New Release: The Inconstant Doppelganger by Mikala Ash #Steampunk #RomanticSuspense @ash_mikala

In a time of rapid technological change which challenges the roots of the empire, Elizabeth witnesses the impossible. The arrival of her late husband’s doppelganger takes Elizabeth Hunter-Payne to the brink of insanity.

Captain Nathanial Royston, late of the disgraced East India Company, claims he is innocent of the murder on the Great Northern Express.

With the coolly professional Miss Clayton at her side, our feisty heroine investigates three nasty suspects to get to the bottom of the mystery. While doing so, Elizabeth is faced with a cruel reality and comes to a decision that threatens her future happiness.

Another thrilling steampunk adventure with steam trains, miniature automatons, as well as guns, knives, and a handy half-brick in the reticule.

EXCERPT

All rights reserved.
Copyright ©2020 Mikala Ash

What should one do when confronted by a ghost?

Deny its existence? Scoff at one’s own senses? Doubt one’s sanity? Or should one investigate, interrogate, and hopefully understand? Or as a last resort, threaten stupidly to shoot it dead?

A ghost stood in my library. Not just any ghost. But the ghost of my beloved Jonathan. I could not deny its existence. My senses told me the impossible with undeniable certitude, and I could not discount what I saw. It could not be — yet there he stood. Investigating the phenomenon hopefully leading to an understanding would seem the tried and true method. There, unfortunately, I was at a worrisome disadvantage.

A scant few moments before, I had been in the drawing room confiding my fears for my very sanity to my good friend the general after concluding, for the time being at least, the conspiracy of fear had been perpetrated by a Russian mesmerist known only as Vladimir. My exposure to the fiend had me questioning everything I thought, felt, and experienced. I feared being confined in Bedlam, the destiny of hapless wretches like myself, who believed their ability to tell reality from fantasy had been compromised. Was this ghost the proof that Vladimir had indeed sent me mad?

Before she fainted away, my trusted servant, Marianne, had interrupted us in a state of distress saying there was a visitor in the library. To affect her stolid character in such a fashion the visitor must have been most singular. I sensed then that something evil had invaded my home. I had rushed to my late husband’s library, and what I saw as I entered that formerly safe and comfortable room stopped me in my tracks. The sight unhinged me, stole the breath from my lungs, and chilled the blood in my heart so quickly that it seemed time itself had stopped.

A ghost. How else to explain what I saw? The alternative was to accept that I was indeed mad.

Unfortunately the cold fear had not frozen the multitude of panicked, confused thoughts which, like a crazed mob, ran free through the streets and alleyways of my mind, breaking and looting everything that was once solid and dependable. An image came to me… the creeping terror invading my mind was like the first winter ice on a country pond, which spread inexorably over my body and threatened to engulf my very soul. I knew with dread certainty that if the brittle ice cracked, I would slip into the murky depths of insanity.

There, illuminated by the firelight, I recognised in his impossible countenance all the familiar features: his strong well-defined jaw, his generous lips, the piercing gaze, and the close-cut hair. The room revolved around me. My head swam, the floor tilted beneath my feet. In my shock I had staggered backward against the doorjamb.

The impossible man spoke. “Elizabeth?”

I heard myself mutter a single word. My first step onto that ice-covered pond. “Jonathan?”

Was I to crash through that thinly spread ice and drown in a madness of my own making? One last rebellious kernel of logical thought remained at the centre of my brain. It boiled and bubbled in a frantic struggle to fight the impossible and keep me sane. That hot thought spilled over and inflamed every cell it touched until, like a volcano, it exploded. I became incandescent with rage and jumped back from the edge of that insane pond, determined the ice would not claim me.

Not today!

In the moment before the impossible man said another word I pulled out my Adams revolver, and pointed it at his heart. “You may have Jonathan’s face,” I challenged, “But you are not he! Identify yourself, sir, or God help me, I will shoot you dead!”

ABOUT MIKALA ASH

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

New Release: Conspiracy of Fear by Mikala Ash #steampunk #scifiromance @ash_mikala

Conspiracy of Fear (Elizabeth Hunter-Payne Steampunk Adventures 3)

There’s a bloody serial killer on the loose in foggy London, and music hall singer, The Songbird of Surrey, fears her best friend has fallen victim to the fiend. When her own fiancé, who she sent out to find her friend, goes missing as well, she seeks the professional help of the EHP Investigation Bureau to solve the mystery.

Intrepid crime fighter Elizabeth Hunter-Payne ventures into the dangerous streets of London’s East End and explores the seamy side of adult entertainment to confront the Collector, the terror of Whitechapel. His elusive puppet master, Vladimir the Mesmerist, is pulling the strings of conspiracy, and threatens the very foundations of the empire.

Elizabeth meets the ultimate automaton, Hercules, but what service can a metal man of cogs and gears perform? Guns, knives, and half-bricks come into play as Elizabeth fights for survival, and her sanity, in another thrilling steampunk adventure.

