Saturday, June 4, 2016

Smoke and Mirrors Blitz, Excerpt & Giveaway!


Smoke and Mirrors
Jess Haines
(Blackhollow Academy #1)
Publication date: May 1st 2016
Genres: Fantasy, Young Adult


A girl who uses her illusions to fool the world into thinking she’s just like all the other magi.

A dragon who sees through her lies.

Together they just might survive a world that wants to control or destroy them both.


Kimberly may wield ultimate cosmic power, but even a mage has to pay the rent. No one will hire her for her magic talents until she’s got the credentials, so she’s stuck in a crappy rent controlled apartment with her mother, yearning for treats she can’t afford at her part time job in a café, counting down the days until she graduates the secret Blackhollow Academy school for magi. Only then will she have the certificate she needs to land her dream job in a coven.

The problem? She needs a familiar to graduate.

As an illusionist, she doesn’t have the ability to summon or create a familiar of her own. Her only option is to convince a supernatural creature to let her bind it instead. Since having a powerful Other at her beck and call would guarantee her a place in a coven after she graduates—and legendary treasure hoards are an added bonus—she thinks binding a dragon as her familiar will solve all her problems…

Because sometimes a girl needs a dragon, not a knight.




EXCERPT

Viper made a soft hissing sound of irritation between his teeth, pulling back from her. “Cormac has no vision. I know what I want and I’m prepared to offer anything to get it. You have but to ask.”
Well. There was one thing. Her cheeks flared crimson and she squirmed a bit before stuttering out another question, swallowing back her embarrassment.
“You keep a hoard like a dragon, right? I don’t suppose you would consider loaning me a little? I swear I’d pay it back.”
His head tipped to one side, and he looked her up and down anew. She suspected he was just noticing her frayed cuffs and cheap shoes. He’d been so intent on getting whatever it was he wanted out of her that he hadn’t paid attention to the package it came in until now. When she caught the very slight curl of his lip, there and gone in a flash, embarrassed heat filled her cheeks.
Feeling both dirty and humiliated, she ducked her head. “Never mind. I shouldn’t have asked. I’m sorry, I don’t think I can do this.”
“Come now, I’m sure it’s not that hard. All it takes is a yes.”
“No,” she said, this time with a bit more vehemence. Cormac was right. There was something off about Viper, and never mind what a perfect ass she’d just made of herself. Worst of all, that flash of disgust showed he obviously had no respect for her. At least Cormac never made her feel tolerated. “Thank you for the offer, but I’ll find some other way of getting what I need.”
He slowly rose to stand, heaving a sigh as he settled back on his heels.
“That’s unfortunate. This would have been much easier if you had agreed.”
Kimberly would have asked what he meant by that, but the look in his eyes froze her in place.
His eyes burned a molten gold as he spread his arms, which were expanding and shifting at an alarming rate. Faster than she might have thought possible, he was growing, his clothing melting and skin disappearing under a layer of metallic scales. Nearby, people were noticing, shouting and screaming in fear as they stampeded in every direction to escape the shapechanging Other in their midst.
When he ceased growing, from the tip of his nose to the end of his tail, he was over thirty feet long, with a wingspan half again that size.
Kimberly sat immobile, unable to so much as squeak in terror as the beast before her lurched back to arch its neck and spread its wings, barbed tail lashing as it growled at her. One thick, talon-tipped paw lashed out, flattening her on the grass and squeezing the air out of her lungs. It gave an awkward, one-legged hop forward to catch its balance before clenching its claws to dig deep furrows in the grass and close around her waist and legs, pinning her.
Then those wide, ribbed wings began to flap, the sun playing off the tones of brass and copper and gold. The ground fell away, people scattering before the airborne monster.
And Kimberly could do nothing but pray, staring up at this great beast that had her in its claws.
She’d gotten what she’d asked for. Now she would have to pay the price.

Author Bio: 
I'm a displaced New Yorker with a penchant for the silly, the obscure, and the fantastical. Tampa, Florida is home for the time being. I'm currently working on the H&W Investigations urban fantasy series and the Blackhollow Academy young adult contemporary fantasy series. Find out more about my books, drop me a line, or join my mailing list at www.jesshaines.com! 

Hosted by:
XBTBanner1

Friday, June 3, 2016

The Dark Cycle Series Tour, Excerpt & Giveaway!

