Enchanting Readers One Author At A Time!

Thursday, July 14, 2016

Angela Kay Austin's "Run For Freedom" Blog Tour



Tour Stops
July 14, 2016 

July 15, 2016 

July 16, 2016

July 17, 2016 
BookwormBridgette's World

July 18, 2016 
The Recipe Fairy

July 19, 2016

July 20, 2016 
Bookstruck Books and Other Loves



Run For Freedom
By Angela Kay Austin

Blurb:

The choice was to run for freedom or die never having been valued as a human -- as a woman. The penalty was the same -- death!

Freedom and her brother, Triumph, would fight for their lives and the lives of the ones whom they loved no matter the cost. Escaping bondage meant they must RUN! Run to Moses. Run to the Promised Land.

Watson Brown knew all too well the struggle to survive. The fight to live. He had been given a second chance to do what he had failed to do in life -- as a human. What he and his father could not do before the Harpers Ferry Raid.

The runaway slave and her brother were a distraction.

He could afford no interferences with his mission. He nor his family could risk exposure.



Available for purchase at 

      


Excerpt

They had been discovered. It did not matter how, but someone noticed the Negro servant and the white man. They did not know she was a woman dressed as a man, nor that the man with her was her brother. But, they knew something was wrong. Why would a white man walk into the woods with a Negro?

They should have planned better. Anger filled her as she scolded herself for her oversight. She and Triumph ran faster as more gunshots rang out. He was bigger and stronger, but slower. She demanded her legs run faster. “Faster, brother. Faster.” Her neck ached as she peered over her shoulder.

Men with dogs were quickly catching up to them.

A bullet whipped through the air, next to her ear, and buried itself deep into the trunk of a great old tree. She glanced toward the heavens, and then at the trees. The branches pointed to the path they must take, and the wind at her back pushed her. She knew that she and her brother were running in the right direction.

They ran faster.

Branches popped and snapped as they ripped at the sleeves of her jacket. As her brother tossed his jacket, she tossed hers and her hat. The dogs might be confused for a moment. Her brother touched her shoulder, and she knew what he was about to do. He ran ahead of her and cut through low bushes away from her. He veered his path away from hers, not because he was leaving her, but because it would split the pack of dogs chasing them.

She kept running.

Running to the hidden river.

The woods thickened, the sun began to disappear, and the sky above her darkened. They had not read the signs incorrectly. She stopped to take a long deep inhale. The scent was stronger. Moist earth. Water. She ran, harder. There had to be water somewhere, but as her legs tired, and her breaths shortened, she began to doubt her instincts.

Before her eyes saw the water, her nose told her it was there. Without thinking, she ran toward the smell of fresh wet earth. She stepped into the low water, and stopped. Glancing up and down the hidden creek, her eyes ached from the strain of searching through the trees for her brother.

Her chest tightened at the distant sound of dogs barking. Did their loud growls and snarls mean they had captured Triumph? Were they celebrating their kill? Instead of swimming to the other side, she turned to run back to the spot she had last seen her twin.


Her brother burst through the thicket…


About the Author

Angela Kay Austin has always loved expressing herself creatively.  An infatuation with music led to years playing several instruments, some better than others.   A love for acting put her in front of a camera or two for her thirty seconds of fame before giving way to a degree and career in communications.  After completing a second degree in marketing, Angela found herself combining her love for all things creative and worked in promotions and events for many years. 

Today, Angela lives in her hometown in Tennessee with her really really really old dog, Midnight.








You can find Angela at 

            





Giveaway




Presented By


Friday, July 1, 2016

Eli Easton's "A Second Harvest" Blog Tour



Tour Stops

July 1, 2016 

July 2, 2016 
BookwormBridgette's World

July 3, 2016 

July 4, 2016 

July 5, 2016 

July 6, 2016 
books are love

July 7, 2016 



A Second Harvest 
(Men of Lancaster County #1)
by Eli Easton

Blurb:
David Fisher has lived by the rules all his life. Born to a Mennonite family, he obeyed his father and took over the family farm, married, and had two children. Now with both his kids in college and his wife deceased, he runs his farm alone and without joy, counting off the days of a life half-lived.

Christie Landon, graphic designer, Manhattanite, and fierce gay party boy, needs a change. Now thirty, he figures it’s time to grow up and think about his future. When his best friend overdoses, Christie resolves to take a break from the city. He heads to a small house in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, to rest, recoup, and reflect.

But life in the country is boring despite glimpses of the hunky silver fox next door. When Christie’s creativity latches on to cooking, he decides to approach his widower neighbor with a plan to share meals and grocery expenses. David agrees, and soon the odd couple finds they really enjoy spending time together.

