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Friday, February 26, 2021

A Demon's Embrace Cupid Dating Agency Book Four by Celia Breslin

 


A Demon's Embrace
Cupid Dating Agency 
Book Four
Celia Breslin

Genre: Paranormal Romance
Publisher: Celia Breslin
Date of Publication: December 2020
ISBN: 9781393692881
ASIN: B08Q8JRLWN
Number of pages: 124
Word Count: 30K
Cover Artist: Brantwijn Serrah

Tagline: She believes him the enemy. He's determined to prove her wrong.

Book Description:

Former relic-hunter and soldier for Hell, Stryker spends his days of redemption running a holiday store in a cheery little town in the California wine country. He’s not complaining. The gig puts him across the street from his one and only heart’s desire—a blue-eyed angel with a clever brain, a hot bod, and the wickedest right hook this side of Heaven. Too bad his delectable Angel Cake won’t give him the time of day.

Warrior-class angel and restaurateur, Zara keeps busy designing interesting foods and beverages for the eateries and gym she owns with her celestial teammates. She certainly has zero time or interest in the annoyingly sexy, darkly bronzed demon who drove her bonkers for eons while working for the other side.

But then a freak storm complete with hell beasties rampages their hometown, and God and the cupids order the pair to team up to investigate. Frustrating news for Zara. Fantastic for Stryker. His new mission? Show his feisty angel their partnership is meant to extend far beyond this one job for Heaven...

Amazon US       Angus and Robertson       Apple Books

BN      Kobo       Scribd      Vivlio

Excerpt

Stryker and Zara's First Kiss...

Location: Charon's boat, River Styx, the Underworld...

...The boat heaved upward as if struck from below, sending her airborne. Before she could conjure her wings, Stryker shot up and snatched her around the waist, hauling them both to the deck.

Flat on his back with her sprawled atop his hard body, he grinned, much too pleased with himself for her liking. “Told you it gets rough,” he shouted over the rush of water. “I never lie to you, Angel Face.”

“That in itself is a lie,” she shot back, wedging her fingers in the gaps between the bone flooring and gripping tight while the chopping river tossed their ride. She could list thousands of his deceptions. Fine, they were revisiting his loathsome past behavior. “What about the time you stole the Ark of the Covenant? Or the Holy Chalice? The Vatican heist? Or when you took Joan’s sword and—”

“Aw, c’mon, she deserved it. She cut off the tip of my wing.”

“It regenerated, and you had no right to bother her in the first place when she was busy saving—

“Hey, I gave it back.”

“I made you give it back, demon.”

He laughed but the sound was lost in the great roar of the river. Its turmoil increased, waves thrashing over the bow as if their presence angered the river.

“Buckle up, baby.” Stryker held her tight to his chest. The boat bucked upward and bashed down, again and again. Freezing water sprayed everywhere, drenching them in seconds. Zara shuddered, chilled to the bone, half expecting ice to form on her frame.

Cheek to cheek, Stryker clutched her close with a hand cupping her head and one massive arm banded around her torso. “Hang on Angel Cake, I’ve got you.” Warmth slid into her quivering body, a soothing heat wafting from the demon. “Nice trick, right?” he murmured into her ear, lips grazing her skin.

Teeth chattering, she didn’t reply, too caught up in the sensation of his surprisingly soft lips on the shell of her ear, and his spicy scent, an intriguing blend of cardamom, cinnamon, and earthy, masculine musk.

Desire danced through her, followed fast by denial. No. Please, no. Eternal enemy. Archnemesis. He’s the bad guy. But her libido didn’t seem to care one bit about their battle-filled past, or even their more recent clashes. Her treacherous body relaxed against his, basking in the continued warmth emanating from him.

“Yes, baby. That’s it.” His hand slid to her nape, and he exhaled against the sensitive skin of her neck, setting off a flurry of butterflies in her stomach.

Trap. This had to be a trap, right? Nothing good could come of a tryst with a demon. It didn’t matter how loudly the hum chimed in her, or how wonderful his hard body felt under hers, they couldn’t possibly—

Oh, no, now his clever fingers kneaded the knots in her muscles, massaging the tension from her neck and shoulders, making her melt.

His warm lips brushed her ear once again. “Angel…”

She should stop him. Really, she should. Then he nuzzled the hollow of her shoulder, and his soft kisses eroded her superego’s usual iron will. […] Maybe, if she explored the cosmic hum trying to call them together instead of running from it, she would discover it meant nothing at all. Maybe, she could simply kiss him and move on.

She turned her head. He stilled, one hot palm planted between her shoulder blades, the other lounging on her lower back, his mouth so close their breath mingled. Goose bumps tracked over her and not from the cold since she had Stryker as her personal space heater.

Zara didn’t dare look into his eyes, instead digging deep one last time to stop this insanity, dredging up reasons this was a bad idea. Demon. D’uh. Longtime foe. Brash, blunt, devious, conniving, opinionated, manipulative, flirtatious, and yes, flirting was bad, so very, very ba—

[...] Lord help her, she wanted him too. Her gaze clashed with his. Such pretty eyes for a demon, like black onyx flecked with amber. He went statue-still beneath her, seemed to be holding his breath now, waiting for her to…

Make a move?

