Saturday, March 22, 2014

Evanescent Tour, Excerpt & Giveaway!






Evanescent
(The Sempiternal Series, bk #1)
By Sara V. Zook & Wendy S. Chartier

Blurb:

A moment is all it takes.  Even the strength of a devoted warrior angel is no match to the pull of love … or is it lust? Sarenah isn’t sure.  She needs to see him again.  The brief intensity between them was too powerful.  It eats away at her mind, but why?  The elements of the world seem to be telling her something isn’t right.  There’s a secret no one wants Sarenah to know.  Why can’t she remember things such as becoming an angel?  What happened to her past?  The protection of the light is about to cease, but her heart and mind repeat one word incessantly, one she cannot ignore … Draco.








Available for purchase at 

   


EXCERPT


The dark creature walked over to me, unusually close, the heat from his skin leaping onto mine. He held up his open palm. As if entranced, I placed my hand upon his and our fingers laced together. Suddenly the darkness of his eyes was illuminated with swirls of hypnotic colors circling each other in the very middle where his pupils should be.
I knew I shouldn't be here, shouldn't be touching this sinful creature, but I couldn't stop. His touch was hot with a passion I had never known before, yet so familiar. I was caught in a trap that I never wanted to get out of.

His other hand dug into my hair and jerked my head back, his breath hot on my neck, his eyes peering into mine.

“How many more, ma’am?” a fireman shouted out above the sirens.

The female just stood there in front of the smoldering shelter before her, both hands covering her face, ashen-filled tears falling from the edge of her jaw.

“Ma’am!” the fireman hollered out. “Who else are you missing?”

The wind changed directions. I looked up to see another angel passing by, carrying the breeze along with her. She raised her hand ever so slightly to wave. I nodded at her.
The fireman covered his nostrils with the inside of his arm as the wind carried the sultry smoke toward him.

The female seemed unaffected by the smoke. She just kept staring at that front door, her apprehension more of a focus now as she waited. “Two,” she finally replied.

“Did she say two?” another guy asked.

“Two?” he asked her again to confirm.

Never looking his way, she nodded. “My husband, he went back in for our oldest son.”

“Who are you?” I whispered, my chest heaving up and down from his firm grasp on my hair. My anger flared. I should kill him for putting his hands on me like that, but it felt so good.

He narrowed his eyes at me for a moment before answering, “Draco.”

Draco.

He released me as I stood up straight, facing him. I knew who this strange creature was. I had heard about him on my travels. He was a solider of the dark, with strength witnesses marveled at. Most of the soldiers of the dark were cowards who slithered here and there with little, if any, common sense about their purpose or duty at hand. It was said that this Draco’s loyalty surpassed all others. But there was one other tidbit I had heard that was even more unusual. Those who worked with him, who were on the same side, seemed to like him. It was a concept unheard of for the dark side. Everyone was your enemy and everyone hated each other.

“And you are?” he asked.

If I said my name, he’d know who I was as well, and he’d run away. My intrigue was far too deep to have him disappear just yet.

“It doesn't matter, does it?” I said.

He smirked, a dimple forming in the side of his cheek.


About the Authors

Sara V. Zook is a paranormal/fantasy writer. She is the author of the Strange in Skin Trilogy and Clipped. She lives in Pennsylvania with her 3 small children and husband.

You can find Sara here

            


 Sempiternal Fan Page



After being in the music and literary field for 12 years as an agent, in 2013 Wendy S. Chartier took her passion for books and formed her own publishing company, Planettopia Publishing, LLC.   Wendy resides in the Texas hill country with her husband, David, and their furkids, Azriel and Sophie.

Planettopia FB Page:



Giveaway





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Friday, March 21, 2014

Across the Wire Tour, Excerpt & Giveaway!

Across the Wire
by Stella Telleria
Publication date: November 4th 2013
Genres: Adult, Science Fiction


Synopsis:
When Mia Mitchell, a hardcore but lonely former Marine, steps into an alley to pull some thugs off an unlucky foreigner, she walks into a fight she expects. What she doesn’t see coming is the foreigner making her a job offer any sane person would refuse. So, she takes it. She thinks she’s headed for some third-world country; instead she’s mysteriously transported to an Earth-like parallel world. That’s a mad left-hook.
Mia discovers a matriarchal dystopia where freedom doesn’t exist and fighting for it means execution. Lethal force bends all to the law; women fear for their families and un-wed men suffer slavery. Mia’s job is to train an underground syndicate of male freedom-fighters for a violent revolution. However, the guys don’t want a pair of X chromosomes showing them the way.