Christie challenges the boundaries of David’s closed world and brings out feelings he buried long ago. If he can break free of the past, he might find a second chance at happiness.



         





Available in Paperback



Excerpts


Chapter 1
David sat against the rough wooden boards of the cow stall and watched Gertrude die. She opened her big brown eyes once toward the end and gazed at him for a long moment. In the glow of the lantern light, her lashes cast deep shadows so David couldn’t see what emotion might be in those eyes. Was she grateful he was sitting up with her? Did she know it was time to go? Was she relieved to finally be leaving this farm where she’d spent her entire long life?
But she was just a cow. Probably she thought none of those things. When she closed her eyes again, it was for the last time. An hour later she stopped breathing, and she was gone.
It felt like an era passed with her, silently and stealthily. David was there when Gertrude was born. She was the first cow that was his, designated as such while still in the womb, a birthday present from his parents. He raised her and showed her at the Harrisburg farm fair when he was in eleventh grade. She was a beautiful brown jersey with classic lines, and she won a third-place ribbon that day. David was proud enough to burst. For years afterward Gertrude was a reliable, strong milking cow.
A farmer didn’t get sentimental about animals. That was plain stupid. But David was not able to kill Gertrude when her milk production fell off. She’d half performed for another decade until he eventually retired her to pasture. If anyone asked, he told them it was good to have a mature cow around to show the rebellious younger ones what was what, teach them the routine. And Gertrude was a leader by personality. She knew how to put other cows and heifers in their places. But the truth was, David just couldn’t bear to load her in the truck and take her to the slaughterhouse.
She was a part of his boyhood, and it was right she was dead now. God knew the boy in him was a far distant memory.
He turned off the lights in the barn and walked back to the house. It was foolishness to have stayed up with her. The day’s work had to be done whether or not he had a good night’s rest. He was too old for this.
The light in the kitchen was on as he approached the house. He checked his watch. It was just past 5:00 a.m. Amy must be up.
For the past two years, Amy had come home from college for the summer to work as a nursing intern at the Lancaster hospital and to help him run a CSA program on the farm. It was Amy who did all the customer work. She made up the flyers, packed the boxes of produce, and met with the customers every week when they came to pick up their shares. She was good at that sort of thing. He wished he could pay her more, but like every other operation on the farm, the profit from the CSA was a very faint line of green. David honestly didn’t know how most farmers made it. His grandfather had paid off the farm, but still, between property taxes, upkeep and maintenance, animal feed, and everything else, he made just enough to get by. As his dad used to say, the gravy was thin.
He opened the sliding glass door and saw Amy in her bathrobe pulling some fresh eggs from the fridge.
“Hey, Dad.” She yawned. “What are you doing out at the barn so early?”
“Gertrude passed.”
“Aw! That’s a shame.” Amy didn’t sound too broken up about it. Then again Amy learned young not to get attached to the animals.
He grabbed a glass from the cupboard, went to the fridge, and poured himself some orange juice. But when he went to lift it to his mouth, he was surprised to discover a hard, thick lump in his throat. He put the glass back on the counter and breathed. Ridiculous. He hadn’t gotten particularly choked up, even when Susan died. But then she was sick for a few years. Her death was a blessing in the end.
“Things live. Things die. That’s the way of it.” His voice was gruff, but the lump eased. He drank his juice.
When he put the glass down, Amy was watching him with a frown. “You sound so cynical. I worry about you, Dad. You should take Mrs. Robeson up on her offer for dinner. I think she really likes you.”
“I’m not interested in Mrs. Robeson.”
Amy rolled her eyes. “You should give her a chance. Mom’s been gone two years now. She wouldn’t want you to be alone forever. And Mrs. Robeson taught both Joe and me in Sunday school. She’s a very nice lady.”
David gave Amy a warning look. “I don’t care to discuss my love life, thank you. Are you gonna cook those eggs, or are you waiting for them to hatch?”
Amy snorted a laugh, but she opened a cupboard and brought out a skillet. “Slave driver! I just worry about you. I hate that you’re all alone here when I go back to school. Joe hardly ever comes home.”
“I don’t mind.”
“I know! That’s the problem. You’re turning into a crusty old hermit. Next time I see you, you’ll have a beard down to your belly button. I know you live on TV dinners, hotdogs, and chips. It’s not healthy. You should get remarried. I know Pastor Mitchell thinks so.”
“Pastor Mitchell wants to get some of his old maids and widows married off so he doesn’t have to handhold them so much. I’m not interested.”
David was half teasing, but Amy still gasped. “Dad! That’s a terrible thing so say!”
David waggled his eyebrows, unrepentant, and exited the kitchen.
He went upstairs and took a shower. The sleepless night hit him along with the hot water, and he knew it would be a long day. Why had he felt compelled to sit up with Gertrude? She probably hadn’t even known he was there. But at the thought of her, another wave of sadness hit him. An image ran through his mind—one of falling leaves and the boy he’d been playing in them, laughing. He had no idea where that came from or why.
Out of the shower, he used a hand to wipe off the fogged mirror. He looked at himself critically to see if he could get away with not shaving this morning. His reflection surprised him briefly, as it always did. He felt so old. He always expected to see white hair and a sagging face when he looked in the mirror. But there were only a few strands of gray at the temples of his dark-brown hair and in his close-cropped beard. His face was not young, but it wasn’t sagging yet either. He’d lost a good thirty pounds since Susan died, so he actually looked younger.
Fine. He might not look old, but he sure felt it. And he suddenly understood why he sat up with Gertrude. He wanted to watch her as she escaped the farm at last, as she simply left her body and went away, gone where no one could prevent her going and no one could follow.
One day David would leave too, maybe just that way. He’d shut his eyes and vanish, leaving a shell behind. But dear Lord, he was only forty-one this past May. Even if he died when his dad did, at age fifty-eight, he had years to wait yet.
Just to… wait. 




