Saturday, August 9, 2014

Accession Tour, Excerpt & Giveaway!





Accession 
(Sarath Web series, bk #1)
By Terah Edun

Blurb: 
Sixteen-year-old Katherine Thompson wasn’t trained to rule a coven. That was her sister – perfect, beautiful Rose. But when a mysterious plane crash kills off the heir presumptive of the Sandersville coven she has no choice.

After stepping in to fill her sister’s shoes, Katherine realizes she didn’t have a clue – faery wars, depressed trolls and angry unicorns are just the beginning.

For centuries, her family has served the high Queens on both sides of the Atlantic but it is a well-known rule that mid-level witches stay away from high-level Queens.
But when Katherine’s youngest cousin vanishes without a trace in the Atlanta court and no one wants to investigate, Katherine decides to step into the darkness on her own. She will soon discover that nothing, in a queen's court, is as it seems.



Available for purchase at 

   


Excerpt

As Mrs. Peabody narrowed her eyes, sniffed, and then turned to pick on another student, Katherine drifted off. In a daydream, a memory, a premonition, or something that was all of those things in one. She watched through the frosty window as a maelstrom of black clouds, heavy lightning, and rain appeared in the morning sky.

For a moment she felt a sharp pain, the same kind she felt when her mother had fractured her knee surveying corn last week. She’d known the moment the Queen of Sandersville had fallen and had felt her mother’s pain from miles away. She had asked Rose about it later. After chiding her about releasing a powerful flare of magic in response and setting an acre of forest on fire in the process, as if Katherine had had a choice, Rose had explained that she’d also started to sense the pain of others late in her fifteenth year.

            But this ache was different. It was worse, and she had no idea what was causing it. Then she felt her gifts rise. The dark gifts. The dangerous part of her that was her witch’s gift. The part of every witch and warlock’s magic that was innate to them, unique to them. That one special gift that made every coven member different from the rest. That couldn’t be duplicated with spells or trapped with magic. Rose’s was her affinity to plants. Their mother’s was her command over earth. But Katherine’s was unlike either of those. It wasn’t weird and unique, like Thu Kim’s ability to awaken awareness in inanimate objects, or cool, like Connor’s telepathy. No, hers was a call. A call that brought destruction in its wake.

With a shock, Katherine snapped out of her vision. She could feel her power building in a swirl of darkness in the pit of her stomach. Like a twister, it was ready to emerge. Standing up in a hurry, she ran between the desks in an effort to get out the door. To get somewhere quiet. Somewhere safe where she wouldn't hurt anybody.

She was holding on by a thread.

A thread that broke when Mrs. Peabody snapped, “Katherine Thompson, sit down!”





About The Author

Terah Edun is a young adult fantasy writer that writes the stories that she always loved to read as a young girl. Her Courtlight series can be seen on the USA Today Happily Ever After blog and her Crown Service series spent four weeks in the Amazon Top 500.

Her latest book is Accession, the first in the Sarath Web series. 

You can find her at

         


Giveaway

Friday, August 8, 2014

The Magick of Dark Root Tour, Excerpt & Giveaway!

The Magick of Dark Root
Daughters of Dark Root
Book Two
April Aasheim

Genre: Paranormal, Women’s Fiction

Publisher: Dark Root Press

Date of Publication: June 3, 2014

ISBN: 1499611951
ASIN: B00KRQ2KAK

Number of pages: 330 pages
Word Count: 88,000

Cover Artist: AnneMarie Buhl and Greg Jensen

Book Description:

“There are rules that must be followed, Maggie.”

“Even in witchcraft?”

“Especially in witchcraft. What someone puts into the world comes back to them.”

“You mean karma?”

“Like karma, yes. But for a witch it comes back threefold. Never forget that.”

“That doesn’t seem fair.”

“Who said life was fair?”

In the second installment of The Daughters of Dark Root series, Maggie Maddock and her sisters are back, training under their coven-leading mother Miss Sasha Shantay to take over as the new leaders of The Council. But life isn’t as smooth as Maggie had hoped it would be. Harvest Home’s taxes have come due, and her mother’s illness has returned, stronger than ever.

Desperate, Maggie and Eve devise a scheme to make money through witchcraft.

And that’s when things go terribly wrong.

