Release Blitz: Foxfire in the Snow by J.S. Fields #LGBTQ #Fantasy @ninestarpress @GoIndiMarketing @Galactoglucoman

Title: Foxfire in the Snow

Series: The Alchemical Duology, Book One

Author: J.S. Fields

Publisher: NineStar Press

Release Date: 07/19/2021

Heat Level: 3 – Some Sex

Pairing: F/NB

Length: 88800

Genre: Fantasy, LGBTQIA+, fantasy, dark fantasy, nonbinary, lesfic, science magic, magic users, witches, sword and sorcery, long-time friendship, family drama

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Description

Woodcutter or witch? Alchemist or scientist? Can Sorin’s duality save their nation?

Born the heir of a master woodcutter in a queendom defined by guilds and matrilineal inheritance, nonbinary Sorin can’t quite seem to find their place. At seventeen, an opportunity to attend an alchemical guild fair and secure an apprenticeship with the queen’s alchemist is just within reach. But on the day of the fair, Sorin’s mother goes missing, along with the Queen and hundreds of guild masters, forcing Sorin into a woodcutting inheritance they never wanted.

With guild legacy at stake, Sorin puts apprentice dreams on hold to embark on a journey with the royal daughter to find their mothers and stop the hemorrhaging of guild masters. Princess Magda, an estranged childhood friend, tests Sorin’s patience—and boundaries. But it’s not just a princess that stands between Sorin and their goals. To save the country of Sorpsi, Sorin must define their place between magic and alchemy or risk losing Sorpsi to rising industrialization and a dark magic that will destroy Sorin’s chance to choose their own future.

Excerpt

Foxfire in the Snow
J.S. Fields © 2021
All Rights Reserved

One: Fire
Steam twirled from the bones in my cauldron. The heavy smell of their marrow sagged in the air. Gods, I hated the smell of the solvent, but it would be worth it once the bone oil evaporated, taking that horrible dead fish smell with it and leaving behind the final, extracted compound. I’d never get the smell out of the woodwork, but at this point, I didn’t care. Mother was weeks late returning home. Again. She could yell at me when I returned. If I returned.

I coughed into the steam as it curled through my lungs. I needed fresh air, and soon, or I’d end up facedown on the hemlock floor I’d hewn and laid myself in my thirteenth year. A knot curled inside me, and I swallowed bile and frustration. Fine. I’d be done with distillation for the day, but I still needed to perform a fungal extraction with the solvent to impress Master Rahad at the fair tomorrow. I’d been aiming to attend the alchemical guild fair since I turned twelve—the year I should have declared a guild and begun my apprenticeship. I’d never made it. Each year, Mother found another marquetry to work, another finish to make, another tool to sharpen. This year, I was seventeen. I’d barely left this forest, this house, in five years. This year, the queen’s master alchemist had a position open and wanted someone with fungal expertise.

Someone like me.

This year, I was going.

I removed the thin olive branch from my collection basket that would earn me my apprenticeship, despite my older age and guild lineage. The branch shone mottled blue green, almost a lime color in patches, with a blue as dark as evening sky in others. Along a four-centimeter band sprouted cup-shaped fungal fruiting forms, tiny enough to be overlooked by untrained eyes. With a pair of tweezers, I plucked the blue-green cups from the branch and dropped them into a second pot of the very combustible bone oil distillate. The smell of dead fish rose up and stung my eyes, but I couldn’t look away.

As each cup sank, the color seeped from them into the solvent and expanded outward in concentric rings. The pigment slowly dropped down until the liquid looked like the deep blue of Thuja’s lake. I held my breath as the fruits bubbled back to the surface. The first turned white, the second turned white, and the third and fourth—white as well. I waited, still hardly daring to breathe. One minute, then two. Please…

The solution’s color remained stable.

I dropped my head back and exhaled at the ceiling. The trickiest part was over, and if the solution set well, it would be ready by morning. Success! I carried the extract to the windowsill, opened the pane, and began the evaporation process. Tomorrow…tomorrow would be a wonderful day. A defining day. Tomorrow, I would leave the woodcutting guild and finally, finally, get to be an alchemist! A guilded alchemist! I would not spend the rest of my life bound to this wooden house, with its wooden tools, stuck within this simplistic, wooden trade any longer.

Three loud raps sounded on the front door. Visitors? At this hour? They were in for a rude surprise, the idiots. If they were here for me, it was because the villagers had a clear misunderstanding of what alchemy entailed. I had no potions to offer them. Cauldrons and a stinking house didn’t put me in the witch guild, despite the villagers’ insistence to the contrary, and even if I had been a witch, I still would not have been party to their foolish fascination with magic.

However, if the visitors were here for Mother and her marquetry business, they’d leave disappointed. She had neglected to finish several large commissions before her abrupt departure. Contracts were coming due that I would not fulfill, and her clients didn’t tolerated delays well. Mother took these walkabouts yearly, but she usually returned before the fair. This time, she was overdue.

I pulled at the door handle and lifted, and the thick wood glided open. A breeze came in first and blew mist right in my face. Behind the damp stood two men, squinting at me from the doorstep. They were Queensguard, both of them, dressed in the signature fitted red cloaks, though the waterproofing layers had worn off some hours ago. Both were mud-covered and had sodden pants and boots. They were sloppy, for Queensguard, and they were overdue. Mother had finished the queen’s commissioned piece just before she left, and it had yet to be collected.

The taller guard moved to step into the house, flipping a layer of long, wet hair over his shoulder with a splat. The smell must have hit him right then, as he stepped back into his partner and kept going for three steps. The shorter guard stumbled into Mother’s blackberry bush and had to rip himself free of the thorns. The taller sneezed, then spat, and then sneezed again.

For Queensguard, I was decidedly unimpressed.

“What sort of witchery is that!?” he demanded, coming no closer. “Where’s the woodcutter?”

I frowned and crossed my arms, careful not to crush any of the pouches of fungal pigment that dangled from my leather bandolier.

“No witchery,” I responded coolly. “I made bone oil. I discovered it. It’s a type of alchemy. I’m not guilded yet, but I have a trader’s permit.” Which I did, in the back room, but I’d be hard-pressed to find it under all of Mother’s unsharpened tools.

The tall one glared and rubbed at his nose.

The short guard stepped to the doorframe, bit back a grimace, and tried to restart the conversation. “Apologies for the hour. We’re looking for—”

“She’s not here.” I cut him off, hoping to forestall awkward questions I couldn’t answer. “She left under the last full moon, for professional obligations. It is unknown when she will return. I apologize.”

“Are you her daughter then?” the short one asked.

My stomach twisted. I was no one’s daughter, and that word would stick in my chest for days. It would squirm there, under bindings and layers of clothes, and make me second-guess myself at the fair with every introduction and every awkward stare at my body. In that moment, I hated them, these two men, so sure of their position despite the mud and the hour. Daughter. No. I had never been one and had no intention of starting now.

“Sorin the…”

“The alchemist,” I finished for him.

“I am her heir,” I said through gritted teeth when neither responded. “I have the queen’s last commission. Will you be taking it tonight?”

The men exchanged a glance, but neither answered. The second man sneezed, sending a spray of water across the threshold. I rubbed my palm on my forehead. If they were going to get the house dirty just by being outside, it made no sense for them to stay there. Bones were one thing; mud was just unprofessional. I stepped back and gestured to the small brown oak dining table—the one with the white streak down it where I’d first discovered what the refined, clear parts of bone oil could do to fungal pigments—and grabbed my cloak from the wall.