It was Saturday and the idea of doing more cleaning held little appeal. What else did he have to do with himself? Nothing. The temptation to go into Lancaster or Harrisburg was there, to seek out a gay bar, or even get on Grindr. Gay men had to exist out here. But… that wasn’t why he moved here. He came here to get away from all that for a little while.
His mind made up, he went to the grocery store in town with a long list. It was a big-chain grocery store, and he was pleased to find nearly everything he needed. The October day was bright with crisp leaves and a blue sky. When he got back home with his sacks of goodies, it was still early afternoon. He opened the windows in the kitchen—struggling against the one over the sink that stuck—turned up the music on his iPhone, and started dancing around, organizing his supplies and digging out pots and pans.
He made the curried carrot ginger soup, a lovely dish with fresh peas, green onion, and radishes, some savory cheese-and-herb swirled biscuits, and a basic herb-roasted chicken. He truly did love to cook, though the past few years, it never seemed worth the effort. There were so many great takeout places in the East Village. Plus Kyle was such a picky eater. He basically ate pizza and stripped-down salads, and that was it.
It occurred to Christie while he was prepping this meal that it was going to be a beautiful repast, and it was a shame he didn’t have anyone to share it with. He could freeze some of it, but it wouldn’t be the same. He thought of David next door, living alone, and of his TV dinner. Would that be weird? That would be weird, right?
Pushing it from his mind, Christie spent the rest of the afternoon jamming to tunes in the kitchen and working his way through the recipes, having fun and dancing in his stocking feet.
When everything was ready, Christie decided the meal deserved some pomp and circumstance. His aunt had a drawer of tablecloths, but they were not quite his style. He used a white linen towel for a place mat and put each dish on the table in the best china dishes he could find. He used a red cut glass for his water and lit a candle in an old silver candlestick he found in the cupboard.
He looked at the table and chewed his lip. Everything looked beautiful. It smelled amazing too. He sucked some chicken juice from his thumb—yum. It almost seemed like a waste to eat it. He wished someone were here to share the meal with him. Anyone, really. The idea he’d avoided thinking about while cooking poked its head out again.
Well. He’d never been exactly shy. If he was going to do this, he had to do it quickly. The food was getting cold.
With a nervous shake of his head, Christie decided. He cut the roast chicken in half and put it on a large plate with a little bit of everything else, covered it with aluminum foil, and ran out the back door.
He hadn’t been to the Fisher’s farm before, and it turned out to be a longer trip down the gravel lane than he anticipated, maybe a quarter mile. He kept up a jog, worried about the food getting ruined. Between that and his nerves, he had a fine sheen of sweat when he got there.
David’s farm was beautiful. The white barn Christie had seen from a distance was huge and picturesque. It made Christie’s fingers itch to draw it. The farmhouse was fieldstone with black shutters. Electric candles in the windows gave it a cozy Colonial air and made Christie realize how dark it was getting outside. Why hadn’t he grabbed his coat? It was fucking freezing. He was an idiot—a shivering idiot at the moment.
Determined to drop off his gift without further delay, he marched to the back door and firmly knocked.
Enthusiastic barking commenced. More than one dog—two or three. Christie felt a little nervous. He liked dogs, but these farm dogs might be territorial. And he was holding a plate of chicken. He might as well have bathed in bacon grease.
A deep voice silenced the dogs and the door opened. David’s face looked stern and worn for a moment, but when he recognized Christie, a smile softened it. “Oh, hi.”
“Hi. Sorry to bother you, but I spent the day cooking, and I made all this food. No way can I eat it all, so I thought I’d bring you a plate. You know, to make up for causing you to burn your dinner the other day, fixing my smoke detector and all.” God, he was overdoing it! Shut up, Christie.