Available at Amazon


Excerpt:

There are nights when you question just about everything: who you are, where you've come from, what your purpose is, how you got to your current place in life.
And then there are nights when you just accept things.
Nights when you stand beneath a silver moon, digging a shallow grave for a man you murdered. A man who probably had a wife and children, a mother and a job. A man who probably wouldn't have tried to molest your kid sister, if she hadn't been wearing a perfume enchanted to entice men in the first place.
These are the nights you try not to think.
Because if you think––about the corpse sitting in the car a dozen feet away, about your inability to determine wrong from right, about the fact that your mother was right about you after all, that you walk the line, just like your father––you just might go mad.
And I couldn't go mad.
Anyway, it was Thanksgiving, officially, and I wasn't going to let this little incident ruin the holidays.
“No!” I said aloud as I plunged my shovel into the earth and tossed out another spade full of dirt. “I’m going to keep it together!”
“Maggie, you okay?” Merry stopped digging and faced me, her eyes concerned. In this lighting, as her gold hair framed her sweet face, she looked more angelic than ever. “You can take a break, if you need to. We’ll be okay.”
“Me? I’m fine, Merry. Thanks for asking.”
I caught my sisters shooting each other knowing looks, looks that said I wasn’t all right, that in fact I had lost my marbles.
“I’m fine,” I repeated emphatically, tossing out an extra-large helping of dirt and wondering how much deeper we would need to dig.
The spell said to encase the subject in a box, then bury him under the light of a waning moon, but it didn't specify how deep the grave needed to be. An unhelpful omission. Since the “subject” would eventually dig his way out of that grave, clawing his way through the box and layers of muck, I conjectured we shouldn't dig it too deeply.
The experience would be traumatic enough for the poor guy as it was.
Fortunately for us, however, the timing of his death couldn't have been better, being a waning moon and all. If I’ve learned anything from this ordeal, it’s that if you are going to commit murder, and have any intention of bringing the deceased back to life, always plan it around the correct moon cycle.
Lucky break for Maggie!
“I think,” I said, continuing to dig. “That this might be a lucrative business. Bringing people back from the dead. If it works out, we might start charging for it. Gotta bring in more money than that stupid magick store does.”
“Maggie, stop,” Eve said, wiping her forehead with cashmere gloves she would never wear again.
“I’m just saying…why not? We can call it Bodies R Us. They’re not dead unless we say they’re dead.” I grinned at Ruth Anne, sure she’d appreciate my joke.
She shook her head and continued digging.
“What?” I asked, throwing my shovel onto the ground. “Are we too good for death jokes now?”
Merry pressed her lips together. “Honey, you’ve had a terrible shock and now it’s finally setting in. Go sit on the porch steps and we’ll finish this. We’ll call you when it’s done.”
“No!” I screamed, surprising myself with the shrillness of my voice. I tore at the air with both hands, as if being assaulted by an invisible man, tears stinging my eyes. “I won’t sit by while my sisters bury the man I…”
I choked, unable to finish the sentence. I lifted my trembling chin. “Neither hell nor jail is good enough for me.”
Someone’s arms wrap around me. I recognized the vanilla and lavender scent as Merry’s. I hyperventilated in her arms as she held me, cooing me to quiet.
“It’s okay, honey. It will be okay.”
How could I explain to her that it wouldn't be okay? Nothing might ever be okay again. Even if we did manage to raise him, I had the deathtouch, just like my father. And there was no coming back from that.
“What if we can’t do it, Merry?” I sniffed, wiping my nose on her shoulder as I stared at the Christmas tree in the front yard, the box that would soon be a coffin.
“We will,” she said, brushing the hair from my face. “You’ll see.”
“I think this is deep enough,” Ruth Anne announced, tossing her shovel onto the ground. “We’d better hurry.”
I let out one final sob of self-pity and nodded.
Merry grabbed my hand and we converged on the car.
“I’m sorry,” I said to the man in the passenger seat.
He sat buckled in, staring straight ahead. I removed his seat belt, noticing the stiffness of his body we hefted him from the car. You hear that the dead are cold, but you can never imagine how cold. It’s not a freezer type of cold or a snow type of cold. It’s an empty chill, like floating in deep space. A coldness without hope.
“We don’t have much time,” I said as we lowered him into the box.
He didn’t quite fit and we pushed on arms and legs, stuffing him inside like an unwilling Jack-in-the box.
Merry wiped the salve she had concocted across his face and neck. It smelled horrible, like ashes and mold. Next, she reached into her pocket and produced Mother’s wand.
“Once he’s completely buried, we use this,” she said.
“Paul says that in the old days, people were often buried alive,” Eve said, fighting back a shiver. “He said gravediggers found coffins with scratch marks on the inside.”
“Maybe they weren't buried alive,” I suggested. “Maybe they were guinea pigs in spells like this one.”
“Maggie, you’re not funny.”
“I know.”
At last, it was done. The man who’d been buying us drinks and pawing at my sister only a few hours ago was now four feet underground in my front yard. I wanted to stick a cross in the earth, or a stone, something to mark this place.
But I couldn't think like that. I had to believe he was just sleeping and would wake up shortly, and we’d all go back to our normal lives.
Merry lifted the wand. The emerald-colored gem shone so dim, it faded into the night. The wand was dying, too.
“We could use this on Mama,” Merry said, her voice almost a whisper.
There was a cold silence that passed between us. If the wand had one charge left, did we waste it on a stranger? Or did we try and save the woman we loved, who hovered very near death herself in the bedroom upstairs? It could buy her time.
Our heads turned in unison towards her window.
“No,” I said, resolutely. “There’s still hope for Mother, but there’s no hope for this guy. We have to use it on him.”
Merry nodded and we gathered around the grave. She lifted her wrist, ready to cast the wand, but I stopped her.
“Give it to me, Merry. I have to be the one.”
“But Maggie,” Merry protested. I knew what she was thinking. She had the gift of healing, while I had the curse of…
She handed it over.
My hand shook as I took it. Merry might have the right kind of magick, but my powers were greater, and I had Mother’s Circle.
My sisters held hands, chanting words from Mother’s scroll, indecipherable gibberish that produced an ethereal sound when spoken together, like angels falling from heaven.
I raised the wand, catching site of a raven that roosted between the spokes of the old garden gate, intently watching me.
It was now or never.
The price of the deathtouch had to be paid.