“Sit,” I said as I fastened the oblong buttons at the neck of the cloak. The men moved in with heavy steps, which grew increasingly hesitant as the fish smell concentrated. They sat and stared at me with disgusted, pained expressions as mud dripped from their boots onto that stupid handmade floor. I’d have to refinish it now.

I didn’t bother speaking again.

Daughter.

Let them sit in the bone oil stink, pooled in their own mud. I turned and left the house, heading to Mother’s woodshop. My feet crunched along the woodchip path, the ground cover damp but still springy. I tried to let the smells of the forest—especially the earthen smell of fungal decay—take my mind away from the word I so hated.

The men had parked their cart, and their ox, near the door to the longhouse Mother used for her shop, but I could still maneuver around it. The sun had already set, but moonlight streaked through the needled canopy of conifers and across my path. Ten short steps brought me to the double doors made from cedar plank. I stripped the padlock from the right door, the one that had been fastened since Mother’s departure, and entered.

I’d not been inside the shop for a month, and the smell of cedar and wood rot reminded me why. Here were my mother’s heart and legacy, as her father’s before her, and her grandmother’s before that. The whole place felt tattered and used and smelled worse than the bone oil.

In the back, near an old leather chair, was where her mother had been born some eighty years ago. To my right, just in front of a treadle lathe, was where my grandfather had died.

Mother had birthed her children here too—myself and the son she gave to another guild for an apprenticeship, and taken none of their children in return.

The whole building was familiar, like an old wool blanket, but scratchy just the same. This was a legacy of guild woodcutting, and the queen’s mandate of matrilineal inheritance, and I didn’t belong here. A woodcutter was not who I was, a daughter was not who I was, and while the former hurt less than the latter, both made me want to pull at my skin and scream.

Mercifully, the commissioned panel was right where I had last seen it. It was complete, save for a finish. An oilcloth lay on the floor near the door, already coated with paraffin. I picked it up and draped it over the panel, taking one last look at the cut veneer so expertly placed and dyed in the shape of a parrot on a branch.

The parrot’s feathers and the leaves of the branch were blue green. That was my contribution. There were no pigments, natural or otherwise, that could make that color save the elf’s cup fungus. The queen’s order had specified a parrot, in real colors.

She’d asked the impossible of my mother: we had delivered. I had delivered. Pigmenting fungi and their use in woodcraft was a trade secret of the woodcutter’s guild, but the ability to take those pigments from the wood and use them for other purposes—the solvent that entailed—that was mine alone.

With the cloth wrapped around the panel, I hauled the piece back to the house and propped it against the door. The Queensguard had tried to close it, but it had snagged halfway when the bottom of the door caught the ground below. The wood had swelled, as in any wet season, a common problem in the temperate rainforests of Thuja as well as the tropical ones of Sorpsi’s capital. Yet, they’d not even reasoned through simply lifting the door up as they pulled it closed. What was wrong with these men? Queensguard should have been much better educated than this. They should have known about the door, and the forest, and how to address me. Trekking from the village of Thuja to Mother’s house, at night, in the forest mist could addle anyone’s mind, but these two… I wiped mist from my nose and frowned. They weren’t quite right, and I didn’t care for that feeling in my own home, with no one else about. Giving them the panel was the quickest way to get them to leave.

I pushed the door back open, lifting as I did so, and propped the panel against it so it couldn’t swing shut again. The cool, damp air would help fumigate the house and would keep the bone oil from combusting as it dried.

“It’s here and ready.” I pulled enough of the cloth off so the two guards could see the detailed work underneath. It was best to get them on their way, whomever they were. Mother could chase the panel down later if needed. I was done with babysitting her business and hiding away in her house—hiding from the Thujan villagers, hiding from the capital city, hiding from my life.

The Queensguard, however, no longer seemed interested in the panel or me. The idiots had reached into the extract and removed my bones. They’d pieced parts of a skeleton back together—a primate, of course. Two small hands, a foot, and half the skull were laid out across the floor as if alive. The smaller guard, hunched over his bone puzzle with his comrade, had shoved his hands into the bone oil and now had the puffed cheeks and grayness of one about to vomit.

“That’s none of your business,” I grumbled. “And I’d appreciate it if you didn’t mess my floor.”

Gods, why did people have to be so nosy?

“Smells of fish, but these are no fish bones,” the shorter guard said. He held up a piece of a hand and bobbed on his haunches as he turned to look at me. “Explain.”

“It’s a monkey,” I said flatly.

“Which you used for your witchcraft?” said the other as he, too, turned around. “Expansive knowledge here, of magic. This dwelling isn’t licensed for that type of activity, and you don’t bear the witch guild mark.” His tone was more curious than accusatory, but I didn’t care.

“I’m currently a trade alchemist,” I repeated again, as if talking to a particularly stupid villager. “Which we are licensed for because, otherwise, we couldn’t protect any of the wood. How do you think wood finishes are made?” When the guards continued with their stares, I looked to the ceiling and grunted. “Just take the panel. Go. Don’t get it too wet, and make sure the court carpenter lets it sit for a few weeks before coating it. If you really want paperwork, I can have a copy of the permit for trade work delivered to the Queensguard hall tomorrow.”

“I don’t think so.” The guards stood and kicked at the bone pile. Neither one had looked at the panel yet. The hair on my arms rose. That was a fourteen-hundred-stone commission, lying against the door, open to the elements! That was more than the entire town of Thuja made in one year.

They hadn’t come from the palace; that was now abundantly clear.

I took a step toward the door, making sure to keep my growing unease from showing on my face. Knife in the boot, I reminded myself, for I’d been out foraging this morning and had not yet removed it. People aren’t so different than monkeys. Of course, I had never killed any of the animals I used for bone oil, but then again, none of them had ever called me a daughter either.

“What guild did you say you belonged to?” the tall one asked as he eyed my throat. I brought my hands up to cover the unadorned skin and flushed with embarrassment. I didn’t need a reminder of my failure to declare to my Mother’s guild, or any other, for that matter.

“I’m unguilded,” I muttered, unable to meet the man’s eyes. Anyone could be a trader, but to join a guild you had to first be an apprentice, and I had no formal education. “Since you’re not Queensguard, why are you here?” And why pretend, especially if you’re not going to steal the panel?

The man snorted. “The grandmaster of witchcraft asked to meet with the master woodcutter. I don’t want to return empty-handed, so our girl alchemist might make a reasonable substitute, guilded or not.”

I dropped my hands to my sides and raked my fingernails over my pants. There shouldn’t have been a grandmaster of witchcraft because the unbound guilds—witches and alchemists—weren’t beholden to any of the three countries and therefore couldn’t set up a guildhall. But that didn’t matter right now because my skin was too tight, all of a sudden. I gripped fistfuls of cloth to steady myself, to keep my hands busy so they wouldn’t find the skin of my arms. I snarled at the men, though tears collected in my eyes. Girl. Daughter. They burned as deeply as the smell of the bone oil. As interesting as the grandmaster of witchcraft might be, I didn’t care anymore about anything these men had to say.

“Get out,” I hissed. I marched to the door; I would throw them out if I had to. But the shorter guard grabbed me by the wrist before I reached the threshold.

“No!” I pulled back, turning to slap him, and just as I spun around, he let go.

Laughter chased after me as I stumbled and caught my ankle on the doorjamb. My equilibrium was off from the bone oil fumes, and I hit the ground, elbow first. Now I too was slicked with mud and wet wood shavings, which kept my feet from finding purchase as I tried to stand and face the demeaning laughter. The tears I was determined not to shed burned my eyes.

