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Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Guest Blog - Susan Smith Alvis


What if everything you wanted was all within your reach but not yours for the taking?



Klaus and Stefan are tearing through the South collecting hybrids and leaving a trail of dead bodies behind them. Unable to reach Stefan any other way, Elena devises a holiday plan to lure Stefan back home.

Damon thinks Elena is wasting her time and fears the worst. He and Stefan no longer celebrate Christmas, but if Klaus approves Elena’s request, Damon will support her by giving her what she wants—a traditional Christmas.

What Elena wants and what she gets are two different vampires altogether. Elena approaches Klaus and asks for Stefan’s release, even if it’s only for one Christmas weekend. Klaus agrees, but his terms and conditions are nonnegotiable.

Soon, Elena is holed up in a snow-covered chalet with the Salvatore brothers and Klaus, an original vampire with an unusual agenda. And he’s gone to great lengths to find out who Elena really loves. 




Excerpt Two

“You promised to release him while we’re in Tennessee.”
“And I will,” Klaus assured her. “Once we’re settled in and before the sun goes down.”
“Is there a ‘but’ in there somewhere?”
“All right, Elena, you win. I’ll let you in on a little secret.” His demeanor changed then. “You can’t play with fate or run from it, love. Katerina tried and as you saw for yourself, she failed on numerous occasions. She also loved two brothers as you love two brothers.”
“I never said—”
Klaus held up his hand. “Let me finish. Damon gives you what you need, what you must have at any cost. Stefan, on the other hand, gives you what you want—the ability to stay committed to your high moral standards. The Stefan you know gives you a normal relationship, an acceptable bond. Your friends like him. Your teachers accept him.” 
“What about the Stefan you know?”
“The Stefan I know would rip your pretty little neck apart if I so much as compelled him to do so.”
She swallowed, processing. Klaus wanted to hurt her. He wanted to watch how she interacted with the Salvatore brothers. He would then later use what he learned against her. “You made Stefan into something he’s not.”
“On the contrary,” Klaus said. “We’re vampires. That makes us hunters or predators by nature. We’re only killers by choice.”


Beta Readers' "Favorite Lines from The Vampire Diaries" Mystical Christmas
(Kindle Worlds Novella) [Kindle Edition]


1. Her mind’s eyes flickered with newspaper clippings about a rampant killing spree, a murderous binge controlled by Klaus and executed by Stefan.

2. “On the contrary,” Klaus said. “We’re vampires. That makes us hunters or predators by nature. We’re only killers by choice.”

3. "Stefan’s weapons are embedded in his gums. No one hands him anything. He takes what he wants.”

4. "You and Damon probably weren’t supposed to spend Christmas together. You aren’t exactly an ideal mistletoe-seeking pair.”

5. "At the end of the day, you’re nothing more than a bleeding vein to him, Elena.”

6. Their love washed over her like a high tide racing toward shore in the middle of a devastating storm, a volatile gale that would temporarily calm before striking with brutal force in the desolate hours of a quiet holiday night. 

7. “Proximity is a real bitch when you’re the only one with a beating heart in a houseful of vampires.” 

8. “You can make a deal with the devil but it doesn’t mean you have to follow him back to hell.” 

9. "Far be it for me to break the news here, but we’re both dead, brother.” Stefan lifted his glass. “I thought you knew.”

10. "I can’t pretend I don’t have feelings for you when every single time I look at you, I only see an extension of me.” 

11. “It’s hard to choose a side when your heart draws its sword for one cause while your head supports another.”  






About the Author: Susan Smith Alvis has been a career author for over a decade. With over 300 titles to her credit, her pseudonyms have been award-winning authors with international bestsellers in most genres. To find out more, visit her book page at Amazon. To sign up for updates and future release date announcements, email her at susansmithalvis@gmail.com


Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Cover Reveal - For All in the Hope

For All In The Hope - Reveal Banner

BOOK INFORMATION

TITLE – For All in the Hope
SERIES – Going off Dreams
AUTHOR – K.E. Nowinsky
GENRE – Paranormal Romance, Fantasy, Science Fiction
PUBLICATION DATE – December 9th, 2014
LENGTH (Pages/# Words) -
PUBLISHER – Kindle Direct Publishing
COVER ARTIST – Going off Dreams Saga Productions
For All In The Hope - Book Cover

