Saturday, June 6, 2015

Beyond the Cut blitz & Giveaway!

Beyond the Cut 
Sarah Castille
(Sinner’s Tribe Motorcycle Club #2)
Publication date: June 2nd 2015
Genres: Adult, Romance



Synopsis:

She’s Holding on Tight.

As a teen, Dawn Delgado ran from a life on the streets straight into the arms of Jimmy “Mad Dog” Sanchez, a biker who promised to be her knight in shining armor. But his love was just another cage. Ten years later, Dawn is determined to start over again—and be the kind of woman, and mother, she was meant to be. Could it be that Cade “Ryder” O’Connor, a member of a rival club, is the answer to her prayers?

Will He Give Her the Ride of Her Life?

A loyal member of the Sinner’s Tribe, gritty outlaw Cade is another hard-living, hard-riding biker who’s willing to sacrifice everything that defines him—because that’s what losing the cut means. Dawn can’t deny the full-speed attraction that blazes between them, or the safety she feels in his leather-clad embrace. But will Cade’s love lead her down the road to her dreams? Or will she arrive at yet another dead end?


Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/22929550-beyond-the-cut?ac=1


Purchase:
Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Beyond-Sinners-Tribe-Motorcycle-Club/dp/1250056616/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1426545506&sr=8-1&keywords=Beyond+the+Cut+sarah
B&N: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/beyond-the-cut-sarah-castille/1120160521?ean=9781250056610



a Rafflecopter giveaway


AUTHOR BIO:

New York Times and USA Today Bestselling author, Sarah Castille, writes contemporary erotic romance and romantic suspense featuring blazingly hot alpha heroes and the women who tame them. A recovering lawyer and caffeine addict, she worked and traveled abroad before trading her briefcase and stilettos for a handful of magic beans and a home near the Canadian Rockies.

Author links:
http://sarahcastille.com/
https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/6920675.Sarah_Castille
https://www.facebook.com/sarahcastilleauthor
https://twitter.com/sarah_castille


Friday, June 5, 2015

Sarai's Fortune Tour, Excerpt & Giveaway!

Sarai’s Fortune
Shadowcat Nation
Book 2
Abigail Owen

Genre: paranormal romance

Publisher: The Wild Rose Press

Number of pages: 246
Word Count: 60,000

Book Description:

Zac Montclair's first priority is to protect his people. With the escalating war between factions of shifters over land and resources, he has agreed to an alliance between his polar bears and the Shadowcat Nation of cougar shifters. But the treaty comes with a condition…he must accept one of their Seers into his Timik and put her under his personal protection.

Sarai Bouchard doesn't need her supernatural gift to know that Kyle Carstairs's obsession with controlling her ability will eventually result in her misery and demise. Her power is essential to her people's survival, so when Kyle goes rogue, she's sent to Zac Montclair to keep her safe. However, her visions reveal that while staying will lead to their becoming lovers, it also leads to his death. Leaving Zac will result in her own.

If Sarai can't find a way to change the future, she will be forced to choose…save her lover or save herself.



Excerpt 

Book 2:
Sarai concentrated on precise, sharp movements with as much power as she could muster. She’d only been working out for ten minutes or so. She’d started the day similarly  yesterday. She cooked breakfast, eating with the guys. She dragged George and Scott on more sightseeing trips. Today she’d decided to explore a small portion of Central Park. She didn’t try to lose them this time. When they’d got home, they’d hit the gym.
Now, Sarai tuned out Scott and George—who were sparring across the way from her—to focus on her own drills.
“How about you try that out on a man who moves and reacts.”
Sarai spun on her heel to find Zac standing behind her. He was wearing running pants and a tight tank top, which meant she didn’t need to use her imagination to picture the muscles of his arms and chest. They were on display. Her own personal show. Sarai swallowed.
Then she computed what he’d said. How was she going to get out of this? The truth was she couldn’t spar. Her visions messed her up. But that was a secret she had no intention of sharing with three people.
“Not really a good idea.”
He stared at her for a long moment. Then he glanced over her shoulder at George and Scott who’d stopped to listen. “I’ve got this, fellas. Why don’t you go back up to the apartment?”
There was no doubt in her mind that was a command, not a suggestion. Clearly the guys thought so too. She watched them leave the room with wide eyes.
As the door closed behind them, Zac’s hands landed on her shoulders, turning her to face them. “Okay, kuluk. It’s just you and me now. What are you not saying?”
Sarai had never felt this vulnerable in her life. Or this scared. This man got to her in a way no one else ever had. How was she supposed to resist that?
“Why is this so important to you?”
He moved his hands from her shoulders to frame her face, his fingers threading through the dark blond strands of her hair. “Keeping you safe is important to me. I need to know how much you can defend yourself if you have to. It will help me determine just what I need to prepare for. No surprises. Okay?”
Sarai took a deep breath. He couldn’t have meant it that way. Just the thought of being important to this big, strong man connected with the frightened, lonely little girl who’d spent her life just trying to survive. But she couldn’t think that way. She had to leave him, and that knowledge made her want to cry.
Seeing her hesitation, he brushed her cheeks softly with the pads of his thumbs. “Let me help you with this burden,” he murmured softly, his voice a hypnotic, deep rumble.
Sarai bit her lip. Sharing this with him really wasn’t that big a deal. She knew she could trust him.
On a deep inhale, she gave a tiny nod and started talking before she could change her mind. “Okay.”
He gave her one of those rare little half-smiles, making her suddenly very glad she had agreed to capitulate. Thankfully, he released her and stepped back, giving her room to breathe.



Andromeda’s Fall
Shadowcat Nation
Book 1
Abigail Owen

Genre: paranormal romance

Publisher: The Wild Rose Press

Date of Publication: 12/10/14

ISBN: 978-1-62830-661-3
ASIN: B00PM6T2YW

Number of pages: 258
Word Count: 61,300

Cover Artist: Debbie Taylor

Book Description:

Andromeda Reynolds is being hunted. After witnessing her mother’s violent death at the hands of a pack of wolf shifters, Andie has devoted her life to protecting her community of cougar shifters from a similar fate. But now, a greater threat lies within her own dare, and she must run. If she stays, Kyle Carstairs will force their mating, seeking the added political power their union would provide.

Andie would rather chew off her own foot than end up with Kyle. Though, knowing him, she won’t live long either way. Andie’s only hope of survival is to mate Jaxon Keller, the Alpha of the Keller Dare with which she is seeking asylum. But before she can get to him, Andie must first go through A.J., one of the Alpha’s Protectors.

What Andie doesn’t realize is that A.J. has secrets of his own. All Andie knows is that the incredibly frustrating shifter insists on challenging her story, her skills, her trust… and her heart.


