SPOTLIGHT – Taken by the Cyclops by Megan Slayer #UrbanFantasy #NewAdult @MeganSlayer @changelingpress

Piper wanted nothing more than to escape the life she’d come to know, full of abuse and danger — certainly not love. When she drives to Eerie, she’s convinced she’ll get a fresh start. What she doesn’t expect is Diesel.

Diesel believes he’s not worthy of love, but when he looks at Piper, he wants more than to protect her. He wants to own her — body and soul. There’s just one problem. He’s a cyclops — dangerous, destructive and hated. He’s done things he knows are unforgivable.

Will the sweet runaway find the love she deserves in the monster she’s found? Or will the monster from her past catch up and ruin her chances at the future she craves?

Now available at Changeling Press

EXCERPT

All rights reserved.
Copyright ©2023 Megan Slayer

Just let me get there. Piper sped through the night, checking the rearview mirror every few seconds just in case he’d followed her. She’d tossed her phone a hundred miles ago, but her wad of cash wouldn’t hold out forever. He’d see she’d taken her life savings — a whopping thousand dollars — and run. She had to get to Eerie. Anything was better than where she’d come from.

Her life wouldn’t get much better in the new town, but she’d get away from John. He was a bully, and she’d been a fool to hook up with him.

She sped on, blowing past the posted speed limit sign and praying the cops hadn’t seen her. Then again, a night in jail would be better than being with John.

She tugged her sleeve down to hide her bruises. God. She was a smart person and strong, but she’d allowed him to put his hands on her. He’d convinced her she deserved the treatment.

Even alone in the car, she could hear his voice in her mind.

Never going to do better than me.

You don’t deserve anyone else.

You’re bringing me down to be with you, but no one wants you.

You’re a waste of a person.

You’re a piece of shit.

Worthless.

Whore.

Her tears clogged in her throat. Her sex life hadn’t been his business before she’d met him and had gone to nothing once she’d become his punching bag. She’d only ever had three lovers before she met John.

He’d been her undoing. He’d convinced her to quit her studies and change her appearance, and he’d hurt her. What kind of man did that?

John did.

She spotted the village limit sign and gunned the engine.

Eerie was the place for paranormal creatures to belong — so she’d been told. She’d heard stories of having Faerie blood. Did she? She hoped so. If she truly did, she’d be able to pass the village limit into Eerie. If not, then she’d been lied to, and she’d have to find somewhere else to hide.

Right now, she had to focus on the sign. She sped forward and held her breath.

The second she passed the yellow line on the road, she expected to be in the middle of a field or bland road. Instead, she rolled down the quaint street filled with closed shops, a restaurant, and even a drive-in theater. The place was cute — in a dark and slightly scary fashion.

At least she was here. That rumor about Faerie blood must’ve been true.

She didn’t hit the accelerator and instead coasted along the main drag through the village.

The place sort of reminded her of photos she’d seen of the 1950s small towns with lots of little businesses, neon signs, wide sidewalks, and eclectic names on the buildings — Nan’s Nothings, Curiosity Closet, Hot Dogs Dog Wash, Witch’s Brew Coffee… She’d bet the place was pretty in the light of day.

But no one who wasn’t a paranormal creature would be able to see it.

She spotted a hotel on the city square and pulled into one of the parking spots. She’d tucked what was left of her hair into a baseball cap and wore thick gloves — anything to disguise her appearance. If John found her now, then she’d have to find another safe place and work out another disguise.

She tossed the gloves and hat onto the passenger seat, then grabbed her purse. For all she knew, she’d be turned away at the front desk. She didn’t exactly look like someone who could afford a night at the posh hotel.

Being new in town, she might stick out too much, too.

She braced herself and headed into the hotel. She had a backup plan in case she got tossed but hoped that wouldn’t happen.

A woman with flame-red hair and faint, actual wings stood behind the counter. “Welcome to Eerie. How can I help you?”

“I need a room for the night, please?” She signed, then rummaged through her purse for some money and her ID. “I mean, I’d like a room, please?”

“Sure.” The woman swept her gaze over Piper. “You’re not from around here. How’d you find us?”

“My great-grandmother married a Fae. I never met either one of them, but I’ve been told stories.” She produced her ID card and fisted the small wad of cash.

“Do you have a credit card?” The woman eyed Piper’s ID. “We prefer a card to hold the room — that and in the event you destroy the property.”

“I don’t have a credit card.” She’d left hers at the apartment and tossed her phone along the road, hoping it’d be smashed by a passing car. Besides, she hadn’t wanted John to find her, and the quickest way to track someone outside of their phone was their use of a credit card.

“Just a moment.” The woman spoke softly into a tiny mic clipped to her shiny blue blouse.

The longer Piper had to wait, the lower her heart sank. She truly doubted she’d ever get away from John, but the odds he’d find her here had to be just about nil. He could be persistent, and if he thought he’d been shafted, he’d be tenacious. Nothing about him surprised her any longer, either.

She put her money back into her purse and held onto her ID.

“Okay.” The woman nodded and produced a swipe card. “I’ll give you a room for the night.”

“Thank you.” She had no idea how happy she’d made Piper. A place to stay that wasn’t the lumpy front seat of the shit car she’d bought for five hundred dollars.

“Don’t thank me yet.” The redhead crooked her over-drawn eyebrow. “You’re a stranger in town.”

“I know.” Piper squirmed under her gaze. Jesus. She hated being nervous.

“And we don’t always take to strangers. You never know why they’re here,” the woman said. “So for now, you’ll have a handler.”

ABOUT MEGAN SLAYER

Megan Slayer, aka Wendi Zwaduk, is a multi-published, award-winning author of more than one-hundred short stories and novels. She’s been writing since 2008 and published since 2009. Her stories range from the contemporary and paranormal to LGBTQ and white hot themes. No matter what the length, her works are always hot, but with a lot of heart. She enjoys giving her characters a second chance at love, no matter what the form. She’s been nominated at the LRC for Best Author, Best Contemporary, Best Ménage, Best BDSM and Best Anthology. Her books have made it to the bestseller lists on various e-tailer sites.

When she’s not writing, Megan spends time with her husband and son as well as three dogs and three cats. She enjoys art, music and racing, but football is her sport of choice. She’s an active member of the Friends of the Keystone-LaGrange Public library.

Megan’s Website | Facebook | BookBub

PREORDER: Henry (Devoted Guardians MC) by Harley Wylde & Jessica Coulter Smith #mcromance #shifters #PNR #Fantasy @HarleyW_Writer @kitcatjms @changelingpress

Henry (Devoted Guardians MC) by Harley Wylde and Jessica Coulter Smith

Genres/Themes: Paranormal Romance, Fantasy, Shifters, Mages

Preorder for February 24th at…

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Get it February 17th at Changeling Press

http://bit.ly/3GZ0eC6

ABOUT THE BOOK

Raya — Elias kidnapped me nearly a decade ago and used me for his awful experiments. His goal: to create a superior race. How could that possibly go wrong? Now I’m no longer fully human and I’ve lived a life in hell. But I adore my two kids, no matter how they were conceived. I thought we’d die before we ever found freedom, but it arrived in the most unexpected way. The big biker shifter is scary as hell, but it’s either go with him, or remain chained and starving.