“Oh.” David looked surprised. He glanced at the foil-covered plate in Christie’s hand. “You didn’t have to do that.”
“I was bored.” Christie’s shrug turned into a shiver. He held out the plate. His mouth was dry. He was starting to wish he hadn’t done this.
There was a reserve about David, a way he kept himself at arm’s length. Christie sensed that when David stopped by his house, but he put it down to the fact they were strangers. The vibe was stronger here, on David’s turf. Christie felt like an intruder standing at the back door. David was looking at the plate with an unreadable expression. Please just take it.
Then the wind shifted and a delicious aroma billowed up. David’s face grew curious. “Roast chicken?”
“Yeah. It was from a Thanksgiving magazine. I made some sides too.”
Suddenly David moved. “Heck, you must be freezing. Come inside.”
“Thanks. I can’t stay. I just wanted to drop this off.” But Christie was stepping inside as he spoke, welcoming any relief from the cold air.
“River. Tonga. Sit.” David shut the door. The dogs sat obediently. One was a golden retriever and the other a large furry black mix of some kind.
“Tonga?” Christie asked.
“It’s an island,” David said with an adorably bashful duck of his head. He took the plate from Christie and raised the foil, looked at it, and smelled. “This looks really good. You made this?”
“Sure. I just followed the recipes.” But David’s words made Christie feel infinitely better about bringing it by. “Well. I’ll leave you to eat it before it gets cold. I have mine back at the house.”
“Thanks. It beats the heck out of frozen food.” David sounded sincere. He put the plate on the counter. “Hang on.” He opened up an accordion door in the hall, revealing an overstuffed closet with a collection of coats, hats, and shoes. He selected a black woolen pea coat with large buttons and pulled it out. “You’re going to freeze to death.”
“It was stupid not to wear my coat. I didn’t realize it was so far over here.”
David got an amused smile, but he wasn’t looking directly into Christie’s eyes, so he still seemed uncomfortable. Instead of handing Christie the coat, though, he held it open and moved behind Christie.
Christie blinked. He couldn’t remember the last time anyone had helped him into a coat. He held back his arms and let David slip the coat onto him. It fit in the shoulders okay, but it was big around the waist and hips. David turned Christie in a matter-of-fact way and started doing up the buttons.
Christie’s eyes widened, and he swallowed hard. What the hell? Did David think he was a child? But there was something titillating about being taken care of, or maybe it was David’s proximity, his handsome face focused on his task, his rough hands so close to Christie’s body.
Yes, it was definitely the proximity. Wow, David was a good-looking man. Who knew rugged could be so hot? And to think of all the money Christie had spent on grooming!
There were only five buttons, and when David finished the last of them, just below Christie’s chin, he looked up and saw Christie’s face. He suddenly blushed, his nose and cheeks going red. He dropped his hands and took a step back. “Sorry. That was… sorry.”
“I didn’t mind.” Oh God, Christie’s voice had dropped in register and sounded rumbly to his own ears. That was a smexy voice! What the hell was he doing? “Um… thanks for the jacket, David. I’ll bring it back later.”
“No hurry.” David was avoiding his gaze again.
Christie yanked the door open, escaped the house with a silly little wave, and walked fast back to his aunt’s place.
Once inside he found his own food was only tepidly warm, but still flavorful and delicious. The herb glaze on the chicken was to die for, and it went beautifully with the floury-cheesy biscuits and the curried soup. He hoped David liked it too.
He kept the coat on while he ate, snuggling into the fabric and holding the collar close under his chin. It smelled of earth and hay, a slight trace of motor oil, and the smell of a working man—piney, sweaty, and altogether appealing.
He remained in the coat all through dinner. But only because he was cold. 