About the Author:

April Aasheim considers herself an ‘expert’ in the paranormal. Her mother dabbled in the occult and her father was a martial artist who believed that true power came from an unseen energy that you could tap into.

As a child, April claims to have lived in a haunted house and to have been visited by relatives who had passed on. To combat her frightening experiences, April spent her youth studying world religion including Christianity, Islam, and Buddhism. Later, April branched out in her studies with a focus on psychology, anthropology, sociology, and the paranormal.

April is married with children and currently resides in Portland, Oregon where she spends her days writing, watching movies, and attending Zumba classes at her local gym.

The Magick of Dark Root is the second in The Daughters of Dark Root series, and her third novel.




Twitter: @aprilaasheim



Uninhibited Blitz & Giveaway!

Uninhibited 
by Melody Grace
(Beachwood Bay #4)
Publication date: July 21st 2014
Genres: New Adult, Romance



Synopsis:

He’ll teach her a pleasure beyond her wildest dreams…

Alicia Wright isn’t the kind of girl to make out with a stranger in a dark alley. She’s spent years playing it safe, pining after the perfect man – who’s about to marry someone else. She doesn’t know how to move on, until a sexy stranger turns her world upside down with a wickedly tempting proposition…

She’ll rescue him from the edge of oblivion…

Rock star Dex Callahan swore his days of fame and debauchery were behind him, but the spotlight keeps calling his name. Determined not to fall into his old life, he goes looking for distraction — and finds an intoxicating red-head with a mouth made for sin. One kiss could never be enough, so Dex offers her a deal: spend one week with him, and she’ll forget her old flame ever existed.

Together, they’ll ignite a passion that will change them forever…

No rules. No limits. As the whirlwind week of pleasure unfolds, Alicia discovers a desire she never knew existed – and the tortured heart Dex hides behind his charming smile. But can old loves so easily be replaced? And when the week is over, will their bond be strong enough to weather the storm?

Melody Grace returns with her sexiest book yet!

*This book contains adult situations and explicit content. 17+*

UNINHIBITED is part of the Beachwood Bay series, but can be enjoyed as a stand-alone novel.

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/20922819-uninhibited?ac=1
Purchase:
Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Uninhibited-Callahans-Book-Melody-Grace-ebook/dp/B00L1PCW18/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1406910421&sr=8-1&keywords=Uninhibited+melody
BN: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/uninhibited-melody-grace/1119977702?ean=2940149798711




a Rafflecopter giveaway




AUTHOR BIO


Melody Grace is a small-town girl turned SoCal beach lover. After spending her life with her nose in a book, she decided it was time she wrote one herself. She loves steamy romance novels, happily-ever-afters, and lusting after fictional menfolk.

Visit Melody online at http://melodygracebooks.blogspot.com
Twitter: http://twitter.com/melody_grace_






Thursday, August 7, 2014

Borrowed Promises Tour, Excerpt & Giveaway!

Borrowed Promises
Moonseed Trilogy
Book 2
Judith Ingram

Genre: paranormal romance

Publisher: Vinspire Publishing, LLC

Date of Publication: May 31, 2014

ISBN: 978-0-9890632-4-1
ASIN: B00JD0H2ZE

Number of pages: 249 pages
Word Count: 73,300 (approx.)

Cover Artist: Elaina Lee/For the Muse Designs

Book Description:

On the night of the new spring moon, a near-fatal accident propelled Victoria Reeves-Ashton over a century back in time to awaken in the body of Katherine Kamarov.

Now, after three months of pretending to be Katherine and laboring to repair relationships damaged by Katherine's brash and selfish personality, quiet and gentle Victoria finds that her heart is putting down roots in Katherine's world, in her family relationships, and especially in a deepening friendship with Katherine's winsome cousin Michael.

Hidden letters reveal the story of other moonseed-time travelers like herself-and Victoria realizes that she and Katherine will likely be returned to their own times the following spring. Tension mounts when a rich and handsome suitor applies to marry her, and Victoria must choose whether to accept him for Katherine's sake or to follow her own heart.

