Illusions: Ravens of Darkness by Elle Preston


Illusions: Ravens of Darkness 
Ravens of Darkness 
Book One
Elle Preston 

Genre: Young Adult; Paranormal Romance 
Publisher: Lark Publishing Crew 
Date of Publication: November 14, 2020 
ISBN: 978-0578661230 
ASIN: B08NGC23MS 
Number of pages: 269 
Word Count: 84,000 
Cover Artist: Lark Publishing Crew 

Tagline: Nothing is what it seems. Not even love. 

Book Description: 

An ancient cult. A supernatural addiction. A forbidden love. Sixteen year old Evie Willow is terrified of drowning but she’s even more afraid of her own feelings. 

When the charismatic and telepathic lifeguard, Talon Renwyck, suddenly turns his affections toward her, Evie’s ability to rein in her feelings is threatened. Talon knows a secret which plunges Evie into the deep waters of her hidden emotions. As she drifts away from the life she knows into Talon’s beckoning arms, Evie learns that Talon is much more than just the handsome guy she’s falling in love with. Caught in a dark and supernatural addiction and tied to a secret cult, Talon is crying out for help. Can Evie save him from himself? 

Is their love the real deal or is it an illusion? 

Nothing is what it seems.

Illusions is the first book in the Ravens of Darkness Series. 

If you like character driven, paranormal romance sagas with supernatural elements, darkly dynamic love relationships, and a hint of magic and mystery, then you’ll love the Ravens of Darkness Series. 

Book Two, Reflections, to be released November 2021 

Book Trailer: https://youtu.be/EpJdxBUs4Ac  


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Excerpt

It’s freezing here at the top of the sand dune in the dark with the wind off the lake. Alex pulls a hoodie out of his backpack and tosses it to me. I put it on and get a sudden shiver through my body. I tighten my arms around my knees to keep warm. He leans closer to me,

“What are you thinking?” Alex says for the second time tonight. I laugh at that.

“You’re a telepath.  Don’t you know what I’m thinking all the time?”

“You wonder why Talon chose you?” he says.

“Maybe.”

“My guess is he’s hung up on you because you’re wound so tight.”

“Are you insulting me?”

“No. Just making an observation. Your repressed feelings; not crying for ten years. That’s a lot of tension. You’re a whole bunch of canned heat. You’re probably an amazing rush.”

That sounds vaguely obscene like something scratched into the wall of the men’s room at the Cosmic Bowl. For a good rush call, Evie. I shudder to think. “Rush. Why do you call it that?”

“It’s the feeling you get as the energy sweeps through you. There’s nothing like it.” Alex looks me in the eyes. I was addicted. I was a morphi, He thinks to me.

Was. Alex said he was an addict, but doesn’t that mean he’ll always be one? I ask him how it works. How does a person take another person’s energy? What are the mechanics of it?

What’s the procedure? He says that the human body has energy vortices just like the Earth does. There are seven of them, basically starting in the pelvis and going up the spine to the crown. Morphi (energy addicts) access energy through the vortex at the neck. The throat is the easiest portal to access.

That sounds a lot like vampires to me.

“You girls and your vampire fetish,” he rolls his eyes. “I think it’s where vampire mythology started,” Alex says. “Morphi are the real vampires. Psi vamps. Cultures evolved the myth over time into bloodsuckers, but it all started with energy.”

“Describe it. What happens?”

He tells me to imagine what it’s like to be gasping for air and just when you think you can’t hang on anymore someone gives you oxygen. “It’s insanely satisfying, but hard to explain.” He rubs his hands together.

“C’mon, I want to know,” I pester him.

He takes my hand and rolls back the sleeve of his sweatshirt I’m wearing. He gently turns my palm face up. “Here.” He rubs his thumb in a circular motion on my inner wrist. “You put your pulse point on the base of the throat near the thyroid gland. It’s one of seven energy pools on your body.” He touches his own throat, guides my wrist toward it, holds it against his skin for a moment. His skin is soft against the inside of my wrist.

“After a few seconds your wrist gets warm, your pulse quickens, your nerve endings start to tingle, your blood feels hot.” He stretches my arm across his lap and squeezes my wrist. His grasp is strong. “The tingling feeling starts to move, slowly at first, all the way up, getting stronger and faster as it travels.”

He slides his finger up my arm, holding me with his eyes and rests his hand on my shoulder. “It overwhelms you as it shoots through your heart and lungs. You gasp for breath and for a moment it feels like drowning. Scary, blurry, helpless. Then you stop gasping and you breathe deep.”

Alex closes his eyes and I notice the corners of his mouth turn up as he remembers. “Electric energy floods your body from the top of your head to the bottom of your spine. It rushes through your mind, stimulates the pleasure center of your brain and suddenly you have unbounded energy to do whatever it is you will: manipulate water, control fire, levitate.” His hand is still palm to palm with mine and he looks at me with those strange grey eyes. “When it’s over, you can’t think of anything else except how much you want it. Do you know what it’s like to want something so bad?” “Oh…um…I don’t know,” I lie.

