Release Blitz: Dawn’s Light by Shannon Blair #FantasyRomance #LGBTQ @SBlairAuthor @GoIndiMarketing

Title: Dawn’s Light

Series: Duskblade, Book One

Author: Shannon Blair

Publisher: NineStar Press

Release Date: 02/22/2021

Heat Level: 3 – Some Sex

Pairing: Male/Male

Length: 86300

Genre: Fantasy, LGBTQIA+, Royalty, first time, sexual discovery, elves, goblins, duplicity, mercenaries, kidnapping, revenge, action/adventure, coming out, enemies to lovers, in the closet, slow burn, road trip

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Description

Moranthus is an elf who has lost everything. With his lover dead and his career stagnating, he jumps at a chance to redeem himself by rescuing a human prince from the goblins hunting him—even if failure means death or eternal exile from his homeland.

Gerrick, a human soldier who bears an uncanny resemblance to his prince, has always chosen duty over desire. As the sole parent of his young daughter, he needs the extra coin that working as the prince’s body double provides—even if it may one day cost him his life.

When a case of mistaken identity puts the prince in the hands of a goblin raiding party, Moranthus’s and Gerrick’s paths collide. With winter closing in and miles of hostile goblin lands ahead, they must set aside their differences and work together to bring the prince home safely.

Their deepening connection comes with a growing certainty that rescuing the prince may be fatal. Moranthus and Gerrick must each find a way to reconcile his heart’s desires with his homeland’s needs—or die trying.

Excerpt

Dawn’s Light
Shannon Blair © 2021
All Rights Reserved

Moranthus had spent the better part of a fortnight chasing his quarry along the Dawn’s Gate edge of the Ghostwood. His meager diet of chalky waybread and oversalted jerky did little more than take the edge off his hunger, and spending weeks on horseback had left him beyond saddle sore. His days blurred together like the colors of the glowstone he kept cradled in the center of his palm. Though it was his only reliable guide at the questionably mapped edges of this unfamiliar country, the strain of determining where each of its shades faded into the next, counting off one less mile between him and his ever-moving destination, left him with a near-constant headache.

The wide, hilly landscape around him certainly didn’t offer much else to guide him on the rare occasions he glanced at it to ensure he hadn’t strayed too far from the Ghostwood’s edge in his search. Dawn’s Gate’s northern plains didn’t look so different from the southern steppes of Moonridge, his homeland, but in the absence of the bone-chilling winds that screamed across Moonridge’s southern steppes, the still air around him felt foul and stagnant, as though a dozen people had breathed it before him and sucked all the life from it.

But Moranthus wouldn’t have traded any of it for the world. This was the first real hunt he’d seen in over a decade, after he’d made a pariah of himself by getting caught on the losing side of the coup that had killed his Patriarch and set his Patriarch’s illegitimate daughter on Moonridge’s throne. A few minor discomforts were nothing to complain about.

Even the solitude came as a welcome change after finding himself at the center of attention in every human village he passed through. The adults gave him veiled stares and treated him with just enough politeness to make him feel unwelcome. Their children’s endless questions over what had made his ears so long and pointy and whether he’d gotten his purple skin from frostbite, of all things, made him feel like one of the framed butterflies his Patriarch had kept in his study. Moranthus wondered if they treated all elves that way. Or if they knew the shaved sides of his head marked his probationary status in Moonridge and didn’t want him trying to find a place for himself in their community. Not that anyone in Moonridge had treated him much better lately.

*

Just over two months earlier, he’d lounged on the narrow, rickety bed pressed against the left wall of his rented room, happy to be home after the latest in a series of jobs only marginally more interesting than watching snow melt. Beside him, his amethyst cameo of his former Patriarch sat in its usual place near his pillow. Moranthus absently rubbed the carved likeness of his Patriarch with his thumb, missing the days when his work left him feeling fulfilled instead of frustrated. In his service, Moranthus had spent his days tracking down fugitives, missing persons, and lost or stolen valuable objects.

His Matriarch’s latest orders had gotten his hopes up by sending him in search of a messenger who had vanished en route to his destination while carrying sensitive correspondence. But when Moranthus found the messenger’s belongings and gnawed bones strewn about an abandoned wolf den, the “sensitive correspondence” in question turned out to be nothing more than a dinner invitation to the head of a minor noble household. Moranthus had been reduced to a glorified follow-up letter.

The room’s low ceiling and windowless walls made him wonder if it had been part of an attic before its conversion into a living space. The cramped space around him—occupied by a table and single chair pressed against its right wall in addition to the bed and chest of drawers that lined its left—felt comfortable enough compared to the inns he stayed in on the road. After ten years, he hardly noticed the draft his poorly sealed walls let in. The fire he kept blazing in the small fireplace against his back wall kept the worst of the cold out anyway.

The smell of blood from the butcher’s shop beneath him wafted through the gaps between his thin floorboards, mingling in a not entirely unpleasant manner with the crisp, sweet taste of the bowlful of plums he’d made into his evening meal. As he finished each plum, he tossed its pit across the room, where it bounced off his doorknob with a sharp ping before clattering along his floor. It made a completely unreasonable amount of noise, really. But that was the point.

