Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Russian Tattoos: Prisoner Tour, Excerpt & Giveaway!


Russian Tattoos: Prisoner
Kat Shehata
(Russian Tattoos, #2)
Published by: Limitless Publishing
Publication date: August 2nd 2016
Genres: New Adult, Romance, Suspense


American tennis player Carter Cook is being held prisoner by the Russian mafia…

Carter is the obsession of mob boss Vladimir Ivanov, a man she once loved. Now a mafia war has erupted on his home turf, and Vladimir’s enemies have put a bounty on her head to force him to surrender. If she is captured, his rivals will deliver a deadly ultimatum—his life in exchange for hers. The price for Carter’s freedom is Vladimir’s blood.

Vladimir holds ultimate power as godfather of the Ivanov Bratva…

He spent five years in a Siberian prison camp and has earned every tattoo inked into his skin. He is a powerful man who rules his crew with an iron fist.

But his enemies have discovered his only weakness—Carter. Vladimir knows if she stays in his world, he is handing her a death sentence, so he vows to get her home and never interfere in her life again. Giving up the woman he loves is the only way to protect her from the bad guys—including himself.

Vladimir’s rivals have a different plan for the ill-fated couple…

Some punishments are worse than death, and the head of the Ovechkin Bratva will go to any length to seek vengeance and inflict maximum suffering on Vladimir.

Carter may be Vladimir’s weakness, but she is also his only hope for survival. When the boss of the Ovechkin family threatens the man she loves, she must fight for Vladimir’s freedom before their rivals can deliver the fatal blow.

Love is blind—but it could also be deadly.


Excerpt

It was a bumpy ride in the back of the Range Rover as Boris drove down a dirt road that would eventually take us into the city of Ekaterinburg. The sun was setting, and all I could see for miles was farmland and an occasional roadside produce stand or a dilapidated shack that housed vendors selling hats, blankets, and handmade baskets.
Using my coat as a pillow, I rested my head against the window and closed my eyes. It would take a couple hours to get to town, and it would do me well to get some rest. I wanted to sleep, but the rocky terrain made it impossible. My head bobbed every time Boris hit a bump, and there was no room for me stretch out on the bench without using Vladimir as my body pillow. 
Sensing I was uncomfortable, Vladimir pulled me over to his side, rested my head on his chest, and draped his coat over me like a blanket. I aligned my body against him, snuggled into the crook of his neck, and inhaled the intoxicating scent of his cologne. He caressed my shoulder and I hugged him tighter, snaking my hand under his suit jacket and lightly scratching his back.
His chest heaved and he released a primal growl. I recognized that sound. It was a telltale little noise he made when I turned him on. I combed my fingers through his tousled hair and pulled him to me so I could reach his lips. I slid my tongue inside his mouth and groaned as we made out and his beard scratched against my skin.
My body was humming down there. Our bodies were hidden under his coat, and I slid my hand below his belt and rubbed his erection. I loved messing around with Vladimir, holding him, kissing him, touching his body, but I felt the urge to give him more. I wanted Vladimir to be my first. I had vowed to wait until my wedding night, but I wanted to lose my virginity with him.
One day I would get married to a man I could love without life-threatening consequences. Would I regret that I hadn’t saved myself for my future husband? Never. Spending the night with my sexy Russian would be the single greatest moment of my life. The thought of having all of him inside me made me flush with desire.
The terrain had gotten rougher since our scandalous make-out session broke out, and the truck bounced as Boris hit every dip in the road, probably on purpose, as he drove down the country road. Vladimir squeezed my ass as I touched him, and we made out with a sense of urgency like it was our last night on earth. Maybe it was.