Author’s Note: Cliffhanger ending. Elizabeth’s story continues in Elizabeth Hunter-Payne Steampunk Adventures 4!

Get it at Changeling Press

EXCERPT

All rights reserved.
Copyright ©2020 Mikala Ash

After my adventure on the airship Imperative, I decided to chronicle my now numerous adventures on behalf of her Majesty’s government. Due to the sensitivity of my activities I have instructed my solicitors to withhold them from publication until a century after my death. I suspect it is a form of vanity, an act of self-aggrandisement, another of my personal failings. I do intend to give an honest account, and because memory is at best an untrustworthy source and at worst an outright liar, I take copious notes at every opportunity to ensure my recollections of events are as accurate as possible. This tedious habit became particularly important to me given the strange case on which I was about to embark.

Following the deadly conclusion of the Torbernite Imperative my small household had undergone a substantial upheaval. I’d taken a monstrous risk to my reputation by installing the unmarried Felix Rider in the bedroom next to mine. On the surface my act is clearly one of charity, for Felix is an operative of my investigation bureau, and he had been wounded in the line of duty aboard the airship Imperative. During a life-and-death struggle he sustained a gunshot wound, a concussion, two broken ribs, a twisted knee, as well as cut and swollen knuckles.

It was a risk I was honour bound to take, for he had saved my life.

However there was another co-placating factor at play. In addition to his investigative duties Felix had agreed to be my tutor in matters pertaining to erotic satisfaction, a step I’d taken to reawaken my sensuality following many years of celibacy after the death of my dear husband, Jonathan. Felix was an able and inventive teacher. The palpable risk I took was that my physical attraction to Felix coupled with his proximity, would be my undoing, and that I would do something indiscreet, and be exposed as the laughable wanton widow so popular on the music hall stage. Embarrassed and ashamed, I would inevitably become an outcast of society, a fate, if I am to be honest, that was losing its power over me every day.

I placed him under the round the clock charge of two nurses, a cheerful buxom young blonde named Bramble, and the senior of the two, the authoritative and statuesque Hazleton. They were supervised by my family physician, the reputable Dr. Horace Wamburton.

As I have related elsewhere, Archie, my late husband’s batman, also shared my house. I considered him the son Jonathan and I were destined never to have. I’d unofficially adopted him after he had been seriously wounded in the Crimean battle that had killed Jonathan. Since the Torbernite affair he had been laid up in bed with a serious chill he’d earned while carrying out surveillance work in torrential rain. That left the responsibility of running the EHP Investigation Bureau to me. Every day after breakfast spent with Felix, chatting about anything and everything, and resisting the powerful urge to climb into bed with him, I’d go to the office feeling highly aroused and frustrated.

My body’s propensity to lust, or libido as my old Latin dictionary calls it, had never been higher in my life, and inevitably I succumbed to it. It was the eighth morning after returning from Edinburgh that I went to Felix’s room to wish him a good morning that my resistance fell. I entered as Nurse Bramble, the pretty young blonde was leaving the sick room, and we bumped into each other. As we performed a little dance to get out of each other’s way without disarranging my crinolines too badly I noted her creamy complexion was flushed, and though she wore her habitual smile, she uncharacteristically avoided my gaze.

Nurse Hazleton, the older and more sensible of the two, bade me good morning.

“What’s wrong?” I asked, indicating with my gaze the departing back of Nurse Bramble.

“It’s nothing, Mrs. Hunter-Payne. We nurses have seen it all. We don’t embarrass easy.”

“What do you mean?”

In turn I followed her gaze to Felix’s bed. He was still asleep. His handsome face, despite the bandages that covered the minor cuts on the left side of his head, appeared relaxed and untroubled. Then, with a sharp intake of breath, I noted that lower down the sheet was tented with a morning erection. I couldn’t help but put my hand to my mouth.

About Mikala Ash

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

New Today at Changeling Press #RomanceBooks #Steampunk #PNR #LGBT

The Turquoise Spider (Elizabeth Hunter-Payne Steampunk Adventures 1)

Elizabeth Hunter-Payne is an adventurous widow with time on her hands — a dangerous combination in Victorian London of 1859. Seeking excitement in a time of radical change, Elizabeth starts her own Investigation Bureau.

Armed with an inquisitive eye for detail, the capacity and boldness to ask obvious, if blunt, questions, and most importantly of all, her ability to keep her mouth shut, Elizabeth is quickly immersed in a case of kidnapping, smuggling, murder, and general mayhe

m. With guns blazing, steam-cars steaming, and clockwork automatons of a salacious nature going clickety-clack, can she save the son of a violent industrialist? Can she recover the priceless Turquoise Spider from the vicious clutches of underworld thugs behind one of Victorian London’s infamous Houses of Introductions?

The survival of the Empire may well depend on the fortitude, brazenness and deductive powers of the irrepressible Elizabeth Hunter-Payne.

