Release Blitz: The Acquisition by Rachel Ford #contemporarythriller #LGBTQ #suspense @GoIndiMarketing @ninestarpress

Title: The Acquisition

Author: Rachel Ford

Publisher: NineStar Press

Release Date: 09/06/2021

Heat Level: 3 – Some Sex

Pairing: Female/Female

Length: 94600

Genre: Contemporary Thriller, LGBTQIA+, contemporary, lesbian, action/adventure, reverse hero’s journey, suspense, humorous, revenge, workplace drama/office workers, tech secret espionage, pets, cruise ship, violence with guns, family drama

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Description

When Sutherland Bio buys up the little bio research firm Human Resources specialist Angela McCormack works for, she tries to adapt. Even though her shady new boss’s smarminess and sexism makes her stomach turn. She sticks it out through the verbal abuse, and through the benefit cuts and layoffs.

But when her boss, George Sutherland Jr., tasks her to recruit replacements for the people he laid off—and lets it slip that the layoffs were just part of a regime change strategy—she’s ready to throw in the towel. As much as she hates the idea of shoveling manure again, she’d rather return to her family’s farm and petting zoo than stay with Sutherland Bio.

Then George Jr. takes a particularly bad day out on her. And Angela decides she’s tired of the humiliation. She’s going to fight fire with fire. She makes it her mission to fill George Jr.’s team with the worst possible candidates she can find.

But she didn’t take into account falling for one of the new hires. All of a sudden, she’s not sure she wants to leave. Not yet.

And that’s just the first chicken to come home to roost. Little does she know, George has plenty of secrets of his own. And when one of them turns deadly, Angela will have to rely on her handpicked sabotage crew for survival. She might just wish she was back home shoveling manure after all.

Excerpt

The Acquisition
Rachel Ford © 2021
All Rights Reserved

You don’t piss off the person making your food. You don’t piss off the woman who gave birth to you. And you don’t piss off the HR lady. Everyone knows that.

Everyone, it seemed, except George Maxwell Sutherland, Jr. As with most memos, George Maxwell Sutherland, Jr. had missed that one. Along with the one about manners. And treating employees with respect. And showering every day instead of wearing a bucket of cologne to work.

Angela McCormack wrinkled her nose and stared at her boss’s feet. They were at eye level since he had them propped up on his desk. The sight made her stomach turn a little. It wasn’t so much the untrimmed talons on the ends of his toes, or the hobbit-like growth of untamed hair. It was the fact that she could see them at all. And the no-feet-on-the-furniture and don’t wear flipflops into work when you’re the CEO memos.

Yes, there were quite a few memos George Maxwell Sutherland, Jr. had missed. But at the moment, it was the one about not downsizing people out of their jobs just to recreate the same position two months later that weighed the heaviest on her mind. Because, unless she’d misunderstood everything he had just said, that’s what he was doing here. And despite George’s propensity to torture a simple sentence into a longwinded monologue for the sole pleasure of hearing himself talk, she was pretty sure she hadn’t got it wrong.

“Excuse me, Mr. Sutherland,” she said, “just to clarify, we’re refilling the positions we just downsized?”

He cocked an eyebrow up at her. “No, not at all. These are different positions, Angie.”

God, she hated when he called her Angie. “Yes sir, I heard you say that. But if I’m understanding you, the titles will be different, but the positions will fill the same basic function as before. We’re looking for an IT team lead to replace Dawn. You need a Director of Business Services to pick up where Mark left off, and so on?”

He flashed her a toothy grin that, she supposed, he assumed was charming. It wasn’t. It was the kind of smile she’d expect from someone selling a car that probably wouldn’t make it out of the lot. “Now you’re getting it. You know how it goes. New era, new regime. If I’m going to do this right, well, I need people I can trust.”

He studied her for a long moment with keen blue eyes. “That’s why I kept you on. I had a good feeling about you. And you know what I say—I’m a man who goes with his gut.”

Angela McCormack forced a smile and lied through her teeth. “Of course, sir. You can always trust me.”

“Don’t call me sir. Call me George.” He smiled again. He smiled too much for her liking. Grinning CEO’s, smiling politicians, and gas station sushi: she reserved the same measure of trust for each of them. “Now, I’d like these listings up by Friday. Is that something we can do?”

We. As if he’d lift a finger to help.

“I’ll get the drafts to you by the end of the day tomorrow. If the revision process goes smoothly, I don’t see why not.”

He nodded. “Excellent. Excellent. Well, that was all I had, then. Oh, my dry cleaning’s not back yet, is it?”

“No sir. I mean, no, George.”

He winked and clicked his tongue as a kind of sound effect to match the finger guns he aimed her way. “That’s better. I don’t like a formal workplace. I’m all about casual. I think it builds better morale. Don’t you?”

Angela smiled and lied again. “Oh, absolutely.”

She had nothing against casual, as long as it wasn’t the kind of casual that involved dirty hobbit feet on the desk. But George had come into Fenwood Bio like a whirlwind, laying off staff, axing benefits, and implementing draconian cost reduction programs within his first two weeks. The turnover rate was already higher than the layoffs. Which was one of several reasons why she was currently filling the role of the entire HR department, as well as admin, IT department, and supply requisitions. All for the same salary as before, of course, but with a much slimmer retirement package, and no life insurance benefits.

No, Angela McCormack didn’t want to hear the word “morale” pass his lips. He’d personally shredded every last bit of it and flushed it down the toilet.

“Me too. You might say, it’s one of my core philosophies.” He nodded, to himself it seemed, then added, “Well, I’ll let you get to work, then.”

She didn’t mind the dismissal. Hell, it couldn’t come soon enough as far as she was concerned. “Right.”

Retreating to her office and closing the door after her, Angela breathed out a long sigh of relief. She hadn’t been afraid he’d called her in to lay her off. He’d gotten that out of his system within the first few weeks. Still, she’d seen so many come and go, she would have been lying if she said the thought hadn’t occurred to her.

Mostly, she detested him. And she had the kind of face that didn’t know how to use its inside voice. When someone tripped her BS trigger, well, her face broadcast it loud and clear before she even realized it.

George Maxwell Sutherland, Jr. lived in the BS zone. And Angela McCormack needed her job. She had a mortgage and a house she loved. Sure, she could have found a job elsewhere that would have paid as well, or maybe a little better. But she didn’t want to give up her house. Not after all the years she’d spent restoring it, a room at a time.

Nor did she want to leave Fenwood. She’d grown up here, and she planned to grow old here. Older, she thought with a sour glance at the calendar. She’d be thirty-five in two days. She didn’t want to have to start over at thirty-five.

And that’s exactly what finding a new job in human resources would be. Fenwood Bio—now Sutherland Bio Research—was the biggest employer in the area, and those companies that did have HR departments weren’t hiring.

She knew because she’d checked. So, if she was going to find another job, it would mean leaving the area. It would mean moving a hundred miles south, or seventy-five miles north, or even farther east and west.

Fenwood was one of those smack-in-the-middle-of-nowhere towns, with more cows and horses than people. You either loved it or hated it.

Angela loved it, and she didn’t want to leave.

So, she pulled open her archaic software suite and started filling in the job listings they’d talked about. Did it make her a modern-day Judas Iscariot, helping this son of a bitch after he’d fired so many of her friends on the pretense that their jobs were redundant, now that Sutherland Bio Research had acquired them?

Maybe. Then again, Judas didn’t have a mortgage. Angela stared at the screen, trying to focus on the work. But the work didn’t—couldn’t—make up for the feeling in the pit of her stomach. The feeling of betrayal that left her a little sick. God, I hate this job.

She started as her messenger application dinged. Glancing at the clock on her desktop, she frowned. Somehow, half an hour had already passed.

Angela brought up the messenger window and groaned. It was George, and he’d flagged the chat as a high priority.

Can you come to my office?

Grimacing, she typed, On my way.

Angela practiced her fake smile on the way. It probably wouldn’t have convinced anyone who wasn’t as obtuse as George, but at least it wouldn’t be scary. Or, so she hoped anyway.

She knocked on his closed door and immediately heard, “Come in.” She did, and Sutherland smiled at her. “Ah, Angie. Thank goodness. We’ve got a situation.”

Oh no. “Oh?”

“I forgot I had an appointment this morning.”

“Really? I didn’t see anything in your schedule.”

“Oh, I forgot to tell you about it. I would have had you add it to the calendar. But that’s not the issue. Point is, we don’t have anything for them to eat.”

Now, she did grimace. So far this month, he’d sent her on eighty-some dollars’ worth of coffee runs, lunch pickups, and pastry runs. For a millionaire, Mr. Sutherland was chronically short of cash. It had all gone on “the tab.”

The tab didn’t exist, except as a figment of his imagination. Angela had her doubts that it would ever be settled. He’d pay off ten or twenty bucks here and there. But it always seemed larger than whatever cash he happened to have on hand.

“What did you have in mind?”

“Oh, I don’t know. Whatever you can find.”

“When are they going to be here?”

“Nine-thirtyish. Maybe ten. I’m not really sure. They were going to be here when they could. They’re flying in from Philly. Shit.” He shook his head. “I need to have something here for them. They probably haven’t eaten yet.”

Despite herself, Angela felt his tension get to work on her mind. “Well, I can put a call into Tealeaves & Coffeecake. I’m sure we can get a breakfast tray.”

He nodded. “Good. Good, their stuff is good. For Fenwood food anyway. See if you can get one of those breakfast quiches, and pastries.”

“Will do.”

“Nothing with mushrooms though. I can’t stand them.”

“Got it.”

“Oh, and what are we going to do about coffee?”

“I’ll make sure we have a pot freshly brewed by nine-thirty.” It wasn’t her job, but if it quelled a panic? Well, Angela would do it.