Series Pinterest Board:

Available at  The Wild Rose Press  

Amazon   BN   Apple   Kobo

Excerpt 

Book 1:

He glanced down at her. “You really are a tiny thing, aren’t you?”
Andie scowled. “Don’t let my size fool you. I can pack a wallop when I want to. Even with a broken arm.”
A.J. laughed. “I’m sure you can.”
Andie stared straight ahead, her mouth thinning. She hated being patronized. Men were so dense sometimes. They never took her seriously until she showed them exactly why they should.
Keeping her left arm protected, Andie suddenly dropped. One leg shot out and she spun low to the ground, sweeping A.J.’s feet out from under him. As he landed on his back, she was on top of him, her knee on his windpipe—not crushing, just sending a message.
Before she could gloat too much, though, she was flying through the air. Andie tucked into a back flip, landed on her feet, and then spun and launched herself backwards in a one-handed back handspring. A.J. had just gotten on his feet when her legs wrapped around his neck. She used her momentum to drop him back to the floor.
Andie rolled and ended up in a crouch close by. A.J. held up his hands in surrender. “All right, wildcat. You’ve proved yourself.”
Andie glared at him. “Don’t doubt me. And don’t insult my intelligence by pretending you just lost either,” she said in a severe voice, made harsher, perhaps, by the fact that she’d just realized exactly how incredible his blue eyes were. They were a vibrant color made even more interesting by the black ring that rimmed the irises. And she was more than irritated with herself for having noticed that at all.
He levered himself up off the floor. “Fair enough.”
The only thing that kept her from proving her point more—because she could tell he’d held back—was the small amount of respect she could see in his eyes. With a brusque nod, she followed him down the hall.
  


About the Author:

Award-winning paranormal and contemporary romance author, Abigail Owen was born in Greeley, Colorado, and raised in Austin, Texas. She now resides in Northern California with her husband and two adorable children who are the center of her universe.

Abigail grew up consuming books and exploring the world through her writing. A fourth generation graduate of Texas A&M University, she attempted to find a practical career related to her favorite pastime by earning a degree in English Rhetoric (Technical Writing). However, she swiftly discovered that writing without imagination is not nearly as fun as writing with it.






Just One Night blitz & Excerpt!

Just One Night 
Elle Casey
(Just One Night Serial)
Genres: Adult, Romance



Synopsis:

Synopsis part 1:
Jennifer is sexually frustrated and disillusioned with love, a very dangerous combination. Convinced there’s no such thing as Prince Charming, and against her best friend’s better judgment, she places a personal ad seeking a one-night stand. No strings, no commitments, no second dates. Her goal? To restore her faith in men by setting up a single night of fantasy that can never be tainted by reality.

William is a busy executive, newly arrived in the United States from England. Life for him is all about minimizing complications. He doesn’t have the time nor the inclination to share his life with anyone, to have obligations outside of work, or to become entangled in a relationship with an emotional basket case of a woman who’s desperately seeking her Prince Charming. But he does see the value in having an attractive woman in his arm for networking purposes …

**This ebook is Part 1 of the serial romance novel, JUST ONE NIGHT, approximately 25,000 words or 100 paper pages long. The story continues with additional Parts which will be published in 2-3 week increments.
DUE TO SEXY SITUATIONS AND CONTENT, THIS BOOK IS DEFINITELY
NOT APPROPRIATE FOR YOUNGER READERS**


Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/20935662-just-one-night-part-1?ac=1


Purchase:
Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_noss?url=search-alias%3Dstripbooks&field-keywords=Just+One+Night+elle
B&N: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/s/Just-One-Night-elle?store=allproducts&keyword=Just+One+Night+elle


