Saturday, April 8, 2017

Mistakes Blitz & Giveaway!


The Mistakes
Elizabeth Brown
(Off-Limits #3)
Publication date: April 4th 2017
Genres: Adult, Romantic Comedy

It started as a promise.
A momentary lapse in sanity had me agreeing to two months of celibacy.
Then Mark Bishop showed up. My new boss was cocky, arrogant, and unfortunately, sexy as hell.
My first mistake?
Thinking I would last two months.

The Mistakes – A Sexy Office Romance
Book III in the Off-Limits Series – Winnie and Mark’s story.
Dual POV. Can be read as a standalone.

Warning: This story contains mature humor, a lot of cursing, and of course, sexual situations. It’s intended for adult readers who enjoy that kind of thing.


SNEAK PEEKS:

“So you’re saying I have to give up all the dicks?”
“Yeah. All the dicks. That’s my price.”
I sighed. “For how long?”
She pressed her lips together. “Two months.”
My eyebrows shot up. “Two months!”
“Yep. Just to give yourself time to D-tox,” she quipped, over-annunciating the D.
I grinned and shook my head. “That’s cute. You think that all up on your own?”
She chuckled. “Clearly I’ve been hanging out with you way too much.”
“Problem?” he asked, looking down at me as he sheathed his perfect erection.
I turned back to the desk and shook my head. “Uh-huh.”
“You sure?”
I nodded. “No, it’s fine. I just… forgot how big you are. You sure you wouldn’t rather have a blow job?”
He leaned into me again, his lips against my ear. “Believe me, as much as I’ve fantasized about shoving my dick in your mouth to shut you up, I’m not entirely convinced you wouldn’t bite it off.”



Author Bio:
Hocker of smut, drinker of wine, and more often than not- NSFW. 









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Fighting Attraction Blitz, Excerpt & Giveaway!


Fighting Attraction
Sarah Castille
(Redemption #4)
Published by: Sourcebooks Casablanca
Publication date: April 4th 2017
Genres: Adult, Romance

My sweet, sexy Penny has a dark side. Just like me.
I will have her. And then I will lose her, and suffer a lifetime of regret.
Rampage. Everyone loves him. He is Redemption’s top heavyweight fighter and the biggest gossip in the gym. But he isn’t the teddy bear everyone thinks he is. He’s hiding a dark secret-and he hates himself for it.
Twice a week, Rampage transforms into Master Jack, a notorious dom only the most hard-core submissives will play with. How can he-a Southern gentleman, bred to respect and protect women-want to dominate them?
But Penny Worthington wants him. Beneath her pearls, kitten heels, and prim British exterior beats a tortured heart…Master Jack is the only one who can set her free. 
Redemption Series
Against the Ropes
In Your Corner
Full Contact
Fighting Attraction
Fighting Attraction is the fourth book in a full-length, standalone, award-winning series by New York Times bestselling author, Sarah Castille, featuring deliciously sexy MMA fighters and the women who can’t help but love them.


EXCERPT

“This is where you don’t want to be as a smaller grappler,” he says in his ‘I’m a professional MMA fighter’ voice. “How are you going to get out of this hold?”
The question isn’t so much how am I going to get out of it but do I want to get out of it? And with Rampage’s hard, muscular body on top of me, his legs between my thighs, his hardness pressed tight against the juncture of my thighs, I’m not sure I do.
Rampage stills, and his eyes widen.
Bugger. Did I say that out loud?
“I’m not sure I want you to either.” His breath is warm against my ear. “But if you don’t move, we’ll both get kicked out of class. So, what are you going to do?”
“Um…overhook an arm, bridge and roll, then get on top into the closed guard?”
Rampage drops his weight, stealing my breath. “Won’t work against a larger opponent. You need to blast through my hips and use a bit of strength to overturn me. Strength you don’t have. Your best bet is to escape back to half guard.”
“Okay.” I wiggle just the tiniest bit against him, seeking more of that delicious pressure against my clit. With my vibrator on high, I was able to take the edge off this morning, but with Rampage on top of me, I’m wound up all over again.
A low growl rumbles in his throat. “You’d better be wiggling ’cause you’re moving into half guard,” he warns. “Now straighten up and make your transition.”
“This is as straight as I get,” I mutter. “I’m a woman. Women have curves. I happen to have a curve in my back, and it wants to stay that way.”
“I can feel your curves, darlin’. Every one of them. And it’s making it fucking hard to concentrate. Make your move ’cause if you don’t do it soon, I’ll have to go out and get a cup.”
I suck in a sharp breath. “You aren’t wearing a cup?”
“No.”
Don’t move. Don’t move.
I can’t help it. I move. Or, more accurately, I grind.
Wham. Rampage transitions into half guard and flips me onto my front. While I try to get my knees under me, he straddles me and grabs my hips in his huge hands. Heat surges through my body, and I groan quietly in my throat. “What are we doing?”
“Hips up,” he barks. “Ass down.”
“They’re connected,” I point out. “Where the hips go, the ass follows.”
Shilla snorts a laugh and drops to the floor beside me. “Like this.” She stretches her body out into a perfectly smooth, flat, plank position, holding it with one hand. On her knuckles. Then she rolls to show me what Rampage wants me to do.
“If my body was one solid sheet of muscle, I could do that.” I tense my muscles, try to force myself into a position my body is not meant to go. “However, I have a weakness for chocolate biscuits, lazy Sundays on a blanket in the park, scones with clotted cream, and chicken tikka with thick, white naan bread slathered in butter. Unfortunately, it lowers my middle center of gravity.”
Rampage’s hands slide over my stomach, his touch firm, arousing my whole body with the promise of what those fingers could do if they drifted just a little lower. My mind goes hazy with desire and I can’t tell if I’m flying or if my hands and feet are still on the floor. I don’t care about jiu jitsu transitions. I don’t care that Shilla is watching us with curious eyes or that we’re supposed to be doing a group drill. I don’t care if the whole class is watching us. All I care about is feeling connected to Rampage and wanting this moment to last forever.
He lifts me right off the floor, as if I weighed nothing, and pulls me against his broad chest, my ass against his hips, feet barely touching the mat, his hands firm around my body. My stomach clenches. My heart pounds. He leans down until his mouth is so close to my ear, I can feel the heat of his breath.
“I told you not to touch yourself last night,” he whispers.
A flush of adrenaline tingles through my body, followed by a thrill of fear. “What are you going to do about it?”


Author Bio:
New York Times and USA Today bestselling author, Sarah Castille, writes contemporary erotic romance and romantic suspense featuring blazingly hot alpha males and the women who tame them. She is the author of the Redemption series, the Sinner’s Tribe MC series, and the Legal Heat series. A recovering lawyer and caffeine addict, she worked and travelled abroad before trading in her briefcase and stilettos for a handful of magic beans and a home on Vancouver Island. 

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Friday, April 7, 2017

If You Were My Vampire Tour & Excerpt


If You Were My Vampire
A Shades Below Novel
Book 2.5
L.J.K. Oliva

Genre:  Paranormal romance

Word Count:  approx. 100,000

Cover Artist:  L.J.K. Oliva

Book Description:

Sometimes, your life begins the day you die…

Asher Evans is a man haunted by history. Turned vampire in the concentration camp that claimed his family, he has never recovered from the loss of his humanity. Removed from the mundane world and resigned to facing eternity alone, he’s completely unprepared when the unthinkable happens: he meets a girl.

As the youngest daughter of San Francisco’s most prestigious psychic family, Grace Alan has always known about the things that go bump in the night. She especially knows about monsters…including the fact that she is one. Grace has spent her entire life trying to be normal, and finally, things seem to be looking up. There’s only one problem.

She’s just been murdered.

When Asher stumbles upon a dying Grace, he knows he should leave her to her fate. But in a world that looks at him and sees only a monster, Grace reminds him what it feels like to be human. He can’t bring himself to let her die.

Unfortunately, rescuing her has consequences. Female vampires have been illegal for centuries. In saving Grace, Asher may have condemned them both.

Can be read as a standalone



Listen to the Playlist at YouTube and Spotify
Excerpt

Traffic was scant on The Embarcadero.  Even going at a light pace, it didn't take long to reach Fisherman's Wharf.  A stiff wind was blowing in off the Bay, and the crowds of tourists had long since departed in favor of warmer retreats.  Seagulls feasted on the scraps of sourdough bread bowls sticky with clam chowder left in their wake.
A lone street musician remained on the empty sidewalk.  He was seated on a small, rusty stool, a battered guitar perched on his knees.  He sang in a haunting tenor, his voice crisp and clear in the stillness.  The words of the song echoed off the surrounding buildings.
Someone to watch over me...
Asher stopped.  "This song was written the year I was born."
Grace didn't answer.  Asher was about to look down when her hand slipped into his.
Perhaps it was the cold.  Perhaps he was still high from the streetcar ride or the race down Market Street.  Either way, he clearly wasn't in his right mind, because instead of pushing her away, he spun her around so she was squarely in his arms.
Her eyes widened.  "What...?"
"Dance with me."  He couldn't believe himself.  Asher took a deep breath.  "I mean, unless you don't—"
Grace coiled her fingers through his, lifted her other hand and rested it on his shoulder.  She met his eyes.  Asher wasn't sure what she saw there.  A blush stole across her cheeks, but she didn't look away.  "You'll have to show me how."
Asher released the breath.  He hadn't been aware he was holding it.  Gently, he reached up and adjusted her hand on his shoulder.  Then he set his hand to her waist.  "It's easy.  Just move with me."
He heard her breath stutter, and her hand trembled a little in his.  For some inexplicable reason, that pleased him.   He firmed his other hand against her back, and started to move.  It was nothing complicated, just a simple two-step he'd seen his parents do.  Asher closed his eyes.  For a moment, he could almost remember a time when things had been normal.  A time when he'd been happy.
A time when he'd been human.
He jerked his eyes open again.  His throat ached.  He swallowed ruthlessly, tried to lock down the place inside him that felt poised to crack wide open.  He started to pull back.
Grace's fingers tightened around his, and she rested her cheek against his chest.  Her hand slid from his shoulder and curled around the back of his neck.
Asher wasn't sure he remembered how to breathe.  "Grace," he whispered.  The emptiness inside him expanded.  "I can't..."
"It's easy."  He felt her voice in every fiber of his being.  "Just move with me."
Asher stared down at her.  The emptiness receded a little.  The vise around his chest loosened.  He closed his eyes again and let Grace hold him, let the scent of patchouli leak into his senses and anchor him firmly in the present moment.