He’d done it as his latest mild act of revenge against the butcher downstairs, who had woken well before dawn that morning for what seemed to be the sole purpose of loudly and thoroughly fucking his wife. For the past several years, the butcher had made a point of waking Moranthus that way every morning after Moranthus returned from a mission and wanted nothing more than a good, long sleep.

Moranthus still hadn’t decided whether the butcher did it as a backhanded reminder that Moranthus wasn’t getting any, or as a bizarre way of marking his territory. More than once, he’d considered pulling the butcher aside and explaining that, if he had any intention of running off with a member of the butcher’s household—which he did not—he would’ve been far more interested in the charming young fellow the butcher had recently brought in as an apprentice. If the charming apprentice in question hadn’t already taken up with the butcher’s wife, anyway. But pointing out that the butcher had an attractive apprentice and an unfaithful wife would probably get him banned from the butcher’s shop, and he didn’t want to go to the trouble of finding another reputable place to buy meat in the lower district of Aurora, Moonridge’s capital. Or a new landlord, for that matter.

The first knock at his door caught Moranthus off guard. He couldn’t remember the last time he’d had a visitor. He’d halfway decided to dismiss it as a trick of the wind, or a child throwing rocks as an ill-advised form of amusement, when a second knock echoed through his room, followed by several more in rapid succession.

Moranthus slid off his bed and retrieved the dagger he kept beneath his pillow before padding, barefoot, across the floorboards between him and the door, careful to avoid the ones that creaked. No one who’d come to his door unannounced was likely to have anything pleasant in store for him. Not anymore.

He opened his door to find one of his Matriarch’s messengers standing outside, an official-looking satchel in his arms. In that moment, Moranthus wanted nothing more than to tell the bastard that his next set of orders could wait until he asked for them and slam his door shut again.

Instead, he sighed and asked, “What do you want?”

“I am looking for Moranthus. I’ve come to the wrong place, I take it?” The messenger frowned as he cast a disdainful glance over Moranthus. His eyes lingered on the shaved sides of Moranthus’s head and the thick stripe of red hair—the only thing separating him from a clean-shaven full exile—that ran down its center, woven into a disheveled, three-strand commoner’s braid. Outside of Aurora’s upper district, Moranthus rarely bothered with the elaborate, seven-strand affair that marked him as a veteran duskblade. In Lower Aurora, it only served as a marker of how far he’d fallen.

“Not at all. You’ve already found him, in fact.” Moranthus flipped his dagger so its blade rested in his palm and presented its pommel—engraved with a stylized snowhawk, the duskblade insignia—to the messenger for inspection.

The messenger’s face snapped into a toothy smile, oozing false cheer as he presented the satchel to Moranthus. “Excellent. I come bearing orders from our most esteemed Matriarch,” he said, each syllable accompanied by a tap of his well-fitted, overembroidered right boot. The steep, narrow streets that wound their way through Lower Aurora—slick with mud and whatever other refuse trickled down from the upper city—had left it and its twin covered in a layer of filth that would never quite wash off. It served him right for wearing that sort of footwear on the job.

He was a mousy little thing, with pale, watery eyes set in a bland, but well-proportioned face, his ears perfectly pointed and skin a flawless shade of dusky lilac. Probably hadn’t set foot outside Upper Aurora before their Matriarch had sent him on this delivery, no doubt as a punishment of some sort. Moranthus would’ve much preferred the sight of the butcher, his face flushed ruddy-violet from exertion and his blood-stained apron draped over his ever-growing paunch. At least he’d earned his place in the world.

“So I noticed.” Moranthus made no move to accept the satchel.

The messenger blinked at him, brow furrowed in an almost comical display of confusion. “Would you like to invite me in then? I’d prefer to conclude my business here as soon as possible.”

“Not particularly, but I take it I don’t have much choice in the matter.”

“You don’t. There are certain…details our Matriarch insisted I explain to you in person. To prevent any misunderstandings.”

Moranthus opened his door wide and gestured for the messenger to step through. “Let’s get this over with.” Before he lost his temper at being forced to offer hospitality to a highborn busybody, who’d no doubt leave grimy footprints all over his floor.

The messenger made himself comfortable in Moranthus’s chair, his hands folded over the satchel on his lap. Well aware the messenger expected him to remain standing as a way of acknowledging that the messenger acted as an extension of their Matriarch’s will, Moranthus seated himself on his bed and leaned back against the wall behind him. The frustrated glare it earned him made him confident he’d chosen the right course of action.

“So, what’s this all about?” Moranthus gave the messenger the most ingenuous smile he could manage. Best not to press his luck too far.

The messenger took a deep breath, pinching the bridge of his nose as though he meant to fend off a headache. “Our Matriarch has, for reasons far beyond the comprehension of one such as myself, chosen to entrust you with a highly sensitive mission of the utmost urgency. I would advise against treating it with the same flippancy you have shown me thus far.”

Moranthus sat up straight, eyeing the satchel with a sense of curiosity he hadn’t felt in years. “Is that why she was so adamant about you explaining my orders to me?” When they’d last spoken, their Matriarch had told him in no uncertain terms that he should consider himself lucky she’d spared even his life after he’d chosen his master so poorly. She’d then evicted him from his hard-won room in Aurora’s palace and made a point of restricting him to assignments well below his rank, most of which took him as far away from Aurora as possible. Putting this sort of trust in him wasn’t like her. “Because that won’t be necessary. I’m sure our Matriarch has told you all sorts of wild stories about me—most of which, in her defense, are probably true—but I assure you, I am perfectly capable of reading and understanding whatever’s in that satchel of yours.”