Before I could get my feet under me, thick fingers dug into my arms and I was hauled up and dragged forward. Their hands were wide, and their arms much stronger than my own, and when I pulled, their grips tightened. The mist was thick in my mouth as I sucked in gasps of air, trying to kick or somehow injure the men who held me.

“I’m not worth anything. The only thing of value is that panel!” I yelled.

“A master woodcutter would be worth more than a confused imitation,” the taller one said. “We’ll work with what we have.”

“I am not a woodcutter!”

We were at the cart now, and when the shorter man reached past my head to grab a rope that hung over the side, I bit his hand, separating flesh. The not-guard screamed and dropped my right arm. Blood splattered across my front as he flailed. The tall one tried to grab my wrist, but I fell to my knees, grabbed him between the legs, twisted, and pulled.

He collapsed, howling, and I skittered back toward the house.

“Leave!” I screamed at them. These things weren’t supposed to happen at Mother’s house. Wasn’t that why I was always here—to avoid this? What was the point of giving up apprenticeships, friendships, if I was going to be accosted in my own home?

The tall one gasped and grabbed me by the front of my shirt just before I cleared the cart. I wrapped my fingers around his and tried to pull free, but he slapped me across the face and, for a moment, I couldn’t see. I babbled instead.

“I have money,” I said. “In the house. I have wood species from across the world worth double their weight in stones.” I have solvents I could melt you with if you’d just come back inside.

“We will have Amada the master woodcutter,” the short one said with a gap-toothed grin. “She’ll come for you, if nothing else, seeing as how well she’s kept you to herself all these years.” He grabbed my legs and, with the taller one, dumped me into the cart. The taller man secured my ankles to iron weights anchored to the cart bed, punched me in the stomach, and left me to lie, staring dumbly at the canopy overhead as he went to assist his partner. Mother would come for me, certainly, but it was the other part of the man’s words that clouded my thoughts.

The cart began to move, jostling over the uneven forest floor. As I tried to regain my breath, my mind jumped, irrationally, back to the house.

“You forgot the panel!” I wheezed over the noise of the grunting ox and snapping branches. To leave it seemed like a stupid waste, even if they had no interest in it themselves. It’d taken us two years to make that thing, Mother and I. Someone should have it, even if just ignorant kidnappers. It was worth more than my life, certainly. I had no guild mark, no formal apprenticeship, no friends to come looking for me, and an undocumented journey-woodcutter was worth only as much as their master was willing to pay. They were going to be very disgruntled when Mother did not appear. And if they found her…gods, if they found her… What did witches want with a woodcutter?

I had my breath back, so I sat up and leaned over the side of the cart. Even with the moonlight, it was too dark to see more than outlines, but I could just make out the taller one breaking away and moving back toward Mother’s house.

Panic gave way to puzzlement as he entered. Had they changed their minds about the panel? I squinted into the night. Was he moving the panel then, or going past it? I’d not yet lit any oil lamps for fear of combustion during the extraction, and so the spark from the guard’s flint burned my eyes. Something caught in the guard’s hand—perhaps a ribbon of paper or a sheet of Mother’s veneer. Whatever it was, the man tossed it inside the house.

“No!”

I screamed it, I think. My throat hurt, either way. The guard jogged back to the cart, and I screamed again, nonsensically. The idiot. The absolute uneducated toadstool. If he didn’t quicken his pace, if we didn’t—

Mother’s house exploded.

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Meet the Author

J.S. Fields is a scientist who has perhaps spent too much time around organic solvents. They enjoy roller derby, woodturning, making chain mail by hand, and cultivating fungi in the backs of minivans. Nonbinary, and always up for a Twitter chat.

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Release Blitz: The Silver Cage by Ana Raine #gayromance #shifters @changelingpress @AuthorAnaRaine @GoIndiMarketing

Title: The Silver Cage

Series: Restrained #1

Author: Ana Raine

Publisher: Changeling Press LLC

Release Date: July 9, 2021

Heat Level: 4 – Lots of Sex

Pairing: Male/Male

Length: 66

Genre: Romance, Fantasy, Thriller/Suspense, Science Fiction, 2nd Chance Romance, Shapeshifters, Werewolves, Action Adventure, Dark Fantasy

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Synopsis

Danny barely remembers who he is, let alone his mate. After being taken from his pack years ago by a group of overzealous hunters, Danny identifies only as “Wolf” — the pet of the pack who helps track down other shifters for the hunters’ sport.

When Danny tracks down a female wolf, he hesitates to help imprison her male companion. At first Danny doesn’t remember this wolf, at least not logically, but his senses are completely overtaken and he’s sure he’s met this Alpha before.

This wolf isn’t just his former Alpha. Jamie is also his mate, and after years of believing Danny dead, Jamie’s not going to let his mate go ever again. Even if it means working together to kill each of the hunters so they can never take their lives again — or come between their mating bond.

Excerpt

All rights reserved.
Copyright ©2021 Ana Raine

I followed him silently, not that there was much of a chance to use words in our wolf form. I was beyond surprised I still drew breath, but I wasn’t going to let him in on that.

He was an Alpha. He was born to be a leader the way all Alphas were. Strong, fierce and with a natural desire to protect. As soon as he’d sniffed me, he’d let out a low growl that had me belly-up on the ground. His nose nudged my neck in acceptance, and then he headed toward the woods with nothing more than his Alpha voice in my head telling me to follow.

I knew he could talk to me with more than just basic commands. At least, he could if he were so inclined. I’d always wondered how powerful the boy who should have been my mate would have been had he been given a chance.

The hunters were behind us, but I knew at least a few would stay with Langdon. Langdon Sr. wouldn’t, though. He would want to come after me and bury a bullet in my brain himself.

Until there was blood, my blood, this wouldn’t be over. I whined and pawed the ground and drank more water than I needed in my effort to get the Alpha to release me. A faint thought popped into my mind that if I crawled back and begged for mercy, Langdon wanted me enough to stop my death. Then we’d go live whatever fairy tale he’d drawn up.

At least it was a life where I knew the outcome. This one with the Alpha just reminded me how out of touch I was with my kind. And with myself. Each step I took without feeling a whip against my flesh was a reminder I no longer remembered what it was to be free.

We ran part of the way, farther and farther from the female wolf who had to have been his mate. The little bit of her blood I tasted on my paw from when I brought her down smelled just like him. Why he was bothering to lead me so far away, I had no idea.

Eventually, the darkness overtook even our wolf eyesight, forcing us to retreat to a mostly empty stable. There was an old horse covered in a wool blanket and chewing some hay lazily.

She either had a death wish or wasn’t fazed by creatures of the night seeking shelter in her barn because she barely batted an eye before going back to her dinner.

An entire side of the barn was empty and had enough closure to keep us warm against the chill. I almost expected him to bark at me to go back outside to keep watch while he slept. Even though Alphas were supposed to act in the best interest of their pack, it didn’t always work out that way. And I wasn’t his pack, not really anyway.

I saw his body twist and contort as the sound of bone snapping and muscle stretching filled the silence of the barn. Fur receded as his skin became visible. With a barking cough that morphed from beast to man in a moment, there was now a man standing in front of me. He had his back to me, obviously not worried I would attack him from behind.

I saw his beautiful pale skin had been marred by a Hunter’s blade. I’d been cut enough myself to know how the scars looked when they faded. It had been years since his flesh had found the end of a blade, but it was there, just visible enough in the moonlight.

He was tall, so much taller than me, and I found myself staring at his legs, the curve of his ass. I longed for him to turn around so I could stare at what I was sure would be the most beautiful wolf I’d ever met since my mate was taken from me.