But George wrinkled his nose. “I’m not going to force them to drink that crap.”

She blinked. “You mean, the office coffee?”

He nodded as if she was agreeing with him somehow. “You’ll have to get one of those jugs of coffee. French roast. You know how I like it.”

“All right,” she said, then added, “I’ll let you know how much it costs.”

He nodded absently. “Sounds good. Thanks, Angie, you’re a lifesaver.”

“Anytime,” she said, leaving his office before the scowl set in.

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NineStar Press | Books2Read

Meet the Author

Award-winning author Rachel Ford is a software engineer by day, and a writer most of the rest of the time. She is a Trekkie, a video gamer, and a dog parent, owned by a Great Pyrenees named Elim Garak and a mutt of many kinds named Fox (for the inspired reason that he looks like a fox).

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Release Blitz: I, Volcano by Eule Grey #LGBTQ #sciencefiction @ninestarpress @GoIndiMarketing

Title: I, Volcano

Series: Volcano Chronicles, Book One

Author: Eule Grey

Publisher: NineStar Press

Release Date: 08/23/2021

Heat Level: 2 – Fade to Black Sex

Pairing: Female/Female

Length: 62300

Genre: Science Fiction/Fantasy, LGBTQIA+, new adult, alternate universe, bisexual, lesbian, action/adventure, illness/disease, intercultural, doctors, musician, enemies to lovers, folklore, ocean/sea creatures, hurt/ comfort, tear-jerker, grieving, survivor’s guilt

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Description

According to ancient rhymes, the islanders of Ansar and Skarle are children of the volcano, born of fire and destined to be lovers. After the eruption, the prophecies are forgotten as all are forced to flee. Nobody cares about silly nursery rhymes now, certainly not Jalob.

When shy medic Jalob Baleine heads to war, it isn’t for romance. She only wants to help refugees who have no home or allies. Because they are kin. Jalob was born under the same glowering volcano, on an idyllic island surrounded by dolphins. Like the refugees, she fled the lava and secretly cherishes the old ways.

She falls asleep, ignoring the pull of tides, and dreams of a loving touch. Who doesn’t? And sure, maybe Jalob hasn’t felt whole for years, but war isn’t the time for fantasies. She keeps to herself and hopes someone else will sort the war out. One woman can’t heal the world. After all, she has enough to do, what with tending the sick and her supervisor, Susan, always on her back.

Then Jalob meets stroppy violinist, Corail Esplash. After an explosive introduction, they’re forced to spend time together. Stress makes them long for a reprise, and a fragile line dances between love and hate. Inevitably, the young women exchange island stories. Corail is head-strong and rude, a typical Ansar who loves to tease and be chased. And Jalob—strong, loyal, from Skarle—has such fast legs… Could the old rhymes about destiny be right? Ah, fate.

Death and war are relentless enemies, and difficult choices lie ahead. Can a shy girl rekindle the power of a dead volcano and harness the ocean? One woman can’t heal the world, but maybe Jalob is the only one who can save Corail.

Excerpt

I, Volcano
Eule Grey © 2021
All Rights Reserved

The news on TV isn’t good. Refugees march across Mainland with no place to go.

Dad sighs. “Why? What can anyone achieve by systematic annihilation? Why do some people want to own the world?”

“Supremacy?” I guess. The ways of angry people have always been a mystery to me. “I don’t understand either. Why is there so much hate?” I did world history in school and know the basics, but it doesn’t really help. There’s never been peace, despite Mainland being filled with people from all creeds. “There must be wrongs on both sides.”

Dad stirs his tea vigorously. Brown liquid sloshes over the rim. One of these days he’s going to break that mug. “I’m not so sure. It’s territorial, like always,” he says ruefully. “We should be safe.”

Mainland is more than thirty miles from where we live on the island of Farland. Our small-island laws and rules are thankfully removed from Mainland dictation and, by and large, they leave us alone. My people have a long history of looking the other way. Not very admirable, but it has its plus points.

“Yes, but what about them?” The news is full of footage of little kids and old people being carried in supermarket carts. “Will anyone help?” I lean into Dad’s solid frame, glad to be safe in our cottage. We don’t have much, but we sleep at night and have enough to eat.

I remember what it’s like to leave at midnight, knowing you’ll never see home again.

He pats my knee. “I don’t know. Macke says they’ve already started arriving in boats. Families mostly.”

“From where?” I try to think back to geography lessons and books. Although I’ve done well in medical studies, I was no good at other lessons. “From Esk? Isn’t that the nearest coast?” I love Esk. We used to row there often to spend weekends and holidays. “I hope it doesn’t get ruined by war.”

Dad tuts. “Jalob! People are much more important than buildings.”

“I know that. I just don’t get why countries can’t solve things by talking.” The truth is, seeing the refugees is more than disturbing. It’s easier to pretend all the trouble can be solved with a chat than to acknowledge it probably can’t.

“A country behaves the same as an individual,” he says. Any minute now, he’s going to bring up me being bullied at school. “When one person is stronger than the other, or maybe, angrier, more damaged, more hurt, sometimes being friends isn’t an option. You can’t have a conversation if the other person isn’t listening.”

“Mm.”

“Friendship is a privilege, not a given right. Remember when you were at school, and—?”

“I get it, I get it. I’m being selfish. It’s just hard to imagine when you’re seeing it on TV. What even started this war? I don’t mean all the petty arguments. I mean, what was the actual cause?”

“Do you know nothing of the world? It’s your history too.”

I shrug. “I know potatoes make excellent chips and fried eggs are good to dip. What goes on in Mainland isn’t my business.” I’m uncomfortable he’s trying to make this war relevant to me. I don’t mind hearing about Skarle, but I don’t want to start thinking about boats and refugees. It’ll only lead to images of volcanoes and what happens when people can’t get away.

He shakes his head and laughs. “Always thinking with your stomach! What do you mean it’s not your business? Mainland Ansars originate from the islands.” He looks at me meaningfully. “You know—our islands. They’re different from our island Ansars, sure, and they left hundreds of years ago, but still. They’re our people, Jalob.”

Ours? From what I remember, island Ansars certainly didn’t belong to anyone.

“Mm. I know that much.”

Ansars fascinate me. Since I can remember, I’ve had a crush on an Ansar—Berl. Fish and frogs, is she gorgeous! Tall, slim, messy long hair, and full of cutting sarcasm. Everyone fancies her. I’ve always kept out of her way. People like that don’t want to associate with the likes of me.

On the last night of our final school term, students had been allowed to gather. She’d got out a guitar and sung all night. It was spellbinding. I waited until everyone had left, just to watch her pack away. Just to make the evening last a little longer. Maybe I hoped she might talk to me? Skarles and Ansars have a long history. And, like Dad says, we come from the same place.

Berl noticed me, standing by the big oak tree. She sauntered over and looked me up and down. “You’re massive. Are you Skarle?” she asked.

“Um. Yes. I mean. I was. Until the volcano. Yes. Um.”

“Um? What are you, a bee?”

“Sorry.”

I thought she was going to be rude, like she normally is. When she kissed and started touching me, I actually thought I was drunk and hallucinating. It was the best night of my life.

When she unbuttoned my top, I was so excited I didn’t know what to do, so I just watched her do it.

Being tall, big, and clumsy, I’m all the opposites to her. I could probably have lifted her up with one hand if I had wanted to. That night, though, I hadn’t felt very strong at all. She took my top off, unzipped me, and then squeezed and prodded at me. I didn’t know what it was supposed to feel like. Even now, I’m not sure I liked it that much.

Then she walked off, like nothing had happened.

Didn’t answer any of my messages afterwards. I suppose one day, I’ll stop thinking about her and wishing for what can’t be.

Dad gets into his stride. “Over the years, they’ve become undesirable in Mainland. I suppose that’s the word. I don’t know how it started, but Mainlanders started squeezing them out. There were protests, but nobody can stand up to an army. Looks like they’ve ordered the Ansars out of eastern Mainland. But why? Those poor people have to live somewhere.”

“It’s really worrying. Are Ansars safe here in Farland?”

“Are you thinking about that girl?” Dad pats my knee. “She’ll be fine. Mainlanders have no jurisdiction here.”

“Girl? Who?”

“You know who. Berl.”

“Oh! Hah-hah. I wasn’t thinking about her. I’ve moved on,” I lie. “Haven’t seen her since college.”

“She isn’t worth the time you spent pining,” Dad says. “Didn’t have the decency to answer your calls.”

“It’s fine. I couldn’t care less.” I’m absolutely not going to talk about dates with my father. “We can’t just watch.” I nod at the TV, wanting Dad to stop scrutinising me. Sometimes I think he reads my mind. “We have to help.”

Watching Ansar people in trouble is different to seeing Farland folk in trouble. I’d still be upset, but this is more. It’s not like watching people fight and knowing you can step in and help. It’s more like, I’m in the fight and on the losing side.

“Actually—” He starts to speak and then turns away, biting his lip.

“What?”

“It’s just. Well. The International Agency is asking for medics to volunteer.” He speaks slowly, like he might be already regretting it. “It’s nothing. Forget I said anything.”

“For what?”

“Doctors, nurses, anyone medical. All those people walking miles need medical treatment.” He shakes his head and sighs. “The camps must be crying out for help.”

It’ll be another two months before I’m a qualified medic. I haven’t considered doing anything except work at the local hospital and stay with Dad.

“Oh.” I speak fluent Ansar and am used to working with all kinds of people. Theoretically, I could offer. “Do you think they’d accept me? I don’t have any experience except college. I expect they’ll get a lot of applications from some great medics. They don’t want someone like me. I’m sure there’ll be others who can do it better.” Like always.

“Jalob,” Dad tuts. “Why do you have such little confidence in yourself?”