Darkness Brutal
The Dark Cycle
Book One
Rachel A. Marks

Genre: YA Urban Fantasy

Publisher: Skyscape

Date of Publication: July 1st, 2015

ISBN: 978-1477830796
ASIN: B00S6Z3S82

Number of pages: 422
Word Count: 120,000

Cover Artist: Cliff Neilson

Book Description:

Aidan O’Linn’s childhood ended the night he saw a demon kill his mother and mark his sister, Ava, with Darkness. Since then, every three years the demons have returned to try to claim her. Living in the gritty, forgotten corners of Los Angeles, Aidan has managed to protect his sister, but he knows that even his powers to fight demons and speak dead languages won’t keep her safe for much longer.

In desperation, Aidan seeks out the help of Sid, the enigmatic leader of a group of teens who run LA Paranormal, an Internet reality show that fights demons and ghosts. In their company, Aidan believes he’s finally found a haven for Ava. But when he meets Kara, a broken girl who can spin a hypnotic web of passionate energy, he awakens powers he didn’t know he had―and unleashes a new era of war between the forces of Light and the forces of Darkness.

With the fate of humanity in his hands, can Aidan keep the Darkness at bay and accept his brilliant, terrifying destiny?


Excerpt

I let the pulse of the music coat me and mute my surroundings. A mass of people crowd the dance floor of the club, and I sit on an abandoned couch in the corner. The lights beat at the air in blues and greens, and bodies twist and merge to the thunder. I lean back, close my eyes, and try to get lost in it, the smells and sounds of people and their collective high.
Something moves next to me. I look over to find a girl sprawled on the seat beside me, trying to catch her breath. She’s not dressed in the usual club gear, more like a girl who got lost on her way to a beach party: Hurley T-shirt, jean skirt, and red Converse. Her cheeks are flushed pink; her throat and forehead glitter with sweat. She glances at me like she didn’t know I was there. She licks her upper lip, her eyes not leaving mine. Then she says something I can’t hear.
I point to my ear and shake my head.
She smiles and laughs, lighting up the space around her. She rests her hand on my arm, like we’re friends and I just told her the most hilarious joke, and then she gets up and disappears into the mass of bodies again.
My arm tingles, my body reacting to the moment of contact in a sudden and disconcerting way. I think I’ve had my fill of watching people indulge their baser instincts. I need to get out of here.
The beat of the music speeds up, vibrating faster as I move through the crowd. I try not to touch anyone, which is nearly impossible. All the emotions and appetites are overwhelming, as if the rising rhythm of the music makes their yearnings rise, too. Lust buzzes in the air. A hunger stirs in me, a gaping hole, needing to be filled. With touch.
The touch of female fingers. A hand on my arm, taking my wrist, pulling me into the fray, into the pressing bodies. And I don’t try to escape. I let her take me.
Because I’m tired.
Because I’m a dumbass.
A girl moves in front of me—not the Hurley girl, not the one I was hoping for. She presses closer, so close I can almost taste the salty perspiration on her skin. She has thin, birdlike shoulders, a swan neck, a heart-shaped face, and black hair, long and tangled, turning blue and green with the light. Her hands slide up my chest. She wraps her arms around my neck and tilts her head to look up at me.
Her lips are full and painted dark purple. There’s a dimple in her left cheek that gets deeper with her growing smile. And her eyes . . .
Fog fills my head for a second, interrupting my thoughts.
“Hi,” she mouths, calling attention to her lips again.
And then she’s rising up on her toes, pulling me down to her, twisting her fingers in my hair, her lips smashing against mine.
My body buzzes from her touch, and my hands react, drawing her into me. I drink her in. She tastes like the air around me, hunger and urgency, and—
Green apple Jolly Ranchers?
I grip her sides, her ribs so delicate beneath my fingers. The sweet tang of her teases me, the hunger becoming a monster deep inside. I have to press her closer, tighter, try to feed it, as I feel the fire of her need link with mine.
She pulls back a little and looks at me with wide eyes, like she’s shocked. That’s when I see the mark, a glowing, blue-inked line of what looks like Chinese symbols, trailing down the nape of her neck to her shoulder blade. Symbols that I’m suddenly sure mean: touch this girl at your own risk.
It’s the only thing I see for a second: Beware. Beware.
Until her energy reaches for me, wispy tendrils of blue light wrapping their way around my wrists and snaking up my chest.
I jerk away, into the guy behind me, stepping on his girlfriend’s toes. I get shoved— thankfully farther from the hypnotic girl—through a space in the crowd, saying a hundred excuse-me’s even though I know no one can hear them. I find my way out of the press of bodies to the edge of the room again where it’s safe.
It’s time to leave. I should’ve left an hour ago.