Hair as red as fire was loose around his shoulders, the same color he’d been as a wolf. I found myself feeling utterly insufficient to even be in his presence. My hair, blond and boring in comparison to his fire.

Just as I was thinking of backing out of the stable to give him space, his command stopped me. “Phase to a human.”

And oh, how I wanted to immediately do what he asked. To phase and to converse with him, but there was more than fear that I’d come across as stupid. There was also the fear I wasn’t enough. And I wanted to be.

Purchase

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Meet the Author

Ana is still figuring out what she wants to do with her life, although social work seems to be the most likely. Her best friends are a box of chocolate and her kitten who always sit beside her while she writes. When Ana was in high school, she often wrote about the LGBT community, but now her work is less…innocent. Ana enjoys writing anything and everything, including BDSM, dragons, shifters, magic, and more.

Website | Twitter | Goodreads

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New Release: The Curator’s Vampire by Alexa Piper #vampires #paranormalromance @prowlingpiper

After returning from France, Robyn wants nothing more than to snuggle in the arms of her vampire husband and lover, Maxim. When Maxim, New Amsterdam’s vampire hunter, is called to work, Robyn finds a mummy has been added to the art collection she manages. While Maxim follows his case, Robyn decides to dive headfirst into yet another mummy mystery.

Maxim has been working on a case that might involve a dark conspiracy, but more than anything, the case forces him to confront scars from the past. He can no longer hide how damaged he is from the woman he loves. He may have hidden the truth from her for too long already, and Maxim fears that Robyn will find him unworthy of her love and desire.

In the aftermath of Maxim’s tumultuous case and the emotions it’s forced him to confront, the mummy turns out to be more murderous than anyone expected. It’s not a mummy’s curse that’s been triggered, but the beginnings of a conspiracy Maxim fears he and those he loves may not easily be rid of.

Available from Changeling Press

EXCERPT

All rights reserved.
Copyright ©2021 Alexa Piper

Niccolo and Sibylla sat in the lounge area of the Paris airport. Sibylla kept tugging her hair back behind her ears — when she wasn’t stirring her cappuccino or rearranging the packets of sweetener in their holder on the table.

“Stop fussing,” Niccolo told his sister in flawless French. “It makes you look suspicious.”

Sibylla jerked her hand back from the sweetener packets and stopped her hands from going to her hair again by folding them in front of her as if in prayer. She took a deep breath, but Niccolo could tell it wasn’t doing much to calm her. He understood that all too well.

“Do you see her yet?” Sibylla asked. She wanted to look over her shoulder. Niccolo could tell.

Niccolo let his gaze drift to the terminal beyond, the stores advertising high-end brands or selling overpriced gifts to travelers who forgot to pick something up for a loved one in Paris. Tourists and business travelers alike brought color and voices from halfway around the world to the scene, but Niccolo couldn’t see the woman they were here for. “Not yet,” Niccolo told his sister.

Sibylla nodded. “I’m scared, Nico.” She’d been skeptical about coming here, and she still was.

“I know. I am too, but we have to do this.” He said the words to her, but also to himself. Certainty was always fleeting and had been so all their lives.

Sibylla nodded. Her knuckles turned white as she forced her hands to remain still.

Niccolo looked over Sibylla’s shoulder again. His eyes fell on the woman from his visions. She was running and awkwardly dragging a bag behind her, which she then dropped in order to hug a dark-haired, olive-skinned man who hugged her back eagerly. They almost seemed like family, and if it weren’t for their obviously different features, Niccolo would have thought this man her brother. And he wasn’t alone. Niccolo knew who his companion was.

“Don’t turn. That’s her, and her husband’s assistant,” he told Sibylla.

Sibylla bit her lip. “The vampire hunter’s assistant?”

Niccolo nodded. It hadn’t been easy to find out things about Maxim Vallois and his new wife, Robyn Somerton, but thanks to his visions, Niccolo had known what to look for, and the Internet had delivered at least some insights.

“Merde,” Sibylla said. “Do we still talk to her before the flight?”

The woman had now moved on to hug the taller of the two men, the one with the sandy-blond hair Niccolo had recognized as Vallois’s assistant. The man with the darker hair whom Somerton had greeted like a brother had picked up her bag, and his wide smile distracted from the wet sheen of presumably happy tears in his eyes. They didn’t seem like they were going on a different flight or going their separate ways, flying off to different countries.

Niccolo shook his head. “I think it’s better if we wait. In my vision, it was just us and her, so we’ll have to find another time. We should head to the gate, but don’t stare.”

Sibylla snorted. “That’s just his assistant, but I really don’t want his attention. And I may be nervous, but I’m not stupid.”

Niccolo shrugged. “I never said that. But that other guy seems very protective. Almost like close family.”

“Eyes down. Got it,” Sibylla said, her tone bitter enough to hide the desperation.

Before she got up, Niccolo reached out to take his sister’s hand in his. “New Amsterdam will be good for us. You have to trust me, Siby.”

She looked at him with her dark brown eyes that mirrored his own. “I trust you, Nico. That doesn’t mean I can’t be scared at the same time.”

Nico knew how that felt. Every other vision he had these days scared him. Following them got increasingly harder as a result.

“Right,” he said. “We can do this.”

“We can do this,” she agreed. Then, she tugged her hair back behind her ear and flinched when she noticed. “I hope they have plenty of booze on that plane. It’s a twelve-goddamn-hour flight.”

And they’d have to ignore the hunter’s bride for every minute of those twelve hours. Niccolo sighed. “Maybe we should get a drink before we head to the gate and board.”

“A drink would be so much better than coffee right about now,” Sibylla agreed. She pushed her cappuccino away. The frothy top had already considerably deflated, leaving just a half-full cup of brownish liquid with the odd bubble showing.

They went to buy overpriced liquor to calm their over-stressed nerves. It only helped so much, but it was better than trying not to stare at Robyn Somerton while they waited to board.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Alexa Piper writes steamy romance that ranges from light to dark, from straight to queer. She’s also a coffee addict. Alexa loves writing stories that make her readers laugh and fall in love with the characters in them. Connect with Alexa on Facebook or Instagram, follow her on Twitter, and subscribe to her newsletter!

Find the author online: Website | Facebook | Instagram | BookBub

New Release: Devotion by Carys Seraphine #darkfantasy #vampires @changelingpress

For the past few decades, vampiress Erin Morana has mourned the death of her sire, Jon. She’s done her best to move forward, and now she’s renovating the mansion once used by a psychopathic vampire. Between her magic lessons with the mage Lazarus and the anticipation of the birth of her best friend’s baby, Erin has her hands full.

An attack on a dark street, however, changes everything. Now she’s caught in the middle of a fight she has little hope of winning, but she isn’t alone.

She’s never been alone.

Get it Now at Changeling Press

Preorder for July 2nd at Online Booksellers

EXCERPT

All rights reserved.
Copyright ©2021 Carys Seraphine

“Wow!”

Erin Morana grinned and let her best friend, Dana Reid, into the newly renovated mansion. “Like it?”

Dana wandered from room to room on the ground floor, stopped before Erin, and gave her a tight hug. “Oh, my God. It’s gorgeous. I can’t feel even the slightest hint of Harlan Yates here.”

“You can thank Lazarus and Jessie for that,” Erin said. The mage and his lover had been instrumental in fixing the atmosphere of Yates’ house of horrors.

Dana bumped Erin’s shoulder. “From what I’ve heard, you’re no slouch in the magic department.”

Erin shrugged. “I’m still learning. It’ll take years before I even come close to Jessie or Lazarus, but I love it.”