I wait for him to say, Believe in yourself; you’re a great girl, so I can nod without having to answer. He doesn’t though. He waits for me to speak. I blush up like a big red stupid letter box. “I dunno” is the best I can manage. “Stop looking at me.” I stand and head for my bedroom.

“Jalob,” Dad calls.

I lock the door and flop onto my bed. I can’t stand another round of Dad therapy. I hear the words, but they just bounce off my skin. I wish he was right—that I’m a great person who only needs a chance to prove myself.

Truth is, I’m just me. When has that ever been good enough?

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NineStar Press | Books2Read

Meet the Author

Eule Grey has settled, for now, in the north UK. She’s worked in education, justice, youth work, and even tried her hand at butter-spreading in a sandwich factory. Sadly, she wasn’t much good at any of them!

She writes novels, novellas, poetry, and a messy combination of all three. Nothing about Eule is tidy but she rocks a boogie on a Saturday night!

For now, Eule is she/her or they/them. Eule has not yet arrived at a pronoun that feels right.

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New Release Blitz: Red Rock Romance by Jane Colt #eroticromance #paranormal #mystery @totally_bound @firstforromance

Red Rock Romance by Jane Colt

Word Count: 78,512
Book Length: SUPER NOVEL
Pages: 292

GENRES:

ACTION AND ADVENTURE
CRIME
CRIME AND MYSTERY
EROTIC ROMANCE
MULTICULTURAL
MYSTERY
PARANORMAL

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Book Description

A brilliant Native American archaeology student and her Brit ‘bad boy’ professor find the key to love, hot sex and…what? A lost civilization?

Cocheta ‘Cat’ White Eagle is a Native American archaeology grad student on a mission to prove the existence of her ancestral Lost Tribe. A vision tells her it’s somewhere high in the treacherous mountains of Sedona. The only problem is she’s afraid of heights! Trying to conquer her fear through pole dancing—of course—she attracts the attention of a bad boy Brit. He’s exciting, brilliant and sexy but totally off-limits. He’s her new professor, a hound, and if he recognizes her as the girl behind the mask of ‘The Contessa’, her career will be over before it begins.

Colin Tucker is a drop-dead-gorgeous Londoner who is rocketing to the top of his field. Alas, the sandy-haired, blue-eyed wunderkind has a weakness for sexy women—including the French Ambassador’s daughter, no less. Banished to the Colonies, he finds himself torn between the exotic stripper and his brilliant student. After being put to a sexy test, he gives his heart to Cat, his student. He pledges to help her in her search, they join forces and live hap—

But wait! Smugglers, deception and danger… Oh my! Colin breaks up with Cat to keep her safe, gets arrested for stealing artifacts and helps the thieves trying to thwart her quest.

Is that really how to win the girl?

Reader advisory: This book contains explosions, death threats, outdoor sex and minor instances of racism from a secondary character.

Nick and Rebecca are madly in love, kinky as hell and ready to push the boundaries a little. As her Dom and her Daddy, fulfilling all her desires is both Nick’s responsibility and his privilege, but while Rebecca loves the idea of Nick sharing her with another Dom, she’s not sure if she’s ready to turn her fantasy into reality.

Nick is eager to facilitate the threesome of her dreams, but it’s no hardship to wait until she’s ready…and, in the meantime, maybe give her a hint of just what two Doms can do for her.

With a small taste of the very sexy possibilities, it doesn’t take long for Rebecca to get on board, especially since she’s developed a small, harmless crush on Nick’s preferred co-Top, his good friend and fellow Dom, Cade.

Nick and Cade have teamed up before, so he knows they can deliver on the promises Nick has made. Together, they’ll be sure to give Rebecca a scene—and a night—none of them will ever forget…

Reader advisory: This book contains scenes of erotic humiliation and multiple partner sex.

Excerpt

The tremor in her arm was the first sign Cat was reaching her limit. Her labored breathing was the second. She’d pushed so hard during this climb that every bit of clothing she wore—her long-sleeved gray jersey, her sports bra underneath, her long black climbing tights—was soaked. Sweat ran down from her sopping bandana into her eyes. The salt stung. She clenched her jaw.

I can do this.

The fear she’d fought so hard to ignore disagreed. ‘No, you can’t,’ cackled the demon within.

She fought back.

Hang in there. Stay here for a minute and rest. We’ll be okay. Relax. Just don’t look down.

She took a deep breath and gripped the red-hued rock tighter. Her gloves weren’t thick enough to protect her from its knife-like edge. It bit back. “Ow!” The burn spread through her arms. She kept shifting her right foot to find a more secure foothold.

Better. Worse. Better. Worse. Damn!

The struggle only added to the strain on her upper body. Now both her arms were shaking. Stop! she commanded. They ignored her. She took a series of deep, hard breaths, hoping to get oxygen to her muscles. Her throat burned from the effort.

Put the weight on your left foot to get a better grip.

The black rubber sole slipped off the rock and shot into mid-air. She grunted and instinctively tightened her grip even more, which only increased the pain.

Defying the agony, she pulled herself up a few more inches. Her heart thundered against her chest. Straining, she gasped for air. Safety was within sight. If she could just grab the next handhold, she could regain her balance and give herself a chance. She gritted her teeth and stretched—but it was just out of reach.

She put all her weight on one leg and explored the rough surface with her free foot. Miraculously, she found a foothold that would let her lift herself.

I can do this!

She shifted her weight onto that side.

Stretch! Push! Pull! Fight! Just two more inches.

But the pressure on her leg was too much. The pain in her calf was instant and searing.

Fuck! A cramp!

The muscle tightened with a mind of its own, oblivious to the fact that it was bringing about its own destruction. With her legs now useless, she shifted back to her arms. Drained, they shook. Even her hands had nothing left.

No! No!

She gulped as dread washed over her. But she still struggled.

It will be okay, she lied.

Her heart pounded as her fate became undeniable. Her throat tightened and her face flushed. She didn’t know which felt worse—the pain in her hands from gripping so hard? The searing burn in her muscles? The terror at being so high? Shame at having overreached and being the author of her demise? Swallowing hard, she knew that, given what was about to happen, the question was academic.

Her trembling arms told her that she had only seconds before her body betrayed her. She closed her eyes tight, clenched her jaw, kept fighting and prayed for a miracle. But her final bit of energy evaporated.

Even as the cold, merciless hand of Death pried her fingers from the rock and pulled her to her tragic destiny, she refused to surrender.

No! No!

But gravity pulled her backward like a rag doll.

No! No! Please, God! No!” she screamed into the void.

She plummeted.

Three feet.

The sturdy black safety harness snapped sharply around her. She grunted in reply, and her friend slowly lowered her to the gym floor.

Lauren greeted her with a big smile and a warm hug. “Twenty feet. That’s a new personal best, Cat. Congratulations. Of course”—she laughed—“it doesn’t change that you just died again. What is that…five times today? But it’s still an accomplishment. High five!”

Cat’s arms were so spent that she couldn’t raise either one in response. As her friend helped her out of the harness, she hung her head and wiped her face. “I know you’re trying to be encouraging, but being so weak and terrified only twenty feet off the ground is humiliating. I’m such a failure!” She began to cry.

Her friend covered her in an oversized pink towel to sop up the perspiration. “They’ve got the AC blasting, sweetie. You’re drenched from going all out. You don’t want to catch cold.” She put her arm around her as they walked to the locker room.

As she and her friend dressed in the pristine locker room after showering, Lauren pointed to the sopping mountain of heavy, colorless, sweat-soaked fabric in front of Cat’s locker. “That’s at least one problem you could solve in one stroke. You’d be cooler and more comfortable climbing in shorts and a sports bra. All that wet cloth makes you overheat and drains your energy.”

Cat winced. She was a failure as a climber. Now she couldn’t even dress right.

“I’m sorry, Cat.” Lauren hugged her. “You know I’m your biggest fan. I’m just trying to help. Let me treat you to coffee. I’ll even spring for a chocolate croissant. The good news is that since you’re now nearly a ghost, calories don’t count.”

Cat mustered a weak laugh.

“Seriously, it takes real guts to face your fears like this. You should be proud. You’re a fighter!”

“Sure, a fighter without a punch,” she replied dejectedly.

Lauren wrapped Cat in another big hug, and Cat laid her head on the comforting shoulder, took a deep breath and relaxed into her warmth.

“You’re the best, Lauren. I’d have given up weeks ago if it weren’t for you.”

As they left the gym, Cat squinted at the bright sunshine and winced at the heat then she tossed her bag into the trunk of her old canary-yellow Toyota. It was a glorious day in Sedona. The spectacular blue sky perfectly framed the red rocks glistening in the distance. Normally, Cat took comfort in the natural beauty around her—especially the rugged red mountains that reminded her of her heritage and her mission. Today, defeated by the climbing wall yet again, she barely acknowledged her surroundings. Her friend pointed to the mountains. “You have my word,” she said resolutely. “You’re going to own those rocks.” Cat shrugged. She was too tired to argue.

They walked the few blocks to the café arm in arm. Lauren wore cute pink shorts and a tight white sleeveless top. Cat had on long, loose-fitting black track pants and an oversized, long-sleeved, gray, Red Rock University T-shirt. Pressed down by the weight of her exhaustion, the best she could manage was a slow trudge.

As she reached for her coffee on the white stone counter, her arm still shook. She had to use both hands to pick up the red paper cup. She carefully placed it on the sturdy wood table so it wouldn’t spill. As she started to sit down, however, her leg began to cramp again. She lost her balance and jostled the table. The cup rocked, but Lauren grabbed the drink before it could tip over and stain the red-and-white checkerboard tablecloth. Despondent, Cat plopped into a chair and stretched out her leg to stop the cramp. Once the pain had passed, she picked up a sugar packet—but tore it so badly that it exploded over a pair of cute guys walking by. As she brushed the white powder off her gray T-shirt, she noticed that they looked her way then chuckled. She flushed hotly, put her head on the table, covered it with her arms and sighed.