Darkness Fair
The Dark Cycle
Book Two
Rachel A. Marks

Genre: YA Urban Fantasy

Publisher: Skyscape

Date of Publication: 2/1/16

ISBN: 978-1503950290
ASIN: B00YDJKE00
Number of pages: 335

Cover Artist: Cliff Neilson

Book Description:

Against the backdrop of an ancient battle between the forces of Light and the forces of Darkness, Aidan struggles to control the newly awakened powers that seem to be his only hope for rescuing Ava, his little sister, trapped somewhere beyond the Veil. As he gravitates to Kara, the beguiling and dangerously unstable girl who helped him realize his abilities, a terrible mistake of fate is revealed that points him back toward Rebecca, whose role is becoming more critical to the battle. And no matter what his heart wants, it might be too late to stop the pieces already in motion.

Without knowing the sacrifices that will be required of them, Aidan and his motley crew of friends—each with their own role to play—must face the demon threat head-on. They’re the only ones keeping the growing army of Darkness at bay, and if they fail, the future of humanity could be lost.







About the Author:

Rachel A. Marks is an award-winning author and professional artist, a SoCal girl, cancer survivor, a surfer and dirt-bike rider, chocolate lover and keeper of faerie secrets. She was voted: Most Likely to Survive the Zombie Apocalypse, but hopes she'll never have to test the theory. Her debut series The Dark Cycle, described as Dickens' Oliver Twist meets TV's Supernatural, is now out through Skyscape, beginning with DARKNESS BRUTAL.







Leaving Me Behind Blitz, Excerpt & Giveaway!


Leaving Me Behind
Sigal Ehrlich
Publication date: May 24th 2016
Genres: Adult, Contemporary, Romance

He was supposed to be a personal challenge. A Spanish lover – younger and sinfully attractive. A daring, wild experience for one night.
My liberation from my self-oppressed lifestyle was planned out carefully down to the last detail. 
Everything except . . .
HIM.


I didn’t see it coming, not by a long shot. My plan was safe. I was going to quit my job, say goodbye to the restraints of the life I had known, and follow my dreams.
I rented a house halfway across the globe in an exotic Spanish town on the coast. I made some new friends. I reveled in luscious food and a stunning landscape. Most of all I savored my new found freedom.
That is until I met HIM.

It was supposed to be a night of lost inhibitions, soon to become a sweet memory. That was my plan.

He had something different in mind.

Only 99¢ for a limited time!

Tease 1


EXCERPT

“So how did you like our wine?” Sebastian gestures with a hint of a knowing glee to the half-empty evidence on my coffee table.
“Vivian suggested I try it,” I blabber. “Umm, it was good.”
He cocks an eyebrow.
“Frankly, I’m not much of a wine person; I’m more of a sweet cocktail kind of gal. It was very good though, but I couldn’t elaborate on the taste or anything else as you experts would.”
“I see,” he says somewhat pensive. He motions for me to take a seat at the low coffee table and settles himself on the sofa in front of me. His slightly parted legs almost touch mine. He takes the bottle and deftly removes the cork.
“Let’s try to do it together, shall we,” he says, his voice a degree huskier. “You need to use your senses to evaluate wine, scent, taste . . .sight.” He gives me a soft, yet bluntly suggestive look. “Sight,” he says as he brings the bottle to his mouth, wraps his lips around the narrow opening, and takes a slow sip. I swallow hard, following the motion of his Adam’s apple under bristled, tanned skin. He then inclines his head toward me and cups the nape of my neck. He slightly tilts my head back and touches his mouth to mine. With the parting of my lips, his tongue reaches in, filling my mouth with warmness, wine, and an intoxicating breath. His tongue commences to stroke mine through the rich moistness; a combined sensual flesh on flesh electrifying sensation hovered by the tingling of the aromatic liquid. It skims around my tongue, letting the luscious liquid reach every part of my greedy mouth. I suck hard on his tongue, tasting the wine and him; my desire grows, and grows with every erotic stroke of his.
“Taste,” he says low as he pulls back, lightly biting my bottom lip causing a sting that crawls all the way between my legs. “Keep your eyes closed, Liv. I’m going to do that again. I want you to suck on it, swirl it in your mouth, and try to think what flavors come to your mind.” And he does, with one hand at the nape of my neck and the other sliding to curl around my knee. Everything inside me tightens, everything around me melts, and everything about me arouses. It’s a sensory overload.
“Open them . . . now, tell me if it’s balanced.” He kisses my lips gently. “Complex.” Another kiss. “Evolved.” A more profound one.
Tastes like an orgasm? I close my eyes and lick my slightly pulsing lips. His hand trails slowly under the hem of my dress, holding my thigh with mild force. I lick my lips again, distracted by the touch of his hand.
“It tastes warm and rich.”
“Mmmhmm.” His hand sprawls, making my skin burn at the spot.
“Fruity and sexy,” I add quietly, my eyes still closed, the edge of my lips slightly curved.
“Keep going.” His other hand cups my cheek, and his thumb grazes my lips.
“It tastes like something I want in my mouth again.” My eyelids slowly lift and my eyes meld into his with everything that rages inside of me.
“Sold,” he says gruffly, with a hint of a heated smile. “Oh, and there’s the scent,” he adds next, nuzzling the area just below my ear. His hand on my thigh under my dress advances till the tips of his fingers whisper over the delicate fabric of my panties. I strangle a moan while his lips sear the skin of my neck. He murmurs, “Divine.”
My eyes remain closed as I savor the taste of his mouth, his tongue, and his sweet, musky scent wafting around me. God, he smells like warm, rich, spicy chocolate. He smells like molten chocolate with a sprinkle of chili.
“Take your dress off for me, Liv.” His voice reaches me, and we slowly flicker our eyes into a scorching, locked stare. He speaks to my mouth next, though it feels like he speaks to the spot between my legs as it insentiently starts pulsing in heat. “Undress for me. Stand up and slowly take your dress off.”