I slide my hand away and wrap my arms back around my knees, but I’m no longer cold.



About the Author:

Elle Preston is the author of the Ravens of Darkness series, a young adult, paranormal romance saga. Illusions, Book One, is her debut novel. Book Two, Reflections, is set to be released November 2021. She is currently working on the third book in the series. Elle lives with her husband, five kids and several fur babies near the shores of Lake Michigan and the Indiana Dunes where she sets her novels.




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This Morbid Life by Loren Rhoads #NonFiction #Memoir #Horror



This Morbid Life
No Rest for the Morbid 
Book One
Loren Rhoads

Genre: Non-Fiction/Memoir/Horror
Publisher: Automatism Press
Date of Publication: August 22, 2021
ISBN:  978-1-7351876-2-4 (paperback)
ISBN: 978-1-7351876-3-1 (ebook) 
ASIN: B09C11J43W
Number of pages: 200
Word Count: 58 K
Cover Artist: Lynne Hansen

Tagline: What others have called an obsession with death is really a desperate romance with life.

Book Description:

What others have called an obsession with death is really a desperate romance with life. Guided by curiosity, compassion, and a truly strange sense of humor, this particular morbid life is detailed through a death-positive collection of 45 confessional essays. Along the way, author Loren Rhoads takes prom pictures in a cemetery, spends a couple of days in a cadaver lab, eats bugs, survives the AIDS epidemic, chases ghosts, and publishes a little magazine called Morbid Curiosity.

Originally written for zines from Cyber-Psychos AOD to Zine World and online magazines from Gothic.Net to Scoutie Girl, these emotionally charged essays showcase the morbid curiosity and dark humor that transformed Rhoads into a leading voice of the curious and creepy.



Excerpt from “Anatomy Lesson”:

I had a lot of preconceptions when it came to handling corpses. I’d imagined myself standing before a wall of stainless-steel freezer drawers like at the Mortuary College in San Francisco. In my imagination, the cadavers were draped with crisp white sheets. The bodies would be antiseptic. I expected them to be frozen. I thought everything would be as clean and neat as a television morgue.

The cadavers would be male, of course. I thought I could depersonalize a dead man more easily; I might empathize too much with a woman as the scalpel in my hand sliced her flesh.

Tom quickly rearranged my expectations. “Three of the four cadavers here are female,” he said. “I usually start people out with the women, since they’re the most taken apart. That’s a little easier for people to deal with.”

The bodies weren’t kept in refrigeration units. Instead, they were already waiting in the front of the classroom, lying in long stainless-steel bins with wheeled legs and a hinged two-piece top. When Tom folded the top open, clear fluid spilled onto the floor.

“Condensation?” I hoped.

“And some preservative,” he answered. When the worst of the runoff had stopped, he let the top hang down and opened the other side.

I was amazed we’d been in the room with the bodies all along. One of my memories still clear from ninth grade dissection was the horrible, headache-inducing smell of formaldehyde. I was glad preservative technology had improved.

A length of muslin floated atop the brownish red liquid. Blood, I thought immediately, and recoiled. Too thin for blood, it looked more like beef broth. Pools of oil slicked the surface.

“See that handle there? You can help me by turning it.” Tom moved to the far end of the tank.

There should have been scary music playing as we cranked the cadavers out of the fluid. As the bodies slowly rose, the muslin took on their outlines. Through the shroud, I saw bared teeth and the flensed musculature of jaw. Two corpses lay head to feet. The skin had clearly been flayed from their muscles.

If Tom had made them twitch, I would have leapt out of my own skin.

He pulled on some heavy turquoise rubber gloves and folded the muslin so it shrouded both faces and one entire body. The other lay revealed. Her skin had been stripped away. She had no breasts. The muscle fibers of her chest were very directional and clear, the raw color of a New York strip steak. Some of the muscles on her arms had been removed to show the bones and tendons beneath. Her fingertips still had nails and skin. The skin was the color of dried blood.


About the Author:

Loren Rhoads is the author of 199 Cemeteries to See Before You Die, Wish You Were Here: Adventures in Cemetery Travel, a space opera trilogy, and a duet about a succubus and her angel. She is also the editor of Morbid Curiosity Cures the Blues: Tales of the Unsavory, Unwise, Unorthodox, and Unusual and Tales for the Camp Fire: An Anthology Benefiting Wildfire Relief. This Morbid Life, her 15th book, is the first in the No Rest for the Morbid Series. Book 2, Jet Lag and Other Blessings, will be out in 2022.




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Baited by Jennifer Dean



Baited
Bound Series 
Book Three
Jennifer Dean

Genre: YA Paranormal Romance
Publisher: Little Fish Publishing
Date of Publication: August 3, 2021
ASIN: B093DT23XS
Number of pages: 230
Word Count: 52,000

Book Description: 

Normal seniors worry about if they will get rejected from their dream school, what they are going to wear to their last prom, or if it’s possible to stay close with the friends they grew up with after high school.