Henry — The dark mage killed my mate and unborn child. There’s nothing I want more than revenge. It never occurred to me he’d have a woman and kids chained in his cellar. They reek of black magick, enough so, I hated them on sight. I’d planned to leave them behind. Until I heard their story. My club won’t be happy when I walk in with three people covered in the stench of black magick. But something unexpected happens when I catch Raya’s true scent. She’s my fated mate, and now I have the difficult task of not only gaining her trust, but the children’s as well.

WARNING: Contains subject matter some readers may find difficult to read. Recommended for ages 18+ due to adult situations, bad language, and violence. Guaranteed happily-ever-after, no cheating, and no cliffhanger.

∙∘☽ SNEAK PEEK ☾∘∙

Copyright 2023, Harley Wylde

“He’s been gone a while,” Logan said. “He didn’t forget us, did he? I’m not sure starving to death is much better than suffering whatever he’s planned for us.”

With no windows, I couldn’t tell what time of day it was by now. However, my butt had gone numb from sitting on the hard ground. I had to have been down here for more than an hour. I listened intently, wondering if Elias had managed to quietly return. Minutes ticked by, and when I was going to give up, I heard booted steps. They seemed to scout the entire house.

Would they find the hidden door to the cellar? Did we want them to? I caught Logan’s gaze, and he gave me a slight nod. Whatever he sensed seemed to make him feel as if the person upstairs wouldn’t harm us.

“Help! Please, we’re down here!” I yelled as loud as I could. By the fifth time I’d called out, the door at the top of the stairs opened and a large silhouette moved toward us. My breath caught when the man approached. I couldn’t tell his age and depending on what he was, he could have been hundreds of years old and still appeared young.

“What the f**k?” he muttered. His gaze narrowed on me before shifting to my children. I held them tighter, wondering if I’d made a mistake by calling for help. “Who are you?”

“A slave,” I said. “And these are my children.”

He scented the air, and a low growl came from him. “Dark mages.”

I shook my head. “No. At least, not entirely. If you could please release us and get us upstairs, I’ll tell you everything.”

Did you miss book one?
Click the cover to find out more…

NEW RELEASE: Wild Ones by Kira Stone #DarkFantasy #LGBTQ #PNR

Billy has always been a loner, but after being bitten by a ferocious wolf, his need for solitude becomes even greater. He can’t get a handle on the wild forces now running through him. He makes the best of it by carving out a territory in the Canadian wilderness, but he’s far from happy with his lot in this strange, new life.

Luc knows Billy is just the guy he’s looking for. His small pack is made up of men who are special even among weres. Their ability to control the elements — air, earth, fire and water — makes them uniquely qualified to act as spirit guardians. But presently there are only three, and they need Billy to complete them or Luc will lose much more than his position as alpha.

It’ll take a lot of fast talking to convince Billy to join their pack, but first the Wild Ones will have to catch him…

Now available from Changeling Press

EXCERPT

All rights reserved.
Copyright ©2023 Kira Stone
An Authorized Excerpt

The moon’s pregnant, white belly hung high over the Canadian evergreens. Billy gave it the finger, even as his body began to shift. He didn’t understand the biochemistry that transformed him from man to beast. All he knew was a full moon meant he was in for three days of sheer hell.

It had been that way for a couple months now. Each full moon he prayed he wouldn’t feel the tell-tale tingle rippling along his spine. Each month since that unlucky July evening when he’d been bitten by a rabid wolf he’d been doomed to disappointment. The change always came, no matter what he tried to prevent it.

It was more than just the transformation though. With the change came hunger. His appetite for food was only eclipsed by his craving for sex, and sating either hunger wasn’t exactly easy. He always went after big game so at least he could comfort himself with the knowledge that his victims stood a fighting chance. His human skin was scarred with reminders of each struggle, but he hadn’t lost yet.

Perhaps tonight he would.

His limbs contorted as they pursued a new shape. Hands became paws. Mouth became muzzle. Screams became howls. As the last vestiges of his humanity buried itself under a thick pelt of tawny hair, Billy pushed himself to his feet — all four of them — and sniffed the night air, searching for traces of hidden foes.

The Watcher was nearby.

The creature smelled different from other wolves… smelled almost like Billy himself, except that was impossible. There was no one like him.

Rage nipped at his hindquarters that another wolf would dare to enter his marked territory. It was an animal instinct his human side didn’t understand, to mark and defend. His wolf side demanded that the intruder be challenged. Tonight, Billy decided, he would do just that.

He loped down to the fast flowing river and then drank until he thought his stomach would burst. The change always left him dehydrated. And though he knew it would do little to assuage his hunger for meat, he munched down a rabbit that wasn’t quite fast enough to evade his powerful jaws. He needed more, much more. After he confronted The Watcher, he’d have it.

Or he’d be dead.

Either way, his problem would be solved.

Billy returned to the copse of trees where he’d gone through the change. The Watcher’s scent was still there. He’d tried on other occasions to track down the beast who’d been keeping an eye on him lately. The trail always ended in a tail-chasing circle. It had befuddled his animal mind, but the passage of time had brought about a blending between his human side and this creature he’d become. He could now think logically as a wolf, and use his animal instincts when he wore his human skin.

When it came to tracking down the interloper, logic prevailed where animal instinct had failed. He thought he knew how The Watcher could be found. Tonight, he’d test his theory.

Letting his wolf senses take the lead, Billy followed the scent trail through the woods. The invisible lines drawn by man to partition the land were beneath his notice in this form. He crossed into the territory belonging to the Iroquois Indians, a place where he’d be arrested for trespassing if he entered on two feet instead of four.

Some night bird gave a warning cry. Little furry critters scattered out of his path. The other animals sensed the tension in the air. Something dangerous was about to happen, and they didn’t want to be caught in the middle when it did.

The wind blew new information to his ultra-sensitive nose. The Watcher was close, and he wasn’t alone. Two more wolves had joined him. It was difficult to be sure where one stood in relation to the others, so close was their scent. Certainly, they were pack mates, living in the same den. And if they lived together, they’d fight together.

Three against one. The odds gave Billy pause.

This territory was his. He’d fought like the devil against other predators in the area and carved out a niche for himself. A lone wolf. A rogue. An outsider. He wanted to keep it that way. It would be far safer for their pack in the long run. Billy’d sacrifice one to save the whole from whatever evil, unholy thing he might become next.

But three against one? Surely they’d kill him. Part of him longed for that release from this nightmarish torment, but that part wasn’t currently in control. The animal in him said flight now would ensure he’d live to fight another day. Perhaps pick them off, one by one.