Sequel to:

Author Bio:
Kat Shehata’s first career involved caring for exotic, dangerous, and adorable animals as a zookeeper. As an author, Kat weaves her love of animals into her work. She is the co-author of the New York Times bestselling children’s book Animals on the Other Side written with Sylvia Browne.
She is an avid tennis player and spends her free time playing matches in a recreational league in Cincinnati, Ohio. She holds a bachelor’s degree in theatre from Wilmington College, a professional writing certificate from the University of Cincinnati, and a master’s degree in creative writing from Spalding University. 

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A Double Shot of Bourbon Blitz, Excerpt & Giveaway!


A Double Shot of Bourbon
A.C. Land
(Bourbon Series #2)
Publication date: October 18th 2016
Genres: Romance, Young Adult


Lonna Stuart is proud to be the most beautiful girl most people have ever seen. But on the inside she’s dying. Her mother’s grating comments and her boyfriend’s obsessive control are suffocating her.

There’s only one person who sees the real Lonna.

Son of the infamous Bourbon Butcher, Collin toes an invisible line of perfection; he’s a football prodigy; a hard working employee; and, what Lonna’s boyfriend considers, a retard. A slight stutter keeps Collin back from making too many friends, but he observes better than anyone, and he sees things most people miss. He sees the pain in Lonna’s eyes and the sadness in her frown. When she nearly drowns, Collin’s the only one willing to sacrifice himself to save her.

Inspired by Collin’s overwhelming kindness and drawn to the sheer greatness of him, Lonna begins to pull away from her asphyxiating life. But unbeknownst to both of them, Collin’s father, busy planning an epic escape from prison.


Book trailer:
Sequel to:
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Author Bio:
Author of the Bourbon series, A. C. Land has been a lover of stories since she first read about Peter Pan giving Wendy an acorn and teaching her to fly. She always dreamed of telling big stories about small towns.
Residing on a cattle farm in Missouri, A. C. loves playing with her rambunctious Jack Russell, Riley, making decorative cakes, taking pictures, drinking pumpkin spice coffee, and hanging out with her nephews. 

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Monday, August 29, 2016

Dragon Knight's Ring Tour, Excerpt & Giveaway!

Dragon Knight’s Ring
Order of the Dragon Knights
Book Five
Mary Morgan

Genre: Paranormal Time-travel Romance

Publisher: The Wild Rose Press

Date of Publication: August 12, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-5092-0983-5
ASIN: B01HDWY852

Number of pages: 366
Word Count: 89,500

Cover Artist: Debbie Taylor

Book Description:

Death destroyed their love. Yet, can a trio of Fenian warriors roll back time to reunite two lost souls?

Crusader, Adam MacFhearguis is on one last quest to the standing stones in Scotland where he seeks to bury the past. However, a silent prayer sends him to an unknown future and to his beloved Meggie. When he uncovers a shocking revelation, Adam questions everything about the woman he thought he knew and loved. He may have traveled the veil of ages, but time is now his enemy.

Margaret MacKay lives a life in the future without the memories of her past—her death. When Adam arrives at her door confessing he knows her, she is confused and wary. With each passing day, she yearns to learn more from this stranger. Yet, when a truth is revealed, can she trust the man to unlock the chains from her mind and heart?

Will love free the bonds to unite the two lovers who were doomed centuries ago? Or will evil finally claim victory over the Dragon Knights?

Amazon       BN      Kobo     The Wild Rose Press     ARe


Excerpt

Meggie brushed her fingers over the leather pouch. “It feels empty.”

“Are you not tempted to take a wee look inside?”

She snatched her hand back. “I’m not peering inside the man’s belongings. As soon as he wakes, he and his horse can leave.” Giving the horse a firm pat, Meggie walked out of the stall and away from her smirking cousin—only to run smack into her other cousin, Lena.

“Blast,” snapped Meggie, grabbing her cousin by the arm to help steady them both. “Sorry, didn’t see ye,” Seeing the excitement in Lena’s eyes, she stepped back. “What?”

“I hear you have a Highlander in the guest room,” she replied, giving Meggie a wink. “Are you going to share?”

