Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Willfully stubborn, innocently courageous, Callie Whitcomb braves a journey through the treacherous highlands to the Macpherson castle. Highland Series Boxed Set FREE ON KINDLE UNLIMITED



Title: Highland Series Boxed Set
Author: Christine Young
ISBN: 978-1-62420-277-3

Genre: Historical Romance
Excerpt Heat Level: 1
Book Heat Level: 4
Buy at: Amazon


BLURB

Highland Honor

Willfully stubborn, innocently courageous, Callie Whitcomb braves a journey through the treacherous highlands to the Macpherson castle. Callie flees from an unwanted marriage as well as her ruthless half brother. Naively she believes Colin MacPherson, the head of the clan, is loyal to her father and will give her sanctuary, protecting her from the vile plans that have been made for her.
As hard and as unyielding as the winter storms that sweep through the countryside, Colin is irresistibly drawn to the impetuous beauty who has magically appeared on his doorsteps. Despite his vows of revenge against her father, she stirs his passion as well as his sense of justice...but to love her would violate all his vows of revenge.


Highland Magic

Throughout the Highlands she is known as Keely, the witch woman. She is a great healer-a woman whose dreams come true. Ian MacPherson is a man who puts honor, loyalty and duty above everything. Their lives are entwined when Ian is sent by the Scottish King to bring Keely to trial for witchcraft. He is attacked and left for dead, but Keely rescues him. When he wakes, he discovers he has no memory. As he remembers his lost past, Ian finds that his need to protect the woman who has saved his life eclipses his duty to his king and country., He is a man torn between honor and duty to his country and the woman he loves.


Highland Song

With her white-gold hair and azure eyes, Lainie MacPherson is as wild and untamed as the rugged Scottish Highlands where she was raised. Lainie vowed to avenge her rape. Recklessly, she defies English laws and the man who raped her puts a bounty on her head. The man who is sent to bring her to Edinburgh sets a dangerous trap. With nothing left to live for the beautiful Scottish spy steals the sealed documents the English soldier has tempted her with.
When the exquisite temptress takes the bait and runs off with not only the forged documents but the purses of the men in the tavern, Aaron Slade vows to hunt her down and bring her to justice, never dreaming she will tame his jaded soul. When Aaron discovers the truth about the tempestuous woman who stirs his passion to the point of madness, he dares not love her, but desires her with all his soul.