Excerpt

Jennifer
I have this plan. It’s not exactly your run-of-the-mill kind of situation, but to be honest, neither is my life. Sure, I could sit around and wait for things to happen to me, but I’ve been doing that for years and I’ve got nothing to show for it but disappointment.
It’s time to take the bull by the horns and make some big changes. I’m so sexually frustrated right now it’s not even funny. And yes, I’ll admit … this pent-up sexual energy may be adding fuel to the fire for this hare-brained idea that sprouted up in my mind last weekend, but I don’t care. I’m doing it anyway.
I ignore the call coming through from my best friend Mia. She’ll tell me it’s a terrible idea and talk me out of it, and I don’t want her to do that. I can make my own decisions … good ones, as a matter of fact. The lecture she gave me last week about considering some therapy made me really cranky. I don’t need a shrink; I need some seriously hot sex with a ridiculously hot guy. I’m totally taking the responsibility for my happiness into my own hands, and no one’s going to stop me.
My computer screen is glowing, lighting up my face in the dark bedroom, the tiny corner of which hosts my laptop sitting on a piece of plywood balanced on two piles of books. It’s the middle of the night and I’m hiding. From whom? No one. Myself, maybe.
I live alone in a tiny apartment, the new home sweet home I had to sign on the dotted line for with very little notice. Why did I do this when I was happily ensconced in a fifteen hundred square foot, fully-loaded condo in the trendy part of town? Well, when I found out my fiancé of way too many years was sleeping with a girl who looks like she should still be carrying textbooks in a backpack, I took that as a sign that I should move on. Cheating rat bastard that he is, Hank left me no choice but to start all over at age thirty-five. I wasted the best years of my life on that asshole. The man I used to love with all of my heart is now el numero uno on my shit list.
I’m still weighing the pros and cons of running him over with my car. I don’t need to totally flatten him to get satisfaction. Maybe just a tap would be okay. How much trouble could I get into over just a tap? I could make it look like an accident. Oh, hi, fancy meeting you here, Hank, in the middle of the road … with the grill of my car. Did that hurt? Muahahahahaaaaa… I’m pretty sure if a jury heard my story, they wouldn’t convict, especially if it had any women on it. Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned, and we’ve all been scorned at some point in our lives, haven’t we, ladies?
Ugh, I cannot think about him anymore. At least not right now. I’m on a mission to take back my life. No more pity parties allowed.
My phone beeps. Mia has left a voicemail.  Against my better judgment, I play it out on the speakerphone.
“Jennifer, I know you’re there. Why didn’t you pick up?  You better call me back, ho-bag. Are you doing that personal ad thingy you talked about after your third martini last weekend? Because if you are, just stop, okay?”
I don’t remember telling her my plan.  Dammit.  I can’t even keep secrets from myself.
Her message keeps playing, much to my chagrin. “You aren’t cut out for one-night stands, you never were. Remember Mike? Remember Jake? Remember that guy … the one with prematurely gray hair and the flat butt? Shit, I can’t remember his name. Anyway, it doesn’t matter. You fell apart. You liked them right away and then your heart broke when they didn’t call a second time.”
Yeah, that’s helpful, Mia. Thanks for reminding me what a loser I am. I could stop the message from coming out over the speaker to fill my room, but I don’t. I wallow in the unpleasant memories she’s dredging up.
“I’m not saying there’s anything wrong with you, so don’t even go there. They weren’t the right kind of guy for you. Seriously. Call me. You’d better not be doing that ad. I’m going to come over there and mess you up.” The message ends there.
I laugh at my friend’s fake bravado. She’s always threatening bodily harm, but as far as I know she’s never even hurt a fly. She says all of God’s creatures have value, even the ones that start out as maggots.
Of course I’m going to ignore her every word. The old Jennifer would hesitate and worry, but the old Jennifer would also date a turd like Hank and that’s not going to happen anymore.  My life is about to change … like, right now.
Okay, back to business. My brilliant plan is to restore my faith in men by setting up a single night of fantasy that can never be tainted by reality. I have the whole thing figured out; now I just need a willing partner.
My fingers hover over the keyboard and I wiggle them around to get them warmed up. Magic will be flowing from these babies in about five seconds. My approach has to be short and sweet, clear and up front. I’m not interested in frills. No flowers, no candy, no diamond rings, thank you very much. I just want one amazing night with an amazing guy who I can walk away from and never see again.
I click on the ‘New Listing’ button to start my ad. Chewing on my lip, I consider my options. How much do I really want to expose of myself? Do I want this mystery man to know I was recently dumped in a very embarrassing way?  No, that would make me pitiful. That would bring in the vultures. Vultures do not make sexy dreams come true. I should know, seeing as how I lived with one for six years.
I start typing. ‘Single, attractive, successful woman …’  Stopping there, I chew my lip some more. Should I say I’m successful or should I be more circumspect about that part of my life? It’s not like I’m a millionaire or anything, but I do okay in the real estate business. Well enough that I can support myself, anyway, and every year my client list gets longer. I try not to be bitter over the fact that I had to change brokers. Wanting to kill one’s boss is never conducive to a good working environment.  Hank took more than my self-esteem and my heart from me.
Typing once more, I force myself to have more confidence. This is easy. Why am I over-thinking it? Just make it happen, Jennifer, make it happen.
My fingers fly over the keyboard. ‘Single, attractive and successful businesswoman seeks very short-term, intimate and discrete affair. No strings, no commitments, no second dates.’  I sit back and read the ad over and over about ten times. Is it too cold? Too short? Not short enough? Misleading in any way? Ridiculous? Pitiful? Sassy-awesome? I vote for sassy-awesome.
Huffing out a breath of frustrated air, I put my hands back over the keys. It’s not like anyone who reads it will know who I am, right? I have a throw-away cell phone that I bought today just for this project, and I’ve used a post office box for my address to set up the online account. I’m untraceable. Anyone I meet will be checked out in advance by me anyway via telephone so I can conduct a psycho test on them. Plus, we’ll meet for the first time in a very public place, so it’s all good. Safety first, I always say.
My finger floats over the enter button. The angel on my shoulder is crying over the fact that I’ve given up on love. The devil is doing a tap dance telling me to go for it … life is too short to wait around for a Prince Charming who doesn’t even exist.
I tend to agree with that little devil more and more these days. I press the button with only a slight twinge of fear in my chest. Now all that’s left to me is the waiting game.