BOOK SYNOPSIS

For All in the Hope picks up right where Going off Dreams (book 1) leaves off. Nyx wakes up in the dark realm of Tartarus without her man next to her in bed. They had Xylo, the wicked Woodland Dryad prisoner until they discover that not only is she missing, Nyx’s man Tobar is missing too. Plus, another ally and friend, the Feung Phoenix Shifter and best friend of Tobar’s, Zhou is critically injured! There is a race against time to find out what happened and to rescue Tobar before those that want to destroy Nyx and her powers permanently turn Tobar.
In the Earthly realm, Eryn is still coping with the fact that she has to leave her family and everything she knows and loves. She struggles to keep the stress of the realms from shattering her realities. As mortal Eryn, she’s a daughter to loving parents, the bigger sister to her outgoing younger sister Lena, who is living with her, and she’s also trying to balance Ryan in her life. After Christmas, Lena’s ex fiancĂ© makes another tragic appearance that will change their fates forever.
Back in Tartarus, Nyx comes head to head with the Darkness that wants to consume her powers. Just when you would think the battle is over, another sinister entity comes forward trying to claim her powers. Meanwhile she’s continuing to build her relationships with her friends and allies she’s made in Tartarus while also learning the capabilities of her powers that the Darkness wants to consume and wield for their dark purposes. Nyx discovers her qualities within the quests and becomes the deity that will bring light to the darkness.
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BUY & TBR LINKS