EXCERPT

Scotland November 1512
A heavy frost sat on the frozen earth, and a full moon shone clearly between the heavy clouds dotting the sky. Lady Callie Whitcomb looked over her shoulder as she raced through the deepening gloom toward the lighted tavern ahead. Every shadow, every mournful sigh of the wind sweeping through the trees, every chilling animal sound filled her with terror. Fear for her life drove her to put all thoughts of danger aside. He would follow her, find her, and drag her home.
Home.
"Don't think of that now," she reminded herself fiercely, even while tears stung in the back of her throat and fear made her limbs tremble. "Don't ye dare think of home. It no longer exists." Nothing and no one could coax her back or make her believe there was naught but terror in the home where she'd been born.
"I will never marry Lord Huntington. Never!" she whispered fiercely, the chill night air solemnly echoing her words.
Her stepbrother, Archibald Covington III, made sure she could never return.
"There ye be, lass! I've been waiting for you."
The voice rose from nowhere and surprised her. Her heart froze, lurched, then began an erratic beat, while raw nerves snapped, sending a myriad of sensations racing down her spine.
"Archibald--" she whispered, panic sweeping through her. "He's found me." All she could hear was the pounding of blood in her ears.
Before she could reach her destination, before she could find safe refuge from him, his men had found her. No! Not now. Not when she thought she had eluded them all.
A wave of fear sweeping through her reminded her, that if caught, she would be taken back to Archibald and forced to marry Lord Huntington.
"I'll help you down, lass."
"No."
Before she could react and spur her horse forward, callous, rough hands centered on her waist then pulled her from her mount.
"No!" She cried out to no avail. Regaining her wits, she beat fiercely upon the man's broad chest, tearing at his face and his thick beard with her fingers.
"Ach, lass! Hold still! I mean ye no harm. Stop this--" His voice was gruff and impatient.
Fear for her life had spurred her haste. Terror she might see Huntington or Archibald with each turn of the road haunted every hour of her journey. Archibald had retainers everywhere. Messages would have been sent. A highlander could be bought.
"Ruffian! Unhand me! Ye barbarous Scotsman."
If Archibald had guessed what path she followed...
"Verra well, ne'er let it be said that I dinna do a lass' bidding." Just as suddenly as he'd grabbed her, his hold upon her vanished. She stumbled backward.
Instantly, she found herself sitting on the frozen earth. The man towering above her watched her with concerned dark eyes. Despite the scar stretching from forehead to chin, his mouth quirked upward in a humorous slant.
"Ye be a handful, lass."
"Get away from me!" Confusion blindsided her. If this man had anything to do with Archibald or Lord Huntington, he would have never let her go. Yet she could take no chances.
His arms outstretched, his hands beckoning her to him, he smiled. "Now calm down."
Crab-like, she scurried backwards. "I will not go with ye. I would rather die." Despite her proper upbringing, she wanted to scream her frustration and bellow with anger.
"Hawke is waiting for you, lass. There is no need for this panic. He means you no harm." The man stepped forward, bending over her as if to lift her from the ground.
"Hawke?" Callie did not want to meet Hawke. She sought Colin MacPherson. She stood before the man could touch her again, quickly dusting the dirt and leaves from her hands and moving sideways, ready to bolt. But the giant moved quickly and lethally, his huge hand closing over her upper arm. He pulled her along with him, heading toward the tavern.
"Aye, Hawke. You sound as if you've ne'er heard of the mon. Well, I suppose 'tis good you dinna let on about your identity to just anyone. He waits for you and the papers you were to bring with you."
To no avail, she dug in her heels. "I have no papers." Only the letter her father had written before he died and that was meant for Colin MacPherson, not some man named Hawke.
"'Tis all right, lass. You dinna need to tell me anything."
"No! It is not all right. I won't go with ye. I won't go back."
"We've got her, Hawke."
"Aye, I see that you have." Laughter rang out from the shadows of the tavern. "Bring the wee lass inside where we can talk."
"Nay, ye have no right." Callie stiffened, searching the porch, every nerve strung taut. "I am not chattel ye can push here and there."
Music, sounds of laughter, the scent of ale and peat smoke floated and clung to the heavy night air. A man moved forward, silhouetted by the backlight of the tavern.
"I have every right," he said, but he made no move to change her situation or to tell his henchman to unhand her.
Struck by his size and with every nerve tightened, she inhaled a deep, ragged breath. When he stepped into a pool of light, she nearly gasped aloud. Moonlight gave his strong, well-chiseled features definition and there was a strange, vulnerable expression on his face.
Oh, but he was tall and his hair was as black as the night and the shadows surrounding him. His long, dark hair was pulled back and secured at his nape with a leather strap, his muscles rippling with every movement. At his side, he'd strapped a claymore, and a dirk was tucked into the top of his knee-high stocking.
Behind her, Pansy moved uneasily then trotted off into the darkness. "Pansy--"
"Dinna fret, lass. Hawke will send a mon after your pony."
"Hawke," Callie said his name aloud, returning her consideration to the man on the porch. She sensed his attention bone-deep, and her heart thundered, every instinct within calling out for her to flee. They thought she was someone she wasn't. Sensations she'd never felt before swept through her.
She'd always known Archibald was wicked, but if she hadn't seen his evil with her own eyes, she would have never believed him capable of such horrific deeds.
She didn't want to remember. In the dusk of the evening, she had been where she wasn't supposed to be, retrieving a doll for Archibald's little sister. She'd followed the doll as it rolled endlessly down the steep embankment. Then she'd seen her stepbrother and the man she was supposed to marry, Lord Huntington, killing a man, the dagger piercing the victim's heart.
The next day she had risen before dawn and packed one bag. With all her money sewn into the hem of the dress she'd bought from one of her servants, she'd donned her warmest cloak, saddled her mare, Pansy, and left the keep. No one had stopped her or sounded an alarm. Callie had told no one about the murder because she trusted no one. She'd been too terrified of the very walls in the castle to tell anyone.