Cover Art by Bryan Keller

Get it HERE

 

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A Midsummer Night's Demon (Fairview Chronicles 3)The son of the Lord of Hell, Lark, is engaged to a demon whom he does not love. He escapes hell, his father, and his fiancé. His flight takes him to the human plane, where he finds himself summoned by Chris, former lawyer and current accountant of St. John Investigations.

Chris really just wanted to learn about demonic math when he decided to summon one of the denizens of hell, but confronted with Lark, he decides getting the beautiful demon into his bed is far more appealing than accounting.

But Lark’s escape from hell does not go unnoticed, and soon the Lord of Hell himself arrives in Fairview to take his son back to the altar. Three wicked witches also come to the city looking for a love that was dragged to hell. It might just be one magical desk that holds the key to everyone’s happiness and happily-ever-after.

Cover Art by Bryan Keller

Get it HERE

 

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It Takes Practice (Doctor, Doctor 1)Dr Nathan Rey, general practitioner, has endured a case of broken heart syndrome for a handful of years and counting after his wild, bad-boy lover disappeared just before he received his license. Though it’s gotten easier — one or two flights of erotic fancy a year instead of every night — Nathan couldn’t say it’s gotten better. He still can’t forget the charismatic Fitz, and no one he’s met since then could begin to compare.

Still, Nathan’s certain he would someday stop daydreaming and move on. He would have found someone else. Filled the empty spots in his life, his heart and his home. His bed. That is, if his part-time nurse hadn’t eloped overnight. If, unable to find someone local right away, he hadn’t called upon the services of a temp agency. And if the nurse the agency sent to him, certified and licensed, had been anyone but Fitz himself, with far more than work on his mind.

Fitz means to convince Nathan seven years isn’t too long to wait for a second chance at the love of a lifetime. Love isn’t easy and it’s rarely simple. More often than not it takes practice. Lots of practice.

Publisher’s Note: This book was previously available at a different house. It is being republished as book 1 in a new series for Changeling Press.

Cover Art by Bryan Keller

Get it HERE

 

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Heat Strokes (Multi Author Box Set) (Heat Strokes Multi-Author 9)Eight sexy summer sizzlers to set the night on fire!

Lena Austin — Paws to Heal: Two were-dogs welcome the return of their former lover back into their arms after being enemy packs…

Alice Gaines — Banished: A sexy shapeshifter has one chance to seduce the woman he needs before he disappears forever.

Kira Stone — A Warrior’s Blade: The mysterious Phoenix is the embodiment of Kyros’ hopes and dreams… but who is he?

Isabella Jordan — Surrender Party: Better read between the lines of an invitation to a leopard male’s Surrender Party, hadn’t you?

Kate Hill — Mirage: Irresistible redhead Emilie is ready for action, but is this sexy stranger real, or a mirage?

Hunter Raines — Sanctuary by Fire: Can a scarred vampire find sanctuary in the arms of a human?

Lacey Savage — Silver Stray: This may be Lysali’s only chance to make her wildest erotic wishes come true.

Leila Brown — Fire and Isis: Kenneth Strong, aka Fire, is the one man who can match Isis Jones stroke for stroke.

Publisher’s Note: The short stories in Heat Strokes Multi Author Box Set have been previously published.

Cover Art by Renee George

Get it HERE

 

 

The Case of the Deadly Game – Part 2 by Stephanie Burke #murdermystery #interracialromance @Flashycat

The Case of the Deadly Game Part 2 (Mai-Fly Mysteries 5)

Cover Art by Bryan Keller

Time is running out, and Mai swears Fate, that fickle b*tch, is laughing at her.

Accused of murder, and hunted by a vindictive British agent who’s out for blood, how will Mai solve the crime, save the day, and beat the Deadly Game so she can finally have her fairytale ending?

 

Get it at Changeling Press

Use code TGIF03-27-2020 for 15% off your entire order!

 

EXCERPT

All rights reserved.
Copyright ©2020 Stephanie Burke

A shower and a nap did wonders for Mai’s disposition, and she had a wide grin on her face as she walked beside Ptris, who looked rather smug himself.

Sex between the two of them just kept getting better. She’d like to say that something felt missing, that fucking Ptris needed the extra oomph from having her Ry-Ry there, but even though she missed her lover, pined for him, her experiences with Ptris left her shaking, sore, and blessedly satisfied.

She sighed softly as Trouble, the Black Shuck, bounded toward her, leaving Lu-Lu’s side as he happily took his place beside her.

“So,” Lu-Lu drawled, “Got it all out of your system?”

“Fuck you,” Mai drawled back, burying her hand in Trouble’s ruff and smiling at the little moan of pleasure the hell hound released.

“That’s Ptris’ job,” Lu-Lu returned, just as happy as she tugged Austin to her side while they moved across the empty lobby toward the pair. “And it looks like he does it well.”

“Like it’s his main job and favorite hobby all rolled into one,” Mai admitted without shame, trying to pull a reaction out of her Dryad. Instead of flushing or showing any embarrassment, Ptris nodded and crossed his hands behind his back, though a purple vine eased its way from his hair to grip the hand that wasn’t petting Trouble.