“The orders themselves aren’t what she asked me to explain,” the messenger replied. “In fact, I couldn’t explain them if I wanted to. Our Matriarch felt that sharing the exact nature of your orders with me would compromise their security. They should be self-explanatory once you’ve taken the time to read over them.”

“So, if I can’t ask you anything about my orders, what did our Matriarch want you to explain to me?”

“That a great deal depends upon your success in this matter, and that you may find yourself in a more…favorable position upon your return so long as you do not disappoint her. She also instructed me to give you this, to be used in the unfortunate event of your failure.” The messenger retrieved a razor from a pouch on his belt and tossed it onto the bed beside Moranthus. Even tucked inside its wooden handle, its steel blade had a cold, sobering shine. “Does it clarify the gravity of the task that lies before you?”

Using only his fingertips, Moranthus picked up the razor, casting a wary eye over the ceremonial carvings that adorned its handle. So, that was his Matriarch’s game. Either he returned home with news of his success, or he faced the grim choice he’d so narrowly avoided ten years ago: death or exile. Whichever he chose, the razor’s edge would suit his needs. “That it does. I suppose I’d best get to work,” he said. His voice sounded hollow, like a distant echo carried on the wind.

“Indeed, you should. Sooner, rather than later, if you’ve any sense left in that space between your ears.” The messenger got to his feet and placed the satchel on Moranthus’s table. “This contains your orders, as well as everything you’ll require to carry them out. I wish you the best of luck. You’re going to need it.” With that, the messenger let himself out of Moranthus’s room, leaving the door open behind him.

The autumn air it let in felt warm compared to the ice in Moranthus’s veins.

Purchase

NineStar Press | Books2Read

Meet the Author

Shannon Blair is a fantasy author with a fondness for elves, goblins, and general otherworldly goodness. Their love of fiction and storytelling drove them to pursue an MFA in Creative Writing from Regis University, where a short writing exercise spiraled out of control and eventually became their first novel. When they aren’t on a quest to make the fantasy genre a more LGBTQA-friendly place, Shannon can be found inventing whimsical backstories for the colorful crafts and vendors at the craft market where they work. They live on the outskirts of the Denver metroplex with their partner and two spoiled rotten cats.

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BOOK REVIEW: Demon Kissed by H.M. Ward #fantasyromance #youngadult @hmward

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The Valefar boy tricked Ivy Taylor into kissing him, but he took much more than a kiss – he stole her soul and left her within inches of death. By surviving, Ivy is drawn into the conflict between the Martis and the Valefar. The war between these two immortal forces has raged for millennia without distraction. Until now.

Ivy is an anomaly-she is the only person who has ever walked away from a demon kiss alive. Her survival gives her unique and deadly abilities. Too powerful to ignore, Ivy is a threat to both armies. These two ancient enemies will stop at nothing to kill the seventeen-year-old.

Surviving is nothing new for headstrong Ivy, but her survival has never depended on another person before. This time it does. And if she misplaces her trust, she’s dead. To her horror, she starts falling in love at the worst possible time-with the enemy. He appears to be protecting her. But she can’t be certain if he is trying to help her, or help himself to her power. For Ivy, trusting the right person is the difference between love and survival, or a deadly demon kiss. 

MY REVIEW:

5 stars!

I stumbled across this one as recommendation from Amazon, based on previous books I’ve read. I didn’t read the reviews before downloading it, and I’m glad I didn’t since so many said the book was awful.

Good vs Evil will be a common book theme until the world ends. Yes, there are ideas in this one that seem similar to other romance with demons or angels, but not enough for me to say it’s a copy of any other book. It stood on its own and was unique enough to keep me intrigued. Yes, there are errors but even books from large publishers aren’t completely error free. There weren’t that many and it didn’t distract me from the story.

I found Ivy to be an interesting mix of light and dark. She was stronger than she realized. Collin is the bad boy everyone loves and wants to reform. He’s typical in every way, but it’s not necessarily a bad thing. Then there’s Eric, who is so blinded by his beliefs he struggles to see the truth until it’s nearly too late.

Be warned, it ends on a cliffhanger.

If you want to be entertained for a few hours, and enjoy paranormal young adult romances, give Demon Kissed a try.

*Disclaimer: Neither the publisher nor author requested a review. I purchased/borrowed a copy from Amazon. The review above is only my opinion.

Book Blitz: The Lost Princess by R.G. Angel #FantasyRomance @XpressoTours

The Lost Princess
R.G. Angel
Publication date: January 15th 2021
Genres: Adult, Fantasy, Romance

“The path to peace is full of wars just as the path of love is full of pain.”

Fay Newman is about to start college, a new chapter of her life—a way to reinvent the nature lover and unsociable introvert she has always been.

However, when she saves her roommate’s life in a way that no human could, she finds more than she bargained for when she is thrown in the midst of kingdoms’ wars, blood feuds, forbidden love, and forgotten promises.

With the fate of humanity hanging in the balance, Fay tries to navigate her new reality, with friends and foes being closer than she realizes. When nothing is as it seems, she doesn’t know who or what to trust until taking up the weapon to fight is all that’s left.