They danced until the song ended, and the street musician finally packed away his guitar.

About the Author:

L.J.K Oliva writes urban fantasy and paranormal romance, with a heavy dash of suspense. She likes her whiskey strong, her chocolate dark, and her steak bloody. L.J.K. likes monsters… and knows the darkest ones don’t live in closets.



Newsletter-  http://eepurl.com/xRJuD









Dominion Rising Blitz, Excerpt & Giveaway!


Dominion Rising Collection
Publication date: August 8th 2017
Genres: Adult, Fantasy, Science Fiction

Dominion Rising: 22 books. 99 cents. #DominionRising
Find the Science Fiction and Fantasy reads you’ve been craving! Whether it’s alien invasion or dark fairy tales, heart-pounding galactic adventures or cyberpunk romance, Dominion Rising will satisfy with a thrilling mix of 22 BRAND NEW FULL LENGTH novels set in fantastical realms.
Sword and sorcery, far-flung galactic empires, alternative history, epic magic, slipstream futures: this collection of carefully selected, exclusive novels is sure to please and delight readers of speculative fiction.
Over five thousand pages packed with aliens, faeries, vampires, gargoyles, warriors, telepaths, space pirates, starship captains, hapless mercenaries, street urchins, robots, cyber-enhanced humans, badass heroines, and lost princesses. These award-winning, New York Times, USA Today and International bestselling authors have left no stone in the science fiction and epic fantasy universe unturned to bring you the very best escape from planet Earth.
All the novels are only available in the Dominion Rising collection. 
Authors:
The Dominion Rising collection includes new novels from New York Times bestselling authors Gwynn White, Erin St. Pierre, Margo Bond Collins, D.K. Holmberg, Felix R. Savage, Tom Shutt, Melanie Karsak, and Erin Hayes; and USA Today bestselling authors P.K. Tyler, Anthea Sharp, Lisa Blackwood, S.M. Schmitz, and K.J. Colt.
The set also includes new work from award-winning and international bestselling authors S.M. Blooding, D.S. Murphy, Timothy C. Ward, Daniel Arthur Smith, Tony Bertauski, Rebecca Rode, Cheri Lasota, Ann Christy, Becca Andre, Logan Thomas Snyder, Dean F. Wilson, and Best American Science Fiction & Fantasy notable author Samuel Peralta.



Pre-Order for only 99 Cents!

Q&A With the Dominion Rising authors:
We asked some of the authors of Dominion Rising to share a little about their upcoming releases. In this interview, we asked the authors to tell us about the protagonists of their Dominion Rising Novels:
Tell us about the protagonist of your Dominion Rising Novel:
Author: Rebecca Rode
Dominion Rising Title: Flicker
Ember is a gypsy on planet Earth. All she wants is to pay off her father’s medical bills and avoiding a forced marriage. Getting kidnapped and sold to the empire wasn’t exactly the plan.
*
Author: Melanie Karsak
Dominion Rising Title: Curiouser and Curiouser
My novel is a steampunk retelling of Alice in Wonderland. In my novel, Alice is an ex-thief who is trying to escape her former life in London’s seedy criminal underbelly. Unfortunately, when the Hatter gets himself in trouble, Alice is pulled back exactly where she doesn’t want to be—working a job for the Queen of Hearts with a man she despises so much that she might still love him.
*
Author: Tom Shutt
Title: Iron Tamer
Mal is a young, cursed boy who grows up in the isolated mountain town of Pointe, which has been disconnected from the rest of the Empire for at least a generation. When he accidentally gets the local “police” force, the Brigade, nearly killed by a raging forest spirit, Mal is forced to take the Walk—a one-way ticket to death in the caved-in mine shaft that once connected Pointe to civilization. He makes it out alive, though, and soon discovers that he has an incredible gift—the ability to manipulate metals. And at the behest of an unlikely new friend, he starts on a journey to become an iron tamer. Mal is a spirited, kind, and sometimes overly trusting young man who wears his heart on his sleeve and more than once gets the wool pulled over his eyes, but his dedication to his friends and belief in himself sees him through many dangers.
*
Authors: Erin St Pierre and Gwynn White
Dominion Rising Title: Reign of Bones and Embers
A young woman with something to prove, freedom to fight for, and a whole lot of sass.
*
Author: Daniel Arthur Smith
Abernathy “Abby” Squire is an Indiana Jones turned detective. He’s forever young, due to anti-aging technology common in the future. But his youth is only aesthetic. Over the centuries he’s been a university professor, an agent for the Homeland, and most recently a proprietor. He’s uncomfortable with his role in the Plane Wars and is reluctant when called back to help with a case because many aspects remind him of his past.
*
Author: Tony Bertauski
Title: The Waking of Grey Grimm
There are three protagonists in The Waking of Grey Grimm. Figuring out who they are and where they are is the story arc. Each of them is in search of something deeper in life and the relationships that bind them together. In the end, they discover that reality is not confined by our five senses.
*
Author: Samuel Peralta
Title: “Labyrinth of Steel”
The protagonist of any of my stories is you.
*
Author: Erin Hayes
Title: Touching Infinity
Clementine is a cyborg, more machine than human, but she’s dealing with an identity crisis of where she fits in. She’s a master hacker, the leader of her space pirate crew. She doesn’t have many scruples, but she’ll put her life on the line to save her crew.
*
Author: Anthea Sharp
Title: Star Compass
Diana Smythe is an orphan, a pickpocket… and a mathematical genius. My novel, Star Compass, follows her journey from the gutter to the stars and is set in a Victorian Spacepunk universe, where an eternally cloned Queen Victoria has ruled for centuries and the British Empire spans the galaxy.




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Thursday, April 6, 2017

First Semester Blitz, Excerpt & Giveaway!


First Semester
Sarah Fischer
(Elton Hall Chronicles #1)
Published by: Limitless Publishing
Publication date: April 4th 2017
Genres: New Adult, Romance

Violet Carrington is a freshman at Elton Hall University, but she’s about to get more than just her degree…
Throwing herself into the insanity of college life, Violet makes new friends and even catches the eye of a handsome guy. Everything is as it should be, until one night out she crosses paths with a mysterious, sinfully attractive man. Not only does he manage to ignite a burning desire deep inside her, he also happens to be her new, off-limits college professor.
Professor David Berneli is only visiting Elton Hall, but a lot can happen in a year…
Everyone knows any personal relationship between professor and student is strictly prohibited. But somewhere in between lectures and after school events, Violet manages to dazzle him. She not only challenges David at every turn, but also tempts his every desire. No matter how hard they try to ignore the crackle of sexual tension between them, a few furtive glances quickly turn into clandestine meetings in his office.
By giving in to temptation, Violet and David fall deeper down the rabbit hole…
As the semester ticks on, Violet begins to question not only the whirlwind affair that threatens to consume them both, but David’s desires as well. If he’s not willing to risk everything for her, she’ll have no choice but to leave the comfort of his arms without looking back.
Before any decision can be made, a looming threat comes out of the shadows, putting her and the passionate relationship she has with her professor in danger.
Now Violet must fight for her own life, and for the one she wants to spend it with…

Guest Post by author, Sarah Fischer

ELTON HALL UNIVERSITY
Since I didn’t get my Hogwarts letter (I’m still waiting), I created a college for my upcoming novel, Elton Hall Chronicles: First Semester.
Elton Hall University is situated in a small town in Pennsylvania, next to a popular suburb. But what makes Elton Hall unique, is that the school is run out of an old castle. Most of the classes are held in the thick stone walls, some in the towers, and some of the bigger lectures are held in the former throne room.
The school has a special horticulture program that helps to maintain the grounds and the flower beds that surround the castle in the spring and summer time. There are giant fields between the castle, the dorms, the apartments, and the cafeteria. Paths, flower pots, gazebos, and gardens are scattered around the grounds. It is the perfect place to grab a blanket and study in the grass during the spring, build a snowman during the winter, or take a romantic walk among the changing leaves.
The school holds about 10,000 students and used to mostly be a suitcase school. Students would party on Thursday and leave for home Friday after class. To keep this from happening, EET was established. EET is the Elton Entertainment Team. In the Fall, they organize the Welcome events and bring a famous comedian to perform. In the Spring, they set up a huge concert. Throughout the year, they host smaller events to encourage club participation and to keep the students out of too much trouble.
As with a lot of old schools, the motto is in Latin. “Cras Sit Vivere” which means “To Learn Is To Live”. The school’s crest has two dragons, a key, a bell, and a rock. The key is a symbol of knowledge, companionship, and dominion. The rook represents strategic thinking and the bell represents someone who isn’t afraid to be heard when times are hard. The dragons protect all of these things to give you the ultimate environment to learn, succeed, and grow. The university’s colors are blue and gold. Blue is considered a color that helps improve anxiety and calmness while gold represents wisdom and wealth. All together, they make up the Elton Hall University crest.
The school has its own police department. The men and women who are patrolling the grounds are official police with real responsibilities and power. They are the people who ensure that the students are safe from any outside threats. But, what happens when the threat is, not only on campus, but one of the men you’re supposed to trust?
For more details about the characters attending and working at Elton Hall University, check out the About Sarah page. There is also a book blurb and an excerpt of one of the steamy scenes to tease you. Elton Hall Chronicles: First Semester will be released in the Spring of 2017. Not long to wait!