Dana nodded. She walked up the stairs, exploring more of the house. After their little group of vampires, demons, and mages had destroyed the last of Yates’ followers, Erin set about changing the house into an actual home for donors and vampires alike. She hated the word “coven” and chose to just call the place a safehouse instead. It was the kind of refuge she’d hoped Yates offered, only to find things under his rule vastly different and far from safe.

“Have you claimed a room yet?” Dana called from the railing above.

“Not yet.” Erin headed upstairs and met her friend. “I’ve been sleeping in the library downstairs. Feels too… weird when I’m here alone.”

Dana nodded. “I get that. If Saul hadn’t left his loft to me, I’d join you. Maybe I still will, though. I don’t know.”

“You think Haez will care?”

Dana snorted. “As long as we have our privacy, I don’t think he gives a damn. Of course, we’d need a second room for the baby when he gets here.” Dana rested a hand on her belly. The child was the result of Dana’s previous boyfriend, not the demon she now dated. But after one of Yates’ offspring bit Dana, there was no telling how the child would turn out. Up to that point, Dana had solely been a psivamp, but now she and her baby were hybrids, though, thankfully, he would only need energy. As far as she knew, anyway.

“I’m sure we can arrange that,” Erin said.

The front door downstairs opened, and they both looked down.

“You should keep your door locked, my dear,” Lazarus said by way of greeting. Many thought the mage to be a bit snobbish and coarse, but Erin liked him. He glanced up and waved. “Good evening, ladies.”

Erin smiled and hurried down the stairs. If anyone else had seen the hug they shared, they wouldn’t believe it. Lazarus felt like a father, not the magical mentor he’d become to her. “I’m sorry. Dana just got here, so I didn’t even think about it.”

Lazarus tsked but smiled. “Noted, but please, lock the door at all times.”

“I will,” Erin said. “I promise.”

“Very good.” Lazarus nodded at Dana as she came down the steps. “I believe Haez is returning this evening.”

Dana’s eyes lit up, and she smiled. “I know.” She practically bounced. “I need to go back to the loft before our gig. Then it’s showtime!”

Erin laughed as her friend left. Then she made a point of locking the front door. She turned to find Lazarus watching her. “What?”

“Are you certain you’re okay here alone?”

“I am.” Erin looked around at the place, unable to hide the pride she felt at the work she’d accomplished. “It feels more like a home now, and I’m hoping to find some new people to move in soon. I sleep in the library, but once I get a few tenants in, I’ll claim a room upstairs.”

“Very well,” Lazarus said. “For now, let us return to the kitchen. It’s the best place for practice, more open.”

“What are we going to work on today?” Erin asked as they entered the newly renovated kitchen and dining room.

Lazarus moved the dining table with no effort at all. For such a petite man, the mage possessed an inordinate amount of strength. He set the six chairs aside and nodded. “Much better. Your barriers are strong, but I feel they could be improved. Defense is paramount. Always remember that, my dear.”

For a moment, Erin lost herself in a memory. Jon had told her that very same thing, so long ago. If she’d learned then…

“Erin?”

She shook her head and found Lazarus studying her, concern in his eyes. “Sorry.”

“Are you all right?”

She’d never gone into detail with anyone about Jon, not even Dana. She needed Lazarus’ lessons, but her heart and mind were elsewhere. “I…”

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Carys Seraphine is an alter ego of gay romance author Mychael Black. She lives on the Eastern Shore of the US with her family and their dog.

Carys at Changeling: changelingpress.com/carys-seraphine-a-224

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.

Purchase

Changeling Press LLC | Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Kobo | iTunes

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.

Website | Facebook | Twitter | Bookbub

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BOOK REVIEW: Mine in Hell (The Rejected Mate #2) by G. Bailey and Scarlett Snow #reverseharem @gbaileyauthor

Now the world knows who I am.

I’m the first female alpha in history and every pack leader out there wants to claim me as their mate.
Including the Stormfire alpha who sent my life into a spiral after rejecting me.
While he and the others fight for the right to possess me, a new Demon Trial is created in honor of the Crescent Mother, and this time I’m the prize.
Or so they all believe.
I’ll stop at nothing to reclaim my freedom even if it means entering the trials myself, where the only way out is death and ruin. But I don’t plan on dying.
I plan on winning.

I’m going to make each of the alphas pay for what they did to me.

18+ Dark reverse harem romance full with a sassy and sarcastic heroine who finds her match.

Get it at Amazon

MY REVIEW – 5 stars!

I recently discovered Ms. Bailey’s books, and I think I’m hooked. Reverse harem is quickly becoming my new favorite genre, and while I typically dislike cliffhangers, I don’t mind it so much with fantasy books.

Lilith is still fighting for her life, for revenge, and for love. The three men she’s fallen for only make her stronger and more determined as one enemy after another tries to tear them apart and destroy the world’s first alpha female. There’s nothing she won’t do to take down the monsters and free those under their influence. Lilith is furious and she’s ready to protect the innocent.

Full of unexpected twists, and more than a little heat, Mine in Hell is a page-turning read I couldn’t put down. Love. Danger. Friendship… and so much more. I hope you’re ready for one hell of a ride (pun intended).

*Disclaimer: I received a free copy of this book via Booksprout and am voluntarily leaving a review.

New Release: Damned & Confused by Crymsyn Hart #darkfantasy @crymsynhart

Meriel discovers an ancient deck of Tarot cards while cleaning out an old house for her sister. When she opens the box of cards, out pops Wile, a demon hell-bent on protecting her from Raziel, a Prince of Hell.

If Raziel gets the cards and Meriel, he can open a portal to release the devil into the world. Together, Wile and Meriel have to stay one step ahead of Raziel.

The Tarot start to teach her their secrets and help her understand her deepening connection to Wile. Can she learn what she needs to in order to keep the devil at bay and save her demon?

Get it Today at Changeling Press

Preorder for June 18th at online booksellers

EXCERPT

All rights reserved.
Copyright ©2021 Crymsyn Hart

Meriel ran her fingers through her hair and stared at the mess of boxes she had to contend with. Sunlight streamed in through the cobwebbed windows, highlighting the dust she’d stirred by setting foot in the attic. She gathered her hair, twisted it into a bun, and thrust a pen through it. A piece came loose and draped in front of her eyes. She stuck it behind her ear and groaned as she looked at the list of things her sister, Kendra, had left for her to do. Two pages of tasks to get the house cleared out. Kendra had taken over their mother’s cleaning business once she had retired. Since Meriel was out of a job, Kendra had enlisted her to work. The money paid Meriel’s bills, but the work never seemed to end. Meriel knew because she’d worked with her their mother long before Kendra came along. Her little sister never had it as demanding as Meriel did growing up.

Better get to it. She gazed around the attic. Antique furniture piled next to trunks was shoved into the corner. An old sewing machine, a mannequin dummy, and numerous old cardboard boxes waited for her to dig through them. Whatever was written on the side to describe the contents had faded with time. She wiped her hand across her head from the sweat forming on her brow. It was only nine and already the attic was stifling.

Meriel ripped open the first box and found nothing more than old photos, china, and other knickknacks. She moved the box aside and started a pile of things they could sell. She kept on going and got lost in the monotony of pulling boxes and figuring out which things to trash and what could be sold.

By the time she got half the attic sorted, the mound to be tossed far outweighed the pitiful heap of what they could keep. She stopped and took a bottle of water from the cooler. The liquid slipped down her throat, then she ran the perspiring bottle over her forehead and enjoyed the coolness of the water on her skin. She grabbed a box from the trash pile and ventured down to the first floor. She set it down by the front door.