Meggie placed her hands on her hips. “He’s not my Highlander. Feel free to have him, though as soon as he wakes he’s gone from here.”

Lucas strode out of the stables, wiping his hand on a cloth. “I think I’ll go introduce myself, since I think this man bothers you. You keep stating he must leave as soon as he wakes.”

Lena pushed her cousin aside. “No, Lucas. I will go check on him.”

“Ye are both crazy,” protested Meggie. “He’s just a man.” Stepping past them both, she marched away from the stables.

Approaching the entrance of the castle, her nerves tingled and the air cooled. Halting on the gravel courtyard, she slowly glanced up at the guest bedroom window. Gazing down at her was the dark Highlander. His hands were braced on either side of the glass, and Meggie could swear for an instant, she recognized him from somewhere. A dream, perhaps? The look he gave her pierced her soul, and she shivered.

“Impossible,” she muttered. “I don’t dream. And ye are leaving now.”

Breaking from his stare, Meggie entered the castle, almost running up the stairs. By the time she reached the guest room, her hands were shaking. Not even bothering to knock, she pushed open the door and stormed inside.

Her mouth became dry, unable to form the words to order this giant out of her home. His bulk blocked the light from the window as he leaned against the ledge staring at her. She was not one prone to swoon at men—any man, but this one made her a jumbled mess. Moving to the table, she picked up his sword and took it over to him. His eyes widened as she approached and she fell into their dark blue depths. 

“I…um…” she stammered before continuing. “Ye should leave.” There, she got the words out.

Instead of reaching for his sword, the man lifted two fingers and caressed her cheek. She gasped, the touch searing her skin, and she took a step back. She could see the look of shock pass over his features, as if he felt the same reaction.

Meggie shoved the sword into his arms and ran for the door. Yet, when her hand touched the handle, she heard him speak.

“Dinnae leave me again, Meggie.”

****

About the Author:

Scottish paranormal romance author, Mary Morgan resides in Northern California, with her own knight in shining armor. However, during her travels to Scotland, England, and Ireland, she left a part of her soul in one of these countries and vows to return.

Mary's passion for books started at an early age along with an overactive imagination. She spent far too much time daydreaming and was told quite often to remove her head from the clouds. It wasn't until the closure of Borders Books where Mary worked that she found her true calling--writing romance. Now, the worlds she created in her mind are coming to life within her stories.








Flesh and Blood Blitz, Excerpt & Giveaway!


Flesh and Blood
Cynthia Rayne
(Dixie Mafia Series, #1)
Publication date: August 29th 2016
Genres: Adult, Contemporary, Romance


Sometimes it takes a bad guy to catch a killer…

Belle Nunn is a desperate woman. Someone’s following her, watching her—to make even matters worse, she was fired six months ago and hasn’t been able to get a job since. Belle’s down to her last ten bucks has no idea how she’ll make the rent when she’s abducted by Dixon Wolf’s henchman. Belle’s estranged father, Emmett, borrowed money from the Dixie Mafia for his latest get rich quick scheme and—big surprise—Emmett skipped town, leaving her holding the proverbial bag.

Dix is a loan shark and launders dirty Dixie Mafia money. Since his wife died, he’s devoted all his time and energy to the organization—and being bad pays damn good. Belle hasn’t seen Emmett in years and she’d like to keep it that way.

The mob boss is taken with her and offers Belle a job, her empty wallet won’t allow her to refuse—mob mistress. When Belle’s life is in danger, Dix steps into the unlikely role of hero.

Can Dix save her? And can they have a real relationship, one that isn’t based on sex and commerce?



Book Trailer:
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Author Bio:
Cynthia Rayne is a USA Today bestselling author and co author of the Amazon bestselling Four Horsemen MC series. Cynthia Rayne's first erotic book was written when she was thirteen. Of course, the most risqué scene involved kissing, but it was the talk of her middle school! In her spare time, she enjoys dating, shopping, reading way too many romance novels, and drinking a truly obscene amount of coffee 

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Saturday, August 27, 2016

Neil Blitz, Excerpt & Giveaway!