William
The unnecessary chit chat is undeniably the very worst part of my workday. The snickering, the giggling, the twittering… And no, I’m not talking about the online tweeting kind of twittering. I’d much prefer that to the constant chinwagging I can hear filtering through my door, for the very reason that it’s quiet and it wouldn’t interrupt my workflow. Although truly, I don’t understand the fascination with expressing oneself in one hundred and forty characters or less. Who honestly believes there’s a single other person in the entire world who gives a monkey’s uncle that you just bought a carmel macchiato at the local Starbucks? Only someone irretrievably deluded, that’s who. What a load of rubbish.
Where the secretaries find the time to engage in this nonsense when we have so much to get done is beyond me. The work’s not going to complete itself, that’s for certain. The bone-idle really get me wound up, can you tell? I wasn’t born to privilege; my family worked its way to it from near to nothing.
“Rachel,” I say, pressing down on the intercom button, “could you come in here please?” If she has time to giggle, she must need more work to do, and I will more than happy to remedy that little oversight on my part.
“Yes, Mr. Stratford?” Rachel stands in my doorway, far enough away that I can’t hit her with my paperweight with assured accuracy. Believe me, I’ve considered attempting it anyway on more than one occasion. If her head had any more helium in it, she’d float right out of the building. It’s beyond frustrating. She’s the fifth personal assistant I’ve had this year and we’re only to June.
My lips stretch to mimic a tired sort of amusement. A very, very slight level of amusement. “While I’m pleased to know that you’ve settled into your new position enough to feel comfortable gossiping with your colleagues, I believe you have several other tasks which require your attention, and it would please me beyond measure to see you accomplishing said tasks.”
Her face morphs into something that looks very uncomfortable. Is her skin made of rubber? These American girls never cease to amaze me with their expressive natures. It’s fascinating, really. Like a visit to the zoo or a science museum.
“Sir, I wasn’t gossiping. I was working.”
Obviously, she believes me to be a dunderhead. “Is that so? And what, perchance, were you working on, might I ask?” Leaning back in my chair with my arm extended over the desk, I begin to wiggle my pen between my fingers, first slowly and then with more speed. My eyebrow goes up as I wait for her excuses to pour forth.
Expecting to see her squirm under the pressure, I admit to being a little disappointed when she doesn’t indulge me. She counts off on her fingers as she relates her activities of the last few hours, her eyeballs rolling up to the ceiling. “Well, let’s see … I collated all the reports from the weekly and monthly sales and made projections for the next quarter based on the information there. I entered all the new client information into the database. I synched your phone and your e-pad to your computer wirelessly. I scheduled eight meetings for next week and put them on your calendar. By the way, one of them is a charity ball thingy on Friday night, so I also scheduled the dry cleaner to come by and get your tux so they can have it ready for you in time.” She perks up and stops counting, her eyes coming back down from the ceiling to look at me. “Oh, and I found you a date.”
My pen drops from my hand and lands on the desk blotter with a muted clatter.  “Pardon?” A large hunk of hair falls over my eye and I slowly smooth it back as I stare at her. Surely I’ve mis-heard.
She sighs heavily and enunciates slowly, as if speaking to someone who needs a little extra help. “I said I collated all the reports …”
I gesture in frustration. “Right, right, I caught that part. It’s the last bit that I’m confused on. Care to repeat the last item on your list?”
She dazzles me with a big smile. There appear to be too many teeth in her mouth, and they’re blindingly white. I glance at my sunglasses on the desk but decide against putting them on. All I need to do is give the secretarial pool more fodder for their chinwagging. If I so much as sneeze it becomes headline news in the office, so wearing aviators indoors is a no-go if I want to continue striving towards the goal of relative obscurity.
They don’t realize it, but I hear everything. Not only do I have my inside sources, but the employees are under the mistaken notion that I’m deaf, dumb, and blind as well. Discrete, they are not. Being the newly appointed CEO and the son of the founder obviously makes me an interesting topic for the unofficial company grapevine, so I try not to let it bother me. I hope after a couple more months they’ll realize there’s no story here and that their gossip time is better spent on other subjects. Like on my younger brother, for example. Of course, for them to gossip about him, he’d actually have to show up here once in a while…
“Oh, yes! That’s right! I forgot to tell you!” Rachel advances into my office with several short, choppy strides, holding out a piece of paper from a stack that’s in her arms. “I was talking to some of the girls, and they told me you never get out and that you’re always working, so I took the liberty of finding you someone. A date, actually. If you like her you could bring her to the ball. You really shouldn’t go solo to something like that, you know. You can network better with someone on your arm.” She extends the paper in my direction, still with that blinding smile going. “You can totally find a date online these days. You won’t even have to leave the office to start the process. Isn’t that awesome?”
My nostrils extend slowly out to either side as my color rises. This is how a British gentleman expresses his extreme distaste. My upbringing forbids me from saying the things that should be said to this pleb. I cannot tell her that she is as obtuse as she is annoying, that she’s completely out of line, and that she’s begging to be made redundant. Perhaps she understands British body language, though, because the wattage of her smiling-bulb dims to just a crumb.
“Are you mad?” The foolish grin is gone and the cringe has taken its place. I’m very pleased with the result. She’s catching on a lot quicker than her predecessors.
I give her a perfunctory smile. “Mad? No. I am in complete control of my faculties. Perhaps you mean angry?”
“Yes, that’s what I meant.”
“No. I’m not angry. For me to be upset with you, your actions would have to actually mean something to me, which I can assure you, they do not. But your suggestion that your function here includes searching out female companionship for me leads me to believe that perhaps you misunderstand your role.”
“Oh, no, I understand perfectly, Mr. Stratford. Your father was very clear when he hired me. He said I was to do all the tasks you asked me to do on time or before deadline if possible, make sure your calendar is kept updated at all times, and to help you assimilate into American culture.” She’s back to smiling again.
I search my desktop. Where has that paperweight, gone to?
“Going out with American women will help you assimilate much faster.” She shrugs once and tilts her head, obviously very proud of herself.
I stand, knowing that my height will put me at a distinct advantage over her. I’m pleased to see her grin disappearing again. “I assure you, Ms. Meechum, that should I determine at some point in the future that I am in need of a date as you say, I will neither need your assistance nor your opinion on the matter. Do I make myself clear?”
She starts to back up towards the door. “Yes, sir. Crystal clear. I get you loud and clear. Ten four, over and out.”
“Why all the numbers?” I ask, wondering if she’s cluing me in to some appointment I’ve yet to notice on my calendar.
“Nothing. No numbers. Disregard. Is there anything else you need? I’m about to leave.”
“Leave?” I look at my watch; it’s only seven p.m. “Where are you going?”
“Ummm, home?” She smiles. “Come on, William, it’s seven o’clock on a Friday night. You really don’t expect me to stay until ten every night, do you? I have a date tonight, and I have to get ready.”  She points at her horribly frizzy red hair. “This kind of magic doesn’t happen overnight, you know.”
“No. I suppose it doesn’t,” I say under my breath, afraid of what might come out of my mouth next if I give it enough volume. This girl is destined for the rubbish heap that contains all my other former assistants. Certainly, she’s done well in her short time here, but egads … she’s picking out dates for me now? What on earth could the numbskull have been thinking?
She’s almost gone before I deliver my parting shot. “Ms. Meechum?”
“Yes?”
“It’s Mr. Stratford.”
“Ummm … what?”
“You used my given name when you were speaking to me earlier. I don’t believe that’s appropriate, do you?”
She turns a light shade of pink. “No, sir. I’m sorry about that. We’re just a little casual around here sometimes.”
“No, in point of fact, we’re not. Not in this office and not in this company.” My stern look comes out to drive the point home.
“No, of course not.” She has the grace to remain pink-cheeked. “Have a nice weekend, Mr. Stratford.”
“And you do the same, Ms. Meechum.”
See? I can be gracious when the situation calls for it. There’s a time and a place for casual relations, but that time is never when I’m working, and that place is never here. It’s my duty to keep the office running smoothly, and observing certain formalities can assist in that endeavor.
