and I knew enough to not fully trust what I was
seeing.
It might be a
lie, the light, a mirage conjured by some desperate part of my mind. I’d told
enough lies to others, why not myself?
A fantasy of
stumbling upon a cabin with friendly occupants swam through my mind. They’d
have food left over from dinner, a plate they’d be happy to hand over to
someone who really needed it, and I did really need it. Lunch was a distant
memory, as well as the Skittles from my backpack, my bottle of water. If I made
it anywhere alive, I would really have to reevaluate my packing priorities.
I sighed. Unless
I wanted to sleep next to the highway, that light was my only hope. I adjusted
my backpack straps and stepped into the trees.
I plodded
through the darkness in high tops that weren’t made for terrain any more
intense than a mall floor. I also regretted wearing shorts and a t-shirt
because there was no trail, only weeds and trees and rustling sounds made by
small animals nearby.
All the while,
the light in the distance remained bright, burning my eyes, but I kept my
sights on it because that was hope, even if it never seemed to get any closer.
I kept my mind
off my creepy surroundings by considering who I would be for the people who
awaited me. Had someone picked me up as I attempted to hitchhike, that lucky
individual would’ve had the opportunity to hang out with a model, who was on
her way to Miami.
Everybody likes
to hang out with famous people and people who are about to be famous. I’ve
noticed this before. When I tell them whatever version of the story I’d
concocted for the evening, their eyes would light up as if I had offered to
take them along to fame and fortune.
The model story
was my go-to. I was lanky and odd looking in a way that some people found
attractive or interesting, at the very least, plausible model material. This
was not the person I would be in the cabin. I didn’t have the energy to keep up
the behaviors that went along with that lie.
Models didn’t
eat substantial food. Models ate iceberg lettuce and drank lemon, cucumber
water. My model did, anyway.
There in the
woods with possible food ahead of me, there was no way I could keep that up. I
didn’t care what food someone shoved under my nose. The idea of grilled opossum
made my mouth water. Boiled weeds? Fine. I’d eat anything.

I tried to come
up with another story, but the most compelling at that moment was my own.
Broken car. Girl wandering the woods in hope of finding food and shelter. I was
filthy and growing filthier by the minute. If I had scissors in my backpack, I
would’ve chopped off at least half of my long, brown hair just to get rid of
the tangles. That evening, I wouldn’t have to fake a look of utter desperation.
So I let the story be what it was.

About the Author:
Lea Ryan is the author of several books and stories. She writes about the strange and the dark, as well as the light and love and strives to immerse readers in vivid fictional worlds. She currently lives in Indiana with assorted family members and various pets. Her website and blog can be found at www.LeaRyan.com.
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Only Chance by Trish Arcangelo

Only Chance

Chisholm Falls Series

Book Two

Trish Arcangelo

Genre: Contemporary Romance

Date of Publication: 8/31/18

ISBN: 9781386217381

Number of pages: 147
Word Count: 46,351

Cover Artist: Diana Carlile

Tagline: This old flame still burns hot….

Book Description:

Fallon Gentry is back in her hometown after leaving an affluent life in Dallas, and her cheating ex-husband, behind.  She’s ready to start over, even if that means dealing with the pain of her first love’s betrayal left buried in the past.

 Lucas Chance is a working class guy leading a simple life.  He plays the part of the town ladies’ man but deep down he’s still reeling from old wounds, namely a heart shattered when the only woman he ever loved walked away.

They’re both shocked when Fallon unknowingly shows up on Lucas’s duplex door step, looking to rent the unit next door.  Lucas is too intrigued to tell her no and Fallon is too desperate for a place to live.  There’s also the blazing attraction still between them.  Now as landlord and tenant, Fallon and Lucas battle their feelings.

Will they discover the truth behind what drove them apart and take their only chance at true love?

Amazon     iTunes     BN


Excerpt:
She knocked on
the door.  “Lucas?”
The door opened
and an arm shot out.  Before she knew it
she was pulled inside and the door slammed shut with her back against it.  The bank bag and paper slipped from her hand
as he caged her in.
“Where’s
Laurel?” he rasped.
“I-in the
bathroom.”
“Good,” he said,
moments before his lips covered hers.
He didn’t touch
her anywhere but on her lips, his hands braced against the door on either side
of her head and his rigid body inches from hers.  Somehow that only made it hotter. The
intensity of that one contact was like a lightning strike, incinerating all
rational thought.  There was nothing but
the wicked mouth of the only man she’d wanted for as long as she’d wanted.
Her lips and
tongue submitted to his, following his lead as his mouth devoured her.  God, how she missed this.  Tears stung the backs of her eyes at the
acute need, the longing.  She reached for
him.
Lucas broke the
kiss.  “Don’t.”
Her eyes
fluttered open.  “W-what?”
“If you touch
me, I’ll lose it.”  His voice was husky
and warm, the sound of sin.  “Why do you
think I’m keeping my hands to myself? 
It’s so I don’t take you right here.”
Fallon felt
dizzy with want, leaning in.  “But, can’t
we just—”
“I’ve been
sitting in here all night thinking about what that asshole told me,” Lucas
interrupted, leaning down to capture her eyes with his.  “Did you really call out for me, Duchess? All
those nights, lying next to him?”