His decision made — at least for tonight — Billy started to turn tail and run. But then the scent of The Watcher came to him again, much stronger than before. Billy froze, his keen eyes searching the darkness around him. The surrounding forest was deathly silent, except for the sound of his own breathing.

A predator was near.

Slowly, Billy cocked his head to look over his shoulder. A pair of golden eyes gazed back at him. The beast was sitting there, waiting patiently. A skilled hunter watching his prey.

The circumstances had changed, and so had Billy’s options. To flee now would signal defeat. He’d lose face among the forest dwellers and once again be vulnerable to those he’d already bested. He had to fight now and hope the vestiges of his human logic that traveled with him in this form could out-think The Watcher and his pack mates.

Billy faced the threat, again sniffing the air to see if The Watcher’s companions had moved at all. They remained some distance behind him. Perhaps if he struck hard and fast…

Thought became action before it was fully complete. He bounded forward, prepared to knock his opponent down with sheer brute force. But when he landed, The Watcher wasn’t beneath him.

Billy looked around and spotted his quarry sitting several yards away, his tongue lolling out in a wolfish smile. Damn that creature to hell!

Leave or die, Billy yipped in warning. The temperature had dropped enough for his breath to curl up from his wet nose in spirals of white steam.

You’ll not find me so easy to kill, young one, The Watcher barked in return. Try me, if you dare.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Kira Stone lives in a warm cave tucked away in the remote Scottish Highlands, where a small band of ever-changing heroes serves as company. As they relax in front of a roaring fire, demons dance in leather pants and angels stroke tunes from the harp strings, while the Fae stop in to share tales from other worlds. Bound by pen and imagination, these are the folk who wait to greet you from the pages of Kira’s stories.

NEW RELEASE: Marissa Unbound by Rebecca York #DarkFantasy #PNR #Suspense @RebeccaYork43

When Marissa learns her abusive husband, Arfon Hanson, plans to murder her so he can take another wife, Marissa flees. She hopes to find sanctuary at the convent where she was educated, but fate intervenes when Steffan Gwinett rescues her from the henchmen Arfon sent to bring her back.

Years ago, Marissa and Steffan had been in love, but her father broke off their relationship, sending her away. Their chance meeting rekindles all their old feelings for each other. After they make love, Steffan vows to expose Arfon for a would-be murderer.

Marissa won’t let Steffan take on the dangerous job alone. She disguises herself as a boy, and they begin an investigation of Arfon. They get more than they bargained for when they discover her husband is the leader of a demon-worshiping cult — and is making plans to offer a local boy as a sacrifice. Can they rescue the victim and find a happy ever after for themselves?

Now available from Changeling Press

EXCERPT

All rights reserved.
Copyright ©2023 Rebecca York

Steffan Gwinett rode past the darkened house and dismounted in the pasture where Darias, his horse, could graze as he would. The moon was almost full, and the sky danced with stars, the heavens giving him enough light to guide his steps. He stood for a moment looking toward the spot where the bee boxes had stood. He could see no sign of them now.

“I’ll be back soon,” he said to his steed, before turning toward the cottage.

It was not an imposing dwelling. The main room had a packed dirt floor. When he’d lived there, the only furnishings had been a large fireplace for warmth and cooking and a table and chairs for sitting and eating. Up above, on the opposite side from the fireplace, was a narrow loft where he had slept. Beyond the main room lay another, barely large enough for a mattress, where his parents had slept until his mother had died. Then it was only Steffan and his grizzled old father — until his father, too, had succumbed to years of hard labor.

Steffan’s father had been a farmer whose fortunes rose and fell with the vagaries of the weather. When the crops were good they ate well, with extra coin for buying necessities they could not make themselves. Sometimes they could even afford a few luxuries, like sturdy fabric for his mother to sew into clothing.

Steffan had known that hardscrabble life was not for him. He’d dreamed of running off with the girl he loved, though that had only been a foolish fancy.

After reality had crashed over him, he had gone off to join King Norwen’s troops. That had not worked out either. Three years of enforcing the king’s draconian edicts had been enough for him. He’d declined his next enlistment and taken the coin he’d managed to save during his time of service.

Now here he was, having another look at this land, wondering if he could make it work for him in a way his father had never considered.

He was almost to the front door when he stopped short. Since childhood he’d enjoyed a talent other people did not possess. He had no name for it, yet somehow he always knew when he was not alone.

That sixth sense had saved his life more than once when he’d been a member of the royal troops — like the time they’d been ordered to clear a town of troublemakers. One of the ruffians had been waiting with a heavy club at the intersection of two streets. Sensing him, Steffan had stopped in his tracks and turned the tables on the would-be assailant.

That same ability slowed his steps now as he approached the cottage. Stopping short of the entrance, he drew his knife and reached for the knob, easing the door inward a few inches. At the same time, he stepped to the side so that he would not be an immediate target. With the door cracked, he stood in the cool night air — listening. He could hear nothing. The house looked as though it was abandoned, yet his instincts told him that was not true. Pushing the door open a bit farther, he peered into the darkness, waiting for his eyes to adjust to the shadowy interior. When he could take in details, he scanned the room. The table and chairs were gone, as was all the cooking equipment near the fireplace.

He tipped his head up, directing his attention to the loft. Someone could be up there in the shadows, waiting to leap down on anyone who entered. A quick glance told him the access ladder was also missing. Unless an intruder had pulled it up after himself, there was no way to reach the sleeping platform.

Who would be in here? From the squalid looks of the interior, obviously not someone who had made a home in this empty cottage. Perhaps it was a ruffian using it as a temporary hideout.

With the main room cleared, his next target was the bedroom. Quietly he crossed the packed dirt and listened at the ripped curtain that still hung there.

Steffan detected nothing — until the curtain flew open and a dark figure leaped out at him, the only thing clearly visible the glint of moonlight on steel.

Only Steffan’s instincts and his hours in the practice yard saved him from a serious knife wound. He twisted away from the assailant and thrust out his foot, sending the knave sprawling and their blade skittering away.

The man was hardly an experienced fighter, Steffan noted as he followed the attacker down, trapping him against the packed earth floor.

The man? No, it must be a youth. In their frantic struggle he detected little meat on the assailant’s arms, and little muscle mass. This boy had no idea how to fight off a warrior — luckily for Steffan. “Stop struggling before you get hurt,” he growled.

Probably realizing that further combat was dangerous, the assailant took his advice — which gave Steffan time to evaluate the body that lay beneath his. He had expected a shallow chest to go with the spindly arms. The reality was quite different. Instead of a boy’s upper trunk, he felt the swell of nicely rounded breasts. Confusion grabbed him as he stared down into glaring green eyes. Familiar eyes — eyes that took him back to another time and place.