Author Bio:
Sarah Fischer works hard fighting the good fight one background check at a time. But before she got into the business of being nosey, she graduated with a degree in criminal justice and married the calm to her crazy. Then she had a scary health scare and needed heart surgery. While recovering, she finally had the time to write stories filled with passionate romance. Her first book, Elton Hall Chronicles: First Semester was published in April and book two, Second Snowfall, will be out shortly. In her spare time, she manages a review blog called, A Kiss At Midnight Reviews.

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The Rainbow Clause Blitz, Excerpt & Giveaway!


The Rainbow Clause
Beth Bolden
Publication date: April 3rd 2017
Genres: Adult, Romance

Heisman winner. Member of the National Championship team. NFL Rookie of the Year. Quarterback Colin O’Connor knows he’s become the ultimate romance novel cliché: all the success he’s ever dreamed of but nobody to share it with. Too bad it’s not as simple as asking out the next girl who intrigues him – because the next girl to intrigue him probably won’t be a girl at all.
Unexpectedly, the solution comes in one neat package: Nick Wheeler, lead journalist for a leading sports and pop culture blog. Hired by Colin’s team, Nick comes to Miami to shine a spotlight on the NFL’s most private quarterback.
The heat in Miami rises when Nick discovers that Colin is nothing like the hollow personality he pretends to be in interviews and he’s even hotter in person than on his Sports Illustrated cover. Nick knows this is the story of his career, and after spending his teenage years as a bullied, closeted teen, it hits very close to home. What he needs is to help Colin share his story while keeping their growing relationship from boiling over in the press, but what he wants is to tell the world.



Author Bio:
Beth Bolden lives in Portland, Oregon with her supportive husband and their beloved cat. She wholly believes in Keeping Portland Weird, but wishes she didn’t have to make the yearly pilgrimage up to Seattle to watch her Boston Red Sox play baseball. She’s a fan of fandoms, and spends too much of her free time on tumblr.
Beth has been writing practically since she learned the alphabet. Unfortunately, her first foray into novel writing, titled Big Bear with Sparkly Earrings, wasn’t a bestseller, but hope springs eternal. She’s published two novels, The Lucky Charm and Getting Lucky, and a short story, Eye of the Storm. Her next novel, Summer Attractions, will be released in August 2016.


a Rafflecopter giveaway

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Wednesday, April 5, 2017

The Billionaire Shifter's Secret Baby blitz, Excerpt & Giveaway!


The Billionaire Shifter’s Secret Baby
Diana Seere
Publication date: April 4th 2017
Genres: Adult, Paranormal

A masquerade ball in Malibu led to a single night of passion under the stars… and set the wheels of fate in motion.
Three years ago, waitress Kara Jablonski gave in to her wilder side with a fellow weretiger, the rock star billionaire Lars Jensen, a sun-kissed blond drummer with a viking’s build. Six weeks later, the pregnancy test came back positive.
Knowing Lars’ powerful, overbearing mother would be able to take the baby away, Kara did what she had to do.
She hid him.
Now chance has brought Lars back into her life, his touch making her pulse beat like the old legends. So strong, so loud, so bold.
So right.
But can she trust him to want more than another night under the stars? Can she trust him to claim his son as his heir… and Kara as his mate?
Fate responds with a roar…
The Billionaire Shifter’s Secret Baby is a novella that stars Lars Jensen, a member of a shifter family with viking blood featured in earlier books in the series, and is part of the Howls Romance series as well: http://howlsromance.com


EXCERPT

Under normal circumstances, Kara Jablonski would’ve been happy to pause and admire the towering blond god as he strode across the elegant lobby below the Platinum Club. His expensive black suit was obviously custom-made, cut perfectly to his broad shoulders, narrow waist, and powerful thighs. Above the impressive physique, thick hair swept away from his forehead in loose waves, gleaming like gold in the sunlight pouring in through the Boston skyscraper’s high windows. His eyes were a piercing cobalt blue. And even more stunning than the rest of him, one perfect dimple indented his chin as if kissed by a naughty, slutty angel.
Right… there. She could almost feel it under her lips.
Under normal circumstances, she would’ve taken the time to drink in every inch of him, knowing he’d never notice a girl like her even if she were openly drooling like a starving stray cat.
Meow.
But this was not a normal circumstance.
Heart thudding against her ribs, Kara lifted her bag in front of her face and scurried behind a row of potted ficus trees. After a moment, she risked peeking through the leaves at the god.
No, not a god.
A weretiger.
The breath seeped out of her, leaving her limp. How dare he look so good, so beautiful, so… unchanged?
Two years, almost three. But he hadn’t aged a day. Of course, shifters had exceptionally long lives, even shifters from the poor, forgotten branches of the breed—like her.
But she was certain she had aged a lifetime in the past two years, almost three. Everything had changed since that night.
Everything.
What was he doing here? If she’d ever thought he would show up in Boston, let alone this building, she never would’ve taken the waitressing job at the Platinum Club. So far as she knew, he wasn’t even an American. He was a globe-trotting playboy, he and his brothers loaded with as much old money as the Stantons, the powerful family of shifters who owned this building.
Well, she assumed they did. When Eva called her about working here, she’d implied as much. Eva, also a shifter of modest means, although not as modest as Kara’s, managed the Platinum Club. Eva was always looking for good waitstaff, she’d said, especially lately since there had been unusually high turnover.
He should be out in the world, enjoying his wealth, prestige, and gorgeousness—in both man and tiger form. He shouldn’t be parading around Boston when she was just figuring how to get through her life without him, not that she’d ever had her life with him, except for that one night. She and Nana had just moved into a two-bedroom apartment, and this job had an elite clientele with a salary to match. A salary they needed desperately.
Where’d he go? She peered through the branches again, an uncontrollable sigh drifting out of her.
He was out of sight and out of her life.
Again.
Another sigh.
Seeing him wasn’t only painful, but dangerous. However, as tempted as she was to turn and run out of the building and never look back—perhaps even shifting to speed her escape—she straightened her spine and held her ground.
She couldn’t leave. She needed this job. They all did. The days of only thinking of herself had passed.
After waiting another minute, she stepped out from behind the potted trees and walked to the elevator. Although the waitresses had a dressing room they could use before their shifts, Kara preferred to work as she’d arrived, in her favorite black dress and ballet flats. She liked how it made her invisible—or maybe she liked an excuse for why most people didn’t notice her, and even men she’d danced with, men she’d kissed, men she’d— Well, even they seemed capable of completely forgetting her. Easier to blame it on her boring clothes than on her face, body, or personality.
He’d walked within five feet of her and hadn’t even blinked. Neither one of his golden-lashed eyelids over his sapphire-blue irises had flickered a millimeter. She’d even gasped a little when he’d stepped in front of her. All morning, in fact, she’d been as jumpy as a cat at a pool party, sweating too much, breathing too fast—she’d thought it was nerves about starting the new job.
But it was nerves about him.
The father of her child.
And he didn’t even know her name.

Author Bio:
Diana Seere was raised by wolves in the forests outside Boston and San Francisco. The only time she spends in packs these days is at romance writing conventions. In truth, Diana is two New York Times and USA Today bestselling authors who decided to write shifter romance and have more fun.
Sign up for her New Releases and Sales email newsletter here: eepurl.com/beUZnr 

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The White Raven Blitz, Excerpt & Giveaway!


The White Raven
Carrie D. Miller
Publication date: April 1st 2017
Genres: Adult, Fantasy

Finally, after nearly a thousand years, Aven Dovenelle is truly happy. In her thirteenth life, she’s settled into the now witchcraft-friendly Salem, Massachusetts, where she has opened her own shop and made great friends—there’s even a possibility of love blooming.
Despite her contentment in this new life, the truth of Aven’s existence haunts her. She is cursed to live life after life, with all the memories of her horrific past. For all her powers, she’s never discovered why she was cursed nor how to break it. Hope may come in the form of a mysterious white raven, who has followed Aven through each of her lives. Although they have a connection that neither understands, it may prove to be her salvation.
An evil force from Aven’s past isn’t finished with her. Driven by vengeance and hate, he emerges to torment her anew and threatens all she’s built. He strikes without warning—her loved ones are caught in the wake of his attack and may not survive the encounter.
The cost of her happiness and freedom could be too high as Aven uncovers the truth about her curse and that dark magick lingers.