Meriel peered through the dusty window. The breeze had picked up greatly since she had gotten there. She opened the door to get a better look at the sky. A boom of thunder greeted her. A bolt of lightning arced overhead as dark clouds approached the house. An ominous feeling settled over her as she stared at the coming tempest. Her yellow Ford Focus looked like an ant waiting to be squashed by the encroaching storm. Her side vibrated. She dug her phone out of her pocket and saw a tornado warning had been issued for her area.

Metallic pings caught her attention and drew her gaze to her car. Pea-size balls of ice bounced off the hood of her car. Dread crept up her spine as the gale grew bigger. Perfect, I’m stuck in a big creepy house in the middle of a storm. Another boom of thunder and a gush of wind struck. The rain mixed with the hail hit her face, stinging sharply. The clouds had moved in faster than she anticipated. Darkness engulfed the house until it felt like night had fallen. The clouds had taken on a purple-black hue with a tinge of orange mixed in. She heard a crunch. Hail the size of grapefruit had hit her windshield and fell on the roof of her car before rolling off onto the cracked driveway.

Meriel slammed the front door shut. The next roll of thunder shook the house. Sounds like God is doing construction up there. She tried the light switch, but the power flickered and went out. She checked the radar on her weather app. It showed a red and orange blob coming straight at her location. The way the building quaked and with the pounding hail crashing against the house, she wasn’t going to take a chance. Using the flashlight on her phone, she rushed into the kitchen, hoping to find the basement door. Meriel hadn’t explored much of the house except to find the bathroom and the attic. The kitchen appliances were large and from the late 1940s. She pulled open a door by the fridge. A pantry with a few old jars on the shelves. A squeak made her jump as several mice scampered out of the way.

“Mother… fudgenugget. I hate mice.” Meriel slammed the door.

A loud bang overhead didn’t make her feel any better. She heard a soft click and then a creak. Meriel followed the sound and discovered a door in the hallway she had passed by. It blended with the wall so well she didn’t even realize it was there. Stairs led down into the darkness. Her flashlight flickered on and off. Thunder rattled the windows and made her head into the cellar for safety. Rushing wind and pelting rain battered the windows.

The light from her phone let her see the basement filled with more discarded antiques. Besides the collection of antiques, there were shelves of canned goods covered with cobwebs. The cellar fit every stereotype of what a scary basement should be. Spiders hung from their webs. Broken furniture was scattered around. Shelves of canned goods so old the labels had worn off filled one wall. All she needed now was a ghost to pop out and say boo. She glanced at her phone. Great. No signal.

As she moved farther into the basement, she heard water dripping. It led her to another room with a dirt floor. Thick wooden beams supported the floor above. Inside, she found an old well. In the old days, people used to build wells inside the houses. She had never come across it before, though. The sound of the storm didn’t seem as bad. Something about the place didn’t feel right. Water plopped onto her hand. She panned her flashlight around the basement and discovered a wooden door. I wonder where this goes? Let’s find out.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Crymsyn Hart is a National Bestselling author of over eighty paranormal romance and horror novels. Her experiences as a psychic and ghostly encounters have given her a lot of material to use in her books. Vampires, grim reapers, shifters, and other paranormal creatures tend to end up in her books no matter how hard she tries to keep them away.

She currently resides in Charlotte, NC with her hubby and her three dogs. If she’s not writing, she’s curled up with the dogs watching a good horror movie or off with friends.

To find out more about Crymsyn, check out her website on: www.crymsynhart.com

Release Blitz: Scorned Gods by Mychael Black #LGBTQ #darkfantasy @changelingpress @GoIndiMarketing

Title: Scorned Gods

Author: Mychael Black

Publisher: Changeling Press LLC

Release Date: June 18, 2021

Heat Level: 4 – Lots of Sex

Pairing: Male/Male, Male/Male Menage

Length: 154

Genre: Romance, Fantasy, Action Adventure, Dark Fantasy, Paranormal Romance, Suspense, Urban Fantasy, Multiple Partners, Multisexual & Pansexual, Rock Star, Vampires

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Synopsis

Music isn’t all that Scorned Gods has to offer.

Iconoclast (Scorned Gods 1): Death metal group Scorned Gods needs a new singer. Firestarter’s former lead singer Jason Summerfield and his lover Julian Kristados are back in the United States, and Jason is itching to get back on stage. What he gets, however, is far more than that — and not all of it is good.

Delirium (Scorned Gods 2): Jason and Julian have acquired a new lover, Scorned Gods’ bassist, Saul. But a cult of vampires is hell-bent on starting a war between mortals and vampires. Its first prime targets are psychic vampires like Jason’s bandmates…

Shackled (Scorned Gods 3): With help from an Abaddon ally, Jason and his bandmates will have to act quickly to stop Harlan Yates. The escaped mortal, Daniel, is the unwilling beacon that can bring destruction upon them all.

Karma’s Brutality (Scorned Gods 4): With their allies from Abaddon, Jason takes the fight directly to Yates. Jason and his bandmates from Scorned Gods are about to discover combat is not for the faint of heart. Not everyone will come out unscathed, but that’s the nature of war.

Publisher’s Note: Scorned Gods (Box Set) contains the previously published novellas Iconoclast, Delirium, Shackled, and Karma’s Brutality.

Excerpt

Scorned Gods (Box Set)
Mychael Black
All rights reserved.
Copyright ©2021 Mychael Black
Excerpt from Iconoclast

The door slammed shut, and Saul Calderon glanced at his bandmates. “Well, that was a waste of time. Now what?”

Twins Nicholas and Dana Reid both sighed, though Dana spoke up first. “Good riddance,” she said. “There are other singers — most with more talent than that jackass had. We can find someone.”

“Hopefully in enough time to actually learn the songs,” her brother grumbled.

Saul sat on the stool beside his amp, his bass resting on his lap. “Where do these fuckers come from? You’d think someone who claims to be a ‘big fan’ would actually know our songs.”

“Hell if I know,” Dana said with a shrug. She set her sticks on her snare and redid her fire-engine red ponytail. Although she and Nicholas were twins, they weren’t identical. She looked nothing like her brother. “We need… new blood.”

A shiver snaked its way up Saul’s spine. None of them had fed in a few days, and although they didn’t drink blood, the urge for it occasionally hit. Dana gave him a knowing look. She’d been the one to bring them together years ago. Back then, they’d only sensed kindred spirits who needed energy to survive. The music had been a happy accident. But even among vampires, their kind were pariahs. Rumors ran rampant about the band members’ true natures, though no one knew the exact truth. Sometimes, they tossed in a random blood feeding onstage just to drive the crowd wild, but Saul preferred tantric energy to blood any day.

“Yo, dude!”

Fingers snapped in front of Saul’s face, and he shook his head. Nicholas gave him a quizzical look.

“Sorry. Just… zoned out, I guess,” Saul said. “Dana’s right, though. We need someone new, someone this fucking city hasn’t heard.”

“Good luck with that,” Nicholas said. “That idiot was number… shit, I don’t even remember now.”

“Maybe we’ll get lucky.” Saul wasn’t sure he believed that himself, but it felt good to say, at least. His cell buzzed in his pocket, and he tugged it out to glance at the text message. “Huh.”

“Who is it?” Dana asked.

“Some guy named Jason Summerfield. Says he sang with Firestarter.”

“The pyro band?” Nicholas grinned.

Saul shrugged. “I suppose. I don’t know of any other Firestarter.”

“Didn’t they break up a few years ago?” Dana began packing her things. “I caught one of their shows. If it’s the same guy, he’s fucking good.”

Saul read the text aloud:

My name is Jason Summerfield. I found your ad and am looking for a new band. I just moved to town a few weeks ago, but I fronted Firestarter for several years in Atlanta.