Her brain was
screaming at her to lie.  To remember why
she was here and the implications of her next words.  But the rest of her was still a quivering
mass of pent up desire.  A younger woman
who wanted only to please the man in front of her.  Her love. 
“Yes,” she whispered.  “All the
time.  I dreamed about you.”

About the Author:

Trish published her first book in 2015 and is currently working on her Chisholm Falls contemporary romance series.  A native Texan, Trish lives just outside Austin with her incredibly supportive husband and their incredibly spoiled dog.  She’s been an avid romance fiction reader since she was a teenager and still devours as many romance novels as she can when she’s not writing.  Her other loves include (in no particular order): warm weather, red wine, dogs, trivia, and Halloween. 

Learn more at www.trisharcangelo.com


Piper’s Quest

Piper’s Quest
Finding Magic
Book Seven
Blair Drake
Genre: Paranormal Romance
Publisher: Magic Quest Books
Date of Publication: August 30, 2018
ASIN: B07DGLXYBN
Number of pages: 225
Word Count: 78,750
Cover Artist: Jennifer Zemanek/Seedlings LLC
Tagline: What would you do to find your magic?
Book Description:
The only thing Piper is worried about, until that fateful morning, finals. She wants to graduate with good grades, and go to an Ivy League university. After being summoned to the headmaster’s office, Piper’s life changes forever.
Reunited with her long-lost aunt, Piper learns things about herself she should have known for years. Aunt Winnie lives in a dimension parallel to Piper’s, where magic is a way of life. Now in Rowan’s Landing, Piper learns about her own abilities, and who to trust. When she trusts the wrong person, she may never return to Gray Cliffs Academy and graduate.
Excerpt:
The woman standing before her looked
close to her mom’s age, and had wild, curly black hair sticking out in ringlets
around her head. Her pale skin made the dark circles around her eyes look even
darker. Piper would have looked closer at the woman’s eyes, but they looked
black and scared the crap out of her.
This
was Hell, she just knew it. She’d been a terrible brat all her life, but she
didn’t think she deserved to go to Hell when she died. This has to be a
mistake. But Hell sure had a nice bathroom, even with the stinking liquid on
the floor. She’d be a good girl if only she could get out of Hell.
Looking
the woman up and down, as the woman did the same to her, Piper marveled at her
tiny waist, cinched in with a corset. She wore a black dress of a fine fabric
Piper couldn’t name, with red satin at her bust. And what a bust it was, with
the flesh pushing out the top of the dress.
Piper
watched the lady’s red lips as she repeated, “Piper? Is that you?”
Afraid
to speak, Piper nodded.
The
woman grabbed her by the shoulders and turned her around. “Look at you. What a
fine girl you’ve grown into.”
Piper’s
expression would be one of confusion, but she couldn’t manage anything more
than a blank stare.
“Are
you okay? You look dazed.” The woman looked around Piper, toward the bathroom.
“What were you doing in there? Your bum is wet.”
Piper
finally found her tongue. “Who are you?”
The
woman’s lips curled up at the corners. “You are
Piper Cavanaugh, aren’t you? Cuz you sure look like her.”
“I
thought we already established that.” Piper mentally slapped herself. She was
supposed to start being good, so she’d be moved up.
The
woman opened her arms wide and Piper thought her boobs might spill out from the
fabric. “I’m Aunt Winnie, sweetheart. Don’t you remember me?”
Aunt
Winnie? How would she remember her? It had been too many years since she last
saw her, and that was only for a moment. They hadn’t even talked.
“Aunt
Winnie? Where am I? And what’s happened?” Piper looked around.
Winnie
wrapped her arms around Piper and drew her in for a hug. “I’m so thrilled. I
can’t believe you finally came to visit. I thought for sure your mom was hiding
the letters. And then when I tried to find you online, nothing. Honey, don’t
you even have a Facebook account?”
Piper
shook her head. Winnie was happy to see her, and she knew she should be happy
too, but she was too confused to be happy at the moment. “I’m…uh…”
“Come.
Sit.” Winnie led her to the upholstered booth of a restaurant table. “I’ll
explain what I can, or at least what I think happened.”
Piper
sat on the aqua vinyl seat and scooted across to the middle of the booth. The
wetness of her pants felt cold and made sliding across the vinyl feel sticky.
She looked around and noticed she was in some kind of café with a beach theme.
“Where
am I?” She continued to look around without looking at Winnie, who slid into
the seat across from her.
The
place had fifteen booths, and a dozen stools at the counter. It looked like the
‘50s cafés she’d seen in movies, except this one had deep sea fishing items on
the walls, along with starfish, sand dollars, and hanging nets she assumed were