She wrapped a lock of his shoulder-length hair around her finger. Damp from the crashing river. Shiny, deepest black. Silky, and as warm as his body. She tugged on it.

A groan escaped him, and he kissed her.

About the Author:

Celia lives in California with her husband, daughter, and two feisty cats. She writes urban fantasy and paranormal romance, and has a particular fondness for werewolves, vampires, the Fae, and warrior-class angels. Her stories are action-packed and typically include one of the many varieties of romantic entanglements: fated mates, second chance, rescue romance, opposites attract, friends to lovers, enemies to lovers, and more.

When not writing, you’ll find Celia exercising, reading a good book, hanging with her family, or indulging her addiction to Joss Whedon’s TV shows and movies, as well as everything in the Marvel Universe franchise.

Website: http://www.celiabreslin.com   

Blog: http://www.celiabreslin.com/blog/   

Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/celiabreslin  

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/CeliaBreslinAuthor   

Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/CeliaBreslin  

Pinterest: http://www.pinterest.com/celiabreslin/  

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/celiabreslin/

Newsletter:  http://eepurl.com/bxqwRL




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Tuesday, February 23, 2021

Release Day Blitz Replaced Parts by Stephanie Hansen

 

 Release Day Blitz Replaced Parts by Stephanie Hansen


Join the Live Release Day Celebration for Replaced Parts by Stephanie Hansen at 10am EST on Facebook with special guest USA Today bestselling author Scarlett Kol.  https://www.facebook.com/events/2533205153651500



Replaced Part
Transformed Nexus 
Book One
Stephanie Hansen

Genre: YA Sci-Fi
Publisher: Fire and Ice YA and Tantor Audio
Date of Publication: 02/23/21
ISBN: 9781953735027
ASIN: B08RZB9PXL
Number of pages: 232
Word Count: 67,770
Cover Artist: Caroline Andrus

Tagline: When a clopil named Vex warns you of danger…Listen!

Book Description:

In the year 2163 a corrupt World Government controls everything on our planet and beyond. 

Sixteen year-old Sierra has been so caught up in her own world of saving animal test subjects and her father’s disappearance, she hasn’t paid much attention. When she finally finds his location, she and her friend set off on a covert interplanetary mission to rescue him, she begins to see the corruption first hand. 

Discovering that her father has been on the front lines secretly trying to save human test subjects inspires her to join a revolution. But she is afraid of the collateral damage of hurting the people she loves. Will she find the strength to make a deal with the mad scientist Cromwell to save not just her friends and family but everyone?

Book Trailer: https://youtu.be/xOmzBgWfIN8

Amazon      BN     Kobo


Excerpt:

To make a smoke bomb all you need is potassium nitrate, sugar, water and a fuse. Programming holograph messaging to be ‘smoke screen projection only’ is much more difficult. It’s a digital version of invisible ink and completely security cam resistant. I pull up Yesha’s incoming call. The smoke allows her image to take shape and it almost feels like she’s in the room with me.

“I can’t believe you talked me into this, you little gomer.”

Yesha frequently begins conversations in the middle, no introduction or formal interrogation into my life. I think that’s why I like her.

“It didn’t take much to convince you.”

“Did you receive the package?”

I hold up the box addressed to me, Sierra, but I’ve removed the contents.

“Yep, right here, see.”

Yesha’s laugh is like a chorus of toads with hiccups. Her image vibrates on the smoke.

“That’s only the box, you drone bug!”

“I know.”

I hold up the syringes that had been inside the box.

“Be careful with those. Check the labels.”

I roll a syringe in my hands like Kitchen, one of our home bots, does with pretzel dough.

“One says healing serum, which I asked for. Why does the other say anti?”

“Backup. You always need an emergency abort mission option.”

“All right. Thanks!”

Yesha interrupts before I collapse the projection.

“Just be sure not to give the anti if you haven’t given the original serum.”

After she’s gone, I look at my subject.

I shouldn’t be doing this, but I find the koala’s eyes drawing me in like a poli-magno crash about to happen. It’s impossible to turn away.

The Science Olympiad team’s going to put me on probation again, which stinks since they’re the only local, human friends I have.

Following protocol gets us nowhere, however.

Mom’s going to be agitated because this isn’t the first time I’ve broken the rules.

I guide the koala out of the cage, leaving her brothers inside. I have to shake off feelings of jealousy. I don’t have any siblings.

“Why ya look so sad?”

Uplifting experiments have given us animals who speak. “Why do you look so sad, Eucarpo?”

The koala glances back at her brothers and then her eyes look up at me past her round, stub nose, and adorable ears. The sensation of an infant wrapping tiny fingers around mine envelops me. I can’t let them endure more unethical testing just so we can have the best DNA combination. I was okay with the testing when the purpose was to help those that were sick and it was beneficial to the koala species, but I can’t stomach testing these sweet things just for superficial reasons.

“Hate leaving ‘em behind.”

“They’re going after you if this works.”

“What ya mean, if?”

“Healing adaptation experiments have just begun.”

“But ya aced the test?”

“Well, yeah, but that was just practice. This is the first time I’ve used it on a living being. Don’t worry, it should all go as planned. I’m just being paranoid.”

It would be nice if I could stop blabbering when I’m nervous. Sometimes you just have to go for it and see where the cards fall. That was something my dad used to say. Before he disappeared, he used to tell me lots of things. He’s been gone almost a decade, but I might as well as have “Missing Dad” tattooed on my forehead.