Any choices available to her will ultimately lead to sacrifices. Fay must figure out what she is ready to sacrifice—her heart, her soul, or even…her life.

Goodreads / Amazon

EXCERPT:

“Fay, stop it” He let out with a sigh of weariness, reaching for me from across the table but I was out of reach. He rested his slander, delicate hand on the table. His fingers were long and his skin paled, unmarred by any blemish. It was hard to imagine these hands in the heat of passion fucking a woman as powerfully as he said.

I looked up and met his hypnotic eyes, looking at me with such wonder and a hint of something I couldn’t really decipher.

“I have time for you, always” He added with a small smile.

“Why?

“Because it’s you.” He replied so softly that it thawed a little of my irritation.

“You have to stop being mean.” I chided. “This is not okay,”

“But she was -”

I shook my head. “It doesn’t matter, she wanted to try her luck so what? It may not have been the most appropriate place but she didn’t do anything wrong and it didn’t warrant your reaction.”

“If you dislike me so much, why are you even bothering with me?” he asked coldly and even if his face looked hard, I didn’t miss the glass of hurt in his eyes.

“I don’t…dislike you.” I replied tentatively. It was true though, I didn’t. I let out a startled laugh. “God help me. I think I even like you.”

He arched his eyebrows, and I saw his tensed shoulder relax under his dressed shirt.

“I liked the caring, nice Gareth I see when you’re with me. But, I have a hard time with this version of Gareth – the dismissive, mean Gareth.” I cocked my head to the side. “I don’t like him very much and I have a hard time reconciling both sides of you.” I admitted truthfully.

He took a deep breath. “That’s fair. Please, stay.” And I could see yet again he was not the kind of man to ask for anything. He was demanding and this simple request mollified me a little more.


Author Bio:

R.G Angel is a trained lawyer, world traveler, coffee addict, cheese aficionado, avid book reviewer and blogger.

She considers herself as an ‘Eclectic romantic’ and wants to write romance in sub-genre she can think of.

When she is not busy doing all her lawyerly mayhem, and because she is living in rainy Britain, she mostly enjoys indoor activities such as reading, watching TV, playing with her crazy puppy and writing stories she hopes will make you dream.

If you want to know when R.G.’s next book will come out, or what signing she will be attending please follow her Facebook page.

Website / Goodreads / Facebook / Instagram / Bookbub


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BOOK REVIEW: Monsters (Prodigium Academy) by Katie May #ReverseHarem #Horror

Monsters (Prodigium Academy Book 1) by [Katie May]

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As the daughter of Dracula, you would think I’d be born the perfect monster.

You couldn’t be more wrong.

As far as monsters go, I’m a screw up—if I’m not tripping over my own feet, I’m accidentally murdering someone (it’s a real issue, guys).

Left with no choice, Dad decides to send me to Prodigium—otherwise known as Monster Academy—to train me on how to be a better monster.

When bodies turn up on campus, I’m the prime suspect (not that I can blame them. I’ll be pretty suspicious too if bodies drained of blood show up right after Dracula’s daughter arrives).

With the help of my mortal-nemesis Vin, Van Helsing’s son

Frankie, Frankenstein’s son

Mason, Medusa’s son

And Jack (sometimes Hux), Dr. Jekyll’s son

I might have a chance of uncovering the truth.

If I’m not murdered first.

The struggles of being a vampire, am I right?

This is a horror comedy reverse harem with some dark elements. After all, you can’t have a bunch of monsters without some darkness. This is book one of a series.

MY REVIEW

5 stars!

First, let me say that I don’t often read reverse harem books. I tend to prefer a guy who is so alpha that there’s only room for him and his woman in the relationship. But… that being said, the idea of Dracula’s daughter and the sons of all those other monsters was just too intriguing. And once I started reading, I couldn’t stop!

There’s humor, carnage, and Violet’s men are each so different, and yet similar in some ways. With a hint of mystery, danger around every corner, and love blossoming between Violet and her men, it kept me enterained from beginning to end. I flipped the pages, eager to find out what happened next. And when the book ended, I immediately went to look for book 2.

While there’s some sexiness in this story, and a lot of adult language and situations, the overall setting still gives the book a Young Adult feel (but it’s definitely not for younger readers). If you like fantasy, horror, mystery, humor, and romance, then you can’t go wrong with Monsters. Go grab your copy!

Book Blitz: Witch Unexpected by Debbie Cassidy #UrbanFantasy @authordcassidy @xpressotours

Witch Unexpected
Debbie Cassidy
(The Thirteenth Sign #1)
Publication date: December 29th 2020
Genres: Adult, Romance, Urban Fantasy

An ancient war, a tenuous truce, a delicate balance.

Sounds ominous right?

It is.

The tri-pack collective has existed for centuries—three dire wolf packs bound to the most powerful coven in the world through a single witch born under the thirteenth sign of the zodiac.

Through this covenant they keep an ancient threat unlike any other at bay.

At the next blood moon, I’ll be that witch—bound to the three leaders of the dire wolf packs. Responsible for keeping the peace.

That is If I make it to the blood moon alive, because someone is trying to kill me.

Now the hot-headed wolves are going to have to work together to make sure our inventive little murderer doesn’t succeed.

And me?