My father entrusted me with his multi-national real estate investment firm that he built from nothing, and I will not let him down. I’ve trained my entire life for this position, and no one will stop me from getting it exactly right, especially not some bird brain, barely-graduated American midwesterner who doesn’t know her place in the chain of command.
I’m once again alone in the office, staring at my heavy oak door. My assistant closed it behind her, and for the first time all day, there’s silence. Sighing heavily, I sit down at my desk and stare at my computer screen. The desktop is glowing out and reflecting off my tired eyes. I’ve been here for thirteen hours and I have much to do before I’m done.
Imagine … someone thinking I need help in the date department. An inelegant snort escapes me as I remember the overly enthusiastic approach I received on the lift just this morning from a totty who works on the next floor up. Her business suits and fine leather attachĂ© case scream solicitor or lawyer. As is my usual course, I let her down easily; when she asked me to meet her for a drink after work, I explained that I’m otherwise engaged.
I’m always otherwise engaged. Engaged working, engaged traveling for work, engaged sleeping or eating. That’s what I do. That is the life I have chosen for myself and I couldn’t be happier. When I need female companionship I find it on my own and it’s always the uncomplicated sort.
An inter-company instant message pops up on my screen interrupting my thoughts. I lean in, my eyebrows creasing as I note the sender’s name. Apparently, Ms. Meechum has not yet left to create her hairstyling masterpiece. Perhaps she’s changed her mind about working late.
‘He seriously needs to get a life outside this place. He’s going to grow old and wrinkly all by himself without any friends or anything. I tried to tell him about the date but he threw me out of his office.’
My chin withdraws into my neck as my brain attempts to determine what I’m seeing. My eyes scan the small instant message window and note that it’s definitely my assistant sending it, but I cannot for the life of me understand why it’s coming to my computer.
Another window pops up to replace the first.
‘Oh my effing god! Mr. Stratford! I’m so sorry! Please don’t fire me! I didn’t mean to send that to you!’
My emotions are … unsettled … to say the least. I lean back in my chair and rock for a bit as I tap my pen rhythmically on the blotter. Am I angry with Ms. Meechum? Yes, of course I’m angry. Old and wrinkly… I’ve at lease twenty years before that eventuality. And I’m certainly not friendless. I’ve loads of friends and lovers. The little bint truly believes she’s a do-gooder? Honestly, her cock-up is more pitiful than anything. She’s completely gormless.
That’s what helps me decide how to react. I’m no longer angry. I’m embarrassed for her. She hasn’t a clue how a man like me gets satisfaction from his life.
I will say nothing at all. Let her stew in her humiliation. Nothing I say could possibly be more effective than what she’ll come up with on her own.
My first genuine smile of the day erupts across my face as I rest secure in the knowledge that I’ll be getting nothing but nose to the grindstone, dedicated effort from Ms. Meechum for at least the next two weeks. I’m actually quite pleased she’s useless in the technology department and doesn’t know how to properly use the messaging system I had installed last week.
I stand up and walk quietly over to my door, cracking it open so I can see her leave.  She’s halfway across the room full of cubicles, the last person in the office aside from me.  She appears to be running, and I cannot help but allow the chuckle to escape my throat. Oh, life can be so sweet sometimes. I can almost understand why my father left our family for the Americas when I was just a teen.
A stack of papers on the corner of her desk catches my eye. Knowing it’s the one that she had in her arms when she came to visit, I’m lured out of my office to look through it. If she lied about the work she allegedly completed, that’s a serious, job-losing offense. Apparently, I can be intimidating enough that it causes people to lie about things. At least that’s what my last assistant said.
Reading through the short paragraphs on about five different papers, I realize Ms. Meechum actually had the gall to print out personal ads from some online source. Apparently, my perfect date is comprised of someone who likes long walks on the beach, poetry, and true love.
“Bollocks,” I say out into the empty room. She’s definitely going to be fired on Monday. I’m tempted to send her a text now and just be done with it, but I won’t. Let her suffer for two days over her gaff and then come in to be fired. That will be a much more effective lesson for the whole office to learn than letting it happen now.
I toss the pile onto her desk and start to walk away, but one of the papers separates itself and floats down to the floor, landing at my feet. Grabbing it on my way into my office, I crumple it up in a ball and toss it at my rubbish bin. Unfortunately, all the years I spent playing cricket have not paid off. I miss by a good twenty centimeters.
As I sit, I lean over and grab the paper, throwing it up onto my desk. It remains there as I consult my calendar, send off five separate emails to various clients, and confirm my racquetball match for Sunday.
It’s eight o’clock when I sit back in my chair again and look around the office. I have such big plans for this place. By the end of the year it’ll be too small for our operation. My father was content to keep things what he calls ‘intimate’ and ‘friendly’ but I have other ideas. And since I’m the fresh blood he brought in to make things happen, I expect zero resistance to my suggestions. So far, he’s been a hands-off owner. He’s more interested in golf these days than real estate anyway, and that’s just dandy with me. Out with the old and in with the new. No disrespect meant, of course, but instant messaging was just the tip of the iceberg for what Stratford Investments will see in the next ten months.
That crumpled paper is the only thing marring the perfect harmony that is my office.  I flick it with the end of my pen, but it doesn’t flip over towards the bin like I want it to.
“Stubborn little thing, aren’t you?” Leaning over, I push the paper open, smoothing it out over the surface of the desk.  “And who exactly are you, that you warranted a blind date with William Stratford?” It’s possible the late hours I’ve been keeping are making me a little loony. It’s the only explanation I have for even opening this paper, let along talking to myself about it.
‘Single, attractive and successful businesswoman seeks very short-term, intimate and discrete affair. No strings, no commitments, no second dates.’
I frown. This is supposed to be my date?
A whirlwind of emotions slides across my consciousness. My first reaction is to be impressed. Ms. Meechum has been paying attention.  Maybe I shouldn’t fire her.
I read the ad three more times.
My second reaction is annoyance. Does she honestly think I need to resort to online ads to find a date? My gaze flicks over and catches the charity ball appointment on my calendar. Maybe I should take the solicitor from the fifteenth floor.
I shake my head immediately. No. She’d expect something after that, a second date, a third date … and we work in the same building.  That would be awkward. Too many complications.
Life is all about minimizing complications. I don’t have the time or the inclination to share my life with anyone, to have obligations outside of my work, to become entangled in some relationship with an emotional basketcase of a woman who’s desperately seeking her Prince Charming.
I read the ad again.
Of course, Ms. Meechum is right about one thing; networking is much more effective when done with an attractive woman at one’s side, and the ad does in fact say that she’s attractive.
But that could mean anything, couldn’t it? She could look like Medusa and I’d never know until it was too late. I’m quite sure networking with a woman ugly enough to turn a man to stone would hinder the effectiveness of my networking.  It’s probably a terrible idea to pursue this person.
It says she’s a businesswoman too, but these days people think working at a coffee shop qualifies.  How could I be sure she’s telling the truth? I couldn’t, that’s how. People lie all the time. People tell you who they want to be, not who they really are. And honestly, I’ve never met a woman who truly wanted a one-night stand.  They all go into the arrangement with hope for the future, diamond rings on the mind and all that nonsense.
What strikes me about this ad, though, is that I don’t believe this person is looking for those things, mainly because she specifically says so. She had the forethought to attack the very arguments I’ve come up with for looking the other way. For some reason, I can almost believe this woman means what she says. It’s a revelation to me. A woman who doesn’t even want a second date.
Knowing my assistant has access to my emails, I pick up my phone. I have the perfect solution to my dilemma. First, I’ll phone this person and have a short conversation, chat her up a bit. If she sounds relatively normal, I’ll arrange to meet for a cuppa. Then, if she passes muster, I’ll suggest she accompany me to the charity event. Done and dusted. I am nothing if not decisive.
I smile as the call rings through. Things always have a way of working out exactly how I want them to. There’s no reason to suspect that this will be any different.