“Ya paranoid?Ne’er!”

As she raises the fur above her eyes, I scratch behind her ear, and she leans into it like a bear scratching its back on a tree trunk. Her fur is soft as manufactured silk charmeuse.

“Ah yeah, right dere.”

“You sure you’re ready for this?”

“It gets us closer to freedom, so I been ready a long time.”

She takes another glance at her brothers, and I pick up the syringe with self-healing serum. I begin the sedation process as no one wants to be awake when artery lining fortifies, muscles pull with new agility, and brain tissue encases itself with a biting, thin metal sheet. Another reason I’m jealous of Eucarpo is that she responds to sedation, and I don’t.

As Eucarpo drifts into a peaceful sleep, I look out the school windows and see only the steel and glass of surrounding buildings. Their reflections mirror the sky. Today the unending blue gives the impression of being in the middle of the sea. On gray days, it’s as if I’ve been swallowed by thunderclouds. I can only imagine how green fields would look. People used to love the smell of fresh-cut grass. That was before an asteroid broke through the atmosphere damaging our ecosystem and killing all plants, causing our world to work together to save Earth and its remaining, limited vegetation. The only vegetation left is kept in guarded areas and labs.

I think I can hear the machines used to keep the atmosphere from collapsing but the sound isn’t right. Instead of a hum, I hear iron clanging. The serum glides through the syringe into Eucarpo and her breathing intensifies as the cells within her body multiply. No, that isn’t the machines. It’s locker doors slamming, followed by footsteps of someone coming down the hall. No one should be here now. They should all be at the assembly that I’m skipping. I must finish before anyone else arrives. I look at the oxygen and pulse readings, cringing with every spike. It feels like an hour passes as I look at the screens, but I know it’s only been seconds. I count breaths and clock ticks, staring at Eucarpo’s oxygen and platelet numbers rising.

“Come on, the science minds keep refreshments in here.”

I think I recognize the voice coming down the hall. Every muscle in my body wants to stiffen, but I can’t freeze now.

Luckily, the serum is fast acting and Eucarpo’s readings are settling. I inject the awakening treatment and then I throw the syringes and all remaining evidence into the incinerator. The burning and sanitizing process will turn these things into energy or something else useful. Eucarpo stirs a little when I hear the door sensor click.

As the voltball captain and visual arts queen walk in, I step in front of Eucarpo.

“Look, we found someone avoiding the assembly,” Milcah says as she nudges Danver in the ribs with her elbow.

 

About the Author:

Stephanie Hansen is a PenCraft Award Winning Author. Her novella series, Altered Helix, released 2020. Her short story, Break Time, and poetry has been featured in Mind's Eye literary magazine. The Kansas Writers Association published her short story, Existing Forces, appointing her as a noted author. She has held a deep passion for writing since early childhood, but a brush with death caused her to allow it to grow. She's part of an SCBWI critique group in Lawrence, KS and two local book clubs. She attends many writers' conferences including the Writing Day Workshops, New York Pitch, Penned Con, New Letters, All Write Now, Show Me Writers Master Class, BEA, and Nebraska Writers Guild conference as well as Book Fairs and Comic-Cons. 

She is a member of the deaf and hard of hearing community.

https://www.authorstephaniehansen.com/

https://www.facebook.com/writer.stephaniehansen

https://www.instagram.com/stephaniehansenauthor/

https://twitter.com/hansenwriter

https://www.pinterest.com/writershansen

https://www.goodreads.com/writerstephaniehansen



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Monday, February 22, 2021

The Secret of Dartwood Manor The Witchling Trilogy Book One by N. A. Triptow

 


The Secret of Dartwood Manor
The Witchling Trilogy 
Book One
N. A. Triptow

Genre: Contemporary Fantasy, 
Young Adult, Romance, Mystery
Publisher: Wishing Well Publishing
Date of Publication: January 18, 2021
ISBN: 978-1-7363844-0-4
ASIN: B08RS7PTG1
Number of pages: 382 pages
Word Count: 103,825 words
Cover Artist: Nicole Triptow

Tagline: A spellbinding reimagining of Jane Austen’s beloved classic, Sense and Sensibility.

Book Description: 

Witches. Ghosts. An ancient secret. Enter a world of myth and magic through this contemporary fantasy reimagining of Jane Austen’s beloved classic, Sense and Sensibility.

The small New England town of Tarryville, Maine is steeped in history, having been settled by the Dartwood and Farris families who fled Salem during the witch trials. The Dartwood sisters, Eden, Mariah, and Melissa, unexpectedly return home after their parents are found murdered. Upon their arrival, the girls are plagued by dreams in which dark spectral beings haunt them. 

When the hellish creatures seem to be more than just nightmares, another mystery begins to unravel as they discover that the circumstances around the murder of their parents may be far more menacing than they appear. Frantic for answers, they must untangle the mystery of their parents’ murders and reconstruct the pieces of an ancient secret. 

With the help of the young assistant curator of their family museum, Baden Correia, and an estranged friend from their past, Evan Farris, the orphaned Dartwood sisters must uncover the truth before the darkness haunting their family descends upon them as well.