PROLOGUE:

Calico, California
1886
They are close. I sense their hatred. Though I am prepared, I must force myself to be calm. I do not fear what comes although I know I will be dead soon. Running from this place now is not something I wish to do, nor do I care to fight anymore. I’m ready to seek out a new land, a new time, and to continue on to the next life I am cursed to begin.
My Pyrenees is at attention by my side, ears pricked and hackles raised. “It is time to go, my girl.” She whines and lowers her head, her big brown eyes pools of concern. “You go ahead,” I say with a smile. “I’ll be along soon.”
I hear the gallop of fast-moving horses and the shouts of agitated men as they approach my home. The sound of heavy boots bounding onto the porch makes my skin prickle. Torchlight fills the windows and I steel myself. The front door splinters when one of those heavy boots comes through it.
“I knew there was somethin’ not right about you.” The man in the lead is Morris Stiles, the town’s bully. I’m sure he took quick ownership of the lynching party so he could exercise his insatiable need to inflict pain and suffering without the threat of retribution. Not to mention the chance to snare himself a witch.
His face seethes with hostility. The men who crowd into the room behind him wear the same expression. The grin forming on his face as he looks me over is filled with decaying stubs that once passed for teeth. Many months ago, I offered to ease his pain, but was met with the back of his hand followed by a brown, revolting gob of spit aimed at my face.
Life in Calico has been filled with hardships. Each time I felt a modicum of acceptance, someone like Morris Stiles would speak against me. My goats and chickens were taken one by one, and the sheriff was not the least bit sympathetic or helpful in retrieving them. I am not one to back down so I held on, hoping for the relief of simply being ignored.
Now, yet another angry mob is at my doorstep. I know my lover has not had a direct hand in this. I am certain that due to the effects of much drink, his lips recounted events he should have kept hidden. I confessed to him this very morning that I am, in fact, a witch, and his reaction was what I had expected. I am unable to hide my true self for very long, and I am either revealed by my actions or by my simple confession. I will not deceive my lover with lies and trickery. I have told myself time and time again to stay away from love but the pangs and yearnings cannot be ignored, not even by one such as myself.
There is no fear on my face as I glare at the five men who have invaded my little home. Each one averts his eyes. As I inhale, my lungs fill with the thick, heavy air the men brought with them—full of sweat, dirt, whiskey, and anger.
I glower at the still grinning man. “Morris Stiles, you are a fool.” My voice resonates throughout the room. The sound makes the men jump and look around, wide-eyed.
Morris grunts and spits a brown mass onto the floor. “Them’s funny words coming from a whore a’ Satan!”
I scoff. “Tell me one thing, just one thing—any of you—that I have done to remotely reflect the work of the devil?” No one meets my eyes and nothing intelligible passes from their lips. Feeling the mood of his men shift, Morris lurches forward.
“Don’t matter! You do things no livin’ person should be doin’. Ain’t but God himself that can mend a broke back, or make Jenny’s fever break even after Doc said nuthin’ could be done. You got wrong in you, woman, and we gon’ fix that!” He lunges for me. Emboldened by Morris, three other men follow. I do not cry out as they grip my arms and shoulders with rough, dirty hands. Morris binds my hands in front of me. The smell of their breath and body odor stings my nose. I am ushered from my home with shouts and laughter. The night is fresh and crisp after the all-day rain. I welcome the clean air into my lungs.
“Why don’t she fight?” someone mutters behind me. “Why don’t she scream? Ain’t never known a woman not to go screamin’.”
“’Nother thing that ain’t natural ’bout her. Like them purple eyes!”
I am shoved up onto an old, work-worn mare. A timid voice comes from behind the rest.
“But she made Pa’s leg stop hurtin’. He’s able to get out in the fields again. Ma said it was a miracle and that God was workin’ through her.”
“Shut yer mouth, boy!” Morris slaps the young man hard on the back of the head. He grips the boy by his collar. “Yer Pa’s lucky she didn’t turn that leg into a cloven hoof!” He pushes the boy backward and turns to face me.
“We gonna show you what we do to witches!” He throws his head back and hoots manically. Several men follow suit; some punctuate their exuberance with gunshots into the air.
The horse underneath me snorts and pulls back from the man holding the reins, jerking her head from side to side. He yells obscenities at her and yanks her bridle. I run my hands along her taut neck and make her listen to my words in her mind. She calms to the song I sing to her.
I am paraded down the main street through town towards the cemetery where the gallows stands. Many outlaws have met their end in this manner, and it appears so will I.
The cemetery is unusually bright this evening with torches on every fence post. They cast a harsh yellow glow onto the weathered wood of the gallows. I am aware of the shouts, calls, and other verbal assaults around me, but I hear nothing except the steady beating of my heart. I focus on controlling my movements and breathing. I will not give them the satisfaction of seeing my fear. While I am not afraid of death itself as I have done it eleven times before, it is the act of dying I fear. But I am pleased by the method they have chosen, for it is a fast end if done properly.
I am shoved up the steps and I will my legs to keep up. I am jerked around into position in front of the freshly tied noose of new rope. Morris presents it and me to the crowd—the ringmaster to this circus.
“Lookie what we got here!” He shoves me forward as if they couldn’t already see me. “By her own confession to Roy Shackleford, she’s a gawd damn witch!” The crowd becomes deafening.
I catch the eye of the town preacher at the far end of the massive throng. His face is smug and his eyes dance with spiteful glee. Under my glare, his grin falters and he moves behind a large elderly woman who’s covered herself in a quilt and grasps a wooden cross tightly in her meaty fists.
Morris continues to speak random sentences describing my unnatural and ungodly ways, inciting the crowd further. I look upon their hateful faces, devoid of any resemblance to the humans they were earlier in the day. I pity them all for their small, feeble minds. I become aware that Morris is attempting to put the noose around my neck.
“I wish to speak!” I yank myself away from Morris’s grip. Much to his dismay, I am stronger than I have led him to believe.
I am booed and hissed at, and the crowd calls for my immediate death. I clench my teeth and hiss back at them. “Silence!” The force in my voice, the unearthly sound I make, strikes them dumb. “You will listen.
“Almost half of you have benefited from my healing skill.” My gaze seeks those I readily find who have been under my care. Their eyes do not meet mine.
“I have caused no harm to any of you, nor your land, nor your property. I have done only good deeds. Refute that, anyone!” People shift their feet and hide their faces behind those in front of them. The people in the front look at the ground. In the silence, I hear the flapping of large wings and see the heavy flames of the torches dance in the air currents. I cannot see the creature but I know it. I have always known it. A sharp, angry cry from the bird peals out above the crowd. There are gasps and cries of fear; some crouch down as they stare into the black sky. I feel strangely calmed by the bird’s presence.
Morris steps forward to speak, and my thoughts close his windpipe. He grips his throat, his eyes widening. My eyes warn him not to proceed. I will be allowed to speak, Morris, but you no longer will.
“As I look at each of your faces, I know none of my words will make the slightest difference. Your minds are small and petty. The only danger here is you. You believe you are ridding the world of some great evil tonight. But all you are doing is worsening your own lives. Ponder that as you lay your heads on your pillows. The evil here is you, for there is none in me.”
I release Morris from where he stands still gasping for air. As he tries to recover himself, he waves several men forward to put me back into place. Coughing is all he can manage as he puts the noose over my head and jerks it tight. When he is close to my face, he spits at me. The smell of it would be nauseating if I could feel anything other than rage.
He shoves each man out of the way so he is the one to pull the lever that controls the trap door upon which I stand. He stumbles and is still sputtering to get words out, but he can only cough and spit. As my last act of defiance, I make those the only sounds that will ever come out of his mouth. My petty revenge makes me smile.
The movement of the well-worn mechanism opening the trap door is loud in my ears. It is all I hear though I’m certain the crowd has reached a frenzied state. For the length of a breath, I am suspended in midair. I look above the crowd as I plummet downward, seeing a flash of white wings in my periphery.
I relax my neck and let the noose perform its job without resistance. I want this over quickly, to have my neck snap immediately. The noose tightens as my weight pulls my body down. The pain is but a quick jolt and then the world is black and silent to me.

Author Bio:
Carrie D. Miller was born in Hutchinson, Kansas, on October 31, 1970. She credits her vivid imagination, as well as her sugar addiction, to being a Halloween baby. In a former life, she was an executive in the software industry for many years. Her career in the technology world included software product management, website design, training, and technical writing just to name a few. Although Carrie’s written a great deal over the decades which has been read by thousands of people, software documentation allows for about as much creativity as pouring cement. At the age of 45, she decided to chuck it all to become an author which had been a life-long dream.

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Tuesday, April 4, 2017

Wicked Tour & Excerpt!

Wicked
A Damned Novel
LM Pruitt

Release Date: April 2017

All things truly wicked start from innocence.

—Ernest Hemingway

Book Description:

Being a demon isn’t all it’s cracked up to be.

Especially when you make a massive mistake your first month on the job.

Even more so when your sister is one of the all-star players on the other team.

Add in the rumors of not one but two coups and it’s not hard to see—something wicked this way comes….