Well, I don’t take kindly to being targeted, so whoever’s gunning for me better watch out, because they just became the hunted.

An Urban Fantasy Romance filled with witches, shifters, warlocks, Gargoyles, Ghosts and Vampires.

Goodreads / Amazon

Author Bio:

Debbie Cassidy lives in England, Bedfordshire, with her three kids and very supportive husband. Coffee and chocolate biscuits are her writing fuels of choice, and she is still working on getting that perfect tower of solitude built in her back garden. Obsessed with building new worlds and reading about them, she spends her spare time daydreaming and conversing with the characters in her head – in a totally non psychotic way of course. She writes Urban Fantasy, Fantasy and Reverse Harem Fantasy. All her books contain plenty of action, romance and twisty plots.

Website / Goodreads / Facebook / Twitter / Instagram

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Release Blitz: A Little Fairy Dust Anthology by Mell Eight @MellEight @GoIndiMarketing @ninestarpress

Title: A Little Fairy Dust

Author: Mell Eight

Publisher: NineStar Press

Release Date: 01/04/2021

Heat Level: 2 – Fade to Black Sex

Pairing: Male/Male, Male/Male Menage

Length: 141700

Genre: Fantasy, LGBTQIA+, betrothed, Brownies, disabilities, fairy godmother, fairy tales, folklore, genderfluid, knights, magic/magic users, men with children, military/soldiers, psychic, psychic ability, royal ball, royalty, shifters, soulmates, sweet, teacher, war, wedding, wizards

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Description

Nine tales of magic, love, and a little fairy dust: A military posting at the Rapunzel Tower to avoid war in The Tower; a Brownie that just wants to do something right in Cleanly Wrong; a dream of love unfulfilled in A Heart’s Dream; saving the victims of an evil witch in The Red Apple Witch; a boy who just wants to go to the ball in Cinder-Elle; a cursed kingdom and search for lost love in The Curse; a thief and his fairy godparent with different ideas about love in Happily Ever After; a lightning strike, a lost egg, an ancient battle, and love at first spark in Thunderbird; and a prince trapped, knowing his true love will never save him in The Beast.

Excerpt

A Little Fairy Dust
Mell Eight © 2020
All Rights Reserved

Excerpt from the first story, The Tower
“And now, Prince Haines will pick the person who will be honored with the Rapunzel Posting!” General Darien called out loudly, his parade voice easily carrying over the noise of a few hundred men and women enjoying the annual feast. The room immediately quieted. Every year the officers and select few enlisted who were receiving an honor came together for a thank-you and award ceremony, but only every seven years was the Rapunzel Posting awarded.

Ishiah watched as Prince Haines stood from his place on the dais, where all the highest officers had been seated for the ceremony, and walked around the table until he was standing in front of the plinth holding a golden bowl. The bowl was easily deep enough for a baby to bathe, solid gold, and encrusted on the outside with gemstones, and it matched Prince Haines’s outer appearance perfectly. Haines had golden-colored hair he kept pulled back from his face with a ruby-colored ribbon. His hand, as he lifted it above the bowl and hesitated there as if to drum up more drama, had a gemstone ring on every finger.

Those in the room held their collective breath as Haines dipped his fingers into the golden bowl. For the last seven days, the plinth and bowl had been standing in the entrance to the officers’ mess hall where any officer interested in the Rapunzel Posting could drop a slip of paper into it with their name on it. Ishiah had walked around that bowl before and after every meal for seven days straight. He hadn’t put his name in, but he hadn’t needed to. He was just as capable of reading the winds of his political fate as anyone else in the kingdom.

It was with no surprise to Ishiah that Haines pulled out a piece of paper and read out: “First Lieutenant Ishiah Fitzsimons!”

The room didn’t erupt into cheers as it would have for someone who actually wanted the post. Even the lowest enlisted man or woman in the room knew who Ishiah was. Fitz, meaning bastard child of royalty, and Simons, meaning the child of King Simon. Born to a mistress not even two months after Haines’s own birth, Ishiah was a constant reminder of the king’s infidelity to the political animals in the kingdom. He was also a second potential heir to the throne. With Prince Haines trying to solidify his status now that his wife was pregnant, Ishiah knew it was inevitable that he would be shuffled off somewhere. It was only a coincidence that the Rapunzel Posting had come due this year, and the convenience of it must have made changing all the slips of paper in the bowl to carry his name instead of the rightful candidates a worthy endeavor.

Ishiah stood from his seat at the back of the room and walked through the whispers and the tables toward the stairs that led up to the dais. He looked almost nothing like Prince Haines. Where Haines was golden, Ishiah was dark. His hair was black and was shaved tightly to his head on the sides according to military regulations, but he had allowed the wide strip on the top of his head to grow extremely long in the style of the eastern barbarians. The military allowed the enlisted barbarians to keep their ceremonial hairstyles or risk a potential uprising of the eastern territories, and many non-barbarian soldiers had chosen to copy them. Ishiah had originally done it to prove to the court that he was no prince—a prince wouldn’t dare emulate the barbarians—and had ended up liking the hairstyle enough to keep it. Tonight, his long hair was thickly plaited and the tail of the braid rested between his shoulder blades. His skin was tanned like his mother’s had been, the color of wet sand along the southern coast where his mother had been from before meeting King Simon. Only his eyes, gray shot through with blue streaks and wide in his face, proved his heritage. He shared his eyes with King Simon and Prince Haines.