Eben, an escaped slave, is encouraged by Mia to become a leader among the men. But when he turns his quiet determination on her, it spells F.U.B.A.R. for cynical Mia. Their unexpected connection threatens more than her exit strategy; it threatens the power struggle festering with in the syndicate.

Haunted by nightmares and post-traumatic stress, unsure who to trust or how to get home, Mia struggles to stay alive as she realizes all is not what it seems.

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/18752667-across-the-wire?ac=1

Purchase:
—Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Across-Wire-The-Male-Amendment-ebook/dp/B00GEUMY0E
—Smashwords: http://www.smashwords.com/books/view/374686
—Kobo: http://store.kobobooks.com/en-ca/books/Across-the-Wire/MLkkgY2PS0yPGzgUSiqGYw
--iTunes: https://itunes.apple.com/ca/book/across-the-wire/id744701176?mt=11


Scene from Chapter 1-Servivour’s Syndrom (Mia’s POV)



I continued putting books and figurines back on the shelves. The sound of broken ceramics and ambient street traffic filled the room.

“I’ve buried three husbands,” she added.

I placed another framed picture of a different wedding on a shelf. A young Mrs. Bateman smiled in the picture. I wondered how she had survived such sadness and how so much pain could find its way to certain people’s door steps. I scratched at my left wrist but forced myself to stop. I understood why she lived alone now.

The two most insignificant words, words I’d heard a million times, came out of my mouth. “I’m sorry.”

She nodded. “Most people think it’s a joke I’ve buried three husbands.” Her voice was hard.

The glass of the picture caught a glint of sunlight. “It’s not,” I said, and heard an ambulance off in the distance through her open window.

“I don’t know why some think it is.” Her eyes seemed unfocused. “It’s not easy watching the ones you love die.”

She was hurt, she’d lost things she’d loved, and maybe she’d lost confidence in her independence. I could understand those things.

“Maybe it’s some people’s way of dealing with it,” I said. The siren became louder—getting closer.

Mrs. Bateman sat staring at me. “Of dealing with what?”

I went back to placing a bunch of unbroken records on the shelf. “That fortune holds no favorites. That everyone dies.”

A fragment of a figurine stood out of the wreckage on the floor. A decorative ceramic mask smashed roughly in half. It was white with sparkles painted on the lips and a tear glittering on its cheek. It lay there with its broken side to the floor and a wave of déjà vu hit me in the gut. The broken figurines and records became gravel. The mask became Sergeant Kosher’s head, what was left of it. The sparkled mouth became blood that caught the light. The tear was some other bodily fluid that seeped out of his remaining eye because there’d been no time for tears. His brain was scattered around his head like a halo. Kosher, the patron saint of car bombs. He never saw that IED; he never knew what was coming. It’d made me feel better about it somehow.

“The worst isn’t what people say,” I said.

“What’s worse?” Mrs. Bateman’s voice was hushed as if we were in church.

“That there’s nothing you could’ve done or will do to make their deaths worth it. Nothing that’ll explain why you survived and they didn’t.”


a Rafflecopter giveaway


AUTHOR BIO:

 All my life I’ve dreamed of stories or have had my nose buried in one. I live in Edmonton, Canada with my
husband and my weird sense of humor. Across the Wire is my first novel.

I love old war movies, dystopian fiction, and any story with action, a good plot, and characters I'd get into a fight at the pub for. Not that I'm a brawler or anything. Unless you think that out-of-print book or vintage piece at the thrift shop is going home with you instead of me. Then, my friend, the gloves are off.

Some say if you have your nose buried in a book, you're missing out on life. I say my nose is buried in a book because one life is not enough.

Author links:
http://www.stellatelleria.com/
https://twitter.com/Stellatelleria
https://www.facebook.com/pages/Stella-Telleria/618003478260798
https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7373984.Stella_Telleria
https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCip7UJkvhGEwRp-Y8TGYtxg?feature=watch


Raging Storm Release Day Blitz & Giveaway!

Raging Storm
Spiritual Discord
Book 2
Brandy Nacole

Genre: Fantasy/Paranormal/Paranormal Romance

Date of Publication: March 21, 2014

Word Count: 81,000

Cover Artist:  CCRBookCoverDesigns.com

Book Description:

After Kayson fell from heaven, his life got complicated.  His greatest enemies, the hell hounds, thrived on Earth and hunted not only the fallen but the blood children created by their Master.  After being chased and confronted by one of those very creatures, Kayson’s life becomes even more complicated.  He never expected to be rescued by a vampire named Sabrina.  He also never expected to become her protector after she falls prey to a hell hound’s deadly bite.