Tuesday, February 09, 2016

TELL TALE TUESDAY: Two predatory ghosts terrorize film producer Paul Barlowe, his wife Samantha, and their son Andy ... The Haunting of Aaron House by Joyce Zeller



Title: The Haunting of Aaron House
ISBN: 978-1-62420-202-5
Author: Joyce Zeller
Email: author@joycezeller.com

Genre: Paranormal/Women's Fiction
Excerpt Heat Level: 1
Book Heat Level: 2


TAGLINE

Two predatory ghosts terrorize film producer Paul Barlowe, his wife Samantha, and their son Andy when they rent an old farmhouse while Paul shoots a documentary film.

BLURB

Paul and Samantha Barlowe didn’t believe in ghosts until they stay in a one hundred fifty-year-old farmhouse in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania. While Paul is shooting a historical documentary film for the local tourist bureau, they are visited by two evil ghosts in need of a human couple to grow even stronger. The Barlowes become caught up in ancient folklore and the supernatural, putting their lives in danger. They seek the help of a local “Pow Wow” woman who can cast an ancient spell that will free them.  


EXCERPT

The familiar darkness grew around Samantha; the same dream, repeated nightly, but never during the day. No. Not during the day. It isn't possible.
"Dreams don't come while you're awake." She tried hard to convince herself and stave off the encroaching darkness. Always the same, an old farmhouse with a maze of dark rooms. Determined, she clenched her teeth and fought the blackness, willing it to go away, but it engulfed her.
Her gut spasmed on the sweet, coppery taste of blood. Desperately she gripped the edge of the kitchen sink, swallowing convulsively to keep her stomach still.
"I will beat this. I am not going crazy. Somewhere there is an explanation. It has to be stress, or nerves, or something," she said out loud, trying to convince herself.
The phone rang. The blackness vanished. Thank God. A call this early had to be Irene, but she welcomed even her mother if it killed the dream. No mere demon could battle Irene and win.
"Hi, Mom." Keep it casual. "How is Nairobi?" Good. Voice not too shaky. Her mother proved sharp as a fox at picking up stress. "Oh, you're in France?"
Why not? Irene traveled constantly, a nomad with no permanent address. Sam frowned, irritated, wishing her mother wouldn't call before breakfast. Mornings were special, reserved for family. What time is it in Europe, anyway?
"What happened to Nairobi?"
Resigned to hearing a long story, she tucked the phone under her chin and set about assembling the makings of an omelet while her nerves settled into the morning routine. With cool efficiency she split a muffin and slipped it into the toaster, ready to go when Paul or their son, Andy, appeared.
"Yes, Mother," Samantha Barlowe, patient and dutiful, responded. Conversations with her mother required little besides occasional agreement whenever Irene paused for breath.
"So what are you doing in France?"
Irene, the perennial guest, lived shamelessly off the hospitality of her friends.
"Count de Coucy? Yeah, how fortunate you got invited to his party. He has a live-in psychic?" Sam huffed in disbelief. Not good. Her mother and a psychic meant trouble.
"Now hold on. You will not seek advice from this psychic about my vacation."
Sam's temper heated. Her mother simply could not stay out of her business since she had her own family. Throughout her childhood, Irene had blithely ignored her motherly duties—a little late to try for a relationship now.
"You can consult every psychic in Europe, for all I care, I'm not talking about this anymore. No way am I giving up the chance to live in a two-hundred-year-old farmhouse filled with antiques, even if it's only for  two weeks." Damn. Why had I ever mentioned the dream? Deliberately she changed the subject.
"So, tell me about this house party. It sounds exciting." Sam summoned patience for the recitation.
House parties by the upper classes were deadly dull, but Irene rarely required comment. Her opinions were sacrosanct and she scattered them casually, as though they were glass beads at a Mardi Gras festival.