BOOK 1 (Going Off Dreams) BUY LINKS

teaser1

EXCERPT

Gift of Escape

Opening my eyes the images surrounding me were blurry and unfocused. Not knowing where I was, made me feel sick within the pit of my stomach and threatening to escape. My heart was in competition, feeling as if it were going to burst through my chest along with my breathing; it was catching in my lungs like knives.
Surveying the scene, items started making some sense. When my eyes focused, I could make out the dark room with the help of the soft glow from the lights above me. I knew I had returned. I was back in Arden’s Hut, something didn’t feel right though, I was alone. Immediately I moved my hand to feel the sheets on the bed next to me, only feeling empty fabric and coldness where I expected warmth.
My feet met the cool wooden floor as I searched the small quarters along with the connecting bathroom. He wasn’t anywhere, no note, no sign of him ever being there. My heart plummeted in a swan dive directly to the pit of my stomach, this felt all too real and familiar. The emptiness and dread, as if the darkness would swallow me whole was threatening to entrap my consciousness. Commotion from the hallway broke the threatening fear.
Not being able to hear what was going on; I crept toward the huge thick door. Carefully, I maneuvered my toes on the floor, not to wake the creaky boards beneath me. When I heard a familiar voice say “Get Nyx, we’ll have to tell her.” The knock at the door was a little shocking, making my already erratic breathing nearly stop all together.
Drawing a deep breath in I cracked the door peaking out, my eyes focused on the dark silhouette, light that was being filtered from behind her somewhere. As my eyes adjusted more I could associate the name with the being; Arden. She was one of the first entities I met here in this realm.
While it was dark and perilous there was a sense that there could be more, quite a weird sensation of both hesitation and promise. I knew there were threats possibly lurking in the shadows and yet I also had formed friendships and allies with some unique and wonderful beings here. While the threat was prominent I also felt secure and a sense of being home.
When I first met Arden I had seen her materialize on the edge of a mystical forest, which seemed like a lifetime ago. Her hair, black as the night that plagued Tartarus, and her eyes a mystic violet. She reminded me of a Native American goddess. She had the fighting skills of Qamait; goddess of war with the Nuxalk Nation. Her body looks sculpted like a well-trained assassin, fit with curves to draw any male prey. With her enchanted bow and her whip KiKi to aid in her quests, she was magnificent and wicked to witness in battle.
Arden was more of an older sister figure. Within minutes of meeting her I felt a sense of shared spiritual security within our devotion and dedication to those we hold near to us. Plainly put, I liked Arden. She was usually in better spirits though. Now her face was serious and worried which in turn worried me further and only added to my desperation.
Looking at her through the entrance to my bedroom chamber, the light flickered from the candles in the hallway flirting with her skin enhancing her natural beauty. She said, “Nyx, you’ll need to come with me.”
“What’s going on?” I asked her.
She didn’t answer as she walked up toward the main hall.
The main room in Arden’s Hut consisted of wooden walls that reminded me of the consistency and texture like beavers had whittled the wood. Complete opposite, the floors were smooth and reminded me of a clean chopped tree displaying its many rings of life. When you looked above you could see smoke escaping through a fashioned hide-stretched ceiling. In the middle of the room a roaring fire encompassed by rocks that protect the many pillows thrown about – to which Arden would resort to throwing at guests when the opportunity presented itself. Her hut was comforting and inviting; when you took a deep breath in you could detect all the wonders and smells of the forest, which to me were delightful. You could also tell that her home had been around for a long time. Arden is a direct descendent of the Arduinnian Clan, who are known as the Guardians of the Forest, direct descendent of Diana, goddess of the hunt.
Upon entering Arden’s main room, my stomach immediately wrenched into a horrid knot. Zhou was laying lifelessly on the floor. This made my insides crawl knowing how powerful a fighter he is. Immediately I started contemplating what could have caused this serious condition.
Arden must have been hurting even more so. She had developed a relationship with Zhou and this only increased my concern. Arden, the true warrior that she is, was being strong for everyone. A painful lump was pressing against my throat and my eyes were pleading to cry. If Arden was holding it together, so could I.
I always liked Zhou, and I was sad to see him like this. He was still wearing his electric dark blue pants, with an equally dark purple shirt, and with the red streak in his black hair made him look intriguing. I never understood his fashion statements. I respected him though, as a fighter, a friend, and ally. With Zhou’s New Age fashion sense, it made him seem like he wasn’t from this dimension. Tartarus was more of a realm set with foliage. His choices in wardrobe against Arden’s more naturalistic approach made them both look mismatched. Seeing them together usually made me smile but, not now—
Zhou was a Fenghuang, a shape shifting fire bird, more precisely a fiery phoenix. While he was very skilled in both his forms he is more powerful when he is in his phoenix form. He’s always eager for a fight. Zhou is like that big brother pulling you in to give you a noogie to remind you of the status quo. I’m afraid this time though, the fight won.
A healer Hikmat had his hands on Zhou’s forehead and chest, his eyes closed in concentration, meditating over Zhou’s lifeless body. I didn’t know Hikmat as well as some of the others in the room, I had met him only recently, and I knew he was a healer of sorts. He was a wizard when it pertained to plants, potions, and concoctions. He was a Tobar Segais like Tobar, meaning he possessed wisdom. His eyes stayed closed while his hands remained on Zhou.
Thinking of Tobar made my stomach dive even deeper. As if my stomach detached from the warm blood circulation within my body and plummeted toward the depths of despair— my mind reconnected with another concern that had me riddled right before seeing Zhou on the floor. Tobar, he was missing from our room and if Zhou was lying on the floor defeated… Tobar was an equal opponent.
Tobar was the one that introduced me into the realm. He was the one that my heart connected with and I felt drawn toward, like no other before him. A truly deep soul connection, without him next to me I felt as though a part of my being was missing. He had given me refuge from myself, I felt safe when I was with him. Without him, the danger lurking within the darkness here seemed more prominent and threatening.
With the thought of him not in sight intensified the sinking feeling that had pressed so deeply south. It began to rise more rapidly back up. I had to place my hand over my mouth to reel in my senses.
Arden kneeled down next to Zhou as closely as she could. She gently brushed her cheek against his in an intimate gesture. The room felt as if all the oxygen leaving vacuumed sealed the room, extinguishing the fire, and even the warm inside my body as I felt a sudden chill. Suffocating, I watched as she then placed her lips upon his with a soft wanting kiss. Arden’s eyes began to fill with emotion. I felt for her, as the tears sparkling against her skin escaped their confines and splashed against Zhou’s skin below. She placed her hands on his as she prayed silently.
Seeing her in such distress only made the situation feel more dire. I too bowed my head and closing my eyes.
Desperately I began to pray for Tobar’s safety and Zhou’s recovery. Please Lord, deliver Tobar back to us safely and lay your healing hands upon Zhou; as we so desperately need You now. I pray for those that have made their move against us. They’ll wish they had never been in existence once I finish with them…
My concentration broke off when Avlov and Enki joined us then. They both had bowls in their hands that contained some healing elements. Enki took Avlov’s and kneeled next to Hikmat on Zhou’s other side. Enki and I had only met recently as well. He was known as Lord of the Earth, meaning he had control over the elements and its constituents.
A Wieven, Avlov is also known as a Wise Woman. She has a vast knowledge of healing salves, rituals and how to use the elements for their benefit. She has fierce white eyes that match her white hair and almost a hipster outfit. I always liked Avlov because she wore converses.
The group that was working on Zhou, the healers, are much like those that wield magic. They can manipulate matter and they have a vast knowledge that helps them in their aiding processes. To watch them in action definitely feels like you were experiencing magic in a true form.
Touching my shoulder, Avolv broadcasted a message using her telepathy, “Nyx, I need to talk to you, please come with me over to the table.” Leading me over, she verbally asked “Have you seen Tobar?”
I was on the verge of tears, there was still so much that remained unanswered, and if Zhou was hurt—I could barely articulate “No, I woke up to an empty room, a cold bed and I couldn’t find him anywhere.” My chest flet like it was going to combust.
Arden had joined us and she put her hand around my shoulders to give me a half-hug “We’ll get these—”
But Avlov interrupted her and said, “I think we should get Nyx up to speed with what’s going on.”
Zhou began to stir making some noises and we all ran to his side. I felt so bad that he had to suffer so much. He opened his eyes and found Arden’s first, she took his hands in hers. Then he found mine and started to speak, weakly saying “I don’t… know… what… happened.”
Enki spoke up and said that Zhou had taken Xylo, the captured dryad we were interrogating, some refreshments for when she would wake up.
Zhou continued, “I opened her door… the next thing I knew I was… laying here.”
Hikmat told Zhou that he needed to rest. We gathered pillows as they propped him up, attempting to give him some comfort. Hikmat gave Zhou another potion, this time it was clear. What was it? How easily we were to trust. After he drank it, he smiled before his eyes closed and he was back asleep.
“So where’s Tobar?” I asked plainly.
Everyone looked alarmed. The sick feeling returned and now there was an alarming amount of pressure on my chest. I could sense something bad was coming. It was just around the corner, lingering there like a poisonous snake waiting to strike, taking me down with its dread and despair.
Avlov came to my side, she could be frightening to look at in the eye. Tobar mentioned before she was also known as the White Witch, I guess when you’ve been in existence as long as someone like Avlov has been, you can acquire a few nick names here and there.
She offered me some tea but I refused it, especially since I know how loopy her tea could make me feel. No doubt she added a little something extra to the liquid concoctions to help ease the soul in times of stress or high anxiety. Which would actually be great right about now but, I need my wit about me.
Arden came over to me and put her hands upon my shoulders again. Looking me directly in the eyes she said “We can’t find him.” My chest felt like it burst into flames. My body went limp, and I felt like I was falling. Everything went black.
AuthorPhoto