“They thought it was cute,” Lauren said quietly. “Sit up. They’re hanging around. They want to come over and chat.”

Cat sat back up, shook her head and mumbled something incomprehensible.

Lauren caught the guys’ eyes and shrugged apologetically. They picked up their drinks and headed out. “Okay, the coast is clear.”

Cat shook her head in disgust. “See? I can’t even manage a cup of coffee and cute guys. I’m pitiful—a pathetic sack of fears destined for failure. I’m an aspiring archaeologist who’s afraid of heights. Even after presenting at a bunch of conferences, I’m still terrified of public speaking. I hate it when anyone even looks at me. Those guys were gawking at adorable you. They noticed me only because what I did was stupid. I have ‘career fiasco’ and ‘relationship nightmare’ written all over me. I’m hopeless.” She slumped again.

Lauren took her hand and gave her a warm smile. “Are you kidding? Bumping into the table and not being able to open the sugar are signs that you went all out on your climbs. You don’t do things halfway. I admire that about you.” She put her finger under Cat’s chin, raised it and looked directly in her eyes. “Now, tell yourself you’re a fighter…and mean it! That’s an order!”

She sighed. “Fine. I’m a fighter,” she murmured sullenly.

“Cat!” Lauren replied.

“Okay, okay. Despite my unbroken string of miserable failures and despite the obvious futility of continuing to try, I stupidly haven’t given up,” she said.

Lauren laughed. “If that’s the best you can do, I’ll take it. And also tell yourself that you’re a beautiful, sexy woman. I’ve seen you naked at the gym. Those guys were checking you out because you’re hot—even when you insist on dressing like a nun.”

Cat managed a weak smile then the tears started again.

Lauren reached into her white backpack and handed her a tissue. She stroked Cat’s arm gently. “I know it doesn’t feel like it, sweetie, but you actually had a good day. Once you get past the fear of heights, you won’t waste so much of your energy gripping so tightly. And weight work will give you the strength you need.”

Cat wiped her eyes and made a face, recalling how embarrassing her recent sessions at the gym had been. “I struggle so much, even with small dumbbells, that I get that pitiful look from everyone around me. They ask me if I’m okay, like I’m coming back from major surgery or something. I’ve even tried to go when no one else is there, but then the trainers come over. I can see it in their eyes. They’re worried I’m going to hurt myself then sue them. I’m so self-conscious that it’s humiliating.”

Her friend paused, a frown furrowing her forehead, and looked down at the table. She sat quietly for a few seconds, pursed her lips and moved the saltshaker from a red square to a white one as deliberately as if she were playing chess. She glanced back up at Cat. “Maybe…you…” She took a sip of coffee. “It’s just…”

“What?”

“Nothing.” Lauren looked down and took the pepper shaker this time. Staring in its direction but not really looking at it, she rhythmically tapped it on the table as she pursed her lips.

Cat sighed. “Come on. I can take it. You’re going to tell me I’m stupid to think I can do this. I need to face facts and give up.” She closed her eyes and covered her face with her hands as though someone was going to punch her.

Lauren gently took Cat’s hands and put them back on the table. “Look at me, Cat. I am not going to criticize you. You do that too much already. How do you forget so quickly that you graduated summa, won a great graduate fellowship and are on a fast track to your Ph.D.? Didn’t the school just send you to that conference in Greece where everyone raved over your presentation? You’re awesome! You’re the only one who doesn’t know that. I wasn’t going to criticize you. Actually”—she looked out of the window—“I might…have an idea,” she said hesitantly.

Is there hope?

Looking back at Cat, Lauren sat quietly. She leaned in, lowered her voice and spoke. “I have a thought…about a Plan B…to solve your problems. It’s unusual, but…” She left the sentence incomplete.

Cat leaned forward excitedly. “A Plan B? Really? Tell me.”

Lauren looked into her coffee and stirred. She took a deep breath and sipped. Then her face tightened and turned red. Quickly looking down at the crusty croissant in front of her, she said abruptly, “Boy, this coffee is hot.” Flustered, she tore off a piece of her pastry. “And this looks great.”

Cat was startled. She didn’t believe that hot coffee could make her friend’s face turn scarlet. What is she not saying?

Lauren looked away and pulled her long blonde hair behind her. “Um. Not weights.” She looked down and tapped her fingers on the table. Her face tensed, and—to Cat’s surprise—she bit her lip and held her breath for a few seconds. When she exhaled, she almost imperceptibly shook her head.

After a few seconds, she looked up and glanced out of the window. “I mean, let’s figure out why you’re so afraid first. If we can reduce your panic, you’ll be more relaxed and will climb better,” she said, looking back at Cat. “Then we’ll worry about body strength. So, where does the fear come from? And if you’re so terrified, why are you so committed to learning to climb?”

Everything—Lauren’s cadence, expression, posture—screamed that she’d deliberately changed the topic.

Cat frowned. If there were another way to tackle her fears, she didn’t understand why her friend wouldn’t tell her. But it was obvious that pressing for an explanation was the wrong thing to do. She’d respect Lauren’s wishes. At the same time, she wasn’t ready to confide everything to Lauren yet about her embarrassing fears and weird obsessions—at least not in a public coffee shop where she could be overheard. “I promise I’ll explain—but let’s save it for a day when I haven’t fallen to my death so many times.”

“Fair enough.” Lauren smiled. “But enough with the sad stuff.” She leaned in with a naughty smirk and lowered her voice. “Tell me all about the conference. Any cute guys?”

“I told you I’m not interested in anything that could distract me from my work—and certainly not a relationship until after I have my degree.”

“That’s not what I meant, and you know it. Did you follow my suggestion”—she nudged Cat conspiratorially—“and engage in some wanton revelry? God knows you deserve it after how hard you’ve been working.”

“Wanton revelry?” Cat looked puzzled.

“Sorry. Too much Shakespeare. When you got to the conference and unpacked, you must have found my strapless red dress I snuck into your bag. Did it work? Did you get laid? Surely there were any number of hot young studs happy to service you.”

Cat laughed. “Hot young studs? Have you ever seen what archaeologists look like?”

“Sure. Indiana Jones. The hat. The whip. The bedroom eyes. Bedroom hands. Bedroom you-know-what.” She playfully raised her eyebrows a couple of times.

“Sorry,” she chuckled. “That’s the movies. Real life archaeologists are nerd city.”

“Wait a minute. Didn’t you text me that there was some drop-dead gorgeous guy all the women were drooling over? The one who’d made some sort of amazing discovery?”

“Oh, him. The Brit who found an ancient Grecian vase that’s going to rewrite the history of the period. Because my flight got delayed, I got to the conference after his lecture, and he was nowhere to be seen. I don’t believe he was as good looking as everyone said. Nobody’s that handsome! Even so, I wouldn’t be interested. He’s not my type.”

“Not your type? Handsome and brilliant? He’s every woman’s type!”

“No, I mean he’s a hound.” She waved her hand in the air dismissively and grimaced. “He pursues women with the same vengeance he uses to look for artifacts. We’re just prizes for him. The rumor mill said he was bed-hopping the entire conference. Colin Tucker is the last man I’d ever be interested in!”

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About the Author

Jane Colt

Jane Colt began writing romances to deal with the stress of a ‘day job’ that’s mainly about examining the various ways people treat one another badly. An incurable romantic, her stories give her hope that we really can live happily ever after—even if only in our imaginations. She writes erotic romances because, having been raised in a morally rigid home, she wants to encourage in her readers a healthier, ‘sex positive’ outlook. She especially wants her heroines to be as sexy and passionate as they desire. You can count on the fact that her couples end up in love and having great sex! … OK, maybe they have the sex first!

Her stories aim to be light-hearted, fun, upbeat—and sexy! No dark, brooding, broken, tortured guys who need fixing. Just great, handsome, smart, sexy, ‘real men’ whose only weakness is being unable to resist the women she pairs them with. Think Lifetime or Hallmark movies plus hot sex!

She’s lived on both coasts of the U.S., recently leaving the beaches of Los Angeles to return home to the glorious autumn foliage of western Massachusetts. Married, she and her spouse are happy to be the devoted servants of two adorable cats. She loves traveling. Favorite cities: San Francisco, Boston, Venice, London, London, London!

By the way, anyone who knows her would be shocked to learn she writes erotic romances. “Jane Colt” is a pen name. So, shhhhhh.

Find out more about Jane at her website.

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Release Blitz: Unus (Gargoyles’ Song) by Stephanie Burke #LGBTQ #paranormalromance @FlashyCat @GoIndiMarketing

Title: Unus

Series: Gargoyles’ Song 2

Author: Stephanie Burke

Publisher: Changeling Press LLC

Release Date: June 18, 2021

Heat Level: 4 – Lots of Sex

Pairing: Male/Female

Length: 202

Genre: Romance, Fantasy, Pansexual, Multisexual, Dark Fantasy, Action Adventure, Paranormal Romance, Alien Encounters, Elves Dragons & Magical Creatures

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Synopsis

Emerging from the cocoon, the last thing Cyprus expects is to be female. But there she is, the only female born of the Clan Equlestraa Untitalis, the most important family in their clan. She still remains a warrior, through and through, and no pair of breasts is going to stop her from her training! Until she meets him.

Alknowan, the Prince of the Dragonish Prime, thinks he’s saving a damsel in distress. But instead, he takes one look at Cyprus and loses his heart. He vows to do anything to keep her, including battling her to the death for the honor of keeping her.