He gasped, feeling as though he had taken a hard blow to the gut in a jousting match. For heartbeats he was frozen in place — as was the girl who glared up at him.

Finally he was able to choke out, “Marissa Dumfries.”

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

New York Times and USA Today Best-Selling Author Rebecca York began her career as a journalist writing articles for newspapers and magazines, but after several years decided to try writing fiction. She’s a highly successful author of over 50 romantic suspense and paranormal novels and is the head of the Columbia Writers Workshop. Her many awards include two Rita finalist books. She has two Career Achievement awards from Romantic Times: for Series Romantic Suspense and for Series Romantic Mystery. Her Peregrine Connection series won a Lifetime Achievement Award for Romantic Suspense Series. She collects rocks, and enjoys cooking, walking, reading, gardening, travel, and Mozart operas.

 Resurrecting a Life: One Writer’s Journey Back to Writing by Sierra Dafoe #GuestPost #ParanormalRomance #Writing @sierradafoe

Image by stilfee from Pixabay. Provided by Sierra Dafoe.

Here’s the truth: As  a reader, I don’t care about my favorite authors’ personal lives. I wish them well, of course — I wish them health and wealth and hope they are happily ensconced in whatever constitutes contentment for them. But on a nitty-gritty level, I just don’t care, so long as the stories keep coming.

Which makes me feel doubly hypocritical, asking your indulgence in talking about my personal life as a writer, and about a long, vast, terrifying stretch when the stories didn’t come at all.

***

In 2008, I would have qualified by anyone’s standards as a bright young author with every likelihood of a successful career before her. The stories and novellas I’d published over the prior three years had been warmly received by both readers and reviewers, garnering quite a number of awards and recommended reads. I’d begun working on a series of paranormal romance novels with an eye toward traditional print publishing, and had just landed a truly outstanding agent on the basis of a partial novel and series outline.

And then, crash. Absolute, total, smashed to slivers crash. Virtually overnight,  I went from happily married in a home in New Hampshire to driving laps up and down the eastern half of the U.S., for all intents and purposes living out of my car because I couldn’t stand to stay in one place more than four or five days.

And worst of all, I couldn’t write.

***

It’s hard still to think back on those days, to put together the pieces of what happened. The worst of it was that at some level I had felt it coming – my ex-husband’s increasing ire at my near-total absorption wasn’t exactly a well-kept secret, and my exasperation at his increasing interruptions helped fuel my dangerously-spiking high blood pressure. On the penultimate day, that blood pressure and the final argument with my ex-husband caused something to snap. Whether it was as one neurologist later suggested a TIA or “mini-stroke” or simply a plain old-fashioned nervous breakdown, I have no idea. But something radically changed, inside as well as out. I began stuttering. I had a brutally hard time finishing sentences. And on top of the grief and heartache I felt at the ending of my marriage, I found to my horror that my ability to write, to imagine stories and transfer them into words, was gone.

Do I blame my ex? No, I don’t. My early success wasn’t out of the blue – I worked like a dog for it, as most writers do. And after three solid years of a wife who was pouring sixty, seventy, eighty hours a week into building a writing career and was simply not present ninety percent of the time… well, if I’d been him, I’d have been irate, too. 

I can wish I’d handled things differently. I can regret not having tempered my complete absorption with writing. I can also wish I’d married a reader, someone who understood the magic a good book can weave and who might therefore have been somewhat more supportive of my efforts (although honestly I think it would’ve taken a saint not to resent my days and weeks of mental absence). But all of that was water under the bridge and here I was, floundering in deep water with no sight or scent or even hope of shore.

Eventually, like the drowning person I was, I let go of everything – my reader’s group, my website, my newsletter…even my agent. Or rather, I gave up so thoroughly on even so much as checking my email that she eventually let go of me. (Once again, I sure don’t blame her!) I lost, during those dark years, a newsletter mailing list of almost 2000 subscribers, a reader’s group that was over half that, my facebook page, my twitter account, everything. All the infrastructure that I had so painstakingly built over those first three years, infrastructure which, while it may not be crucial to writing itself, is absolutely essential if a writer wants to actually sell what she writes. All gone.

***

I tried writing during that long, long tiresome stretch – literally years where I cast about, trying to figure out how to rebuild a life that was so thoroughly broken. I even finished a few stories, mostly by gritting my teeth and putting down one word after another. The stories showed it, too – torturous, wooden, haphazard things that no amount of rewriting was ever going to breathe life into. After a few attempts, I gave up. I let it lay fallow.

With time, my stuttering stopped. Speaking in complete sentences became easier and easier, although to this day I still occasionally reach for a word and say something completely different — “Let me get my escalator,” for example, rather than “Let me get my coat.” It’s quite wild! And finally, after over a dozen years, stories started to stir again in my head. Even better, I found I could once again capture them on paper.

So here I am, like those pansies in the picture at the top, slowly shaking off the ice of a very long winter and finding my way slowly, step by step, back into the sun. Will I ever reach the success I might have had if none of this had happened? I don’t know—it seems doubtful. But I also, at some level, truly don’t care. I am writing again, and that alone is miracle enough. And if I am truly, truly lucky, some at least of my old readers will forgive my long absence – and perhaps some new ones will find me, too.

***

Sierra Dafoe has won numerous awards for her paranormal and contemporary romance stories. Learn more about her and her books at www.sierradafoe.com, and check out her latest release, Immortal Lust, on sale at Amazon and other online retailers!

Read an excerpt at Changeling Press!

A Knight of the Templars, Gerard is sworn to chastity, but Cytharea stirs him as no woman ever has.

Marisburg Connections by Emily Carrington #CharacterInterview #GuestPost #LGBTQ #RomanceReaders

Marisburg Connections is a collection of stories centered around four couples and their deepening relationships.

In “Sunlight,” Jack and Tyler struggle with family complications and Jake’s loss of eyesight. Will their love survive six months apart?

“Out For You” is the story of Eric’s fears of being out of the closet and the extraordinary lengths to which he’ll go to keep his lover, Trent, in a state where being gay is considered amoral.

With Mike’s help, Aidan wrestles with his past. Can Mike’s love help him lose the shadow of “Guilt”?

“Dachshund Blocked” is the tale of three rambunctious little dogs and how they help sabotage Peter’s and Abe’s wedding plans.

A Quick Interview with Trent, the second hero of “Out for You.”

EC: So…what attracted you to a man who was in the closet?

Trent: Besides his stunning good looks, his humor, and his passion on the dance floor?

EC: Actually, yeah. What else?

Trent: His honesty.

EC: But, didn’t he refuse for almost a year to be out?

Trent: He’s honest about his feelings. He made his fear clear to me and his love. That’s why I waited so long for him.

EC: Tell us what he looks like.

Trent: He’s ripped. He exercises three days a week and runs almost every day with a running guide.

EC: What’s a running guide?