Falon, head of the hell hounds, has been desperately trying to hunt down Kayson and Sabrina but with the rain steadily falling—due to interference by the lower-realm Angels, also known as the assemblies—Falon grows irritated.  His only option is to threaten those that may know where the fallen can be found.
With the threat of the hounds finding Kayson and the other fallen, Kayson is running out of time.  Stille, once a respected Warrior in the assemblies, is pushing Kayson to leave an unconscious Sabrina behind.  After all Sabrina has done for him, Kayson refuses to abandon her.  But will his decision leave his friends vulnerable to attack?

Sabrina is conscious enough to sense the struggles that Kayson is facing.  If he knew the torture she’s been going through, she knows he would suffer even more.  Sabrina silently fights the darkness that is seeping into her dreams, while struggling to stay strong for Kayson.  But when the pain becomes too much, Sabrina has to make a choice that may cost not only her life, but the lives of others as well. 




About the Author:


Brandy Nacole resides in Arkansas where her imagination runs wild. Her obsession is reading but her passion is writing. She put her dream of becoming a writer on the back burner and went to college to become a psychologist. Three years after endless classes in a field she only felt half satisfied with, Brandy picked up her pen once again and wrote the outline to Uniquely Unwelcome. She finished out her degree in psychology, but traded her dream of writing for the degree and put psychology on the back burner. Whenever she's not reading or writing, Brandy is spending time with her family and friends, throwing around crazy ideas, teaching , and singing like a rock star at a concert for no one else but herself. She loves plants, but unfortunately is a killer of anything that requires water but can't voice (scream) their needs.

She is the author of The Shadow World Series and The Spiritual Discord Series.









Thursday, March 20, 2014

Bound by Lies Blitz & Giveaway!

Bound by Lies 
by Hanna Peach
(Bound #1)
Publication date: January 21st 2014
Genres: Adult, Romance, Suspense



Synopsis:
Our love is on his terms. He contacts me only through notes − unpredictable and untraceable. When we meet, he can touch me, but I’m not allowed to touch him. When we make love, it’s only after I have been bound and blindfolded. It’s the only time I truly feel alive. Which is why I play along with it. For now.

Caden Thaine is the most sinfully beautiful man I have ever seen. But more than that, his touch sets me on fire. And dear God, do I ache for him. I don’t know where he lives or even what he does. But this doesn’t scare me. My only fear is that one day his messages will stop. I know he’s hiding something. But that’s okay. I am hiding things, too. Like my real name and... who I really am. But the deeper I fall for him, the stronger my curiosity grows.

I could never have imagined just how much our lives are bound. And that pulling at his tangled web of secrets would cause my own dark past to come back to try and reclaim me. Will we survive? Will our love?

Adult romantic suspense. +18 years.

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/18713864-bound-by-lies?ac=1
Purchase:
--Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00HYNU4ZM/ref=as_li_tf_tl?ie=UTF8&camp=1789&creative=9325&creativeASIN=B00HYNU4ZM&linkCode=as2&tag=wwwhannapeach-20





Top 5 tips for surviving life on the run
By “Kitten”

#5. Don’t use your real name. (No s**t Sherlock.)

#4. The less information that you give people is better. No birthdays, no childhood stories, no letting anyone in on your past. Yeah, that means no birthday presents. Get over it. Getting to stay alive for one more day is your present.

#3. Learn how to defend yourself - take up kickboxing, buy a gun and learn how to use it, or even better, do both.

#2. Keep a bag of cash and a set of clothes in your car (registered under a false name, of course - see tip #5 again) at all times, just in case you have to take off in a hurry. This also means don’t buy anything you’re going to be upset about leaving behind. Yep, this means curbing your shoe fetish unless your fetish is for comfortable trainers in which you can run.


#1. Don’t trust anyone. Not even if you fall in love with them. Especially if you fall in love with them.


a Rafflecopter giveaway


AUTHOR BIO

Hanna began to write at the tender age of seven, starting with a daring and questionable autobiography entitled Go Suck a Lemon. Perhaps it was a little before its time.
After leaving school she agreed with everyone who said she needed to get a degree and a real job to become a proper adult. She kept writing as a hobby. After starting (and never finishing) several degrees and switching from multiple careers, she finally decided that being a real adult was overrated. In 2012, she sold everything, moved to Europe and began to write full-time.
Eternally restless, Hanna has lived in Indonesia, Australia, Germany and Scotland. She is currently residing in England.
She is addicted to coffee and chocolate and would one day like to own a dragon.
Hanna Peach is the author of the Dark Angel urban fantasy series and Bound romantic suspense series. Angelblood (Dark Angel #4) and Bound by Fear (Bound #2) are due for publication in 2014.