NEIL
Sybil Bartel
(Uncompromising #2)
Publication date: August 22nd 2016
Genres: Adult, Contemporary, Romance


Ex-Danish Military Special Forces, built like a legend, and uncompromising in every way—Neil Christensen didn’t walk into my life. The Viking-sized warrior crashed it like a hurricane.

The moment he showed up at my strip club, my life fell to shit. South Florida’s most ruthless motorcycle gang, the cops, the Feds—they all want something I don’t have, something the Viking took from me.

I thought I could run, but the motorcycle gang caught me. Now the only thing standing between me and an unmarked grave is a warrior I don’t trust.

I’m not afraid to die, but I am terrified of weathering the storm. Because when a Viking decides to unleash his fury, no one is going to come out unscathed. 
Warning: This book contains alpha heroes, offensive language, violence and sexual situations. Mature audiences only. 18+
NEIL is a full-length, standalone novel and is the second book in the Uncompromising Series.
TALON, the first book in the Uncompromising Series is also a full-length standalone novel and is available now.

Syb2



EXCERPT


He threw the gear in park, cut the engine and opened his door. The cab filled with the sound of cicadas and I glanced around in a panic. Before I could think what to do, my door opened and he undid my seat belt.
“Get out.” His features were more austere than in the warehouse.
I trembled. “No.”
“Not a request.”
Viking was alpha, all alpha. He commanded everything but he’d never forced me to do anything. Anxiety licked at my conscience but I swung my legs out of the truck because showing fear was worse than defeat.
My feet hit the ground and I looked up at him with every ounce of defiance I had. “Now what?”
His shoulders dropped, he leaned toward me and his body language went from tensed restraint to liquid seduction in half a second. “Look up,” he gently commanded.
Was this a trick? Was he only pretending to not be mad? Reluctant to take my eyes off him, I glanced at the dark sky. “What about it?”
“What do you see?”
I swallowed past the tightness in my throat. “Night.”
“The moon and stars,” his low, quiet voice corrected.
I didn’t like this. Him gentle, making me look at the stars, this wasn’t the man who’d killed to save my life. “So?”
Huge, warm fingers wrapped around the back of my neck. “The same moon that was there last night.” He moved closer. “The same stars that will be there tomorrow night.”
His body heat curled around me like everything I’d ever wanted and I pushed back. “Is this some kind of proverb?”
“Same as the night sky, I was there yesterday and I will be there tomorrow.”
My throat closed up, my chest tightened and I fought tears. It was the single most beautiful thing anyone had ever said to me. And it was a complete lie.

Syb3
Author Bio:
Sybil Bartel grew up in Northern California with her head in a book and her feet in the sand. She dreamt of becoming a painter but the heady scent of libraries with their shelves full of books drew her into the world of storytelling. She loves the New Adult genre, but any story about a love so desperately wrong and impossibly beautiful makes her swoon.
Sybil now resides in Southern Florida and while she doesn’t get to read as much as she likes, she still buries her toes in the sand. If she isn’t writing or fighting to contain the banana plantation in her backyard, you can find her spending time with her handsomely tattooed husband, her brilliantly practical son and a mischievous miniature boxer…
But Seriously?
Here are ten things you probably really want to know about Sybil.
She grew up a faculty brat. She can swear like a sailor. She loves men in uniform. She hates being told what to do. She can do your taxes (but don’t ask). The Bird Market in Hong Kong freaks her out. Her favorite word is desperate…or dirty, or both—she can’t decide. She has a thing for muscle cars. But never reply on her for driving directions, ever. And she has a new book boyfriend every week—don’t tell her husband.
To find out more about Sybil Bartel, be sure to follow her on Twitter (she loves to hear about your favorite book boyfriend!), visit her website, like her on Facebook or join her Facebook group Book Boyfriend Heroes for exclusive excerpts and giveaways. 
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Friday, August 26, 2016

Player Tour, Excerpt & Giveaway!

