New Release: The Fae King’s Prize by Jamie Schlosser #paranormalromance @EJBookPromos

Title: The Fae King’s Prize
Series: Between Dawn and Dusk #3
Author: Jamie Schlosser
Genre: Fantasy/Paranormal Romance
Release Date: April 8, 2021

When I wake up at a female auction in a world I don’t recognize, all I can think about is getting back home to Texas. I want absolutely nothing to do with a realm called Valora, magic, faeries, or being sold to the highest bidder.

But the Day Realm king has other plans.

Zander says I’m his fated mate. I don’t believe him. That doesn’t stop him from tricking me into marrying him, though. It doesn’t matter if I argue or run—he won’t let me go.

I should hate him. Instead, I find myself ridiculously attracted to the stubborn, broody man. Sometimes he terrifies me, so I don’t know why his rare smiles give me warm tingles or why his arms make me feel safe.

Everything about Valora is confusing, but after just a short time here, I realize something—this place is full of dangers that are way more frightening than my new husband, and staying by his side just might be my only option.

“I can’t believe I actually thought you were handsome.”

He lifts an eyebrow. “You think I’m handsome?”

“Thought. Past tense.”

“I don’t understand. How can you find me good-looking one minute, and not the next?”

“Because that was before you tricked me into marrying you.”

“If you’re attracted to me, you should be happy we’re married.”

I bark out a laugh. “Marriage is a lot more than attraction.”

“You’re right.” Stealthily, Zander moves toward me, and I back up until the mattress behind me makes me buckle.

My butt lands on the soft feathers with an, “Oof.”

Zander sits next to me, so close our knees are bumping. “My marriage to you is the linking of our souls. The promise to be together until the end of time. The vow that I will love you, unconditionally, forever.”

Jamie Schlosser writes steamy new adult romance and romantic comedy. When she isn’t creating perfect book boyfriends, she’s a stay-at-home mom to her two wonderful kids. She believes reading is a great escape, otters are the best animal, and nothing is more satisfying than a happily-ever-after ending.

HOSTED BY:

Happy Birthday to Me by Stephanie Burke #GayRomance @flashycat @changelingpress

Mason Klien, larger-than-life alpha, is just what Maxie needs to make his birthday night special.

Clancy Maxwell is an omega who is unique even to his own sub species. He’s far shorter than most of the supposedly more delicate type, but the tiny redhead does not have a submissive bone in his body.

After ditching one a puffed-up alpha, the ex-stripper-turned-business-owner focuses his attention to Mason, an alpha with a small submissive streak.

But this is just a one-night stand… or is it?

Get it at Changeling Press

Preorder for April 9th at online booksellers

Praise for Happy Birthday to Me

“When ‘accepted wisdom’ for shifter stories is turned upside its head, and the story is told with a ton of humor and many laugh-out-loud moments — this hilarious short story was not only a lot of fun but also very hot.”— Serena Yates, Rainbow Book Reviews


“The shifter side of things here has the coolest details. I thought this was a unique take on shifters, Omega in particular, and showcased that human or shifter, you need to communicate, guys! This is a fun and funny story that made me smile.”— 4 Hearts from Lucy, Hearts on Fire Reviews


“Strippers. Subby alphas. Toppy bottoms. Knotting. Red heads. Happy Birthday to ME, indeed. *smacks lips* What a sexy little gem HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO ME turned out to be — definitely recommended for a short, hot read.”— 4 Stars from Breann, The Romance Reviews

“Maxie is a little powder keg of attitude. Mason is a powerful but sensitive big boy. The two of them together burned up the pages. This book is a good read when looking for something short and steamy.”— Leigh, MM Good Books Reviews

EXCERPT

All rights reserved.
Copyright ©2021 Stephanie Burke


“Excuse me?” Maxie narrowed his eyes as he glared at the alpha, who was slowly but surely digging himself a deeper grave.

“Come on, Clancy.” Marco grinned at him, his chocolate-brown eyes gleaming, his tan skin looking like golden sand in the candlelight. “You know I was kidding.” He tried to send out enough alpha scent to make Maxie agreeable. Maxie only arched an eyebrow and gave Marco the coldest stare he could muster.

“Look, we’re getting off track here, Clancy.” Marco leaned in close, pushing aside a six-hundred-dollar bottle of wine he’d insisted they share — and sent back five times because it wasn’t the right temperature. “How about you come back to my place and we, you know, get a little loose.” He pushed more scent that only served to make Maxie more irritated.

“Loose, huh?” Maxie asked, his voice all but devoid of emotion. What the hell was this idiot talking about?

“Back in Brazil…”

Marco was dropping places now? God, he had already dropped the names of several Vegas businessmen who really didn’t impress Maxie, so now he was moving on to countries? Hell, most of the names he’d dropped were men Maxie had personally set up for private lap dances with his omega dancers. No matter how powerful they were in the real world, once you’ve seen an alpha trying to keep it in his boxers and not develop an embarrassing uncontrolled knot, there was something a tad less powerful about his name.

“Yes?” Maxie leaned forward. “Brazil?” Maybe he could get a good laugh out of this poor excuse for a birthday pickup. For all the fun he was having, he could have stayed back at his strip club and washed dirty thongs.

“In Brazil, we alphas have a few secrets to help us relax.”

“Go on,” Maxie urged. Only his strong sense of proper omega etiquette was preventing him from rolling his eyes and walking away from the huge lout.

“I have a guy who brings me — some fun treats.” He grinned and plucked a red rose from the arrangement on the table, reaching out to stroke it over Maxie’s face. “That’s what you pretty boys like.”

Maxie stared at the red roses and wanted to strangle the grabby bastard with his own tie. This alpha was too much to be believed. “No, I don’t like to trip the light fantastic, pop a pill, do a line, or pop bottles like it’s going out of style.” Maxie’s left eye was twitching.

“Aw, babe –“

“Clancy,” he returned, his patience coming to an end. “My friends call me Maxie. You may call me Clancy.”

“Don’t cop an attitude with me, omega,” Marco growled, narrowing his eyes as he tried to stare Maxie down.

“Copping an attitude requires that I give enough of a shit about you to actually pay attention,” Maxie growled, his muscles tensing as he recognized the symptoms of an attack brewing.

Marco was glaring, his respiration increasing, one hand fisting around the wine glass as the other snapped the stem of the rose in half. “You’ll fucking care when I’m done with you –“

“You would do well to sit your ass down or get out of my way.” Maxie slowly rose to his feet, all systems ready to repel attack. Maxie was no fool. He had dealt with enough alpha assholes during his short-lived modeling career and as a beginning omega dancer to know when things were going to get physical.

Just as the asshole was rising to his feet, Maxie preparing to punch him in the fucking throat, a large, dark hand landed on Marco’s shoulder, shoving him back into his seat.

“What seems to be the problem, gentlemen?” a gravelly voice rumbled.

Maxie turned and his mouth dropped open. The sheer scope of the new alpha in front of him stole the words before they formed.

“My date and I –“

Marco’s words snapped Maxie out of his shock and right back into the fray. “Oh, I don’t think so, jackass. Either you or I are leaving this club, and we won’t be leaving together.”

Marco narrowed his eyes as Marco turned to face the huge man who was looming over them both. “You know how the little ones get — wanting attention and all,” he clarified to the stranger.

“Little –“

“Oh, I see.” The stranger snorted before turning to Maxie. Maxie expected a glib comment about controlling the pushy omega bottom, but the man surprised him. He looked over at Marco and the two exchanged some sort of big man secret eye fuck before he offered a polite smile. “I think you’ve had enough, and it’s time for you to go.”

Maxie blinked as he realized that those delicious-sounding words were not directed at him.

“What?” Marco stammered, and tried to rear up, uber-masculine style, but the man merely crossed his arms, his aura enough to knock the toughest of alphas on their ass. Marco stifled his own power play and shrank in on himself when the arms of the man’s expertly tailored suit jacket began to strain to confine his biceps. This new male was pushing out alpha pheromones that easily overcame the small scent of defiance Maxie’s stupid alpha date had managed to muster.

But Marco was a troll for a good reason. He visibly pushed down his fear and exchanged his blush of embarrassment for one of anger. “This is a private conversation.”

“Which is about to lose one of its parties.” This new alpha leaned forward and growled… and Maxie felt his spine tingle with a telltale burst of arousal.

MY REVIEW

⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️

Do you want a fast-paced, super hot shifter romance? Then look no further… Happy Birthday to Me is full of heat, sexy dances, and a couple clearly meant for one another… even if they’re too stubborn to admit it.

Maxie isn’t your typical Omega. He’s too aggressive, and not the least bit submissive in the bedroom. Imagine his surprise when he meets an Alpha who likes to be dominated. A match made in heaven … 

Light on story, but perfect for a quick read with a happy ending. Be prepared to squirm (and need a cold shower) because Ms. Burke is bringing the heat with Happy Birthday to Me!

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

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

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

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

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

Dawning by Mychael Black #GayRomance #shifters @changelingpress

What is it they say? No good deed goes unpunished?

Ren is on the run. His people have aligned themselves with every known mage cabal in the country to rise up and overrun the world above. As the head of House Daturi, he’d been expected to follow the other Houses and lead his own into war. Except he has no desire to fight — with anyone. Now he has two choices: fall in line or die as a traitor. Neither seems promising.

Arulas is a wolf shapeshifter who prefers to avoid contact with others, no matter the species. He has a cabin deep in the woods, nestled near the border of the Light Fae realm. He doesn’t bother them, and they don’t bother him. Until now, things were quite perfect. Then he finds a half-dead Dark Fae in the middle of nowhere. Not one to leave a man down, Arulas nurses the Dark Fae back to health, only to find himself square in the middle of a damn war.

Available at Changeling Press

Preorder for April 9th at online booksellers

EXCERPT

Rumors swirled among the peasantry that Zerin was under mage influence, but the pompous ass had been itching to get the Houses unified to take over the world above. Ren didn’t agree with such ambitions, and a part of him feared the consequences should Zerin’s war come to fruition.

“Lord Ren, what of House Daturi? Are you prepared?” one of the Council members asked.

Ren had been dreading the question. “I… yes. House Daturi is ready to march with the others,” he lied.

In truth, he didn’t care if House Daturi did or not. He had no intention of sticking around to watch. He’d packed his things a few days ago, what little he could carry, and only waited for the right time to leave. If he was careful, he could get above ground by morning. Of course, the second he was missed, there would be a price on his head the likes of which no Dark Fae had ever seen. They’d lost a few guards, but never anyone of Ren’s status. He had to do it quickly and quietly. He hated leaving his few lovers, but he couldn’t stay here any longer. Not with his sanity intact.

“Very good,” Zerin said from his dais at the front of the Council chamber. “This meeting is adjourned. We will reconvene in the morning to set our plans in motion.”

Dismissed, Ren and the other lords filed out of the chamber. Ren headed back toward the tunnel leading to his own keep, a good distance from House Vakeor. Each House’s territory branched off from House Vakeor’s, some several days’ journey away. Thankfully, House Daturi was only a few hours’ walk. He’d left his guards at his keep, more out of caution than anything else. He’d long since lost any trust in his own people, even those in his House. If Zerin wanted a war, so be it, but the man would have it without Ren’s aid. House Daturi’s followers could do as they pleased.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

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

Book Tour: Reckless Dreams by J.R. Whire #paranormalromance @jrwhite84

Reckless Dreams

Stories from the Dream Realm 
Book One
J.R. White
 
Genre: Paranormal/Fantasy Romance
Date of Publication: March 15th, 2021
ASIN: B08X2XMNJ7
Number of pages: 265
Word Count: 54,000
Cover Artist: J.R. White
 
Tagline: Embrace Your Destiny in the Dream Realm
 
Book Description: 
 
The only thing Karlee Bolt has on her mind is her upcoming beach vacation, but her plans are derailed by dark shadows and a knight with a brilliant, bright light. Karlee is suddenly thrown into another realm and into a battle she has no way of fighting.
 
A Watcher by right, DjinnShay Court is a warrior that protects the balance between the realms. When the Dreamweaver is suddenly dropped into his lap, Court must change tactics. No longer a warrior that stands between the realms, he must now lead Karlee through the Dream Realm and show her there’s more to dreams than fantasy.
 
Amazon      Books2Read
 

Excerpt:

Before Karlee could get the next book on the shelf, a loud thunk made
her jump. Spinning around to face the disturbance, she took a slow step
forward. “Hello?” At first only silence answered her and then a distant click
followed by another and then the sound echoed through the disorganized mess.
She took another step, but it wasn’t until the lights illuminated the hallway
clicked off that she realized what the sound was.

Backing away from the approaching darkness, Karlee turned to run. The
clicking of the lights going out behind her grew louder. On the other side of
the basement was the door that led outside and onto the street. She ran faster
as her heart started to race. As the clicking grew louder and closer, she heard
heavy feet hurrying along with it.

The lights directly above Karlee started to shatter. Sparks cascaded
down on her and bounced across the floor. Making a quick turn, she could see
the door just a few yards away, but just as she was closing the distance, she
felt something tug at her hair. Letting out a shriek, she dashed towards the
steps that led away from her tormentor. As one foot touched down on the stair,
the other was yanked out from under her. She crashed into the wooden steps and
felt a cold solid mass wrap itself around her ankle. It began to slither up her
leg and she kicked out, desperately trying to clamber away.

There was nothing but darkness behind Karlee. Even the thing that held
onto her and was scratching at her skin seemed to be made of shadows. She
screamed as she felt the first hard tug. Reaching up, she grabbed the edge of
the top step and held on. Another hard tug jerked her, nearly ripping her away
from the relative safety of the stairs. Just when she thought her leg would be
torn off, the door above her burst open and she was blinded by a brilliant
flash of light shooting through the darkness.

“Be gone, shadow spawn!” a deep voice boomed, and Karlee felt the thick
shadows jerk franticly away. Scrambling up the steps, she saw the shining man
who had saved her and ran straight into his arms. A strong arm wrapped around
her and she found herself tucked against the man’s side.

From beside the stranger, Karlee could see the source of the brilliant
light. It radiated from a small stone he held in the palm of his hand. Beyond
him, she could also see the illuminated darkness left in the library basement.
The light allowed her to see the collection of books and the wreathing shadows
that had chased her. Misshapen human shadows were wriggling in the light as if
it was burning them. Staring at it, she felt fear rake over her, violently
sending her heart into her throat and blocking the scream she couldn’t seem to
conjure.

The man slammed the door, hiding the horrid sight from
Karlee and in one smooth motion, took her hand and turned towards the road. “I
have to get you out of here,” he said as he started to pull her away from the
library and down the sidewalk.


About the Author: 

J. R. White has been telling stories for as long as she can remember. After her marriage in 2008 she found the freedom to dive headfirst into her personal world of fiction. Currently she lives in the Upstate of South Carolina with her family, where she fills her daughter’s head with fairy tales.


https://jrwhite-author.com/

https://twitter.com/jrwhite84

https://amzn.to/386V8mE

https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7135923.J_R_White

Shepherd’s Watch by J. Hali Steele #Interracial #paranormalromance @JHaliSteele @changelingpress

These big dogs usually get what they want, but will their mates accept what they are?

Serviced: When Ren’s forced to care for a blind woman, the last thing he expects is the straight-laced librarian who reads him like a book. Marguerite knows it isn’t going to be easy living with the service animal. This one comes with a handler whose husky voice and wild, sexy scent enflame her…

Guarded: Wade is stuck guarding the owner of the escort service he frequents. He doesn’t count on the sexy as hell woman tying him in knots. Jetta still carries scars from a dog attack. She’s given up on men — but she wants this one.

Protected: Victoria buries herself in the kitchen of her restaurant to hide from the world. When the brooding, sexy stranger appears, she hides what she is under a cloak of deceit. No longer able to fight her natural desires, she aches to give herself to him. She waits patiently for his arrival; he will come.

Controlled: Elle Naylor’s caught his scent and can’t get it or Harm out of her mind. Strong and stubborn, Elle knows she’s found the one man who can make her life complete. Harm is an alpha in training who embraces his ability to be man or dog. Elle loves dogs! But will she love him when she finds out that’s exactly what he is?

Now available in Paperback

EXCERPT

All rights reserved.
Copyright ©2021 J. Hali Steele
Excerpt from Serviced


Bounding down the steps, he joined his brothers in the office to discuss business and anything else that might be pressing. They owned and operated Shepherd’s Watch, an elite company that provided professional protection and guard dog services to the rich and famous — or infamous, depending on how you looked at it.

Max eyed his watch. “Ren, how many times do I need to remind you we start at nine?”

“Christ, it’s ten after.” Wade slouched across from him, his mouth a slash, his eyes barely slits.

What the hell was going on? “I was looking for something. Let’s get started.”

“Shoes?”

“What?” Ren peeked under the table. “Aww, fuck.” He still wore his slippers. “Hell, now you’ll rag me about how I dress for meetings.” He glared at Wade. “What’s your problem?”

“Screw you, Ren.”

“You’re both acting like someone died or something.”

Max gritted his teeth and the sound skidded across Ren’s nerves. Shit. Something was up. Maybe his brother had good reason to be irritated this morning.

“There was an accident last night with one of the rotties guarding the senator.”

“Damn, I keep telling you those guys are rough around the edges. Who was handling?” Some of the human employees had a tough time with the stronger dogs. Rots and pits only went out with experienced controllers because of their inherently rowdy nature.

“Daggett.”

“He’s one of the best.” Ren turned to Wade. “Guess you know what happened since Dag’s a friend of yours.”

“What does his being my friend have to do with anything?” Wade’s eyes remained lidded, his voice gravelly.

“Don’t go all defensive, tell me what happened.”

“Senator Gardner hugged some lady, she dropped her purse and when she bent to pick it up, she lost her balance.” His eyes cast down. “She fell back into Dag and the dog went berserk.” Wade cleared his throat. “The rot slammed her face-down on the pavement.”

“Shit, is she okay?” Ren swallowed hard.

“Dag’s at the hospital with the senator now.” Wade’s voice cracked. “The rot’s dead. Daggett broke his neck pulling him back. Everything happened so fast and he feels responsible.”

Shepherd’s Watch had lost dogs before. Clients, too, for that matter. Why was this one different? “Accidents do happen.”

Max stood and walked to the open bay window. Curtains billowed in the morning breeze. “The woman is the senator’s niece; he raised her like a daughter.” Turning back to the table, he said, “He’s pretty upset.”

“She’s going to be okay, right?” Senator Jack Gardner was actually a good politician and a nice person. He had connections everywhere, even Hollywood. He’d recommended clients, and Ren didn’t want to think what could happen if he pulled his business from the Watch.

A heavy sigh floated on the breeze. “She’s blind. Doctors aren’t sure how long it will last or if she’ll ever see again.” The chair thudded on the floor when Max sat down. “He wants us to supply a guide dog and a handler to help her adjust.”

“We can’t, everybody who’s capable of that kind of service is on assignment. We don’t have time to train a new dog.” Wade and Max continued to stare at him in silence. Finally, it hit Ren like a ton of bricks. “No. Fucking. Way.” Coffee cups clattered in their saucers when his fist hit the table. “I’ve got an assignment. I’m not babysitting some blind chick. Find someone else, man.” The chair scraped loudly across the floor as he stood.

“Wade will cover the concert.” Max slid an envelope across the table. “You’re all we got and… uhh… you can handle both roles. After all, she’s blind and won’t see you shift. In here is everything we know about her, where she lives and works, even what she likes to read.” His fingers tapped annoyingly on the envelope. Ren opened his mouth and Max’s hand flew up. “You’re it. I’ll do everything possible to get you out of this as soon as I can. We can’t lose the senator’s contract.”

Ren’s growl circled the room, bouncing from the walls. He ripped his clothes from his body without a care and fell to his knees. The long velvety snout was already forming and his hands twisted into gnarled paws. Ren didn’t even feel the fleeting pain associated with the change as a hunch pulled his shoulders up. Sucking in a draft of air, he slammed his front paws to the wood floor. Toenails scraped beneath his weighty body.

Raising his head, he loosed a howl that would have made a wolf proud.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

A multi-published author, J. Hali Steele wishes she could grow fur, wings, or fangs, so she can stay warm, fly, or just plain bite the crap out of… Well, since she can’t, she would much rather roam where her fictional big cats live — in the high desert of California. Discovering a new love of contemporary male/male erotica has flipped a switch she can’t turn off, so she hopes eventually it drifts back into her otherworldly realm.

When J. Hali’s not writing, she can be found snuggled in front of the TV with a good book, a cat in her lap, and a cup of coffee.

Growl and roar — it’s okay to let the beast out.

Infernal Desire by Angela Knight #DarkFantasy @AngelaKnight @changelingpress

For the past five years, Zana Alasdair has been obsessed with Rafe Cazadero. Which is an issue, to say the least, because Rafe is a half-angel demon hunter, and Zana is… well… a demon. Sort of. Anyway, she’s a succubus — a half-human demon who draws magic from the erotic energy she collects making love to mortals. Which means Rafe would probably kill her if he caught her hanging around.

Which is why Pointy doesn’t approve of her little crush on the hunter. Pointy is her evil tail, which has a mind of its own, and is thoroughly convinced Rafe is Bad News. And Pointy does have a… well… point. Except if Rafe’s not careful, he’s going to get himself killed, and that would be a damn shame. Especially since one of those most interested in killing Rafe is Zana’s psycho father, Jargoth, a Lord of Hell, who’d also like to kill Zana.

Zana’s been thinking. Wouldn’t it be great if she could talk Rafe and his magic sword into an alliance? She can be pretty persuasive… assuming she can convince her evil tail to be a little less evil…

Get it now at Changeling Press

Preorder for April 2nd at Online Booksellers

EXCERPT

All rights reserved.
Copyright ©2021 Angela Knight

Rafe

I needed the night off, but I wasn’t going to get it. I’d be killing demons before dawn. That or dying.

My skin had the itchy feeling that meant something nasty was about to emerge from Hell. Trouble was, it was hard to tell when that itch would escalate to the fiery burn of the Call.

Frowning, I swallowed a mouthful of Scotch, absently stroking the cat in my lap as I gave the problem some thought. Witches preferred to do their summoning at midnight, because that’s what some idiot wrote in a grimoire once. On the other hand, a demon manifesting on his own could choose any time between dusk and dawn. Once the sun came up, you were in the clear for the day. All that solar radiation interferes with dark magics.

“Blllurrrt?” Hocus stretched upward to scrub her furry head against my stubbled jaw. The cat was a Maine Coon, sixteen pounds of fluff and affection. Her bright green eyes peered from a coal-black face surrounded by streaks of white, gray and black, as if she was emerging from a cloud of smoke.

Five years ago, I’d found her meowing in a storm drain as a half-drowned kitten. I’d fished her out and taken her home. I have no idea how an expensive purebred ended up in such a mess, but the vet said she wasn’t chipped. I decided not to look a gift cat in the fangs.

I’d needed the company of something alive to stay sane, since there was no way in Hell I’d risk a woman in my life for more than a few hours. Sometimes I still woke with tears on my cheeks, remembering the clean toddler scent of Ettor’s white-blond hair and the music of Ynes’s laughter.

And the sight of their bodies, when I’d returned home from the mission to find what the demon had left of them. It had been more than three centuries, but you don’t forget that kind of pain. I’d never dared love another mortal since.

Fortunately, one of the Diabol would ignore a cat. Animals don’t have enough innate magic to attract their attention. Hocus was a safe enough companion.

I took another sip of Scotch whiskey as the electric tingle on my shoulders started rolling over my skin in stinging waves. The sensation sharpened between my shoulder blades, burning like a brand where wings would have been — if I’d had them.

Grimacing, I drained the Scotch. The Call would sober me up, no matter how drunk I was. Part of the magic. I ran one hand down the cat’s silken back all the way to the end of her tail, which twitched out of my grip.

It was quiet, the only sound Hocus’s metronome purr and the steady click of the grandfather clock. The library was my favorite room in the house. No weapons lurked anywhere, other than the blessed blade in my boot. No grimoires occupied the maple hand-carved floor to ceiling shelves. Just mysteries and science fiction novels and volumes of poetry, stacked three deep. It wasn’t a rich man’s library — no leather-bound first editions. Most of my books were paperbacks in a dozen languages, dog-eared with cracked spines. I read books, I don’t collect them. I clung to the moment of peace with a drowning man’s desperation, knowing it was about to…

My vision snapped crystal-sharp around the edges, a signal that meant I had exactly twenty minutes to the Call. I put the rocks glass down on the end table with a click, scooped Hocus off my lap and dropped her to the floor as I rose. She meowed plaintively and trotted at my heels as I strode from the library and down the hall.

I’d built the house in the Craftsman style a century or so ago. Its exterior was rough fieldstone in shades of brown and cream, with thick, square columns and oak accents. Inside, I’d hand-carved exposed oak beams and wainscoting with intricate patterns. You’d have to look closely to see the warding spells worked into the carving to discourage demonic visitors. It was a bit dark inside for contemporary taste — no blinding white open plan for me. I displayed the art and sculpture that was too realistic for modern collectors where it suited me. I replaced it with whatever piece I did next and liked better.

When you’re immortal, you don’t get sentimental about your work. That’s why I’ve got three storage units stuffed to the gills.

The door at the end of the hall opened at my touch — no one else could have opened it at all — and the wrought iron rang under my feet as I descended the spiral stairs to the armory.

Hocus trotted at my heels muttering weird little Maine Coon vocalizations. I was almost tempted to run her commentary through Google Translate, but I didn’t think Cat was one of the language options. Besides, I wasn’t sure I wanted to know what she was bitching about.

“I shouldn’t be gone long,” I told her. “But just in case, there’s water, and the feeder will dispense your breakfast in eight hours.”

More Maine Coon grumbling.

“Yeah, I know you hate dry food, but that’s all the feeder takes.” She was picky as Hell, but I figured she’d eat it if she got hungry enough.

She leaped past, the stairs ringing as I stepped off onto the smooth-finished concrete floor inscribed with runes and three different spell circles. I pulled my cell phone out of my jeans pocket and thumbed a button, then dropped it on my worktable.

If I wasn’t back in forty-eight hours to cancel it, an email would go out to Jo Landon telling the gallery owner where to find the key I’d hidden. She’d pick up the art and the cat. Remuiel would take care of everything the mortals didn’t need to know about. “Jo’ll come pick you up if something goes seriously sideways.” I gave the cat a glower. “I know you never like my friends, but too bad. No biting, no clawing, no breaking her shit. I don’t want you to starve if I’m not around to take care of your furry ass.”

As I spoke, I started stripping, methodically swapping jeans and T-shirt for the skin-tight Lycra that would keep my armor from chafing. Then I turned to the big man-shaped form that held the blessed armor and began to slide into it.

Back in the day, a knight needed the help of a squire and a page or two to get into his armor, but this suit had been conjured by an angel for combat with demons. The hip-length jacket and pants looked like leather and weighed about the same, but the spells and sigils embossed into them made them stronger than a battleship’s hull. I could have taken a blast from a tank without mussing my hair. Black gloves, boots and a helm with a transparent faceplate completed the armor, all marked prominently with the sign of the cross. Which, unfortunately, didn’t do as good a job at repelling demons as legends would have you believe.

Because that would make my life too fucking easy.

The burn was intensifying. I was running out of time…

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Angela Knight’s romance writing career began in 1996, when she realized her dream of romance publication with Red Sage’s Secrets anthology. She is a New York Times best-selling author of more than fifty novels, novellas, and ebooks, including the Mageverse and Time Hunters series. Her career spans twenty plus years. Romantic Times Bookclub Magazine gave her a Career Achievement award in Paranormal Romance, as well as two Reviewers’ Choice awards for best erotic romance and best werewolf romance.

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

Book Tour: The Worst Story Ever Written by Nicole Wells #NewAdult #paranormalromance @NWellsWrites @MagicPenTours

Welcome to Magic Pen Book Tours‘ organized book tour for The Worst Story Ever Written taking place March 22 – April 2, 2021! The first book in a new adult paranormal romance series with humour, murder mystery, and slow-burn hate-to-love romance.

Book Details

Title: The Worst Story Ever Written

Series: Vampires, Werewolves and Paranormal Romance #1

Author: Nicole Wells

Genres: New Adult, Paranormal Romance, Urban Fantasy / Hate-to-Love Romance

Release date: January 19, 2021

Publisher: Indie Published


Blurb

Magic, monsters, and a match made in heaven… maybe.

Oh, and a somewhat mute aardvark.

Hi. I’m Jayne. Yeah, I know, plain human Jayne. But that’s not the story of my life. This book is. It all started with a visit from the Book Fairy. Yeah, the all-powerful Book Fairy. It’s unfortunate we haven’t been on good terms. It’s even more unfortunate that when she finally deigns to visit me, it’s for murder. I mean, a murder. Damn articles, they really do make a difference.

Add in my fantasy lover, a vampire Prince who might just hate me, and things surely can’t get worse, right?

Warning: This is an inverse harem scene type of book. If you don’t like group ceiling sex, this book might not be for you.

Actual Note: Mild profanity. This is a slow burn romance with just the right amount of spiciness to feel comfortable reading on public transit, so long as you’re prepared to laugh out loud.


PURCHASE NOW!

AMAZON: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B08THB776T/


Excerpt

“That doesn’t even make any sense. They’re in the woods,” a feminine voice right beside my ear notes.

“AHH!” I jump up inelegantly and spin towards her, knocking my papers everywhere. A gorgeous blonde wearing dove-gray riding leathers tailored to her perfect curves stands in my living area looking at me with disdain.

“And don’t you mean a ‘ditch’, not a ‘gully’? Isn’t a gully kind of big?”

I stare in shock at the intruder and at the hours of work strewn across the floor. The ink pot has made a huge blot on the pile of blank paper, but at least it didn’t tip all the way over or spill on my actual writing.

Damn, I’m going to have to pay for new paper. And more ink. Well, eating is overrated anyway.

Her wings flick in agitation, maybe because I’m no longer staring at her and she’s used to being the center of attention. Or maybe because I’ve moved on from her sudden appearance. You learn to adapt in Mythia. Our world is a bit weird compared to the Four Kingdoms, or even Everland, but I love it here.

Did I mention she has wings?

She looks at the chaos of papers around me, not a single hair moving in her perfectly coiffed hair as she scans my work area.

“It wasn’t that good anyway. C’mon, you know it, Jayne. It was headed to the ‘refuse’ pile. I just helped it get there faster.”

I collapse into my chair and cover my face with my hands. The preternaturally beautiful stranger is right. My writing sucks. I’m broken. Hmm, maybe in more ways than one. Maybe the stress of trying to churn out a best-seller has finally done me in? I peek between my fingers. Nope. She’s real and still there.

“What do you want? Why are you here?” I shake my head, attempting to get my thoughts straight. “Who are you?”

She daintily plucks a paper off my table, lets it flutter to the floor, and perches a hip against the cleared space.

“Book Fairy. I’ve read your stuff. I’m actually a fan. But that was crap. Anyway, you’ve got more important things to do.”

The. Book. Fairy. In my one-room attic apartment. Holy crawfish on a gilded stick! My luck has finally turned around.

“Yes! You’re right; it was crap. I need help. Here, sit.” I jump up for the second time and thrust the chair towards her. She flinches, sliding off the corner of the desk and releasing a poof of sparkles.

“Please do not touch me,” she says haughtily. “Or have anything touch me.” She shivers delicately, her wings flitting in agitation again. “I’d really prefer not to spend any more time in this …habitation?” She turns her nose up in contempt and continues, “Get whatever you need and let’s go.”

I never imagined this was how the Book Fairy does her thing, and I’ve imagined it plenty of times. What human doesn’t? My family has been here in Mythia for generations, some even with Talent for writing, but no one has ever made it into the Nobles ’Circle. We’re lucky that writing’s such a dependable profession, at least. Vampires and werewolves love their stories.

My mom specialized in horror since that was always a winner with the supernatural crowd, and Papa took care of everything else. I’d honed my skill under her tutelage after I finished my years at school, finding my niche in murder mysteries. We’ve always just made enough to live comfortably, entertaining the werewolves and vampires with our novels. At least, that was until my parents died.

Mom was researching a monster for her latest story, and she wandered into the Black Forest, never to come out again. Papa went after her; he had to. I understood at the time, but hindsight colors it all in stark contrast and cruel, obvious tones. The last few years have been a blur; losing our family cottage at the border of the woods, finding a cheap apartment on the outskirts of the Capitol, churning out manuscript after manuscript to stay one step ahead of the creditors.

So, yeah, I’ve spent a lot of time fantasizing about the one being that could make my dreams come true. She’d activate my Muse into overdrive and Gift me with Articulation, Narration, World Building and Creativity, Poetry and Prose, Influence, Captivation, and who knows what else. It’s not common knowledge what the Book Fairy can do, but I imagine all of her powers being bestowed on me. My good-for-nothing distant relatives would beg for my forgiveness for their snubs, my schoolmates would regret teasing me for not having Talent, and I would read to and write for the Royal family. Maybe even live in the Castle. I’ve fantasized about one of the princes noticing me, even one day marrying me. Hey, it’s a well-worn fantasy, and I got all the mileage out of it that I could. And it all starts with the Book Fairy.

I cannot believe she’s here now, but I’m not one to look an octacorn in the mouth. I don’t even question how she illegally transported into my apartment. Maybe it’s Book Fairy perks.

“Um, sure, yeah.” I grab my leather book-bag from the floor and fiddle with the strap, ready to go in a rush if that’s what it takes. “What is it I’ll need again?” I look around, grabbing a few items.

“Demons, what do I know about sleuthing? It’s your murder.”

MY REVIEW:

3 stars

Magic, vampires, pun-tastic humor, and romance… it made for an interesting mix.

I loved The Book Fairy and a land full of paranormal creatures, fairies, and humans. There were plenty of humorous spots throughout the book. Jayne is an interesting character, even for a “plain” human. Her “bestie” Rill nearly gave me a headache, with her overly hyper personality and non-stop talking, which left me feeling sorry for Jayne at times.

The first third of the story was a bit difficult to navigate. It felt like information was constantly thrown at me with such speed I didn’t have time to digest it before more was thrown my way. The world building felt rushed overall with a lot of “tell” instead of showing us this new, fascinating world.

The book started out with more of a paranormal mystery feel. With so much focus on the murder, it was more than a little surprising when it was quickly explained away and the romance between Jayne and Liam took center stage.

If the author were to split this into two books, expanding more on the initial world building (without the info dump) and focusing on the murder mystery in the first volume, I think it would greatly help the overall flow. It would open up the opportunity to show us more about the budding relationship between Jayne and Liam in the second part.

Too much was crammed into far too few pages, but I did enjoy the characters, and the story intrigued me once I became more acclimated. The book has a lot of potential, but it just didn’t quite wow me.

*Disclaimer: I received an ARC in exchange for an honest review.


About the Author

Nicole Wells. In the ethos where herds of story ideas run wild and free, I am known as the Devourer of Books.  A voracious predator, I —

Okay.  I’m a mom of three young children.  And I spend way too much time in the fantasy world in my head.  But, hey, in this world I’m still supernatural.  I channel the powers of my insomnia for good.  I’m impervious to kid whining and insults (well, mostly).  I have a second sense for cereal disasters and broken toy catastrophes.  They call me Mom, which is code for You’re-Awesome-We-Love-You or Stop-Writing-On-Your-Computer-and-Play-With-Me.  I’m not sure which.  My kryptonite is my pet peeves:  water running down my elbows, food stains on papers, and losing the little plastic tethers when you remove the tags off new clothes.

So, yeah, that’s me.  Your average superhero mom.  Oh, and I’ve got three eyes (one in the back of my head).

Author links: WEBSITE | GOODREADS | FACEBOOK | INSTAGRAM | AMAZON


Giveaway!

INTERNATIONAL INSTAGRAM GIVEAWAY taking place March 22 – April 4, 2021 (EST)

PRIZE: $10 Amazon Gift Card

TO ENTER:

1. Must follow @nicolewellswrites on Instagram https://www.instagram.com/nicolewellswrites/

2. Must follow @magicpenbooktours on Instagram https://www.instagram.com/magicpenbooktours/

3. Like and tag a friend on #TheWorstStoryEverWrittenBookTour posts on Instagram

*Note. Must be 16+ or have parental permission to enter the giveaway.


Tour Schedule

March 22

Journey in Bookland https://journeyinbookland.wordpress.com – Excerpt

March 23

@theoutgoingbookworm https://instagram.com/theoutgoingbookworm – Review + Creative Post

March 24

The Faerie Review https://www.thefaeriereview.com/ – Excerpt

March 25

Books+Coffee=Happiness https://bookscoffeehappiness.com – Review + Excerpt

March 26

BRVL Book Review Virginia Lee Blog https://bookreviewvirginialee.com/ – Excerpt

March 29

@ireadtorelax https://instagram.com/ireadtorelax – Creative Post

@mama2aprince https://www.instagram.com/mama2aprince/ – Promo

March 30

@breen.rb https://www.instagram.com/breen.rb/ – Review

Momma Says: To Read or Not to Read http://mommasaystoreadornottoread.blogspot.com – Excerpt

March 31

@eamons https://www.instagram.com/eamons/ – Playlist

April 1

The Romance Book Fairy https://theromancebookfairy.wordpress.com – Review

@BookishKelly2020 http://www.instagram.com/BookishKelly2020 – Promo

April 2

@a_midsummers_night_reads https://www.instagram.com/a_midsummers_night_reads – Review + Creative Post

@moonlitreader https://www.instagram.com/moonlitreader/ – Promo


Thank you for stopping by, remember to visit other tour stops and enter the INTL giveaway of $10 Amazon Gift Card on Instagram!

Magic Pen Book Tours logo

Book Blitz: Heart and Seek by Luna Joya #paranormalromance @lunajoyawriter @XpressoTours

Heart and Seek
Luna Joya
(Legacy Series, #4)
Publication date: March 23rd 2020
Genres: Adult, Paranormal, Romance

Is their chance encounter a witchy second shot at love? Or just another score?

Ruby Donovan is a lot of things—paramedic, single mom, Legacy witch. The one title she never wanted? Senate heir. But that’s exactly what she’ll become unless she can find a loophole fast. It’s just her luck that the man who steps in to help her is the one who crushed her heart so many years ago. There’s no way she’ll give him a second chance to do that.

Treasure hunter Diego Benitas has no interest in witch politics. But he does have a significant interest in Ruby. He always has. Keeping her safe and helping her find what she’s looking for shouldn’t be too hard. Convincing her to let him into her heart again? That might be the toughest assignment he’s ever faced.

It’s not long before Ruby and Diego realize how much danger their search has stirred up—and just how much they need each other. With enemies closing in from all sides, can they survive long enough to find their way to happily ever after? Or will the odds keep them apart forever?

Goodreads / Amazon

SNEAK PEEKS:

“This store is right over a fault line,” she said.

“It is?” Because he couldn’t think of a damn thing to add to a geology discussion right now.

She bit her lip. “It sings to me.”

As her simply being did to him. He made a non- committal noise.

“We managed to kiss without a single tremble.” She trailed her hand along his jaw, tapping the divot in his chin beneath the facial hair. “Not even a rumble.”

Totally untrue. She had cracked his resolve and his heart all over again.

He pushed overgrown black curls out of his face to reveal familiar brown eyes, blood along one cheek to mirror a scar on the other, and a beard covering the cleft on his chin. The one deep enough to nestle the tip of her little finger. Like the dimple had been cut for her. Crash.

Or at least she’d called him Crash when she’d been a lovestruck teenager with a crush as dizzying as these staggering cliffs on a boy from East Los Angeles. Of the millions of people in this city, why did it have to be Diego Benitas, war hero and heartbreaker?

Author Bio:

Luna Joya writes sexy hexy romances in the award-winning Legacy Series.

Fluent in sarcasm and penal code, Luna prosecutes by day and writes at night. She loves history, especially Los Angeles and Hollywood lore.

A survivor of traumatic brain injury with steel body parts, she lives in SoCal with her combat veteran husband and their two-pound terror of a rescue pup.

Website / Goodreads / Facebook / Twitter / Instagram

GIVEAWAY!
a Rafflecopter giveaway
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Book Tour: Of Wicked Blood by Olivia Wildenstein & Katie Hayoz #youngadult #urbanfantasy @OWildWrites @katiehayoz @MagicPenTours

Welcome to Magic Pen Book Tours‘ organized book tour for Of Wicked Blood by Olivia Wildenstein and Katie Hayoz taking place March 22-26, 2021!

Book Details

Title: Of Wicked Blood

Series: The Quatrefoil Chronicles #1

Author: Olivia Wildenstein and Katie Hayoz

Genres: Upper Young Adult, Paranormal Romance, Urban Fantasy / Frenemies-to-Lovers Romance

Release date: February 9, 2021

Pages: 425


Blurb

“This is storytelling at its best.” – WENDY HIGGINS, NYTimes bestselling author of Sweet Evil

NO REST FOR THE WICKED . . . OR THE CURSED.

SLATE
I didn’t mean to steal the Bloodstone from the De Morel’s crypt.

Scratch that, I did mean to steal it.

Until I realized it was a curse-magnet that only comes off if I, along with a jolly trio, successfully defeat four curses.

If any of us fail, I’m dead.

I’ve never been a glass half-empty sort of person, but my glass looks in dire need of a refill right about now.

The only highlight of this wicked treasure hunt: feisty, entitled Cadence de Morel.

CADENCE
I was raised on tales of magic, in a small town reputed to be the birthplace of French witchcraft.

Did I believe all the stories I heard? Absolutely not. I mean, if magic existed, Maman wouldn’t have died, and Papa wouldn’t be stuck in a wheelchair, right?

Wrong.

The night Slate Ardoin waltzes into my life, wearing a ring he stole from my mother’s grave, I call him a monster.

But then I meet real ones, and Slate, well . . . he becomes something else to me.

Something frustrating to live with but impossible to live without.

Something I will fight for, no matter the cost.

*Warning: profuse cursing (and not just the magical kind).
*Intended for readers 16 and up.


PURCHASE NOW!

AMAZON: http://readerlinks.com/l/1429836


Excerpt

I’m torn between the desire to strangle him and kiss him. “We should go. Adrien’s waiting.”

“He’s fine.” He finally stops rubbing his chest. “He can wait.” He lays his hand on my jaw, tilts it up.

My heartbeats are so loud and close together that they’re probably making all six layers of my clothing vibrate.

The tip of his nose touches the tip of mine, and his breath warms my parted lips. The only boy I’ve ever kissed is Romain, and those kisses were always friendly and sweet. I don’t think kissing Slate will be friendly or sweet. I lick my lips in anticipation.

“Can’t wait for our date.” He pulls back, releases my head but finds my hand in the folds of his coat, and tows me downstairs.

Yep. I’m going to strangle him.

Probably while kissing him.


About the Authors

USA TODAY bestselling author Olivia Wildenstein grew up in New York City, the daughter of a French father with a great sense of humor, and a Swedish mother whom she speaks to at least three times a day. She chose Brown University to complete her undergraduate studies and earned a bachelor’s in comparative literature. After designing jewelry for a few years, Wildenstein traded in her tools for a laptop computer and a very comfortable chair. This line of work made more sense, considering her college degree.

Author links: WEBSITE | GOODREADS | FACEBOOK | INSTAGRAM | AMAZON | TWITTER

Katie Hayoz grew up in Racine, Wisconsin where she acquired an irreversible nasal twang and an addiction for books with a slightly dark edge. She now lives in Geneva, Switzerland with her husband, two daughters, and a very fuzzy cat. She has been an avid reader of YA fiction for years. While she has a penchant for the paranormal, she devours a range of books – along with popcorn and black licorice. She consumes all three in large quantities. Luckily, the books don’t stay on her hips.

Author links: WEBSITE | GOODREADS | FACEBOOK | INSTAGRAM | AMAZON | TWITTER


Giveaway!

INTERNATIONAL Giveaway taking place March 22 – 29, 2021

PRIZE: A SIGNED PAPERBACK of ‘OF WICKED BLOOD’ by Olivia Wildenstein and Katie Hayoz + bookish SWAG

Enter the Rafflecopter giveaway HERE!