Author links:
https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/6586877.Hanna_Peach
http://hannapeach.com/
https://www.facebook.com/HannaPeachAuthor
https://twitter.com/HannaPeachBooks



Fury Blitz, Playlist & Giveaway!

Fury by Clarissa Wild
(Fierce #1.5)
Publication date: March 17th 2014
Genres: Contemporary, New Adult, Romance


Synopsis:
Would you risk everything for love?

Life has held nothing but hardships for Hunter Bane. Growing up with a learning disability wasn’t easy, especially when you’re poor. With only his brother to support him, Hunter clings to the short moments of happiness in life. Like when he meets Autumn Blakewood.

Autumn Blakewood is a geek at heart. Reading is her passion, and she can’t spend one day without her books. She’s always locked up in her room studying, trying to avoid trouble. Until Hunter comes into her life.

Hunter can’t resist the temptation to get closer to Autumn. She is his complete opposite, and yet he’s drawn to her in ways he can’t explain. But when his brother is caught dealing drugs and sent to prison, Hunter’s world shatters.

To save his brother, Hunter has to join the gang he’s feared his entire life. Now he’s forced to choose between his family and the one girl he loves. Fighting for both, his fury is all he needs…

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/20684841-fury

Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Fury-New-Adult-Romance-Fierce-ebook/dp/B00J0KGUTQ/
B&N: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/fury-clarissa-wild/1118918629?ean=2940149191635
KOBO: http://store.kobobooks.com/en-US/ebook/fury-new-adult-romance-1-5-fierce-series
Google Play: https://play.google.com/store/books/details?id=y0oDAwAAQBAJ
Smashwords: https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/415952
All Romance: https://www.allromanceebooks.com/product-furynewadultromance15fierceseries-1450584-149.html



FURY Playlist


FURY was written using a lot of the same songs I listened to while writing FIERCE, but there are a couple of new ones that might be interesting to you ;) Check them out!

You can check them out below, or listen to them on youtube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RcrAD35_P70&list=PLzmHhdqfyHIN3A9bPwwZlXNmuoceK2MpK

"Hold Me Now" by Red
"Demons" by Imagine Dragons
"Radioactive" by Imagine Dragons
"Supermassive Black Hole" by Muse
"Uprising" by Muse
"Glorious" by Muse
"SAIL" by AwolNation
"The Fighter" by Gym Class Heroes ft. Ryan Tedder
"Iris" by Goo Goo Dolls
"The Reason" by Hoobastank
"Wonderwall" by Oasis
"Work B**ch" by Britney Spears
"Dark Horse" by Katy Perry Ft. Juicy J.
"Holding on and letting go" by Ross Copperman
"Army Of Me" by Björk
"Sweet Dreams" by Sucker Punch
"Ni**as in Paris" by Jay-Z & Kanye West
"Rap God" by Eminem
"All Is Full Of Love" by Björk

Listen on Spotify:
https://play.spotify.com/user/clarissawild/playlist/2SyBP7Od1DZ5CIUOJlKjqj




a Rafflecopter giveaway

AUTHOR BIO
Clarissa Wild is the Amazon Bestselling Romance author of FIERCE, a top 200 and top 15 New Adult Romance novel. She is also a writer of erotic romance such as the Blissful Series, The Billionaire's Bet series, the Doing It Series and the Enflamed Series. She is an avid reader and writer of sexy stories about hot men and feisty women. Her other loves include her furry cat friend and learning about different cultures. In her free time she enjoys watching all sorts of movies, reading tons of books and cooking her favorite meals.

Author Links:
https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7163319.Clarissa_Wild
http://clarissawild.blogspot.ca/
https://www.facebook.com/ClarissaWildAuthor
https://twitter.com/WildClarissa


Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Witches Bounty Guest Post, Excerpt & Giveaway!

Witch’s Bounty
The Witch Chronicles, Book 1
Ann Gimpel

Publisher: Taliesin

ISBN: 
Release Date: 3/6/14

Genre: Dark Paranormal Romance

Word count: 63,000 words

A demon-stalking witch teams up with a Sidhe, but their combined power, never mind their love, may be too late to make a difference.