Ryan Ashton, the husband Victoria left behind, is baffled by the woman his wife has suddenly become. Unwilling to believe her story about an exchange in time, Ryan struggles to understand the stark transformation of his timid, remote wife into a sexually aggressive and captivating siren. Against his better judgment, he falls hard for this new woman who is a perplexing mixture of cruelty, sensuality, and tenderness, a woman who he suspects has the power to either break his heart or heal the aching loneliness he has lived with all his life.


Excerpt:

I bit my lip, wanting to avoid any subject that could ruin the easy camaraderie of our afternoons together. Michael had been friendly and funny, teasing me gently, treating me with the easy affection of an older brother. Once or twice I'd caught him watching me with a fierce intentness that made my heart skip. But then he'd grin or offer a quip that made us both laugh, and the uncomfortable moment would pass.
I enjoyed the lightness of our friendship, grateful for the reprieve. In the rose garden at Summerwood and later on the trip to San Francisco, I had felt the slow but persistent budding of a new feeling that both thrilled and frightened me. The lightest touch of Michael's hand pricked up hairs along my skin like electricity; his boyish grin twisted a slow, sweet pain deep into my body. His clean, male scent in close proximity could stun me with unexpected waves of need, often forcing me to look away so he wouldn't see the flame in my eyes.
I couldn't allow Michael to guess where my heart was taking me—because of Raymond.
Although many things were unclear to me, one fact seemed certain—Katherine must marry Raymond Delacroix and have at least one child with him. If I gave in to my new feelings for Michael, and if I were cruel enough to let him see them, then I risked both hurting him and ruining Katherine's chances with Raymond when she came back to her own time.
And Katherine would come back. I was convinced of it, all my desperate wishes to the contrary. She would marry Raymond, give birth to Elise, and secure a future that would eventually lead to her daughter painting a picture of Katherine and me at the bridge over Two Trees Creek. By the same token, I would return to life as a lingerie model and a cold marriage with Ryan Ashton. Ryan.
"What?" Michael's voice made me jump and turn my head.
"What?"
"You said 'Ryan' again."
"I did?"
Michael had removed his glasses, and he blinked at me from only a foot away. God, he has beautiful eyes, I thought. Soft gray-green depths that held me breathless, fighting a slow, aching pull to be in his arms.
"He's…nobody," I said.
Michael was studying me, his eyes so solemn and searching that I couldn't look away. He didn't speak, but in that moment my heart yearned toward him, and he saw it. His expression changed. His gaze moved slowly from my eyes to my mouth.
I turned my face away and shut my eyes over a sudden sting of tears.
"Kat?" he said softly.
His voice held a new, cautious note of intimacy. A moment later his thumb brushed my wet cheek, and the tenderness of his touch wrenched a low cry from me. I pushed his hand away and struggled to sit upright.
"Don't touch me!" Pain made my voice sharp. "You can't touch me, Michael!"
But his hand was already under my elbow, helping me to sit. He pushed a handkerchief into my hand.
"Here. Take it." He sounded bewildered and hurt. "Seems you'd rather do the job yourself."
He watched me wipe my eyes and blow my nose with his handkerchief. I couldn't look at him, and after a moment he reached for his glasses and slipped them on.
In a tight voice he asked, "Do you still want to visit Union Square?"
I pressed the soggy handkerchief to my lips and nodded.
Michael pushed himself to his feet and thrust out a hand to help me up. We folded the blanket between us, careful not to touch each other's fingers, and he picked up the hamper. As we crossed the grass in uneasy silence, a fresh roll of tears made me reach into my handbag for a clean handkerchief. A flash of copper tumbled into the grass.
I stopped quickly, but Michael was quicker. He scooped up the coin, examined it briefly, and gave it back to me.
"You still carrying that thing around?"
I looked up at him, my handkerchief arrested halfway to my face. "My coin? What do you know about my coin?"
He squinted at me and frowned. "You're kidding, right? I was with you when you paid a nickel for that worthless thing at the county fair. You said it was good luck, and you carried it around in your pocket for years." He stopped at my look. "What is it?"
"Michael, are you certain this is the same coin?"
I handed it back to him. His gaze lingered on my face, puzzled, before he examined the coin. He weighed it briefly on his palm, flipped it over, and gave it back to me.
"Of course I'm certain." He pointed his finger at the familiar nick in the rim. "There's where the wagon wheel ran over it, and you were so furious because you thought the magic was ruined." He screwed up his eyes against the sun and studied me. "What's the matter with you, Kat? You're looking at me like I've got two heads."
I shook my head in dazed wonder, suspended once again in that universe where Katherine's world and mine overlapped and where it made perfect sense that her lucky coin should have somehow come to me—twice.


a Rafflecopter giveaway


About the Author:


Judith Ingram weaves together her love of romance and her training as a counselor to create stories and characters for her novels. She also writes Christian nonfiction books and enjoys speaking to groups on a variety of inspirational topics. She lives with her husband in the San Francisco East Bay and makes frequent trips to California's beautiful Sonoma County, where most of her fiction characters reside. She confesses a love for chocolate, cheesecake, romantic suspense novels, and all things feline.