Amazon


Excerpt 1:

Mariah found herself staring at the blank screen of her laptop for longer than she intended after the video call ended, hardly even noticing when the tears began to stain her cheeks. When there were no more tears left to shed, she closed her laptop and placed it on her bedside table. Rearranging herself on her bed she crawled under the covers and tried to shut her eyes, but the room around her tugged at her mind, summoning all of the haunted bedroom scenes she’d watched a million times in movies. Suddenly thankful for the old-fashioned four-poster bed, she pulled the curtains tight around her, blocking out the unwanted sights and was finally able to go to sleep.

The stillness of the manor was like a quiet pond just waiting for a fish to upset its equilibrium. The manors beside one another were nearly identical in their architectural design, but now, in the gloom of the night, the Farris manor echoed the dread of the once bright Dartwood manor with such exactness that it seemed as if they were all sleeping in a cemetery. No one stirred in the house, save for the shadows that danced through the windows in the moonlight. The stillness was disturbed, however, as one by one the shadows in the three Dartwood girls’ rooms began to move in purposeful strides. The moonlight no longer directed them in a nightly waltz as they made their way toward the girls.

The shadows, each a ghostly orb of darkness, started their trek from different locations in the rooms. In Eden’s room the mist trickled in from the window, while in Mariah’s it inched between the moth-eaten holes in the cloth ceiling of the four-poster bed, and in Melissa’s it crept in from under the bed itself. Slowly, the haze advanced upon each girl, their forms growing ever more into the silhouette of a person as they neared them. Hovering now only a foot or two above the girls, in unison, as if directed by the moon once more, an ethereal hand reached for each girl, fingers looking more like claws than anything else. A high pitched and yet deep hiss of sound escaped what should have been lips on the silhouettes, darkness protruding and encircling itself around the sleeping forms of the girls below them. Then, without warning, all three silhouettes shrieked a cry of disappointment, an unearthly shrill.

The sound woke each girl as they came to the terrible realization that what had been haunting them in their nightmares was in reality hovering just above them as they slept. Gasping, the silhouettes dissipated into nothing so quickly that none of the girls were quite certain of what they had seen. Nonetheless, each rose out of their beds with such haste that they all opened their doors at the same moment, only to be greeted by the horror-struck faces of their siblings.

 

About the Author:

N. A. Triptow graduated from The University of Utah with a Bachelor of Arts in English Teaching with minors in History Teaching, Theatre, and British Studies. She teaches high school English and Film Studies. She is currently pursuing a Master of Science in Strategic Communication and Advertising from Purdue University. In her free time, you can find her reading, watching and analyzing movies and television shows, attending the theatre, going on walks or hikes, and playing board or video games with family and friends. She lives in Utah.

https://natriptow.com/

https://www.facebook.com/AuthorN.A.Triptow/

https://twitter.com/N_A_Triptow

https://www.instagram.com/n_a_triptow/

https://www.bookbub.com/authors/n-a-triptow

https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/21021274.N_A_Triptow




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Monday, February 8, 2021

Clover by Nicole Kilpatrick

 


Clover 
Nicole Kilpatrick

Genre: YA Urban Fantasy/ romance 
Publisher: Fire and Ice Young Adult Books
Date of Publication: December 1, 2020
ISBN: 978-1-68046-983-7
ASIN: 1680469835
Number of pages: 270 pages
Word Count: 77K
Cover Artist: Ashley Redbird Designs

Tagline: Sometimes the best of luck can be the worst of curses.

Book Description:

When a handsome leprechaun reveals himself to Clover O’Leary on her eighteenth birthday, she is faced with three hard facts. One: he is the reason for her remarkably charmed life; Two: her luck has now taken a turn for the worse. Three: her name is a curse; a malicious gift from the powerful leprechaun who named her while she was still in the womb. 

In order to get her life back and undo the evil spell, she must travel to Ireland to seek the only creature who may be able to help: the Seelie Queen. With her intriguing leprechaun in tow, Clover crosses into the Faerie Realm, where fairies and mythical creatures abound and where finding her luck may ultimately lead to finding her love.

Amazon      BN     Smashwords     Google Play     Apple      Kobo


1st Excerpt from Chapter One:

The room smelled of sweat, cigarette smoke, and a tad bit of spilled beer drying on hot concrete. The stench of inebriated desperation was palpable. Theirs hadn’t been the only poker game when Nick O’Leary first came into the gambling den, but now everyone had gathered around their table to watch. Everyone looked so strange to him all of a sudden, as if his frayed nerves had somehow made everything sharper and more focused. The lad in the pale blue suit, too handsome. The lady who smelled of lilacs, what was up with those ears? The whole lot of them seemed caricatures of their former selves, and in the center, staring at him with the greenest eyes he’d ever seen was Alistair.

“I don’t enjoy waiting, my friend.” He smirked as he theatrically drummed his fingers on the table.

Alistair wasn’t Nick’s friend at all. He had just met the guy that day at a Las Vegas casino. He had cajoled him into a private poker game, and Nick had been too much of a gambler to resist. There was something about him that was hard to say no to. He was expertly groomed, immaculately dressed, and extremely good-looking, and yet for all these attributes, he somehow looked out of place. He was like a Picasso in a sea of wallpaper. Nick found himself wanting to be in the man’s presence.