Book Description:

One of only three remaining demon-stalking witches, Colleen is almost the last of her kind. Along with her familiar, a changeling spirit, she was hoping for a few months of quiet, running a small magicians’ supply store in Fairbanks, Alaska. Peace isn’t in the cards, though. Demons are raising hell in Seattle. She’s on her way out the door to help, when a Sidhe shows up and demands she accompany him to northern England to quell a demon uprising there.

Duncan swallowed uneasy feelings when the Sidhe foisted demon containment off onto the witches two hundred years before. He’s annoyed when the Sidhe leader sends him to haul a witch across the Atlantic to bail them out. Until he sees the witch in question. Colleen is unquestionably the most beautiful woman he’s ever laid eyes on. Strong and gutsy, too. When she refuses to come with him, because she’s needed in Seattle, he immediately offers his assistance. Anything to remain in her presence.

Colleen can’t believe how gorgeous the Sidhe is, but she doesn’t have time for such nonsense. She, Jenna, and Roz are the only hedge Earth has against being overrun by Hell’s minions. Even with help from a powerful magic wielder like Duncan, the odds aren’t good and the demons know it. Sensing victory is within their grasp, they close in for the kill.

Witch’s Bounty Virtual Tour
Guest Post By Ann Gimpel


In Celtic tradition, All Hallow’s Eve separates the dark half of the year from the light. It’s a time for staying home with family. For introspection and regrouping. It’s also when the veils between the worlds thin, allowing spirits freer access to the living.

One of my problems with our modern, scientifically-based lives is all the traditions that have been tossed out as meaningless. I’m not religious in a traditional sense, but I am spiritual. So what does that mean? The least complicated definition I can come up with is I believe in something larger than my body and my mind. Something that ties them together. Whether you call it spirit, or the Collective Unconscious doesn’t much matter.

A working definition of gestalt, is that the whole is greater than the sum of its parts. I think living creatures are like that. We are way more than neurons firing in certain patterns. It’s why no one has ever made a truly successful robot outside of Hollywood.

Our ancestors, superstitious as they were, had a much better understanding—and acceptance—of the mystical quality of life than we do. Where we go racing to the Internet to look up explanations for things, they were content to accept the esoteric nature of certain events.

I’ve had enough odd experiences myself that I believe in the supernatural. Plus, I’ve had friends and patients relate hundreds of parapsychological events. Things that couldn’t possibly be explained away by science. Were we all victims of hysteria? I don’t think so.

On a deeply personal level, I don’t want a world where every single thing can be validated, explained or replicated using the scientific method. I like mysteries. It’s what drew me to depth psychology. Otherwise I would have stuck with cognitive behavioral interventions where you have patients journal and count things.

Not that writing things down doesn’t have a place in psychotherapy. It does because it’s a great tool to raise people’s awareness. But it doesn’t address the root cause of a problem. My observation is that problems have a way of cropping up with different names if we can’t figure out their origins.

Children are experts in the mysteries. But we drum the miraculous out of them pretty fast. Usually, by the time they’re around five, their wonderfully fluid imaginations have started to reflect cultural norms. Schools are just as guilty as parents. No kid wants to be different and they figure out pretty fast that talking about things that aren’t “real” is the kiss of death socially.

How about all of you? Have you had paranormal experiences? What did you do about them? Run like hell, embrace them, or some path in between. 