But there are more issues. She is of the Equlestraa, the horse type gargoyle warriors, while Alknowan’s secondary form is Dragon. Then there’s the matter of her wanting to kill him. But if he can survive her family, the politics trying to keep them apart, and Cyprus herself, then he would give up everything to become Unus, the First of her Coven.

Excerpt

Unus (Gargoyles’ Song 2)
Stephanie Burke
All rights reserved.
Copyright ©2021 Stephanie Burke

Out!

Have to get out!

It was too tight! It was too dark!

Can’t… breathe!

With heart racing and fear mounting, the panicked being struggled against the thick bindings that encased and restricted shem’s movement.

No one ever said that the conversion, the physical change would be so… so… there were no words! Cyprusurakaliesupreidesa raked long nails against the membranes, shem’s limbs moving slowly through the pale pink fluid that filled the sack.

Cyprus could hear the boom of the voices above, echoing down through the fluid. That is Cypusupriaratizaor Raitza, this Coven’s Master. Cyprus’s fevered mind latched on to that thought and held fast, using it as a talisman and a calming tool.

Coven Master was there. Coven Master was there!

Why is the Coven Master not offering aid?

It was enough to make Cyprus want to scream, to lament shem’s physical imprisonment, to demand release.

So that was what Cyprus did, buried the fingers of both hands in shem’s long flowing hair, the hair that entrapped almost as well as the casing surrounding Cyprus, opened shem’s mouth and… choked.

Out! Out! Out! OUT!

The thoughts of escape swirled through an even more terrified mind as anxiety grew. Fear and frustration ruled, tearing through shem’s mind and flowing through shem’s consciousness until Cyprus thought for sure shem would be swallowed up by a sea of black and red fury. Madness! Cyprus recognized its teasing call, the fall into the mental state where nothing existed but pure emotion. Right then, that emotion was rage. That rage, that taste of madness, scared Cyprus almost as much as being locked in this cocoon. It was the fear of that yawning, tantalizing unknown that lent Cyprus the strength to shove at the liquid thing holding shem prisoner.

Cyprus clawed and scratched at the membranes, kicking and twisting, fighting until the nails of one hand pushed their way through the thick, rubbery walls.

Yes, there was a way out. Cyprus dug at the tear, using both hands now, pulling and jerking until a sudden waft of cool air caressed shem’s fingers.

“Not long now.”

Coven Master was still there. Cyprus could hear her speaking.

She must be speaking with my Damshire. The thought comforted Cyprus, calmed the chaotic thoughts streaking through shem’s frantic mind. That both Coven Master and Damshire were waiting for the completed emergence enhanced a sense of calm, but also reignited the desire to be done with the whole process.

Yes, that’s right. The emergence. How long had it been?

Cyprus couldn’t remember.

Cyprus’s last memory was of bathing with shem’s six siblings, laughing and joking with the youngers about the change, exchanging knowing glances with the elders, knowing that shem’s Sibs understood the excitement and the mounting fear.

And then as shem made a comfortable nest of bankets that night with the siblings, the light of the setting suns caressed Cyprus’s face as shem stared up at the darkening sky through the large windows that surrounded the crèche room.

The large yellow moon glowed in the rich purpling of the growing night sky. It seemed so close that Cyprus reached out a hand to caress it, knowing that change was going to happen and somehow feeling in harmony with the ever-changing face of the first moon.

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Meet the Author

Stephanie is a USA Today Best Selling, multi published, multi award-winning author, Master Costumer, handicapped, wife and mother of two.

From sex-shifting, shape-shifting dragons to undersea worlds, sexually confused elemental Fey and homo-erotic mysteries, all the way to pastel-challenged urban sprites, Stephanie has done it all, and hopes to do more.

Stephanie is an orator on her favorite subjects of writing and world-building, a sometime teacher when you feed her enough tea and donuts, an anime nut, a costumer, and a frequent guest of various sci-fi and writing cons where she can be found leading panel discussions or researching varied legends and theories to improve her writing skills.

Stephanie is known for her love of the outrageous, strong female characters, believable worlds, male characters filled with depth, and multi-cultural stories that make the reader sit up and take notice.

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Biological Choice by M.A. Freeman #paranormalromance @writingmaf

Lorelei: Lorelei Sapelo is perfectly content with her life, thank you very much. She has a job she loves, owns her own house, and is fulfilled by being surrounded by books. Home has been what she has created for herself by herself. And, while she may feel a nagging sense of something missing, it doesn’t stop her from creating her idea of a perfect life.

Connor: Connor Dwyer is perfectly happy moving from place to place. Meeting new people, exploring various places, and being content with his own company. The concept of home has been for other people, for families, something he’s never had. And, while others might have that need, he hasn’t worried about stopping long enough to see if it’s something he lacks.

Two lonely hearts on a collision course that will change their lives in unexpected ways. Yet, in the shadows, there are those watching, interested in a bond that shouldn’t exist.

Available today at Changeling Press

Preorder for May 28th at online retailers

EXCERPT

All rights reserved.
Copyright ©2021 M.A. Freeman

Lorelei

Mondays were the worst. This one, even more so than usual. Several things were vying for the spot of frustration number one as Lorelei Sapelo reported to her job. First day of classes with demanding, entitled students. Her car had some ominous glowing light on the dash that probably meant an expensive trip to the mechanic. And her favorite fountain pen was missing. She had the vaguest hope it would turn up when she got a chance to turn her office upside down but wouldn’t count on it.

“Hello, Ms. Sapelo.”

Lorelei fought the urge to roll her eyes. His smarmy voice was not attractive at all. The upperclassmen were all the same, but this one was more persistent than most.

“Mr. Jernigan, are you lost? The library is across the quad.” Lorelei’s eyes narrowed slightly. She was in no mood for his stupid come-ons. It wasn’t like the archive was an extension of the library. They were housed in a completely different building. It was tucked out of the way from the main quad thoroughfare.

“Just getting a jump-start on the optional reading list for my Lit class. Thought I’d pop in to see if you have any recommendations.” He moved closer to the counter and leaned against it in what he probably thought was a coy, come-hither manner.

What a pack of lies. Lorelei fought the urge to roll her eyes as she moved farther behind the counter, so not only was it between them but the computer was as well. His pursuit was beginning to verge on harassment, something she would not tolerate. If this continued, she would have to lodge a formal complaint. This was the part of her job she hated — playing babysitter, especially to the ones who did not appreciate the historical culture they held in their hands. Each book, each artifact was a valued piece to be appreciated and treated with respect.

The message chime on her computer interrupted her mental tirade. She had never been happier to hear that annoying tone in her life. It meant she had to work to do which meant Mr. Jernigan had to leave. She didn’t care what the message said. It was going to get her out of this tedious interaction.

She clicked on the alert and frowned as she quickly read the opened window. Well, Lorelei had wanted an excuse for denying Mr. Jernigan access to the archives. Here it was in nice Calibri font. The Kyoko Foundation, her employer, wished to conduct a full audit and inventory.

“I’m sorry, Mr. Jernigan, but the archive is going to be unavailable this semester.” Lorelei looked up. What an ugly expression. Someone didn’t like not getting their way. “It seems the Kyoko Foundation will be conducting an audit and inventory. I’ll be sure to send out the communication email notifying the campus by the end of the day.”

It was plain she wanted him gone. She wasn’t trying to hide it. It must have come across because he stormed out when he didn’t get what he wanted. Pleased, Lorelei returned to the message to read it in more depth. They were sending a representative to perform the audit while she completed a full inventory. Great. Either this rep was going to know nothing of the subjects collected here, or they were going to know too much to interfere with the process she had perfected over the years for acquisitions and loans.

Lorelei glanced back toward her office. She gazed specifically at the stacks of boxes she had been meaning to convert into the new digital system. So much dust. Her allergies were going to go berserk. She could only hope mice hadn’t gotten into those records. She did not like rodents.

Further information provided in the email let her know she had a week to complete the conversion. Doable, if she worked late with a minimum of interruptions. She had to have everything in order considering she was soon taking a short leave for medical reasons.

“Excuse me.”

Lorelei glanced up and was stunned. It was as if the entire world paused. A moment of revelation and acceptance and longing she didn’t even know she was capable of flashed through her. A moment that could be summed up in a single word: mine. All mine, from his pelt of black, grey, white hair like the coat of a wolf to his sun-kissed skin from time outside. Icing on the cake was his lean, hard body encased in a slouchy jacket, button-down shirt, and tailored jeans. All of it, topped off by a pair of ice-blue eyes watching her with the same possessive fervor.

What a crazy thought. It snapped her out of whatever trance she had fallen into. You couldn’t own another human being. Maybe her friends were right — she needed a break. Although it would have to wait until after this audit.

“Yes? May I help you?” Her mind finished the rest of what she wanted to say. Help you take off your dapper jacket? Unbutton your crisp white shirt? Pull those jeans — Whoa! Whoa! Whoa! Lorelei blinked a few times and forced her brain off the X-rated track it was on. Jesus, what was wrong with her? He was a fine-looking man who ticked all her boxes, at least for now, but here she was, quivering like a schoolgirl.

He approached the information desk with long strides, while the energy between them seemed to spike the closer he got to her. Never in her life had she felt anything like it. Judging from the slight flush across those high cheekbones and the rapidly dilating pupils of his eyes, he felt it too.

“I’m Connor Dwyer, the new adjunct.” He reached into the inside breast pocket of his jacket. “I believe this is yours. I found it on one of the stone planters in the quad.”

Lorelei gaped at her favorite fountain pen held in his long-fingered hand. “Oh, my God, thank you!”