AUTHOR BIO

K.E. lives in Maryland, which she refers to as “The Land of Mary”, with her faithful guard dog Bryan, her supportive parents, and their little brat-dog Sampson. She has deep-rooted morals and is very faithful in her beliefs. As a person born and raised in Maryland, she is a fan of the Baltimore Ravens and the Baltimore Orioles. When she isn’t writing, blogging, or spending time with those special characters in her head, she loves to watch her shows, to cuddle up with a good movie, or to spend time with her family and friends.
“After years and years of my mother telling me that I should us my talents and write, I finally listened!”
K.E. Nowinsky continues writing and plans to further the Going off Dreams realms as she dives deeper into the characters and will produce more content and books. The next scheduled work will be about one of her characters Arden and titled Arduinna: Guardians of the Forest, slotted for April 2015. She is also continuing Nyx’s quests in the next installment: How Otlen Prepares Eternity, expected to release late summer 2015.

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Monday, November 24, 2014

Tina Donahue's New Release

WHAT TO READ AFTER FSOG

Make Me Surrender – included novella by Tina Donahue





Buy Links:


AVAILABLE: Nov 23



Blurb for Tina Donahue’s Make Me Surrender (menage):

She has a proposition…to win their attention, passion, hearts.

For over a year, Mercy’s had her eye on Travis and Dutch, two of the hottest guys on the Oregon coast. Dark and dangerously virile, Travis owns a saloon that caters to bikers. Dutch looks like one, right down to his impressive tats, and operates a motorcycle repair shop on the premises.
When a position opens in the saloon’s kitchen, Mercy sees a way to be near these sinfully sexy men, wanting the job and lodging, her cabin snuggled between theirs.
Travis isn’t so sure about having Mercy nearby. She’s deliciously curvy, but too nice. He’s into temporary fun. To Dutch, forever is a dirty word.
Imagine their surprise when sweet little Mercy encourages wild nights of carnal pleasure with a dash of bondage and spanking…followed by friendship and tenderness.
Before she’s through, these tough guys will be the ones who’ve surrendered.




Excerpt:

When she saw the kitchen, her hand went to her chest. Grease spatters and unwashed pans decorated the small, dingy space.
“Greg took off kind of fast,” Travis explained.
“Something about an outstanding warrant,” Dutch added. “He usually cleaned up after himself.”
She made a face at the inside of the stove. “When was the last time he really cleaned this?”
Dutch lifted his shoulders, feeling bad for her.
Sighing, she regarded the snug surroundings. Space enough for two. With three, it was crowded as hell, everyone practically on top of each other. The air too thick and charged. At least for Dutch. Mercy had pulled in her arms to avoid anything grimy, which plumped her breasts and deepened her cleavage.
Dutch’s legs went unsteady.
“Let me change and get my cleaning stuff,” she said. “I’ll have this place sparkling in no time.”
Travis didn’t step out of her way. “About what you’re wearing.”
“It’s really cute,” Dutch said, the words falling out of his mouth.
Mercy perked up. Travis frowned. “You can’t wear that around here.”
Surprise then confusion flickered across her face. “You mean while I cook.”
“I mean anywhere on the property.”
A flash of offense crowded out her first response. “Why?” She regarded her outfit. “What’s wrong with it?”
Nothing as far as Dutch was concerned.
Travis sighed. “When guys start drinking, they stop using their heads.”
Her slender eyebrows shot up. “They’re going to be drinking in my cabin? In the woods surrounding it? In my car?”
Dutch snickered.
Travis shot him a look then turned to her. “Of course not. But I don’t want you traipsing around here dressed like that.”
“Traipsing? Like I have all the time in the world, not two jobs?”
“Look, it’s my place,” he said. “And those are the rules.”
She spoke to Dutch. “What did Greg wear when he cooked?”
Dutch tried to recall. “Ah, jeans and an undershirt.”
“Want me to wear that?” she asked Travis. “Or would a burka be better?”
Dutch laughed.
Travis frowned. “I don’t want anyone attacking you.”
“Because I’m your employee?” she asked. “Or because they might find me attractive?”
Travis screwed up his mouth as though he’d tasted something shitty. “Because you’ll get hurt.”
“I can take care of myself.”
“Until you can’t,” he countered.
“What if I want to attack them?” She looked from him to Dutch and back. “Is that allowed?”
“You mean because you’re only looking for a good time?” Dutch asked. “Nothing permanent? No strings?”
“Sure. Isn’t that what makes the world go ’round?”
Not according to Travis, at least when it came to her. Dutch looked at his friend, his expression saying, ‘Hey fool, you were wrong.’
Or at least misguided. There was still that hint of worship about Mercy. However, she was proving to be as practical as they were. Looking for fun. Happy to settle for that.
Until she wasn’t.
Fuck. Travis’s warning still echoed in Dutch’s mind.
Travis mumbled, “Dress appropriately. That’s all I ask. And stay out of trouble. I’ve got enough shit to handle without having to rescue you.”
Her sass evaporated. She looked so hurt Dutch had to stop himself from hugging her, and risk all hell breaking loose.
“Don’t worry, you won’t,” she murmured. “Let me get my stuff so I can clean this place.”
Travis finally stepped out of her way. Mercy stopped, then turned back to him. “Thanks for letting me stay.” On her tiptoes, she cupped his face and brushed her lips over his.
Dutch gaped.
She hushed to Travis. “I really appreciate it.”
Before he could say anything or start breathing again, she moved into Dutch, cupping his face. His cock shot to attention at her feathery touch, his lids sliding down. Her lips weren’t cold from the Popsicle as he’d imagined, but soft and achingly warm. She smelled of something flowery and feminine. Alluring as hell.
“Thanks for helping me move my stuff in,” she whispered to him, then left the kitchen and saloon, heading to her cabin.




BIO:

Tina Donahue is an award-winning, bestselling novelist in erotic, paranormal, contemporary and historical romance for Samhain Publishing, Ellora’s Cave, Siren Publishing, and Kensington. Booklist, Publisher’s Weekly, Romantic Times and numerous online sites have praised her work. Three of her erotic romances (Adored, Lush Velvet Nights, and Deep, Dark, Delicious) were named finalists in the 2011 EPIC competition. The French review site, Blue Moon reviews, chose her erotic romance Sensual Stranger as their Book of the Year 2010 (erotic category). The Golden Nib Award at Miz Love Loves Books was created specifically for Lush Velvet Nights, and two of her titles (The Yearning and Deep, Dark, Delicious) received an Award of Merit in the RWA Holt Medallion competition (2011 and 2012). Take Me Away and Adored both won second place in the NEC RWA contest (different years). Tina is featured in the 2012 Novel & Short Story Writer’s Market. She was the editor of an award–winning Midwestern newspaper and worked in Story Direction for a Hollywood production company.



Sunday, November 23, 2014

Cover Reveal - Before Time

Cover Reveal Tour Banner


BOOK INFORMATION

TITLE – Before Time
SERIES – The Time Series
AUTHOR – Xunaira J.
GENRE – New Adult / Tragic Romance
PUBLICATION DATE – 22nd November 2014
PUBLISHER – Amazon

BOOK SYNOPSIS

His eyes told her what his tongue could not.
Nineteen-year-old Onaiza Shahid is a loner and a dreamer, bookish and socially isolated. A chance ramble into a chatting software changes everything. The words of a stranger compel her. Addicted and falling fast, their secret love changes her life. But will the idealistic teenager get her happily ever after?
Before Time - Book Cover


BUY & TBR LINKS

Before Time - Author Photo

AUTHOR BIO

As a thirteen year old teenager, Xunaira J. aspired to be an author someday. From short stories to novellas, she has written them all but as an adult now, she has published two short stories and is now aiming to publish her first Novel, Before Time, scheduled for November release. Xunaira resides in Islamabad, Pakistan and enjoys a hot cup of cappuccino, a good romance novel and her favorite music from the 80's. Apart from that, when she's not working on her current literary project, she loves developing mobile applications and studies as a software engineer.