“What have we got to lose?” Nicholas asked as he put away his guitar.

“I’ll set up a time tomorrow then,” Saul said.

While Noah and Dana finished getting their things together, Saul replied to the text.

Hey there. I’ve heard of Firestarter, though I never saw you guys live. I play bass for Scorned Gods. I’d like to meet and chat, see if you’d be a good fit. When’s a good time for you?

A few minutes passed, and Saul walked Dana and Noah to the front door of his loft. Just as he shut the door, his phone buzzed again.

Anytime tonight would be great.

He texted back, How about eight?

Sounds great.

Awesome. I know a cool little coffeehouse downtown called Urban Joe’s. Need directions?

Nah. I can find it. See you then.

Saul grinned. If this guy was as good as Dana claimed, maybe things would work out after all. He grabbed his laptop off the kitchen table and sat down on the couch. A quick Google search yielded photos, mp3 clips, and vids of Firestarter. Saul stared at a promo pic of Jason Summerfield.

“Holy shit, he’s hot.”

Purchase

Changeling Press LLC | Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Kobo | iTunes

Meet the Author

Myc has been writing professionally since 2005, solo and with Shayne Carmichael. Genres include pretty much anything (no steampunk yet), though Myc is well known for paranormal stories. When not writing, Myc is usually playing PC games, reading, watching Netflix, and spending way too much time on Facebook. Since the question has come up in the past, pronouns are not an issue. Myc is bio-female, mentally male, and 100% genderfluid, so any pronoun works!

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Nighted by Torri Heat #darkfantasy #paranormalromance @torriheat

Jasper and Ava have made it through every hurdle thrown their way — together. Their relationship is stronger — and hotter — than ever. But now something new and deadly is after Ava. The pair also can’t forget the minor detail that her mother is still missing.

The supernatural world is dangerous, and full of things that go bump in the night. Will they be able to find the monster before the monster finds her?

Available Today at Changeling Press

Preorder for June 18th at online booksellers

Praise for Nighted (Darkling 3)

“I’ve been following Torri’s work from Nyctophilia and with every new piece I become more and more invested. I adore the progression Torri has created between each of her installments in her Darkling Series… I adore her characters even more. [The] romance with Jasper is just absolutely superb. Their dynamic connection and spice is everything.”

— 5 Stars from Jennifer Claire, Goodreads Review

EXCERPT

All rights reserved.
Copyright ©2021 Torri Heat

If I thought back really far, I could almost remember my mother telling me a story. About creatures who lived in the woods, and monsters that went bump in the night. Bedtime stories created to scare children. Except I was no longer a child, and I knew better now than to think those stories were made up.

None of this mattered anymore. My mother and I had no relationship left, and this was definitely not the time for a casual discussion on children’s stories. I had bigger things to worry about. The forest I was currently sprinting through full tilt was far from imaginary, although the scene could’ve been from a dream. The dense foliage was thick with new growth, lush like a fairy tale. Bright flowers bloomed in the small gaps of sunlight. The only thing missing was the bird song, preferably from a friendly bluebird Instead, the only thing I heard as I ran was the sound of my own heartbeat.

I wanted to stop and catch my breath, but I couldn’t. He’d find me, and that was a whole world of trouble I didn’t even want to contemplate. So I kept running, my heartbeat keeping time with my silent footsteps.

There were perks to being a Venator, and then there were skills I had worked my ass off to learn. The quiet way I could move through the forest was one of those skills I was most proud of, and my talent was paying off tenfold at the moment. My original plan had been to do a wide circle in the woods, coming out at the far end, which hadn’t been working out for me so far. Venator or not, my stamina wasn’t unlimited. What I needed was a distraction, or some way to let me loop back on myself. I eyed the aging trees as I ran deeper. The thick vines desperately making their way skyward were too new to provide any real support, but they might give me some traction if I could find a tree small enough to find good holds. Just ahead of me I found my target. A tree younger than the rest with some low limbs, but not fully covered in the twining green ropes. Perfect.

I jumped, reaching for the first low limb and pulling myself into the tree. I continued to climb until I was high enough in the leaves that I was unable to be seen but could still hear everything going on below me. Unfortunately, this vantage point also left my vision partially obstructed. I would have to rely on a combination of my senses and hope for the best. I pulled myself as small as I could, straining my ears to hear the sounds beneath my hiding place. I needed to wait until he passed by me, and then I could make my way back out of the woods. Easy. I had outmaneuvered wolves loads of times. My breath and my heart kept an odd melody in my head, and I forced myself to slow down. I needed to listen.

I heard the heavy breathing first. I must have pulled up at the perfect time, because he wasn’t far behind me. I could hear sniffing down the trail I had followed. I pulled my feet even closer to my body, willing my heart to be silent. I had come this far. I could make it a little while longer. I kept count of the seconds, tapping my finger on my tight black shirt. One. Two. Three. There was the swish of a tail in the bushes beneath me. I could see the edges of the damp fur but couldn’t make out the whole body. Holding my breath, I waited to see if he would find my hiding spot or would move on. Four. Five. Six. The fur slowly disappeared, and the sniffing faded out further along the trail. I would give him a couple more minutes, just to make sure, and then I would jump down and move. Seven. Eight. Nine. My hiding spot had been a success. There was no more sign of him. Now I only needed to get back in one piece. I took a deep breath and jumped down.

Ten.

I took a quick look around me, feeling satisfied I hadn’t been found out. I turned on my heel to head back the way I had come, before he noticed I was no longer ahead of him. But before I could move, something snaked out from the left of me and grabbed my wrist. My heart stopped. Shit.

“What gave me away?” My voice sounded a lot braver than I felt. Bravery was a constant work in progress, especially when the supernatural world wasn’t one you were expecting to find yourself living in.

Jasper smirked. “Your scent was all over those vines, Green. You should know better than to climb on the greenery without masking your scent first.”

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Torri Heat has always loved control. Her mind was blown when she discovered she could control entire worlds through story writing. Throw some steamy romance in there, and it was pretty close to perfection. Torri loves dark heroes who ride off into the sunset on their motorcycles, fierce heroines who can fend for themselves, and a sprinkle of the paranormal to keep things interesting. When she’s not creating alternate realities you can find her managing her three ring circus of kids and animals.  

Find Torri Online: Facebook | Twitter | Instagram

New Release: Dire Wolves (paperback) by Shelby Morgen and Lena Austin #paranormalromance #LGBTQ @shelbymorgen @Lena_Austin

Whiteout by Shelby Morgen: Zan gives John a reason to want to live as a man again. But before he can make that kind of promise, he’s got unfinished business to take care of.

Silence by Lena Austin: Noel Miller, a vampire with a few scars of his own, wants to be more than Cam’s sign language interpreter. If only the werewolf will let him into his life — and heart.

White Heat by Shelby Morgen: Heather Grant’s got far too much experience working with stubborn males. She figures it would serve both Alphas right if their pride blows their cover. But someone’s got to salvage the mission.

Available in paperback at Amazon

Praise for Dire Wolves (Box Set)


“…a collection that grabs the reader, takes them on a journey, and ensures some cold showers. Erotic, captivating, and deliciously carnal are how I would describe The Dire Wolves Anthology. It is definitely worth reading, worth adding to one’s reading library, and well worth re-reading.”— 4 Stars from Nikki, Sensuous Reviews  

“This book hooked me from the get go. I just couldn’t put it down. I fell in love with these characters… just a perfect read.” — 5 Stars from Jeanne, Amazon Review

EXCERPT

All rights reserved.
Copyright ©2021
Excerpt from Silence by Lena Austin

“Danse Macabre” was a lousy choice for a ring tone, but Detective Cameron Douglas always thought about it when he had the least amount of time to change the ring to something else. The tune was the last he’d ever hear. Cam didn’t know that sad fact, or he’d have changed the ring sooner.