Trent: When you’re visually impaired, like Eric, you can run with a guide dog or a human guide. Eric has…interesting view…about guide dogs, so he uses a white cane.

EC: What interesting views?

Trent: He vacillates between thinking he should get one and worrying that our little apartment isn’t big enough for a Labrador or other large dog to get the exercise he needs.

EC: What do you think of his old boyfriend’s behavior, breaking Eric’s arm when they were both in high school?

Trent: I’ve never met Aidan Delaney, and I honestly don’t want to, but I tend to think people are the choices they make, and he chose to apologize to Eric. That counts for something in my book.

EC: Thank you for your time.

Trent: No trouble. Just, please, don’t judge Eric too harshly. He is living in one of the reddest states in the US. Being afraid of being jumped is a legitimate fear.

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Copyright ©2022 Emily Carrington
Excerpt from Sunlight

It was early June when Jake emerged from the three-story building that housed the ADA Coordinator’s office. He’d been moving quickly but the moment he opened the door, the world went white. He stumbled to a halt and covered his eyes partially with his left hand. His right tightened on the handle of the white cane he’d only been half paying attention to. It wasn’t that he didn’t need the cane to get around. He’d learned rather quickly that the white cane could save him from many embarrassing or painful situations. But, inside, he barely noticed its whispering across the floor in constant contact with the rugs or tiles. Now, he wished he could just duck back into the safety of the building’s dimmer interior.

But Tyler, his lover, was waiting for him out in the parking lot and Jake really needed Tyler’s comfort. He hadn’t struggled through a bad day, hadn’t done that in a while, but the glare from the sun that turned everything white made him both sad and timid.

He allowed the door to close behind him, listening to its click of finality. Oh, stop thinking like that, he remonstrated himself.

He needed to get to Tyler. So, closing his eyes, he put the cane out in front of him and swept it right to left, checking for obstacles. And, taking his first tentative step forward, he thought, I guess the ophthalmologist was right. Glare was bound to affect me sooner or later.

He wanted so badly to be able to peek and make sure that he was headed in the right direction that he covered his eyes all the way to not allow himself that opportunity. Even assuming he could see something other than white light, he’d give himself a blinder of a headache by trying to use his vision when his eyes were already streaming with tears of strain and overexposure to light.

He heard a door ahead of him somewhere open and close. Then, Tyler said, “Are you okay?” He was still a good distance away but surely he could see Jake’s hand over his eyes. Jake cursed softly, squeezed his eyes even more tightly shut, and dropped his hand. Even through his eyelids, the world was terribly bright but at least he could walk without opening his eyes.

He started to move faster, needing to get to Tyler and the shelter of the truck. He swept his cane from right to left and left to right, trying to feel everything. But he missed something, maybe a crack in the sidewalk, maybe nothing more than an imagined crack, and tripped. He kept hold of his white cane and managed to right himself before Tyler reached him, but both were near things.

“Are you all right?” Tyler asked, touching his arm and then making a sound Jake thought was frustration. “Obviously you’re not. What happened?”

Jake wondered if that frustration was with him. He doubted it. Tyler was the world’s most patient person. He took a breath, needing to confess because he’d end up blurting it out sooner or later. “The glare is killing me. Dr. Metz was right. It finally showed up. The sun…” He shook his head and turned away slightly. “When I’m not looking directly at it, it hurts less.”

Tyler ran his hand up Jake’s arm to his shoulder. Then he leaned close and kissed Jake’s temple, which was thoroughly distracting in a way that made Jake aware of his cock as he hadn’t been all day.

“Maybe it’s time to meet with the white cane instructor again,” Tyler suggested.

Jake’s orientation and mobility teacher was a busy man. He had most of their part of Pennsylvania to look after. “If he’s ever free.”

“I’ll take you to Philly once a week if that’s what it takes.”

“I love you,” Jake blurted. It wasn’t a new concept, but he felt completely overwhelmed with gratitude and desire.

When Tyler kissed him full on the mouth, making him weak at the knees, he knew Tyler’s answer, in his own way, was, “I love you too.”

Emily Carrington is a multipublished author of male/male and transgender erotica. Seeking a world made of equality, she created SearchLight to live out her dreams. But even SearchLight has its problems, and Emily is looking forward to working all of these out with a host of characters from dragons and genies to psychic vampires.

Fantasy creatures not your thing? Emily has also created a contemporary romance world, called Sticks and Stones, where she explores being “different” in a small town.

 Author Facebook |   Author at Goodreads

TEASER TUESDAY: Maid for the Mermen by Ashlynn Monroe #ReverseHarem #PNR #FantasyRomance @ashlynn_monroe @RABTBookTours @changelingpress

Fantasy Romance, Paranormal Romance, Shapeshifters, Reverse Harem

Date Published: 11/25/2022

 

 Couch surfing and temp jobs were a way of life for Daisy Daniels
after she aged out of the foster care system. She’s always taken life
one day at a time and gone with the flow. What she never expected is that
flow would lead her down a raging current of uncertainty about her life and
the world she knows.

River, Ocean, and Bayou Waterson need someone to keep their island home
neat and tidy, but they have a problem. They can’t trust any old
cleaning service. They need to find someone who will be willing to overlook
their differences. What they never expected was to find a live-in maid they
would all love.

When Daisy discovers the celebrity treasure hunters are really mermen, will
she be able to keep her head above water? An ancient prophecy brings danger
to their doorstep. Forces she never imagined are conspiring to destroy
everything that matters to her. The only thing that can save her is a bond
she can’t break. Saving the world definitely wasn’t in the job
description.

EXCERPT

All rights reserved.

Copyright ©2022 Ashlynn Monroe

Daisy had slept — more like tossed and turned — at Sally’s the
previous night. It felt weird leaving her vehicle behind at the harbor, the
rusty hunk of junk being her most valuable possession. She’d been told
to bring a bag in case this worked out and she could spend the night
settling in. Everything she owned fit into a large suitcase and overnight
bag, so she decided to bring it all. After grabbing her pillow, she looked
at the small pile on the ground. So little to show for twenty-one years of
life. It caused a wave of melancholy to wash over her while locking the
car.

She’d looked for the boat called Siren. It didn’t take long.
The huge thing was no boat. This was a yacht. “Wow,” she
muttered to herself.

“Do you like her?” a male said from behind her.

Daisy jumped, but she didn’t look to see who’d asked.
“It’s pretty. I’ve never been on a boat
before.”

“Are you Daisy Daniels?”

When she heard her name, she turned. Her mouth went dry. She’d seen
an episode of his TV show with Sally here and there, but she’d always
been more interested in playing with her phone than the program. She vaguely
recognized this guy as one of the hotties Sally drooled over. He
wasn’t just TV pretty. This guy was hot. A total hunk. His long black
hair, casually tied back in a ponytail, made her a bit envious. He had a
black goatee and eyes so brown they could have been black. His skin, tanned,
and his upper body, powerful. His arms looked like they belonged to a body
builder. She opened her mouth, at a loss for words.