Gray met gray as Ishiah climbed the stairs onto the dais and bowed to Prince Haines.

“Rise, soldier, and be honored,” Haines said loudly enough to be heard over the soft whispers of the gossipers that had begun to fill the room. “First Lieutenant Ishiah Fitzsimons, you have been honored with the posting in Rap Tower in the Zel Mountains. You hold this prestigious duty to guard our lands from the western invaders. For seven years, seven months, and seven days, you will be watching for any sign of the returning hoard, and you will be studying. The tower has been provisioned with every textbook needed so when your posting ends you will be prepared to take on the mantle of colonel and lead this army to victory!”

He paused and it took Ishiah a moment to realize Haines was waiting for a response.

“I am honored to be chosen,” Ishiah replied because that was the only thing he could say. “I will execute my duty faithfully and with diligence.” He bowed again.

“Then come, join me for a toast and some dessert.” Prince Haines gestured to the seat at the table that had remained ceremonially empty throughout the banquet. Ishiah walked over to it and stood behind the chair until Haines had retaken his seat. Ishiah sat and servants immediately entered the room bearing dessert trays.

“Congratulations, Lieutenant,” General Darien said from Prince Haines’s other side once the chatter around the room had risen enough that it would be difficult to hear what was being said on the dais. General Dairen was smiling at Ishiah, but there was a hard glint in his eye indicating he was aware of the political maneuvering that had gotten Ishiah the posting.

“Thank you, General,” Ishiah replied.

They fell silent as plates of cake and glasses of champagne were placed in front of them. Prince Haines lifted his glass first.

“To Lieutenant Ishiah, who I know will be the most successful officer to come out of the Rapunzel Posting.”

Those who could hear Haines also lifted their glasses in a toast. Ishiah took a long sip of the champagne, hoping to let the resentment he could feel bubbling up in his chest pop along with the bubbles in his drink. The dais was silent after that as they all applied themselves to their cake. Only once everyone else was distracted by other conversations did Haines fully turn toward Ishiah.

“I am sorry, Ish. I know this isn’t what you would have chosen,” Haines began, his voice soft so they wouldn’t be overheard.

“Of course it’s not, Hay,” Ishiah replied, his voice tight with the anger he was trying to keep suppressed.

Haines shook his head firmly as if he needed to brush away Ishiah’s feelings in order to finish what he had to say. “There were whispers at court. The malcontents unhappy with some of the policies Father and I have been implementing were talking about replacing us with you.”

“Hay, those whispers started the day father announced to the court that I was his child,” Ishiah replied, his anger making his words more of a growl than actual syllables. “Just admit that you’re scared and instead of coming to talk to me about a solution you hatched this scheme instead.”

“Fine!” Haines snapped, although his voice still managed to remain quiet. “Of course I’m scared. Victoria is three months pregnant and extremely vulnerable. I want my child to have a chance to be born, not murdered in the womb by some idiot who wants to put you on the throne instead of me. I only had a few options, Ish, to remove you as a threat. I could have killed you, of course, but that wasn’t an option I was willing to consider. Father suggested making you an ambassador to one of our trading partners across the ocean, but I know you would have hated that. Think about it, Ish. Seven years and you’ll come out of it a full colonel with a big enough salary and enough prestige you can settle down comfortably anywhere in the country. When General Darien suggested you as a good candidate for the posting, Father and I agreed.”

After seven years of being out of the spotlight of the court, Ishiah would be all but forgotten by the malcontents. Haines would have cemented himself as the heir and his child as next in line. And, if Ishiah chose to live somewhere far away from the capital after the posting was over, his status as bastard son of the king would be all but forgotten.

And all of it had been neatly thrust on him in a way that left zero room for his refusal.

It took a moment for Ishiah to bury his anger again. Raising a fist toward Prince Haines would get him put in jail, which would be even worse than being put in the tower for seven years.

“You still should have talked to me about it first,” Ishiah said once he was certain his voice could remain soft enough to keep their conversation private. “Instead of springing it on me like this. Treat me like a brother, Haines, instead of like the enemy you fear I’ll be turned into.”

“You’re right.” Haines let out a heavy sigh. “You are right,” he repeated. “Forgive me?”

Ishiah frowned at Haines for a long moment before sighing himself. “Eventually, Hay. Let me be angry for a little bit longer. I expect you’ll write me weekly and that my niece or nephew will start writing me as soon as they’re able.”

“I’ll write you, Father will write you, and I’ll make certain my child will write you. Ish, this posting is an honor, you know. We make sure not just anyone is picked for this. They have to be highly recommended by their peers and their superiors. If you hadn’t been, you’d be on a ship heading for an ambassador posting instead. Please, I know you didn’t want this, but be honored you are thought of so highly.”

“I will be, Hay. As soon as the anger and betrayal fade, I will be.” Ishiah cracked a tentative smile for Haines to show he meant it. “Besides, now you’re going to have to figure out someone else for the court gossips to focus their ire on. Who will be the next family scapegoat now that they don’t have my hair or the fact that I keep showing up to court events in my leather armor to harangue you over?”

“I’ll be certain to let you know who they pick and why,” Haines replied with his own hesitant smile.