Deftly, Sam stirred a pitcher of orange juice with one hand, while using the other to remove crispy bacon from the microwave.
"Uh huh," she muttered as she worked, bare-footed, wearing her usual morning dress of pajama bottoms and a sleep tee. Later she'd change into jeans and a t-shirt and tuck her short, blonde hair under a baseball cap. Suburban Chicago living required little else.
Oops. A pause at the other end of the phone meant her mother waited for an answer. What had she been talking about? Oh, yeah.
"Yes, Mother, the Biedermierer is perfect; the decorator is very impressed that I could get my hands on such fine stuff so fast. I told him my clever, globetrotting mother is my secret weapon." With no guilt whatsoever, she fed Irene's insatiable desire for flattery. Sam's passion for antiques had led her into a part-time career of antique finder for several decorator clients. She prowled continually.
"Oh, watch out for some French Empire when you get to Paris. I have another client with a yen for female figurines with clocks in their bellies."
Laughing, she opened the fridge to get the eggs, imagining her mother's look of displeasure at such a display of irreverence for costly objects.
"Good morning, Babe." Paul came up behind her and caught her in his arms, nuzzling the back of her neck. A tingle of sexual tension hovered, never far below the surface for either one of them. She leaned against him, loving the feel of his lean, muscular body, while savoring his strength and what she thought of as his "ready-for-the-office" smell; soap, after shave, shampoo and toothpaste. On weekends she preferred him unadorned; pure "essence of Paul."
"Morning, Irene," he said loudly into the phone, and gave her another hug before he settled onto a bar stool to listen to her conversation and drink the coffee she poured for him.
Sam gave him a wink while admiring the primitive masculinity she adored. The sharp angles and planes of his face were enhanced by his dark shaggy brown hair, worn slightly long. The razor-sharp intellect that reflected in his dark brown eyes gave him a predatory look that never failed to excite her. He lived, and loved, enveloped in an intense, passionate aura that he carried over into his career, making him one of the most sought-after, and successful, documentary film producers in Chicago.
Sighing, she turned her attention, once again, to the phone, rolling her eyes in silent communication. Morning phone calls from her mother were a given in this house.
"We'll be on our way tomorrow. We'll start shooting the film next Monday. Use my cell number. I'm not sure the farmhouse has phones." A pause, then she added, grimly, "Mother, come off it. The local chamber of commerce arranged for us to stay there and I'm sure they're reliable." Her mother really tried her patience. The woman was relentless.
"I'm not talking about this anymore. The dream is merely coincidence, not some message from the netherworld." Her voice reflected an assurance she didn't quite feel. Her heart rate rose, warning of anxiety simmering under the surface, ready to engulf her. No, she wouldn't give into it.



Monday, February 08, 2016

MYSTERY MONDAY: Claudia deGras was forced into prostitution by her mother... Legacy of Angels by Genie Gabriel



Legacy of Angels
Genie Gabriel
Excerpt Heat Level: 1
Book Heat Level: 3


BLURB:

Claudia deGras was forced into prostitution by her mother at age twelve. In spite of the trauma and abuse, she dreams of a respectful life filled with joy, laughter and the love of one man. Ironically, that man is Patrick O'Shea, a priest facing demons of his own. Since seminary, he has suffered memory loss and darkness at the edges of his vision that extend into his soul. They are drawn together in a deeply emotional journey of healing that becomes a life-and-death challenge to outwit the twisted man-beast who has vowed revenge against all he thinks have wronged him.
"I'm not safe anywhere." Terror beat in Claudia deGras' heart, pulsed through her veins, shut down any rational thought. Get out of here!