“Well, when you get that old you manage to discover some pretty tricks, right, Austin?” She giggled as her lover smiled tenderly back at her.

“More than a few,” he admitted, shooting a look at Ptris that conveyed smugness and some kind of sexual brotherhood. “And I never mind sharing them with the ones I love.”

“Love me less,” Mai teased. “I don’t even want to think about your sex life. It would send me running for the hills.”

“We don’t have to think about your sex life, Mai-Mai.” Lu-Lu rolled her eyes. “We hear it every time you decide to get frisky.” Then she leered at Ptris. “I can hear you do great work.”

“As my Queen demands and requires,” he answered, his stoic expression finally breaking as he shot a grin at Mai. The Dryad radiated contentment and happiness for a bright shining moment before it was once again, hidden by the calm facade that slammed down over his face.

“Your Queen is satisfied,” Mai confirmed before turning to look at the rest of her Court. “So, we need to find out what’s going on in Lightwater. And I know the perfect place to snoop.”

“Back to Jon-Ton’s?” Lu-Lu asked, tilting her head just a little as she looked around the empty lobby. “‘Cause it’s not like anything is happening around here.”

“There were a few guests,” Mai noted. “Did they all just leave? And where are the staff?”

“The staff is in mourning,” Austin spoke softly, his gaze trailing over the hotel decor that seemed to be warring with each other. “Most of them knew Elias Humphries and are taking his death hard. He must have been using some of his Brownie power inadvertently because this place suddenly feels a lot colder without his presence.”

“I thought Brownies just kept the place neat and tidy while looking after their homes and the people who reside within them.” Mai gave the space a look herself and had to agree with Austin. The place seemed to be lacking something, the charm it had exhibited even when the place looked like a war between Tradition and Modernization. “This is kind of creepy.”

“Brownies often do more than just cook and clean when allowed. In the States, their power is heavily restricted and they aren’t allowed to exert the full force of their powers. Brownies keep diseases and sickness at bay. They imbue all that enter into their homes with a sense of well- being and peace that can be hard to find outside the safety of their own family. They keep depression at bay and have the ability to absorb what humans often call negative emotions, leaving those who enter into their sphere of influence content and feeling lighter. Some of that warmth is missing from the hotel and people can now see the flaws here. Consider this. Imagine that his influence was a thin veil that masked all the issues that surround this place. Now with him gone, more and more you can feel and see the troubles that his hotel was going through.”

“And so can the other guests.” Mai nodded in understanding. “With the death of an apparently beloved figure, it only makes sense that they would feel the negativity of this whole situation and flee. I don’t blame them.” Mai shuddered. Now that she was looking for it, she could feel a bit of coldness in the hotel. It was like the life had been drained away from it.

“So we aren’t going to learn anything here.” Austin broke the silence that had dropped for a few moments after Mai spoke. “We have to go where actual people are gathering.”

“And that would be Jon-Ton’s,” Lu-Lu added. “I’m all for gossip and pastry. We left before I really got a chance to sample the wares in the case.”

“You think with your stomach,” Austin poked at her appetite.

“And you think with your dick, lover,” Lu-Lu sassed right back. “But you don’t see me complaining.”

“Oh, that wasn’t a complaint.” Austin laughed. “It was me pointing out the obvious. We all have our crosses to bear, so our partners had just better sit back and enjoy the ride.”

“Aren’t they sweet?” Mai remarked, looking up at Ptris with a grin on her lips. “That could be us but you won’t smile at me.”

“I smile when appropriate,” Ptris countered. “Like when you are naked and swearing, screaming in my face for more as you ride me hard. I smile then.”

Mai ignored the blush she could feel heating her cheeks as she turned toward the front doors of McDowel’s. “So, who’s for pastry?” she asked, ignoring the snorts of laughter from her friends. “I’m suddenly starving.”

“And your man won’t go to the kitchen and make you a sandwich?” Lu-Lu joked. “Aww, you poor baby. Let’s get you fed. Great sex makes everyone hungry.” She leered at Austin, who leered back while Mai-Mai rolled her eyes at all of them.

“Why do I hang out with you people?” she asked, moving toward the door, Ptris at her side.

“Because we make you laugh?” Lu-Lu all but skipped to her side. “Admit it. You love us. You wouldn’t know what to do without us.”

“That… that’s true,” Mai admitted, a sudden seriousness taking over her mood. “I would have never made it this far without you all.”

“You are our Queen.” Austin spoke softly, opening the doors for them to pass through. “There is nothing we wouldn’t do to help you succeed and become reunited with your Prince.”

The others nodded in agreement. The vine around her wrist squeezed tightly for just a moment before she was released and the tender purple extension of her lover slid back into his hair.

“So let’s work with that.” Mai relaxed, surrounded by her Court. “Let’s go make some magic.”

 

About Stephanie Burke

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.