But Emma Morgan has come to learn that normality is a thing of the past. 

Especially when her eighteenth birthday is a mere reminder of the newly accepted deal she has made to lure a vengeful immortal named Thomas back into Alexander territory. A plan that will certainly make the humans of her world safer but comes with the risk of not living to see graduation.

Amazon      Books2Read

Excerpt:

Despite the coldness of my tone, I heard a few light chuckles around the room. My gaze shifted to the ground before I dared to look back up at the many bright, expectant eyes surrounding me.

“I know I can’t do much, but I can do this.”

“Are you sure?”

I turned back to Liam as I heard the concern in his voice. I imagined that if the roles were reversed, I would carry the same worry for him.

“Yes,” I said, squeezing his hand to convey my assurance.

Once again, I turned my body to face Jane, bouncing my eyes up with a readied stare.

“What do I have to do?”

“I need you to know that what I’m asking comes with risk.”

“I understand.”

“No, you don’t,” Sean said. “By risk, she means you’re willing to accept that this help may come at the cost of losing your life.”

“He’s right,” Jane said. “I’m prepared to risk your life if it ultimately means bringing an end to Thomas.”

“Well…at least you’re honest,” I said with uneasiness.

 “I may be a bitch but at least I’m an honest one,” Jane said.

It was hard to not find humor in her words, as if she were reading the tagline from a movie written about her.

“Look, as much as your presence annoys me, I don’t wish to see your death. But I need you to know that this plan is about commitment. That goes for me as well. I’ll need to play my part just as much as you will yours. At times, you may even question my loyalty. However, we must rely on trust because it’s all we’ll have until we see this through.”

“So, you’re saying it’s going to get worse before it gets better.”

It wasn’t a question but a realization of the danger I was agreeing to dive into.

“Yes. This isn’t going to be easy. He’ll be seeking every opportunity for revenge for Liam’s betrayal. A revenge that will create a blood trail straight to you. One that could lead to your death.”

I caught sight of Mary’s bright stare across the room. Her first words to me echoed in my mind. Being with Liam means you will always be a target.
I bit my lip with squinted eyes of confusion as I looked back at Jane. Before I could speak, my brother’s outburst interrupted me.

“You want us to just sit back and leave her for him like some immortal bait?”

Sean’s voice cracked with incredulity.

“He has to believe he has the upper hand. The only way that can happen is if you play your parts in leaving her vulnerable. From the moment I leave this house, you must portray a belief that the threat is gone.”

“By leaving her to be killed!”

Jane closed her eyes in frustration before turning to face Sean. Her neck stiffened with impatience but she paused in speaking, as if waiting to gain the composure that one needed when speaking to a petulant child.

“Thomas is a sadistic prick who likes to play games. His immediate goal won’t be to kill her but to show Liam and you that he can if he chooses to. You have to make it seem as if he’s in control. Being overprotective isn’t an option, Sean.”

“I understand what you’re saying and I even agree with your theory but as her brother, I can’t just…”

 Sean shook his head, clearly hoping to distract himself from the images circling his mind before turning a newly placed anger on Liam.

“You’re ok with this?”

“Of course not,” Liam said with an offended grimace. “I hate the idea of her being in any kind of harm’s way. But she’s going to do it whether I’m okay with this or not.”

As Sean rolled his eyes, Liam continued with a small grin, as if the behavior only proved his point.

“You only disrespect her by not allowing her to make this choice. So, regardless of your inability to accept it, I’ll stand by whatever she decides.”

“Thank you,” I said.

It was all I had time to say before a thud caused me to snap my neck back around. Sean stood facing the wall with his palms flat against it. He refused to look at anyone behind him. My eyes traveled up to a spot near his left hand, where I saw a deep hole the size of his fist.

The tension in the room lingered as I met his gaze. I had barely blinked before he moved to a kneeling position in front of me, his hands reaching out to hold mine with comforting warmth.

“Please don’t do this. I know you hate me and that’s fine. Hate me all you want. But please don’t make me have to risk your life this way. You don’t have to do this.”
I looked into his pleading eyes, knowing that even with my anger I could never hate him. I paused, squeezing his fingers without breaking his bright golden gaze. “No, I don’t have to do this but I want to do this.”

He lowered his head in defeat before rising back to his feet and turning his attention to Jane. He remained silent, his body tense as he resignedly stood and walked back toward Grace.

“I’m short on time so I must leave you all,” Jane said. Then she looked at me. “I hope you survive this, Emma, I really do. But if fate has other plans, please know your sacrifice will have been an honorable one.”

“Thank you,” I said.

 I reached for Liam’s hand as Jane nodded with appreciation before she looked toward the leader of the Alexanders. Patrick gave one subtle nod of approval. It was enough verbal communication for Jane to begin walking backward in farewell.

“Good luck.”

 

About the Author: 

Jennifer has studied Creative Writing and Literature and lives in Nashville, Tennessee. 

To find out more about her and her novels you can visit: