Urban Fantasy Author
Book Bling Blog
When we added ghosts to Wanted: Ghostbusting Bride, we had no idea what troubles we would encounter. Naively we thought the ghosts would be fun elements to create unexpected obstacles for the hero and heroine, and they would tamely do our creative bidding.
The ghosts had different ideas. Lady Anne wasn’t content to be an ancient family ancestor. She demanded to be the matriarch of the Markham clan deciding the right bride for the hapless Earl. Refusing to be dull or drab, Lady Anne insisted on making her entrance with fireworks, malfunctioning electronic equipment, and a wild chair ride for the heroine. Her decrees tossed Kailyn Baker and Spencer Markham into adventure, danger and love.
Desdemona didn’t want Lady Anne to hog the spotlight. With her love of theatrics, she metamorphosed into the ghostly villain, taunting and harassing our poor hero and heroine at every turn. By possessing several of the Earl’s guests, she tried to chase the heroine away. When all else failed, she threw temper tantrums, lightning bolts, and boulders at the couple to prevent the marriage.
We suspect our ghosts had so much fun in the pages of the book that they are still haunting our computers deleting sentences, changing words, and occasionally floating across the screen. When we ask them politely to leave, they simply send more of their friends to haunt us.
Two warring ghosts drive Spencer Markham to seek a ghostbusting wife. He has one week to convince Kailyn Baker to marry him, but she has a bad attitude, wants nothing to do with marriage, and refuses to believe ghosts exist. Can he convince her to join him in defeating the specters before the ghosts’ violence turns deadly?
Ryne Castle, England
“What in the blazes is happening?” Spencer Markham bellowed as something icy touched his hand. A red blotch the size of a dime erupted on his left ring finger followed by more and more red spots popping out on his hands. His fingers felt like popsicles.
Ryne Castle’s resident ghost was playing one of her nasty pranks on him. “Lady Anne, what do you want?”
Apparently he was supposed to guess what his bloody ancestor expected him to do.
Why today of all days had she pulled this stupid trick? With twenty women waiting in the garden to be entertained, she’d given him ghost pimples. Before he was fit to be seen, he’d have to choke down his housekeeper’s disgusting cure. Rolling down the sleeves of his white dress shirt to cover the blemishes, he charged out of his office.
Thunder rumbled as he raced through the dark hallway on the main floor. Spirals of red and green light circled him as itchy patches bloomed over his face and scalp. When he burst through the kitchen doors, he heaved a sigh of relief. Thank goodness none of the guests had seen his horrid transformation.
His cook and kitchen help screamed when they saw him. Poor Cook acted as if he was a monster and retreated behind her substantial pastry table, snatching a knife in the process. Her assistants fled into the pantry. Only his stalwart housekeeper, Mrs. Chadwick, stood her ground.
He stopped in front of the woman who had been like a second mother to him.
“Lady Anne is torturing me. I hope you have some of the remedy you cooked up for Sebastian.”
The housekeeper bustled into the pantry, scolding the kitchen staff as she went, and returned with a jar filled with murky green sludge. Pouring a glass of the disgusting stuff, she handed it to him.
“Consider this a good sign, luv. The right woman must be in the castle.”
Choking down a swallow of the foul-tasting brew, he frowned. Mrs. Chadwick’s ghastly cure for ghost pimples and her cheery news only depressed him more. Now he’d be chained for life to one of the twenty fortune hunters his aunt had invited to the castle with the hope of finding him a suitable bride.
Why did Lady Anne have it in for him? It wasn’t fair. The role of earl should still be Sebastian’s. Despite his brother’s many years of training to assume the title, their ancestor’s insistence on picking Sebastian’s bride had destroyed him. Not that Spencer blamed Sebastian for his rebellion.
But he missed his brother terribly and wished Sebastian had taken the ghostly garbage in stride instead of wrapping his Aston Martin around a tree in a fit of rage. Now the ghostly craziness plagued him, and he’d promised his aunt he wouldn’t make the same mistake.
Glancing at his housekeeper, he grimaced. “I’ve just checked the guest list. They’re too young. What will I do with a twenty-year-old bride?”
“Now, luv, you’re only thirty-five. That’s not a big age difference. Besides, you want healthy heirs.”
He sighed. The all-important heir and a spare. Everything about being an earl rubbed him the wrong way.
Mrs. Chadwick patted his arm and filled the glass again. “Drink up, luv. It took Sebastian five glasses before the red bumps disappeared.”
Automatically he complied. Maybe he should leave the blisters all over his face. Judging from his staff’s reaction, it would scare the women away. Then he’d be free to return to his architectural firm in London.
Thunder shook the ancient walls again, as if the ghost had read his thoughts.
Apparently he’d stopped drinking the sludge because Mrs. Chadwick pushed the glass toward his mouth. “You don’t want to look like a monster when you meet your bride.”
What did it matter how he looked? These women had no real interest in him. They only wanted his title. Gritting his teeth, he reminded himself he needed a bride to stop the ghost attacks. Loving or even liking the woman he had to marry for duty’s sake wasn’t important.
“Don’t harass me. I’ve agreed to marry whatever pain-in-the-neck satisfies our meddling, vicious, power-hungry ghost.”
The words were barely out of his mouth when a green ribbon of light wrapped around his feet. He felt a sharp tug around his ankles before his feet flew out from under him. His butt hit the floor with a smack, and the kitchen staff snickered as the ghostly cure splattered his face.
He scrambled to his feet, muttering, “Lady Anne’s such a vengeful bully, I ought to let the bloody castle fall to ruin.”
“Now luv, you can’t mean that. What would your aunt and sister do?” Mrs. Chadwick handed him a towel. “Besides, you wouldn’t dream of putting Cook, Chadwick and me out on the street with nowhere to go. We’ve served your family all our lives. You’re not as cold-hearted as Sebastian.”
Anger boiled inside him. “I don’t care. I’m tired of Lady Anne tampering with my life.”
The housekeeper patted his arm. “I do believe you’re going to have to change your attitude, luv. Lady Anne simply wants you to be happy.”
“Threats and coercion won’t make me happy.” He glowered at the elderly woman who’d so often fed him cookies while she scolded him for teasing his sister when he was younger. “Neither will an arranged marriage.”
Mrs. Chadwick’s crushed look left him feeling like a brute. The old housekeeper didn’t deserve to be snapped at for Lady Anne’s vile stunts. She was only trying to help. But he couldn’t help it. His ghostly ancestor was making it bloody difficult to keep his word.
After his brother’s death, maybe he shouldn’t have promised both his Aunt Sophie and Mrs. Chadwick that he’d follow the ghost’s dictates. But he had. It was the only way the Ryne estate would continue to support the surrounding community. And he would keep his word.
He flicked the green slime off his shirt, noting that his blisters were now pale pink spots. Tossing the towel on the counter, he stalked from the kitchen. He could no longer put off a confrontation with his ancestor. For the last month, he hadn’t wanted to accept the fact that his brother was dead and it was his responsibility to accept Lady Anne’s choice of bride.
Time for a serious discussion with Lady Anne. Racing up the back stairs to the picture gallery, he stopped in front of the ghost’s portrait. Sebastian had told him it was the best place to summon his ancestor. From the green glow around the painting, he guessed Lady Anne must be lurking nearby.
“Lady Anne, as the Earl of Ryne, I order you to appear.”
A twinkling green orb popped from the portrait, growing until a tiny woman with a ferocious scowl on her delicate features stood before him. The emeralds in her headdress sizzled, reflecting her indignation at the summons.
He glowered right back at his ancestor. “What is wrong with you? Why would you infect me with ghost pimples if the right woman has come to this week’s house party?”
“Thou art slow-witted. I did not cause thy sores. My enemy, Desdemona, seeks to thwart the introduction to your bride.”
His breath caught in his throat. The last thing he needed was a second ghost tormenting him. “Who is Desdemona?”
Lady Anne’s jeweled headdress spit green sparks as her eyes took on an eerie brightness. “The witch who threw me from the parapet because she wanted to take my place.”
He crossed his arms over his chest. “That’s not the way the family tells it. The records state you committed suicide by plunging from the parapets right after your eldest son died.”
Lady Anne flitted to the side of the empty gallery. “It was Desdemona’s plot to ensnare my fool husband, Godfrey, and make her bastard son the heir. She told that lie.”
Returning to her portrait, her form appeared to grow larger and brighter. “Worse, the whore tortured my younger son and laid waste to Ryne’s fortune. Since that time Desdemona and I have been at war. When she succeeds, Ryne does not flourish.”
“Whoa.” Spencer rubbed his hands across his eyes. “How do two ghosts carry on a war for five hundred years?”
“Desdemona ruins crops. She brings bad luck to the village merchants. Any time she wins, thy family’s wealth declines.”
“That’s ridiculous! A ghost doesn’t have the power to cause all that misery . . . Does she? How does Desdemona win?”
His ancestor simply pointed to the pink spots on his arms. “The witch prevents the earl from finding true love.”
Unbelievable. He shook his head. “Then why didn’t Grandfather and Father prosper? They refused to indulge in your ghostly melodrama and picked their own wives.”
“Thy forefathers were fools. None of the Earls of Ryne have possessed the skill to pick an honest and loving bride. Desdemona easily fooled them. Thy grandsire and sire married her puppets.”
Spencer swallowed. Perhaps his mother’s bickering and anger hadn’t been her fault. If Desdemona had incited unhappiness in his parents’ marriage, maybe his mother’s constant socializing was her escape from a hopeless situation.
With the toe of his shoe, he kicked a speck of dirt on the floor. “I thought Sebastian played your game. He accepted your choice of wife. His only mistake was to leave his engagement ball angry. Why did he die?”
“This trial is not a game but a test of thy honor.” The green glow around Lady Anne’s form popped and crackled. “Sebastian cheated. He pledged his loyalty to me and promised to accept my choice. But he falsified my signs and presented them to his lover. He failed in his duty to Ryne.”
“So you killed him?”
“Nay. Because of his deceit, I could not save him when he recklessly chose to drink and drive.”
Spencer let out his breath. At least the ghosts hadn’t killed Sebastian. He couldn’t quite wrap his mind around the idea that his brother had cheated, though, since he’d been so determined to rebuild Ryne into a thriving community.
Anger swept through him. Despite all of Sebastian’s grand plans and vow not to make their father’s mistake, he’d done worse. He’d deliberately jeopardized Ryne by going back on his word to impress a wealthy socialite.
The memory of his brother on his deathbed filled Spencer’s mind. Sebastian’s tortured face, pleading whisper, icy grip and dying demand made sense in light of Lady Anne’s revelation. Spencer had thought his brother was delirious when he’d insisted on a promise to follow every one of Lady Anne’s dictates to the letter and not screw up.
Sebastian could have asked for the moon, as Spencer would have willingly promised him anything to ease his suffering enough to allow him to die in peace. But once given, Spencer had to honor his word.
He flicked a dried glob of green goop from his sleeve. His renown as an architect wouldn’t make up for his lack of training to oversee the community of Ryne. He needed more information before he made a deadly mistake.
“Why is love so important?”
“Without love, marriage is nothing but pain and sorrow.” Lady Anne’s fiery gaze bored into him as if testing his mettle.
He didn’t flinch.
Finally she relented. “Only one requirement will assure thy victory. Thou must love thy bride with all thy heart, and she must return that love.”
Spencer stumbled backwards. Preposterous. Markhams weren’t reared to marry for love. Their family focused on strategic alliances, wealth and land. But that hadn’t brought them happiness. His parents had bickered constantly over money, and as a result Sebastian had chosen his fake fiancée for her wealth.
Inhaling deeply, he gazed at his ancestor. He was quite sure a marriage based on love had never entered his brother’s mind. Since neither of them had ever witnessed a loving relationship between husband and wife, could he fall in love, or was he doomed to fail like Sebastian?
“Trust me, and open thine heart. I will help thee.” Lady Anne stretched out her hand, touching his cheek with her cold caress. Instantly the pink spots disappeared.
He had no choice. He was the only male Markham left to save Ryne. “Tell me how we proceed.”
“Desdemona has the strength this time to end my lineage.” The jewels on Lady Anne’s headdress pulsed ominously. “The witch’s evil power—fed by the jealousy of Sebastian’s shunned women—grows by the minute. Soon it will be too powerful to overcome. The longer it takes thee to win thy bride, the stronger Desdemona becomes.”
A sickening sensation tightened his throat. “Who is this super wife you’ve picked for me?”
“Kailyn Baker, descendent of Elizabeth Danforth.”
“Isn’t Elizabeth the woman who fled to America, breaking her engagement with the Tenth Earl?”
“Yea. Thy chosen one’s family will persuade her to accept thine offer. Her sisters and cousin are also plagued by the Ryne curse. Her marriage to thee will revoke that evil as well.”
Spencer gritted his teeth. “Modern women don’t listen to their families. What makes Miss Baker so special, anyway?”
“My choice is the token that restores health to thy neighbors and thy treasure to thee.” His ancestor’s tone grew haughty and cold. “Only Kailyn Baker has the skill and the tools to rid Ryne of mine enemy forever. Thy duty and thy loyalty belong to Ryne.”
At that, the ghost’s image erupted in an awesome display of fireworks. Green starbursts exploded near the ceiling sending sparks floating down on his head.
“The trial has begun. One of two outcomes faces thee—an abundant life if thou fulfill thy duty or death if thou fail to satisfy thy obligation. This is thy test of worthiness as well as thy bride’s.”
Spencer stared after Lady Anne’s fading form. Her dire pronouncement held more permanent consequences than ghost pimples. Love? How could he make someone love him? How could he make himself love a complete stranger? What if he hated her?
He felt defeated before he’d begun.
“My Lord,” his butler, Chadwick, interrupted, “Miss Baker is waiting in your office. She arrived fifteen minutes ago for her interview.”
Blast. What did he do now? The truth simply wouldn’t work. He couldn’t casually walk into his office and cheerfully announce to Kailyn Baker that she had to fight a battle against an evil ghost. And oh, by the way, she was required to fall in love with and marry him. He had until he reached his office down the hall to decide what to do.
Before he opened the door, he took a deep breath. He’d be polite, charming and persuasive. Even though Miss Baker wanted a job with his partner in Dallas, he’d convince her to remain at Ryne.
Kailyn Baker tugged down her short teal skirt and tried not to squirm. Her dream job was just an interview away. Too bad the boss man sitting across from her looked like he’d just bitten into a sour apple.
The manual for success said to look the prospective employer squarely in the eye, but whoever wrote that rule had never met Spencer Markham and his laser-green eyes. She fidgeted, despite her best effort to stay still. Biting her lip, she flexed her foot as her calf muscle cramped.
Why didn’t he say something instead of inspecting every inch of her from head to toe? She’d been a fool to listen to her friend, Crystal. The man in front of her wasn’t the easy-going architect Crystal claimed. He certainly wasn’t impressed by the trendy suit her friend had persuaded her to buy. Her pantsuit—heck, jeans and a sweater—would have done just as well.
He hadn’t bothered to dress to impress. His white shirt was covered with green splotches, and his attitude stunk. It screamed power, control and snootiness. She’d like him much better if he’d engage in a little small talk. His silence was nerve-racking. It was difficult to picture working for such a Grinch.
Kailyn took a deep breath, “May I begin my slide show?”
“Yes. That should give me some time to think.” He slid his chair closer to her.
Time to think? That didn’t sound encouraging. Her unsteady fingers hit the power button, and the computer screen flashed neon green. What the heck? How had she screwed up turning on her laptop? She punched “escape” and tried again.
Nothing but green. Her goofy computer must have jet lag. The foul-up shouldn’t have surprised her, though. Everything else had gone wrong today, starting with the delayed flight from Dallas to London. Then there was the text message the minute she landed, telling her to rent a car. She didn’t even want to think about the stressful drive on the wrong side of the road through the winding lanes to Ryne Castle. Now she faced a silent critic. No wonder she couldn’t type a simple command.
Sweat dripped down her ribcage, making the lace camisole under her snazzy new suit stick to her back. All the positive thinking in the world wasn’t helping her wow Spencer Markham.
He studied her demented laptop. “Do you believe in ghosts?”
Ghosts? Her hands dropped from the keyboard into her lap. Nothing in the manual on how to land a dream job talked about ghosts.
She took a deep breath and ran her finger over her computer keys. How did one answer that question and look like a savvy professional?
Easy. She was a scientist. There weren’t any silly spirits floating around. “I’ve never seen any proof that ghosts exist. So no, I don’t believe in them.”
A puff of cold air brushed against her hair, making her shiver. Now she was hallucinating. She glanced out the bramble-covered window. A shadow darkened the centuries-old glass. She closed her eyes for a second. It was just a cloud.
The scowl on Markham’s face said it all. She’d failed his trick question.
Before she could vow she’d been kidding and ghosts were everywhere, her cell phone chirped. “Sorry, I thought I’d turned it off.”
Kailyn snatched the beeping nuisance from her pocket. But when she checked the number, her crazy phone spit out green fire. Stifling a cry, she tossed it toward Markham’s cluttered oak desk and scooted away. The blasted phone bounced once and tumbled to the floor where it sparked and danced like a firecracker, then died.
Crap, crap, crap. This was not what she needed in the middle of an interview. Some weird power glitch lurked in this castle, and it was out to fry her electronics.
“Are you sure you don’t believe in ghosts?” A devilish glint lit Markham’s green eyes, and a sexy dimple creased his cheek.
She wished he’d go back to frowning. His British accent and sexy eyes were making it hard to concentrate, which only annoyed her further. She jumped as her phone popped and crackled again.
“Why are my electronic devices going crazy in this castle?”
“A rather interesting problem.” Markham grinned. “Let’s investigate further. Try your computer again.”
For a minute she simply stared at him. What was going on? Why would a malfunctioning laptop and an electrified cell phone make him happy?
Gingerly she tapped the power button. Her computer blinked to life once more. This time, green script slowly scrolled down the black background.
Kailyn Baker, thou must remain at Ryne Castle.
Squinting, she read the screen again. What a bizarre message. Markham must be toying with her. This had to be a strange test of her engineering skills.
She swung the machine to face Markham and pointed to the words. “Explain this, please.”
Markham stood, a large I’ve-gotcha grin spreading over his face. “I’d say it’s an invitation. You’re required to attend Ryne’s weeklong festival. The activities start this afternoon.”
She opened her mouth to protest, but no words came out. Why would he want her to stay for a week at the castle? This was the most outlandish interview she’d had in her entire life. Finally she managed, “But I have a plane ticket for tomorrow morning.”
“I’ll cancel it. A short chat can’t decide something this important. A week will give us ample time to sort things out and let you get used to the castle.”
Her breath caught in her throat. What in the devil was Markham talking about? She didn’t intend to live in England. His partner, John Martin, had promised her a job in Dallas.
“Good heavens. You sound as if the engineering job is here, not in Dallas.”
“Wouldn’t you like a chance to work with me to renovate Ryne Castle?”
She swallowed. It had never crossed her mind the job would be in England.
“Yes,” she answered after a slight hesitation. It could be interesting, but it would be awfully difficult to move so far away from her friends and family. “I’ve always loved old buildings. I can’t think of anything I’d like better.”
“Then stay for the week’s festival.” He moved closer as if ready to escort her to the festivities. “The activities will give you a flavor of the castle’s history and the roles the earl and countess are expected to play. And give us an opportunity to discuss Ryne’s future and develop our working relationship.”
The intensity of his gaze left Kailyn with the distinct feeling he had other things besides engineering on his mind. He might not object to mixing business with pleasure, but as a woman in a man’s field she had to be very careful about her professional image on the job.
With her looks, she’d never completely leave behind the petite-blonde-desperately-seeking-Mr. Right false impression. Inwardly she sighed. How should she respond to Markham? He was the earl, and this was his home. If she accepted the invitation to his house party, would she give him the wrong idea?
Markham hadn’t done more than give her résumé a cursory glance. He sounded as if he wanted her to stay so he could get to know her on a personal level.
She needed to steer this interview in another direction before his charm clouded her judgment and she had to walk away from an engineering job she desperately wanted, even if it ended up being in England. “We’ve gotten off track. Give me five minutes. I’ll get the printed version of my slide show from the car.”
This plum job was too important for her to throw away. Once Markham gave his okay, she wouldn’t have to work with him. She’d be dealing with contractors. From what she’d read about him, the man was a workaholic. He’d be in London or on projects around the world and she’d never see him. Besides, she could find a flat somewhere close to this community. And if by the end of the week she discovered she couldn’t work with him, she’d return to Dallas.
She stuffed her useless computer and her flashing phone into her case. “Be right back.”
Scooping up her bag, she dashed out the door. One more chance. She straightened her shoulders. Samples of her work would turn this interview around, and the short walk to her car would give her time to shake off the unsettling effects Markham had on her.
Just as she passed the next room, an antique Abbot’s chair swooped out behind her, butting the back of her knees so hard she plopped onto the wooden seat with a loud thud.
“What the—?” What else could go wrong in this freaking castle?
The chair began to twirl. She grabbed an armrest with one hand and clutched the computer bag against her chest with the other.
Walls whirled by with dizzying speed, then just when she thought she’d hurl the wobbly chair shot forward.
The runaway carnival seat turned sharply and crashed through Markham’s office door, stopping so quickly it dumped her like a rag doll at his feet.
The menacing chair spun on one leg, shimmered emerald green, then zoomed out the door, leaving her lightheaded and confused.
When he lifted her off the floor, her head spun faster—and not from her recent encounter with a possessed chair. His spicy scent revved her racing pulse. She squirmed as his arms tightened around her. How had she landed in this funhouse?
He sat her down on the chair behind his desk, long fingers brushing her hair back from her eyes.
“I’m sorry. The ghost is out of control today. Please rest here. I’ll arrange for some refreshments.”
Thankfully the crazy man left her alone. She drummed her fingers on his desk. Nothing about Spencer Markham or this dysfunctional castle made any sense. Why would he rig a chair to make her believe in ghosts?
A green flicker of light flitted across the wall and out the door.
Oh! Now she got it. He planned to renovate the castle and turn it into a haunted mansion and was testing his tricks on her. To get hired, she had to figure out how his phony illusions worked.
When Eleanor Brice unexpectedly wins the heart of Gregory Desmarais, Crown Prince of Cartheigh, she's sure she's found her happily-ever-after. Unfortunately, Prince Charming has a loose grip on his temper, a looser grip on his marriage vows, and a tight grip on the bottle.
Eight years of mistreatment, isolation and clandestine book learning hardly prepare Eleanor for life at Eclatant Palace, where women are seen, not heard. According to Eleanor's eavesdropping parrot, no one at court appreciates her unladylike tendency to voice her opinion. To make matter worse, her royal fiancé spends his last night of bachelorhood on a drunken whoring spree. Before the ink dries on her marriage proclamation Eleanor realizes that she loves her husband's best friend, former soldier Dorian Finley.
Eleanor can't resist Dorian's honesty, or his unusual admiration for her intelligence, and soon both are caught in a dangerous obsession. She drowns her confusion in charitable endeavors, but the people's love can't protect her from her feelings. When a magical crime endangers the bond between unicorns, dragons, and the royal family, a falsely accused Eleanor must clear her own name to save her life. The road toward vindication will force a choice between hard-won security and an impossible love.
The Cracked Slipper is a book club friendly fairytale retelling in the vein of Gregory Maguire, with a dash of romance. Set in a pseudo-renaissance, corset-and-petticoats enchanted kingdom, The Cracked Slipper brings a magical twist to women's fiction.
"The dragon stood and lumbered toward the first cave. It passed the other unicorns, slowing every few steps, and they responded with reassuring whinnies. The next dragon appeared, followed by two more of Tremor’s unicorn guides. The first dragon called to the second, who screamed once in return. Both creatures seemed eager to get underground.
The transfer continued for nearly an hour without much fanfare. Eleanor thought she must have miscounted when there was a break in the procession.
“This will be the last one,” said Gregory. “I wonder what’s taking so long.”
Tremor paced at the mouth of the cave. Dark smoke rolled from under the ground. Tremor sent two of his fellows down below, and when after a few minutes they did not return, Thromba called to him to send two more.
Without warning, and with an earsplitting scream, and a new dragon burst from the cave. Stubby horns revealed her as a doe.
“Ho!”Gregory yelled. “Nestlings!”
Three baby dragons, about the size of saddle horses, squealed and circled their mother’s feet. She screamed and shot fire at the wall of men and unicorns. The men fell back. The unicorns just shut their eyes. As Gregory steered Eleanor toward the cabin she caught a flash of white behind the dragon’s legs.
Teardrop had somehow been pushed from the line. She was pinned between the raging dragon and the canyon walls. As the dragon backed and reared, her massive tail, all wrathful muscle, swung in a deadly pendulum.
Teardrop zigged, looking for a way around the mother dragon. The dragon’s tail came down hard and clipped the mare across the shoulder. Teardrop slammed into the rock wall. She cowered, stunned and heaving.
“Teardrop!”Eleanor yanked free of Gregory’s grip.
She ran past the startled guards and into the chaos.
“Get back!” Tremor snorted.
“I won’t!” She yelled to be heard over the dragon. “I’m going to help her.”
“You can’t, and we must control this situation.”
“I will, damnit!” She tried to get around the stallion but he stepped in front of her again. “Get out of my way!” she stormed.
He lowered his head. “If you insist on this foolery at least let me help you.”
Gregory was shoving past the guards, but she climbed onto Tremor’s back before he could reach her.
She clung to Tremor’s mane as he raced at the dragon. Her eyelashes stuck together in the blinding heat. Tremor dodged and wheeled as the dragon spit fire. Two other unicorns flanked them.
Tremor skidded to a stop. Eleanor leapt off and ran to Teardrop.
“Hurry!” Tremor called.
Foam dripped from Teardrop’s muzzle as she pressed against the wall. She wasn’t bleeding—her thick hide was nearly impenetrable—but a raised welt marred her shoulder. Her eyes rolled.
“Teardrop,”Eleanor tried to keep her voice calm over the screams of the dragon as it went after Tremor. “Help me. Take me back to Gregory.”
Teardrop swung her head at Eleanor’s voice. Her dark eyes came into focus. “Why are you here?” she whispered. “You will be killed.”
“So you must take me out.”
Teardrop nodded, and Eleanor grabbed her mane and pulled herself onto the mare’s back.“Go, now,” she called. “I need you to get me past this dragon.”
Teardrop scraped at the ground with one hoof and pricked her ears. She watched Tremor and his helpers and the mother dragon. She spotted an opening and dove for it. The dragon spun and swung her tail again. Eleanor held on as Teardrop leapt. They barely cleared the spinning spikes.
They came to a stop past the line of unicorns, and Eleanor’s legs gave out when she slid to the ground. Gregory caught her, cursing and kissing her.
“Dammit, Eleanor,” he said. “You’re the most stubborn, disobedient, brave, exasperating woman.”
She sat on the ground with her head between her knees. The magicians bustled around Teardrop. They tried to examine her injury, but she snorted them away. She stood over Eleanor, breathing down the back of her neck.
Eleanor raised her head as Tremor called a dozen of his fellows into the skirmish. The doe blew fire, but more unicorns pressed in and she backed down. Her children squeaked and smoked around her. Tremor stepped from the line and knelt on one knee. To Eleanor’s amazement one of the nestlings crept out from under its mother’s belly and slunk toward him. The doe hissed a warning. Tremor stood, and gently touched the baby dragon with his horn.
The doe exhaled a long blast of fire, but this time there was no fight in it. The other baby dragons came forward, and Tremor touched them all before nudging them toward the new cave with his muzzle. Their mother let our several low whistles and followed them.
Once the doe disappeared under the ground, Thromba ran to Eleanor and Gregory. “Dear HighGod, sire,” he said. “It was a botch-up, and the princess nearly roasted.”
“No, Thromba,” Gregory said. “We both know you can never tell how the does with nestlings will react. Last year we lost three men to a new mother. Not so bad, really.” He knelt beside Eleanor.
“Are you angry with me?” she asked.
“No,”he said. “How can I be angry? But you must be more careful.”
He helped her stand on her shaky legs. She ran a hand over Teardrop’s withers and the white hide twitched under her fingers. “Does it hurt?” she asked.
“Some, but we heal quickly.”
“Princess,”said an airy voice behind her. It was Tremor.
“Thank you,” she said. “I’m sorry if I made things more complicated.”
Tremor lowered his head. “I thank you,” he said. “For reminding me of what is important.”
Stephanie Alexander grew up in the suburbs of Washington, DC, the oldest of three children. Drawing, writing stories, and harassing her parents for a pony consumed much of her childhood. After graduating from high school in 1995 she earned a Bachelor of Arts in Communications from the College of Charleston, South Carolina. She returned to Washington, DC, where she followed a long-time fascination with sociopolitical structures and women’s issues to a Master of Arts in Sociology from the American University. She spent several years as a Policy Associate at the International Center for Research on Women, a think-tank focused on women’s health and economic advancement.
Stephanie embraced full-time motherhood after the birth of the first of her three children in 2003. After six wonderful years buried in diapers and picture books she returned to her childhood passion and wrote her own fairytale. Her family put down permanent southern roots in Charleston in 2011. Stephanie is an adjunct professor of Sociology at the College of Charleston.
Stephanie is awarding a $10.00 Amazon Gift Card to a random reader who leaves a comment, so please leave a response!
Aspen Dwyer, recently emanc-ipated from foster care, is search-ing for a place to hide from a past with secrets too dark to share. Honey Creek, Ohio, presents itself as the best place to start a new life and stay undercover. There she meets Colton Moraine, a man with strong family ties and an even stronger sense of loyalty. His boisterous, loving family welcomes Aspen with warmth she hasn’t felt in years. She’s surprised at how quickly and deeply she falls for Colton. When a dangerous crim-inal comes to Honey Creek, intent on his revenge against her, Aspen must choose between two options. Should she stay and risk her life and the rejection of the people she’s grown to love? Or should she run again and leave behind any chance of a happy future?
“Tell me how the new job is working out for you.” I knew this was more than just small talk. Margot was evaluating me.
“It’s fine.” I nodded. Surprisingly, I actually enjoyed working at the lodge. “Linda is a super boss. Even though I hurt my ankle the first day, she still took me in. She’s having her nephew help me learn to drive. She has a wonderful family. Of course, you know all that already.” I stopped babbling to take another sip of my latte before going on. “I really want to do well for her. I think she cares more about me than my last four sets of foster parents did, and she’s only my employer.”
“Linda’s always had a heart the size of Texas,” Margot agreed. “She’ll stand behind you and support you in whatever you want to do.” She made a note on a form and shoved it back into a manila folder. “Now, off the record.” She clicked her pen shut and slid it into her purse. “How are you really? Do you feel safe?”
I considered her questions for a moment before answering. “I don’t think I remember what safe is supposed to feel like anymore. It’s comfortable with Linda and working at the lodge.”
Did safe mean I could sleep at night, resting easy, trusting no one would come to get me in the darkness? Did it mean not having to look over my shoulder everywhere I went? Did it mean not worrying if the person who gave life to me was waiting for the day he could kill me?
“I guess I feel as safe as can be expected.”
Margot waited, her expectant eyes boring into mine.
“You said Rick will never think of looking for me in a tiny town like Honey Creek.” Rick didn’t deserve the title of dad, father, or anything else indicating a relationship between him and me. As far as I was concerned, he was just the sperm donor.
“He won’t look there. He’ll be concentrating on the bigger towns. Columbus, Cincinnati, places where jobs are more plentiful.”
I shook my head. “Do you think I should try to move out of state?”
“Don’t leave Ohio.” Margot reached across the café table and grabbed my fingers. “I won’t be able to help you if you move far away. Besides, haven’t you heard of hiding in plain sight?”
Listen to Suzanne's Synopsis & Reading
Suzanne Lilly writes lighthearted young adult stories with a splash of suspense, a flash of the unexplained, a dash of romance, and always a happy ending. Her short stories have appeared in numerous places online and in print, and she has placed and received honorable mentions in writing contests. Her debut novel was Shades of the Future in 2011 followed by Untellable in 2012. She lives in Northern California where she reads, writes, cooks, swims, and teaches elementary students.
Welcome to Book Bling, Suzanne! I'm so excited to have you here today. Would you mind answering a few questions so my readers can learn more about your work?
Thank you, Elizabeth, for having me on your blog today. I’m delighted to answer a few questions for your readers. Let’s dive right in!
What is the book about? Where did you get the idea?
In Untellable, Aspen Dwyer is on the run from her criminal father. She knows he’ll come to get his revenge against her when he gets out on parole, because her testimony helped put him away. She’s hiding from him in Honey Creek, Ohio, trying to start a life he won’t be able to destroy, a life with happiness and love. The story is tense and realistic, and it may open a view on life some people haven’t known about before. A young woman in a similar situation whom I knew years ago inspired Aspen’s character. She endured a traumatic time when her father was released from prison.
However, the main idea for this book came from one of the foster children I had in a class of mine years ago. I began wondering what it would be like to be completely on one’s own after aging out of the system. Aging out is when foster children become adults and must start a life on their own. They often have no strong resources other than their social workers and programs in which they’re enrolled. After her father went to prison, Aspen spent four years in foster care. She doesn’t know how to drive, and Colton Moraine agrees to teach her in exchange for swimming lessons. It’s not at all uncommon for foster children to not get driving lessons or a permit until after they age out. Many foster families don’t have the time or resources to teach them to drive.
In Honey Creek, Aspen falls in love with Colton, and with his family, and thinks she will finally have the life she wants. When her father shows up in Honey Creek, she must fight to protect them before he destroys everything.
Do you have a target reader?
Yes! My target readers are young adults and older adults who enjoy clean reads about people overcoming obstacles in their lives. I pack as much emotion as I can into my books, so if you like a story that touches your heart, you’ll enjoy Untellable or any of my other books. I tend to have a dry sense of humor that comes through in my writing, so many people tell me they love the banter and humor in my books.
Do you listen to music while you write? If yes, what sets the right mood?
I only recently started listening to music as I write. I choose movie soundtracks, because I don’t want the distraction of lyrics while I’m writing. I’m one of those people who has to sing along with songs I love, and I don’t get much writing done if I’m singing and dancing. The soundtrack of The Man from Snowy River worked well as I wrote Untellable. The book I just finished, Diviner of Hearts, was written to the movie soundtrack for Meet Joe Black. Now I’m searching for the perfect soundtrack to go with an 1850s gold rush story. Any suggestions?
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Ric has a 40 year professional career history in advertising, publishing and marketing in Boston, New York and San Francisco. He has degrees in history and psychology and has been trained in debating, public speaking and stage acting. A large part of his 40 year career was spent in numerous professional and business settings as a presenter and featured speaker at seminars and professional meetings.
Ric has been a visiting professor at Worcester Polytech Institute. He also teaches a popular course on marketing for authors at prominent venues such as the venerable “Cape Cod Writers Conference”. Ric is a published author of a Mystery Series and multiple other novels. His newest, Echoes Down a Dark Well, is a paranormal mystery and came out in 2012 under Tell-Tale Publishing's Nightshade Imprint. Recently he made a visit to Paris and we are lucky enough to share it with him by way of a running journal he kept of the adventure (so like a writer!).
MAY 5, 2013
PARIS TRIP BLOG Paris Day 1 … Nous partons (just barely!) et nous arrivons … Finally Arrived at the airport in plenty of time. Got through security with no problem. Flight on time and begins boarding, when... A bored French accent requests our presence at the Air France desk where they tell us. "Quelle domage madam et Monsieur, we have overbooked and so even though you bought your tickets back in freakin' October... We've gotta bump someone and since you have no air miles with us.. Guess what?... You're it!" And so... After much "discussion" we did make it on to the flight.. (And at an upgrade no less... Long story..) and 6 hours later we were in 'La Belle' France. And shortly there after we were wandering the cobblestone streets of the City of Lights. And I'm pleased to report that despite my long absence, les femes Parisian' are still tres chic and very, very thin. They are also pale and wear a perpetual expression of anger, depression and despair. However they do have a reason... But that's a story for ...Day 2 'Till then... Au revoir mes ami...
Paris -Day 2… So just why are the French so thin, attractive and so unhappy about it? Well me and B didn't take long to discover the thin part... They friggin' walk about a hundred times more than us fat-ass Americans do! For instance, me and 'ma chere femme' thought we were doing good at home with our 2-3 miles a day. Ha! Since we've been in La Belle France we've been averaging 10 miles per day! And that's small freaking change to the French. They also ride bikes everywhere and move tres vite all the frickin' time. And that's why they are rail thin even though their diet and habits would kill one of us Americans inside of a month. I mean not only do they pig out on cheese, fabulous French bread, every kind of heart stopping organ meat you can imagine, and enough chain smoking ciggy's to croak a whole herd of elephants, they all seem to survive just fine. And since we've been immersing ourselves in the Gallic way we've found that one of the immediate benefits is that you can stop every 3-4 miles or so for bread, cheese, wine and beer and walk that sucker off toot freakin' suite! The other thing that we find tres interesant is that we hot blooded New Englanders are walking around in short sleeved shirts while the French are bundled up in leather coats, fur boots and the ever-present scarfs. And here's one that Barb noticed... The men are all dressed in high fashion and "wearing the colors the woman don't". Although from this old Troglodyte's perspective the woman still look good ... damn good! And then there are "clueless Gendarmes, surly shopkeepers, fantastic food, incredible wine, lines at the Louve", a war historian's dream at Les Invalides and finally ... who the freak could get lost on the way to the Eiffel Tower! Well we did! More to come as L'adventure continues...
Paris... Day 3 .. In search of Napoleon, Quasimodo and a cheap beer. Found Notre Dame just fine... It's smack dab in the middle of the Seine River so pretty hard to miss. The flying buttresses and stained glass were tres magnifique but alas, no trace of Quasimodo the fabled bell ringing hunchback ... C'est la Vie On the other hand we did locate Napoleon which again wasn't hard since he's been dead for close to 200 years and ain't going anywhere since he's being held down by several tons of red granite... Which by the way is very impressive despite the fact that it looks a lot like a giant red Lego. It was actually one of my favorites as the whole place (Les Invalides) is chock full of weapons from all eras. Starting with the Greeks and Romans and right down to WWll . In fact I liked it about a hundred times more than the Louvre... Which I think in French means "la tres hot, overcrowded, less than fragrant place of long lines and longer waits.. " Here's a tip.. Order tickets through your hotel and you can avoid at least half of the wait. Here's another tip. Spring for the translated headphones (which alas we did not) and don't ever expect to learn anything from the hundreds of civil servants sitting around in every room presumably to answer questions. Problem is ... They don't! I tried all three languages in which I have a smattering. English, French and German. Nothing. The best I got was in response to, "where is the bathroom and the exit?" which elicited a Gallic grunt and a vague wave to somewhere possibly across the Seine or perhaps he was telling me to ask Quasimodo.. Which in retrospect couldn't have been any worse. Still we and several thousand other tourists did get to see the Mona Lisa. (I held my camera over my head and then watched it later) The opposite of the "Le Louvre Zoo" was a delightful wine and cheese tour that our son Chris had set up for us. We and another couple from Kentucky (Go Big Blue! ) we're taken down the back alleys and side streets of St. Germaine by a charming, perky young woman where we feasted on wine, cheese and chocolate. Now that was worth waiting for! Still to come... Versailles, Marie Antoinette's pink marble palace (the cost of which probably gave the beleaguered French peasants the notion that all royalty and aristocrats would benefit from a visit to Madam Guillotine) and of course Bistro crawling in Paris
Paris... Day 4 ... The feet get another workout at Versailles
Caught the Metro out to Versailles where fortunately the Bourbon king's suburban palace was too big for even us to miss. The place is truly incredible and and once we managed to extricate ourselves from the hundreds of tour groups we spent half the afternoon wandering through one luxurious, over-the-top room after another. And as I gazed at the acres of marble, and mirrors and gold, I couldn't help but hope that none of our political leaders ever take this tour ... I mean with the way they spend our money imagine what would happen if they ever saw how real kings lived! Can't you just see it? "Hey let's raise the deficit another trillion and rebuild Versailles right there in Washington!"
But it was magnificent. And we strolled down to the artificial lakes feeling a bit like Jethro and Granny in the Beverly Hillbillies ... "Well golly, jest look at that there cement pond!" (But it was worth gawking at). Then we took in Marie Antoinette's palace, pink marble and all. ... And let me tell you, she sure did love different colored rooms; pink, gold, green.. With wallpaper to match! In fact it was so pretty you could almost 'lose your head' over it. (Sorry, I just couldn't resist)
After all that walking and gawking (now you understand why I don't write poetry) we were pooped and parched so just down the road from the palace we found a nice little bistro that catered to peasants like us and refreshed at a teeny tiny table with some 1664 French beer (not sure if the name reflects when it was first brewed or how much the price is in Euros)
Then back to Paris for a Rive Gauche meal and a bottle (or two) of vin rouge!
Still to come ... More Bistro hopping, walking and the quest for that perfect little French restaurant with the meal that you're not sure what you're eating but it tastes damn good!
Paris... Day 5 ... Open air busses on a beautiful sunny Paris spring day but with no hat or sunscreen .. equals 'la visage rouge'. Or one beet red American tourist! Took one of the Hop-On, Hop-Off open air busses out to the Arc de Triomphe on the Champs Élysées and it was gorgeous but ... I stupidly forgot my hat and sunscreen so was nicely baked by the end of the day, which meant ... Naturalement ... Lots of nice cold beer. So we stopped at one sidewalk cafe.. And then another, and another and .... Well you get the picture. We slowly worked our way up the Seine through the Latin Quarter and back to St. Germaine and thoughts of a fashionably late French dinner. Thus it was in a pleasant haze that we decided to flip the Euro as it were and try a place I spotted on line. We had been batting about .500 on restaurants, which in baseball is good but in the gastro-experience means that you've eaten a lot of bad 'soup d'onion'...And we had. But this little gem of a bistro opposite the Luxembourg Garden was a true find. The quintessential white washed brick, open beams and vaulted ceiling, shelves of wine racks with vintages just begging to be tasted and the smell of garlic and fresh bread. And we did the whole route .. from the escargot soaked in garlic butter to an amazing rack of lamb followed by white chocolate and lime. And of course all washed down by a fantastic 2003 Bordeaux. And then... Et finis... Quelle Domage And as all things must... We must return to our hum drum lives and leave behind the Parisian world of cares, bistros and brasseries. Quaint side streets and beckoning back ally's. And then of course there is the one thing that we will not miss... And let me tell you folks I am most definitely not a PC person who wants to run everyone's life, but Pleeeeze!... What is with the French and the constant chain smoking? Like most of my fellow boomers I did two packs a day in my teens, but in the 40 years since I quite I guess I've become unaccustomed to smoky cafes, 'cause let me tell you, these cafes aren't just smoky... You might wanna consider bringing you own gas mask! Seriously! And just in case you were thinking of asking... No, there is no such thing as a 'non-smoking' section. And if you can't find your waiter to order another glass of Ferme Blanc, it's 'cause he's out back having a smoke! And then there's the metro trip to the airport, where once again Air France had no seat for us! And the flight home with several hundred kids from high school French clubs. But as the French say, that mon amie is a story for une autre jour... And all in all, it was a great trip. Lots of adventures, and isn't that really what its all about? And so as Europe fades into the background... Au revoir La Belle France... jusqu'à ce que nous nous revoyions.
Saved by the Rancher
From the moment rancher Jack Turner rescues Jenna Caldwell Merrick, he is determined to help her. Soon, he is doing more than tend her wounds; he is mending her heart. Jenna is a woman on the run—hunted down by her ex-husband, David Merrick, from the day she left him, taking part of his company with her, to the second she finds herself in the safety of Jack's ranch. More than just a haven, Jack's offering the love, family, and home she thought were out of reach.
Jack's support will give Jenna the strength she needs to reclaim her life. The hunted will become the hunter, while David gets what he deserves, when they have an explosive confrontation in the boardroom of Merrick International. But not before Jack and Jenna enter into a fight … for their lives
Lucky Like Us
The Hunted series continues as Special Agent Sam Turner discovers that protecting the FBI's star witness is more difficult than he thought!
Bakery owner Elizabeth Hamilton's quiet life is filled with sweet treats, good friends, and a loving family. But all of that is about to turn sour when an odd sound draws her outside. There's a man lying unconscious in the street, a car speeding toward him. Without hesitation, she gets the man out of harm's way before they're run down.
Unwittingly, Elizabeth has put herself in the path of a serial murderer, and as the only one who can identify the FBI's Silver Fox Killer, she's ended up in the hospital with a target on her back.
All that stands between her and death is Special Agent Sam Turner. Against his better judgment, Sam gets emotionally involved, determined to take down the double threat against Elizabeth—an ex desperate to get her back, despite a restraining order, and a psychopath bent on silencing her before she can identify him.
They set a trap to catch the killer—putting Elizabeth in his hands, with Sam desperate to save her. If he's lucky, he'll get his man … and the girl.
The Right Bride
High-powered businessman Cameron Shaw doesn't believe in love—until he falls head over heels for beautiful, passionate, and intensely private Martina. She's perfect in so many ways, immediately bonding with his little girl. Martina could be his future bride and a delightful stepmother … if only Cameron weren't blinded by his belief that Shelly, the gold-digging woman he's promised to marry, is pregnant with his child.
No matter how much his friends protest his upcoming marriage to Shelly, Cameron knows he has a duty to his children, so he's determined to see it through.
Will he find out in time that Shelly's lying and Marti's the one who's actually carrying his child? It'll come down to the day of his wedding. After choosing Shelly over Marti at every turn, will he convince Marti she's his world and the only woman he wants?
Review of SAVED BY THE RANCHER
Jennifer lives in the San Francisco Bay Area with her husband, three children, her dog, Bella, and cat, Shadow.
When she isn't writing a book, she's reading one. Her obsession for both is often revealed in the state of her home and how late dinner is to the table. When she finally leaves those fictional worlds, you'll find her in the garden, playing in the dirt and daydreaming about people who live only in her head, until she puts them on paper.
For more information about Jennifer and her upcoming releases, visit www.jennifer-ryan.com.
Giving birth doesn’t make a woman a good mother. I know, because I have had a lot of mothers-my birth mother, my adoptive mother, my grandmother, and then a stepmother. Even now, with two grown and married children and two beautiful grandbabies by way of my step-son and his wife, I miss my mother--my true mother, who adopted me because she chose me out of all the children in the world who needed a good mother. I miss my grandmother—who became my surrogate mother when my own beloved mother lost a long and difficult battle with breast cancer when I was a senior in high school.
So what is a good mother and why do I consider these two wonderful women to have been good mothers, to me? It’s because they made me believe deep in my soul that they loved me with more than they loved themselves, figuratively and literally unconditionally. They were both Godly women, so taught me the value of character, as well as love. My good mother demonstrated exemplary character each day of my life. She treated every living creature with sincere kindness and concern for their well-being. If you wanted to know WWJD all you had to do was watch her.
As an example, there is an event from my teens I recall with surprising clarity. My parents had a rental house, and the people who were moving out had completely trashed the place, leaving it filthy. My father refused to return their entire cleaning deposit. While he was at work, the woman came to our house and was screaming at my mother, who softy apologized, telling her she would have to discuss it with my father as he handled all the business dealing with the rental.
The renter became so enraged, I thought she might actually become violent. With far less character than my gentle mother, I stepped between them and demanded that the harpy leave and never speak to my mother like that again as she hadn’t been anything but kind and friendly to her, despite her rude and unreasonable behavior. No longer able to be a bully toward an obnoxious teenager who was equally angry and probably far less predictable, she left, squealing tires in her wake.
My mother’s response? “Oh, those poor children. I hope she slows down so they will be safe.”
I hadn’t even thought about the fact that the woman’s four children were in the station wagon, but it’s the only thing my mom cared about. She actually felt sorry for her and said she probably really needed the money, and maybe dad would let her have it after all.
At the time, I thought my mom was weak, and didn’t stand up for herself. I now realize she was far stronger than I have yet to become. She had character, and she was a good mom. Good moms demonstrate character. I was later lucky enough to have as my mom the woman who taught her values and how to love--my grandmother.
I sure wish I were a better mom, but I too love my children with unconditional love.
HAPPY MOTHER'S DAY TO ALL THE GOOD MOTHERS EVERYWHERE!
From the author of Her Sky Cowboy comes a sexy new novella about rebellion, redemption, and the healing powers of love and tolerance amid budding global chaos.
Doc Blue has never had it easy. Born a Freak, the offspring of a Vic—a native Victorian—and a Mod—a time traveler from the future—he’s lived on the fringes of society, hiding his true identity and preternatural healing abilities from even his closest friends. His brief support of the Freak rebellion has only left him with even more problems, losing him both his job and one of his greatest allies, the Sky Cowboy, Tucker Gentry. So when Tuck’s kid sister, Lily, ends up blinded in an air skirmish on her way from America to England, Doc jumps at the opportunity to be the one to rescue her and use his powers to mend her wounds.
Curing Lily proves harder than anticipated, and Doc realizes that to restore her sight he will have to spill his biggest secret and embrace his Freak nature like never before. But, with Lily’s help, Doc may be able to reach the full potential of his abilities, heal Lily’s broken heart, and learn, finally, how to open his.
Includes a preview of the next Glorious Victorious Darcys novel, His Clockwork Canary.
“I’m sorry I got you in this fix,” Lily said, fiercely conscious of their intimate and highly inappropriate position. Arms and legs entangled. Her backside pressed against his groin.
“I’m here on account of my own actions, angel. I promise I’ll get us both out.” He shifted and squeezed her waist, pulling her even closer. “Jasper just ran off. Guess he’s heading for the Crusader. Don’t know what that dig looks like, but she must be flashy or big. P.J. said she’d attract attention.”
“What’s this dig look like?” Lily asked.
“Let’s put it this way. It’s called the Bullet.”
“Sleek and cylindrical.”
“With wings and a tail and some sort of rocket booster. P.J.’s firing up now.”
Lily heard the rumble clean through the shield. The cramped dirigible vibrated and shimmied and Lily braced for takeoff. “Are you scared, King?”
“You forget I’ve been riding with your brother for the past few years. If we weren’t chasing and apprehending outlaws, we were clashing with sky pirates and ALE. This is nothing. Although P.J’s flying ain’t for the fainthearted.”
“I’m not fainthearted.” Lily licked her lips. “Not usually.”
“I believe you, but flying blind is discombobulating. Focus on my voice,” he said close to her ear as the vessel lurched forward. “I’ll talk you through it.”
For a minute she was breathless, speechless. Her mind and body reeled with the forceful launch and the sudden unexpected speed as they shot through the air. Just as he’d promised, Doc described everything. The three ships that constituted skytown breaking apart and heading in separate directions , several other smaller digs shooting off every which way . . .
“Ah, the Crusader.”
“Flashy and big?” she asked, holding tight to Doc’s hands.
“Beauty of a zeppelin wrapped in an intricate iron grill. Topside propeller and rear rocket thrusters. Gondola’s loaded with cannons and the zepp’s fitted to carry small fighter digs like this one.”
“How . . . how can you be sure it’s the Crusader?” Lily asked as the Bullet lurched right.
“The big S welded into the intricate grill work.” Doc sighed. “Caped Crusader. Man of Steel. Superman. A twentieth-century superhero. Pa used to liken Jasper to the fictional icon. Thing is Superman used his powers for the greater good.”
“For Jasper,” Lily said as she struggled with a dizzy spell, “emancipating Freaks is the greater good.”
“You’re a good soul, Lily Gentry.”
Doc kissed the back of her head and the dizziness intensified. Only it wasn’t from the topsy-turvy ride. Cannon fire exploded in the distance and Lily burst with a fierce need to live in the moment. This moment. “I’ve never been kissed.”
“If this ends badly, I want something good to remember when I meet my maker.”
“Don’t talk nonsense, angel. P.J.’ll get us out of here. If nothing else, her pride demands it.”
Ignoring the ache in her ribs and the pain in her leg, Lily swiveled round best she could. “Kiss me proper-like, King.”
She could feel the warmth of his breath. His mouth, so close. His body tensed as she leaned in, but she didn’t pull back. She waited . . . and when the Bullet shook with the blast of return fire, she took what she wanted. A kiss. Though her mouth glanced off Doc’s, she tasted a hint of peppermint and slice of heaven. Bliss.
He groaned then, cradled her face, and pressed his lips to hers—firm and true. He kissed her proper-like. The kind of kiss she’d read about in dime novels. The kind she’d seen stolen between lovers in the park. Heat radiated through her body, her skin tingled, and her blood burned. He teased the seam of her mouth with his tongue, and Lily’s lungs near about burst through her ribs.
Inspired by their precarious circumstance and her uncertain future, she parted her lips and welcomed Doc’s tongue. The awfulness of the world faded away as the compassionate healer gifted her with sizzling passion.
The Bullet bucked then arced, and Lily’s heart followed.
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SYN City! A Review:
Unique and highly entertaining! Georgia has created a secret garden of the supernatural kind, and populated it with strange and wondrous fauna and flora. It is visited by equally unique creatures, such as angels, witches, wizards, weres and orbs. Their interactions make up a fast-paced plot with a fascinating mixture of adventurous encounters for Cara, the only living Synemancer witch. With no one to teach her how to control and use her powers as they manifest, its inevitable that mistakes and mishaps are bound to occur.
Running from the law, the covenant enforcers, that is, Cara and the men who love and want her (yes, men, and all of them hot and sexy) escape one attack after another. Georgia keeps the reader guessing about who, what and why until the very end.
Warning: there are a couple fairly graphic scenes, including a menage a trois that may disturb some readers.
BOOK BLING gives Angel of Syn 4 STARS!
Contemporary witch Cara Augustine goes international and inter-dimensional, from San Francisco to France to an alternate Eden-like dimension, in this second book of the Synemancer series.
Cara is a fugitive, pursued by the Portalkind police for breaking a major covenant. When she accidentally made a werewolf her witch’s familiar, it amounted to enslaving a human. And the punishment is death. On the run for her life, she and her companions stumble into a strange paradise dimension. But they quickly find the dangerous world is filled with strange creatures, deadly and beautiful. And, because she’s quickly learning a Synemancer’s life is never simple. Cara has to deal with an amorous Nephilim (half-angel half-witch), a dangerously deranged French werewolf, and the darkly handsome Nightkind she just might love. Each powerful supernatural man has his own reasons for wanting to possess Cara, body and soul. But if the Portalkind police catch her, she’ll be in a fight for her life.
Mertianna currently lives with her husband, son, and three dogs in Northern California. At a young age, while traveling the globe with her military family, she discovered the joys of reading. Armed with a fascination for science fiction, the paranormal, and fantasy, she amused, shocked, and impressed her teachers with her imaginative stories.
As an adult, reality reared its boring head, and she joined the business workforce. After many years working as a professional manager while secretly wishing she was a writer, she took a detour from the corporate world to immerse herself in the fictional worlds of her own making.
Mertianna has accumulated multiple graduate degrees in business and survived years of doctoral studies in psychology, all of which undoubtedly has influenced how her characters behave or don’t behave as the case may be.
Mertianna will be awarding a canvas tote bag printed with the book cover on one side and a saying on the other("Are you a syn-er?"), and filled with goodies plus a $20 Amazon gift card to a randomly drawn commenter during the tour (US ONLY). Follow the link below to increase your chances of winning!
REVIEW OF MAFIA SECRET
Mafia Princess takes on the Sopranos in Angie Derek's Mafia Secret. The book is well named, because there are lots of secrets, and lots of Mafioso. Take Marco, for instance (and who wouldn't want to take Marco?!), a hot and sexy Italian Lt. for a major King Pin. The fact that this same King Pin winds up dead and reveals an illegitimate daughter is unwelcome news to both his immediate family and his new-found heir, Lessa.
Marco is the bearer of the bad news, which probably makes the pill easier for Lessa to swallow, but it's bitter nevertheless. Her confusion about her new family and paternity only increase once she begins to realize the true nature of the family business.
When her father's murderer turns Lessa into a target, Marco must keep close in order to protect her and take down his boss's killer. Soon both sparks and bullets are flying as the thrills mount in both the mystery and romance department. Derek doesn't disappoint fans of romance or suspense. She keeps you guessing who the killer may be until the very end.
BOOK BLING gives MAFIA SECRET FIVE STARS!
Lessa Noelle grew up never knowing she was the illegitimate daughter of a mafia king pin. After his murder, she finds herself a surprise heiress immersed in the dangerous world of organized crime with only the guidance of Marco Santo her father’s second in command to help her.
Marco searches for her father’s killer and tries to keep the realities of his life from touching her. An uneasy attraction blossoms between the two. An already dangerous situation turns volatile when a killer turns his attention to Lessa.
Excerpt:He held a white envelope against the glass and spoke again. “I have a letter from your father.”
Available in multiple ebook formats from Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Crossroads, Diesel, iTunes, Kobo, Smashwords, Sony.
Available as an audio book through Audible.com, Amazon, iTunes.
Angie Derek writes paranormal and romantic suspense. She lives in the Sierra Nevada Mountains with her husband, two daughters, two dogs, two cats, and one pony (she thinks she needs another one to even out the number).
Angie is hosting a tour-wide giveaway for a $10.00 Amazon gift card, so leave a comment and follow her tour for more chances to win. Click on the link below:
Mackenzie Smith has always known that she was different. Growing up as the only human in a pack of rural shape-shifters will do that to you, but then couple it with some mean fighting skills and a fiery temper and you end up with a woman that few will dare to cross.
However, when the only father figure in her life is brutally murdered, and the dangerous Brethren with their predatory Lord Alpha come to investigate, Mack has to not only ensure the physical safety of her adopted family by hiding her apparent humanity, she also has to seek the blood-soaked vengeance that she craves.
After escaping the claws of Corrigan, the Lord Alpha of the Brethren, Mack is trying to lead a quiet lonely life in Inverness in rural Scotland, away from anyone who might happen to be a shapeshifter. However, when she lands a job at an old bookstore owned by a mysterious elderly woman who not only has a familiar passion for herbal lore but also seems to know more than she should, Mack ends up caught in a maelstrom between the Ministry of Mages, the Fae and the Brethren.
Now she has to decide between staying hidden and facing the music, as well as confronting her real feelings for the green eyed power of Corrigan himself.
Mack begins her training at the mages' academy in the hope that, by complying, the stasis spell will be lifted from her old friend, Mrs. Alcoon. However, once there, she finds herself surrounded by unfriendly adults and petulant teenagers, the majority of whom seem determined to see her fail.
Feeling attacked on all fronts, Mack finds it harder and harder to keep a rein on her temper. Forced to attend anger management classes and deal with the predatory attentions of Corrigan, the Lord Alpha of the shapeshifter world, her emotions start to unravel. But when she comes across a familiar text within the walls of the mages' library, which might just provide the clues she needs to unlock the secrets of her background and her dragon blood, she realises that her problems are only just beginning...
EXCERPT from Bloodfire:
Helen Harper is an English teacher currently living abroad in Malaysia. As a long time reader of urban fantasy, she finally bit the bullet and began to develop her own series of novels.
Helen has always been a book lover, devouring science fiction and fantasy tales when she was a child growing up in Scotland. "I always loved the escapism provided by those genres," states Helen. "No matter how bad life gets, you can always find a route out, even if only temporarily, in the pages of a good book."
The growth of urban fantasy fascinated her - the mix of reality and fantasy along with strong heroic female characters appealed from the very beginning, and inspired her to write her own.
I blog there the 18th of each month!
Elizabeth Alsobrooks's books on Goodreads
Illuminati - The Book of Life
ratings: 12 (avg rating 4.33)
Illuminati: The Book of Life
ratings: 5 (avg rating 4.80)
The Keeper's Secret: Tell-Tale Publishing's Annual Horror Anthology
ratings: 2 (avg rating 5.00)
2016 NaNoWriMo Winner!
My Newest Release
An Amazon Bestseller!
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