Next thing he knew, Nick was in a gambling den ten blocks off the strip, in what would appear to be an oddly high stakes game of poker, face to face with the mysterious Alistair.

“See, I’m not sure I understand,” Nick stammered.

“It’s quite simple really. We’ve, shall we say, upped the ante? Money is so passĂ© nowadays, don’t you think? My preferred currency is luck.”

The last word drew a collective gasp from the now captivated crowd.

“Look, I really don’t know where you’re going with this…”

“Pretend that I may give you luck and pretend that I too may take it away. Upon this premise, my friend, we shall place our final bets. If you win, I am prepared to offer a lifetime of providence. If I win, you will surrender said providence to me, commencing immediately until the day of your death.”

 

About the Author:

Nicole Kilpatrick was born and raised in the sun-kissed Philippines islands, but now works and lives in the asphalt jungle that is New York City. A lifelong lover of books, she read the Godfather when she was twelve and instantly fell in love. While she still enjoys the occasional gangster novel, she has since discovered her true passion in young adult fantasy. Mario Puzzo was quickly replaced by J.K. Rowling in this author’s heart. 

When not writing, she can be found lounging in a cabin by a river, curled up at home reading a book, or concocting recipes in her cozy kitchen in Brooklyn, where she lives with her husband. Clover is her debut novel.

https://nicolekilpatrick.com

https://twitter.com/npkilpatrick

https://www.instagram.com/npkilpatrick

https://www.facebook.com/NicoleKilpatrickAuthor

https://goodreads.com/nicolekilpatrick



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Little Ellie Isabellie Elephant Day at the Pool by Tracy Hartley

 


Little Ellie Isabellie Elephant
Day at the Pool
Tracy Hartley

Genre: Childrens/Juvenile
Publisher: Writers Republic
Date of Publication: February 26, 2020
ISBN: Paperback 9781646201440
ISBN eBook 9781646201457
Number of pages: 32
Word Count:  1085
Cover Artist:  Linda Solomon

Book Description: 

Little Ellie Isabellie is a baby elephant who is already figuring out the world around her. She has made many friends, and it makes her very happy when she is with them playing. 

One day, when her friends decided to play in a pool, Little Ellie Isabellie suddenly felt left out. Because she was small, Little Ellie Isabellie could not join her friends in the pool. But oh how badly she wanted to play in the pool with her friends. She thought of ways how to appear bigger than she is so she could be with them. But nothing worked. She was losing hope until she decided to seek help from her mother. 

Her mother understood Little Ellie Isabellie and offered to help. She thought of a solution that would work. Along the process, she made sure Little Ellie Isabellie understood that when all her solutions seem to not work, it is always a good idea to seek help.And when Little Ellie Isabellie’s mama gave her something that would allow her to join her friends, Little Ellie Isabellie was off to a great adventure. 

Find out what it was that Little Ellie Isabellie got from her mom in Little Ellie Isabellie Elephant: Day at the Pool.

Amazon      BN     Writers Republic



Short Excerpt: 

         "I may be little, ohhhh yes,
         But I can do it, ohhhh yes,
         When I face a problem, ohhhh my,
         I can face it, YOU BET!" 
         Ellie sang as she twirled around.


About the Author:

Author Tracy Hartley is a grandmother to a precious granddaughter who was born premature, weighing in only at two pounds twelve ounces. But because of abundance of love and proper nurture, her granddaughter is way on her way growing strong and doing well. Tracy and her husband of thirty years, Bill, have two grown sons—the oldest is a pilot (and the father of her granddaughter) and the youngest serves in the army.








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Thursday, February 4, 2021

Strange Things Await Virtus Academy Book 1 by Jamila A. Stone

 



Strange Things Await
Virtus Academy 
Book 1
Jamila A. Stone

Genre: Urban Fantasy, Contemporary Fantasy, LGBTQ
Publisher: Black Glory Publishing House
Date of Publication: April 2019
ISBN: 978-1-7339717-6-8
ASIN: B07QN8W9YH
Number of pages: 288
Word Count: 98,270
Cover Artist: Michael Corvin

Book Description:

At Virtus Academy a boarding school for the supernatural, the students are not your average High Schoolers. They might go through some of the same social problems, these students are powerful and many dangerous. From vampires, witches, werewolves, and werecats these youngsters must learn how to navigate classes and other species who might on the outside of campus be a natural enemy.

Virtus Academy’s walls are going to be shaken up this year as they never have before. Not only do the walls have to contend with two young Sophomore witches (Natalie King and Alexandra Aurelius) who despise each other so much so they constantly wage war against the infrastructure, there’s a monster on the loose killing students.

Will these two witches who once were best friends rekindle that friendship in time to help each other through all that’s about to hit them this year? Or will they fail to unite even after a mutual friend of theirs get captured by the same monster killing students?

Publisher     Amazon     BN

CHAPTER FOUR

The night had felt better and it came from that one kiss she had shared with the dashingly handsome vampire who fought hard for her. For Nat, it capped off the beautiful night even with Hamilton humiliated and leaving with promises of getting her, she couldn’t help but feel somewhat proud of herself.

Doing her bid to avoid more drama from the other kids, she had chosen the alternate route leading to her dorm room, cutting through the almost worn off pathway just behind the rave house, heading north with the dorm house not yet in sight. It was going to be within her reach as long as she continued on her path for another ten minutes.