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TWITTER –  GOOGLE+PINTEREST –  GOODREADS
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Thursday, November 20, 2014

My Family Heart presents - Anne Conley

Saving Charlie Banner


BOOK INFORMATION

TITLE – Saving Charlie
SERIES – Stories of Serendipity
AUTHOR – Anne Conley
GENRE – Contemporary Romance
PUBLICATION DATE – Nov. 15, 2014
LENGTH (Pages/# Words) – 75K
PUBLISHER – Anne Conley
COVER ARTIST – Vanessa Booke


Saving Charlie - Book Cover


BOOK SYNOPSIS

100,000 children are sexually trafficked every year in the US. In the 1990s, Charlie was one of those children. She’s spent her adult life getting past that, trying to become a successful business owner in Serendipity, TX. Relationships are not goals for her. In fact, she’s not even sure she has what it takes to be a part of one.
Les is a fool for love. All he’s ever wanted was a girl. Now that every last one of his friends are married, and in happy relationships with families, he can’t stop thinking about the sexy lady who sells house parts, even if everything about her screams at him to stay away. He just can’t.
When they are thrown together on a cross-country road trip, Charlie’s past comes back to her full-force, long-buried memories inundating her. Les seems to be the only thing grounding her to the present, when everything else seems to be trying to tear her apart.
While it has a HEA, the road getting there is long, rough, and dark. Enjoy the ride.
Saving Charlie - Teaser 4


BUY & TBR LINKS



Saving Charlie - Teaser 3a


EXCERPT #1

They were passing a sign for White Sands when Les tugged gently on a piece of her hair. “Let’s stop here for a little bit and stretch.”
She agreed and when they pulled into the national monument, Charlie was overwhelmed. “Wow…It looks like a beach with no water.”
Les climbed out of the truck and walked into a pristine patch of sand, unmarred by footsteps. She laughed as he proceeded to mess up the unadulterated landscape by doing cartwheels and whooping. She watched his transformation with blatant amusement and a little bit of jealousy. He was so carefree in almost everything he did. It was breathtaking to watch this grown man play in the desert like a child.
“Hey, Charlie! Come here!” He called her over to where he was making a snow angel in the sand, flapping his arms and legs wildly. She couldn’t help herself. She stood next to him and fell back with a thud, making her own angel in the sand.
She was close enough that her hand brushed Les’s when she flapped, and he grabbed it and clasped. She turned her head to look at him and saw his face breaking into a smile that matched her own.
They gallivanted around, Les piggy-backing her around the park, having sand fights, and stealing kisses. Charlie couldn’t stop the giddy feeling erupting from her. Her entire adult life, she’d tried to stay away from being a part of something like this, and now that she’d finally let herself do it, she felt like a teenager. She wanted to touch Les all the time, walking hand in hand, or better yet, with her arm around his torso. She stole looks at him, and the best were the kisses he pretended to steal from her when she wasn’t expecting them. She was a part of something special with Les, a half of a whole, and the possibilities she allowed herself to ponder filled her with an unfamiliar longing.
They snapped photos of each other clowning around, and themselves together. Charlie couldn’t remember when she’d had more fun, just laughing at herself and someone else.
Les deposited her on a hill, with her back to him and told her not to look until he said so. She closed her eyes and nodded, then with a mysterious grunt, he was gone. She waited, a small smile on her face, wondering what he was up to. When he finally called to her from some distance, she looked.
Les was at the bottom of a hill in an enormous heart he’d made by shuffling his feet in the sand. Inside the heart were the initials, C + L. It was an impossibly juvenile endeavor, and it brought a tear to Charlie’s eyes. She pulled out her phone and snapped a picture.
Back at the truck, she watched, amused, as Les tried to shake all of the sand out of his clothes before climbing into her truck. He stripped off his shirt, socks and shoes before shaking everything out. She ignored the flutter in her belly at the sight of his shirtless chest, and instead poked fun at him slapping at his jeans.
“Are you always so anal about dirt in vehicles?”
He looked at her, his eyebrows waggling, an impish smirk on his face. “Why, Sweetness, did you just suggest Anal?”
She blushed furiously, “No.” Getting into the truck, she was suddenly worried. Did he do that sort of stuff? He seemed so sweet, like a missionary type guy, maybe doggy-style, but anal? Was he into the hard-core stuff? Would he want to tie her up? Charlie didn’t do bondage, in any form.
Back on the road, the silence was uncomfortable for Charlie as she tried to wrap her mind around the alarming thoughts racing through her head. Finally, she decided to just put it out there.
“Are you into stuff like that? Anal?”
He snapped his head around, shock evident on his face. “It was a joke, Charlie. I didn’t mean anything by it.” His fingers reached over for a tendril of her hair, and she rested her cheek on his hand.
“I was just checking. I don’t...” she took a deep breath. “I don’t like sex like that.”
His hand drifted down to her leg. “I just like sex, Charlie. And I have an idea if it’s with you, it’ll be amazing, no matter what kind it is.” He squeezed where his hand was on her thigh. “I don’t need all that other stuff, blindfolds and toys and stuff. I just like your basic sex.” Just the image in her mind of the two of them together had a warm pool of moisture coating the inside of Charlie’s panties.
“So, you’re a missionary man?”
He chuckled and adjusted his crotch while an adorable blush crept up his neck. Charlie liked that the conversation was getting to him, too. “Missionary, cowgirl, doggy-style, I like it all, but I like using the correct holes, and have never felt the need for aids in the bedroom.”
Charlie heard the exhale of relief from her mouth, as well as Les’s soft chuckle, but she couldn’t concentrate on the relief she felt, she was too busy tamping down the images of Les making love to her in ways she didn’t really want to think about right now. Oh hell, who was she kidding? She totally wanted to think about them.
man in suit on a concrete wall background