AUTHOR BIO:

Elle Casey is a prolific, NEW YORK TIMES and USA TODAY bestselling American writer who lives in Southern France with her husband, three kids, and several furry friends. She writes in several genres and publishes an average of one full-length novel per month.

Author links:
http://ellecasey.com/
https://twitter.com/ElleCasey
https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/5423648.Elle_Casey
https://www.facebook.com/ellecaseytheauthor



Thursday, June 4, 2015

Fate Undone Blitz, Excerpt & Giveaway!

Fate Undone
Mythean Arcana
Book 5
Linsey Hall

Genre: Paranormal Romance

Publisher: Bonnie Doon Press
Date of Publication:  May 20

ISBN: 978-1-942085-40-9
ASIN: B00XD9DOLC

Number of pages: 350
Word Count: 82,000

Cover Artist: Damonza

Book Description: (Can be read as a standalone)

A god in disguise

No one in the Prison for Magical Deviants knows that prisoner Logan Laufeyson has secret identity. He is the ancient trickster god Loki, in magical disguise on a mission of his own. A mission that will come to a sudden and disastrous end…

The woman he's never forgotten

Demi-goddess Sylvi has spent eight hundred years trying to forget her long-ago affair with Loki, which destroyed her dreams and got her banished from her home. When Loki escapes from prison and stumbles through her door with a problem that threatens both their lives, she must set aside her anger while trying to resist a passion she’s never forgotten. The fact that her magic can be enhanced by sex makes ignoring Loki even harder—especially when they must utilize her rare talent.

A threat of ultimate evil

Thrown together, Loki and Sylvi must foil a masterful plot that threatens not only their lives, but every god in existence. It will take all of their power, and all of their long-buried love, to face the ultimate danger - or vanish and be forgotten forever…

Available at Amazon

PROLOGUE
Asgard, Afterworld of the Norse Gods
1213 AD

Pain tore through Loki’s chest, burning through every vein in his body. He roared, his muscles straining against the chains that bound him to the rock. Despite his godly strength, he could not break them. Above him, the great snake draped over a tree limb, dripping venom onto his chest. Its yellow eyes gleamed, watching him as the fluid seeped from its fangs.
The venom sizzled when it hit his skin, eating through to the muscle underneath. His heart must be beating against the air now, no longer protected within its cage of flesh.
“You went too far, Loki,” roared Odin, the greatest of the Norse gods.
Loki wanted to yell back at him, at the crowd of gods who stood around him, but words could not form on his tongue. I’d do it again, he would shout, if only the pain hadn’t stolen his words.
“You’ll stay here until Ragnarok, when the final battle shall take your life. It is a fitting punishment for your crimes,” Odin said.
The snake’s venom dripped again, shooting pain through Loki’s body until his vision blurred. He could barely see the other gods nodding their heads before they turned in unison and walked out of the clearing in which he was trapped.
Bastards. But he hadn’t seen Sigyn. His love hadn’t been with them, thank gods.
The venom dripped again, pouring from the snake’s mouth in quantities only magic could create. Loki roared, his voice hoarse, and almost passed out from the pain. A feminine scream pulled him from the daze.
Suddenly, delicate hands reached out over his chest, attempting to catch the venom before it fell onto him. Sigyn.
“No!” he roared, fear for her helping him find the strength to form words. He was close to blacking out from the pain.
When the venom dripped onto her palm, she collapsed to her knees. He craned his head to see her, slumped against the stone upon which he was bound, her golden hair concealing her face. She’d passed out from the pain.
Terror for her stole the breath from his lungs. He’d been angry about this punishment, but never afraid. Not until it risked her. She must leave here. His vengeance against the gods had been necessary and just. But he didn’t want her to suffer for it. If the other gods knew how he felt about her, they might punish her too. She’d done nothing wrong, but it wouldn’t stop them.
He couldn’t bear to think of her suffering. It was a pain worse than the venom. He strained against the bonds, attempting to break them so he could drive her away.
She moaned, then sat up. When her gaze landed upon his face, her eyes widened.
“Go,” he rasped. “Go from here.”
She pushed herself up and leaned over him, her tears dripping upon his face.
“Go.” His voice was so rough it was almost gone. He had to make her leave. His pursuit of vengeance put her at risk. She would hate him for that. Would likely never forgive him.
“Never. I’ll get you out of—”
He roared when venom dripped into his wound, the pain finally taking him into the blackness.