Excerpt 

“How can I help you, ma’am?”
“Did you just call me ma’am?” Abby blinked once before breaking in to peals of laughter. “You did. Oh, aren’t you just adorable?” She waved away my answer before I could offer it, continuing to laugh for another moment before sighing and shaking her head. “You almost distracted me from why I’m here.”
“My punishment.” I nodded, already resigning myself to my fate. “Okay. Let’s hear it.”
“I need you to be watchful.”
“I beg your pardon?” It was my turn to blink and frown, not quite able to hide my confusion. “I’m not sure I follow.”
“There have been… rumors.” She paused and I realized, with no small degree of shock, her hesitation was real and not for show. “I wouldn’t call them disturbing, not yet, but the potential is there.”
“Rumors about what?” When she didn’t answer right away, I bit the inside of my cheek to keep sighing in exasperation. Every time I thought I was finished with secrets and lies, something happened to prove me wrong. “You have to tell me what I need to watch for otherwise it’s pointless.”
“There are some of Lilith’s girls who are… unhappy with the way she’s running her business.” Abby uncrossed and recrossed her legs, her expression growing serious. “It isn’t the first time people have been upset but there’s something different this time around. Something which has Morning Star… concerned.”
“And you want me to deal with it?” I couldn’t hold back my bark of laughter. “I’m sorry but anything which worries the ruler of Hell is probably more than a little out of my league.”
“Which is why you’re not being tasked with solving the problem merely observing and reporting back.” If her patience grew any more exaggerated there was a good chance she would choke on it. “Surely that isn’t outside of your range of expertise.”
“No, but it’s not as if I associate with anybody other than Lacey.” I paused. “Or Asmodeus.”
“Then you should see about changing that, hmm?” She stood, drawing the panels of her coat together before tying the belt in a precise, deliberate knot. “My understanding is you’ve had a few disagreements with Kelly. Maybe you should take the high road and bury the hatchet.”
“Right.” I stared at her, certain she was telling me something but not sure what, exactly, it was. “Any other people I should cozy up to?”
“I’m sure Asmodeus is going to send an emissary to plead his case. It will, more than likely, be Cam.” Her smile was once again cool and lovely and very, very calculating. “Again, I know the two of you aren’t on the best of terms. Perhaps you should see what you need to do in order to make amends.” Her smile widened a fraction of an inch. “I’m sure you have a great deal of practice at manipulating men to do what you want.”
“Some.” I stood, clasping my hands at my waist and pasting on what I hoped would be considered a pleasant, accommodating smile. “And when would you like for me to report to you?”
“Let’s see in one week—that’s a few days after Lilith takes up the collection, which should give you time to have a few drinks with a few different people.” Abby’s smile slipped in to something which seemed almost genuine. “I’ll confess, I expected you to push back a little harder. I’m happy to see you don’t have nearly the same problem with authority as your sister.”
“Joanne? Problem with authority?” I snorted out a laugh. “Are we talking about the same woman?”
“I think once you truly learn who your sister is, you’ll be as surprised as she was.” Abby lifted her brows and gave me a slight nod. “In a week, then.”
I waited until the smell of brimstone dissipated before dropping back to the sofa, my legs suddenly more than a little weak. Resting my elbows on my knees, I cradled my face in my hands, taking long, deep breaths.

What the hell had I gotten myself in to?


About the Author:

L.M. Pruitt has been reading and writing for as long as she can remember. A native of Florida with a love of New Orleans, she has the uncanny ability to find humor in most things and would probably kill a plastic plant. She knows this because she's killed bamboo. Twice.  She is the author of the Winged series, the Plaisir Coupable series, Jude Magdalyn series, the Moon Rising series, and Taken: A Frankie Post Novel.









The Penance of Pride Blitz, Excerpt & Giveaway!


The Penance of Pride
T.S. Adrian
(Shadyia Ascendant, #2)
Publication date: March 31st 2017
Genres: Adult, Fantasy

Shadyia’s Adventure Continues!
‘I will never leave you, and I will always come for you.’
Shadyia’s vow to her lover is put to the test when the Innocenti rise and envelope the sisterhood she adores.
As the magician she aided hunts for the path to an ancient city, the new madam of the Silver Rose strives to please the evil that has promised, upon its freedom, to make her a queen.
Meanwhile, the advisor to the Innocenti prepares the final stage of his strategy to crush the faith of the old gods. He needs but a bit of magic to carry out his ultimate plan.
Magicians. Zealots. Madams. Whores. It’s all the same to he who waits within the enchanted box. Soon he will unleash his servants, and every horror of the abyss will once again consume humanity.