Tease 2

Author Bio: 
By teen age, Sigal already lived in three different continents where she was lucky enough to experience and visit varied places, meet unique people, which only helped fuel her overly developed imagination. Currently, Sigal calls Estonia home where she lives with her husband and three kids.
Not exactly sure where they will end up next... 


Hosted by:
XBTBanner1

Terrapin Blitz, Excerpt & Giveaway!


Terrapin
A.C. Troyer
(Nordic Airre, #1)
Publication date: May 30th 2016
Genres: Fantasy, Young Adult


Eighteen-year-old Charlotte (Jinx), fights her past to chase her dream of becoming an Elite Nordic Airre pilot, yet her rebellious attitude hinders her hard-earned lead status. Overcoming a string of life-altering events and the unwanted advances of Ghost Allen, a smooth talking pilot, is one thing, evading death at the hands of two comrades is another.

When Jinx comes face-to-face with an unlikely ally, she is forced to trust him in order to escape the clutches of those who want to silence her. Can a once broken girl transform her past into an iron will, or will she ultimately crumble under the destruction?




EXCERPT

“Hold still,” he said.
I froze. My thoughts instantly drew a large coiling snake at my feet, but then a gentle wipe of his thumb swept across my cheek. I jerked away in response. “What are you doing?” I covered his path with my hand, as if the man-germs burned me.
“Hold still. You made it worse. And don’t look at me like I’m your favorite dessert, it’s not helping the situation any.”
There was a tease in his tone. “What situation?” I asked. “And I’m not. Trust me.” I displayed the most repulsed expression I could. The hem of his shirt pulled up over his crossed arms and cleared his head. “Whoa.” My palms few up. “You’re reading the signs all wrong. Put your shirt back on,” I pleaded to him. My eyes widened, soaking up the definition of his stomach. Holy abs.
“You like what you see?” He laughed, waggling his eyebrows.
I gained my composure and mocked a laugh. “I was just thinking you’re almost as toned as I am. Close, but not quite there yet, big guy,” I said, patting his stomach.
His closed lipped dimpled smile awakened something inside of me. The same smile I saw the morning on Senders Rock, the one that sent tingles through my body. I wanted to pull my eyes away. But he was beautiful.

Author Bio: 
A.C. grew up climbing trees and spying on her siblings. When not writing, A.C. can be found cheering on her favorite girls at a softball field or sitting in her car reading at practices and eating her hidden stash of chocolate. She enjoys family time, traveling, random road trips, watching movies, decorating, and trying new cocktails. She lives in the mitten state with her husband, two daughters, and their furbabies. Terrapin is her first novel. 

Hosted by:
XBTBanner1

Thursday, June 2, 2016

Wolf Clan Shifters Series Tour & Excerpts!

Alice’s Alphas
Wolf Clan Shifters
Book One
Ann Gimpel

Dream Shadow Press
Release Date: 3/29/16

41K words

Genre: Shifter Ménage Romance

One virgin + three wolf shifters = e-reader ecstasy.