Website, blog & free weekly devotional: http://JudithIngram.com








Leather and Lace Blitz, Excerpt & Giveaway!

Leather and Lace 
by Jessie Evans
(Lonesome Point, Texas #1)
Publication date: July 14th 2014
Genres: Adult, Contemporary, Romance


Synopsis:

Cowboy bikers, fireworks, and romance, oh my…

Wild girl, Mia Sherman, has a secret—she isn’t as fearless as she pretends. Descended from Lonesome Point, Texas’s founding family, Mia grew up hearing tales of an old Irish curse that had followed the Shermans to America. At age twenty-four, Mia is still terrified of the stories, because they aren’t stories. They are a warning about what will happen if Mia allows love and romance into her life. The curse struck Mia’s grandmother and her great-great-whatever grandmother, and Mia knows she could be next. The first-born daughter of every generation is cursed to lose her husband on her wedding night, which is one of the many reasons Mia has sworn off relationships.

Until the fateful day Sawyer Kane rides his Harley into her life …

Rancher turned restoration expert, Sawyer Kane, can’t believe his luck when the feisty owner of the lingerie shop next to his hotel turns out to be the curator of his latest project, a ghost town he’s been sent to restore. He’s looking forward to long, hot days talking history, and hotter nights with Mia, but the redhead with the killer smile seems determined to keep him at a friendly distance. But when a dangerous man from Mia’s past arrives in town, Sawyer finds himself drawn into her inner circle, and into the legend of Lonesome Point itself.

Can true love conquer all, even a centuries-old curse? Mia and Sawyer may be the first to find out.

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/22699571-leather-and-lace?ac=1
Purchase:
Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Leather-Lace-Lonesome-Point-Texas-ebook/dp/B00LS6MCMY/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1406638735&sr=8-1&keywords=Jessie+Evans+leather
BN: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/leather-and-lace-jessie-evans/1119946246?ean=2940149823154


Excerpt
Sawyer smiled his least threatening smile, prepared to take things slow if that’s what Mia wanted. That’s not the vibe he’d gotten from their kiss, but he’d tasted whiskey on her lips Saturday night. She might be more conservative without a little liquid courage, and that was fine with him. He was a patient man, especially when he knew the woman whose trust he was winning would be worth the wait.
“We could be friends,” he said. “I liked how you spruced things up around town Saturday night. The bras up the flag pole were a nice touch.”
Mia’s lips parted, and for a moment, he thought she was going to return his smile.
Instead, she clamped her mouth shut and lifted her hands, shooing him toward the door. “Thank you, but I already have more friends than I have time for.” She shooed him again, with increasingly urgent flaps of her hands, until Sawyer had no choice but to take a step back.
“I really don’t mean to be rude,” she continued as she herded him across the shop. “But you’re only in town for a few days, and I don’t do short term relationships—”
“But I—”
“Or long term relationships,” Mia hurried on, before Sawyer could tell her he was in town for at least the two weeks it would take to finish his consult, and conceivably much longer. “Any relationships, really. I’m a schoolmarm—spinster. It’s kind of a family tradition, and I’m big on tradition. Super big.”
Sawyer’s back hit the door, but before he could reach for the doorknob, Mia lunged around him, hauled the door open, and all but shoved him out onto her front stoop.
“So take care,” she said, waving at him with a falsely cheery smile. “Enjoy Lonesome Point.”
Sawyer opened his mouth to say he’d enjoy it a lot more if she’d tell him what he’d done to get on her bad side, but before he could speak, she’d slammed the door in his face hard enough to make him flinch.
“That went well,” he mumbled, his mood souring as his cocky attitude from this morning came back to bite him in the ass.
Clearly, Mia Sherman wasn’t going to be won over as easily as he’d anticipated.


a Rafflecopter giveaway


AUTHOR BIO

New York Times and USA Today bestselling author, Jessie Evans, gave up a career as an international woman of mystery to write the sexy, contemporary romances she loves to read.


She's married to the man of her dreams, and together they're raising a few adorable, mischievous children in a cottage in the jungle. She grew up in rural Arkansas, spending summers running wild, being chewed by chiggers, and now appreciates her home in a chigger-free part of the world even more.

When she's not writing, Jessie enjoys playing her dulcimer (badly), sewing the worlds ugliest quilts to give to her friends, going for bike rides with her house full of boys, and drifting in and out on the waves, feeling thankful for sun, surf, and lovely people to share them with.

Learn more at www.jessieevansauthor.com.