Stephanie at Changeling Press | Blog

 

 

The Case of the Deadly Game – Part 1 by Stephanie Burke #darkfantasy #murdermystery @FlashyCat

The Case of the Deadly Game Part 1 (Mai-Fly Mysteries 4)

Cover Artist: Bryan Keller

 

Mai’s Epic Journey is almost to an end, but a rest break in Lightwater, England proves to be more trouble than it’s worth. Now there’s a dead body, a hell hound, a Fire Goblin, and once again Mai is at the center of it all.

When you’re playing a Deadly game, someone always gets hurt.

 

Get it TODAY at Changeling Press

Use Discount Code TGIF02-28-2020 for 15% off your entire order!

 

EXCERPT

All rights reserved.
Copyright ©2020 Stephanie Burke

“Changeling, are you?”

The woman stared up at Mai, her dark eyes intent as she gripped Mai’s hand hard.

On either side of her desk, the duly appointed and armed guardians of the gate tightened their hands on the handles of their batons made with blessed iron, their badges setting off a faint warning pulse that only those of the Fae blood could feel.

“Human, huh?” Mai returned as the woman’s hand tightened on her wrist, staring into the woman’s eyes, daring her to do or say something.

Mai was not in the mood. After a seven and a half hour nonstop flight from Baltimore to Gatwick in the UK, even traveling first class grated on her nerves.

She had already received confirmation that Ry’s body had arrived in Cardiff and was going directly into the hands of his clan for safekeeping though her Court could not pass back into Fae lands without her, as a new Queen, being there as an escort. Even in death, he was still a member of another Queen’s Court and by Fae law, he couldn’t even travel into the grieving hands of his mother unless Mai was there to allow it. But in order to get there, Mai had to first obtain permission from the British authorities, those who guarded the gate into Fae, and she had to clear this fucking customs gate.

At least his body didn’t have to go through the comprehensive background and magical checks at the gates of Gatwick Airport with what could be a deranged human whose name was… Mai paused in her musings to stare at the nametag of the once cheery and bubbly… Karen. Her whole attitude had changed when it came to Mai, compared to everyone who had come before.

“First time?” The woman was sitting behind a tall desk that stretched across the front length of the exit gate. It was the last obstacle blocking a barred exit that led to the outside. Mai had looked around at the warded area, saw a magic meter nearly as tall as she was off in the corner, what had to be a dozen of those security guys standing around and looking menacing, the tall cold iron bars that blocked the only door to the outside, and then back to the cheery smiling woman who had chirped at all the others until her. The shock of it all had been almost enough to leave her speechless.

“Well, yeah,” Mai had shaken herself mentally and got her mind back on business, ignoring the insanely dangerous vibes she got from those security agents. “First time here.”

“Papers, please.”

Before Mai could move, Ptris who had been placing a formal looking envelope on the desk, returned the woman’s smile with a blank stare that didn’t affect her aura of happiness at all. It was really too early for that crap and there wasn’t enough coffee in Mai’s body to deal with the fake giddiness that the woman was throwing off, or at least not deal with it with anything approaching grace.

“Oh, how exciting!” The woman had all but bounced in her seat. “A new court is forming, and from The Americas no less. You don’t see that every day.”

When silence was her only answer, the woman had just giggled to herself and began to go through the paperwork. It was their passports, their travel visas, their itinerary, and the paperwork declaring who and what they were.

“Entranced human?” she asked, looking up at Austin to match his photo to his passport and he proudly waved his hand. “You don’t see that every day. You don’t have a birth certificate…”

“I was born before the department of vital statistics was created.” He chuckled. “But my papers should have my bloodwork, my clan name and affiliation as well as my date of birth and time of the willing entrancement…”

“I see,” she mused, staring at Austin to the point where Lu-Lu reached out and grabbed his hand, glaring at the woman. “Sorry, love.” Karen shook her head and turned back to the papers spread out on her desk. “I’ve never come across a human so old, though to be fair, most entrancements stopped long before the last war.”

Austin nodded in understanding. “I am unique in that regard.”

“Scotsman, are you?” she asked and he grinned. “Welcome home, then.”

She turned to Ptris, blinked twice and just stamped his papers. No one fucked with Ptris.

She stamped Lu-Lu’s well-worn paperwork — the elf traveled a lot — and then turned her gaze to Mai.

Her head tilted to the side as she stared at her and of course Mai stared back. After a few moments of this standoff, Mai realized they were in a stalemate.

About Stephanie Burke

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.

Blog | Stephanie at Changeling Press | Facebook

 

 

A Shot at Perfect by Lou Sylvre #NewRelease #GayRomance @Sylvre

A Shot at Perfect (Vasquez Inc. 4)

Publisher: Changeling Press
Cover Artist: Bryan Keller

After a crash left him with new mental and physical scars, Jackie Vasquez has finally regained his focus, flair, and bright outlook. Though he’s letting Brian Harrison’s marriage proposal simmer, it’s not for lack of love. He’s set his sights on putting his life right first — a new job and a fresh start at graduate school. But Los Angeles — the city of devil winds — has new trauma in store for him. Another accident leaves him with the stump of a leg and defeated spirits, adrift despite Brian’s devoted attentions.