It was at that moment everything slowly began to feel odd. The air changed, followed by an uneasy feeling growing down her spine in form of tingling sensation which she had come to trust to mean that trouble was heading her way. It was something her mother had always asked her to watch out for; the sixth sense embedded into witches right from their time of birth.

“What now?” a rather embattled and worried Nat asked herself. She wished she had taken the normal quick route.

“Is anyone there?” Nat asked turning to her left, nothing. She clung unto her purse tightly.

The air grew colder, and fog soon began to fill her surrounding oddly.

She began to quicken her steps and managed her breathing so her hearing could remain focused and sharp enough to pick up any odd sounds. The sounds came in plenty; from leaves being rustled aggressively, to twigs being stepped on and snapped. Yet, Nat choose not to look back; she couldn’t deal with the thought of having a bunch of vampires hunting her down on Hamilton’s behest.

“Russel!” she called out softly, wondering if she should have taken his advice and allowed him to walk her to her dorm before heading to his.

All she could do was to keep her unsteady breathing pattern steady as possible, while her feet walked as fast as they could carry her.

Yet, the dorm room seemed further away the more she attempted to get closer. In fact, for the past five minutes, she had managed to walk on the same spot without realizing it until she stepped on a large trunk of wood which had almost tripped her and then she first realized she was being tailed by someone.

“Witches!” Nat sounded in fear and mumbled underneath her warm breath.

Her lungs stung and her eyes burned as the fog slowly began to clear and grant her vision of her surroundings.

“One…” Nat counted the incoming figure from her left before looking around. “No… two… three… four!”

“I don’t know what you want but I’m not going down easily!” she declared with her fists raised barely keeping them up. School grounds were supposed to be safe.

One to her left cackled in a dark laughter, while the others simply closed in without giving off any sound asides the crunching sound from the snapping twigs and dried grasses beneath their feet.

“This should be fun,” one of them mumbled.

Another cut right in, “She seemed to have a lot of spark in her earlier.”

Nat’s mind raced wildly with thoughts and her entire body grew numb as the four finally came to full view. She stared at them one at a time and felt her inside walls collapse as she struggled to figure out what exactly it was that she was dealing with.

“What are… what are you?” she stuttered, noticing the same faces staring right back at her.

The four figures were impossible to tell apart and they donned nothing different as regards to their clothes nor their faces. She had never come across such an anomaly in her life and it threatened to topple her to the ground just by the eeriness of things.

Boxing her in, one stepped closer and smiled right into her face. “What’s the matter little witch? You never seen perfect shape shifting before?”

Nat had never come across their kind before. She had indeed heard of them, but they never showed themselves out in the open a lot.

“But… but…” she stuttered.

“News flash!” another replied. “We aren’t as hidden as many would believe.”

Feeling the one to her left shove her hard to the ground, the four slowly transformed into girls of the same liking before turning into elderly men as they morphed their skin and facial features impressively, before finally settling to their initial look. It sickened her stomach and she was about to feel even more nauseated as they drew closer.

“We won’t hurt you,” one promised.

“We just want some sugar,” another joked.

Nat struggled to fight them off with punches, but they succeeded in pinning her down regardless. With her hands pinned on either side by two of the shape shifters, one stood watch and the fourth slowly began slipping his pants down, Nat forced her hands free and ripped her nails into the fourth’s face, causing him to shriek in pain as he struggled with his already fallen pants.

“You bitch!” he cried, yanked at his belt and began to wrap it around his knuckle.

Yet, she wasn’t done and upon sighting a large branch in the nearby bush, she waved her hand at it and watched it levitate but not convincing enough in the air, while her captors laughed and made a mock of her. Feeling her anger fueled, she swung hard with every intent possible within her bones and the branch struck one of them in the face immediately.

It would be the act that got them even more enraged, and most notably, the one she had struck.

Nat watched his fast swinging hand reach her face, and suddenly knock her into a barely conscious state. He still wasn’t done. He came swinging hard for the second time, but his fist didn’t connect as something seemed to hold him back against his will. A glowing light, burning brightly in the distance approached and seemed to startle the shape shifters who turned their attention to the person.

“Leave the girl alone!” a feminine voice warned.

“This isn’t any of your business bi…” one of the shape shifters had barely spoken when he started to clutch his throat with both hands.

Nat watches her assaulter choke and her savior approach in a steady walk, Nat managed to make out fuzzy images from her somewhat swollen eye from where she had been punched. They weren’t having a good time with whoever had come to her rescue. The girl bore what appeared to be fire in both hands, before ramming it hard into one which caused the others to slowly crumble to the ground in agony.

“Show your real self you coward!” the girl demanded.

The four bodies slowly began to merge into one, while the single figure coughed and slowly got to his feet with a rather enraged look on his face.

“Who do you think you are?” he asked.

Lunging forward and hammering down Nat’s savior, Nat could only attempt to crawl towards the fight to try and assist but it proved more difficult than she had imagined it would. Her spine felt stiff and her joints were unresponsive. Her rescuer seemed to be in trouble as the huge framed attacker now in his true form reached for a rock to his right and threatened to hammer it down on the girl he had pinned to the ground.

“Watch out!” Nat felt herself scream and try to warn the other girl.