AUTHOR BIO

Anne has written her entire life and has the boxes of angst-filled journals and poetry to prove it. She's been writing for public consumption for the last four years. Currently she is writing two romance series. In Stories of Serendipity, she explores real people living real lives in small town Texas in a contemporary romance setting. In The Four Winds, she chronicles God's four closest archangels, Uriel, Gabriel, Raphael, and Michael, falling in love and becoming human. She lives in rural East Texas with her husband and children in her own private oasis, where she prides herself in her complete lack of social skills, choosing instead to live with the people inside her head.
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Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Spotlight on H. R. Knight


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BOOK INFORMATION

TITLE – What Rough Beast
AUTHOR – H. R. Knight
GENRE – Paranormal Mystery
PUBLICATION DATE – 9/8/14
LENGTH (Pages/# Words) - 320pp/109,000 words
PUBLISHER – H. R. Knight
COVER ARTIST – Rebecca Poole

BOOK SYNOPSIS

Harry Houdini asks Sir Arthur Conan Doyle to help him expose Maximillian Cairo—a spiritualist medium. But the two men underestimate Cairo. He's a master of the occult and the most debauched man in London. Conan Doyle and Houdini get more than they bargained for when they interrupt a magic ritual and accidentally set loose a force for ecstasy and chaos on an unsuspecting Edwardian London.
Soon one of their friends is falsely accused of a grisly murder. Conan Doyle and Houdini are sure the real killer was at the ritual with them. They're faced with a locked-room homicide that baffles even Houdini.
One by one, people in the little group who attended the ceremony feel an insidious influence creep over them. Each succumbs to a burst of creativity, shortly followed by an act of uncontrollable madness.
The proper Victorian gentleman and the ebullient New Yorker must team up to solve the murder and stop the thing they set loose before it completely unravels their ordered world.
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EXCERPT