Author links:
http://www.jessieevansauthor.com/
https://www.facebook.com/JessieEvansRomance?ref=hl
https://twitter.com/JessieDEvans
https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7302050.Jessie_Evans


Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Caressed by Shadows Tour, Excerpt & Giveaway!

Caressed by Shadows
Rulers of Darkness
Book Four
Amanda J Greene

Book Description:

Black Knight, Falcon Kenwrec is powerful, relentless, and fiercely loyal, his only allegiance – to his king. But he is torn between duty and desire when the war between the vampire clans and the Red Order hunters escalates and the enemy captures the one woman he longs to claim as his own, Sonya Rebane, Queen of the Voidukas Clan. Falcon will risk everything to save her, even if it means forsaking his king.

After weeks of imprisonment, Sonya is stunned when the chivalrous knight that she has secretly loved from afar appears outside her cell. As they fight and struggle to elude their enemies, they must battle their overwhelming attraction for each other and their love that is forbidden.

As every perilous moment draws them closer together, every smoldering kiss drives them to the brink of a passionate destruction. Will they be able to resist temptation? Or will their love be their ruin?



Excerpt


Chapter One Caressed by Shadows

Rain ran in rivulets down his face, the droplets caught on his lashes like tiny crystals, a delicate contrast to the harsh gunmetal grey of his eyes.
Falcon observed the group of Red Order Hunters that gathered in the ally below. Shadows clung to him, concealing him in their darkness. His prey’s laughter sailed on the wind, their merriment grating his nerves.
           Poor bastards, they were peacefully oblivious to the specter of death that stalked them.
The hunters had taken from him, stolen what he loved most in this world. Sonya Rebane, the queen of the Voidukas Clan.
       Three weeks. Sonya had endured imprisonment for three weeks and if she had one bruise or a single scratch to mare her smooth skin, he would roast every last Red Order hunter.
         His fangs burned as his vision darkened, his gray eyes turning as black as the pits of hell.
         Tonight, he would save her. Tonight, he would have Sonya in his arms.
         The gentle hum of a car’s engine drifting on the air disrupted his thoughts.
Glancing up at the night sky, Falcon judged it to be about eleven-thirty. It was time for the changing of the guard. He watched as the hunters piled out of the old black van. They fell in line behind their commander, a tall, slender, balding man. He would open the secret door and go down into the dark pit where the cells were located, and where Sonya was being held. The commander was the only hunter permitted to check on the prisoners. Once finished, he would return to the group, close the wall, and take the van back to the soldier’s quarters. They were the only hunters that did not reside underground like the rest of the Red Order.
Falcon moved to the edge of the roof. Tension coiled through his body. Crouching down, he balanced on the balls of his feet. Lightning cut across the sky, the flash causing the chrome of his holstered twin 1911s to sparkle in the darkness.
The witches turned to face the wall. Their commander reached out and pressed a single faded brick. The stone moved revealing a soft glowing blue screen. Falcon’s breath froze in his lungs as he watched the commander flatten his hand on the screen.
Just a few more seconds, he thought. Anticipation knotted his gut.
The sound of scrapping bricks kissed his ears as he watched the wall shift, the bricks drew back revealing the secret entrance and a set of stairs covered in shadows.
             His nostrils flared and his lungs expanded as he sucked in a deep breath. The unmistakable, unforgettable scent of fresh lilacs mingled with the putrid smell of waste and dirt.
              Sonya was down there.
              His fangs burst from their sheaths, long and sharp. His black eyes burned with rage. His Sonya. They had his Sonya and he was going take her back.
Falcon stood, freed his weapons and stepped off the roof, landing silently on the concrete below and stalked toward his prey.