Player
What Happens on Campus
Book One
M L Sparrow

Genre: New Adult, Contemporary Romance

Date of Publication: September 1 2016

Number of pages: 254 Paperback
Word Count: 79053

Cover Artist: Deranged Doctor Designs

Book Description:

Let the game begin…

After a tragic accident which leaves her tormented by guilt, Chloe Newman accepts a scholarship to study a St. Joseph’s University. Traveling from England to Texas, the last thing she expects is to meet the schools charming quarterback on her first night. However, Parker Mitchell is a player both on and off the field. 

Parker is immediately fascinated by Chloe and, after a rocky start, they manage to find a way to make their relationship work despite interference from others on campus, including Parkers jealous ex, and the ghosts that haunt Chloe’s conscience.

But, the real test comes when they visit Parker’s family over Christmas break and he finds himself being pulled back into their lifestyle...   


Excerpt

 “Where are you going?” Karla asked, propping herself up on an elbow to watch him as he pulled on his jeans and looked around for his shirt. “Why don’t you just spend the night here?” Smiling seductively, she sat up and let the sheet drop.
Parker couldn’t help but look, what guy could resist? Karla had a perfect body and great tits, too bad she was as mean as a snake when she wasn’t trying to sweet-talk a guy into her bed.
“Come on, Kar,” he sighed – he was sick of her games already and he’d only been back on campus a couple of days – “you know how it is. We’re just fuckin’, nothin’ else. I’m not cuddlin’ you like some doe-eyed freshman you got wrapped around your finger.”
“Fuck you, Parker,” she spat angrily, seductive look completely gone, “I wouldn’t date you if you were the last guy on earth.”
Laughing, he found his shirt slung over the desk and pulled it on. “You already fucked me and it was amazin’. You’re one of my favorite booty calls.”
“You’re such a dick,” she raged, still gloriously naked, “get out of my room.”
“A minute ago you asked me to stay.”
“Aaahh! Get out!” She threw the bottle of water on the bedside table at his head.
Dodging the missile easily, he scooped up his sneakers, jammed his baseball cap onto his head and left, still laughing.
He should probably feel bad for acting like such a jerk, he thought as he knelt to tie his laces in the hallway, but Karla could take it; she was as mean as they came and he couldn’t force himself to feel sorry for treating her the way she treated everyone else. Anyway, she knew the deal – he wasn’t looking for a girlfriend; he needed to concentrate on football. This was his third year and he had to work extra hard if he wanted to get into the NFL when he graduated. Besides, he didn’t want to be tried down to just one girl, where was the fun in that?
Practice had started yesterday and it had felt good to get back out on the field with his team and best mate Dawson. This year was going to be a great one, he could feel it; the team was fresh and strong, with new talent having joined in the form of several freshmen.
Bypassing the elevator, since it was broken already, he headed for the stairs. Despite what his family thought, university wasn’t all fun and games and he needed to get in a good night’s sleep before practice tomorrow morning.
Halfway down the stairs joining the third and fourth floor, he paused as he turned the corner and saw a girl leaning against the wall with her hands braced on her knees, panting. Beside her stood the most humongous suitcase he’d ever seen, which she’d evidently been hauling up the stairs.
As he watched, she reached down to the black rucksack at her feet and fished out a blue inhaler, taking a couple of puffs before straightening up again and pushing the hair back from her red face.
“D’ya want a hand with that?” he asked, making her jump, her head whipping around to face him. Immediately, he felt his body reacting, even after spending the afternoon screwing around with Karla. The girl was gorgeous. Even with a face as red as a tomato.
Big brown eyes stared up at him in surprise, framed by dramatically long lashes, and for a moment all they did was look at one another, before her face became impossibly redder and she glanced away, biting her lip uncertainly.
“A hand would be great,” she admitted, glancing scathingly down at the big blue suitcase, “it’s really heavy.” Her words didn’t register for a minute as his brain tried to place her accent. British, he thought, clipped and well-rounded. He could listen to her talk forever.
Taking the last few steps, he held out his hand, introducing himself. “Parker Mitchell, at your service.”
“Hi,” she smiled up at him, tucking a strand of dark, coffee colored hair behind her ear before reaching out to shake his hand, “I’m Chloe. Chloe Newman.”
“What floor you on?”
“Sixth,” she answered with a downwards quirk of her lips.
Whistling between his teeth, he grabbed the handle of the suitcase as she picked up her rucksack, putting the inhaler back inside. Half way there, at least.
Lifting the case, he huffed out a breath, “Jesus… I’m impressed you got it this far, it’s probably heavier than you are.”
Wincing guiltily, she twisted a piece of hair around her finger in a nervous gesture. “Sorry. I can probably manage if…”
Laughing, slightly dismayed that she thought he’d let her finish lugging it up the stairs when he was easily twice her size, he shook his head. “I got it. Imagine how bad I’d feel if I woke up tomorrow and found that the cute British girl had a heart attack tryin’ to get to her room.”
“Well, okay then.”
Grinning at the blush that once more filled her cheeks, he gestured up the stairs, “Lead the way.”
If she went in front, he could check out her ass. Not the most gentlemanly thing, but then he’d never claimed to be a gentleman. And she had a good ass. He felt his heart beat faster; she was all lush curves and long, denim clad legs. Tall, for a girl; he was six three and she was only a head or so shorter. He was in deep shit, Parker thought as he followed her up the stairs, trying to tear his eyes away.
By the time they reached the sixth floor, he was sweating. Her suitcase really was fucking heavy. Stopping outside room 605, Chloe turned to him, “This is me. Thank you so much for your help.”
“My pleasure,” he drawled, setting the case down beside her and stepping back. “See you around.”
“Yeah,” she murmured, lifting a hand in farewell as he walked away, “see you.”
When he got back to the stairwell, he couldn’t help but look back, seeing her enter the room and pull the door shut behind her. He should have got her number.