About The Author



Having been, at various times and under different names, a minister’s daughter, a computer programmer, a game designer, the author of paranormal mysteries, a fan fiction writer, an organic farmer and a profound sleeper, Eli is happily embarking on yet another incarnation as a m/m romance author.

As an avid reader of such, she is tinkled pink when an author manages to combine literary merit, vast stores of humor, melting hotness and eye-dabbing sweetness into one story.  She promises to strive to achieve most of that most of the time.  She currently lives on a farm in Pennsylvania with her husband, three bulldogs, three cows and six chickens.  All of them (except for the husband) are female, hence explaining the naked men that have taken up residence in her latest fiction writing.


You can find Eli at 

         




Giveaway




Presented By




Thursday, June 30, 2016

Blog Tour: Fated and Forbidden Box Set


Blog Tour Stops

June 30, 2016
 Share My Destiny

July 1, 2016
 My Fiction Nook

July 2, 2016
 BookwormBridgette's World

July 3, 2016
 Book Crazy Scrapbook Mama

July 4, 2016
 Untamed Bibliophiles

July 5, 2016
 The Recipe Fairy

July 6, 2016
 Bookstruck Books and Other Loves

July 7, 2016
 Coffee and Characters

July 8, 2016
 The Recipe Fairy

July 11, 2016
 My Nook, Books & More

July 12, 2016
 T&L Book Reviews

July 13, 2016
 Diane’s Book Blog

July 14, 2016
 Readaholics Anonymous 

July 16, 2016
 Mello & June, It's a Book Thang!

July 21, 2016
 books are love





Fated and Forbidden Box Set
by 
Danielle Annett, Dina Given, E.J. Whitmer, Siana Wineland, Tom Shutt, Amy Stearman, M.S. Dobing, A.L. Kessler, Frances Pauli, Rebecca N Caudill

Blurb:

Ten heroes and heroines are up against unknown forces of darkness—good thing they all have supernatural skills and abilities—it's just too bad that not all of them are sure what to do with them yet. Powerful allies are hard to come by and lines are blurred when it becomes difficult to tell friend from foe. Delve in to ten unique worlds full of vampires, witches, mages, dream-stalkers, fallen deities, monsters and even super heroes! Supernatural skills may be enough to save them... but only if they can figure out how to wield them in time.

All stories are first in a series! 
  1. Cursed by Fire by Danielle Annett: Vampires and shifters vie for control of Spokane, Washington, and Aria Naveed is right in the middle of the fire. 
  2. Message Bearer by M.S. Dobing: Seb is a fledging mage, able to manipulate reality, and he alone carries the message that could change the course of the conflict forever 
  3. Unhidden by Dina Given: It’s not always easy to differentiate between the good guys and the bad guys, especially when your heroine is a trained killer and she may be falling in love with her evil hunter… 
  4. No More Black Magic by A.L. Kessler: Explosions, bodies and black magic are just part of a typical day at this agency. 
  5. Power Surge by E.J. Whitmer: From ordinary to extraordinary in just one week. It's a good thing she looks great in spandex. 
  6. Brooding City by Tom Shutt: A police detective is confronted with his own past crimes as a dream-stalker even as he takes on a greater evil. 
  7. Altered by Amy Steaman: A pretty law student's life is changed forever by a mysterious stranger when desire, possession, and treachery lead Sadie down a crooked path to redemption 
  8. Emergence by Siana Wineland: Valkyries invade the Pacific NW, in a contagion. What's a girl to do when she finds she's been infected and sprouting wings happens to be a side affect. 
  9. A Time Apart by Rebecca N. Caudill: A vampire and a woman who couldn't be more different, realize that destiny has brought them full circle. 
  10. Familiar by Frances Pauli: A beautiful small-town witch teams up with a sexy cop to take on a demon. 


Available to purchase at





Excerpts

Cursed by Fire by Danielle Annett
All I saw was blood. Blood soaked my hands and coated the walls. It stained the concrete flooring of the abandoned warehouse and dripped from fixtures that hung from the ceiling, trickling like a slow rain. My vision blurred as anguish filled me. How could this have happened? How could I have been too late?
I stared down at the lifeless body of a child. A boy. Kneeling in a pool of congealing blood, I ran my fingers through his chestnut hair, ignoring the now-cool moisture seeping into the denim of my pants. His face was unrecognizable. Gone was the child with the dimpled cheek and brilliant blue eyes. Left behind was a mass of flesh and bonea ruined body drained of its life force at such a young age.
Reality snapped like an elastic band, bringing me back to the present as I sat at my desk in Sanborn Place. Ripped from the haunted memories of finding Daniel’s body.
The world was a cruel place. It was a fact of life and even though I knew it was true, I still had a hard time coming to terms with the atrocities people committed. The cruelties that for some god-forsaken reason, people thought were okay. Staring down at the wallet-sized photo now crumpled in my hands, I was greeted by a crown of chestnut hair, bright blue eyes, a heart-shaped face, and a brilliant smile; a single dimple on his left cheek. The face of an innocent seven-year-old boy, cut down like he was little more than a calf brought to slaughter. I found myself struggling to link the image of this smiling boy to that of the ruined body I’d found less than forty-eight hours ago.