               *                      *                      *                      *

“You have brought ruin upon us.”
“No. I’ve brought salvation.”
The hushed voices stung her ears as she slowly came to consciousness. Sonya suppressed a pained moan as the aching of her battered body slammed into her like a speeding semi.
The witches had drugged her and dumped her someplace cold, damp—she took in a deep breath — and dirty. No, dirty did not even begin to describe her foul surroundings. The stench of sewage, sweat, and decay bombarded her senses; the rancid odor nearly choking her.
“What do you hope to gain from kidnapping a royal?”
Sonya’s ears twitched. She recognized that voice.
“An end to this war, Carter. Just like you want.”
Rage sparked an inferno inside her. Samuel.
“I want peace, but what you’ve done…” Carter’s words ended with an exasperated groan.
“You are a dreamer,” Samuel spat. “There can never be peace between the witches and the vampires.”
A long moment of heavy silence passed as Sonya lay unmoving.
“The Shaw—”
“Are traitors,” Samuel snapped. “They are witches who happily consort with the leaches. They will pay for their mistake.”
Sonya forced her heart to remain still as she fought her way out the drug-induced haze.
“This one,” Samuel grunted, his tone laden with disgust. “Has some special connection with the Shaw, which is why I’ve kept her alive.”
Carter cursed. “You’re going to ransom the queen?”
“I plan to offer them a trade.”
“And what do you expect in exchange?”
Samuel hummed as he thought. “I’ve not decided yet. Either a spell, effectively wiping this planet clean of all vampires or I may demand our tribe be given our magic back.”
Sonya bit back a harsh laugh. Her suspicions had been confirmed. She had thought Samuel was an idiot from the first time she saw him at the peace summit the Shaw had held. Now, she also knew he was delusional.
“Our powers are gone,” Carter replied. “Our ancestors traded our magic for strength, so that we would be able to fight the vampires. You know as well as I that magic always has a price.”
“Magic runs in their veins,” Samuel protested, kicking dirt in Sonya’s directions, she felt the dust settle over her. Tiny pebbles hit her back. “They’ve strength and magic.”
“And you know the price they paid. Every vampire was once human. They were normal people, living their lives until evil touched them.” Samuel scoffed but Carter continued, “The strongest vampires are those that ruthlessly struggled to maintain their mortal lives. The harder they fought, the stronger their curse became and thus the more powerful their demon.”
“How dare you victimize those creatures! They are murderers.”
“Not all are cold blooded killers,” Carter protested. “Queen Sonya—”
“Is a cold blood killer. Or have you forgotten how she received the title of Warrior Queen? There was a time when werewolves existed, but she killed them all. Hunted them down and slaughtered them.”
“That was hundreds of years ago. People change.”
“For the love of God, Carter, these things are not people.”
Sonya could sense Samuel’s enraged gaze upon her. It burned into her back like hell fire.
“Do you think it would hesitate before killing you?” Samuel demanded.
Carter remained silent. Sonya could feel the tension that coiled through his body.
“Come. It is almost midnight. The changing of the guard will happen soon and I think it would be best if we let the Commander handle the leech.”
Samuel’s steps reverberated down the hall, but Carter remained.
Sonya gently tilted her head, not wanting to call attention to herself. Her eyelids were slow to lift. She studied the Red Order Council member. He was dressed in faded black jeans, a white button up, and wore polished combat boots. His head hung low as he massaged his brow.
A strange emotion flickered to life within her. She frowned. Could she possibly be feeling sympathy for her enemy? When she had first met Carter, approximately a week before her abduction, she had experienced this same sensation. He, along with Samuel and three other Red Order council members, had been whom the Shaw had summoned to the peace meeting. Carter had pushed for a treaty between the Red Order hunters and the vampires while Samuel outright refused to see reason. At that time, she had hoped against her better judgment that peace could be obtained. Now, she lay in a rank cell, her body bruised and her bloodlust rising. Hunger lurked in her mind like a shadow.
She had not fed in nearly two months. Her injuries and blood loss were not helping matters. Without feeding, her body was slow to heal and her psyche fragile. Bloodlust could easily lead to madness, turning a calm, controlled, and level headed vampire like herself into a glutinous fiend.
She ignored the dry burn of her throat and the hard knot forming in her belly.  Sighing, she pushed herself up. Her head throbbed, her vision blurred and her arms nearly gave out. She cursed the hunters. They must have used the vampire equivalent of an elephant tranquilizer on her. Her body felt like dead weight, her bones weak, and her muscles useless. She gritted her teeth and forced through the numbing effect. She had experienced worse. Much worse.
“Your Majesty,” Carter gasped.
Sonya pushed her tangled hair away from her face and leaned back against the wall, the chill of the stone seeped into her bones. The cooling effects helped to dispel her numbness.
Damn it, Silvie, she thought.
The Shaw priestess had assured her that she wouldn’t have to spend much time in captivity. Sonya was beginning to think her definition of “not much time” and Silvie’s varied. And Sonya cursed herself. She had been the idiot who knowingly walked into her enemy’s trap. She smirked as she wondered how Samuel would react if he knew that tiny bit of information. She had known the Red Order planned to ambush and capture her, Silvie had warned her. Samuel may have a plan to strike at the Shaw, but her allies were prepared.
It would seem Samuel had conveniently forgotten that there are those amongst the Shaw who possess the gift of foresight.
“Queen Sonya,” Carter said, drawing her gaze to him. “I’ve only just learned that you were here.”
“And how long have I been here?” she asked.
