Monday, February 27, 2017

MYSTERY MONDAY: Clare and Trevi made their way through a portal to get back to Earth. Instead, they find themselves on a dying world as a mysterious mist closes in. WORLD APART BY MAGGIE MUNDY



Author: Maggie Mundy
ISBN: 978-1-62420-250-6

Genre: Paranormal Romance
Excerpt Heat Level: 1
Book Heat Level:  4


Clare and Trevi made their way through a portal to get back to Earth. Instead, they find themselves on a dying world as a mysterious mist closes in. Trevi’s scarred twin brother, Celi, has accompanied them. He meets a female magician called Fane, who has been an outcast just like him. In this world only men are magicians and they believe her existence is the cause for the mist. Fane and Trevi learn to trust and eventually love each other as they fight to find a way to save the world. There are people who want Fane dead and to use her to get off the dying world, but Celi will use all his powers as a vampire to stop them.

EXCERPT

Celi awoke with a start as the door to the room opened and a young woman entered. He huddled against the wall. She held her hand to her nose. Did he smell? He sniffed himself, he had not considered what he looked or smelled like before. No one had cared or would have wanted him, so what did it matter? His jailor’s in the past would sometimes strip him of clothes and throw cold water on him. Usually if they knew Sari was coming. So many things were occurring to him since he had joined his mind with Trevi. He wished in some way he could have his ignorance back.
"They weren't lying when they said you stink. Typical I get this job. You and I, the rejects."
Two men entered with a big tub and plonked it down. They returned and filled it with hot water, muttering under their breath as they gawked at him.
"You sure you'll be alright with him? He bites, you know?" They laughed but they had their hands on the hilts of their swords as they spoke.
"If I can cope with his smell, I can cope with his teeth. He's fed, and I can look after myself. You won't bite me, will you?" She stared straight at him, waiting for an answer.
Celi shook his head and watched as the men left, then he glanced back at the woman to see if she wanted to follow them.
"Well come on. Come here," the woman said, as she motioned for him to move away from the security of the wall. She didn't look frightened; instead she tapped her foot as though she were impatient.
Celi moved and sat as he was told. Doing what he was told was something he was good at. The woman grabbed his hair and the pain speared across the top of his head. He turned on her, his fangs lengthening in anger. She shook her head at him as sparks left her fingertips and sent shocks throughout his body. He pulled away and hobbled back over to lean against the wall again, covering his head with his arms. Her footsteps got closer and he waited for the next onslaught of pain. Pain was what he expected and knew how to deal with. Maybe she wanted him to kill someone?
"Sorry, you caught me off guard. I shouldn't have been so rough. I didn't mean to hurt you. It's just that sometimes I can't control the magic as best as I'd like to. I'm Fane. I'm just here to wash you and cut your hair." She held out her hand.
Celi didn't move. He crouched against the wall with his hands over his face. He was disfigured and repulsive. His long matted hair reached down past his shoulders and had always offered some protection so that nobody would have to look upon his deformed face. The guards who had taunted him over the years would sometimes show him a mirror so he could see the scarred reflection. He hadn't needed to see it to know it was there. He lived with the agony of it every day. He retracted his fangs, for fear she would hurt him again.
"You don't need to look at me, but I need to chop this hair off. The days of a comb doing any good here are long gone. Do you have a name?" Fane said, as she gently touched his head and offered her other hand to help him stand.
"Celi." He took her hand in his, hesitant in case the same sparks he had felt before would return. He limped across to a chair and sat, while still keeping the other hand covering his face. He could hear the snip of scissors and gazed between his fingers at the pile of matted hair growing on the floor at his feet.
"Damn," Fane yelled as she moved away, holding her hand.
Celi's fangs popped through his gums again at the smell of her blood. It was unlike any he had smelt before. She backed away as he reached out and grabbed her hand in his. He didn't care if she hurt him again. She smelled so good, he had to taste her.
"Let go," she shouted.