CHAPTER 1:
IN THE SHADOW of the Black Tower, Shadyia nudged the shoulder of the scruffy, tired woman strolling by her side. When Deresi turned her head, she offered her a spirited wave. Hello, my sweet friend. They both needed a hot bath and a good night’s rest, but that hardly mattered. Deresi was alive. They had each survived the horrors of Mirrikh’s labyrinth with whole skins and sound minds.
Deresi crossed her eyes and stuck out the tip of her tongue.
Shadyia shifted her attention to the damp street. Yes, I know. I should stop gawking at you. She couldn’t help it. Her fingers ached to get lost in the tangles of Deresi’s red curls; her ears yearned for the sounds of Deresi’s passion, and her skin craved the warmth they had not shared often enough. I almost lost you. The death they had faced during the past two days made her crave another night, like the smallest fox in a litter peering at the last quail egg. Words Shadyia had spoken that morning they lay entwined in arms, legs and blankets—the morning Deresi had pledged her love—coursed through Shadyia’s veins and spurred her heart to beat. I will never leave you, and I will always come for you. Shadyia had never made such a promise to anyone before.
She yanked her thoughts from the past and listened in on the men walking a few paces in front of her. Aaron was asking his apprentice what it had been like to hear Verthandi’s voice in his thoughts.
“I didn’t know it was his voice,” Benjamin replied. “I thought it was mine.”
Aaron swept a hand through his graying hair and narrowed his gaze at the young man. “But you had no idea how to open the tower. Didn’t it seem odd to you that these thoughts were in your head?”
Benjamin shrugged. “It does now. At the time, I thought I was just guessing, experimenting. Do this, turn that, push, pull—and then the doors opened. I couldn’t believe it.”
Shadyia seized the pommel of her blacksteel sword. She couldn’t believe Benjamin had left Janell outside while he bumbled around inside the Black Tower. Janell may be a fellow sister of the Silver Rose, but for all of Madam Amrita’s training, she was a mewling kitten lost in a rainstorm. Anderholm was no city to walk about alone, even for a veteran with a drawn sword and a stern gaze on every dark alley. Shadyia tamped down her anger. If Benjamin hadn’t opened the doors of the tower and entered, she, Deresi and Aaron would now be facing a slow death from thirst and starvation in Mirrikh’s oubliette, the place the ancient magician had used to forget people who had angered him.
Aaron led them north. They followed the smooth stones of Queen’s Way, the scrape of their footfalls the only sounds in the damp streets. Shadyia glanced around. Too quiet. Today was the second day of Samprina and so the citizens were either fasting in their homes or visiting relatives in the country, but the silence didn’t feel right. Anderholm was a city of noise. The clap of hooves, the roll of wagons, merchants bellowing over one another, armed guards hollering to clear a path for a snobbish lord on horseback, the squeal of orphaned children, the bark of dogs—chaos was the lifeblood of Anderholm. Quiet did not become the trade capitol of the northern realms.
“Here, this way.” Aaron turned them down a long alley between the Ministry of Art and a pottery warehouse. As Shadyia recalled, the alley ended at the Rum Barrel Inn near the Bridge of Swans. Aaron’s Featherquill Manor, packed with the historical books he had written over his many centuries, was a short walk up a winding road past the other mansions in the Artisan Quarter. When they arrived, he had promised to treat them to an evening of relaxing and recovering. Shadyia blew a gust through her lips at the thought. After two days and a night in the dark, twisting halls of labyrinth, pits of spikes hidden under false floors and shadow beasts that drained the life from their victims, she craved a quiet evening in Deresi’s arms more than all the gold in Anderholm. I just hope Janell made it back there without trouble.
Midway through the alley, a single-horse cart, driven by two cloaked men, rolled toward them. Shadyia and the others flattened themselves against the wall. She turned her head as it passed. Some mortified soul lay wrapped in a heavy cloth in the back of the cart. Likely the men were gravediggers on their way to—The corpse! Shadyia recognized its white boots.
“Stop that cart!”
The driver snapped his reins against the horse as Aaron grabbed the air and twisted his fist. The wheels locked and dragged until the cart screeched to a halt. The driver lashed his reins again, but the horse only reared. The men, one thin and the other large, jumped back off the bench, stepped around the wrapped figure and dropped to the street. They threw open their cloaks and pulled out a pair of long knives. Shadyia drew her blacksteel sword as she and Aaron met them halfway. Aaron twisted his hands, palms outward, and the fat one was hurled against the wall by an unseen force. The other stood dumbfounded until Shadyia knocked the knife out of his hand with a downward slash and pressed the tip of her sword under his chin. “Over there, move,” she said, urging the driver, a man with dark lines tattooed on half his face, to stand next to his fat companion. He lifted his hands in surrender and complied.
The force holding the large man released, but Shadyia moved the tip and pricked the fleshy pouch under his chin. “Drop the knife.”
The knife clattered to the street and the fat man lifted his portly arms.
“Dee, check the cart.”
Deresi snatched the thin man’s knife off the ground and leaped into the cart. Shadyia heard her cut the ropes. She glanced down the alley to make sure no others were coming, but only Benjamin stood there, ringing his hands and looking as if he were not sure what he should do.
Silence from the cart drove Shadyia to risk a glance. Deresi was sitting back on her heels, her shoulders slumped, staring down at the person she had partly exposed beneath the cloth. “Dee, who is it? Is it Janell?”
Deresi’s mouth moved but no sound came out. “I…”
What’s wrong with her? “Dee!”
“I can’t tell!” Deresi briefly covered her lips with trembling fingers. “I think it is.”
Benjamin charged, jolting Shadyia as he passed, and leaped into the cart.
A freezing wave passed over Shadyia. Deresi couldn’t tell? She glanced at Aaron, who had remained at her side, then faced the portly man and jabbed him with the tip. “What did you do to her?”
The fat man’s jaw shuddered and a drop of blood leaked down his pouch. “She asked to join us.”
Shadyia nearly stabbed him again when Benjamin’s wail echoed along the alley. “Mentor, please help!”
Aaron rushed the cart as Shadyia coiled back her sword, daring either man to move. She glanced as Aaron further pulled open the cloth, stained dark red on the inside, to reveal a naked body. Benjamin wailed anew as Aaron placed a hand on her forehead. Deresi scooted back into the corner of the cart and stared at Janell, as motionless as one posing for a sculpture. Benjamin sobbed. “What have they done to her?”
“She’s alive,” Aaron said.
Movement from the tattooed man caught Shadyia’s attention. His hands came down—back!—and she stabbed deep in his shoulder.
He snarled, reeled and fell against the wall, his hand over the wound. “You bitch.” He checked the blood on his fingers.“Next time it will be your eye.”
A bellow of anguish tore Shadyia from the men. Aaron fell off the cart, hit the cobbled stones hard, and rolled on the ground. Benjamin called his name and jumped down as Deresi stood high on her knees, her face pale. Benjamin kneeled and grabbed Aaron by the shoulders. “Mentor, what’s wrong, what’s happened?” Aaron knocked the hands away and rolled on his side, agony twisting his face. He howled and thrashed as if someone had set fire to his clothing. Shadyia glared at the men. Had they done something? No. They stood with gaping mouths and baffled stares.
His hands covering his face, Aaron seemed to bring his torment under control. He sat up and turned eyes of pure rage on Shadyia’s prisoners. “Innocenti. They mutilated her,” he said through seething gasps. “That one and that one. There was a third, but he’s not here. They raped and tortured her for hours.”
He pushed Benjamin back, rolled to his feet, and brought his hands up as if he were lifting the end of a table. The men slammed against the wall and slid up until their feet dangled.
“Vile warlock,” the tattooed one said then spat. “Fate will be your judge.”
Lowering her sword, Shadyia stepped back from Aaron, the wrath on his face choking her breath. Never had she seen him so enraged. A pair of sharp metal rods, twice as long as the men were tall, materialized in the air. With a clang of metal on rock that made her jolt, the spikes plunged into the stone at feet of the men.
They drifted forward and hovered over the sharp ends.
Terror filling his eyes, the tattooed one thrashed against the force that held him. “No, you can’t do that!”
The other pissed himself.
Shadyia reached out her hand. No, Aaron no. Don’t. The men deserved it, but not at the cost of Aaron’s humanity. She touched his shoulder, and a force struck away her hand.
Aaron didn’t even look in her direction. “Her name is Janell. Say it.”
“Janell,” both men said.
“Again.”
“Janell,” they repeated, louder.
Shadyia’s heart hammered as the stance of their feet widened. She couldn’t stop Aaron any more than grasp a boiling cauldron to stay its heat.
“Good,” Aaron said and pushed down his hands. The men dropped.
The spikes pierced their trousers between their legs. The men shrieked louder than Shadyia thought a human throat capable. Blood soaked their leggings as they slowly slid until their boots touched the street. She cringed before the horror. This had to be an illusion. Aaron had said he couldn’t make actual things, not without—
The men shrieked once more as the shirts behind their necks stretched and tore. The spikes reemerged, their tips glistening in blood.
Aaron turned his back on the screaming, flailing men and stepped into the cart. He pulled the cloth over Janell, leaving her face uncovered.
“I don’t know of a physician in Anderholm who could help her. Do you have any at the Silver Rose?”
“Yes, we do,” Shadyia replied, unable to stop her trembling. “And we use jilqu oil.”
He sat in the center of the bench and took the reins of the near panicked horse. Shadyia returned the blacksteel sword to its sheath and leaped in next to a pale-faced Deresi. Benjamin quickly joined her and the cart jerked straight thanks to an unseen force. Aaron tapped the reins.
The cries of the men followed as they rolled along the alley.
Darkness that made Shadyia think of the labyrinth pressed in on all sides as the wagon made its way along the forest road in Kingsleaf. Every bump the wagon’s wheels stuck jarred her like men beating her with their fists. Benjamin lay next to Janell and stroked what remained of her hair. The Innocenti torturers had hacked most of it off, probably with a knife. Tears made lines on his cheeks as he called her name. Janell didn’t respond.
Deresi sat with her back to the corner, hugging her knees. She didn’t speak or look at Janell. She’s as horrified as me, and not just as what had happened to Janell. Shadyia had never seen men impaled. The practice had been outlawed in Anderholm more than a century ago. The stories she heard had always seemed exaggerated. No man could actually survive an injury like that for more than a few seconds. She no longer believed that.
The rising moon gave them enough light to see the road, but just barely. Shadyia sighed. Soon they would arrive at the Silver Rose. Makayla will probably blame me for what happened to Janell. The new madam of the Silver Rose had commanded Shadyia not to leave the palace without her permission, and now she was returning in a wagon with a sister near death, a coin she was supposed to be seducing, his apprentice and Deresi. Fate hates me tonight. Shadyia chastised herself at the thought. If they had been a moment sooner or later, she never would have seen the cart and those vile men would likely now be burying Janell in a shallow grave outside the city. Aaron believed there were no gods, but at times like this, when events were too grave to be mere coincidence, Shadyia found it hard to agree with him.
She reached down and touched Janell’s neck. The pulse was there, but weak. She looked at Aaron, still at the reins. He hadn’t spoken since driving them out of the city and into the forest. Words formed in her mouth, but the will to utter them couldn’t cross her throat. The magic Aaron had used to kill those men wasn’t beautiful and wondrous. It wasn’t butterflies hovering over his hand or a variety of delicious treats to eat and drink. For the first time in her life, she feared a man. They cleared the forest and approached the Dawn Gate. She unbuckled the baldric holding blacksteel sword and hid it as best she could. If anyone searched the cart they’d likely find it. She didn’t care.