Chapter 28 - Encounter in the Fog

As we strolled along the tiny cobblestone lane, there was not a cab in sight. Not that we could see far in the darkness. The damp fog off the Thames had worked its way north to this neighbourhood. A thick patch of it rolled in quickly. In a few minutes, we could barely see across the street.
A little chill ran down my spine. I had a distinct feeling of being watched. I turned to look behind me. The gaslights had become faint glows that hid more than they illuminated. Movement at the corner of my eye caught my attention. There, had something behind us just flitted into the shadow of a doorway? Or was it merely a swirl of mist? I felt alone and quite vulnerable. I was grateful for the sturdy companion at my side. Houdini spoke in a low voice.
“Let’s get out of here,” he said. “I’m getting the creeps.”
We picked up our pace and made south for Euston Road. The fog thickened and thinned around us in pale, cottony patches. We encountered no other soul. At its densest, the fog could have concealed armies. Indeed, it played strange tricks on one’s ears. I thought I heard footsteps shuffling along behind us. Perhaps it was the lateness of the hour or the disturbing events we were investigating, but the sound made me uneasy. We continued on even more quickly. Then, suddenly, we were in the clear. We could see the entire block of flats behind us. I paused, and restrained my companion with a hand on his arm. Here was our chance to get a good look at our pursuer. I could not be sure, but I thought I heard a foot scrape the stones of the road before silence surrounded us. I looked to Houdini.
“I heard it too,” he said softy. He jerked a thumb over his shoulder. “Back there.”
Why his confirmation filled me with dread, I cannot say. The person behind us was almost certainly a weary pilgrim such as we, eager for his own sitting room and a warm fire.
I saw that Houdini had drawn the sharpened screwdriver out of his pocket and held it like a dagger. We turned to face whoever was following us.
Halfway down the street a single gaslight glowed feebly. At the end of the lane a figure approached. It jogged along the walls of the buildings. I got an impression of a manlike shape with an impossibly lean body and grotesquely long limbs. It loped along in an odd, loose-jointed way. I could have sworn I heard soft, animal-like moans. It was as if some savage beast were hot on our trail. I felt Houdini clutch my shoulder.
“What is it?” he hissed in my ear.
I could only shake my head. It was like no creature I had seen in all my travels. The thing’s unnatural form filled me with loathing. Its huge shadow, magnified by the streetlamp, flitted along the bricks of the buildings.
I stood, my eyes riveted on the gaslight down the street. What would I see when the thing stepped full into the glow? As if in answer to my thought, it paused and sniffed the air. The misshapen head swiveled until it pointed precisely in our direction. Its eyes glittered with a malign emerald glow.
The beast took a step forward. Then an absolutely unexpected thing happened. Just before it stepped full into the light, the creature swarmed straight up the sheer wall. I gasped at the speed with which it scaled the bricks. It climbed until it was lost in the shadows. For a moment, all was silent. Then I heard a sound that chilled me to my soul—the faint sound of claws scrabbling across the roof tiles high above us. And the sound was approaching rapidly.
“Come on,” Houdini hissed, grabbing my sleeve.
We took off down the street at a run. My shoes slipped on the flagstones. I wheeled my arms to catch my balance. On and on we raced. The blood beat in my temples. We careened into abrupt turns and doubled back on ourselves. Soon we were back in another patch of fog. My breath sounded harsh in my ears. At last I felt Houdini’s grasp on my arm as he pulled me to a stop.
I sagged against the cold bricks and gasped for air. Silence surrounded us. My heart pounded in my chest. Had we given our pursuer the slip? The alley next to us was dark. We huddled in its shadows and peeped around the corner. We could barely make out the walls of the tenements that loomed over us. The stones beneath our feet were rough and uneven. The cold air seared the back of my throat as I caught my breath. I scarcely dared look back for fear of seeing something.
Houdini whispered. “I think we lost—”
The unmistakable sound of scrabbling above us cut him off.
“Run!”
The cry echoed off the walls. We plunged into the blackness of the street before us. I was racing at full speed before I realised that it was I who had shrieked the command. Our feet pounded the pavement as we dashed through the darkness. We both flung our arms up to protect from an overhead attack. The thing that pursued us—was it what had murdered Mackleston’s brother?
The street turned out to be a long, curving one with no side alleys. But at the end I thought I discerned a glow of light.
“At... end,” Houdini gasped beside me. “Stop ... set ambush.”
I thought of what the creature above us had done to Reggie and shivered. How could we defend against an attack that could come from any direction? But each breath I drew felt like a stab in my side. I couldn’t run much longer.
Not three yards from the end of the street a huge figure loomed out of the lowering fog in front of us. We skidded to a stop and barely avoided colliding with it.
“Here now, what’s the rush, lads?” a loud voice boomed. Two hands the size of hams clutched at our lapels and hauled us into the street. “Let’s get a better look at you,” the voice declared.
We found ourselves under an electric light on Euston Road. The figure looming over us revealed itself as a frowning giant of a policeman. The fog had lowered again. Little droplets had condensed on the brass buttons of his uniform. They glittered like gems under the lamplight. Though I continued to gasp for air, my relief was palpable. As he saw how we were dressed, a look of surprise registered on his face and he loosed his hold on us.
“I beg your pardon, gentlemen,” he said. Then he noticed the sharpened screwdriver, still clutched in Houdini’s hand. “Now what—”
“Constable,” I panted, “someone or something is after us.” I pointed into the blackness behind us.
Houdini nodded vigorously as he leaned over to suck in air. “Tried to lose him ... chased us a good two miles.”
“Oh, he has, has he?” The officer drew his truncheon out of his belt and turned to face the yawning darkness. “We’ll see about that.”
I could not let him face the demon alone. “Whoever he is. .. he’s gone mad,” I warned between breaths. “You must ... get reinforcements.”
The policeman turned back to us and smiled. “One man only?”
“At least wait... until we catch ... our breaths,” I urged. “We’ll accompany you.”
The policeman seemed not to have heard me. His face lit up in anticipation. William the Conqueror’s face might have looked the same as he led the charge at Hastings.
“I hope he tries to resist arrest. I truly do.”
So saying, he picked up a little black lantern from the ground beside him. He lifted it to head height and plunged into the unlit street.
“Like Custer at Little Bighorn,” Houdini muttered to himself. Neither of us had fully recovered, but we straightened up and staggered after the man.
“Wait up!” Houdini called. We chased the watery glow of light from his lantern as it floated through the foggy darkness. Before we had gone six steps, the light appeared to dance wildly. We heard a shout, a feral screech, and finally a shrill scream, like a soul in torment. The shriek rose and fell. Abruptly, it cut off. The lantern fell to the street with a clatter. It glowed brightly for a moment and then winked out. A terrible silence followed.

AUTHOR BIO

H. R. Knight is the pen name of Harry Squires, a critically acclaimed author who writes mysteries—some paranormal, some not—as well as thrillers, and the occasional magazine article. Harry has worked as an insurance underwriter, a software marketer, and a corporate trainer. He attended Journalism School at the University of Missouri and film school at UCLA.
He has studied Okinawan karate and Chinese boxing. Current hobbies include dog training, classical guitar, cooking, and collecting obscure, cheesy horror films from the 1930s & ‘40s.
Having traveled all over the world, he’s developed a preference for countries that produce good wines.
He shares a home and a life with his wife Susan, who publishes unconventional paranormal romances. They own, train, and show Belgian Sheepdogs. Occasionally the dogs are kind enough to give Harry and Susan hope that they may someday be in charge of the pack.
They all live at the beach in Southern California.

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