She had cut her thumb and the beautiful trail of red blood was flowing down her wrist. He leaned forward and licked the wound clean. Trevi had showed him how this had healed Clare when she had been injured. He hoped the result would be the same now. The aroma of her blood was so alluring he would have found it hard not to resist, even if he didn't heal her. The door to the room was flung open as two guards rushed in with their swords drawn. Celi scuffled across the room and pressed up against the wall, waiting for the onslaught. His heart beat fast, but the attack never came. Fane stood in front of him and put up her hand to stop them.
"It's alright. I just nipped myself with the shears."
"You should have left the hair on. At least it covered his ugly mug. He's more of a freak than you are." The soldier laughed and shook his head as he left.
Fane glanced across at him. "Take no notice of them. You're a strange one though. That's the first time I've seen a bloodsucker heal a person and not feast on them. Didn't know they could heal wounds with a lick. It's a secret they've kept well hidden in this world. Now, put those fangs away and sit down and let me finish."
His head felt lighter and his breathing became slower as his body relaxed. He didn't speak but he let Fane continue until he was shorn. He tried to understand the sensation her blood had given him. It was not like the humans or the animals he knew of, and it was not evil like Sari's, but even the small amount he had taken had eased his pain. For a second, the cloud covering his right eye had cleared and the room had come more clearly into focus. Now it had clouded again and was the same as before. He had glimpsed something else, too. The blood had given them a connection for a moment, before she had shielded her mind. The Lady Alicia had sent her here but Fane had not wanted to come. She had feared him, but felt she had no choice. If she was to be allowed to stay longer with this clan, she had to gain information for them.
He watched now with more understanding, as she gathered up the hair and placed it in a basket. Celi moved one of his hands away from his face and stretched out to touch the cut hair which was hard and gritty between his fingers. Then he ran his hand over his head, the hair was short and prickly. It was as if what had made him who he was had been removed. The men were right. No one should have to gaze upon his misshapen form, least of all this person who was showing him kindness. He was once again lost, not knowing what to do or how to react.
For so many years the sound of High Priestess Sari's voice echoing in his head had been all he knew. She had told him how to think and what to do. His brother's thoughts had been there briefly, but they seemed faint now and beyond his grasp. He had his brother's knowledge, but no experience, nor the ability to cope with it. The pain in his body was strong again. The only thing that had kept it at bay was Sari's blood and now he didn't have her blood any longer.
Fane eased his clothes off and helped him into the tub. That he was naked did not matter to him, but he didn't want to inflict such a sight on her. He wished Trevi were here so he could explain everything about his life to her, so she would understand and not be offended. Fane knelt beside the tub and soaped up her flannel. She had not cringed or shown pity. In fact she had not reacted, apart from the show of painful magic. Now she washed his face as she hummed. The sound was beautiful and Celi found himself smiling, or attempting to. He must have appeared grotesque as the scars on his cheek pulled his lips into a contorted grin. For the first time since she had come into the room, he peeked at her.
She had long black hair that was tied back in a plait and her eyes were brown with gold and green flecks in them. He had always thought Sari beautiful, but now he realized she was evil hiding inside a pretty cover. Fane's body wasn't skinny like Sari, or the other servant girls he had seen. He tried not to stare but could not draw his eyes away from the neckline of her dress which revealed her breasts. He had never touched a woman, apart from feeding, but he appreciated the curves of Fane's body, with her small waist and rounded hips.
She scrubbed away the layers of dirt and the warm water eased his aching body. Celi grasped her hand in his good right one. "I'm sorry." She squinted at him as if she didn't understand. "For my body. You should not be made to look."
She shook her head at him. "Shut up. I had a brother and a cousin who walked around naked all the time. I'm no shy thing. You, my friend, have been a long time in need of attention. The Lady Alicia sent me to care for you because she didn't think you could manage. It's why I'm here and happy to do it. She thought you might be slow in the head. You're not though, are you?" She raised an eyebrow as she gazed at him.
"Maybe." Celi heard a sound come from his throat that he had not heard before and he guessed it was his first laugh.
"You've a sense of humor then? I don't know why you've not taken care of yourself, but if you don't look after this hair from now on, I'll do a spell and make you bald forever. Understand?" She wagged a finger at him.