While Brian copes with his own emotional trauma, he hopes to break through Jackie’s apathy, but work at Vasquez Security takes more and more of his time and attention. Specifically “the Espen case,” which his boss — Luki Vasquez — has forbidden him to pursue. Help comes on all fronts from friends and family for both Brian and Jackie, but even as it does, danger mounts from outside. Can the two men find their way back to love as well as passion and fulfillment in their D/s roles? Can they survive the confrontation with danger that seems to loom closer and darker every time LA’s hot winds blow?

 

Get it TODAY at Changeling Press

or pre-order for January 31st at retailers

  

 

EXCERPT

All rights reserved.
Copyright ©2020 Lou Sylvre

The morning after their stellar session, when Brian got out of bed, he discovered Jackie was already up. The fortune cookie was no longer on the night table. Brian walked out into the open front rooms of the apartment looking for his boy, eager to kiss Jackie soundly and get his answer to the marriage proposal.

Jackie had left three of four diagonally cut pieces of cinnamon-toast on a plate, two strips of bacon in a pan, and half a pot of coffee still keeping warm, but he was nowhere to be seen. Brian poured himself a cup of hot coffee and grabbed both bacon strips with his fingers. He sat down in his usual spot at the table, wondering if he should feel disappointed, worried, or perhaps unconcerned. Jackie had certainly demonstrated his feelings for Brian the previous night.

But the question Where the hell is he? kept popping up in his mind as he devoured the bacon and chased it down with coffee. Then, as he helped himself to Jackie’s toast leavings, the question evolved into Why the hell would he leave without a word?

Followed closely by Why hasn’t he answered about marrying me?

Shit. “No” would be better than silence…

Wait. No, it wouldn’t. But shit…

After he polished off the toast and talked himself out of putting a shot of J&B in his second cup of coffee, he remembered that phones and text messaging existed. Hopeful, he swallowed most of the coffee down and went to the bedroom to fetch his phone. Aha! A text awaited, and it was from none other…

— Good morning, Bri. I’ll be home soon. Before I forget. What happened to that broken drawer in the playroom? —

It took Brian a number of seconds before he could even make sense of the question, so far was it from what he’d expected — and desperately hoped — to see, but eventually he put it together. Annoyed, but glad Jackie had at least not forgotten him entirely, he texted back.

— It had a lock, no key, and I couldn’t pick it. I broke it. Where are you? —

Brian waited, sitting on the unmade bed in his skivvies, only vaguely aware of Marley head-bumping his arm hoping for a good scratch and not even noticing the sun blazing through the window and baking his left shoulder. He didn’t get an answer. He sighed very deeply, well aware of how piteous it sounded, and then he moaned, “Dammit, Jackie.” Sure the devil boy would be his undoing someday, he gritted his teeth, resolving not to worry until something clearly indicated he should.

He picked up his phone to send another text, but before he could do so, he got a mixed media message. As often proved to be the case with images, it had taken a long time to get to him, having been sent even before the text he’d already responded to. It was a selfie. Jackie looking very fine and dressed for success, wearing a blazer the same color as his eyes and a tie… one of Brian’s, he believed.

He texted back: You look good. Why are you wearing a tie?

He waited. No answer.

He waited some more. No answer.

He started to wait some more, said “Fuck it” out loud, and sent a final text. What did your fortune cookie say? And wherever you are, be careful.

Brian dressed, walked down to the office, and had already situated himself at his desk and powered up his PC when a reply came.

I love you, Brian.

Brian didn’t reply. He was already tired from the strange interaction. He just gathered up his things and, sighing again, turned his attention to work.

More and more he found he accomplished the tasks of management easily. He whipped through the morning’s e-mails before Livvy showed up, made a pot of coffee, assigned Lonny to manage a personal security situation for Korean corporate officers in Los Angeles for a wedding, and reviewed the latest financial reports with Ahmad. After a break, during which he tried unsuccessfully to reach Jackie by phone and then spent fifteen minutes crocheting with Livvy while she talked about her nephew’s latest musical triumphs, he worked on a plan he’d been putting together to point VSI-LA in a profitable direction over the next couple of years.

LA was rife with security companies, a good number of them with high level capabilities. It was why Luki had never concentrated his energies here — a big market with an even bigger pool of competition, and as successful and respected as Vasquez Security was, it remained a small- to- medium-sized fish in the large pond. That made it difficult to compete with the likes of Security Group International, and SGI’s office in LA was more than triple the size of Brian’s little group.

But he thought the office could do better than it had. The key was targeting the right niche. He’d researched, and he’d found two of the least monopolized areas to be security for transient high level corporate officials — like the Koreans in town this week — and event security for small to medium-sized posh gatherings. VSI was set up well to grow in those market areas, and his report included the necessary facts and figures for Luki to make a decision as to whether to invest in the additional personnel, training, equipment, and advertising to accomplish it.