He grinned, as if amused. “You do realize this job is on an island.
The only way off and on is by boat. Are you sure you’re up for
it?”

Mort’s had already replaced her with another temp. She needed this
job. Nodding, Daisy dropped her overnight bag and stuck out her hand.
“I’m up for it.”

“River Waterson.” He shook her hand firmly.

Daisy picked up her bag. She couldn’t help wondering if it was
actually his name or a stage name for his reality show.

“Let me take something for you,” River offered. He gave her a
tight smile.

“You don’t have to do that, Mr. Waterson. It’s not
heavy.” Years of having things stolen made Daisy nervous to hand off
her belongings.

“Don’t worry, I won’t run off with it.” He held out
his hand. “And please, it’s River. Three Mr. Watersons could get
a bit confusing.”

Daisy nodded. Wanting to seem cooperative and make a good impression, she
reluctantly let him take the handle of her suitcase. He rolled it behind him
as they approached the boat.

They walked to the dock and then up a wobbly metal ramp. Daisy took hold of
the railing, feeling a little woozy.

“Careful. You’ll need to get those sea legs if we all agree
you’re a good fit,” River said.

Worry nibbled at the back of her mind. His words reminded her this
wasn’t a sure thing, but an interview. Whatever happened, she’d
just have to figure things out. Silently, she cursed Sally’s idea. It
wasn’t as if Daisy qualified as maid material. These guys would
probably see that. At least Sally would be obligated to let Daisy crash at
her place.

“Do you have time left on a lease somewhere?” River
asked.

Daisy mentally cursed. She still wasn’t totally sure how to frame her
lack of permanent address, so she didn’t sound flighty. And was this
guy some kind of mind reader or just super perceptive?

The author on…

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RELEASE BLITZ: Blood & Fate by Alexa Piper #LGBTQ #ParanormalRomance @changleingpress @GoIndiMarketing @prowlingpiper

Title: Blood & Fate

Series: Monster Apocalypse 3

Author: Alexa Piper

Publisher: Changeling Press LLC

Release Date: Nov 11

Heat Level: 4 – Lots of Sex

Pairing: Male/Male

Length: 138 pages

Genre: Romance, Thriller/Suspense, Science Fiction, Action Adventure, Paranormal, Urban Fantasy, Alien Encounters, Alternative Universe, Elves Dragons & Magical Creatures, Gay, Magic

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Synopsis

Rory has accepted love. So what if his lover is blue, horned, and very protective? Actually, a bagu mate suits Rory just fine, especially since Inkiri loves doting on Rory. But after the attack on Esaka, Rory once more finds himself frustrated with the magic he has access to, and he’d prefer to get rid of it. If that’s not an option, he’d prefer never to be in a situation where he has to use it.

Inkiri, ever the supportive mate, does his best to encourage Rory to learn about his magic, and new friends are more than happy to help Rory with that. Actually, Rory discovers that learning about magic isn’t all that bad, especially if no one wants to murder you or your friends. However, Rory’s power attracts those who would use him to their own ends, and escaping those forces forever is not possible. Which leaves Rory with a choice: hide and run, or fight.

Warning: Blood & Fate (Monster Apocalypse 3) ends on a cliffhanger which will be resolved in Monster Apocalypse 4. (As of this writing, the characters are still arguing with the author over the title… And Because I said so is a perfectly valid response).

Excerpt

All rights reserved.
Copyright ©2022 Alexa Piper

The rain that had welcomed me back to Earth, back to Ireland, and back from being unconscious for days hadn’t let up. It beat down in sheets and slicked against the kitchen window to our left, but Inkiri’s body radiated warmth. There was a chicken on the kitchen table in Donna’s farmhouse, and it was looking at my bagu mate, the chicken’s beady eyes bright, her mottled gray feathers freckled with white.

Inkiri clicked — possibly at both me and the chicken — and ran his hand over me, double-checking that the blanket was drawn tight around me. Donna was at the counter between the large fridge and induction hub, filling an espresso maker with ground coffee, her head half-turned, her long brown hair braided over one shoulder.

“I’ll be honest with you, Rory. You looked like a corpse who’d foregone the beautifying appointment with the mortuary technician,” Donna said and glanced at me. The chicken clucked at Inkiri and lifted a clawed foot as if she were about to jump into Inkiri’s lap except, of course, I was in that lap.

“Yes, you were very pale, sadir,” my mate said and used the opportunity to lick over my neck.

My throat constricted. I remembered the streets of Esaka, the chaos, the Koa Esher… or maybe I could call them cola asshats now that Vergis’s dad had approved of my abuse of the Lugarran language. At any rate, I remembered the magic and how that voice in my head had said something about how that same magic that had saved Nokim and Vergis might hurt me so badly that some rest — well, a three days’ time-out in this case — wouldn’t make me better. I shuddered to think what the magic could have done to me. Could it have made me sleep forever?

I didn’t want to share that with Inkiri, so I swallowed the lump in my throat and wiggled around under my blankets.

“Yeah, but look.” I pointed at myself when I’d successfully extracted my hand from under the folds. The chicken followed my fingers with her black eyes. “I’m all better now. Uhm. Donna, do you think I could take a quick shower here?” The thing was, even if Inkiri had cleaned me up with a cloth back in the tent, he still produced a lot… just a lot. Of stuff. Well, cum was the stuff he produced a lot of, and it was still trickling out of me.

She looked back over her shoulder. “Sure, honey. There’s a bathroom upstairs with fresh towels in the cabinet.”

Inkiri huffed and clicked. “I will take care of you,” he said and stood. Still with me in his arms, which was excessive. I also maybe kind of liked it, because my mate’s nearness was such a huge comfort, but I was pretty sure I could stand and do stuff, never mind that I knew I needed more rest after the drain of the magic.

“I’m fine,” I said. “Put me down. I can shower by myself, Ink. I told you, that’s a human thing.”

“But, sadir –”

Donna turned to face the bagu, who was some two heads taller than her. “What have we been talking about when it comes to touching others and randomly carrying people?” she said to Inkiri and crossed her arms.

Inkiri made a purring noise with only a hint of a growl in there, but he ended in a soft click. “But Donna, this is my mate. He’s so frail. He –”

“Oh, put him on his feet, you overgrown blue goat,” she said.

Inkiri huffed, but slowly and with exceeding care, put me down. His touches lingered, indigo cat eyes searching my face for any hint that I’d forgotten how legs worked all of a sudden.

“I’m fine,” I told him. And me. The verbal confirmation was good.

“I brought fresh clothes for you,” Inkiri said and took a step toward a honey-brown kitchen cabinet and pulled open the bagu-made backpack that sat next to it on the floor. It was a pretty big backpack, the kind of size hikers would like, and it looked heavy. “It’s shibiya. You liked those before.”