"Yes. I promise I will," he answered, knowing what she had said would probably be true. He didn't want to feel the pain of her magic again.

Sunday, February 26, 2017

ROMANCE SUNDAY: When the duchess decides to wed her to a wastrel and a fop, Ravyn Grahm takes matters into her own hands and declares her engagement to another man. A MARRIAGE OF INCONVENIENCE



Author: Christine Young
Email: achristay@aol.com
Genre: Historical Romance
Excerpt Heat Level: 1
Book Heat Level: 4

Buy at Barnes & Noble:


A REGAL BEAUTY

When the duchess decides to wed her to a wastrel and a fop, Ravyn Grahm takes matters into her own hands and declares her engagement to another man. Instead of fessing up and telling her great aunt what she has done, she goes through with the pretense. Aric Lakeland is the bastard son of an earl and has a dangerous reputation. But Ravyn is willing to do most anything to keep the duchess from discovering the lie.

A DEVIL-MAY-CARE SMUGGLER

He'd bought land in America, looking to put down roots and end his life of adventure, but Aric Lakeland got more than he bargained for when he encountered a beautiful heiress who made a promise she didn't want to keep. But the promise could not be undone and standing between them were more obstacles than either ever dreamed. Aric had made plans to spend the rest of his life in America and that was at odds with Ravyn's plan of living in England and running her father's estate. Now, he'll have to choose between his dreams and the woman he loves more than life.


EXCERPT

Aric Lakeland dodged foot-traffic along the boulevard in a crazy attempt to keep up with the bouncing erratic carriage he followed. The day was intolerably hot and his mood was no better. He resented this mission. He’d left a cool pub and a cold brew to sweat beneath the hot sun.

His idea of fun was not traipsing after a notorious gambler and womanizer. Nor did he want to baby sit a spoiled debutante.

Yet, he’d promised. A wave of guilt washed through him.

Sweat beaded on his forehead, dripping down his face. He swiped it with the back of his hand and sidestepped, nearly knocking packages from a lady just exiting a dressmaker’s shop.

“You owe me, my friend. When this is done, I will collect,” he swore beneath his breath and began thinking of all the favors he might ask of his half brother.

The carriage he followed turned a corner and disappeared from sight. He plowed into a lamppost, swore again and raced through the crowds. Richy Richmond did not deserve this absurd protection. Richy could deal with his own affairs. The other part of his half brother’s request bothered Aric. He did not want anything to happen to the lady he followed. His half brother had reason to believe Richy might do something to compromise her. His gut instincts had never been wrong. Ravyn Grahm, cousin to his half brother’s wife, was in serious trouble.

Richy’s carriage came to an abrupt halt. Richy jumped from the vehicle. His cane in hand, he strode toward a dress shop Aric had reason to visit on occasion.

Aric watched, fascinated as the scene unfolded. He started forward but noticed Richy race to protect the women Aric followed. 

“You ruffians!  Get your hands off me!”  The white-haried Duchess shrieked, her age-lined face mottled with rage, pushing at two little guttersnipes who seemed more intent on shoving the elderly woman around than stealing the packages she carried.

Ravyn swiped her parasol across a boy’s head and turned to the other, her eyes blazing, shooting violet blue sparks.

“Stop it!” she cried out, raising her parasol again and again. “Take that!  And that!”

Amused, Aric leaned against a lamppost similar to the one he had run into earlier in his race to keep Richy’s carriage in view.

He crossed his arms over his chest, grinning as he watched Ravyn batter the boys who had had the audacity to try and harm the Duchess.

He chuckled, prepared to step in if needed but it appeared the two women had the situation under control. Ravyn, he mused, the regal, classy lady who seldom had a hair on her gorgeous head out of place was decidedly disheveled. Her cheeks were flushed, her hair flowed beautifully from its perfectly coiffed hairdo. Her jacket sleeve was torn and to his amazement, she grinned as if she were having the time of her life.

“Go on, get,” Richy stepped in, shooing the two boys away. He grabbed hold of one of the boy’s arms and shook him. “Patrol,” he yelled, looking around for help. The boy stomped on Richy’s foot. Surprised, Richy let go. “Bloody hell!  Come back here. Little brat,” he yelled as the boy ran off.

Aric cocked an eyebrow, watching and wondering what would happen next, knowing Richy had a card up his sleeve. He had not forgotten he was supposed to be watching Richy, nor had he forgotten the man had suffered innumerable losses at the gaming tables and the racetrack the last few days and he might do something to Ravyn.

Aric pushed away from the lamppost and strode toward the women and Richy. He watched Richy change demeanor. Suddenly instead of rescuer, he was attacker. Aric’s heart stopped for a moment then raced.

Richy wrenched Ravyn against him, pulling her close, her arm behind her back, his mouth close to her ear as if he whispered something to Ravyn.

“Let go,” Ravyn cried out, twisting and thrashing her arms. It seemed to be the opposite scenario as moments before. The crowds that had previously closed around the women had now dissipated.

“Let go,” Ravyn cried again. 

“You’re mine, Ravyn,” Richy said in a low well-modulated voice. “You should have realized it months ago and I’d have won the wager. But instead, you ignored me. You taunted me and sometimes you pretended to care while other times you turned up your pert little nose when I walked by.”

“What do you think you are doing?  Let go of me!”  Ravyn cried out, hatred now in her stormy violet eyes.

To Aric, she sounded incredulous, perhaps confused. But strangely, not afraid.

“We--“he paused a moment--“are going to Gretna Green. We are getting married and I will inherit your estate. You will be mine.”