Now he set his mind to propose one additional area of investment, one he wasn’t at all sure Luki would approve. For one thing, it involved privately dealing with things that technically should be the domain of law enforcement agencies. For another, it involved putting someone in the middle of very dangerous situations — negotiating with kidnappers and dealing with blackmailers — and nobody on staff at present in Los Angeles was qualified. But Brian knew Luki had done that type of work, and he had other agents in Chicago who could do it. Luki could do the training, and Brian really wanted to be trained and to do the work. He wasn’t sure why he wanted to do something so patently risky, except that he hadn’t studied what he’d studied and gone on staff with the London Metropolitan Police in order to spend all his time at a desk.

Whatever the reason, his brain got ridiculously excited at the idea. He’d need a partner, and he thought Amy might be a good choice. If not, they could hire someone. With Luki’s connections in the business, Brian had no doubt they’d pick up jobs if word got out VSI-LA was equipped to deal with them.

Interestingly, he’d found a file indicating Espen had been looking into the same field of operations a few weeks before his disappearance, but he hadn’t compiled any reports except a list of other security companies that offered the same services.

As that thought passed casually through his thoughts, a realization jolted him — as if lightning had struck and revealed Espen’s secrets. Two entries in the notebook had been different than all the others. Both had the letters RL, a date, and what was surely an amount of money. Only one had been crossed out.

Espen was a gambler, possibly an addict. Espen had been deep in debt to someone represented by the initials RL. He’d paid RL once, but not the second time. Around the same time, he’d compiled that list.

It clicked. He hadn’t been thinking of the business, he’d gone looking for help with a blackmailer.

 

More from Lou Sylvre at Changeling Press …

Lou Sylvre loves romance with all its ups and downs, and likes to conjure it into books. The sweethearts on her pages are men who end up loving each other — and usually saving each other from unspeakable danger. It’s all pretty crazy and very, very sexy. As if you’d want to know more, she’ll happily tell you that she is a proudly bisexual woman — a mother, grandmother, lover of languages, and cat-herder — of mixed cultural heritage. She works closely with lead cat and writing assistant, the (male) Queen of Budapest, Boudreau St. Clair. She lives in the rainy part of the Pacific Northwest, and hearing from a reader infallibly brightens the dreary weather. Find her through her links listed here, or drop her a line at lou.sylvre@gmail.com.

 

 

The Case of the Dead Frat Boy by Stephanie Burke #PNR #UrbanFantasy #interracial #murdermystery @changelingpress @Flashycat

 

The Case of the Dead Frat Boy (Mai-Fly Mysteries 1)

Publisher: Changeling Press
Cover Artist: Bryan Keller
Genres/Themes: Action Adventure, Paranormal, Urban Fantasy,
Elves Dragons and Magical Creatures, Interracial, Murder Mystery

 

When an obnoxious frat boy hits on Fae Mai-Mai Collins, she nearly gets arrested for magical assault. But then he ends up dead on the back steps of her cafe, and her life, as well as that of her Gremlin lover, Ry-Ry, is sent into a tailspin.

Now the police are on her tail about the murder, her business has become a spectacle for Fae watchers and Fae haters alike, and her life seems to be in danger from some unknown force.

With a magical geas taking over her body to find the truth and a host of frat boys and sorority girls all lining up as suspects, it’s hard for the mild mannered coffee shop owner to tell who is guilty and who is the victim.

Is the true mystery discovering who killed the frat boy, or is it discovering what darkness lies beneath her skin?

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All rights reserved.
Copyright ©2019 Stephanie Burke

“You know, I have a theory.”

Mai Collins looked up from the book she was trying to read and stared at the man who unceremoniously dropped down into the seat opposite to her. She looked around the nearly empty coffee shop before shooting her uninvited guest a narrow-eyed, exasperated look and then again glancing around the Java Jump, hoping that he would catch the hint, but nope. He went right on speaking as if the huge, unsubtle hint she had thrown in his direction had never happened.

“I think you’re beautiful, but you would be even more so if you smiled.”

As if to demonstrate, he opened his mouth in some facsimile of a Miss Universe smile, complete with dimples. She was nearly blinded by the blue-white porcelain caps that glinted in the recessed lighting like a cosmetically implanted dental star. All that was missing was the high-pitched tone emphasizing the perfection of his artificial smile.

He really wasn’t that bad looking, once you got past the artificial moonlight of his teeth. He had short dark hair, deeply tanned skin, and a body that appeared to have more experience in a gym than in etiquette classes, because really… who just sits down at a table and throws out one of the cheesiest and most insulting pick-up lines ever?

This will not stand. She carefully placed a bookmark in her book and laid it on the table beside her cup of cooling peach nectar. People who creased pages were real monsters and deserved to be slapped about the face and head until they got a clue.

“You know,” she spoke in her smoothest tone, tossing long tendrils of her curly auburn hair behind her shoulders as she leaned forward. “I have a theory, too.” She shot him a sultry look that had him grinning harder and leaning forward to make their conversation more intimate.