Ishiah might be angry with him, but they were still brothers. They would get through this, and in seven years who knew what the political climate and their relationship would be like.

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NineStar Press | Books2Read

Meet the Author

When Mell Eight was in high school, she discovered dragons. Beautiful, wondrous creatures that took her on epic adventures both to faraway lands and on journeys of the heart. Mell wanted to create dragons of her own, so she put pen to paper. Mell Eight is now known for her own soaring dragons, as well as for other wonderful characters dancing across the pages of her books. While she mostly writes paranormal or fantasy stories, she has been seen exploring the real world once or twice.

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BOOK REVIEW: Wicked Blaze Correctional (The Wronged Series #1) by M. Sinclair #ReverseHarem #FantasyRomance

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Wicked Blaze Correctional. The home to the most dangerous criminals of each realm. A private correctional institution that had to be placed on a separate realm because of the threat the inmates posed. Drake had sent me here, to ruin me. To destroy me and any memory of his egregious act that could incriminate him for being the homicidal maniac he was.

What he hadn’t counted on? Me. He hadn’t counted on my strength and my magic rising up to become the scariest damn thing in this place.

It helped that I had a human by my side that showed up to breakfast every morning covered in blood. I should probably ask Dimitri what that was about one of these days. Don’t forget Milo! An Ink Mage with the nifty ability to not only interpret dreams but to change them, as well as reality itself. Did I mention he was absolutely mental, maybe it was because of the insomnia? I don’t know what to tell them about one of the lead guards, Vaughn, who keeps claiming I am his ‘mate’ and promising to get me out. Or how to explain the odd feeling I have about the new inmate that just showed up, seeming a bit too sweet for this place.

There is something changing in the air though, something different than what has been going on the past six months, so what has been changing? Maybe it’s the magic eater that keeps floating by my cell every morning? I didn’t care what the change was as long as I got out. I had a witch to kill and I wasn’t going to be able to put Drake in the ground from here.

Welcome to Wicked Blaze Correctional – Book 1 of the Wronged Series. This trilogy will be a fast burn reverse harem filled with dark subject matters, a strong FMC, and insane men. This institution isn’t like any correctional facility you’ve read about before. It’s brutal, cutthroat, and there are no rules except that you can’t leave until your sentence is done… which is never. Follow Valentina and her men on a journey filled with revenge, steam, and strong characters that don’t fit the norm of society. A bit crazy? That is just normal.

This Fantasy medium/fast burn RH contains several dark themes that readers should be aware of: swearing (I know surprising, right?), gore, violence, assault, and sexual themes suitable for +18. Additionally, this book does have a mature light m/m themes that develop over time. 

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MY REVIEW

5 stars!

For fans of dark reverse harem romances, with a fantasy bent and a bit of humor, this book is a must-read!

A druid wrongly accused does what she must to survive. Valentina is a strong character with a lot of personality – and more than a bit of anger. She’s powerful, but isn’t until later in the book that she realizes just how much power she holds. I found myself not only rooting for her to have a happily-ever-after, but I also found myself eager to watch her punish those who stood against her. She’s the perfect blend of innocent and psycho.

Her “harem” of men are no less exceptional. Even the “human” is a serial killer who only takes out those who hurt his Valentina. With shifters, fae, and a magic eater who seems to be something more, you’ll find yourself falling for each of these heroes. They all bring a uniqueness to the story, and yet their personalities blend rather well together.

Action, intrigue, magical powers and so much more fill the pages of this book. And yes, there’s hot sex too. But be warned… there is a cliffhanger, and you’ll be so entrenched in this world, you’ll have no choice but to go download the next installment — because if you’re like me, you’ll have to know what happens next!

Two thumbs up. Five stars. And a 10 out of 10.

Amazing book! Couldn’t put it down.

*Disclaimer: The review above is only my opinion. Neither the publisher nor author requested a review. I downloaded a copy from Amazon.

All Wrapped Up Holiday Giveaway #romancebooks #giveaways @changelingpress

Who wants a chance to win some romance paperbacks? I have a set (volumes 1, 2, and 3) of All Wrapped Up that I’m giving away. You’ll get stories from authors Marteeka Karland, Jade Buchanan, Lena Austin, Willa Okati, Emma Ray Garrett, Lacey Savage, Angela Knight, Dakota Cassidy, and Kate Hill! ($43 value)


The Fine Print: No purchase necessary to enter. Void where prohibited. Must be 18 years or older to enter. Open to US residents only.


CLICK HERE TO ENTER

About the Books:

ALL WRAPPED UP, VOL 1

Vampires, Shifters, and Destined Mates search for their Happy Ever After on the paranormal side of destiny…

Blood Service by Angela Knight: Adiva Mayhew is a spy — and a damn good one. But now she’s running for her life from a deadly bounty hunter. There’s a high reward for her capture, and the Vigilante means to collect, one way or another.

Slave School Dropout by Dakota Cassidy: Nyla is a cat. So is Lucas. Nyla is an Egyptian descendant of Bast. Lucas… isn’t. They’ve been friends since they met at a shifters’ meet and greet. Until one day, Nyla smells what Lucas has smelled all along. Her lifemate. Who knew the bump and grind meant floggers and spankings and a host of kinky stuff Nyla had no clue Lucas liked? It’s High Society meets the ASPCA — with a decided twist…

Tainted Kisses by Kate Hill: A primeval vampire, a woman intent on saving her village at all costs, and a bargain. Pure evil meets pure good. Niabi uses her powers in defense of the weak. When Etlu’s army of Viking warriors devastates a village she’s sworn to protect, Niabi’s only choice is to strike a bargain with Etlu — the humans’ lives in exchange for her complete surrender to his desires. Can she find anything in him worth saving?