Unhidden by Dina Given
Cold marble pressed against my face, numbing my cheek. My stomach roiled from the spinning of the room, threatening to release my dinner. I took a deep, ragged breath and tried to keep the dizziness under control. A voice in my head screamed at me to get up and defend myself, but my body wouldn’t obey. With a herculean effort, I pulled my legs under me in an effort to rise.
I felt the vibration in the floor before I heard the heavy thud of footsteps. The bastard was back for more. It must be my lucky day. A vice clamped around my ankles, and I slid along the smooth stone floors of the mansion. Crystal chandeliers and Renaissance paintings streaked across my vision as I was pulled through an open doorway.
I twisted and flailed, scrabbling to clutch the doorframe to stop my relentless slide into the darkened room. I tried to make it a rule to never be forced into a room when I didn’t know what lay within.
I managed a weak handhold on the doorframe, but with a sharp tug, my captor caused me to easily lose my grip. He—because only a man could own hands that large and strong—“accidentally” slammed me into a coffee table before coming to a stop without releasing me.
The concussive grenade that was triggered when I had been finishing my sweep of the last room in the mansion had left my temples throbbing, preventing me from lifting my head to get a good look at my captor. I needed to pull myself together if I was going to fight my way out of here.
Swallowing hard, I took a silent inventory of my injuries: a few bruises, no broken bones, no bleeding. Sweet. This was going to be easier than I’d thought. 


Power Surge by E.J. Whitmer:
Blake sighed and pushed his empty plate away from him. “You called me last night at about 1: 30am. The only words I could make out were ‘jaeger’ ‘nipples’ and ‘spandex’. I hopped in my car and headed over here to find you standing in your kitchen wearing only your underwear and trying to stuff your entire face in a pint of ice cream. Apparently you were out of spoons.”

That explained why I had sticky eyebrows.

I held my head in my hands and groaned as he continued. “I told you to get some pajamas on. You wanted my shirt. You took it. Thankfully you turned around while you were putting it on. I made you drink a glass of water and tucked you into bed. I wasn’t sure how much you’d had to drink, so I checked in on you every couple of hours. I provided you with early morning eye candy. I made you delicious cheesy eggs. I think that’s about it.”

I opened one eye to look at him. “Did you see my boobs?”

His face split into a panty melting grin. “No. I was a gentleman. I only gawked at your ass.”

Emergence by Siana Wineland:
Shivering barefoot in the darkness, Jessica hid and watched the recovery team flip lights on in her house. Panic tried to set icy claws in her gut, but she pushed it away ruthlessly. The arrival of the recovery team confirmed her worst fear: she must have started the change.
She’d done her best to deny this possibility. But reality now walked through her home, leaving her in the cold and dark.
She took a deep breath. Fear of what was to come had to take a backseat.
A large, lean man with shoulder-length blond hair entered her bedroom. He moved with the grace of a predator, her eyes widened when he turned, allowing her to see the suede of his wings fall gracefully down his back like a dark cloak.
They’ve sent a Hunter! Her mind froze in panic. Why is there a Hunter here? Recovery teams only have unchanged people in them.
The Valkyrie stopped and sniffed the air, scenting her, before walking over to the window and examining it. He spread his wings, the large fan covering the glass to block the light from behind him. Fascinated, she stared, transfixed at the way the light shone through the membrane of his wings.
She felt her mind slowing again. Fruitlessly, she fought the lethargy that was her body’s natural response to the changes taking place within it.
It wasn’t long before the Hunter’s eyes found hers, their intensity boring into her, and he smiled a slow feral smile.


A Time Apart by Rebecca Norinne Caudill:
As Olivia moved out of William’s arms, he didn’t fight her but his hands lingered as she slid away, as if he was trying to hold onto something significant, and for the first time, Olivia could see quite clearly he was no ordinary man.
“What are you?” she asked, her voice barely audible above the logs crackling in the fire.
“You know me then,” was his anguished response.
How could she respond? Prior to the extensive research she’d conducted the night before, she would have sworn she had never seen him a day in her life. But that wasn’t entirely true, for she knew now that she had seen him while she dreamed. She had seen him lying beside her, touching the most private parts of her body. And just last night she’d fantasized about making mad, passionate love to him outside, under the stars. And now she realized it had all happened before, perhaps hundreds of times. She knew this man intimately … but not the nightmare version of him, the man who had killed her.
But more importantly, she realized, Olivia didn’t know herself – that woman from a time long forgotten. “Who ... what ... am I then?” Fear and trepidation laced her voice.
“Unfortunately, I don’t know much about who you are today.” His voice broke with emotion. “I only know who you were and when you were. In the year 1658, you were Ceara, my fierce beauty. You were my wife and I loved you more than you can know.” 
William paused, waiting for her to interrupt with more questions, but when she remained mute, he continued speaking. “If asked when I was still the man you remember, I would have said I’d give anything – my life, even – for you. Instead, I took it.” 
As his memories drifted back hundreds of years, his face became a mask of loathing. He remembered, in starkly vivid detail, the exact moment he had chased his beloved Ceara down, broke her neck, and then sucked her body dry.
While Olivia watched him struggle through his recollections, she wondered how he could have turned on her. What had she done to deserve that fate? And who – what – was he that he could force these terrible memories to the surface?
“If I was … am … Ceara, who are you?” she asked, not quite sure she was ready to hear his answer.
“My name is William Macauley and, as you might have guessed, I’m a vampire.”