for fishing, too.
“You’re
in my café.” Winnie’s chest raised as she said it.
“You
still have the café?” Piper remembered her mom talking about it.
From
her mom’s description, it was a rundown money pit not fit to eat in. Her mom
couldn’t be more wrong. The café felt like a breath of fresh air. Ocean air.
The
aqua vinyl booth she sat in looked new. She could smell the fabric, almost like
new car smell. The tables were covered in pristine white linen clothes with
matching white linen napkins she assumed were wrapped around silverware. She
reached forward to touch the violet flower in the lead crystal vase.
“That’s
a blue violet. It brings love and inspiration. But I keep them on the tables to
protect my guests from all evil.” She plucked a flower and handed it to Piper.
“Carry this for protection and good fortune.”
Piper
accepted the flower. “Thank you, it’s lovely.” She held it between her fingers,
taking in the graduated colors of the five petals. She didn’t want to put it
down, but she tucked it in the breast pocket of her shirt.
“Press
it between the pages of a large book when you get a chance. Then you’ll be able
to keep it forever. But do it soon, before it wilts.” A bell chimed behind her,
and Winnie’s gaze moved to the door of the café.
Piper
looked over her shoulder. When she did, she almost forgot she had a crazy
morning.
The
guy who just walked in the door looked like he was her age. His athletic build
made her body warm, but it was his dark, brooding eyes she locked onto. And he
looked back. The smell of salt air flowed in with the guy, and Piper breathed
deeply.
“Aaron,”
Winnie said in a tight voice. “What can I do for you?”
Aaron,
Piper thought. Yes, he looked like an Aaron. He looked like he could be anyone
he wanted to be, and the girls probably hung on his every word, drooling over
his strong facial features and muscular arms. She wondered what his tanned skin
looked like under the knit sweater and canvas vest he wore.
“Hank
said he called in an order and asked me to pick it up.” Aaron shoved his hands
in his pockets and smiled at Piper.
“I’ll
be right back, honey. Hang tight, and I’ll explain everything.” Winnie jumped
up from the booth like she’d been stung. Her stride looked broken, like she was
fighting something as she disappeared into the kitchen of her café.
Not
wanting to be obvious with her interest, Piper turned away from Aaron and
looked out the window.
From
her vantage point, she saw the café sat at the end of a wharf of some sort.
Aunt Winnie lived near the water? Did she live on the island, and somehow the
winds blew Piper to her café? No, wait, she’d landed in the bathroom. She cringed at the thought of what was on her
pants, and what might have been on her hands. She really hoped it was just
water.
She
felt the air move behind her, and when she turned around, Aaron stood so close
she could reach out and touch him. He smelled sweet and salty, with a hint of
ash.
“I
thought I knew every pretty girl in town. I haven’t seen you before.” His wide
smile was infectious.
It
took Piper a second to break her gaze from his eyes and find her manners. “Oh,
hi, I’m not from here. And I just got here. I’m Piper Cavanaugh.” She reached
out to shake his hand.
Her
entire body felt the jolt as he took her hand in his. It wasn’t the “love at
first sight” kind of jolt like she read about in romance novels. This was an
overpowering energy disappearing as soon as he let go of her hand.
“Aaron
Payne. I’ve lived here forever, so if you need to know anything, I’m your guy.”
Winnie
reappeared with a white bag. “You’re not anyone’s guy for anything here.” She
shoved the bag of food at him. “Now run along before the food gets cold.”
Aaron
didn’t even look back at Piper as Winnie practically shoved him out the door.
 
When she came
back to the table, she sat again. “There are much better people to get your
information from. Aaron is trouble.”
 
About the Author:
 
Blair Drake believes in magic, especially the magic of stories with fantasy, adventures, romance, action, and surprises. She has loved writing and living in the stories of the Finding Magic series and is so excited to share the quests of the Gray Cliffs Academy students with her readers.
 
When she’s not writing about magic, she’s reading about it. Her influences are Cassandra Claire, Neil Gaiman, Rick Riordan, Garth Nix, and many more.
 
In the mortal plane, following the lure of magic has drawn Blair into strange and wonderful adventures from Australia to New York City, with many stops in between. She currently lives near Denver. Her very favorite spot is a red loveseat in her office, frequently shared with two cats, an outnumbered Dalmation, and occasionally her bewitched husband.
 
She might have gone to a school similar to Gray Cliffs Academy and would love to go through a magic portal. In the meantime, she’s creating her own in more books of magic.