Book Description:

It’s 1936. Thirty-year-old Alice has given up on finding a husband. Between civil engineering and mountain climbing, her interests are so masculine, she scares men away. A poor route choice strands her—lost, hungry, and scared—next to Lon Chaney’s cabin deep in the Sierra Nevada Mountains.

Jed senses a woman stumbling down the steep, inhospitable mountain behind his borrowed cabin. Her scent tantalizes and excites him. Mates are scarce these days, and if his nose is right, she’s his fated one. His and his two pack mates, that is, who are mercifully gone at the moment. Jed crafts a careful strategy, knowing the mate bond might not be enough to convince her to stay once she finds out it will link her to all three of them—forever.

Alice adds Jed to her list of problems when he melts out of the shadowed darkness. At first she declines his offer of help, but he keeps talking until she ends up inside the cozy log cabin in front of a roaring fire. His skilled hands and a shot of whiskey heat her blood to molten, and her carefully tended world explodes into desperate hunger to make love with the man rubbing her weary feet.

As caught up in lust as Alice, Jed takes a chance. A big one. Will mating with her before disclosing everything turn out to be a huge mistake?

Amazon    AmazonUK    BN    Kobo    iBooks    ARe    Google Play



Excerpt 

Alice’s Alphas:

Her breath whistled loud in her ears. Brent had told her to hightail it for the car, but she had a feeling something bad had happened to him. No matter how she felt about him running off, it wasn’t right to just leave him. It had been dark for hours, and she wondered how late it was. Even if she stumbled the few miles to her car waiting next to Glacier Lodge, she was too tired to drive anywhere. The lodge wasn’t any help. It wouldn’t open for the season for another couple of months. There might be a phone inside, but she’d have to break in.
Alice considered her options. If she made the lodge, she’d crawl into her car and fall on her face from exhaustion. It would easily be mid-morning before she got back up here to even begin searching for Brent. Survival in the mountains often hung by a thread. She was the only one who knew where he was.
He may have abandoned her, but she couldn’t do the same and desert him. Not and live with herself afterward.
Alice moved toward where she thought the trail was, intent on setting up a fireless camp to wait out the night. She had enough food and a full water bottle. No tent or sleeping bag, but she’d survived worse conditions. A fire would’ve been welcome, but she couldn’t risk—
“Hey there. You. Show yourself, man,” a deep voice called from behind her. Light flared, illuminating the forest. Footsteps crunched over rocks and twigs as the person approached.
Alice stiffened. People looked at her build and assumed she was male. It had happened to her before—and more than once. She considered running, but burdened with her heavy boots, climbing hardware, and the moonless night, she didn’t want to chance a headlong flight. Besides, the man might have a gun.
“Why should I?” She spun to face him, ready for almost anything.
“What? You’re a woman?”
Alice grasped her ice axe in both hands. “Leave me alone,” she grunted through clenched teeth. “I’m tired and my friend is...lost.”
“Whoa.” The man held up both hands, one of which gripped a flashlight. “Put your axe down, sweetheart. I’m not going to hurt you.” He was tall, maybe six-feet-four, with straight, red-blonde hair. Despite his height, he had a slender build. A well-defined jaw and sharp cheekbones suggested Nordic blood. It was tough to tell in the reflected light, but his eyes looked blue.
“Go back inside. You can see I’m not any kind of threat. I’d head down, but I need to be moving at first light to hunt for my friend.”
The man cocked his head to one side. “Big guy with red hair?”
Terror gripped her. Her throat narrowed. Breathing became a struggle. Since she couldn’t manage words, she nodded and steeled herself to hear the words, he’s dead. Alice bit her lower lip and gazed mutely at the stranger.
“Look, I think he’ll be okay. We were out hunting and heard something big falling. Thought it was the deer we’d shot at. Turned out to be your friend—”
“Awk! You shot Brent!”
The man waved his hands in front of him. “Calm down, woman. Christ, you’re strung tighter than a fiddle. Take a couple of deep breaths. No, we didn’t shoot him. Your friend was unconscious because he hit his head on a rock, so we carried him back here. My two buddies took the horses and hauled him down to the lodge. We only had three horses which is why I’m still here. Anyway, they were planning to drive him to the hospital in Bishop. I don’t expect they’ll be back much before the middle of tomorrow.”
At least that explains why there’re no horses here.