Familiar by Frances Pauli:
She stared at the graffiti and centered, took a deep breath and imagined her roots reaching down, down into the earth. Her head spun a little. She reached for the door with her free hand and pressed her palm against fresh red paint.
Running through dark woods. A round moon overhead that set fear in her steps instead of awe. Why was she running again? Midnight, dogs barking behind her and the man. Her heart seized and she tripped over her own feet, sprawled forward toward hard roots and cold dirt. The man chasing her wanted blood tonight.
"Ms. Wallace?"
Deirdre blinked and saw blood, red dribbles against white.
"Ms. Wallace, are you alright?"
Paint. She lifted her hand and stared at it. Red paint on her skin. A voice called from behind her, but it was light out. There was no moon, no danger. She turned around and found cops on her steps. The short one, she knew. Officer Peg Stone had taken her call that morning, in fact, but Deirdre had never expected to actually see the woman. Still, there was the patrol car parked below, and behind Stone stood a policeman with dark eyes.
Deirdre's porch rippled like water. Her hand reached again, splatted against the nasty word but held her upright while the dizziness swirled around and around.


No More Black Magic by A.L. Kessler:
I’d never met the Alpha, but I knew this was him. His black hair was cut short and his brown gaze cut into me. He stood tall and demanded attention. Like Simon, he was dressed in older clothes, and I assumed it meant they wouldn’t care if they got ruined. The muscles of his arms were solid and his chest strained against the tight muscle shirt that he wore. Yeah, I wouldn’t stand a chance in a fight against this guy, even if he was human.
Simon bowed his head. “Alpha.”
“Simon, so this is her?” His eyes ran over my body and I raised a brow. I had dressed in my normal black clothes with boots. I had, as requested, left the gun in the car, but my blade was sheathed across my back, hidden by my jacket.
Simon put a hand on my back and urged me to step forward.
“I’m Abigail.” I offered my hand, but Greg grabbed my wrist and jerked me forward. I caught myself with a hand against his chest.
“You are a threat to my people, you offer me the back of your neck in submission.” He growled. “Do you understand that?”
I gritted my teeth and pulled my braid away from the back of my neck and bowed low enough that I offered it to him. My verbal answer wouldn’t have been good enough. He was trying to show off his strength, his power, and I was willing to bet other members of the pack were watching from the windows of the cabin. Arguing with him wouldn’t have done me any good.


Brooding City by Tom Shutt:
“So what exactly would I do as a Sleeper? I’ve heard only bad things, and that was when I still thought you were just a bedtime story. If even half of it is true—”
“We do what is necessary to protect this city,” Benjamin said tightly. “There are forces that are simply too powerful and mysterious to be handled by the police. We are the self-appointed protectors of the people.”
“That’s a great pitch, but I meant day-to-day, what will I be doing?”
Old Ben contemplated this question for a long moment before answering. “There is no right or wrong in this world, Jeremy. You must understand that in order to bring balance to others, we must first find balance within ourselves. This will not be an easy life, nor one filled with thanks from those you help—they will never even know you were there. You will make hard choices, decisions that will leave others bereft of their autonomy. But with my guiding hand, you will accomplish great deeds and protect countless innocents during your service.”
“That still doesn’t answer—”
“You will kill. You will maim. You will steal, lie, and deceive. Nobody will know who you are, or what you do, or when or where you will strike next. The people will never acknowledge your sacrifices, and they will continue to fear and despise the myth that you represent.”
There was a pregnant pause before Benjamin spoke again.
“Do you have what it takes?” he asked.