CHAPTER ONE

Prison for Magical Deviants, Immortal University
Edinburgh, Scotland

Logan Laufeyson gritted his teeth as the guard removed the manacles from his wrists and shoved him into his damp stone cell. The familiar rage at his powerlessness welled and he breathed deeply to tamp it down, counting back from ten. He had more important things to be worried about than an asshole guard.
He’d only been in this hell three months, after all, and it was temporary. Barely anything compared to the tortures he’d suffered in the past or the century that his friend Ian had been locked in here before Logan had taken his place. He’d been a bastard for leaving Ian rotting in here for so long, but it had been necessary.
Logan dragged his shirt over his head and used it to scrub the grit off his face. The worst thing about the daily prison work detail which he’d just returned from was the damned sand in the afterworld of Moloch. The best thing about prison work detail was that the hellish Moloch was exactly what he’d been looking for when he’d broken into the Prison for Magical Deviants three months ago.
He didn’t mind spending twelve back-breaking hours a day hauling rocks, not once he’d realized that the stone was being used to construct the place he’d been hunting for nearly a century. He could use that time to learn enough about it to destroy it.
Though washing the sweat and grime off himself would be the greatest pleasure he had all day, he ignored the leaky hose in the corner of the cell in favor of using his magic to change his clothes. He closed his eyes and envisioned a shirt and pants identical to the ones he wore as his usual prison uniform—black on black. Not so different from his normal attire.
What was different, however, was his face. He ran his hand over his unfamiliar nose and jaw. He was full shapeshifter, able to adopt any identity of man or beast. Since he was in this prison to take his friend’s place, he’d adopted a copy of his friend Ian’s face. Alone in his cell, he could change back to the looks he adopted normally. It, too, was a disguise, but he’d worn it for centuries and it was comfortable by now.
He had no watch and no window, so no way to tell time. But he could count on the prison schedule to be military precise, and every seven days, directly after he was shoved back in his cell, he had a meeting.
He listened carefully at the heavy wooden door for footsteps. Silence. It was highly unlikely anyone would come to his cell before a guard brought a miserly dinner in an hour. Once he was confident there was nothing but silence in the hall, he moved to the corner that would be hidden by the door if it opened.
Logan drew in a deep breath and held out his hands, envisioning flame. A fire, two feet tall and at least as wide, burst into life in the corner, as if a hearth had been built. After a moment, a face appeared. The seer was always on time for their meetings.
“Loki,” she said, the image of her face flickering in the light of the flame.
“Logan,” he corrected.
“Fine. Logan."
He was the Norse trickster god Loki, but he went by Logan to protect himself from the wrath of the other Norse gods. He also consistently used his shapeshifting to alter his face. He had the same dark hair and eyes as he’d had as Loki, but his face was shaped differently enough that no one would recognize him.
He’d buried his identity as Loki deep in the past.
“Do you have anything for me?” he asked. He was so certain she would say no, as she had at every other meeting, that he nearly lost control of the flame when she answered.
“Yes. It’s almost time. The Labyrinthine Prison of Lethe will be complete in no more than two weeks.”
Adrenaline spiked through him, driving through his veins and making his mind hum. “Two weeks? That’s all? Damn it, what kind of seer are you that you couldn’t see it sooner?”
“The best.” She smirked. “Of which you are well aware, or you wouldn’t pay me so much money. Visions come when they come. You need to quit with the recon or protecting your friend or whatever it is you’re doing in there and go get whatever’s at the end of the map I gave you.”
She was right. There was no question he had to leave the Prison for Magical Deviants. He wasn’t learning anything new here now and Ian MacKenzie, his only friend, was safely out of Scotland.
“Fine,” he said. “You’re certain of this? I’ve been on Moloch every day for three months, helping to build the labyrinth, and it doesn’t look nearly finished.”
In an ironic twist of fate, the university prison was using prisoners to construct a far greater monstrosity than the one he’d been caged in—an inescapable labyrinth prison that would capture and contain the gods. Like himself. Like Sigyn.
He sure as hell wasn’t going to let that happen.
“Yes. I believe the prison is designed to make you forget. I saw more in this vision than in all the others. It’s called the Labyrinthine Prison of Lethe because the Architect of the prison has diverted the waters of the River Lethe. He’s created a portal to the Greek afterworld that allows the river to flow through the labyrinth.”
“What the hell?” He hadn’t heard the name of the river that ran through Hades in centuries. The River of Forgetfulness made those who drank from it forget their lives.
“If you’re imprisoned—which you will be, as all gods will be—you’ll forget yourself entirely. As will the world. I believe the river Lethe is making even the builders forget what they’ve built. It’s part of the torture of the labyrinth—to endlessly toil yet believe you make no progress.”
He scrubbed a hand over his face. This was a hell of a lot worse than he’d anticipated. Aleia’s prophesies always came true. Always. The cocky part of him had always kind of thought he’d be able to break out of the prison if he were thrown in.
But from what Aleia was saying, it sounded like the river Lethe had already fucked with his mind. If the prison was completed, he would end up there as prophesied. With the river working on his mind, there’s no way he’d find his way out before he forgot.
“It looks like my time here is up. I’ll contact you if I need you again,” Logan said.
“Aye aye, boss.” She disappeared into the flames.
Logan thrust aside the chilling thought of losing his memory in the labyrinth and focused on what was next.
Escape.
His heart sped at the idea of finally being able to break out of this hell hole. With the wheels of the Labyrinthine Prison finally turning, he couldn’t stay, hoping for more information. Aleia had informed him of the prison’s construction over a century ago. After a hundred years of searching for it, he was suddenly running out of time.
Speaking of time… The guard would arrive with “dinner” any minute. It took only seconds to tear off strips of the bed sheet. He took up position at the door and quieted his mind, listening for the coming footsteps of the burly guard.
The guard was part demon, though from what afterworld, Logan wasn’t sure. Mytheans, as supernatural individuals of the various species were called, could be dangerous. The university, which was more of an unofficial government organization dedicated to hiding the existence of Mytheans than it was a learning institution, hired all sorts of Mytheans.
Roughly two minutes later, thudding footsteps sounded at the end of the hall. His cell was the third and last. It would buy him some extra time, since the other prisoners wouldn’t be alerted that something was wrong when their dinner didn’t appear.
For old time’s sake, he’d love nothing more than to bust some of these assholes out just to fuck with the university. He’d never liked authority figures. But his end goal was more important than his whims.
He shifted on his feet, and when the key finally scratched in the lock on his door, he moved forward. The heavy wooden door swung open and a gruff voice said, “Slop time, Ian MacKenzie.”
The guard’s eyes widened when Logan’s fist came at him. They rolled back into his head not a second later. Logan snatched the tray before it clattered to the ground. The guard started to slump against the wall, but popped upright half a moment later.
So that’s why this bastard was a guard. He was damn hard to knock out.
Logan grabbed the guard by the collar, dragging him into the room. It looked like this might be a fight and he wanted privacy. The guard swung at him and Logan ducked, put the tray on the floor, then slipped behind him and reached up to grasp his head. It took a second to snap his neck. He turned it halfway around just to be sure he completed the job.
Logan eased the massive body to the ground and thanked his buddy Ian for being such a model prisoner that there’d been only one guard.
Logan quietly shut the door. In seconds, he had the guard’s hands bound behind his back and a makeshift gag over his mouth. Though he’d broken the guard’s neck, it certainly wouldn’t kill a Mythean. And whatever type this one was, his recovery period was ridiculously quick. He really should have been passed out for hours from Logan’s first punch.
The last strip of bed sheet went around the guard’s ankles and Logan figured he had a solid ten minutes to make it off campus. Maybe even fifteen, if he got lucky.
He’d need only five. Quickly, he laid a hand on the guard’s burly shoulder and envisioned himself shedding his own face and form and adopting the guard’s. When the knuckles of his hand widened and bristly hairs sprouted from the backs, his face had transformed as well. He magically adopted the guard’s uniform.
Without a backward glance at the miserable four walls that had been his home for the last three months, he walked out the door and down the hall. He remembered it from his time sneaking in to free Ian, so it wasn’t hard to act like he knew where he was going.
The hall was empty and silent but for the humming of the fluorescent lights above. They were out of place amongst the otherwise ancient architectural features, primarily stone for the walls and wood for the floor. The huge door at the end of the hall beckoned. Freedom.