Saturday, February 25, 2017

SCI/FI FANTASY SATURDAY: Rebecca’s had a horrible marriage. Though the divorce isn’t finalized, she has put as much distance between her and her husband as she could. THE DANCE BY MCKINZIE S. HEART



Title: Elemental Seduction–The Dance
Author: McKinzie S. Heart
ISBN: 978-1-62420-139-4
Email: mckinzies.heart@yaho.com
Genre: Paranormal Romance
Excerpt Heat Level: 1
Book Heat Level: 4

Buy at: Rogue Phoenix Press, Amazon, Barnes and Noble

Review:
Elemental Seduction-The Dance
by McKinzie S. Heart

Description: five-stars

    Rebecca’s had a horrible marriage. Though the divorce isn’t finalized, she has put as much distance between her and her husband as she could. She’s forlornly alone but safe. As she spends yet another night alone in her grandparents’ old farmhouse, strange unexplainable things begin to happen. Has Charles tracked her down or is it some unknown intruder setting her up? And what are these whispers that she’s now hearing? Are they real or in her mind? While she tries to sort out everything as it happens, she has no idea how much is at stake. Not only is her life in jeopardy, but she may very well lose her heart and soul. But that is exactly what might have to happen for her to give in to The Dance.



This was one very fantastic well written book! The storyline was one that was full of surprises and the characters were so well developed. McKenzie S. Heart has a way of pulling her readers into the story and not letting them take time to look away because they may miss something. The way she brought the element of wind into play was so fantastic. About time some one knows what power the elements can have on a person and how one person can connects to one particular element.
Rebecca was running from her crazy x-husband and she thought she had done a great job of it until he showed up in her house in the middle of the night threatening to kill her. She wasn’t sure what she was going to do so in order to get away from him, she ran outside into the wind. The wind is what saved her that night. She found out that the one thing that was protecting her and making her feel so loved all her life wasn’t a person but something stronger than she would ever realize.
By the end of this book, I had tears streaming down my eyes. The ending is a tear jerker for me but it’s such a beautiful story that I welcomed the tears. I know a book is really good when it provokes strong emotions from me and stays with me for days instead of leaving after I finish the book. Thank you so much McKenzie S. Heart for bringing such a beautiful story to life because this story will stay with me for a very long time. Such beautiful detail and the way everything came together in the end. Grab a copy because you are missing a great story if you don’t read this right now.


TAGLINE

Rebecca longs for the freedom to succumb to The Dance. But will her past threaten her future? Just one night may determine her fate.

BLURB

Rebecca’s had a horrible marriage. Though the divorce isn’t finalized, she has put as much distance between her and her husband as she could. She’s forlornly alone but safe. As she spends yet another night alone in her grandparents’ old farmhouse, strange unexplainable things begin to happen. Has Charles tracked her down or is it some unknown intruder setting her up? And what are these whispers that she’s now hearing? Are they real or in her mind? While she tries to sort out everything as it happens, she has no idea how much is at stake. Not only is her life in jeopardy, but she may very well lose her heart and soul. But that is exactly what might have to happen for her to give in to The Dance.