Altered by Amy Steaman:
The first snowflakes of the year rode their fat bodies lazily down to the empty sidewalk Sadie Pratt trudged along. If she looked up, the old fashioned streetlights would illuminate their glittery brethren. But she didn’t look up. A cold winter wind was demanding attention she didn’t care to give as she shifted her eyes toward her destination at the end of the street. As if irritated with her neglect, a particularly breathy gust reached out and freed her auburn waves from a loose bun. In response, she tucked her chin deeper into the plaid scarf wrapped around her neck and quickened her footfalls.
Sadie’s mood was as dark as the cloud-heavy sky hanging above her. Her boss, Harvey McDonnell, of McDonnell and Loeb Law Office had rung her out of a study-induced trance thirty minutes before.
“Sadie, I need you in the office in thirty,” like it was a common request. Like it wasn’t 9:30 on a Thursday night. Like she wasn’t drowning in the middle of finals!
She reached the pristine brick fa├žade that stood with pride in the little college town of Weston’s historic business district and flung the door wide. The gratuitous cowbell hanging on the handle let out its hollow ring. Harvey was already there, so instead of turning on the lights and starting a pot of coffee as per her usual routine, Sadie dumped her heavy bag without ceremony at the receptionist’s desk and marched back to his office.
Harvey’s watery grey eyes rose over the edge of his half-rimmed glasses to meet her steely glare then traveled down her slim frame covered in an overly long flannel, black leggings and combat boots. He chuffed. “You look nice.”
“I’ll wear proper business attire during proper business hours,” she shot back, fists coming to rest on hips.


The Message Bearer by M.S. Dobing:
It didn’t so much as walk out of the dark - it oozed. Its form coalesced from the gloom, a slight shimmering in the air, a shifting of shadows, before condensing into something resembling a human that now stood, unmoving, just at the periphery of the streetlight.
Yet this was no human.
Unnaturally tall, easily touching seven feet, the thing wore a dark suit that hung loosely off a pencil-thin frame. Its head was dipped, its face hidden beneath a black fedora with a single silver band. As he watched, the creature’s head rose. Black eyes met his. Something cold trickled down his spine.
It began to move forwards, its movement jerky, as if it were animated by invisible string. Its mouth opened into a wide grin, jaw distending to almost impossible proportions, displaying a set of dagger-like incisors.
‘You see it, don’t you?’
He’d forgotten she was even there. He looked back at the woman, managing the barest of nods. She reached out to him, her hand shaking.
‘Come with me.’

About The Authors




Danielle Annett is a reader, writer, photographer, and the blogger behind Coffee and Characters. You can learn more about Danielle on her website at Danielle-Annett.com or follow her on facebook at https://www.facebook.com/AuthorDanielleAnnett  and on twitter @Danielle_Annett

M.S. Dobing lives in Preston, UK with his wife and twin daughters. His first novel, Message Bearer, is the first in his urban fantasy series, The Auran Chronicles, the sequel to which is due out in the first half of 2016. Follow him at https://www.facebook.com/AuranChronicles?hc_location=ufi 

Dina Given has been an avid fan of fantasy in all of its permutations since childhood. She is convinced that magic lives on in this world, and she is doing her part to bring a piece of it to readers. Follow her at https://www.facebook.com/DinaGivenAuthor/ 

A.L. Kessler is a paranormal romance author residing in beautiful Colorado Springs, Co. Since she was a teenager she has loved spinning tales. She can easily be won over with gifts of coffee or chocolate. You can follow her at www.facebook.com/alkesslerauthor 

Tom Shutt writes paranormal suspense with generous helpings of humor and a sprig of mystery thrown in for good measure. Sometimes he dabbles in fantasy, but in all cases, he strives to push the boundaries of modern fiction in search of good answers to hard questions. 

E. J. Whitmer is the author of the Anna Jennings Super Novels, an avid reader, amateur karaoke rockstar and professional awkward turtle. Follow her on facebook at https://www.facebook.com/ejwhitmerauthor/ 

Amy Stearman is an avid reader and writer of stories, hailing from the Midwest. She lives in the liberal mecca of Kansas with her husband, young son, and ornery Sheltie. Find her on facebook at https://www.facebook.com/AuthorAmyStearman/ 

Siana Wineland lives in the beautiful, but soggy, Olympic Peninsula of Washington state. She spends much of her time shepherding her young children, or the goats and sheep she raises. Sometimes it's hard to tell them apart on the farm, unless you hold out a vegetable. For updates on her writing please visit her website at www.sianawineland.com 

Rebecca N. Caudill writes contemporary & paranormal romance featuring smart, kickass females & the men who adore them. Learn more about her and her books at www.rebeccancaudill.com or follow her on twitter @rebecca_caudill 

Frances Pauli writes speculative fiction, usually with touches of humor or romance, which means, of course, that she has trouble choosing sides. She's always been a fan of things outside the box, odd, weird or unusual, and that trend follows through to her tales which feature aliens, fairies, and even, on occasion, an assortment of humans. More information on her work and upcoming releases can be found on her website: http://francespauli.com 


Giveaway

Winner’s Choice Amazon Kindle Fire OR Amazon Echo Note





Presented By