He handed it over. The brush of his skin was a shock. He was the one. Yet there was something she couldn’t quite put her finger on. Something about him that belied the usual male-female attraction. Something making the attraction much more intense. The urge to get close to him, to touch him, was almost overwhelming. Suspicion made her frown. She thought she might have snatched the pen out of his hand in a somewhat brusque manner.

Connor’s lips curved slightly, obviously not offended. “You’re Lorelei Sapelo, correct? The archivist?”

Lorelei gripped the pen tightly and shivered. He had kept her pen close in the days since he’d found it. She could tell. She could always tell. An invaluable skill…

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

M. A. Freeman lives near Wilmington, NC and never makes it to the beach. Any free time is consumed with books, either reading or writing. An avid traveller and self proclaimed geek, trips abroad and to cons such as DragonCon in Atlanta are always on the agenda. Currently working full time in healthcare and attending school to obtain a Master of Library and Information Science degree to compliment the Bachelor’s of Arts in English and Creative Writing.

Checkmate by Treva Harte #ActionAdventure #agegap @HarteTreva

King in Check: On the run, Rey is forced to depend on Mosquito, the mysterious young boss of his old home. When they search for help, they have to discover who who they can trust, or they’ll end up dead.

King’s Gambit: When Mosca chose Calle to be his personal guard Calle should have suspected something was off. But this time is different. Very different. Living one step away from betrayal and falling in love with the man he’s charged to protect changes both of their lives. For good.

Now available at Changeling Press

Preorder for May 28th at online booksellers

EXCERPT

All rights reserved.
Copyright ©2021 Treva Harte
Excerpt from King in Check

“Need anything? I’m going to town.” I looked up at the big man on the kitchen porch, trying not to show how urgently I wanted to leave. It would have been even more obvious if I’d left without asking, since trips to town were rare.

I kept myself from shifting my weight from one foot to the other. I was trying to stay casual, trying to avoid the inevitable.

“What for?” Calle asked the question anyhow.

“To pick someone up.” I made it sound routine, but of course a trip to Medianoche never was. If you weren’t caught by the Feds or robbed, and if you got what you were willing to barter for — hell, that made it an extraordinary trip. And if we returned, we never took new people past the portal.

“Rey?” Calle’s face lit up. “Is it today?”

Calle was a big man who didn’t talk much and never smiled. None of the men ever complained about his cooking, and it wasn’t just because they wanted to be fed regularly. Despite his injury, his muscles were impressive, and his arms could reach wide enough to grab and knock someone against the wall before the other person could move. He’d proved that more than once… and all without changing his dour expression.

But now Calle was beaming like I’d told him I’d found a miracle cure for his crushed leg. Damn it. Where was the stolid cook I’d come to know when I wanted him?

“If he shows.”

“If he said today, he’ll show.” Calle’s smile left. He seemed to be thinking deeply. Then that smile came back full force, unable to be restrained. “Yeah. I need something. Bring sugar. We’ll do something special for the meal tonight.”

Shit. The man was going to bake a cake or something. The cook who always cooked chili on Monday, eggs on Tuesday, and so on through the week, following his routine without fail.

I already hated Rey. I’d spent three months busting my ass to manage the compound, and all I got was “Rey wouldn’t do things that way.” I was the freakin’ boss’s kid, but it didn’t matter. No one took orders from me unless I got in their face and proved I could enforce or buy what I demanded. Otherwise, the men just did what Rey had told them to do back when he was still around to give orders. After all, in their minds, he was still the foreman.

He’d been gone for years. While he’d been gone, the compound had withered. The campesino women and children had left first. Then the strongest and boldest of their men had vanished. I’d been sent to save the compound before the hands deserted us and everything fell apart. I’d arrived before the last of the campesinos left. I’d promised the hands double pay if they kept the remaining sharecroppers on our land without killing them. I didn’t ask how they managed it, but the campesinos stayed. Just that was almost enough to make the compound sustainable if we ever needed to close the portal against the Federistas.

“Maybe Dog should go instead.” Calle frowned. “He’s strong.”

“I’m touched that you worry so about my safety,” I said. “But I’ll do it.”

I knew damn well what Calle was worried about, and it wasn’t me. His concern was that I was too short, too weak, too city to pull off bringing Rey home.

I’d managed a miracle to get the compound back to life so quickly. I’d not just ridden but walked the entire compound to work it with the men. I’d done more than my share and never whined. But all I got as a reward was the short end of the Rey stick.

Those hands who stayed made it clear they did because Rey would be back someday. The campesinos didn’t look at me or speak when I gave them orders. But they would sing at night about El Rey — and they didn’t mean their primitive god. Unless, of course, they thought the man was their god. I wouldn’t be surprised.

“But, Boss, if you let someone else go –”

“Don’t argue with me.” I stalked out.

* * *

My mood hadn’t improved after waiting almost two hours at the station. No one from outside Medianoche stayed in one place that long once they reached town. And waiting at the station, a place officially sanctioned, was even more dangerous when you weren’t sanctioned yourself.

The fans that provided some relief from the heat moved sluggishly, raising my temperature and temper by the minute. When was the coach going to arrive?

I wiped my face. Sweat had already stained my shirt through. Maybe I should leave. Probably he wasn’t going to show. There were all kinds of dangers traveling by coach — from retired-soldiers-turned-thugs to interfering officials, all of whom required either a bribe or a beating before you were sent on your way.

I wasn’t sure the new Rey would be able to manage either feat if he were stopped. From what I could gather in the brief message sent to me before the reception was jammed, Rey was returning because he was of no more use to our side. I didn’t know what that meant exactly, but no one gave us back healthy, whole men once they became part of the endless fighting in the cities.

That thought sent a sudden chill through me. Maybe he’d been sent back to die. God, how would I manage the hands if that happened? Especially if it happened when he was my charge.

And then I heard the noise in the distance. No one else around me looked up, but I fumbled with my locator and caught the faintest blip of something foreign on the screen.

The coach.

I stood up and pushed my hands into my pockets to keep them from shaking.

The same dilapidated coach that had spit me out here into my new world three months ago stopped again. The horses slumped under the shade, and the driver leaped down, more concerned about them than any of the passengers. The coach door opened, and I braced myself.

One passenger leaped down, apparently healthy, his face hidden under a wide-brimmed hat. Then he looked up.

Jesus God.

Blue eyes in a tanned face. Blue eyes that looked right into you and almost made you miss that the rest of the man was equally beautiful. Almost. Perfection like that was hard to miss for long.

And hard was the word for that body.

I’d had no one since I arrived at the compound. But that wasn’t why my body was leaning toward him.

It was him. He did it with one look at me.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Treva Harte has always been an overachiever. She also collects things. First it was degrees. First a B.A. in English, then she decided to go back for a Master’s degree. Not content with that, she added a J.D. Since then she’s added a husband, also an attorney, and two children to her collection. She’s continuing her ways as an overachiever, writing her wonderfully offbeat tales of passion and possibilities — in her spare time.

Visit her website at www.trevaharte.com.

Release Blitz: The Homecoming Prince by Isabelle Adler #fantasy #LGBTQ @Isabelle_Adler @GoIndiMarketing

Title: The Homecoming Prince

Series: The Castaway Prince, Book Three

Author: Isabelle Adler

Publisher: NineStar Press

Release Date: 05/17/2021

Heat Level: 3 – Some Sex

Pairing: Male/Male

Length: 25300

Genre: Fantasy, LGBTQIA+, action/adventure, bisexual, cross-dressing, established couple, fantasy, genderbending, genderfluid, political, royalty, war

Add to Goodreads

Description

Having returned to the continent following Warren’s illness, Stephan and Warren are certain they’ve escaped the notice of spies from Seveihar and are ready to build a new future for themselves. However, their quiet life is shaken once again when they receive a message from Stephan’s sister, Nessa. She begs him to return home and help her stand against their older brother, Robert, who is abusing his power by oppressing his subjects and starting an unnecessary war with the neighboring country of Esnia.

With dark family secrets coming to light, Stephan is faced with a difficult choice between safety and happiness in exile with the man he loves, and his duty as a prince to protect his people from tyranny. And yet, amid all the dangers, the greatest risk he might face is a broken heart…

The Homecoming Prince is the final book in The Castaway Prince series. For best enjoyment, please read the books in order.

Excerpt

The Homecoming Prince
Isabelle Adler © 2021
All Rights Reserved

“I’m glad to say you look slightly less awful today,” Stephan said.

His tone was teasing, but it masked a very real concern. Warren’s bout of illness had been so prolonged and so grave that for a while Stephan had feared the worst.

Those days had been nothing short of horrible. He’d known plenty of wretchedness and weathered plenty of dangers, but nothing could ever come close to the long hours spent by his lover’s sickbed, holding his hand, wiping the sweat off his brow, and hoping the next rattling breath wouldn’t be the last while Warren thrashed about with fever.

“Always such a sweet talker,” Warren said.

A weak smile played on his lips as he brought a cup of tea to his mouth. He sat up on the narrow bed, propped against a stack of pillows. The only room they could afford at the inn had a tiny fireplace, which gave off more smoke than heat. The feeble flames fought a losing battle against the mid-autumn chill seeping through the windows and walls. But Stephan had piled all the blankets he could find on the bed, and the tea was hot and strong, at least.

Stephan took his own cup, savoring the warmth that spread through his fingers.

“You should go downstairs to the common room and warm by the big fire,” Warren said, having undoubtedly noticed him shiver. The illness did nothing to lessen his usual perspicacity. “Maybe get something to eat too.”

Stephan shook his head. They were running too low on funds for him to luxuriate in more than one meal a day now, and they’d already eaten lunch. Besides, he wouldn’t leave Warren alone in a drafty, cramped room while he enjoyed himself downstairs. Had their roles been reversed (as they so often had been), Warren wouldn’t have moved from Stephan’s side even for a moment unless for some dire need.