Excerpt:
…The bells around the shop door clanged a discordant riot of notes. “Crap!” Jenna shot to her feet. “I should have locked the damned door.”
“Back to cat form.” Colleen flicked her fingers at Bubba, who shrank obligingly and slithered out of clothing, which puddled around him. She snatched up his shirt and pants and dropped them back into the canister.
“I say,” a strongly accented male voice called out. “Is anyone here?”
“I’ll take care of the Brit,” Colleen mouthed. “Take Bubba to the basement and practice.”
She got to her feet and stepped past the curtain. “Yes?” She gazed around the dimly lit store for their customer.
A tall, powerfully built man, wearing dark slacks and a dark turtleneck, strode toward her, a woolen greatcoat slung over one arm. His white-blond hair was drawn back into a queue. Arresting facial bones—sculpted cheeks, strong jaw, high forehead—captured her attention and stole her breath. He was quite possibly the most gorgeous man she’d ever laid eyes on. Discerning green eyes zeroed in on her face, caught her gaze, and held it. Magic danced around him in a numinous shroud. Strong magic.
What was he?
And then she knew. Daoine Sidhe. The man had to be Sidhe royalty. No wonder he was so stunning it almost hurt to look at him.
Colleen held her ground. She placed her feet shoulder width apart and crossed her arms over her chest. “What can I help you with?”
“Colleen Kelly?”
Okay, so he knows who I am. Doesn’t mean a thing. He’s Sidhe. Could have plucked my name right out of my head. “That would be me. How can I help you?” she repeated, burying a desire to lick nervously at her lips.
“Time is short. I’ve been hunting you for a while now. Come closer, witch. We need to talk.”
***
Duncan Regis eyed the grim-faced woman standing in front of him. She was quite striking with such stunning bone structure—high cheekbones, square jaw—she could have been a runway model. Her unwavering pale blue eyes held his gaze. Dressed in brown wool slacks, a multicolored sweater, and scuffed leather boots, she had auburn curls that cascaded to waist level. A scattering of freckles coated her upturned nose. Her lips would have been full if they weren’t pursed into a hard line.
He knew he was staring, but couldn’t help himself. Colleen was tall for a woman, close to six feet, with well-defined shoulders, generous breasts, and a slender waist that flared to trim hips. He smelled her apprehension and was pleased she was able to cloak it so well with the defiant angle of her chin and the challenge in her icy stare.
Despite his earlier command, she didn’t move. Annoyance coiled in his gut. He could summon magic and force her, but he wanted—no, make that needed—her cooperation. Compulsion spells had a way of engendering lingering resentments. He smiled, but it felt fake so he gave it up. “I like women with spirit, but I’m used to being obeyed.”
She frowned and tilted her chin another notch. “I’ll just bet you are. I’m not coming one angstrom closer until you tell me why a Sidhe is hunting for me.”
Surprise registered. He tried to mask it, just like he’d attempted to disguise himself in a human glamour. Duncan tamped down a wry grin, wondering if his second ploy had worked any better than his first.
“Not really.” She tapped one booted toe. “I read minds. You’ll have to do a better job warding yours, if you want to keep me out.” Colleen exhaled briskly. “Look. Maybe it would be easier if you just told me why you’re here. I’m sort of busy just now and I don’t have a bunch of time to spar with you.”
“You don’t have any choice.”
“Oh yes I do.” Anger wafted from her in thick clouds. Along with it a spicy, rose scent, tinged with jasmine, tickled his nostrils and did disconcerting things to his nether regions. He resisted an urge to rearrange his suddenly erect cock. Colleen unfolded her arms, extended one, and pointed toward the door. “Out. Now.”
“You’re making a terrible mistake—”
“Maybe so, but this is my turf. If you force me with your magic, you’ll have broken the rules that bind your kind—and the covenant amongst magic-wielders.”
Duncan’s temper kindled, but it didn’t dampen the lust seeping along his nerve endings. Rules be damned. He could flatten this persnickety witch, or better yet, weave a love spell and bind her to him that way. Maybe he should do just that and have done with things. He clasped his hands behind him to quash the temptation to call magic. The movement stretched his trousers across his erection, making it obvious if she chose to look down.
Something dark streaked from the back of the shop and planted itself in front of him, hissing and spitting. Gaia’s tits. A cat. He stared at it. Hmph. Maybe not a cat after all. Duncan reached outward with a tendril of magic. Before it reached the creature, Colleen bent and scooped it into her arms. The not-a-cat wriggled and hissed, but she held fast.
“Leave him alone,” she said through clenched teeth. “He’s mine.”
Duncan narrowed his eyes. “Damn if it isn’t a changeling. How’d he end up with you?”
Her foot tapped the scarred wooden floor again, its beat so regular it could have been a metronome. “I asked you a whole lot of questions.” She took a step backward. “But the only one I want to know the answer to is—”
“What the fuck are you doing?” Jenna wavered into view, having teleported in from somewhere. Her gaze landed on the cat. “Thank Christ! For a minute there I thought the little bastard got away from me.”
“Jenna,” Colleen snapped. “The Sidhe have deigned to call.”
The other woman whipped around and stared at Duncan. He stared back. What was it with these witches? Had they taken some sort of potion to supersize themselves? She made Colleen look positively petite. Jenna sidled closer to Colleen; part of her height came from high heels, but she was still an imposing woman. “What does he want?” she growled.
Duncan cleared his throat. “I’m right here. You can ask me.”
“Fine.” Jenna put her hands on her hips. “What are you doing here?”
“How do you know I want anything?” he countered, trying to buy time to figure out what to do now. He hadn’t counted on two witches, and a changeling.
“Because if you didn’t, Colleen would have shooed you out of here by now. You really do need to leave. We’re busy.”
He snorted. “Yes. Colleen made that abundantly clear.” He looked from one witch to the other. At least his erection was fading a bit. Crowds always had a dampening effect on his libido. Many other Sidhe thrived on group sex, but he’d never appreciated its appeal.
“Either tell us what you want right now,” Colleen moved toward him, cat still in her arms, “or leave. I’m going to count to three—”
“Maeve’s teeth, witch! We’re on the same side.”
“Generally speaking,” Jenna joined Colleen about three feet away from him, “that’s probably true, but the Sidhe have never helped us.”
Colleen quirked a brow. “No, they haven’t.” Her eyes narrowed. “And I have this prescient feeling that Sidhe-boy here is about to ask for a pretty big favor.”