Cam snatched the phone out of his pocket and flipped it open as soon as he saw it was his boss, Lt. Kraynak. “Hey, Mark! You caught me just leaving the mayor’s office.”

“Yeah?” Mark’s voice always sounded nervous, but at that moment, he sounded as squeaky as a girl. Cam always wondered if Mark was as closet gay as Cam himself. “How’d it go?”

Cam sighed. The investigation into the death of the mayor’s secretary, Margaret Lund, was supposed to be kept very quiet and low-key. “We got the blood from her apartment at the lab, looking for DNA. They seem to be consistent with the defensive marks found on her body despite floating around in the St. John’s River for a while. I’ve got a few good leads.” He had to be vague. Cam couldn’t exactly tell his boss he was a werewolf and he’d caught an odd, masculine scent in Margaret’s apartment. He knew any sort of masculine odor didn’t belong in that apartment because Margaret and his mother had been lovers for over twenty years. Not exactly what you want the whole world to know. Mom had been in the closet all her life, and he wasn’t about to out her when she was mourning “Aunt Maggie’s” death. Dad would turn over in his grave, the day care she’d run for fifteen years would close, and her life would be in ruins. What she and Maggie had enjoyed just wasn’t ever going to be public, and that wasn’t admissible evidence anyway.

He could see it now. Him, on the witness stand. “Yes, Your Honor. I’m a werewolf you see, and I sniffed this odor…” He winced, even to himself.

“I don’t like it, Cam. You shouldn’t be on this case. Ms. Lund was your mother’s best friend. You could be called prejudiced in court.” Mark popped another gumball in his mouth. Cam heard it rattle against his teeth before it crackled as he chewed it into oblivion. Mark’d been trying to quit smoking again, and kept a gumball bank on his desk.

“I don’t like it, either, Mark. Where His Honor got the idea I’d be the only detective who could do the job is beyond me.” Cam was in sight of his car at last. The covered parking garage across the street from City Hall was a piece of shit like all the rest of downtown. Half the security cameras didn’t work at the best of times, and the roof leaked whenever it rained. So where was he parked? On the roof. In the rain. Of course. So he was wet. It was Florida. Not like he would melt. He was a werewolf, not a witch, and this wasn’t Hollyweird.

The beep in his ear made him jump, and the caller ID told him it was Mom. “Hey, I’m at my car. Hang on a sec.” Cam flipped over to his mother’s call and sat down on a bench about fifty feet from his car, in the shelter covering the elevator. “Hi, Mom.” He frowned and noticed the hood of his car was slightly ajar. That was odd. He distinctly remembered changing the oil the previous Sunday and slamming the hood closed because he hated working in the hot sun.

He never heard her answer. Hell, he never heard anything except the biggest boom on the planet.

Waking up wasn’t like someone flipped on a light switch. It was more like a lazy Sunday morning when you didn’t have to be anywhere or do anything in particular, so you could roll over and laze in bed. That is, until your bladder or some other bodily need woke you up.

What woke him up was pain. Cam had the worst headache ever, even beyond hangovers and mild concussions from playing rugby. Cam felt like he’d been run over by a semi, too, with a backache from lying in one position too long on top of assorted injuries. Worst of all was the ringing in his ears. Tinnitus, he guessed. Not bad, since Cam had to assume he’d survived that explosion. Hell, he counted himself lucky when he opened his eyes and saw his left leg in bandages, not a cast. If a headache, a bum leg, and a case of tinnitus were all he had to suffer through, Cam was happy.

A nurse peeked in. She saw Cam was awake and smiled at him. Her lips moved, but he couldn’t hear her over the ringing in his ears. She frowned when Cam told her she’d have to speak up, and would she bring him something for the headache and tinnitus? She turned around and walked out without another word. She was back with something she shot into his IV. Whatever it was put him out like a light. Pain, tinnitus, and consciousness all went away at once.

When next Cam could put two words together in a coherent sentence, the clock on the wall and the darkness out the window gave him a clue it was 7:30 PM, not AM. He’d slept away the whole day. Great. Now his ears were sore.

A young man in a lab coat read a book in the corner chair, even though the only light source was the fluorescent above the head of Cam’s bed. The guy’s eyesight must have been superlative. He looked up slowly, and Cam was completely arrested — pardon the pun — by his eyes. They were big, blue and so world-weary Cam wanted to — maybe buy the kid a cup of coffee and give him a sympathetic ear. Then the newcomer smiled, and the world was all sunshine and cheer. The young man tapped on the keyboard of his laptop without taking his gaze off Cam’s face.

Cam moved restlessly under that intense blue gaze that did not in the least match with the smile. Cam opened his mouth to speak, but stopped when the screen on a laptop left on his lap table brightened. He frowned and studied the screen. “Can you read this?” Surprised, Cam nodded without thinking.

The blue-eyed man smiled and nodded. “Good. How’s your tinnitus?” lit up on the screen in a standard IM chat feature of a common website.

“Um… should I answer aloud?” Cam felt suddenly adrift in a strange sea, unsure of himself for the first time since college. Still, he did an internal check, and the buzzing still filled his ears like a thousand crickets on speed. “Yep, still have the crickets.” The realization hit him. “The explosion caused this tinnitus, didn’t it?”

“Yes, Mr. Douglas. Please speak more softly.” The IM kept up easily, and the young man’s hands flew silently but rapidly over the tiny keyboard. Damn, this guy was good.

Oops. Cam wasn’t stupid. He knew that those with hearing issues often spoke too loudly, trying to over-compensate for their loss. He modified his volume. “Um. Sorry.” He clung to the thin thread of hope that the tinnitus was causing his hearing loss, but he knew a bunch of cops who’d neglected ear protection at the shooting range once too often. Tinnitus could be permanent, or worse, the symptom of something much, much worse.

The IM lit up with several lines in rapid succession. “My name is Noel Miller, and I am your ENT therapist.” Now the cheer was gone, and the face serious.

Cam’s heart hammered, and he swallowed to help his suddenly dry mouth. Fear, ice-cold and cruel, raced up his spine. Part of him was grateful he still had painkillers in his system. Deep inside himself, a little kid threw a major temper tantrum, even if he held himself rigidly under control. “I’m deaf, aren’t I?”

ABOUT THE AUTHORS

Shelby Morgen

Shelby Morgen loves writing offbeat tales that defy as many rules as possible.

She likes chocolate with her peanut butter, suspense with her romance, and kink with her sex, and she’s always had a hard time keeping science fiction, fantasy and paranormal from mixing with her kink.

Shelby shares her belief in electronic publishing with her longtime friend and partner, Bill, her husband of nearly four decades.

Lena Austin

Someone cursed Lena Austin with “may you have a life so full you’ll have many tales to tell your grandchildren.” Lena’s a “fallen” society wench with a checkered past. She’s been a licensed minister, hairdresser, Realtor, radio DJ, exotic dancer, telephone service tech, live-steel medievalist swordswoman, BDSM Mistress, and investment property manager. Not necessarily in that order. She never finished that degree in marine archaeology, but did learn to scuba — she’s got a lifetime of “Research material!”

Hey, why waste these stories on kids who won’t listen anyway? Writing them down is a nice way to spend her retirement. What? You expected an ex-BDSM Mistress to take up crocheting or something?