Thankfully, the girl had managed to draw out a silver knife from within her boot, rammed it hard into the shape shifters’ chest which sent it squabbling backwards in a painful roar. It struggled to hold the knife as he felt it burn his hands as he continued to growl then began to burn violently from the magical knife jammed into his heart.

Nat felt her heart threaten to give way. Sweat rolled down her face immediately as she came to the realization that someone had just killed for her. Her hands trembled while her weakened frame struggled to get back into a sitting position but found it to be almost impossible. The blow to her head not only left her with impaired vision but some way left her struggling for balance.

“You shouldn’t try to overly exert yourself,” the feminine voice said before laying her hand to rest on Nat’s forehead. The voice is familiar.

Nat could hear the girl mumble words she recognized to be mild healing spells. Warmth quickly spread through her face and around the wound, causing it to close back up.

“You’re good as new,” she said, gently backing away while she held her hand out for Nat to grab hold of.

Nat opened her eyes and looked up at her savior, Alexandra, who slowly began stepping away.

“Alexandra!” another girl in a low-cut top came rushing through. “Oh my god, what happened?”

“Alexandra? Why the hell would she come to save me, she hates me,” Nat thought with a soft gasp.

Alex motioned for her friend to remain where she was, before leading Nat out from the dark woods and turning around upon getting to a more lightened clearing leading towards the dorm. Nat motioned to speak with her, but Alex obviously wasn’t interested in having a conversation. It was typical of Alex after all and after all those years, she still seemed to have a chip on her shoulder.

Nat felt rather happy to have been saved by her, though somewhat sad by the situation of things between her and the girl she used to call her best friend.

About the Author:

Jamila A Stone lives in Washington, D.C with her two dogs. Jamila is driven to tell stories without censorship and for the continued creativity in the world of literature. As an African American woman, she understands the lack of opportunity persons of color have to let their artistic creativity be seen on equal platforms, so she created her own publishing company called Black Glory Publishing House. She thinks not just of herself but of the current and future of literature namely increasing the diversity and inclusion within the literary community.

https://jamilastone.com

https://twitter.com/AuthorJStone

https://www.facebook.com/JamilaAshaStone




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Monday, February 1, 2021

Shadow and Poison The Dark Guard Book 1 by J.B. Curry

 

Shadow and Poison
The Dark Guard
Book 1
J.B. Curry

Genre: Paranormal Romance, hot paranormal noir
Publisher: Arcanic Media
Date of Publication: January 26 2021
ISBN: 978-1-7327900-2-5
ASIN: B08RLPVJGQ
Number of pages:472
Word Count: 112,000

Book Description:

When monsters stalk the darkness of Prohibition era Chicago, it takes a special kind of hero to kill them.

Private detective Mark Van Ryn’s supernatural power over shadow has made him an outcast his whole life. When a mutated creature starts eating Chicago’s gangsters from the inside out, Mark is the only man in the city who can hunt it down and destroy it. But a dangerous lady has a job for Mark too, one that might cost him more than his life.

Gifted perfumer Eliza Karlova needs a man. The most evil man Chicago’s got. And she needs Mark to find him for her. Because Eliza has a deadly power of her own and a family legacy she’s doomed to keep. But when forbidden passion flames up between Eliza and the angelically handsome detective, she has to decide between her destiny, and the man she loves.

War brews in the city as the Century of Progress World’s Fair draws near, and Mark and Eliza must find a way to trust each other if their love, and Chicago, are to survive.

Gritty and gripping, powerful and sexy, Shadow and Poison will have your heart racing with each kill and every searing kiss. ~ Max Watson, author of Chains of Nurture

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 Shadow and Poison Excerpt 1

Eliza’s face was carefully turned away from him as she cuddled up next to Duke. Pretending that if she couldn’t see him, he couldn’t see her, maybe.

That never works, sweetheart. Drink in hand, he ambled across the room toward the darling couple.

Duke watched him coming with a half-smile. “Mark,” he drawled. “We seem to be meeting everywhere nowadays. I see neither hide nor hair of you for years, and now here you are. Again.”

“Funny coincidence, eh Lionel?”

“Indeed.” He slid a glance at McGann and his boys, who were eyeing them right back. “Interesting friends you’ve made.”

“I might say the same for you,” Mark returned, his eyes on Eliza.

“Ah, where are my manners?” Duke said with a little laugh. “You remember Miss Karlova.”

She held out her hand in a languid gesture. “How do you do,” she said, with a polite, distant smile on her lips. As if those lips hadn’t been locked on his a few hours ago.

A hard smile edged his own mouth as he took her hand in his. “Yeah,” he said. “Eliza isn’t the kind of lady a man forgets. Thank you for the lovely morning we spent together, by the way. I hope you enjoyed the red hot sausage.” He brought her hand to his lips and brushed a kiss over her gloved fingertips.

Her face drained of color as she stared at him, wide-eyed. She all but snatched her hand away from him.“You—you remember.”

Duke arched an eyebrow at her. “What’s this? You spent the morning with Mark? Why, how charitable of you to visit with a poor invalid, my dear.”

“Yeah, she’s a regular angel of mercy.” Mark kept his eyes on Eliza. “We could talk about the reason you came to see me, or we can dance. What do you say angel?”

“I . . . I . . .” she said.