About the Author:

M L Sparrow is currently the author of four books: two YA Sci-fi’s, The Demon Inside and Ghetto, an Adult Fantasy called No Rest for the Wicked.

Player will be her first foray into the world of Contemporary Romance. She will write pretty much anything that pops into her head, no matter the genre, and enjoys keeping her readers guessing as to what she will write next, though you can pretty much guarantee that there will be some degree of romance!

As well as writing, M L Sparrow enjoys travelling and has been to some amazing countries in the past few years, her favourite of which was Japan. She never fails to gather inspiration from her travels and has an endless supply of ideas for future novels…






Breaking Through Blitz, Excerpt & Giveaway!


Breaking Through
Juliana Haygert
(Breaking #3)
Publication date: August 22nd 2016
Genres: Contemporary, New Adult, Romance


From the outside, Hilary Taylor has it all—beauty, money, a caring family, good friends—but inside she’s struggling, full of fears. Events from the past forever changed her, and though years of therapy have helped, she still has a long way to go…. No matter how much progress she’s made, Hil isn’t sure she’ll ever be able to trust men again. Especially one who sees her as nothing more than a pretty face. But Hil knows it’s time to face her fears, and the best way to do that is to start small.

To Guilherme Fernandes life is about three things: polo, parties and pretty girls—only one of which he takes seriously. Gui is too focused on his polo career to waste time on relationships, however he can’t help but be intrigued by the beautiful yet troubled Hil. So when she decides she’d like to learn more about horses, Gui is happy to find himself in the right place at the right time. But what was supposed to be a one time thing, soon turns into a weekly date.