*Note. Must be 16+ to enter the giveaway.https://widget-prime.rafflecopter.com/launch.js


Tour Schedule

March 22

Daily Dose of Books https://dailydoseofbooks.com/ – Review + Creative Post

@erins_adventures_in_the_pages https://www.instagram.com/erins_adventures_in_the_pages – Review

@tome_crusader https://www.instagram.com/tome_crusader – Review + Promo

@mama2aprince https://www.instagram.com/mama2aprince/ – Promo/Excerpt

March 23

@tea_reading_and_oz https://www.instagram.com/tea_reading_and_oz/ – Review

Books+Coffee=Happiness https://bookscoffeehappiness.com – Promo/Excerpt

@ireadtorelax https://instagram.com/ireadtorelax – Promo/Excerpt

@forging_worlds https://instagram.com/forging_worlds – Promo/Excerpt

March 24

@She_Reeds_by_the_Sea https://www.instagram.com/she_reeds_by_the_sea/ – Review + Creative Post

@bookish.heidi http://www.instagram.com/bookish.heid – Review

@biareadsbooks https://instagram.com/biareadsbooks – Promo/Excerpt

Momma Says: To Read or Not to Read http://mommasaystoreadornottoread.blogspot.com – Promo/Excerpt

March 25

Journey in the Bookland https://journeyinbookland.wordpress.com – Review + Excerpt

@elenna_lovereadblog_ https://www.instagram.com/elenna_lovereadblog_/ – Creative Posts

BRVL Book Review Virginia Lee Blog https://bookreviewvirginialee.com/ – Promo/Excerpt

The Faerie Review https://www.thefaeriereview.com/ – Promo/Excerpt

@BookishKelly2020 http://www.instagram.com/BookishKelly2020 – Promo/Excerpt

March 26

The Romance Book Fairy https://theromancebookfairy.wordpress.com – Review + Excerpt

Books a Plenty Book Reviews https://booksaplentybookreviews.blogspot.com – Review

@theromancereporter https://www.instagram.com/theromancereporter – Review

@eamons https://www.instagram.com/eamons/ – Creative Posts

Valerie Ullmer | Romance Author https://www.valerieullmer.com – Promo/Excerpt


Thank you for stopping by, visit other tour stops and enter the giveaway to win a signed paperback of ‘Of Wicked Blood’ and bookish swag!

Magic Pen Book Tours logo

New Release: Demon Hunter by Treva Harte #DarkFantasy #RomanticSuspense @HarteTreva @changelingpress

Dorothea, the widowed Duchess of Berea, is still in mourning when two male visitors come calling — the first to her remote Irish estate since her husband died. One is her cousin, who draws her back into the dangerous world of demon hunting that is her family tradition.

The second, the mysterious Brown, promises to help her when her own family is unable to. Neither Dorothea nor Brown expects the sudden hot attraction they feel for one another. Dorothea, used to being the protector, discovers how dangerously appealing it is to have someone protect her. But is Brown someone she can trust when the demons start hunting the demon hunter?

Get it at Changeling Press

Preorder for March 26th at online booksellers

EXCERPT

All rights reserved.
Copyright ©2021 Treva Harte

Dorothea, the Duchess of Berea, had two visitors in her drawing room after having none for almost eleven months of mourning. And one was a stranger.

He looked young (although he could be older than she was) and slight and quite ordinary. He was dressed nicely enough — but he still wasn’t anyone she’d ever seen before, and she knew many people. A wealthy tradesman, perhaps? Or had her cousin outfitted him? Yet he was her cousin’s companion, and her cousin Alexander was particular. Alexander knew she was still in seclusion. One might see family at this time, but why this person?

“Wh –” Before she could get either why or who out of her mouth, Alexander stepped forward.

Maitresse.” He bowed, very formally, in front of her but didn’t kiss her hand. Instead, he almost grasped her outstretched hand to touch it to his forehead. Her breath hissed in. She knew what that particular greeting meant.

“I prefer ‘Your Grace’ if we are to be that polite to each other, Cousin Alexander.” The half-smile she’d had on her face disappeared. “No one calls me by that other title here.”

“No one else needs to.” Alexander straightened and looked her in the eyes. “Cousin Thea.”

“And those few who call me by my first name call me Dorothea. I’m not four years old any longer.” The diamond ring on her finger winked in the sunlight as she snatched away the hand she had put forward, when she had been expecting an ordinary greeting.

“But I’m here to remind you of your family and your… upbringing. You seem to have forgotten it here.” He glanced at the large hall, decorated with long gilt mirrors, carpeted floors, and some portraits of long dead ducal ancestors. “In your late husband’s home.”

“I didn’t need to remember any of my past. His Grace is — was — very powerful. Very wealthy. As his widow, I still can choose how I want to live. And here I am.” Once she would have screamed and stamped her feet at Alex’s return and what he was telling her. But her late husband had shown her better ways to impose her will. Oh, Daniel. She missed him so.

Lately she’d grown almost afraid of the emptiness inside her. She didn’t mourn very much any more. She didn’t look forward to anything. There was nothing inside. It was safest that way, if a little monotonous. This intrusion into her solitude was making her curious, however. She could feel a mild stir of emotion. How long had it been since she felt that?

“It’s a beautiful manor,” Alexander continued, his tone still mildly courteous, telling her nothing. “It’s hard to believe such a place exists on this benighted island.”

“It’s not that uncivilized here,” Dorothea told him. “Necessarily. Money always smoothes the path, doesn’t it? Even when one is English in Ireland.”

“Does it?” Her cousin shrugged. “I wouldn’t know.”

She’d forgotten, actually forgotten, how her family always just barely managed to keep up appearances. They’d had decades of living and acting like the titled family they were and desperately trying to forget the debts and the mortgages piling up around them.

“I would have thought my marriage was enough to pay off a good many problems.” Dorothea didn’t look at him. “Wasn’t that why I was sold off before I even had a Season?”

“It’s been over ten years. We heard you were happy with your husband.”

“Yes. And have you forgotten and forgiven my marriage?” She didn’t turn her head. What difference would his answer make? But they had thought they might marry, years and years ago.

“No.”

Neither have I, Alex. Not entirely. Not ever. Dorothea stared out the window at the columns gracing the outside and rolling lawn beyond it. The flicker of an old rage simmered inside briefly.

“But that’s not why I’m here.” She heard Alexander’s steps behind her, his body almost close enough to feel his warmth. She didn’t want him to touch her. But he didn’t force her to turn even as she braced herself. “This visit is about our family business, Maitresse. And only you can manage it now.”

“Oh, dear God in heaven, no,” Dorothea said. “I was happy to leave that behind.”

It had been so easy to be the young wife of the old duke. To flirt and spend money and mingle among the gentry of Dublin and the nobility of London whenever she or her husband chose. To forget all the fear and danger of the past, along with the debts her family owed. His Grace had seen to it that she was protected from any relatives making monetary requests. Protected from anything she didn’t want to do.

Alexander let out a bark of laughter. “God and heaven has little to do with it. And you can never leave what you need to do. We both know that. You’re the maitresse and the only one we have left in our line.”

“But demon hunting is such a nasty business, Alexander.” Dorothea, Duchess of Berea, knew her voice was mocking and icy. Entirely ducal. She faced him. “Her Grace has no need to do it any longer.”

Her cousin looked unmoved. “If Her Grace refuses, we know the demons may come hunting for her instead. They also know you’re alone.”

“Actually I’m not — or won’t be soon,” she replied. “My husband’s natural son will be visiting me to help settle some estate matters.”

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

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

Visit her website at www.trevaharte.com.