“Speechless with delight, I guess.” He plopped his whiskey glass down on the table and all but scooped Eliza up out of her chair. “You don’t mind, do you old fellow?” he said to Duke. Without waiting for a reply he swept Eliza onto the dance floor.

It had been a long time since he’d danced with a woman. Not since the fluffy little debutantes of his youth. But she made it easy. She was a smooth, graceful dancer, responding to the lightest touch as he moved her around the floor. Her gloved hand rested light as smoke on his shoulder, the fingers of the other clasping his softly.

But though her body moved beautifully with his, from the neck up, she wasn’t happy with him at all. Her eyes were narrowed, her lush red lips drawn tight. “What are you doing?” she murmured. “Why are you trying to convince Duke you’re courting me?”

“Would you rather I told him you hired me to spy on him?”

“I would rather you hadn’t come here at all. What do you think you’re about, interfering with my plans like this?”

“It isn’t about you, sweetheart. I’m on a job. It’s just your bad luck if I accidentally wreck your chance to nab a murderer for a husband.”

“For your information, you can’t destroy my chance to ‘nab’ Duke, no matter what you do. You’re only making a fool of yourself, Mr. Van Ryn.”

“Since our lips got to know each other so well this morning, I think you can call me Mark.”

Her cheeks turned pink. “So you remember that too.”

“If you think I’d forget a kiss like that just because you tell me to, you don’t know me very well, Eliza.” He slipped his hand down her back an inch and squeezed her softly.

She sucked in a breath and her blush deepened. “Stop that. What do you want, Mark? Really.”

“I want to know what Duke told you about his pet monster.”

“Nothing. The only topic we’ve spoken about is the World’s Fair.”

“That’s all?”

“That, and all the important politicians who will be there on opening day. Lionel wants very badly to impress them.”

“So it’s Lionel, is it?”

“Yes. What else should I call my future fiancĂ©?”

“The defendant?”

“Hilarious.” The band started winding up its tune. “Now that you’ve got what you came for, you can take me back to my table.”

“I haven’t got everything I want yet, angel, but I will.”

She didn’t dignify that with a reply, but pivoted, chin in the air, and marched off the dance floor, barely waiting for him to escort her.

Duke was watching them with hooded eyes. He got up lazily as they approached and held out his hand to Eliza. “You dance beautifully, my dear. All you need is a partner worthy of you, and you would be without peer.”

“I’m already without peer, darling, but I wouldn’t mind another dance,” she said with a saucy smile.

Duke immediately took her in his arms and danced her off as a new tune began.

“Have fun kids,” Mark said. The sight of Eliza in Duke’s arms did something nasty to his insides, so he turned away went back to the bar. He ignored McGann’s meaningful glare as he passed by their table and put his foot on the rail and his elbow on the counter. “Gimme another whiskey,” he said to the barkeep.

As the man poured his drink, McGann got up and huffed over next to him. “What are you doing? You’re not here to make time with some twist,” he said.

He looked away from McGann, staring into the long mirror behind the bar. His own ghost-white face stared back at him. Behind his reflection, Eliza and Duke danced past. “I know what I’m doing,” he said. “This is all part of the plan.”

“What plan?”

Out of the corner of his eye, he saw the bartender standing a few feet away from him, staring down into a sink behind the counter. He craned his neck for a better look and saw water bubbling up out of the pipes. The man took a piece of wire out from underneath the counter and stuck it into the drain, probing around.

The hair at the back of Mark’s neck stirred.

“Did you hear what I said, punk?” McGann barked. “What’s your plan to catch this thing?”

In the mirror, Mark saw Eliza stop short in the middle of the dance floor. She pulled away from Duke and spun toward the bar, nostrils flaring, eyes wide.

“Damn!” Mark lunged for McGann. “Get back!”

A fountain of greasy water exploded from the sink, shooting past the bartender and sending him tumbling to the floor. A tentacle like a long rope of jelly lashed out of the drain straight for McGann’s face. Mark got a fist in the gangster’s collar and yanked him away from the thing, but he wasn’t quite fast enough.

The tip of the tentacle whipped across McGann’s chin, leaving a wide red streak like an acid burn. One touch of that thing could dissolve human flesh. Mark released McGann and he flailed away, pulling out his gun.

Mark was dimly aware of the screams erupting around him, the Outfit boys leaping to their feet and drawing their heaters, people in a mad stampede toward the doors.

 But all his focus was on the mass of slime pouring itself out of the drain, across the bar and onto the floor. It was a rubbery, pulsing, roiling mass of greenish jelly that quickly formed a viscous blob three times as big as a man. Tendrils of slime shot out of the main body, probing around like long tongues licking the air, and then sucking themselves back in with an awful slurping sound.

There you are at last, you ugly bastard. He gathered his shadow and got ready for a brawl.

 


 

About the Author:

J.B. Curry is an artist and writer. She has traveled to every corner of the United States, but currently lives in beautiful New England with her family and her vast collection of houseplants.

Come visit her at https://www.jbcurry.com/

Facebook https://www.facebook.com/authorj.b.curry    

Amazon https://www.amazon.com/J.B.-Curry/e/B07KVJ43V8

Bookbub https://www.bookbub.com/profile/j-b-curry

Goodreads https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/2568231.J_B_Curry


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