As Gui helps her discover a new found love for horses, Hil’s guard begins to crumble. The more support Gui offers, the more she wants to accept…and the more the lines of friendship blur. Despite knowing better, Hil can’t help it as Gui slowly breaks through the walls she’s built. Now she has to decide if she’ll stop him there, or if she’ll finally let her fear go and allow Gui to reach for her heart. 
Companion novel of Breaking Free and Breaking Away. Can be read as a standalone. Genre: NA contemporary romance. Warning: strong language, sex scene, mentions of rape and domestic violence.


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Grab book 1 – Breaking Free – FREE for a limited time only!
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Author Bio:
While Juliana Haygert dreams of being Wonder Woman, Buffy, or a blood elf shadow priest, she settles for the less exciting—but equally gratifying—life of a wife, mother, and author. Thousands of miles away from her former home in Brazil, she now resides in North Carolina and spends her days writing about kick-ass heroines and the heroes who drive them crazy. 


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Thursday, August 25, 2016

Truthsong Tour, Excerpt & Giveaway!

Truthsong
Songmaker
Book 2
Elisabeth Hamill

Genre: YA Fantasy

Publisher: Fire and Ice YA

Date of Publication:  July 26, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-68046-326-2

Number of pages: 236
Word Count: 80K

Cover Artist: Caroline Andrus

Book Description:

The long awaited sequel to SONG MAGICK

When Telyn’s song magic freed ancient spirits of the Wood, it also awakened a long-slumbering evil. Now she and her beloved Mithrais must battle a spreading shadow that ignites crippling fear, and deal with the unexpected consequences of magic’s return.

More danger arrives with a royal delegation to the forest realm, sweeping Telyn back into court intrigue and the sights of a murderous lord. Mithrais may be forced to choose between his service to the Wood or the obligations of his royal blood.

As Telyn’s bond with Mithrais grows, she is torn between her love for him and the freedom of a wandering bard’s life. But when dark magic plunges the Wood into chaos, she must balance the two halves of her heart—or the Fates may take Mithrais from her forever. 