“Sidhe-boy?” The dregs of his lust scattered; he crimped his hands into fists. “Show some respect.”
“You’re not respecting me,” Colleen said. “I’ve asked you to leave—twice. No, make that three times.” The not-a-cat finally twisted free. He skimmed over the distance to Duncan and buried his claws in his leg.
“Why you changeling bastard!” Duncan shook his leg. The thing didn’t even budge. He bent, curled his hands around the furred body, and tugged. The thing bit him. Anger flashed. Magic followed. The changeling howled and fell into a heap on the floor.
“Goddammit!” Colleen shrieked. “He was just trying to protect me. If you’ve killed him…”
“I didn’t. He’s only stunned.” Duncan rubbed his ankle, glanced at the puncture wounds on his hand, and directed healing magic to both places.
Colleen sprang forward and gathered the creature into her arms. Duncan felt her magic quest into its small body. She blew out an audible breath. Cradled against her, shrouded by her long hair, the changeling mewled softly.
Duncan shook his head. He’d hoped to be subtle, accommodating, encouraging, so the witch would at least hear him out with an open mind. The time for that was long past. “All right.” He spread his hands in front of him. The flesh wounds on the one were already nearly closed. “I’m here because we’ve had problems with Irichna demons—”
“Christ on a fucking crutch,” Jenna cut in. “Seems like they’re on everyone’s mind these days. We were just—”
Colleen rounded on her. “Shut up!”
“Oops. Sorry.” Jenna held out her arms for the changeling. “I’ll just take him and—”
“No.” Colleen’s voice was more like a growl. “You’ll stay right here.” She placed the changeling in the other witch’s arms and turned to face Duncan. “I know you’re Sidhe, but who are you?”
“Duncan Regis.” He held out a hand. She ignored it, so he let it drop to his side.
“Regis, Regis,” she mumbled, her eyes narrowed in thought. “Ruling class from somewhere in Scotland.”
He nodded, impressed. “Northern England, at the moment, but the border has moved around a bit over the years. I do lay claim to Scottish roots. I didn’t know witches studied our family lines.”
“Witches don’t, but I did.”
“Any particular reason?” He was almost sorry he’d asked. She had strong feelings about the Sidhe, and he was about to find out why.
The changeling yowled, obviously recovered from his semi-comatose state. Jenna cursed and set him down. “Damn it! He scratched me.”
Duncan thought about saying something cheery, like welcome to the club, but bit back the words.
Colleen rolled her eyes. “He wants to talk. There’ll be no peace until he shifts.” She flicked magic toward the creature winding itself between her booted feet. The air shimmered and a rather large gnome took form.
He rocked toward Duncan with a bow-legged gait that made him look like a drunken sailor; his open mouth displayed squared off teeth. “I’ll tell you why she knows about you.” The changeling drew himself to his full height of about three-and-a-half feet. “She came to the Old Country looking for help during the last demon war. You Sidhe were too high and mighty to get your hands dirty, so she had to settle for me.”
Colleen snickered. “Not exactly the way I might have described it, but close enough. Hey, Bubba! Get some clothes on.”
“Later,” the changeling snapped without looking at her.
“Which of us did you approach?” Duncan made the question casual. Whoever turned Colleen down had broken the covenant binding magic-wielders to come to one another’s aid in times of need. He wondered if she knew.
“Of course I do.” She sneered. “Your thoughts are as transparent as a child’s. Even Bubba here,” she pointed to the changeling, “does a better job masking his feelings when he puts his mind to it.”
“Thanks.” The changeling glowered at her before transferring his attention back to Duncan.
“What kind of name is Bubba?” Duncan linked to the changeling, and was surprised by the complexity of his thoughts. Maybe the witches had been a good influence.
“You didn’t have to just push your way in.” The changeling screwed up his seamed face in disgust, but didn’t draw back. “My true name is Niall Eoghan.”
“Clothes,” Colleen reminded him.
Bubba made a face at her, turned, and walked behind one of the display cases. When he emerged, he wore wide-bottomed green trousers and a black shirt.
“Irish.” Puzzle pieces clicked into place and Duncan transferred his attention back to Colleen. “You never did tell me who you’d asked for help. It appears they not only turned you down, but chased you across the Irish Sea.”
“We left voluntarily,” Jenna said.
Colleen’s lips twisted in distaste. Whatever she remembered apparently didn’t sit well. “We spoke with two Sidhe at Inverlochy Castle outside Inverness. They refused to give us their names, but said they were princes over your people. They heard us out and sent us packing. Gave us twenty-four hours to leave Scottish soil.”
“I was all for staying,” Jenna chimed in. “After all, we had passports.”
“Was it just the two of you?” Duncan asked.
“Roz was with us,” Colleen said.
Understanding washed through him. “Three. You brought three to maximize your power.”
Colleen’s full mouth split into a chilly smile. “We were under attack by the Irichna. Would you have done any less?”
“Probably not. So after we, that is, the Sidhe—”
“We worked fine,” Bubba said flatly. “Unless you’ve decided to renounce your heritage.”
Duncan traded pointed looks with the changeling. “Speaking of magic, you’re stronger than any changeling I’ve ever come across.”
“That’s because you’re used to our feeble Scottish cousins. They were stronger before you stripped their magic and diverted it for your own purposes.”
“Enough.” Colleen snapped her fingers. “Or I’ll change you back into a cat. We don’t need a history lesson just now.” She shook her hair back over her shoulders. The movement strained her sweater tighter across her breasts. Duncan dragged his gaze elsewhere.
“About the Irichna—” he began.
“We can’t help you,” Colleen said flatly.
“Why not? We’d pay you well.”
“It’s not a matter of money, although I’m not sure you could afford us.”
“We have an, um, previous engagement,” Jenna offered.
“Whoever it is, we need you more than they do.” He looked from one witch to the other.
Colleen dropped her gaze and rubbed the bridge of her nose between her thumb and index fingers. When she looked up, the skin around her eyes was pinched with worry. “I’m not sure it’s a matter of who needs whom more.” She speared him with her pale blue gaze. “Do the Sidhe know why the demons are so much more active here of late?”
He debated how much to tell her. Given her ability to burrow inside his head, it was unlikely he’d be able to hide much. If he told her everything, though, it might piss her off. Hell’s bells, it annoyed the crap out of him. “Not exactly.”
Her nostrils flared. “You can do better than that. If you can’t, the door is behind you.” She folded her arms beneath her breasts. “Talk now or leave now. It’s all the same to me.”