“Really?” he encouraged eagerly. “Tell me more.”

“I have a theory that you will be more attractive from behind…” He perked up, then her voice fell flat “…as you walk away.” His smile fled and her face dropped into its usual resting bitch-face of epic proportions before she curled her lip in disgust, exposing two of the daintiest, sharpest fangs to ever grace a preternatural creature. “Care to test out my theory and prove how true it is? Why don’t you walk the fuck away?”

For a moment he stared at her in shock before the color drained from his face. The sound of his chair scraping back as he lurched to his feet was even sweeter than the sound of his muttered “You ain’t that hot” as he scurried out of her sight.

“I was right!” she called out to him. “You didn’t miss squat day, but that doesn’t mean you have to be a total ass!”

He left her shop, and she picked up her book.

Once again, life was beautiful.

* * *

Mai should have seen it coming. After all, she was dealing with humans, and when one dealt with humans it was best to assume the worst in any situation.

“I did not attack that boy,” she growled at the two detectives — Magics Division, of course — who now stood, grim-faced and determined as they tried to surround her in the middle of her coffee shop.

She glanced around at her customers. The humans showed a mixture of concern and fascination as they tried to see what was going to happen next. Most, however, being Fae themselves, were doing one of two things: the newbies were heading for the hills at the first sight of the iron badges and suppressant collars that hung from the two officers’ belts; and the regulars had their phones out because Fae harassment by law enforcement was finally getting recognition as something that every Fae, no matter the type, had to put up with because of the stupid magical malfeasance laws. The damn laws hadn’t really changed since the 1500s, when most Fae populations decided to make themselves known to humans — with the most disastrous of consequences. There was a time not too long ago when the Fae could be killed on sight, and from the way the police behaved, one would think those laws still applied.

And finally, the watchers who believed Fae were genuinely evil and were a blight against their god, no matter who or what they were worshiping this week, were trying to pack themselves into her coffee shop to see the downfall of another twisted being that shouldn’t exist.

For someone who liked to live life low-key, this was an utter disaster.

 

The Seductress by Treva Harte #Historical #Mystery #Romance#NewRelease @changelingpress

Idea Behind the Book

The Seductress is the third in my Regency mystery romance series.  I’d written one mystery in my life before that and no Regency stories. So of course I had to go ahead.

I started off thinking about how women were treated in the past and how they managed in a world where they had very limited rights —and that I wanted to do a different kind of Regency that was still historically correct.  By the time I finished The Seductress, I knew my small corner of Regency England reasonably well (not that I don’t have to look up titles and who is called what and when EVERY time I start a story or I’m in trouble.)

Emily isn’t like her sensible, previously widowed and independent cousin in the previous stories, the one who helped solve murders.  But I don’t like idiotic heroines so I had to try to make a younger, romantic girl who makes mistakes not an idiot.  She tries to be sensible when she decides to marry the titled gentleman her Mama desires for her daughter.  It’s the only way she’ll have any security in her world. And she has to be smart when the Earl she’s just accepted in marriage is found dead.   Meanwhile there’s the previously untitled, penniless hero who is under suspicion when he becomes the new Earl…

—Treva Harte

 

The Seductress

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About the book:

Miss Emily Whitethorn once vowed to marry only for love, but when she finally accepts the reality that she must follow her mother’s demands and marry a titled gentleman, her plans turn to seduction. The first person on her list of eligible bachelors is Lord Northenly, the Earl who proposed to her years ago.

If only his younger and untitled half-brother Kit were less distracting, and the Earl more alluring! But everything changes when both brothers propose, only to have Lord Northenly die suddenly — after showing Emily, in a most frightening way, that she could never marry him.

Of course the current Lord Northenly’s death makes Kit both a suspect and the next Lord Northenly — and leaves Emily a suspect, as well. There’s only one solution to their immediate problem. But will a hasty marriage save them both, or prove to be their undoing?

New Today at Changeling Press #PNR #UrbanFantasy #Romance #Historical @changelingpress @Michelle_Hasker @Raisa_Greywood

The Seductress (Soliciting a Lady 3)

 

Emily’s plan doesn’t include yet another dead body, or a hasty marriage to the man of her fantasies…

Cover Artist: Bryan Keller

Genres/Themes: Historical Suspense, Murder Mystery

Get it at Changeling Press

 

 

The Leopard Mage (Shifter's Mates 3)

 

My chosen mate doesn’t want me. Can I change his mind and save my people from his own brother?

Cover Artist: Karen Fox

Genres/Themes: Paranormal, Alien Encounters, Shapeshifters

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His Father's Intern (DragonKin Multi Author 10)

 

Take one Ice Dragon. Add one Fire Dragon. Results? Instantaneous combustion.

Cover Artist: Marteeka Karland

Genres/Themes: Paranormal, Urban Fantasy, Elves Dragons and Magical Creatures

Get it at Changeling Press