Amazon     Smashwords     BN    Fire and Ice

Excerpt

Even in the quiet hour before sunset, the Wood filled with music.
One didn’t need the ears of a bard to hear it in the rhythmic jingle of Bessa’s harness, or when doves sang lullabies to each other through the branches. A heartspeaker couldn’t fail to miss the new counterpoint percussion of magic,like the steady, silent beat of a drum.
But underneath it all, only Telyn knew the song of the Wood itself.
A secret composition of chords and harmonies existed beneath the ambient sound of leaves. Sometimes it skirled with a wild and unruly air, and other times echoed with heartbreaking sweetness through the glades. It changed with the landscape, never the same melody twice. It would rush past her in waves, or sing in eloquent whispers almost beyond her scope of hearing. Even when she wasn’t listening, murmurs of song invaded her subconscious like a child humming in hushed tones.
“Seed-voice!”
And in not-so-hushed tones.
Telyn pulled back on Bessa’s reins. The grey horse snorted and slowed to a stop. One of the newer Gwaith’orn hailed her—the truly Old Ones seldom used such common means to get her attention. For those reborn in the wake of the great spell cast in the Circle, it remained a new and exciting thing to be able to speak aloud. As a result, they were impulsive and sometimes a little rude.
The resonant vibrations marked the nearby presence of the tree folk. She caught her breath in surprise when the brush on her right parted in invitation. Bessa snorted, turning the wagon from the stony road into the temptation of soft, green grass. Telyn laughed and gave the mare her head. “Well, that’s settled then. Are you ready to camp, my dear?”
The sun lowered upon the tree-broken horizon, ready to slip behind the mountains. Light and darkness balanced in equality for the moment.But shadow always lay in the deepest parts of the Wood, gray-green areas that seldom saw a shaft of sunlight. Here the Gwaith’orn held court. Once trapped by an ancient spell, her magic and life force bought their freedom. Telyn advanced without fear, for these strange creatures were now her allies.
All around her, the Wood pulsed with the promise of magic, but the Gwaith’orn remained silent. She sensed mischief, and her mouth quirked upwards in a smile.
A new tree, with bone-white upper limbs and wide green leaves, stood in the lee of the old, sprung from the roots of its ancestor. Telyn pulled the wagon into the clearing. Somewhere beyond, the sound of water announced the presence of the river she followed south from Ilparien. She dismounted the bench seat and walked into the heart of the grove, leaving Bessa content to crop the grass.
“Well, I’m here.” Her hand brushed the star-shaped leaves at head level, the tree grown to a startling twelve feet in less than two months. They all grew with unnatural speed—nearly five hundred of them at the last count. “What do you need, young-Old-One?”
The voice came from behind and made her jump, even though she thought herself prepared. “You might have passed us by and not known, Telyn.”
She whirled. The being that stood at her shoulder gave a laugh like the trill of a bird’s song, high and sweet.Its honey-colored eyes crinkled in amusement.
“Not known what?” she asked. It was still extraordinary to see the Gwaith’orn take human-like shapes in the groves.The young ones seemed to revel in it,although they could only manifest within the root-spans of the old trees. Early on, she started to call these manifestations “sprites” because of their playful nature.The name was now indelible in Tauron lore.
Slender white limbs gestured with the grace of breeze-caught branches. “Mithrais is not far away. We believe he will look for you.”
Telyn grinned in delighted surprise. “Thank you for telling me. I’ll stay here tonight.” 
Mithrais and his fellow Magians were busytesting the magical knowledge bestowed upon them by the Gwaith’orn. There were alsomore domestic reasons her lifemate had been unable to join her. These obligations called Telyn to turn her wheels south and begin the three-day journey to the northern gate of Cerisild.
Time had passed without discernible measure in a joyful blur of music and storytelling.She brought the news of magic’s return to the people of the Wood, the shelter of the deep forest more like home by the day. But the passage of weeks meant the inevitable approach of midsummer and the arrival of a royal delegation.
She began to remove Bessa’s harness to allow the horse a well-deserved rest. “There are visitors coming to Cerisild,” she told the sprite while she worked. “Have you sensed anyone entering the Wood who might mean me harm?”
            “None who seek you. There is a mind full of chaos. It is getting closer, but we sense no threat there.”
            She suspected this mind belonged to Vuldur, Lord of the East. An unfortunate, deadly history lay between them. Telyn would never be able to change the fact she killed his son in an act of self-defense.She had just begun to forgive herself for the accidental spell that allowed an already charged situation to escalate. Vuldur only knew his heir was dead—and who was responsible.
            “That may be the man who sent the bounty hunters.” Telyn watched the sprite as it followed the erratic flight of a moth through the grove. “I don’t think he will try to harm me himself, but I do fear him.”
            “Few can harm you now, Seed-voice, unless you allow it.” It chased the moth to the edge of the root span and watched it flutter off. “We have given you the knowledge of what to do with your magic to keep yourself safe.”
            “And I thank you.” There had been little opportunity to test the knowledge left imprinted in her mind, a gift of gratitude from the Gwaith’orn. She didn’t like the thought of using song magic as a weapon. It was contradictory to the self-imposed rules she held concerning her unique powers. “I hope I don’t meet anything my blade can’t turn aside.”
            “Danger will not wait for a sword to be unsheathed or an arrow to be drawn. The darkness which grows may prove more challenging.”



About the Author:


Elisabeth Hamill is a nurse/wife/mom by day, unabashed geek/chocoholic/closet sci fi and fantasy novelist by night. She lives with her family, dog, and cat in the wilds of eastern suburban Kansas, where they fend off flying monkey attacks and prep for the zombie apocalypse.

Song Magick, her first novel, won first in category for Teen Fantasy in the 2014 Dante Rossetti Awards for Young Adult Fiction.