EXCERPT:

She bolted toward the door, not daring to look back as the sound of heavy footsteps followed her.

The old brown sedan sitting in the driveway always had the keys in the ignition. Most of the time, it started without much protest.

Claudia flung open the door and cranked the key. The engine caught and roared as she shoved the accelerator to the floor. Two doors banged shut as the old Buick slid sideways on the gravel, then found traction on the pavement.

Out of the corner of her eye, she saw Patrick O'Shea on the wide bench seat beside her, his hand braced against the dashboard for balance, but his face reflected his normal serenity.

Could she trust him? Did she have a choice? And where was she going?

She eased her foot off the accelerator and settled the old sedan into a speed that wouldn't get them stopped by the police, though patrols were rare on this sparsely traveled road in Eastern Oregon.

While she drove the highway in silence, the childhood memories of curses and shouting and fists landing heavy blows on her body receded, and her panicked mind calmed down.

No one had harmed her today. In fact, over the last few weeks the O'Shea siblings, including Patrick, had rearranged their lives to protect her from the man-beast who stalked her.

She shivered.

The man-beast was the real danger.

"Take the next exit." Patrick's deep voice interrupted Claudia's thoughts.

Patrick's wisdom and gentleness had provided a balm to Claudia's soul many times during the time she had been recovering from her physical wounds at his mother's rambling farmhouse. Today, she discovered the emotional fears were deeper than she imagined. Facing the man-beast again--even in her memory--pushed her into a panicked flight.

Now reason was returning and adrenaline ebbing, and Claudia floundered. Once again, Patrick's reassuring voice provided an anchor, so she followed his instructions. Down a paved road for several miles, flanked on either side by acres of rangeland turning dusty gold in the early summer heat. Then another turn onto a graveled road with no other traffic. Finally off any road entirely, bumping over the rangeland to come to a stop under a sheltering copse of trees near a lake.

After Claudia turned off the engine, Patrick opened the car door. "Come with me."

He walked toward the lake, not looking back.

Claudia watched him for long minutes. Was he simply going to leave her?

The land sloped downward where Patrick now walked, making it seem like he was disappearing. When only the top of his head was still in view, panic seized Claudia once again. "Wait!"

She jumped out of the car and slammed the door behind her, running to catch up with Patrick. She topped the knoll and stopped, her chest rising and falling rapidly with exertion and fright.

Patrick stood looking up at her, the same serene expression on his face. Then he turned and continued walking to the water's edge. Hidden in the tall reeds was a raft that looked as if it would sink with the weight of the family of ducks swimming nearby. However, when Patrick climbed on, the craft barely dipped before stabilizing. He turned and reached out his hand in invitation. Cautious but curious, Claudia climbed aboard.

Using a long pole, Patrick pushed them across the lake and under a rocky outcropping. He secured the raft to a sawed-off tree stump that served as a pier post for a make-shift dock and stepped off. "Be careful. It can be slippery."

Intrigued, Claudia once again took Patrick's hand and climbed off the raft. They walked toward a sheer rock cliff topped by ruins of what could have been an ancient stone cathedral. However, as they reached the cliff, Patrick slipped through a notch in one of the rocks. Once inside, he retrieved a flashlight from a pocket in the rock wall and turned it on, revealing a narrow corridor. Claudia followed him down a winding pathway for what seemed like miles. Patrick walked without hesitation, turning down side tunnels until she felt totally disoriented.

At last he stopped in front of a solid rock wall. Well, it appeared solid. Until he slid aside what must have been a doorway, revealing into a cavernous room.

"Where are we?" Claudia asked.


Patrick turned with a half-smile. "Safe. That's what you wanted, right?"