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About the Author:


Ann Gimpel is a mountaineer at heart. Recently retired from a long career as a psychologist, she remembers many hours at her desk where her body may have been stuck inside four walls, but her soul was planning yet one more trip to the backcountry. Around the turn of the last century (that would be 2000, not 1900!), she managed to finagle moving to the Eastern Sierra, a mecca for those in love with the mountains. It was during long backcountry treks that Ann’s writing evolved. Unlike some who see the backcountry as an excuse to drag friends and relatives along, Ann prefers solitude. Stories always ran around in her head on those journeys, sometimes as a hedge against abject terror when challenging conditions made her fear for her life, sometimes for company. Eventually, she returned from a trip and sat down at the computer. Three months later, a five hundred page novel emerged. Oh, it wasn’t very good, but it was a beginning. And, she learned a lot between writing that novel and its sequel.

Around that time, a friend of hers suggested she try her hand at short stories. It didn’t take long before that first story found its way into print and they’ve been accepted pretty regularly since then. One of Ann’s passions has always been ecology, so her tales often have a green twist.

In addition to writing, Ann enjoys wilderness photography. She lugs pounds of camera equipment in her backpack to distant locales every year. A standing joke is that over ten percent of her pack weight is camera gear which means someone else has to carry the food! That someone is her husband. They’ve shared a life together for a very long time. Children, grandchildren and three wolf hybrids round out their family.





@AnnGimpel (for Twitter)