Release Blitz: Finding the Wolf by Mell Eight #paranormalromance #LGBTQ @MellEight @ninestarpress @GoIndiMarketing

Title: Finding the Wolf

Series: The Dragon’s Hoard, Book One

Author: Mell Eight

Publisher: NineStar Press

Release Date: 06/14/2021

Heat Level: 3 – Some Sex

Pairing: Male/Male

Length: 24600

Genre: Paranormal, LGBTQIA+, dragons, werewolves, magic/magic users, interspecies, immortal, royalty, virgin, war

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Description

When Prince Leon disappears, his people turn to the dragons for help. Nyle is the unlucky dragon tasked with finding Leon, a duty he dreads as it forces him into the confounding human world and far away from his collection of pretties.

Locating a missing prince should be a simple matter, but if Nyle has learned anything about humans since being forced among them, it’s that they needlessly complicate everything. When he finally locates the errant prince, however, what Nyle finds is a treasure worth all the complications—and worth protecting at any cost.

Excerpt

Finding the Wolf
Mell Eight © 2021
All Rights Reserved

Nyle walked through the crowded bazaar with an eye on his coin purse. He had heard stories of humans who stole such things and did not wish to be the first of his kind to experience such ill luck.

He also kept an eye on the crowds. He doubted he would locate his quarry on his first foray into the human market, but there were clues he could find by simply being aware.

For example, the way the fishmonger in the corner stall blatantly gripped his meat cleaver as a group of ragged children exited an alleyway and dispersed into the bustle was probably a good indicator. Nyle would keep an eye on those children—they might have something to do with the disappearances of purses—but the man at the fish stall might have some interesting information. Nyle decided to head there first.

Someone jostled Nyle on their way toward a dour woman selling ribbons and beads across the way. He grimaced and held back a growl. They were humans, creatures clearly not versed in the niceties of society, and while their ignorance didn’t excuse them, it did allow Nyle to rationalize not taking the oafs who rudely bumped him to task. He had a job, and giving in to the urge to roar and breathe flames was not conducive to completing his task.

Nyle was dressed like a human. A loose pair of pants and a shirt that laced up the front comprised his costume, and if the fabric was of a tighter weave than the rest of the local class of humans, at least he looked the part.

“I’m searching for a young man,” Nyle said when he reached the wooden stall covered in fish. The fishmonger had known which children to watch. Perhaps he would also know Nyle’s target.

“Yeah?” the man asked. “Well, I haven’t seen any men around today.” He looked straight at Nyle, a male and only one of dozens who frequented the market, as he spoke.

Nyle guessed that was what humans called digging for incentives. His own kind didn’t much care for the art of blackmail.

Nyle reached into his carefully guarded purse and brought out two uncut copper coins, each enough to buy a small fish. He flashed the coins at the man and leaned forward.

“A tall man with very long black hair and blue eyes,” Nyle said as he pressed one coin to the wood surface of the stall.

The coin vanished into a gut-stained hand. “I seen him two days ago,” the man replied, eyes fixed greedily on the coin Nyle still held. “Not since then.”

Nyle set the second coin on the stall, but kept a finger on it. “Any idea where he could have gone? Or who else I could ask?”

The man tensed and kept his gaze fixed on the second coin as if he knew not to look into Nyle’s gold-colored eyes. Nyle slowly dragged the coin away from the man.

“The red-light district,” the man gasped out as if forced, his eyes stuck on the shiny coin. “You ask round there.”

Nyle released the coin, and the copper flashed in the late-morning sun. The fish man’s eyes remained riveted for another second before he shook himself free of the compulsion. The second coin vanished as quickly as the first, and the man looked up and caught Nyle’s eyes.

A mistake, but Nyle would use the fish man’s ignorance to his advantage.

“That boy ain’t right,” the man slurred, caught in the golden shine that filled the eyes of all Nyle’s kind. “Wild,” he continued, spilling everything he knew to the sheen in Nyle’s eyes, “as if a beast were trying to break free and fly away.”

Nyle blinked and looked away as the man sagged behind his booth. Nyle wasn’t feeling in top form either now. Catching someone with his eyes was more effective than using copper, but it cost him so much more magic. Nyle decided to return home for some rest before heading to the red-light district. Besides, he had heard humans preferred the nighttime for such activities.

Nyle didn’t really understand humans, but he was still young and would learn all there was to know eventually.

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NineStar Press | Books2Read

Meet the Author

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

Website | Facebook | Twitter

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Nighted by Torri Heat #darkfantasy #paranormalromance @torriheat

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

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

Available Today at Changeling Press

Preorder for June 18th at online booksellers

Praise for Nighted (Darkling 3)

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

— 5 Stars from Jennifer Claire, Goodreads Review

EXCERPT

All rights reserved.
Copyright ©2021 Torri Heat

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

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

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

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

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

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

Ten.

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

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

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

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

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

Find Torri Online: Facebook | Twitter | Instagram

Release Blitz: Love, Blood, and Sanctuary #LGBTQ #paranormalromance @megan_hart @fionazedde @GoIndiMarketing @ninestarpress

Title: Love, Blood, and Sanctuary

Author: Brenda Murphy, Megan Hart, Fiona Zedde

Publisher: NineStar Press

Release Date: 06/07/2021

Heat Level: 3 – Some Sex

Pairing: Female/Female

Length: 95800

Genre: Paranormal, LGBTQIA+, romance, paranormal, BDSM, lesbian, demon, blood magic, D/s relationship, sex club, spirit, witch, hemomancer, Rosh Hashanah, established couple, reunited, demi-goddess

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Description

Haunted? Hunted? When you need a safe place from disaster, heartbreak, or gods trying to break you and drain your blood… come to Sanctuary. It’s New York’s most exclusive club for magical beings and the backdrop of three sexy stories from three award winning authors.

We Choose to Be by Megan Hart
Love is in the air…and the blood. When hemomancer Hadassah meets the woman of her dreams, she has no idea that Yael is actually a blood demon. Is it only the draw of Hadassah’s talents that brings Yael into her bed? Or is there something more. Something that could last. What is love, after all, unless it’s bound by blood?

Sanguine Faith by Brenda Murphy
After a messy break-up leaves Laurel homeless and unemployed, she accepts her great-uncle’s offer of a townhouse and a job. When a seductive spirit trapped in the town house offers Laurel a means of escaping the life her uncle has planned for her, she learns that free does not mean without cost.

Promises Made by Starlight by Fiona Zedde
Abandoned by her wife years before and left devastated, Izzy has recently lost nearly everything else. Her credit is abysmal, she’s underemployed, and her successful best friend treats her like a charity case. But when her wife reappears, breaking her heart all over again, Izzy finds that not everything is as it seems. Blood gods walk the earth, and the one she once welcomed into her bed is back—ready to reclaim what’s hers.

Excerpt

Love, Blood, and Sanctuary
Brenda Murphy, Megan Hart, Fiona Zedde © 2021
All Rights Reserved

From Sanguine Faith

The rap on the car window rattled the glass. Laurel started and slammed her knee into the steering wheel. She cursed softly as she jabbed the window control button. The demon was dressed as a policeman. He wore dark glasses and his beefy hands rested on his thick duty belt nestled between the pepper spray canister and his pistol holster. A slight glow from a pouch near his hip was the only clue to his true identity. Huffing out her frustration at the window’s lack of response, Laurel shoved open the car door.

“You okay?” The officer leaned closer and peered into her face. His feet were squarely inside the circle of salt Laurel had spread around the car the night before.

“Yeah.” Laurel cleared her throat. “I’m okay.”

“You can’t sleep here.” He gestured to the street lined with ancient brownstone townhouses and graffiti covered buildings. “It’s not safe.”

“I’m sorry—” Laurel wiped her hand over her face and squinted at the officer’s name badge. “—Officer Sullivan, is it? I worked a late shift and didn’t feel safe driving anymore. I pulled over here to catch a nap.”

“Stow it. I passed this way last evening, and you were parked here. Your car hasn’t moved.” He leaned closer and removed his sunglasses and slipped them into his shirt pocket. “I know your uncle.”

“Great-uncle.” Laurel stared at his face and inhaled sharply. His eyes were light gray rimmed with red, her image mirrored in their shallow depths. His practiced glare was that of an experienced centurion. Laurel shivered under Sullivan’s gaze, unable to look away from the magical enforcer. He was bound to her clan, sworn to serve and protect. Loyal to a fault, willing to die for the family. Her great-uncle had a legion of centurions, all more than willing to aid and abet his less than legal business dealings.

“Is that so? Why are you here? What do you want?” Laurel pressed her lips together and rolled the hem of her shirt between her fingers.

Officer Sullivan leaned down and spoke softly. “You’re royalty in our world, Laurel. He know you’re sleeping in your car?” His melodious tones seeped into her body as he used the old language, the language of secrets, curses, spells, and death.

Laurel suppressed her shudder. “My roommate kicked me out.” She scrubbed her hand over her face in an attempt to hide the lie. “It was sudden.”

The centurion straightened and pursed his lips. He drummed the fingers of his hand on his holster. “All right, Laurel, if that’s how you want to play it. You need to discuss this with your great-uncle. If you don’t, I will. I don’t want to find you sleeping in your car again.” He tilted his head. “You may not have inherited your family’s abilities but you’re still family. We take care of our own. I can’t spend my nights watching you sleep, keeping watch for the Orions.”

Laurel gripped her keys tightly. Orions. The hunters. So many missing. So many gone in the blink of an eye, their bloodless and mutilated bodies found months or years later. Or worse found still smoldering, their mouths open in voiceless screams. She had taken a chance last night, but after walking in on her girlfriend eyebrows deep between their neighbor’s legs she had stuffed her car full of what it would hold and fled.

“I’ll be safe.” She lifted her shoulders and let them fall, straightening her posture before she settled her hands at nine and three on the steering wheel. “I’ll talk to him today.”

Officer Sullivan stepped back, smearing the salt of the circle she had spread around the car. He pointed at it, lifted his chin, and smirked. “Seriously? It doesn’t work unless you infuse it with energy.”

Laurel inserted the keys into the ignition. “I know.” She looked away from her feeble attempt to protect herself and his smirk. After snapping her seatbelt in place, she waved at him and closed the door. She banged her hand hard on the steering wheel when the telltale click-click-click of a dead battery echoed in the car. “Fuck me.”

Officer Sullivan opened her door. “Come on. I’ll give you a lift.”

Laurel chewed her lip as she looked down at her paint-stained black T-shirt and tatty jeans. “I can’t go like this.”

Officer Sullivan rapped on the top of the car. “Get out. Now. I don’t have all day to deal with you, Laurel. And it’s not worth my life to leave you here with a broken-down car.” He stepped back and crossed his thick arms. “Do I need to assist you in exiting the car?”

Laurel shivered. She had experienced a centurion’s assistance just once and the memory of it still woke her at night. She trembled and wiped her sweaty palms on her jeans. “Let me grab my backpack.”

“Good choice.”

Laurel gathered the few things she didn’t want to leave in the car. After jamming her sketchbook next to her ancient laptop in her bag, she zipped the top closed and grabbed her hooded sweatshirt from the backseat before she exited the car.

“You hungry?”

“I’d really like coffee. I can’t talk to Great-uncle Marcus without some caffeine on board.”

“Come on, I’ll buy you breakfast.”

“Why’d you let me sleep there last night if you were just going to take me to my uncle today?”

“I didn’t want to wake you.”

Laurel glanced at Officer Sullivan walking beside her. “Thank you.”

“No problem. To serve and protect. Even if it’s from yourself.” He held the car door open, and she slid onto the cool leather seat. She settled her backpack between her feet and pulled on her black hooded sweatshirt. The car shifted to the side as Officer Sullivan entered and levered his bulk behind the wheel.

He waited until she had fastened her seatbelt before he started the car. Laurel’s gaze slid over the array of weapons lining the car. Magical weapons clipped into racks side by side with conventional firearms, their soft glow visible to Laurel.

Able to see magic, unable to wield her own power, the last female of a clan stretching back eons, unwilling to assume her role as clan leader and unwilling to produce an heir, Laurel chewed her lip as the car shot forward bringing her closer to her great-uncle’s house.

Laurel shifted in her seat and drummed her fingers on her knees. “You worked for my mom and dad, didn’t you?”

“I did.”

Laurel stared out of the window. A familiar ache settled in her chest. There were some things even magic couldn’t protect you from. The ratty buildings gave way to well-kept streets and high-rise buildings. The sidewalks were crowded with people scurrying to work and school.

“Do you think the humans ever get it? Like, do they know about us? Really get it? Other than the ones we make consorts?”

“Humans see what they want to see. If they ever understood how powerful supernaturals are, they would freak right the fuck out. And try to exterminate us. Again. All of us. Their unwillingness to see and believe is what keeps us safe.” He tapped the pistol on his belt. “And this.”

Laurel shuddered as the car slowed and stopped.

Officer Sullivan turned off the engine and preened in the rearview mirror a moment before he turned his head to face Laurel. “How do you take your coffee?”

“Black. Unless it’s that dark roast crap. Then make it white as a virgin’s wedding dress.”

Officer Sullivan’s loud guffaw exploded in the quiet of the car. “You got it.” He left the car.

Laurel glanced at the tarnished Saint Christopher medal stuck to the car’s headliner and rolled her eyes. A group of humans rushed past, small children and their adults, animated and laughing, their voices muffled by the car window. The gentle ache in her heart blossomed into full-blown longing. Laurel blinked the grit of exhaustion from her eyes, leaned back against the headrest, and rehearsed the story she would spin for her great-uncle, hoping he would listen, knowing he would not.

Purchase

NineStar Press | Books2Read

Meet the Authors

Brenda Murphy

Brenda Murphy (she/her) writes erotic romance. Her most recent novel, Double Six, is the 2020 Golden Crown Literary Society winner for Erotic Novels, and Knotted Legacy, the third book in the Rowan House series, made the 2018 The Lesbian Review’s Top 100 Vacation Reads list. You can catch her musings on writing, books, and living with wicked ADHD on her blog Writing While Distracted. She loves sideshows and tattoos and yes, those are her monkeys. When she is not loitering at her local library, she wrangles twins, one dog, and an unrepentant parrot

I hope you enjoy reading this book as much as I enjoyed writing it. For a free short story, information on book signings, appearances, work in progress snippets, previews and sneak-peeks, sign up for my email list at: http://www.brendalmurphy.com/

https://www.facebook.com/brenda.murphy.75
https://www.instagram.com/quinbysideshow

Megan Hart

Megan Hart writes books. Some of them use bad words, but most of the other words are okay. Some of them hit bestseller lists and win awards and some don’t, but that’s the way it goes. She can’t live without music, the internet, or the ocean, but she and soda have achieved an amicable uncoupling. She loathes the feeling of corduroy or velvet, and modern art leaves her cold. She writes a little bit of everything from horror to romance, though she’s best known for writing steamy fiction that sometimes makes you cry.

Website: www.MeganHart.com
https://www.facebook.com/readinbed
https://twitter.com/megan_hart

Fiona Zedde

Fiona Zedde was born under the Jamaican sun but now makes her home in Spain. Since getting the writing bug, she’s published around thirty books and short stories, mostly about black queer romance, including the Lambda Literary Award finalists, Bliss and Every Dark Desire. Her novel Dangerous Pleasures received a Publishers Weekly starred review and was winner of an About.com Readers’ Choice Award for Best Lesbian Novel or Memoir.

At this very second, she’s probably writing another book, and it has 100 percent chance of having queer romance and queer women in it. Her pseudo-healthy obsessions are French pastries, English cars, and Jamaican food.

Website: www.fionazedde.com
http://www.facebook.com/fiona.zedde
http://www.twitter.com/fionazedde

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

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

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

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

Available in paperback at Amazon

Praise for Dire Wolves (Box Set)


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

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

EXCERPT

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

ABOUT THE AUTHORS

Shelby Morgen

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

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

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

Lena Austin

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

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

Book Tour: Twin Flames (The Five Elements) by Nicole Wells #paranormalromance #fantasybooks @NWellsWrites

Book Tour: TwinFlames by Nicole Wells


Five elements to save the world, and change what it means to be human.
🌟 Get ready for a magical, action-packed ride full of romance, laughter, tears, twists and turns!Urban Fantasy action and Sci-fi adventure, deliciously combined with Paranormal Romance to give this series all the feels.

Blurb:

💥A secret camp in the woods. A revolution in the making. And a fighter that will change what it means to be human.

Maia is hell-bent on revenge, until a tattooed menace literally stands in her way.

Gabe is a legendary fighter with a soft heart that snags on the wounded woman before him. 💞

Together, they discover much more than they bargained for. When the world is ending, someone’s gotta step up and do the saving, and two MMA fighters might just fit the bill.

The Wood Element is being activated, and with it, a war.


Trigger Warning: Cliffhanger & Cursing, characters discuss history of rape, infant loss

What people are saying about the Five Elements series: 💕


“If you like romance, you MUST give this series a try! This Urban Fantasy / Romance series is so intriguing. I haven’t really read anything like it before.”


“Read this book if you want a perfect introduction to science fantasy! Wow is just not a strong enough reaction to convey the amazing shock and awe I am in…”


“This is one of the most spellbinding stories that I have ever read … so addictive that I could not turn the pages fast enough…”

“A work of a timeless genius … I highly recommend it to all readers as this is a must-read.”


 Find the book here: https://books2read.com/u/47NeaE


📚 Book Tour put together by @a_midsummers_night_reads  

To sign up to be put on future ARCs / Book Tours / Street Team: http://bit.ly/nicolewellswrites

Release Blitz: Bonfire Bright by Alexa Piper #urbanfantasy #LGBTQ @prowlingpiper @GoIndiMarketing

Title: Bonfire Bright

Series: Elvenswood Tales 3

Author: Alexa Piper

Publisher: Changeling Press LLC

Release Date: June 4, 2021

Heat Level: 4 – Lots of Sex

Pairing: Male/Male/Female (Male/Male interaction)

Length: 136

Genre: Romance, Fantasy, paranormal, urban fantasy, romantic comedy, multiple partners, werewolves, vampires, pansexual & multisexual

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Synopsis

Charlotte “Charlie” Bisset, born to witches but without any magical power whatsoever, is slowly settling into her relationship with medical doctor and vampire Hugo and with Laurette, Elven royalty and passionate baker. While Charlie is reluctant to commit to moving in with her Elf, New Elvenswood is plagued by unnatural vermin attacks.

Hugo is not a possessive vampire, or at least he tries not to be when it comes to his lovers. Yet, his human lover in particular regularly brings out Hugo’s wilder vampire side even if all he wants for her is sweet, fairy-tale love. Odd attacks on unsuspecting people in their city only leave Hugo more unsettled.

Will the Elf Laurette finally get to claim both his lovers publicly as the thruple approaches the next step in their relationship? Will the vermin defeat our heroes in this urban fantasy romantic comedy? Approach the bonfire and find out… if you dare.

Excerpt

New Elvenswood General Hospital quieted during the night, but in Hugo’s experience, no hospital was ever really still. This morning, after another night spent in the OR, the handover during shift change felt calm to Hugo, though. While he filled in his ICU patient’s chart for the team of the next shift, he watched the nurses gossip and stuff their faces with chocolate Easter eggs someone had left at the nurses’ desk.

How is it spring already? Hugo thought, double-checking his prescriptions.

It was only just Midwinter. But of course, the Equinox had come and gone and announced the seasonal shift, and now it was almost Easter, which Hugo saw as the modern catch-all of the traditional spring festivals, and after, it would be Beltane soon.

Generally, as a vampire, Hugo took only a passing interest in seasonal festivities. They marked the passing of time, but with time to spare ahead of him, the festivals were more or less like the hands of a clock, not extraordinary, just steady. However, this year, seeing the chocolate treats in their shiny foil wrappers and the wicker basket full of colored straw and colorful diabetes traps on the nurses’ counter, Hugo felt like an alarm was going off inside him. The sense of an old grandfather clock slowly ticking away time had vanished. His recently changed relationship status had everything to do with that.

Satisfied with his chart after one last check, Hugo walked toward the nurses’ station.

“Oh, good morning, Dr. Glover,” the day nurse said. Hugo had met her a few times, but he still needed to glance at her nametag.

“Nurse Lopez,” he said, handing her the chart. “I’m leaving this one in your capable hands.”

“Ah, a doctor’s handwriting I can actually read,” Lopez swooned, taking the chart and looking it over. Hugo had to agree with her that most younger doctors were not properly trained in cursive.

“Don’t tell me her hands are more capable than mine,” Walters said. He was one of two ICU head nurses. So far as Hugo could tell this was because he managed to bring not just skill but also cheer to the job.

“Never,” Hugo said with a wink. “And by the way, take me off the roster for the Easter weekend, would you?”

“Huh?” Lopez said. “Don’t you always work the holiday shifts?”

Technically true when I was single, Hugo thought. Charlie, born to witches but without inheriting the skill, was not likely to mind much whether he worked or not, but their other lover, Laurette, never passed up any opportunity to celebrate anything, and if Hugo wasn’t there, he’d never hear the end of Laurette’s complaints.

Unless I can convince Charlie to help me convince Laurette to let this celebration go. It was unlikely for the Elf to forego any celebration, however. Hugo knew that all too well.

Then again, while witches focused on the Equinox and on Beltane more, they usually adapted to the surrounding culture to some degree, and New Elvenswood, with its larger-than-average witch population, had Easter fires, complete with the burning of effigies as proxy sacrifices, as well as an Easter egg hunt that was fun for the children and meant to bring prosperity to the grownups who participated.

If she insists, I might be the first vampire in the history of the city to go on an egg hunt with a witch descendant, even if she isn’t a witch. Hugo wasn’t sure whether he wanted to roll his eyes at the idea. He wasn’t sure whether he liked it, running through the woods with Charlie in search of painted eggs, but something about it did seem appealing.

Laurette probably wouldn’t want to come. He lacks the outdoorsy spirit.

Yet, Laurette was willing to do many a thing he didn’t enjoy if it meant pleasing their human lover. The Elf had even — on more than one occasion — interrupted his baking for Charlie. And, while Laurette could be pushy beyond reason, he had so far not pestered Charlie one tiny bit about her failure to come to a decision about moving in with him. Laurette had asked her to do so this past Valentine’s Day among a rain of trickster arrows and a short trip to hell.

“He has a girlfriend now, didn’t you hear?” Walters said, pulling Hugo out of his thoughts.

Lopez looked Hugo up and down.

“Shame,” she said. “You know, I’m into women, but if I’d ever make an exception, they’d better look like you — tall, raven-haired, mysterious, and with those pretty blue, to-die-for eyes.”

Hugo cleared his throat.

“Well, thank you for that… compliment?” he said.

She nodded.

“Yes. Definitely a compliment. So what? Are you settling down? Moving in together?” She wiggled her eyebrows. “Making more adorable –”

“No,” Hugo said. Heavens, if this is what I have to put up with, I feel for every woman who doesn’t want to pump out eggs like the Easter bunny. “But we are spending the weekend together.” He hoped so. He needed to let Charlie know and find out what her plans were. And then, he’d have to navigate whatever extravaganza their Elf had planned.

Elven extravaganza… Hugo sighed, long and deep, and the nurses exchanged a look.

“Sounds like she’s a right handful,” Lopez said. She patted his arm. “I’ve been there, and yes, they are usually the hottest ones.”

Purchase

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

Meet the Author

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

Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads |Instagram | Bookbub

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New Release: Demonium Rex – AKA Buttercup by Stephanie Burke #LGBTQ #urbanfantasy @FlashyCat

Win is a writer with a new house, a new life, and a rapidly approaching deadline. She doesn’t have time for the voices in her head to be demanding attention. She just wants to finish her book and maybe get laid. But what will she do when the character her subconscious dreams up starts becoming corporeal?

Demonium Rex is the undisputed king of all sexual demons, but when his people come to him with a mark who refuses to crack, he takes action. Now he is stuck in a non-corporeal form while the woman he needs to seduce is too stubborn to just let it happen. And even worse, she sticks him with a stupid name. But in the end, he will show her who’s the real King — or his name isn’t Buttercup.

Available Today at Changeling Press – Save 20%!

Preorder for June 4th at online retailers

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.

Release Blitz: Give Me Grace by Bethany A. Perry #paranormalromance #LGBTQ @bperry_writes @GoIndiMarketing @ninestarpress

Title: Give Me Grace

Author: Bethany A. Perry

Publisher: NineStar Press

Release Date: 05/24/2021

Heat Level: 3 – Some Sex

Pairing: Female/Female

Length: 85300

Genre: Paranormal, LGBTQIA+, urban fantasy lgbt, contemporary fantasy, witch urban fantasy, demon paranormal, demon witch, demon lgbt, lgbt fantasy fiction, friends to lovers, nuns, magic, amnesia fantasy, angels

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Description

It’s been six weeks since Halloween. Six weeks since Grace stumbled into the ER, almost dead and begging for help. Six weeks since she lost every single memory, including her own name.

Taken in by the mysterious Sisters of the Order of Saint Raphael the Healer, Grace’s wounds are dressed and she is assured her memories will return—in time. But does Grace want her memories back? Maybe she’s chosen to forget them, maybe there’s a reason. The sisters hide things from her. They whisper things about her.

When a demon forces its way into the convent, it declares that Grace is a demon too. Grace demands answers. Answers that may reveal not only who she is, but that the sisters might not be who they say they are, either.

Excerpt

Give Me Grace
Bethany A. Perry © 2021
All Rights Reserved

Grace knelt on the kneeling bar, whatever it was the sisters called it, and folded her hands together behind the pew in front of her. She dropped her voice to a whisper. “Sister Monica.”

The novice nun kneeling beside her shook her head a millimeter, her curls almost bursting through her headscarf, and clenched her hands tighter. Her lips moved over a prayer, her eyes squinched closed.

Grace grinned and scooted closer. She did close her eyes, though, making a clumsy sign of the cross over her shoulders. An approximation, at least. Her inability to get it right exasperated the sisters on a damn near hilarious level. “Are we doing your coming-of-age ceremony today?”

Monica’s lips stopped moving, and she pressed them together. They didn’t disappear into nothingness the way the mother made hers do, but by the time Mon was Mother Mary’s age, she’d be able to do it better. She leaned, her umber skin mellow in the low light of the sanctuary, and whispered so quiet Grace had to listen with all she had to catch it. “Either shut up and pray or leave and meet me in your room.”

Grace swallowed, the blood rushing to her cheeks. “Sorry, Mon. I didn’t mean to upset you. I just wanted to take communion with you, if you were going to take your vows.”

Mouth dropping open, Monica turned to her. “Why would you want to do that?” Her voice echoed off the vaulted ceiling, the walls, and the windows, including the lone stained-glass window in the sanctuary.

One of the other sisters, Eliana probably, shushed. The shush was so sharp it may have cut the air as it sped across the cavernous room.

Monica stood, stuffing her rosary under her robes, and grabbed Grace above the elbow. She tugged, not unkindly.

Grace held her abs with one hand and stood. The twinge as she did brought back her first memory with force. The splat-splat-splat of her own intestines as they hit the floor of the hospital emergency room. Everything before that moment, including how she’d been gutted, was a deep well of nothing.

Her next memory, which was much nicer, was of Monica, sitting next to her hospital bed and assuring her that her full memory would return in time.

As the sanctuary doors closed, the chilly hallway enveloped them. The morning sun hadn’t had a chance to penetrate it yet, and the walls radiated last night’s cold.

Grace shivered and shook her head to clear it of the slapping sound her guts had made when they hit the tile. For all the good it’d do. “Sorry. I thought you were going to get your habit today and stuff. Take your vows. All that.”

Monica shook her head with a frown. “Mother Mary told me I’m not ready yet. I guess I have more study to do.” Still walking, she looked Grace up and down. “How’re your wounds?”

“Healing.”

“You’re a fast healer.”

“Only because you help me.” She rubbed the scar below her stomach. “Glad we finally got the bandages off. How long have I been here again?”

“The Order took you in from the hospital about”—she drew out the u, squeezing her eyes closed—“six weeks ago?”

“Weird. I feel like I’ve known you a lot longer than that.”

They turned a corner, bright sun flooding the next hallway—Grace’s favorite hallway—dust motes dancing along the shafts, and stopped before the only other stained-glass window in the place.

Raphael the Archangel stood outlined in pinks and blues, gold shining all around his head and shoulders, what the sisters called his halo. His glowing hands rested on the heads of two penitents who knelt before him, their eyes bleeding.

Monica smiled. “The feeling’s mutual.” Cheeks tinged red, she crossed herself, curtsied to Raphael, and continued down the hall.

Grace cast a glance at the window. Raphael’s face wore an out-of-place expression of serenity while blessing two people who cried tears of blood. Despite the eyes, she found peace in the scene.

She caught up to Monica, running her hand through the two inches of hair on her head, the healing scar a line slashed through it. “That library is the darkest room in this convent. You’d think they’d want windows so you could actually see the words in the books.”

“The books are old, Grace. They’d react badly to sunlight. We’ve had this conversation.” She stopped, one hand on an enormous door handle. “Did you want to keep me company today?”

“I was serious about the communion, Mon.” Grace bit her lip. Six weeks’ worth of changing bandages and chatting and following her around the convent made Grace feel close to Sister Monica. Like a real friend. This ceremony was a Big Deal to Mon, and Mon was a Big Deal to Grace. It only seemed right to do it with her, even if she wasn’t Catholic.

Monica eased the creaking door open. “I’ll speak to Mother Mary.” With the hand not holding the door, she brushed her fingertips along Grace’s cheek.

Grace’s heart tripped a beat. Something about the way her fingers moved like butterfly feet made Grace lose her breath.

“Thank you. You’re a good friend. I hope you’re still here when I take my vows.”

Brows knit, Grace peeked into the library. She lowered her voice. “Where would I go? I don’t even remember who I am, much less where home is.”

Monica shrugged, her robes shifting with a soft sigh. “If your memory comes back, you’ll probably want to leave.” She sucked a sharp breath over her teeth. “Not that I don’t want you to get your memory back. I just meant—”

“I know. I hope I’m still here too.” Grace smiled, lips stretched tight. “If I remember who I am before then, I’ll come back just to share your communion. Okay?”

Frowning, Monica lowered her eyes. “I’d like that.”

Purchase

NineStar Press | Books2Read

Meet the Author

Bethany is a southern transplant in the west, where she’s made her home with her kids, partner, pets, and several hostages…er…houseplants she hasn’t killed yet. Poetry was her first love, and she’s been writing since she could hold a pencil. Horror is her sweet spot, but all things sci-fi and fantasy are also deeply entrenched in her heart.

Website | Facebook | Twitter | Pinterest

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Release Blitz: Fang by Ellen Mint #paranormalromance @Totally_Bound

Fang by Ellen Mint

Book 2 in the Coven of Desire series

Genres:

ANGELS AND DEMONS
CONTEMPORARY
EROTIC ROMANCE
MÉNAGE AND MULTIPLE PARTNERS
PARANORMAL
WERESHIFTERS

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Book Description

How can Cal live when the monster remains in the mirror?

Cal is struggling. After his past unraveled into a torment that claimed nearly his whole family, how could he not be? The only good left in his life is Layla, even if she comes with a pain-in-the-haunches incubus. Dealing with Ink is one more problem he’s ignoring, until the werewolf issues he’s refused to face come for him.

A second pack is hunting him and they’re threatening his mother. Cal has no choice but to travel back to Santa Fe and confront them, or lose the last family he has left. While a road trip with Layla sounds nice, Ink has to come along, and the demon keeps driving a growing wedge between Cal and his tenuous grasp on humanity.

Cal, Ink and Layla come face to face with an enemy Cal once believed to be nothing but a myth, his claws and fangs useless against their firepower. What do they want with the witch, werewolf and demon? And, most of all, how can they be stopped?

Reader advisory: This book contains scenes of violence, peril, near death, blood and gore. There are references to a cult, abusive and violent parents, and references to patricide.

Publisher’s Note: Everyone who buys a copy of Fang will receive the short story Snow Print free. Set between the events of Claw and Fang in the Coven of Desire series, Cal’s struggling to overcome the loss in his life is interrupted by a snowman army.

Excerpt

A crack shattered the silence, trying to pry my locked jaws apart. Shadows clipped across the single floodlight above the floorboards.

Diesel, gun oil, salted pork and…old leather. Every scent filled my sinuses and I whimpered.

“Cal…”

No! I spun in the tight space, clamping my filthy fingers onto my brother’s mouth. Even in the muddy crawlspace, I could see his eyes blazing above my palm. Eli’s entire body shivered, his shoulders rising to shield himself from every clip of the boot above our heads.

“We have to keep moving,” Mark spat in my ear. I cringed at the loogie sliding down my face while the eldest brother easily spun on his haunches. Even with his messed-up leg duct-taped to a fence post, he crawled quickly under the floor.

The boards above our heads stopped creaking and the light vanished. Had he gone to bed? This was it. Mom had put me in charge of getting Eli. All we had to do was…

Blinding white punctured the world. The ceiling above us shattered, splintering my heart. A massive hand slammed down right in front of my face. I reached my foot back, prepared to kick and break a finger, when the entire house collapsed over Eli.

Another crack. We all flinched as he took it. Three more lines added to the ones crisscrossing his back. Growls rumbled from Mark, pinned by his mother to stand and watch. I tried to twist away, but my head wouldn’t leave. If I didn’t watch, I could be next.

“Ah!”

A single cry escaped from Eli, and both Mark and I screamed, “No.” If he made a sound, it started all over.

The belt hung against the five-year-old’s back, Eli straining to reach over the apple crate he bent over. Crimson wicked up his burlap cassock. The blood would be left to dry for days as a reminder because the scars weren’t enough.

“This is what happens to disobedient boys,” boomed the voice through my ears, up my feet and into my blood. I tried to spit it out, the scent of him merging into a putrid taste boiling down my throat. Leaning over, I tried to retch it away—diesel, gun oil, salted pork, old leather, and blood. A spray of it erupted from my lips, staining the floorboards of the great room. No one turned to me, no one noticed I was vomiting in front of them.

Every eye gazed upon him. The father. Our great leader into the next stage of existence.

“Cal!”

“Eli…?”

His dirty, matted hair began to lift. As it did, crimson paint dribbled down the sides. “I don’t wanna be here, Cal!”

“I…” Damn it. My gaze plummeted to the floor, tears threatening to burst. Slamming my lids closed so no one could tattle on me for crying, I said, “I’ll get you out of here, Eli. When it’s done, I’ll get you.”

“Forget it.” It wasn’t the soft cry of a kid, but the dead acceptance of an adult. Even with my eyes shut tight, I saw Eli rise from the box. He trampled it down with his foot, shattering the crate we’d all been whipped on. Eli stood tall, stretching far above my head.

“Weak,” the voice of my unending nightmares thundered. “All of you.” His face burned hot like the sun and I could only stare at the black gun extending from his hand. He pointed it at the followers standing in a ring around us.

“The time of the Moon is nigh,” the rotten bastard said. “Destiny, child. Blood.” He aimed his gun at Eli. A flash turned my brother’s head into a wolf’s skull.

“Eli!” I screamed, running for him. But my feet couldn’t get any traction. Every step kept me pinned in place, unable to reach my brother slowly tumbling to the cement ground.

“You cannot escape it, Calvin.” The asshole’s hand clamped to my shoulder and he pressed me down to my knees. I tried to fight it, but my bones were matchsticks against his might. They buckled, my nose pressing into the dirt.

A wind howled through the trees, parting the stricken branches to reveal the yellow-blue light forever beaming down upon us. Itching rippled under my skin, one no amount of scratching would solve.

“Give in,” he chanted almost serenely.

I shook my head, feeling fur and not hair brush against my shoulder. “No,” I declared, the words warping as my gums receded. Pain clawed up the roots of my teeth sharpening to fangs.

“You cannot escape, Calvin.”

Squeezing my eyes tight, I willed the wolf back. My teeth flattened. I patted my head, finding only the shaved hair. Lashing my arm back, I burst from his grip and took two steps forward. “I’m never changing again!” I shouted.

A low chuckle caused me to freeze. My body betrayed me, terror beckoning me to turn. Lucien bent down, half of his skull exposed, the skin ripped like paper, the muscles rotted away. The eyeball in his fleshless socket was milky white. “Child.” A squishy, flapping sound followed his words. Red and purple tubes flapped out of a massive wound in his throat. I wanted to scream, but my mouth drowned with hot liquid.

“You cannot escape your blood.”

Fuck!

I shook awake, my whole body slamming forward to try to escape. Instead of hurling myself off the bed, I almost knocked my teeth into a soft shoulder. Layla’s hair provided cushioning to stop me, and I buried my face in it. I opened my mouth in a rictus and gave all the force of shrieking without letting a single sound escape.

My tongue tasted of copper and salt, of Lucien’s blood that I had ripped from his throat. My brain thundered with the scents of his body, his boots, his instruments of terror. Get out of it. He’s not here. He can never be here.

Burrowing my nose farther into her hair, I pulled in the deepest whiff imaginable. Cereal marshmallows. We’d gotten into a pointless food fight last night and I’d flicked them at her as she laughed. Amber. She’d used my soap to wash her hands and face. Me. The long night I held her safe in my arms. The air right before a thunderstorm struck. Layla.

My body tightened around her as it recognized the fullness of her. And she was stirring. Damn it.

“Cal…?” she croaked. Most of the time her voice was lush and lyrical, but in the morning it sounded more like a smoking frog.

I placed my lips to the nape of her neck, kissing over her curly hair to try to find the skin below. The taste of her replaced the lingering memory of blood. “Sorry to wake you,” I said.

The wolf inside me was restless. No, angry. It wanted vengeance even though we’d already gotten it. I winced and started to slide away. If I stayed in bed, no matter how tempting, it could rip through me. Take over my thoughts and push me to its side. I slid my hand up Layla’s stomach and over her hip, having to abandon her to calm down.

I was fairly certain she’d passed out and I slipped to my feet, when her fingers crested over mine. Through the shadows of the old house, I couldn’t see much, but the silhouette of her breasts tumbling together out from under my blanket almost drove me back in with her.

“Are you okay?” she asked.

No. But I’ve never been okay my whole life. “You stay sleeping.” I bent over and kissed her lips. I wished her taste and touch could chase away all the nightmare, but it clung to me like a filthy sack caked in blood. Rising to my feet, I stumbled out of my room. The wolf inside me howled.

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About the Author

Ellen Mint

Ellen Mint adores the adorkable heroes who charm with their shy smiles and heroines that pack a punch. She recently won the Top Ten Handmaid’s Challenge on Wattpad where hers was chosen by Margaret Atwood. Her books, Undercover Siren and Fever are available at Amazon as well as a short story in the Lucky Between The Sheets anthology. Married, she lives in Nebraska with her dog named after Granny Weatherwax. Her hobbies include gaming, painting, and halloween prop making. The basement is full of skeletons because they ran out of room in the closets.

You can find Ellen at her website here and also on Bookbub.

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Ellen Mint’s Claw Giveaway

Enter for your chance to win romance author Ellen Mint’s Prize Package and get a FREE eBook from the author! Notice: This competition ends on 25th May 2021 at 5pm GMT. Competition hosted by Totally Entwined Group.

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Biological Choice by M.A. Freeman #paranormalromance @writingmaf

Lorelei: Lorelei Sapelo is perfectly content with her life, thank you very much. She has a job she loves, owns her own house, and is fulfilled by being surrounded by books. Home has been what she has created for herself by herself. And, while she may feel a nagging sense of something missing, it doesn’t stop her from creating her idea of a perfect life.

Connor: Connor Dwyer is perfectly happy moving from place to place. Meeting new people, exploring various places, and being content with his own company. The concept of home has been for other people, for families, something he’s never had. And, while others might have that need, he hasn’t worried about stopping long enough to see if it’s something he lacks.

Two lonely hearts on a collision course that will change their lives in unexpected ways. Yet, in the shadows, there are those watching, interested in a bond that shouldn’t exist.

Available today at Changeling Press

Preorder for May 28th at online retailers

EXCERPT

All rights reserved.
Copyright ©2021 M.A. Freeman

Lorelei

Mondays were the worst. This one, even more so than usual. Several things were vying for the spot of frustration number one as Lorelei Sapelo reported to her job. First day of classes with demanding, entitled students. Her car had some ominous glowing light on the dash that probably meant an expensive trip to the mechanic. And her favorite fountain pen was missing. She had the vaguest hope it would turn up when she got a chance to turn her office upside down but wouldn’t count on it.

“Hello, Ms. Sapelo.”

Lorelei fought the urge to roll her eyes. His smarmy voice was not attractive at all. The upperclassmen were all the same, but this one was more persistent than most.

“Mr. Jernigan, are you lost? The library is across the quad.” Lorelei’s eyes narrowed slightly. She was in no mood for his stupid come-ons. It wasn’t like the archive was an extension of the library. They were housed in a completely different building. It was tucked out of the way from the main quad thoroughfare.

“Just getting a jump-start on the optional reading list for my Lit class. Thought I’d pop in to see if you have any recommendations.” He moved closer to the counter and leaned against it in what he probably thought was a coy, come-hither manner.

What a pack of lies. Lorelei fought the urge to roll her eyes as she moved farther behind the counter, so not only was it between them but the computer was as well. His pursuit was beginning to verge on harassment, something she would not tolerate. If this continued, she would have to lodge a formal complaint. This was the part of her job she hated — playing babysitter, especially to the ones who did not appreciate the historical culture they held in their hands. Each book, each artifact was a valued piece to be appreciated and treated with respect.

The message chime on her computer interrupted her mental tirade. She had never been happier to hear that annoying tone in her life. It meant she had to work to do which meant Mr. Jernigan had to leave. She didn’t care what the message said. It was going to get her out of this tedious interaction.

She clicked on the alert and frowned as she quickly read the opened window. Well, Lorelei had wanted an excuse for denying Mr. Jernigan access to the archives. Here it was in nice Calibri font. The Kyoko Foundation, her employer, wished to conduct a full audit and inventory.

“I’m sorry, Mr. Jernigan, but the archive is going to be unavailable this semester.” Lorelei looked up. What an ugly expression. Someone didn’t like not getting their way. “It seems the Kyoko Foundation will be conducting an audit and inventory. I’ll be sure to send out the communication email notifying the campus by the end of the day.”

It was plain she wanted him gone. She wasn’t trying to hide it. It must have come across because he stormed out when he didn’t get what he wanted. Pleased, Lorelei returned to the message to read it in more depth. They were sending a representative to perform the audit while she completed a full inventory. Great. Either this rep was going to know nothing of the subjects collected here, or they were going to know too much to interfere with the process she had perfected over the years for acquisitions and loans.

Lorelei glanced back toward her office. She gazed specifically at the stacks of boxes she had been meaning to convert into the new digital system. So much dust. Her allergies were going to go berserk. She could only hope mice hadn’t gotten into those records. She did not like rodents.

Further information provided in the email let her know she had a week to complete the conversion. Doable, if she worked late with a minimum of interruptions. She had to have everything in order considering she was soon taking a short leave for medical reasons.

“Excuse me.”

Lorelei glanced up and was stunned. It was as if the entire world paused. A moment of revelation and acceptance and longing she didn’t even know she was capable of flashed through her. A moment that could be summed up in a single word: mine. All mine, from his pelt of black, grey, white hair like the coat of a wolf to his sun-kissed skin from time outside. Icing on the cake was his lean, hard body encased in a slouchy jacket, button-down shirt, and tailored jeans. All of it, topped off by a pair of ice-blue eyes watching her with the same possessive fervor.

What a crazy thought. It snapped her out of whatever trance she had fallen into. You couldn’t own another human being. Maybe her friends were right — she needed a break. Although it would have to wait until after this audit.

“Yes? May I help you?” Her mind finished the rest of what she wanted to say. Help you take off your dapper jacket? Unbutton your crisp white shirt? Pull those jeans — Whoa! Whoa! Whoa! Lorelei blinked a few times and forced her brain off the X-rated track it was on. Jesus, what was wrong with her? He was a fine-looking man who ticked all her boxes, at least for now, but here she was, quivering like a schoolgirl.

He approached the information desk with long strides, while the energy between them seemed to spike the closer he got to her. Never in her life had she felt anything like it. Judging from the slight flush across those high cheekbones and the rapidly dilating pupils of his eyes, he felt it too.

“I’m Connor Dwyer, the new adjunct.” He reached into the inside breast pocket of his jacket. “I believe this is yours. I found it on one of the stone planters in the quad.”

Lorelei gaped at her favorite fountain pen held in his long-fingered hand. “Oh, my God, thank you!”

He handed it over. The brush of his skin was a shock. He was the one. Yet there was something she couldn’t quite put her finger on. Something about him that belied the usual male-female attraction. Something making the attraction much more intense. The urge to get close to him, to touch him, was almost overwhelming. Suspicion made her frown. She thought she might have snatched the pen out of his hand in a somewhat brusque manner.

Connor’s lips curved slightly, obviously not offended. “You’re Lorelei Sapelo, correct? The archivist?”

Lorelei gripped the pen tightly and shivered. He had kept her pen close in the days since he’d found it. She could tell. She could always tell. An invaluable skill…

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

M. A. Freeman lives near Wilmington, NC and never makes it to the beach. Any free time is consumed with books, either reading or writing. An avid traveller and self proclaimed geek, trips abroad and to cons such as DragonCon in Atlanta are always on the agenda. Currently working full time in healthcare and attending school to obtain a Master of Library and Information Science degree to compliment the Bachelor’s of Arts in English and Creative Writing.