Aaron stopped the cart and jumped off. He walked to the back, gathered up Janell and carried her to the gate. Benjamin raced him there and franticly rang the bell. The minutes that followed passed in a blur of activity. Guardian sisters escorted them in, calling for Mrs. Amber, the palace physician. Sisters cried out as they saw Janell. The word spread and soon a crowd of weeping, angry or shocked women gathered round. Sleepy-eyed Mrs. Amber appeared and ordered them back. She asked Aaron to carry Janell to the nearest bed, a pleasure room off the west wing. Allowing only two assistants to follow, she placed guardians outside the door and told everyone else to wait.
The doors to White Hall flew open and Makayla stormed through with Thoria—as always—close on her heels.
“Who brought her?” The madam’s voice silenced the chamber.
Aaron stepped forward. “I did.”
The fury drained from Makayla’s face. “I see.” She smoothed her black dress. “What happened?”
“Innocenti raped and tortured her,” Aaron replied evenly.
Makayla’s long black hair covered half her face as she tilted her head. “Unfortunate.”
Shadyia’s fists tightened at her side. “Unfortunate? That’s all you have to say?”
“No, Sister Shadyia, that’s not all I have to say. We will tend to Sister Janell’s wounds as best we can. In the morning, I will prepare a letter of complaint against the Innocenti and have it delivered to the magistrate. They will see those who committed these acts are brought to justice.” Makayla turned and walked toward the audience, her heels clicking.
Shadyia allowed her a few steps. Not so fast, bitch. “Maybe they’ll start with you.”
Deresi, the sisters, guardians, Benjamin and Aaron stood as statues as Makayla halted. She rounded on Shadyia. “Watch your tongue, Sister, or I will have it removed.”
Shadyia’s rage coiled like a serpent about to strike. If she had kept the blacksteel sword and not hidden it in the wagon, they’d be cleaning Makayla’s blood off the walls and floor for a week. “Give that command and I will kill you and any who try to carry it out.”
Thoria drew her baton and advanced on Shadyia. Aaron rushed forward and intercepted the blond guardian with his body.
“Madam, please call away your guard.”
“Thoria, step back.”
Her scowl locked on Shadyia, Thoria obeyed.
Makayla put her hands on her hips, her long sleeves hanging down. “Speak your mind, Sister. Why do you say such a thing?”
“If you hadn’t sent Janell to the Kaolins, she wouldn’t have sought refuge with the Innocenti.”
“And if she had carried out my command, none of this would have happened. What sort of fool asks the Innocenti for anything?”
“The sort that cannot see them for what they are,” Shadyia replied. “The sort that thinks they are knights from a fairy tale. The sort that talks about joining them—” She leveled her finger. “—as you knew perfectly well!” Makayla huffed. “You dare accuse me of deliberately driving Janell to the Innocenti?”
“I do.”
Benjamin spoke up. “She didn’t go to the Innocenti. She came to me last night.”
Makayla pivoted toward him. “And who are you?”
“I am Aaron’s apprentice, Benjamin.”
Her hazel eyes moved from him to Aaron and back. “So how did she end up with the Innocenti?”
Benjamin looked to Aaron, who shook his head once.
“We got separated in the city this morning.” The young man dropped his gaze.
Makayla faced Shadyia. “And do you also blame me for this, Sister?”
“I do not,” Shadyia replied. Damn the boy and his honesty.
“The hour is late and our nerves are raw,” Aaron said. “Madam, please take the finest care of Janell. I will personally cover any expense.”
“Consider it done.”
“Madam,” Benjamin said, getting her attention, “may I stay with Janell?” Makayla sighed. “That will be up to Mrs. Amber, but we will prepare a room for you in any case.”
“Thank you, Madam.”
Aaron stepped near to Shadyia and lowered his voice. “Why don’t you and Deresi come with me to Featherquill?” The dying rage in Shadyia still seethed, but she looked to Deresi. Did she want to visit Featherquill? Deresi nodded in agreement.
Aaron turned back to Makayla. “Madam, may I have the pleasure of both Sister Shadyia and Sister Deresi this night?” Makayla raised an eyebrow. “You wish them both, sir?”
“I have lots to celebrate.”
“These sisters look disheveled and exhausted, sir. May I ask how they came to be in this state?” Shadyia glanced at Aaron. He mustn’t mention the labyrinth or—
“It’s my fault, Madam,” Aaron said. “We played a game in some ruins beyond the forest. I wanted Sister Shadyia to hide and I would search for her. Sister Deresi was concerned when her friend didn’t return and found us this morning. I invited her to play and…well, things got out of hand. My apologies.”
“None needed, Master Aaron. The coin you’ve offered more than pays for their services. But, do you not wish them bathed, perfumed and properly dressed before they leave with you?” Aaron glanced at Shadyia and Deresi. “To be honest, Madam, I rather like them in this state and I’m not yet finished with them. By your leave, I will take them as they are.”
Makayla arched an eyebrow. “Your vigor will make you a legend, Aaron of Featherquill.” She grinned. “Very well, but have Sister
Deresi return by noon tomorrow.”
“As you wish.”
An arm around both their hips, Aaron led her and Deresi toward the main doors. The sisters dispersed, mumbling quietly among themselves. Makayla’s heels clicked away.
“Wait,” Deresi said as Shadyia put a hand on the outer doors. “I’ll be right back.”
Aaron watched her run off then turned to Shadyia. “You should better watch your words around your madam.”
Fuck her! If not for Benjamin’s blundering innocence and Aaron’s disarming remarks, there would have been a long-overdue fight here. A part of her still wished for that. “You have no idea how much I hate that woman.”
“I have some idea,” he said, his expression serious.
Maybe he does at that. Aaron had said Verthandi had seduced Makayla. “Do you still feel his influence on her?”
Aaron pressed his lips and nodded. “More than ever.”
She seized his arm and hushed her voice. “Then let’s deal with her, here and now. I’ll go with you.”
That infuriating calm crossed his features. “And what of her guards? And the other sisters? Are you prepared to fight them? And even if we could turn them to your side, what happens when the Redcloaks find out? From what you’ve told me, Makayla is the rightful heir to this palace. If we depose her, we would be criminals in the eyes of the law.”
She scowled. Damn his logic! He was worse than Sybaris.
He leaned close. “We will deal with her eventually, after this business with the ruby is completed. If Verthandi is released—” He glanced around at the walls. “—what does any of this matter?”
Shadyia hissed a sigh. “If you say so.” But if she crosses me just one more time…
Deresi returned carrying a familiar flat, wooden box.
“My dress,” Shadyia said.
“I wanted to see it on you.”
Aaron looked at the elegant box. “You have a dress in there?”
Shadyia took the box, glanced around to make sure they weren’t observed, and opened the lid with her thumbs.
Aaron whistled. “That is mag-nificent.”
Shadyia snapped closed the lid and kissed Deresi on the cheek. “Thanks, hon.”
“Where ever did you get that?” Aaron asked. “It must have cost a fortune.”
Deresi offered her an evil grin. “Go on, tell him.”
Shadyia cringed. “You know the seer in the market? The one posing as a tailor?”
Aaron nodded slowly. Just before the three of them had descended into the labyrinth, Aaron had confided that he too had had some dealings with that mysterious seer. She had prophesized that he must find Æthelmaer’s ruby in Mirrikh’s labyrinth or Verthandi would walk the world again.
Shadyia tapped the box. “She made this for me.” The seer had also told Shadyia that Anderholm would burn in a matter of days. More insanity added to an insane situation.
Aaron brushed his fingers over the flat box. “I have a feeling we have not seen the last of her. Let’s go to the stables. Our horses must be kicking the walls down by now.”
Shadyia recovered the blacksteel sword, still in its baldric, from the wagon. Careful to conceal it with her body from anyone who might be watching from the palace, she hid the fine weapon deep in the stables then roused two of the men from their cottage out back. Paying them a silver each, she asked them to bring out the Ramiero chargers, attach them to a carriage and drive Aaron, Deresi and herself to Featherquill. Xavier didn’t appreciate being employed as a carriage horse, but Shadyia rewarded him with a few carrots and words of praise until he grudgingly accepted the harness.
A swaying lantern flung their shadows along the walls as their closed carriage returned through the Kingsleaf. The rhythm of the wheels, and the peace of leaving the palace far behind, pulled Shadyia into blissful rest.
“May I see it?” Deresi asked.
Aaron unfastened the pouch at his side, brought out the ruby, and placed it in Deresi’s cupped hands.
Light from the lantern passed through the ruby and drew red marks on Deresi’s face. She made the kind of sound women usually reserve for holding a kitten. “It’s so beautiful.”
Shadyia forced open her eyes and considered the ruby. On the surface, it looked like the kind of gem an emperor would wear on his crown, but Aaron had said its true value lay within the magic it held. The ruby, he told them, absorbed the knowledge of all the magicians who had ever owned it like a cloth on spilt wine.
Shadyia leaned over and kissed Deresi’s cheek. “I can’t believe you picked Mirrikh’s pocket. You amaze me.” When Mirrikh had seized both her and Aaron in his magic, Deresi had slid to her knees, grabbed his robe, and begged Mirrikh not to harm them. It must have been in that instant that she had dipped her hand into his large pocket and fished out the ruby.
Deresi turned the tear-shaped ruby over and examined its base. The broad end had a shallow, round indention in it. “What is this for?”
“That is where you insert the end of a sagewood staff.”
Shadyia circled her finger inside the indention. Aaron had said if a staff made from sagewood touched the ruby, it would transform into a Valkyrise, an artifact of the magi lords. With this wondrous staff, a magician could triple his power and be immune to all magical attacks. Moreover, if anyone spent enough time with a Valkyrise, they could eventually learn to use magic like a magician. That last bit had particularly caught Deresi’s attention.
“Do you think we could get the sagewood staff from the Asyerian clerics?”
Aaron shook his head. “I seriously doubt it. Sagewood is as rare as any treasure in the world. We could be thrown into the Ahmeinian dungeons just for inquiring about their staff, let alone asking them to let us have it.”
Shadyia thought on that. “What if we were to tell the Asyerians about Verthandi and the Ashkhan escaping?”
The carriage jolted over a bump, making Aaron hop in his seat “That would get us tossed into an asylum instead of the dungeon.” He huffed a laugh and held out his hand in a silent request for the return of the ruby. “No, I will use this to find out how to travel to Celestrial. The archives there should have all known information about the prison of the Ashkhan.”
Deresi, her gaze locked on the gem, nodded. “Yeah, that might work.”
Shadyia nudged Deresi’s side. She had probably not heard anything Aaron had said. Grinning, he gently pried the ruby from Deresi’s fingers. She made a small sound of protest, but dropped her hands to her lap.
“Tell me something, please,” Deresi said as Aaron returned the ruby to his pouch.
“Yes?”
“What’s it like to use magic?”
The carriage tilted around a bend as Aaron seemed to consider his answer. “When you first feel the ether, it’s like being parched and drinking from an icy waterfall. It flows over you, refreshes you. You can’t imagine anything being more wonderful. But you can only drink so much and that feeling, believe it or not, passes. You want to learn where the water comes from—and you have this insatiable desire to control the water, make it stop or fall faster. That’s the trap.”
Deresi blinked. “What do you mean?”
“A wise man once said, there is none so improvised as he who wants more than he has. Look at this.” Aaron lifted his left hand, palm up, and passed his right over it. A sphere of blazing flames appeared and hovered just above his cupped fingers. Deresi’s green eyes widened. “Whoa!” Before Shadyia could stop her, she reached for the flame. “Ouch!” She snatched her hand away and put the tips of two fingers in her mouth.
“Are you all right?” Shadyia took Deresi’s hand and inspected it.
Deresi nodded. “It’s fine.”