EXCERPT

The hot water engulfed her body as vanilla-scented bubbles slid across her sensitive skin. Candles glowed in each corner, wrapping her in a warm embrace and filling her soul with comfort. How many times before had she awakened in the night unable to return to sleep? She couldn't remember. Maybe it had something to do with her past. She shook her head free of these thoughts then eased back, flipping open her cell phone. Knowing her friend Kim, she would still be up. The hopeless romantic, she probably lay curled up in the bed sipping on wine enjoying some sappy book about a woman falling for the perfect man and living happily ever after. Of course, she would have a box of tissues at her side for the inevitable tears. Kim had always believed in happy endings regardless of the trials and tribulations in the journey. Rebecca was one of the privileged few allowed to glimpse this hidden beneath her tough exterior. She frowned. She didn't believe in romance anymore but would never share her belief with her best friend.
"Hello?"
"Hi, Kim. Up reading?"
"You know it. I bought this really wonderful book called Dark Moon Harvest. It is the most erotic romance I've ever read."
"Bet you're drinking a glass of wine too." Rebecca flicked absently at her bubbles.
"Of course. Hey, I know you don't go for books like this, but it's really steamy with a happy ending. I think you would like it."
"Hmmm, I don't think so, but when you get done with it, I'll take a look. You know I prefer mysteries like that book I was just reading, Bones, by K. J. Dahlen."
"Well, I'm pretty sure that once you start reading it, you'll get hooked. So, what are you doing up? Having bad dreams again?"
"No, I don't know what made me wake up. I think I heard something tapping on the window. I thought it was a tree but couldn't see anything."
"It's probably just some bad weather that's coming in. I saw on the news that a hurricane is heading this way. Hope you're prepared just in case."
"Of course I am. Nana and Papa always kept a cellar full of supplies. I'm not worried about it."
"You probably just heard something getting blown against the window. You do live out in the country," Kim replied with an audible sip.
"Yeah, I like living here. I'm glad they left the place to me…it gave me a chance to…uh… So, guess you don't have any company tonight?"
Kim was a good friend. She completely ignored the awkward pause. "Now, you know that a real guy can't compete with my books. When it's book night, that's it. No guys allowed."
Rebecca stifled a giggle at Kim's comment. She could afford to have a book night since guys practically beat down the door for her attentions, otherwise.
"Of course, you don't have a book night so are you alone?"
"Now what kind of question is that? Of course, I'm alone."
"Pity. You really need to get laid. How long has it been?"
A smile spread across Rebecca's face. Her friend…always the nosey one, always the match-maker. "It's been a long time, but I don't care."
"Nonsense, you care, but you've just convinced yourself that intimacy is no longer important."
"I'm perfectly fine in this house all by myself. When I'm ready, I'm sure I'll find someone compatible."
"It's been six months, Becca, you've got to be pretty lonely. Hell, you're probably gonna rust shut." Kim suddenly burst into uncontrollable laughter. Rebecca couldn't help but giggle with her. The idea seemed hilariously possible.
"If it rusts shut, I'll just have to lubricate it--"
"Yeah, with man-juice," Kim interrupted, snorting then sounding as though choking on her wine.
"Serves you right, ho, for talking such talk."
"You're just jealous."
"But seriously, though, you know I can't see anyone until everything is finalized."
"Why not? It's not like you two have any kids together."
"I know, but I don't need to complicate the issues. I don't want him to find a way to drag this out. He's already threatened to refuse to sign the divorce papers."
She heard her friend's book slam shut then she replied, "Who cares? The bastard cheated on you and treated you like shit. What should you care? I think it's time for you to start enjoying life. I never did like him. I knew his kind instantly. All he wanted was someone he could control and in the worst way."
"I know, I know," Rebecca sighed as they slipped into this all-too-familiar conversation.
"But, Becca, you can't be controlled. You're a free spirit and a free spirit can't be possessed or manipulated. All you wanted was his love…not his abuse. Honestly, I don't know why it took you so long to see it. I just wish you wouldn't have married that cock sucker!"
"Geez, Kim," she laughed. "You been dating that wrestler again? The mouth he had on him--"
"Nope, dating a marine. And let me tell you, he's got some kind of mouth not to mention his--"
"Okay, okay, sorry I asked. Anyway, I'll let you get back to your book. I just wanted to check up on you."
"Sure, just remember to keep an ear out about that hurricane if you're going to stay up a little longer. If not, have hot sweet dreams, girl, and I'll talk to you in the morning."
"Talk to you later." Rebecca snapped the phone shut, setting it on the side of the tub. She leaned farther back thinking about Kim's comments and how she knew that she was right.
Suddenly, the phone rang, causing her to splash water over the side in surprise. The caller ID showed it as a private caller. It could be anyone if they were out of their own calling plan range. Any of her friends knew that there was a good possibility that she would be up, even though she was normally an early bird, especially in these last six months. Hell, it might even be Kim calling her back. Maybe she forgot to mention something.
"Hello?"
No one replied.
"Hello?"
Still no answer.
"If you can hear me, I can't hear you. I'm just going to hang up so you can call me back when you're in better range." She flipped the phone shut and waited. It instantly rang again.
"Hello?" She listened closely and could hear breathing on the other end. Nope, this person was in range but must think it pretty funny to harass someone this time of the night. "I'm not impressed, perv, so give it up."
She hung up and waited. The phone didn't ring again. Lucky for him because next she would have pulled out the old police whistle and--tap, tap, tap…
Rebecca nearly dropped the phone into the water. She fumbled for control then took deep breaths to sooth her thundering heart.
"It's only the storm." She glanced up to the covered bathroom window. "Better get out of the water in case of lightning."
Quickly, she toweled off and slipped back into the silk nightie. As she brushed her long wet hair, strains of soft music drifted up from the living room. She paused, staring at herself in the mirror then crinkled a brow.
"I know I turned off the stereo before I went to bed…I'm pretty sure." Of course, as soft as the music flowed, she could have overlooked it. That's what happened. She left the damned thing on. Just the other night, she had left the TV on too.

She slipped on her fuzzy slippers then went downstairs to make sure everything was turned off. Couldn't let anything wake her up again.