“I don’t actually mind the winter,” Stephan said wistfully. “We’ve been traveling through hot-climate lands for so long, the nip in the air is refreshing. It reminds me of home.”

Warren raised a skeptical eyebrow, but Stephan was being truthful. He’d loved Segor; the short time spent living together in the port city of Varta, free to express their love for each other, had been the happiest in his life. But when they were forced to flee, pursued by his brother Robert’s assassins, things had begun to go awry. The South Isles, where they’d found a temporary refuge, had proved too much of an extreme environment for them to thrive in. When Warren had fallen sick, the local physician had advised he return to the familiar climate of the continent—which they had, despite the risk inherent in such a journey.

“I do miss Seveihar sometimes,” Stephan confessed, coming to perch on the edge of the bed with his cup of tea. Warren folded his long legs, making room for him. “Even the winters at the castle, with the winds whistling through window cracks, and those endless creaking staircases. I always knew the cold and the snow would abate eventually, and then it’d be spring again, and then summer. The summers were always so beautiful there, up in the mountains.”

“I remember.” Traces of hoarseness clung to Warren’s voice, but already he sounded so much more vital than before. “I remember how you loved to roam the woods around the castle. Until…”

“Until it became too dangerous for me to go out on my own,” Stephan said. “It still is.”

The old pain of realizing his own brother hated him enough to plot his assassination flared back into life. The worries and tribulations of the last few weeks had almost made him forget the true reason for his self-imposed exile, but he knew better now than to think it was all behind him. The events that had driven them from their safe little haven in Segor into the dangers of the unknown had demonstrated all too clearly that they couldn’t afford to let their guard down again.

Warren reached for Stephan’s hand, threading their fingers together, and they exchanged a brief, bitter smile. Some of Stephan’s anger and disappointment dissipated into their shared warmth, as they always did.

“I’m sorry,” Stephan said.

“For what?”

“I seem to always bring danger to our doorstep. Even when we move halfway across the world.”

“And if it weren’t for you, I’d never have seen anything of the world.”

“Don’t joke. You fell sick because of me. If I hadn’t been so careless in Varta, we wouldn’t have had to travel so far, putting so much strain on you. It’s my fault.”

“It’s not,” Warren said. “And if I had a choice, I would have done it again. All of it. I would do anything just to be with you.”

Stephan shook his head, swallowing around the lump suddenly lodged in his throat.

“I love you,” he said, ignoring the treacherous crack in his voice. “So much.”

Warren’s hand on his tightened, and his eyes flashed in the low lighting, illuminated by the same surge of desire that washed over Stephan. That smoldering look made Stephan’s heart beat faster, filling him with the hope and relief for which he’d yearned for days.

He took the half-empty cup out of Warren’s hand and leaned down to brush his lips against his, tasting the strong flavor of steeped herbs.

It took some effort to pull back. He wanted nothing more than to sink further into Warren’s embrace, but the faint wheezing in Warren’s chest reminded him of the need for prudence.

“It’s late. I’ll go downstairs to fetch us some dinner,” Stephan said, rising from the bed. The desire to see Warren hale again outweighed the need to be frugal.

“I’m not that hungry. At least, not for food. Can’t you stay?”

“You need to eat to get your strength back,” Stephan said sternly. “If you can kiss, you can chew.”

Warren rolled his eyes and sighed dramatically, settling back on the pillows. “Fine. Just please hurry back.”

Purchase

NineStar Press | Books2Read

Meet the Author

A voracious reader from the age of five, Isabelle Adler has always dreamed of one day putting her own stories into writing. She loves traveling, art, and science, and finds inspiration in all of these. Her favorite genres include sci-fi, fantasy, and historical adventure. She also firmly believes in the unlimited powers of imagination and caffeine.

Website |Twitter

Giveaway

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Title: The Homecoming Prince

Series: The Castaway Prince, Book Three

Author: Isabelle Adler

Publisher: NineStar Press

Release Date: 05/17/2021

Heat Level: 3 – Some Sex

Pairing: Male/Male

Length: 25300

Genre: Fantasy, LGBTQIA+, action/adventure, bisexual, cross-dressing, established couple, fantasy, genderbending, genderfluid, political, royalty, war

Add to Goodreads

Description

Having returned to the continent following Warren’s illness, Stephan and Warren are certain they’ve escaped the notice of spies from Seveihar and are ready to build a new future for themselves. However, their quiet life is shaken once again when they receive a message from Stephan’s sister, Nessa. She begs him to return home and help her stand against their older brother, Robert, who is abusing his power by oppressing his subjects and starting an unnecessary war with the neighboring country of Esnia.

With dark family secrets coming to light, Stephan is faced with a difficult choice between safety and happiness in exile with the man he loves, and his duty as a prince to protect his people from tyranny. And yet, amid all the dangers, the greatest risk he might face is a broken heart…

The Homecoming Prince is the final book in The Castaway Prince series. For best enjoyment, please read the books in order.

Excerpt

The Homecoming Prince
Isabelle Adler © 2021
All Rights Reserved

“I’m glad to say you look slightly less awful today,” Stephan said.

His tone was teasing, but it masked a very real concern. Warren’s bout of illness had been so prolonged and so grave that for a while Stephan had feared the worst.

Those days had been nothing short of horrible. He’d known plenty of wretchedness and weathered plenty of dangers, but nothing could ever come close to the long hours spent by his lover’s sickbed, holding his hand, wiping the sweat off his brow, and hoping the next rattling breath wouldn’t be the last while Warren thrashed about with fever.

“Always such a sweet talker,” Warren said.

A weak smile played on his lips as he brought a cup of tea to his mouth. He sat up on the narrow bed, propped against a stack of pillows. The only room they could afford at the inn had a tiny fireplace, which gave off more smoke than heat. The feeble flames fought a losing battle against the mid-autumn chill seeping through the windows and walls. But Stephan had piled all the blankets he could find on the bed, and the tea was hot and strong, at least.

Stephan took his own cup, savoring the warmth that spread through his fingers.

“You should go downstairs to the common room and warm by the big fire,” Warren said, having undoubtedly noticed him shiver. The illness did nothing to lessen his usual perspicacity. “Maybe get something to eat too.”

Stephan shook his head. They were running too low on funds for him to luxuriate in more than one meal a day now, and they’d already eaten lunch. Besides, he wouldn’t leave Warren alone in a drafty, cramped room while he enjoyed himself downstairs. Had their roles been reversed (as they so often had been), Warren wouldn’t have moved from Stephan’s side even for a moment unless for some dire need.

“I don’t actually mind the winter,” Stephan said wistfully. “We’ve been traveling through hot-climate lands for so long, the nip in the air is refreshing. It reminds me of home.”

Warren raised a skeptical eyebrow, but Stephan was being truthful. He’d loved Segor; the short time spent living together in the port city of Varta, free to express their love for each other, had been the happiest in his life. But when they were forced to flee, pursued by his brother Robert’s assassins, things had begun to go awry. The South Isles, where they’d found a temporary refuge, had proved too much of an extreme environment for them to thrive in. When Warren had fallen sick, the local physician had advised he return to the familiar climate of the continent—which they had, despite the risk inherent in such a journey.

“I do miss Seveihar sometimes,” Stephan confessed, coming to perch on the edge of the bed with his cup of tea. Warren folded his long legs, making room for him. “Even the winters at the castle, with the winds whistling through window cracks, and those endless creaking staircases. I always knew the cold and the snow would abate eventually, and then it’d be spring again, and then summer. The summers were always so beautiful there, up in the mountains.”

“I remember.” Traces of hoarseness clung to Warren’s voice, but already he sounded so much more vital than before. “I remember how you loved to roam the woods around the castle. Until…”

“Until it became too dangerous for me to go out on my own,” Stephan said. “It still is.”

The old pain of realizing his own brother hated him enough to plot his assassination flared back into life. The worries and tribulations of the last few weeks had almost made him forget the true reason for his self-imposed exile, but he knew better now than to think it was all behind him. The events that had driven them from their safe little haven in Segor into the dangers of the unknown had demonstrated all too clearly that they couldn’t afford to let their guard down again.

Warren reached for Stephan’s hand, threading their fingers together, and they exchanged a brief, bitter smile. Some of Stephan’s anger and disappointment dissipated into their shared warmth, as they always did.

“I’m sorry,” Stephan said.

“For what?”

“I seem to always bring danger to our doorstep. Even when we move halfway across the world.”

“And if it weren’t for you, I’d never have seen anything of the world.”

“Don’t joke. You fell sick because of me. If I hadn’t been so careless in Varta, we wouldn’t have had to travel so far, putting so much strain on you. It’s my fault.”

“It’s not,” Warren said. “And if I had a choice, I would have done it again. All of it. I would do anything just to be with you.”

Stephan shook his head, swallowing around the lump suddenly lodged in his throat.

“I love you,” he said, ignoring the treacherous crack in his voice. “So much.”

Warren’s hand on his tightened, and his eyes flashed in the low lighting, illuminated by the same surge of desire that washed over Stephan. That smoldering look made Stephan’s heart beat faster, filling him with the hope and relief for which he’d yearned for days.

He took the half-empty cup out of Warren’s hand and leaned down to brush his lips against his, tasting the strong flavor of steeped herbs.

It took some effort to pull back. He wanted nothing more than to sink further into Warren’s embrace, but the faint wheezing in Warren’s chest reminded him of the need for prudence.

“It’s late. I’ll go downstairs to fetch us some dinner,” Stephan said, rising from the bed. The desire to see Warren hale again outweighed the need to be frugal.

“I’m not that hungry. At least, not for food. Can’t you stay?”

“You need to eat to get your strength back,” Stephan said sternly. “If you can kiss, you can chew.”