When he reached it, he placed his palm against the metal. Magic zinged up his arm as the lock registered the guard’s palm. It would have been a hell of a lot harder to break out had he not been a shapeshifter. Only the handprint of the guard, willingly given, would open the door.
He grinned as he pushed the door open and climbed the stairs to the first floor of the Praesidium, the university department that dealt with security and protecting those individuals important to humanity. Basically, a bunch of heads-up-their-asses, full-of-themselves morons who thought they were the world’s police. Any species of Mythean could work for the university, but he’d never met one he liked.
When he reached the door at the top of the stairs, Logan straightened his shoulders and scowled, trying for an expression as stupid as the guard’s. If he was going to meet anyone on his way out of the building, it would be here, in the halls of the Praesidium. And whoever he met wouldn’t be bad in a fight, given that only warriors worked for the Praesidium.
Still, they’d be no match for him. He wiped what he knew must be a cocky grin off his face and relaxed his features into bovine boredom, then pushed out into the rich, wood-paneled hallway.
A shock of familiar energy hit him in the chest. He stiffened.
Sigyn. She was close. His chest ached, his soul seeming to pull away from his body in search of her. He hadn’t felt her presence in centuries, not since he’d left Norway. The enchanted shields on the prison must have blocked out the magic that filled the university buildings above, including hers.
He’d known she worked for the university and he’d intended to seek her out once he’d destroyed the labyrinth, but he hadn’t expected to ever be so close to her that he felt her. She had to be in this very building.
Ironic that the two things he wanted most in this world—Sigyn and access to the labyrinth so that he could destroy it—could be found in the same place.
He slammed a fist against his chest, trying to quiet the pulling of his soul. He was in control of himself, damn it, and he had a job to do before he could seek out Sigyn.
But seek her out he would. Once he’d destroyed the labyrinth and ensured his own safety—and hers—he would come for her. He’d been waiting.
With a shake of his head to banish thoughts of the woman he still wanted, he turned right and strode down the hall to the enormous atrium at the entrance of the building. He held his breath as he skirted by an open door, but no one called out to him. The paintings on the wall seemed to frown pityingly at him as he walked by. With memories of Sigyn driving through his brain, he probably deserved it. He should be focusing on the labyrinth, not her.
Escape loomed ahead, the wide open space of the atrium calling him to freedom. The great double doors lay just beyond. But every step he took carried him farther away from Sigyn. Her pull was so strong, she had to be in this building.
But he had to keep going. He focused on what was at stake—eternal imprisonment, not just in the labyrinth, but within his own lost mind, once the River Lethe stole his memory. And he had to keep going for her. She was a demigod and would suffer the same terrible fate if he failed to destroy the prison. The thought spurred him forward. He pushed out through the great double doors into the cool night beyond.
He sucked in the air and grinned. The idiots at the university couldn’t keep a god chained. But then, that’s why they were building the super prison. Regular Mytheans might not be able to chain the gods—but the gods could chain themselves. If they lost their memories, they’d lose the ability to fight their way free.
It was an excellent plan. Evil, but excellent.
The cobblestone courtyard and parking lot spread out in front of him, surrounded on all sides by enormous stone buildings. Old fashioned street lamps shone yellow lights on their ornately carved facades and ivy crawled up their sides. The courtyard was empty save for an individual sliding into a car.
Sigyn?
No. He wanted to see her so he was imagining her. He forced his mind away. He would come back for her once this was all over, as he’d planned. She was his end goal. He just had to clear the way to get to her, which meant escaping so he could find a way to destroy the prison to save both their lives.
To do that, he needed to find privacy to transform. Ever since his aetherwalking had been bound by the other Norse gods, he’d relied upon his ability to shapeshift into the form of a falcon for transportation. He sorely missed the ability to travel instantly through the aether—that ephemeral substance connecting the earth and the afterworlds. It was far easier to envision a place and appear than it was to fly there, but he had no choice.
The courtyard was too well lit, so he trotted down the stairs and jogged around the side of the building. By his calculation, he only had a few minutes to spare until the other prison guards noticed their dimwitted colleague was missing.
He slid into the shadows at the edge of the stone wall of the building. It was dark enough to hide the green light of magic that swirled around him when he transformed and no other buildings looked directly out at him. It was perfect.
He glanced right to confirm the coast was clear and caught sight of a scene in the window next to him. A woman danced within a large, well-lit wooden room. A wall of mirrors reflected her form.
His heart pounded, beating itself senseless against his ribs.
Sigyn.
She spun about the room, a blue cloak waving behind her as her lithe form leapt and lunged and dodged. Golden hair trailed behind her and it was only once she spun toward him that he noticed the long wooden staff in her hands. Pale wood and elegant, she spun it about her form almost faster than the eye could see. Her cloak flickered. It wasn’t real, just an illusion.
She wasn’t dancing. She was training. Her motions weren’t those of a ballerina, but those of a warrior. He’d never seen her like this, but he’d heard of her. The woman he’d cared for eight hundred years ago had been far quieter than the shining warrior goddess within the room. She’d been strong—capable of protecting herself—but nothing like the woman on the other side of the glass.
This woman was all power and grace, strength and motion. She took his breath away. Fire flashed in her green eyes as if she saw her foe while she practiced her motions. She moved so fast, a mortal would never be able to see her. It was magic. Quite literally. Her talents had grown over the years.
His head buzzed as he watched her and he was helpless to draw away. After so many years, here he stood, actually near her. He’d only seen her a few times for a few breathless moments after he’d driven her away all those years ago. He hadn’t been able to help himself, as he couldn’t now.
He’d made sure she never saw him, though it had torn at something in his chest to maintain his distance. It was the only way to stay away from her, though. If he spoke to her, he’d be unable to leave her. The last time he’d seen her had been over five hundred years ago.
He’d forgotten so many things over his life, so many faces and names and places, but he’d never forgotten her. Not the curve of her slender arms, the length of her legs, or the shine of her hair. She was beautiful—tall and strong and everything the Norse gods were supposed to be, though she’d been a demigod when they’d both left Asgard, home of the Norse pantheon.
He was supposed to wait until he’d destroyed the labyrinth to come for her because she was a distraction. Yet he couldn’t take his eyes off of her as she continued to leap around the room, the apparition of the blue cloak swirling around her marking her as a Vala, a student of the magical teachings of the goddess Freya.
A cry sounded in the night. Shouts followed.
Shit. He’d fucking forgotten he was on the run. He dragged his eyes from Sigyn, his heart clutching as she left his vision, and focused all his energy on envisioning the falcon form he would take. If he could just make it to the air, he could get—
A shot rang out, a harsh blast echoing through the quiet night. Pain tore through his gut.
What the fuck? They’d used fucking guns? Fucking mortals used fucking guns.
Agony streaked from his stomach through his extremities. Another shot rang out, and this time pain bloomed in his shoulder. Guards charged toward him through the shadows, only a few dozen feet away.
He cursed internally at the idea he’d have to transform in front of them, and thereby possibly give away his true identity, but there was nothing for it. If they caught him when he was this injured, he wouldn’t even be able to hold the false form he normally went by. They’d know he was a god and imprison him accordingly. In the labyrinth. He shuddered.
Logan gritted his teeth. He tried to ignore the pain bombarding him long enough to force the magic through his veins, transforming his muscle and bone to feather and flight.
It was sluggish, but the transformation worked amidst the swirls of green magic he’d never learned how to diminish. Soon he felt the wind under his wings and he climbed into the air, a fraction less graceful and effortless than normal. Pain ripped through him with every stroke of his wings and he faltered on the breeze.
The ground was only a hundred feet below him, not nearly far enough to get out of the range of bullets. He pushed himself higher, nearly blind from the agony. He’d never make it off the campus like this. There was no way he had more than a couple hundred yards left in him, and the guards were right behind him.


About the Author:


Linsey Hall is the author of the Mythean Arcana, a sexy paranormal romance series. Before becoming a romance novelist, Linsey was an underwater archaeologist who studied shipwrecks in all kinds of water, from the tropics to muddy rivers (and she has a distinct preference for one over the other). Her books draw upon her love of history, travel, and the paranormal elements that she can't help but include.

Several of her books may or may not feature her cats.