ALL WRAPPED UP, VOL 2

Alien Space Marines, a celebrity photographer, and a pair of vampires find their perfect mates on the dark side of the night.

Chain of Three by Willa Okati: Mix two alien Marines, a human BDSM Master, and a shapeshifting Empress with a mind of her own, and what do you get? A whole lot of trouble. It’s a three-way battle for dominance, and the Empress knows something she’s not telling…

Naked Exposure by Lacey Savage: When savvy celebrity photographer Deidre Laxon trespasses on private property in pursuit of hot Hollywood bachelor Greg Radigan, she has no idea she’s about to capture him in all his naked glory participating in some very explicit BDSM play. When Greg and Deidre finally come face-to-face, he’s ready to exact revenge. And nothing short of Deidre’s complete submission will satisfy him…

Torqued by Emma Ray Garrett: Being a dominatrix gives Reliant Agent Pru Gordon perfect access to the Nightside she polices. And it lets her fulfill her fantasies at the same time. It’s the perfect life. Until the night she meets Gage Mills and Ro Thomas. When two of the darkest predators around meet up with the best Controller alive, things are bound to get messy… Just what the Domme ordered.

ALL WRAPPED UP, VOL 3

Three vampires, a bounty hunter, and a marriage in crisis — these mates fight for a future together.

Bound to Please by Jade Buchanan: Melaina Carey’s life may have been saved when she was turned into a vampire, but it brought with it a whole new host of problems. Tristan and Dougal are determined to help, but there’s no way Melaina’s going to submit easily. Tristan and Dougal are going to have to prove they are man — and vampire — enough to control her every move.

Caught by Marteeka Karland: Zuri Starbreeze is a bounty hunter on the trail of a cold-blooded killer. What Zuri doesn’t know is that Cade is hunting her. He wants Zuri for his partner, all right. Flat on her back, writhing and screaming in pleasure… One thing’s for sure, no matter her choice, she won’t come out of this the same.

Bonds of Matrimony by Lena Austin: Million Dollar Millicent, real estate entrepreneur and all around bitch, books a fantasy vacation for herself and her husband Alex on a tropical playground planet. It’s a place where your deepest desires come true — even if you’re not sure what they are.

Book Review: Captive of Wolves by Eva Chase #FantasyRomance #NetGalley @AuthorEvaChase

My blood is their salvation… and my ruin.

For years, the monsters who killed my family have held me in a cage. Brutalized and half-starved. Only kept alive so they can steal my blood.

Until one evening when four eerily gorgeous men break me out of my prison.

They give me a soft bed and delicious food. They say they’ll protect me—but their generosity may come at a price.

My rescuers are monsters like my captors: fae who shift into wolves. A curse gripping the faerie realm turns them wild under the full moon. Only my blood can cure their rage.

These fearsome men need me, and not just to lift the curse. A tragedy left them outcasts, and offering me to their rulers could win them back the home and the power they lost.

No matter how kindly they treat me, no matter how their smoldering eyes and strong hands stir unfamiliar desires in both my body and my heart, their castle is just another prison. As long as I’m a prize more than a person, my life will never be my own.

I’ve survived this long without giving up. I won’t roll over now. But how can one damaged human girl hold her own against the savage fae?

*Captive of Wolves is the first in a new paranormal romance saga featuring possessive wolf shifters, fraught fae politics, and a wounded heroine coming into her own. Grab it now and get swept away in the fantasy!*

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MY REVIEW:

5 stars!

Cliffhanger ahead!

I generally dislike cliffhangers. I’ve always needed my happily-ever-after by the last page of a book, but the way Captive of Wolves ends only left me eager for the next book.

I loved the determination and spirit of Talia. No matter the odds, she refused to give up. Even frail and injured, she held on to a spark of hope. When she’s freed and taken in by another cadre of wolves, she’s scared to trust them, no matter how nice most of them seem to be.

Watching August and Sylas fight their attraction to Talia, had me eagerly waiting on them to completely fall for her. And while Whitt comes off as a drunkard who dislikes Talia, we soon learn there’s much more to him.

Wolf fights. A curse. Meddling fae. And a human who is more than ordinary. Captive of Wolves is a page-turning fantasy that will leave you wanting more.

**Disclaimer: I received an ARC from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. The review above is only my opinion.

New Audiobook: Heart’s Desire by Jessica Coulter Smith #YAFantasy #audiobooks

Narrated by JE Whittaker
Duration: 3 hours 27 minutes
Listen to a Sample

One touch. One look from Morgan’s hypnotic eyes and Skye can’t deny the magnetic pull.

High school senior, Morgan Raines was used to change, whether it was transferring to a new school or shifting into a were-jaguar under the full moon. Starting over didn’t bother him, but finding his mate pinned to her locker by her loser ex-boyfriend does.

Will turning furry during the full moon send Skye running scared or into his arms?

Get it at Audible