Warren rolled his eyes and sighed dramatically, settling back on the pillows. “Fine. Just please hurry back.”

Purchase

NineStar Press | Books2Read

Meet the Author

A voracious reader from the age of five, Isabelle Adler has always dreamed of one day putting her own stories into writing. She loves traveling, art, and science, and finds inspiration in all of these. Her favorite genres include sci-fi, fantasy, and historical adventure. She also firmly believes in the unlimited powers of imagination and caffeine.

Website |Twitter

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The Black Sea by Dora Esquivel #GayRomance @15VirginiaLee

The Black Sea by Dora Esquivel  

#1ClickHere: ➜ https://www.amazon.com/dp/B08ZL2ZPN2  

Series ➜ Grim and Sinister Delights  

Paranormal M/M Romance  

𝐀𝐁𝐎𝐔𝐓 𝐓𝐇𝐄 𝐁𝐎𝐎𝐊  

ASHAR ABDULLAH LONE  

Ashar is the heir of a wealthy ruthless Turkish mafia family. His uncle, Stelian runs the family business with unrelenting violence and brutality. Ashar is his uncle’s right-hand man and he punishes those who transgress against their empire.  

Fury has been around for over thirteen thousand years. His father, Triton, was the ruler of Atlantis and the Ancient Seas, making his world a cold and calculating place. He is the youngest son to a vast ocean empire, the last of his people, the Atlanteans.  

In Fury’s world, the biggest shark eats the smaller fish. There is no sympathy towards humankind, only disdain, and hostility. One night the prince watches as two humans are tossed overboard from a large freight. One has a scent he can’t understand that pulls him towards the stranger.  

He finds the dying man and must save him. He is amazed by all the scars and wounds the man has and he can’t stop himself from touching the handsome human. This is his mate.  

Fury breaks an ancient vow when mating with Ashar. He will not marry Nereus, known as the sea witch. It was a marriage made by his powerful grandfather, the one and only, Poseidon.  

Impossible for them to resist their attraction to one another. The two men set a series of catastrophic events in motion, that sets mortals and immortals fighting for survival.  

Two men from vastly different worlds collide in a mix of heat, passion, and desire. Throw in ancient curses, marriage vows, tridents, and family drama- will Fury and Ashar survive long enough to fulfill all their most passionate desires?  

Grim and Sinister Delights is a dark romance series based on classic fairy tales and stories. You will find standalone tales of gay romance that range in darkness and kinks. If you dare to take the challenge, read them all to find yourself lost in a classic that you think you know. These stories are for adult readers and may contain morally ambiguous themes.  

ABOUT DORA  

Been on my own since I was 16. I’m a born rebel! I grew up on the border of Texas and Mexico. Had many adventures in the AirForce and traveled the world, but I always kept writing. I have a bunch of journals with full stories that need to be written. I am at a point in my life where I can dedicate myself to my passion writing! The writing Gods won’t leave me alone! When I’m not writing, I enjoy reading, listening to old 80’s music, exercising, taking care of my family, two sons, hubby, mother, and two dogs! Busy full life. My stories are dark, horror-filled, with a mix of tantalizing erotica and gritty sex. I have a wild imagination. I prefer my paranormal beings ruthless and cunning. As I start my writing adventure, I hope you will join me and enjoy reading my books! Any questions, please contact me I would love to hear from you!  

FOLLOW DORA  

Bookbub ➜ https://www.bookbub.com/profile/dora-esquivel  

WEB ➜ https://doraross1971.wixsite.com/mysite  

AMAZON ➜ https://www.amazon.com/Dora-Esquivel/e/B07DPSCWMC  

~~&&~~ HOSTED BY:~~&&~~ BRVL—Book Review Virginia Lee: http://ow.ly/UrNot  

The Square and the Circle by Mikala Ash #steampunk #RomanticSuspense @Ash_Mikala

Cover Art by Bryan Keller

A murder at a séance. In an age of rationalism and science, spiritualism has taken hold of the popular imagination. At the home of Lord and Lady Summerhayes, a séance ends in a horrific climax — a man is drowned in ectoplasm! Impossible! But there’s nothing Elizabeth Hunter-Payne and her Investigation Bureau like better than to investigate an impossible mystery.

Victor Drake was at the table and tried to save the hapless victim. His smoldering good looks and irresistible allure take Elizabeth’s fancy, and her carnal desires are reciprocated. Together, can they solve the mystery? Another thrilling adventure set in a steampunk world of airships, steam-powered aircraft, and swords disguised as lavender umbrellas.

Get it Today at Changeling Press

Preorder for March 5th at online booksellers

EXCERPT

All rights reserved.
Copyright ©2021 Mikala Ash

Lavender Umbrellas and Death at a Séance

Tuesday, January 10, 1860

“A murder at a séance,” I repeated incredulously. “A séance? You mean ghosts and such?”

Lord Arthur Summerhayes was an elegantly dressed white-haired man in his early seventies. A military background I surmised, as he wore enormous and immaculately clipped side whiskers, made popular by troops returning from the Crimea. In his youth, and clean-shaven, I believe he would have been a handsome man.

“Indeed I do, Mrs. Hunter-Payne. I’m talking spiritualism, mediums, apparitions, spirit controls from beyond the veil, and communicating with the beloved dead. The whole battalion, if you have my meaning.”

I was taken aback by the notion, and I struggled for a response. I knew spiritualism had become a popular pastime lately despite this being the age of rationalism, and surrounded as we were by very real advances in science and engineering. Airships droning away above the city and steam-powered aircraft patrolling the clouds were common sights now, as were Cumberland cabs steaming along every street and thoroughfare. Submarines skulked beneath the waves, and automatons had even entered domestic service. The list of technological marvels was endless. Gone for the most part was the age of horse and carriage in which I had been born.

I’d read in The Times that after the war in the Crimea, and the more recent mutiny in India, both of which incurred such great loss of life, there had arisen an ever growing desire of the bereaved to contact their lost loved ones. Spiritualists, those purporting to be able to contact the spirits of the dead, had conveniently materialised to meet the demand.

Séances, as I understood them, were ritualised gatherings of people in a darkened room sitting in silence around a table, holding hands, awaiting a spirit to contact them through the auspices of a medium. For some it was an amusement; merely a parlour game. For others it was an earnest and sorrow-fuelled desire to contact lost loved ones. Newspapers made light of the pastime, ridiculing believers and taking particular glee in exposing frauds and charlatans. The church proclaimed it sacrilegious, no doubt believing the practice subverted their monopoly over the afterlife.

That was the extent of my knowledge and my interest. I understood quite intimately the emotional need of the bereaved to have some form of contact with their loved ones. My thoughts rested always with my late husband Jonathan who had been killed in the Crimean War. I had given the possibility of actually contacting him scant regard, thinking it slightly foolish whenever the thought arose. Though I would give anything to see him again, and know for certain he was at peace, I admit to being highly sceptical of the notion of mediums being able to accomplish the task. Jonathan lived in my mind, and in my dreams; an ever-present reminder of the deepest love and consuming passion I could ever hope to experience. I glanced at his portrait, and my longing for his company struck me like a blow to the chest.

“I need your help,” Lord Summerhayes said urgently. His face was creased in anxiety, his faded blue eyes pleading. “Or my wife and I shall be ruined. Not that I care for myself. I am old, ready for whatever is next. It is for my wife that I fear.”

“I’ve not any experience in spiritualism,” I said carefully, in case Lord Summerhayes was a believer.

“Devil of a thing. Absolute nonsense, of course,” he said. “But murder nonetheless. Man drowned by ectoplasm.”

Just in time I stopped myself from appearing particularly obtuse by repeating the unfamiliar word. I was aware, however, of my mouth hanging open and thought that I must appear quite vacuous.

His lordship continued. “In my own drawing room, would you believe. Terrible slimy stuff. Ruined the carpet. Dashed inconvenient.”

Until that astounding announcement my morning had progressed prosaically enough, though it did bring with it a touch of novelty.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Aussie Mikala Ash used to be a mild-mannered training & development consultant by day, and a wild sci-fi and paranormal adventure writer by night. Now she is a brazen full-time writer and nature photographer who is concentrating on having among other things, “… bags, and bags of fun!” Mikala can be found on Facebook and on Twitter.

BOOK REVIEW: Crowned a Traitor by Kate Callaghan #Young Adult #Fantasy #NetGalley @CallaghanWriter

A Young Adult Dark Fantasy from Hell. Crowned A Traitor is like no fantasy you have come across.

Heir to Hell and the Dark Forest of Malum, Klara has been called upon to take her place as High Queen of Malum. Though Klara has no intention of ruling, her guardians want her head on a spike. Klara’s only option – escape to Kalos, Fae ruled lands free from Dark Magic. To survive the perilous journey, she needs help…

A Leprechaun with a talent for smuggling.
A mischievous Demon with swaying loyalties.
The soul of a greying Warlock.
Lycaon siblings with a talent for deception.

Destiny has an awful habit of catching up with those who run.

Available at Amazon

My Review:

5 stars!

Crowned a Traitor is a fabulous, action-packed fantasy that pulls you in from page one.

I found Klara to be a strong heroine. She wasn’t perfect, but her imperfections are what made her so wonderful. In battle, she was fearless, yet she also showed mercy. It was a trait many thought made her weak, but was one of her greatest assests.

There were multiple twists I didn’t see coming, and a plethora of supernatural beings, which made the book all that more amazing. Demons, fae, witches, lycaons, and Lucifer himself… just to name a few.

If you enjoy paranormal tales of intrigue, suspense, action, and a bit of romance, you can’t go wrong with Crowned a Traitor.

*Disclaimer: I received an ARC of this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. The review posted above is merely my opinion.