“I did. I do. Thanks for packing for me.”

Inkiri frowned as he rifled through the backpack. “It’s a small thing, sadir.”

I curled my toes in my cat socks as I stood there and looked around the kitchen. The farm was an old building like so many in Ireland. Wooden beams in the ceiling showed their exposed ebony, and copper pots looked like they’d been here for no less than a century. There were four chairs around the generous kitchen table and a bench running underneath the window, which was framed by blue-and-white checkered curtains. Also, there was that chicken. She behaved like she belonged in this kitchen, eyeing all of us as if we were intruding on her day.

“Hey, where are the rest of the guys?” I asked.

“Good point,” Donna said. “And why did you only bring the acquired taste and his daddy?”

I smirked a little at Donna calling Vergis that. I was suspecting he wasn’t as bad as he pretended to be, maybe, even if he was still plenty murderous. After all, he’d used a bear as a weapon, so at the very least, he was happy to facilitate carnage. Also, he’d killed that bear.

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Meet the Author

Alexa (she/her) has a lot of characters living in her head and wanting their stories told. Many of these people get snarky and won’t stop complaining if Alexa is too slow writing them, which means that for this author, sleep is a luxury. Consequently, Alexa is a coffee addict, but she is sure she has it under control (six cups of coffee are normal in a morning, right? Right!?)

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SPOTLIGHT: Arcane Island by Angela Knight #paranormalromance #DarkFantasy

Dave Frost died in combat five years ago, but his soul survives, magically bonded to the body of his partner — a six-hundred-pound tiger. Dave can conjure a human manifestation, but nobody treats him as a man anymore. Especially not women. Until he meets Ariel, his costar, while shooting a reality TV competition in the Bahamas. The show’s producers have assigned him to the beautiful witch for an onscreen showmance.

Ariel Piper’s talent is strong enough to turn the competition in their favor. Unfortunately, she also has a condition that makes using her magic agonizing. When they discover Dave’s touch kills the pain, he’s driven to help.

Their showmance soon becomes the real thing, though Dave fears she’ll dump him when the show wraps. Can Ariel convince this heroic, wounded man to trust her love before the show comes to a lethal climax that’s not in the script?

Available in Paperback

Get the ebook at Changeling Press

Praise for Arcane Island (Arcane Talents 3)

“Finally, it’s Dave’s story! After reading Arcane Hearts and Arcane Kisses, I wondered how Dave would get his happily ever after – I’m so glad he eventually did. This story was a terrific blend of budding romance and building suspense – I didn’t know how things would work out both in the reality show challenges and April and Dave’s relationship. A gripping and exciting read.” — 5 Stars from JennT, Booksprout Review

“I totally enjoyed this story, the whole reality show twist is wonderfully original. The relationship between Dave and Ariel is my favorite part of this story. I loved the ups and downs and feel that this is great addition to this Amazing series!!! I could not put it down once I started it. I Loved It!” — 5 Stars from sissyj59, Amazon Review

“What a great book. Exciting, tense. One to be read and reread. Hope you enjoy as much as I did.” — 5 Stars from Di Kecap, Amazon Review

“Another fantastic story from Changeling Press. Angela is one of the prime talents of this group. Again she has wrapped me up and sent me on a fantastic adventure.” — 5 Stars from Ken Thompson, Amazon Review

Excerpt

All rights reserved.
Copyright ©2022 Angela Knight

The cave reeked of black magic — a combination of rotting blood from sacrificed chickens and the burnt metal pong of old spells. Overlaying that was the stench of fear, spoiled food, and guano from the bats I could hear fluttering and squeaking somewhere ahead.

It was also dark as the inside of a bear’s hairy butt, except for a circle of illumination from my helmet flash. The light bounced across Bobby Nolan’s back as he strode ahead of me, taking point. He was walking a little God damn fast, given we were hunting MEEDs — the Magically Enhanced Explosive Devices the Caliphate’s sorcerers liked to plant. Chances were good the bastards had arranged some nasty surprises in their cave complex once it became obvious we were going to overrun them. It would suck to step on something that blew us into orbit.

So I was less than thrilled Bobby had his attention elsewhere. Probably brooding about the fight he’d just had with his girlfriend.

Idiot.

But then, if he’d been smart, he wouldn’t have cheated on Erica Harris to begin with. He’d hurt her, damn it, and I wanted to kick his ass. And I wasn’t alone in that, either. We all liked our team Arcanist, who was elsewhere in the cave complex, using her magic to disable a MEED one of the Marines had found.

“Bobby, slow up,” Jake Nolan whispered from behind me. We were moving in a stack, single file. “The idea is not to find the booby trap by stepping on it.”

“Go fuck yourself,” his brother snarled.

“Bobby, mind on the job, not on your dick,” Lt. Kurt Briggs snapped from behind Jake. Our team leader rarely lost his temper, but when he did, his tongue could strip the paint off an MRAP.

Bobby’s lioness rumbled a warning growl at Kurt, making the air vibrate with her magic. Kurt’s cat, Stoli, and my Smilodon returned her growl with interest. Because there was a distance limit on melding, the cats rode a helicopter circling overhead just out of Stinger range while their minds fused with ours. Working together, Familiars and Ferals could create a mystical shell around the human’s body. The bulletproof animal manifestation had the beast’s strength, claws, and fangs — with human intelligence. Which made for a giant combo plate of whup-ass.

They didn’t call us Tooth Tanks for nothing.

Trouble was, if Bobby gave in to his cat’s emotions, he could give the phrase “friendly fire” a friendly fang twist. I looked over my shoulder at Kurt, meaning to ask if he wanted me to take point instead. Before I could get the question out of my mouth, Bobby stopped in his tracks. I bumped into him.

All hell broke loose.

From the corner of one eye, I saw sigils flare on the tunnel wall Bobby had brushed with one shoulder. The blood-red light of a Caliphate booby trap blasted through the tunnel. In that fraction of a second, the spell grabbed his lioness’ anger and drove Bobby into a murderous rage. Since he was already pissed, it didn’t take much. He roared, the sound deafening in the tunnel’s confined space.

His cat exploded into full manifestation right in my face, a glowing lioness sculpted of pure magic, one huge paw already swinging at my head. I didn’t even have time to duck. Bobby hit me so hard, light exploded in my skull with a crack like a tree limb breaking. The tunnel wheeled around me as I went down.

“Frost!” Kurt’s voice rang with horror. “Bobby, you fuck…”

I didn’t even feel my body hit the tunnel’s hard-packed dirt. I couldn’t breathe, couldn’t move as the world exploded into chaos. Bobby’s blazing cat leaped over me, roaring in fury as she charged his brother.

I struggled to breathe as a single gunshot echoed between the tunnel’s rock walls. The roaring cut off.

“Shit!” Jake screamed. “Bobby!”