A wave of heat from the fire above Aaron’s hand brushed Shadyia’s face. Deresi had probably assumed the flames were an illusion. Maybe they were. “A little warning next time, if you please.”
He closed his hand and the flames vanished. “What I just did there was nothing to me. I felt no sense of wonder or accomplishment. If I were a cruel man, I would delight in hurting Deresi, but I’m not, so I can’t even enjoy that.”
Deresi glanced at her fingers. “It felt so real.”
“It wasn’t,” Aaron said, and leaned back on his seat.
He had created something to fool their minds—why? Shadyia cupped her hand over Deresi’s hand. “I still don’t see your point.” “There was a time that when I made something like that, I felt like a god. I had created fire. Do you understand? Fire I knew wasn’t real, but still I would burn my fingers if I touched it. These days, creating an illusion like that is as easy as breathing. Imagine going from feeling like a god, to feeling nothing. Every magician who has ever used magic wants to feel that initial rush again—” Aaron’s hands became fists. “—craves it.”
Shadyia nodded. “Like breathing the smoke from the black ickrus.”
He stabbed a finger at her. “Exactly. Thankfully, I’ve never tried ickrus, but from what people have told me, it’s marvelous. You feel as if you are flying through the clouds. Over time, however, the fumes no longer give the same sensation, but the memory of that experience drives one to take more and more until it consumes your every thought.”
Deresi shook her head. “All right, but that’s illusion. You said there were magicians who could create things for real.”
Aaron rubbed his forehead. “Oh, that’s even worse.”
Deresi yelped in disbelief. “How could it be worse?”
“Imagine if I snapped my fingers and created a necklace of gold and emeralds. A real one.”
She grinned. “I like that thought.”
He lifted his chin. “Why?”
“Emeralds are beautiful, and you can buy things with them. Castles and servants and nice dresses.”
“Could I buy a thousand castles if I made a thousand emerald necklaces?”
The carriage creaked and swayed as Deresi chewed her lower lip in thought. “I guess not. It wouldn’t be worth anything if there were a thousand of them.”
“Exactly.”
Shadyia drummed her fingers on the leather armrest at her side. Easy for a king with rooms full of treasure to say gold and gems have no meaning, but for the rest of the peasants, wealth was still a splendid thing. “You told me in the castle ruins that no amount of power could thwart fear. Was that true of Mirrikh? Was he afraid?”
Aaron arched an eyebrow. “Do you even need to ask? He had power I could only imagine. He once owned a Valkyrise. When we found him, he wore enchanted artifacts that preserved his life and kept him from all magical harm. Yet…”
Shadyia nodded. “Yet he hid in a labyrinth for centuries.”
“Precisely. I am certain, despite all that he was and all that he owned, Mirrikh felt inadequate, paranoid and—yes—afraid.” Shadyia shook her head against the thought. Would she be the same? If she had the power Mirrikh possessed, would she only crave more? It was difficult to believe there would come a time when working magic became as dull as doing the washing. Magic opened new worlds, new experiences. To grasp the unknown, to entertain the masses, to conquer the lands of your enemy…
To kill men who delighted in torture.
Shadyia stared at Aaron. Soon they would arrive in Anderholm and his manor in the Artisan Quarter. If she were to ever understand what had happened in the alley, now would be the time. “May I ask you about something difficult?” Aaron turned grim as if he had expected her to breach this matter. “Go ahead.”
“What happened to you in the alley?” Shadyia asked.
He briefly closed his eyes, took a deep breath, and released it. “I touched Janell’s mind to learn who was responsible for her injuries.”
“You can do that too?” Deresi asked. “Remarkable.”
“No,” Aaron replied curtly. “Foolish. I acted in haste and didn’t put up the proper defenses. I felt a portion of what they did to Janell as if it were done to me. It nearly drove me insane.”
Deresi crossed her fingers over her lips. “You felt what she did?”
He nodded. “Some of it.”
A chill brushed Shadyia’s nape. Some of it. Aaron had writhed on the ground and screamed in agony. As he had recovered, he had said three Innocenti had taken turns on Janell. One of those three men was still out there, but two of them had paid for their acts with pain and humiliation equal, Shadyia hoped, to what they had done to Janell. Or had they? “Those men in the wagon, what you did to them, was that real?”
“It was real to them.”
Deresi visibly shuddered. “I wish I hadn’t seen that. I mean, I know they deserved it, but I can’t get it out of my mind.” Aaron rubbed his forehead. “For that, I deeply apologize. I acted out of rage with no regard for you or Shadyia. I should have told you to look away.”
“I wouldn’t have, even if you’d asked.” Shadyia had wanted to see those vile men die.
The haunted look in Deresi’s eyes told she did not feel the same. “Will Janell recover?”
Aaron responded with a slight shrug. “I think she’ll survive, but she won’t be Janell any longer. At least, I don’t think so. She may prove us wrong.”
When Aaron opened the cloth covering Janell, her chin and neck had been covered in dry blood, probably form having her tongue cut out. They had pressed branding irons against her breasts until—Fuck! Shadyia quivered. Stop thinking about it! “So those men are still alive?” she asked, her tone hot with anger.
“Oh no.” Aaron shook his head. “In the morning, the city guard will find two dead men in that alley. There will be no evidence of what killed them, but to those Innocenti, they were impaled.”
Shadyia clenched the fingers on her thigh into a fist. “Good.”
Deresi soft hand cupped over Shadyia’s fist. She reached across the cabin and offered her other hand to Aaron. “I know you don’t believe in the gods, but can we pray for Janell?”
He took her hand. “Certainly.”
Deresi closed her eyes. “Hallowed Luun, goddess of strength, guide our fallen sister, Janell, back into the light. Let her know she is loved and we miss her and need her in our lives.”
“May it be so,” Shadyia said, her anger vanishing.
“May it be so,” Aaron repeated.
Shadyia lifted Deresi’s hand and kissed her knuckles. “I’ve never heard you pray before.”
She shrugged. “Can’t hurt.”
Aaron let go of Deresi’s hand. “We should arrive at my home soon. So, tell me ladies, how may I reward you for your magnificent service?”
Shadyia yawned. Enough of rewards and magic. “As I said outside the tower, a bath, a hot meal, and some rest are all I need.”
“There must be more.”
She leaned her head on Deresi’s shoulder and closed her eyes. “At the moment, I cannot see past that.”
“I know what she wants,” Deresi said.
“Tell me,” Aaron asked.
“She wants to dance at the Crystal Ballroom.”
That snapped Shadyia awake. “I do, eh?”
“Yes, and don’t even deny it.” Deresi bopped the end of Shadyia’s nose. “I saw how your eyes lit up when I told you how I snuck in there.”
Aaron arched his eyebrows as if impressed. “You did?”
Deresi bobbed her head. “About five years ago.” She pushed a lock of red hair behind one ear. “I broke in one night with some friends. Just make sure when you take her, there’s plenty of music. She has no imagination.”
Aaron pursed his lips and nodded. “I’ll see what I can do. And what about you, Dee? What would you like, besides a servant to polish your toes?”
Shadyia grinned. To lighten the tension in the labyrinth, Deresi had joked—had it been a joke?—that she had always wanted to be wealthy enough to employ someone to polish her toes. Just that and nothing else. Polish her toes.
“Oh the usual,” Deresi said with a flip of her wrist. “A castle in the clouds, a dozen flying horses and my own queendom.”
Aaron stared at her a moment then blinked. “That may take a bit longer, but I’ll get to work on it.”
Deresi exchanged her smirk for a serious look. “You know what I’d really like?”
“Tell me, please.”
“I’d like to be a magician. I want to do the things you do.” She wiggled her fingers.
Shadyia rolled her eyes. Oh, just great. Aaron would remind her that women were never trained as magicians and such power came with a price few were willing to pay. Deresi would argue and Shadyia would have to mediate. She’d get no rest on the way to Featherquill.
“I can help you there,” Aaron said with sincerity. “It will take some time and lots of hard work, but if you’re willing, so am I.” Deresi lifted her chin. “I am.”
Shadyia silently admonished herself. Aaron wasn’t the type to have his hands tied by tradition, nor was he a stuffy lord of Anderholm who needed to dominate the women in his life. But Deresi as a magician? For some reason, Shadyia pictured a cat with wings. I only hope she doesn’t fly too close to the sun.
“All right then, but tell me something, both of you. Do you wish to leave the Silver Rose?”
Shadyia was aware that Deresi was looking at her even before she turned her head so she could meet her curious green eyes. Leave the Silver Rose? It had been more than her home for six years; it was her identity. The money was easy and she loved the work, the games of seduction. She was the finest of the sisters, a gold belt, envied and respected. Why should I leave?
Even as that question coursed through her mind, she knew the answer. She had dared to enter a labyrinth of death, fought deadly shadows and had even driven her sword through Mirrikh’s ghostly face so that her companions could escape. But it wasn’t just the adventures and terrors under the Black Tower. Aaron had told her of ancient civilizations and faraway lands.
There was so much to the world she had yet to see, so much she had yet to experience. Janell needed to be avenged, Makayla needed to be dealt with—probably with the help of Sybaris—and the sisters needed to be protected from the Innocenti, but when that was done, the time had come to seek new horizons and new challenges.
“Yes,” she said.
Deresi touched her knee. “Are you sure, hon?”
Shadyia nodded. “I can’t go back to whoring, not anymore. I think, maybe, finding Janell closed that door forever. I want to make a difference in this world. It’s what my foster father would have desired for me.” Somewhere, beyond the veil where the spirits traveled, she imagined her foster father smiling. Maybe he didn’t ride celestial horses across the eternal plains of Eriensym, but Aaron said the spirits of good men continued on past a mortal death. She hoped so.
“What about the sisterhood?” Deresi asked.
“I’ll find a way to keep them safe from the Innocenti. I don’t know how just yet, but when that’s done, so am I.”
Deresi discreetly squeezed Shadyia’s thigh. “I’ll follow you anywhere.”
Shadyia kissed Deresi’s neck, just below the ear. If Aaron hadn’t been sitting there, it would have been her lips that got kissed, and more.
“You’re both welcome to stay at Featherquill as long as you wish,” Aaron said. “My home is your home.”
“Thank you, Aaron,” Shadyia said.
Deresi added her gratitude with a sweet smile.
“Listen, when we get there, you won’t see much of me until tomorrow. I’m going to be in a special room I’ve constructed under the house.” He patted the bulge in his pouch. “I want to study this as much as I can. I’ll show you how to contact me if you need to, it’s easy. Just a bell you need to ring. But please, make sure it’s important before you do.”
“I understand,” Shadyia said. “You need to save the world.”
“And you need to save your sisterhood.”
“And then we will take a long, lovely holiday,” Deresi added.
A long holiday. Shadyia hummed at the thought. That we will do.


Author Bio:
The Shadyia Ascendant Book Series is the kind of fantasy book I wanted to read, but could never find. Sexy, powerful, positive.
The heroes are beaten, but are never broken.
Although this is a medieval setting (more or less 15th century Renaissance), the characters don’t scratch at fleas and trug through the book ass-deap in mud and blood and disease. I’m sure all that is accurate, but I never wanted to read about it.
I wanted magic that is rare, women that are bold and beautiful, mysterious magicians with a hidden agenda, and gods that move mortals about like pieces on a chessboard. That’s the book I wanted.
I was inspired by the fantasy writer David Gemmell in terms of pace. When you read one of his books, you get your money’s worth. He won’t spend eleven chapters with this characters arguing in a castle. The term “I could never put it down” fits a Gemmell book perfectly, and it’s what I have striven to accomplish in the Shadyia Ascendant series.
Get ready for a sexy adventure you won’t soon forget!
A graduate in history, specializing in Central-European history, I'm an avid computer gamer, reader enthusiast, and teacher of English as a foreign language. I'm American and currently reside in Poland.

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