After being captured in Poland, she had been shuffled across the continent. When they reached Paris, they had placed a black bag over her head and apparently drugged her. Their intention, to keep the location of their stronghold secret, however the Clans knew the witches resided in tunnels under the grand city of London.
“Two days. If I had known, I would have come sooner. You must know that your capture was not supported by the council.”
She had expected as much after overhearing Cater and Samuel’s conversation. Samuel had acted alone, making executive decisions without the approval of the four other council members. But it made no difference. She was imprisoned and the war Carter had hoped would end peacefully would now escalate. Growing more and more violent until the Red Order was no more.
“I’m terribly sorry.”
“For not paying me a visit or for my capture?”
“Both,” he answered.
In a flash of movement, Sonya was at the bars. Her fingers wrapped around the cool metal rods, her nails extending to claws. Carter jumped back. Fear now radiated from the witch, the heady scent heightened her need for blood, thrilling the demon within her.
“Save your apologies for someone who may care.”
She ran her tongue over her teeth. Her fangs throbbed. Her gaze flickered to his pulse. Vampire law forbade the consumptions of Red Order blood, but just a bite—No. Stop!
She forced herself to step back, prying her fingers one by one from the bars. She had experienced worse hunger. She had gone longer than this without feeding.
Focus, she told herself. Remain focused. Revenge and justice will be mine. She shuttered as her old mantra began to play like a beloved nursery hymn in her mind.
“You are sensible man,” she said, turning from the bars. She lowered herself to the dirt floor, pressed her back against the wall, folded her legs Indian style, and willed herself to relax. Bloodlust pumped like poison through her veins. She curled her hands into fists to stop her fingers from twitching.
“If only Samuel could be sensible.”
She shrugged, trying to appear nonchalant despite the tension that gripped her. “I’ve come across hundreds of men like Samuel. He is blinded by his hate, he is hungry for revenge, and because of his selfishness your people suffer.”  She paused and gave him a quick once over with her eyes. “But you want what is best for them. You care about their well being and their future.”
“When I became a Councilman, I swore to protect my people.”
Sonya was about to reply when a shiver of awareness raced down her spine. Her hunger had enhanced her senses; sensitized her hearing, sharpened her vision, and heightened her sense of smell. She took in a deep breath. The scent of dirt and sewage were strong, the sweet fragrance of rain was mild, and the stench of hate misted the air — the Commander was heading their way. But there was something else. Something familiar.
She shook her head and said, “Before this little stunt, the Red Order only warred with the Mylonas Clan, now every vampire clan will be out for hunter blood.”
“I don’t believe that. I can’t.” Carter began to pace. “God, this is a mess.” His steps quickened.
Another, more intense shiver tingled along the column of her spine. Sonya closed her eyes and drew in another breath. A subtle scent of natural male cologne tickled her nose and ignited her desires, just as it had for the past two centuries.
Sonya swallowed her gasp and struggled to hide her surprised excitement. She would recognize that scent anywhere. She eyed Carter. He was still pacing and paying no attention to her, thank God. She slowly drew her knees up to her chest and lowered her head, covering her face with her hands.
That delicious scent belonged to only one man. Sir Falcon Kenwrec. He was here. He had come for her.
Thank you, Silvie.
“If only I knew exactly what Samuel plans…” Carter stopped and returned his attention to her. Sonya refused to lift her head, though she could sense his eyes on her. “I will get you out of her, Your Majesty. You should not be held in this dank, depressing hole. I will—”
Carter snapped his mouth shut as the soft thud of boots ricocheted off the cavern walls.
Sonya held her breath and silently prayed Carter nor would the Commander sense Falcon.
“Councilman,” the hunter greeted with a salute. The Commander spared a contemptible glance at Sonya. “It is time for the changing of the guard.”
“And you’ve come to check on the prisoner?” Carter asked, his voice flat and his expression neutral.
“Yes.” He peered over Carter’s shoulder, squinting into the darkness. “You came alone, sir?”
“I did. I wanted to question the prisoner in private.”
“With respect, Councilman, it is unsafe for you to be unguarded in her presence. Royal vamps are incredibly strong, fast, and crafty. Some are even said to have powers of the mind,” the hunter said.
 “I’m aware, Commander,” Carter replied. “I came knowing you would be arriving shortly. Now, will you accompany me to the lift? I would like to discuss some changes I want made in regards to the prisoner.”
Yes, go. Go! Sonya wanted to scream. Biting her lip, she kept silent. Sonya’s body tensed, preparing to run, to fight, to escape. God, Falcon was here. Ever since she had been captured she had wondered if she would ever see the Black Knight again. Fate in all her glory and wisdom had brought him to her and Sonya would be forever grateful.
“Sir, I’ve men waiting up top.”
Leave. Blood filled her mouth as her teeth sliced her lower lip. Still, she did not make a sound.
“It will only take a few moments,” Carter insisted.
The commander nodded. Carter did not look at or say another word to her. He turned and led the man down the shadow-dominated hall.









About the Author:

Amanda J. Greene is a paranormal romance author. When she is not writing, she can found playing the role of a university student who also works full time at a cosmetology school. She lives in Southern California with her very supportive husband and their two dogs, a sweet cocker spaniel and a rambunctious blackmouth cur mix. Doing all the above and being a military wife is not easy, but rewarding! Of course, she accomplishes everything with a strong cup of coffee in her hand.




Twitter: AmandaJGreene1