I tried to move, but my head seemed disconnected from my body. I couldn’t feel a God damn thing. Couldn’t breathe. Jesus, did he break my neck? Blackness closed over me, and I realized I was dying.

Smilodon roared in terror and rage, but I was already falling into the infinite black. Something jerked me to a stop — Smiley’s magic. I clawed for him in sheer desperation, and we fought to hold on as death tried to rip me away.

The tiger’s love and need flooded my consciousness as he hauled me to him. We fell into light, and I could breathe again. The air was full of the thunderous whomp whomp of helicopter blades. I sucked in a panicked breath and opened my eyes.

About the Author

New York Times best-selling author Angela Knight has written and published more than sixty novels, novellas, and ebooks, including the Mageverse and Merlin’s Legacy series. With a career spanning more than two decades, Romantic Times Bookclub Magazine has awarded her their Career Achievement award in Paranormal Romance, as well as two Reviewers’ Choice awards for Best Erotic Romance and Best Werewolf Romance.

Angela is currently a writer, editor, and cover artist for Changeling Press LLC. She also teaches online writing courses. Besides her fiction work, Angela’s writing career includes a decade as an award-winning South Carolina newspaper reporter. She lives in South Carolina with her husband, Michael, a thirty-year police veteran and detective with a local police department.

Find the author online: Website | Facebook

SPOTLIGHT: Deadeye (Bones MC) by Marteeka Karland #mcromance #suspense @marteekakarland @changelingpress

Deadeye (Bones MC 13)

Author: Marteeka Karland
Publisher: Changeling Press
Cover Artist: Marteeka Karland

Book Description

Chloe — Manipulative on the best of days, my mother hooked up with the president of a powerful MC. When he retired, she decided to give me to a man I’ve never met. Guess she thought she’d  still be able to keep her status if I became the ol’lady of the new president. I have no idea what the men in the club are like and I’m not judging, but they wear the 1% patch and I know enough about MCs to know that can’t be good for a girl like me.

Deadeye – I’m a patient man. Pride myself on that. So when I find a girl camping out under a rock watching the club, I camp out to watch her. The more I watch, the more I like what I see. Before I can make her mine, though, I need to find out why she’s here. No one’s more surprised than me when she tells me who her daddy is. Except maybe her daddy. Now I’m pitted against one of my own brothers. But the more I get to know the spunky little minx, the more I want her. And the more I realize I may have to kill my own MC brother and tear apart a rival MC looking for the woman meant to be their new president’s ol’lady.

Available at Changeling Press and online booksellers

Excerpt

All rights reserved.
Copyright ©2022 Marteeka Karland

Chloe

I was tired. So fucking tired. I’d only been on the run for five days, but it was five days of backwoods hell. Finding the place I needed to get to had been hard enough. Actually getting there without anyone seeing me had been a feat like I’d never undertaken before. Still don’t know how I managed it without getting hopelessly lost. But here I was.

The name of the club was Bones MC, Somerset, Kentucky. I’d walked all the way from Jeffersonville, Indiana to find this place. Compared to the club I’d come from this one was relatively small. But from what I’d learned, they were very close-knit and incredibly dangerous.

I was currently hiding under a rock overhang just tall enough for me to lie flat on my belly and watch the place. I’d covered myself with leaves and sticks, camouflaging my hiding spot as best I could. So far, no one had spotted me. If they had, they hadn’t busted me yet. I should have just gone into the clubhouse, but I wanted to scout the place out first. If there seemed to be too much shady shit going down, I’d just move on without wasting my time. Or putting myself in a worse position than I’d been in when I ran.

So far, there had been parties that got pretty loud and wild, similar to what I’d seen at Iron Tzars MC. The guys at Bones partied hard, but they worked hard, too. Beyond the large clubhouse was a neighborhood. There were what looked like high-end, double-wide mobile homes, but also a smattering of houses, with more going up. The two days I’d been hiding out, I’d seen several of the club members working throughout the day. If there were drug deals or arms sales going down, it wasn’t anywhere near their compound. There were women all over the place, but none of them seemed to be there against their will.

The weather was turning. Autumn rain was coming, if the sky was any indication. It was cold and damp, and I had no desire to spend another night under a rock. If I’d judged this place wrong, I was in trouble. Of course, if I didn’t get some decent shelter soon, I’d still be in trouble. I’d heard good things about this club in the community. They might not be law-abiding citizens, but they weren’t so bad they were feared by the whole city. I was counting on the reputation they’d apparently worked hard to build. If Bones turned out to be a wolf in sheep’s clothing, I was fucked, because I had nowhere else to go. And the one man I needed to see here, the one man who could help me in a way I could live with, had no idea I even existed.

Knowing there was nothing else I could find out without getting inside the place, I decided to quit being a pussy and stop stalling. I stood, looking down at my clothes. Having been outside under a rock for the better part of two days, I was filthy. Probably stank too. There was a creek just below my hiding place on the other side of the hill between me and the compound. I could wash there and change my clothes before trying to get inside. If I was lucky, they’d stop me at the gate and take me straight to the man I needed to see. I could only hope he remembered my mother. If not, I was probably screwed.

The wind had started to pick up, and there was a cold bite to it. I knew I needed to hurry, but not bathing and changing clothes simply wasn’t an option. If I came to their doorstep looking like a hobo, I was afraid no one would take me seriously. Or, worse, tell me to get the fuck on before they got rid of me.

I stripped, tossing my filthy, damp clothing to the ground. I kept the long-sleeved T-shirt to use as a washcloth, so I didn’t have to actually get in the creek. While it was still warm most days, the nights in this part of Kentucky were chilly this time of year. Shallow water, like the lazy stream here, had started to cool, making this bath seriously uncomfortable.

I’d never done this before. Bathed out in the open. In fact, though I’d lived in an MC for most of my life, roughing it wasn’t exactly in my repertoire. I’d never been camping. Or hunting. I’d been fishing occasionally but usually on a boat or a dock at the lake. All I’d had to eat the last five days were some snacks I’d managed to sneak out and a couple bottles of water I refilled every chance I got. Now, I was cold, dirty, hungry, and so fucking tired I just wanted to sleep for a fucking week.

“Well, now. What do we have here?” The lazy drawl made me jump and cry out. I tripped and landed on my ass, my naked body on full display. The guy smirked as he looked down at me, his big arms crossed over a powerful-looking chest. His shoulders were wide, stretching the fabric of his Henley, as did his biceps. He had a full beard reaching about halfway down his chest. Cold, assessing blue eyes were fixed squarely on me.

About the Author

Erotic romance author by night, emergency room tech/clerk by day, Marteeka Karland works really hard to drive everyone in her life completely and totally nuts. She has been creating stories from her warped imagination since she was in the third grade. Her love of writing blossomed throughout her teenage years until it developed into the totally unorthodox and irreverent style her English teachers tried so hard to rid her of.

Find Marteeka Online: Website | Facebook | BookBub