Alice shook her head, digesting the information. “I need to get moving, then. I can drive to the hospital and meet them.”
The man held out a hand. “I’m Jed. Jed Starnes. You look beat. There’re mountain cats on the prowl. Shot one a few hours ago. They get worse at night. More aggressive. You got a gun?”
She shook her head and ignored his outstretched hand. He looked chagrined and dropped it to his side. “Well, then, handshake or no, you need to come with me. Got a nice warm fire going inside. You look wet clear through. Nothing you can do tonight, anyway. Get a few shots of Irish whiskey in you, a little soup, and some sleep. Come morning, you can go after your friend.”
It sounded good. Too good. She kept her ice axe poised. “How’d you get access to Lon Chaney’s cabin?”
Jed threw back his head and laughed. “That’s easy. Ever since Chaney senior died in nineteen-thirty, his son’s been letting some of us who work with him have the keys. All we have to do is ask. Damn shame the old man died right after he got this place built. It’s a beauty. You really should take a look inside.”
She blew out a breath. “What is it you do?”
“I’m a production manager for Paramount.”
“I thought they were in receivership.”
He laughed again. “We are. But we’re still making movies.”
Something about Jed put her at ease. Or maybe she was just too weary to think straight. She slowly dropped her hands. Tethered to her wrist, the ice axe dangled, not quite hitting the ground.
“That’s better, sweetheart,” he crooned. “Follow me. I promise I don’t bite.”
She trailed after him and climbed the broad steps leading to the cabin’s heavy wooden door. He unlatched it, took the lantern from its hook, and motioned her through ahead of him. Alice scanned the large room. One end was an enormous stone fireplace. The other held a kitchen of sorts with a pump mounted next to a sink. A curtained alcove probably contained a bedroom. The lower walls were the same large, flat fieldstones mortared together she’d seen on the outside. The upper walls were wooden planks. Alice sighed. It was warm. Truly warm. She didn’t realize how chilled she was. Her face stung from the sudden temperature shift.
She took off her headlamp and set it on a table. Next she unbuckled her waist belt and dropped her pack in a corner, followed by her axe. The click of a deadbolt falling into its metal hole snapped her to attention. She made a grab for her axe, but Jed beat her to it. “Don’t know about you,” he said, hefting the axe over a shoulder, “but I’m not fond of weapons inside.”
She’d been right about his eyes. They were a rich midnight blue. Something about them made her tingle deep inside. Alice pushed the thought away. She was still a virgin at nearly thirty, and likely to stay that way at the rate things were going in her life. Almost as if they’d been listening in on her thoughts, her nipples pebbled into points of awareness.
What am I doing?
She shook herself back to reality. A stranger she’d just met had locked her into this cabin and taken her only means of defense. Trepidation trumped lust. “Why’d you lock us in?” Because she tried hard, her voice only shook a little.
He flashed the key in front of her and dropped it into his pants pocket. “Never know who might wander by. I wanted to make certain we’re safe is all.” He made a huffing sound. “Most women appreciate that sort of thing.”
“No one would come up this trail in the middle of the night.”
“Hey, I’m sort of a city boy. We believe in locking the bad guys out.” He shrugged. “If you want to hang your jacket, there’re hooks by the fire. It looks pretty wet to me.”
Alice crossed her arms over her chest and stared at Jed. He stared back. Tension sizzled in the air between them. She held out a hand. “My axe.” She gestured to guns on racks along the walls. “Looks as if there are plenty of weapons in here. Besides, my ice axe isn’t a weapon, it’s a climbing aid.”
“Let’s just say I’m not enamored of watching my back. Look—” he balanced her ice axe against a wall, stepped away from it, and spread his hands in front of him “—you’re apprehensive because you don’t know me. How about if I’m feeling the same way?”
She sidled past him and tucked her axe behind her pack where it had been before. “I have no idea how I’m feeling,” she muttered, “other than tired.”
Jed moved past her to the sink and pumped water into a glass. Crossing the cabin, he handed it to her. “Drink this,” he suggested. “Once you’re done, let me hang your jacket near the fire where it can dry a little. It’s so wet, steam’s rising from it.”…

Megan’s Mates
Wolf Clan Shifters
Book  Two
Ann Gimpel

Dream Shadow Press
55K words

Release Date: 4/18/16

Genre: Shifter Ménage  Romance

One virgin + two wolf shifters = e-reader ecstasy.

Book Description:

Calgary, Alberta 1936

After witnessing what might’ve been a murder, Megan is frantic to escape the Garden of Eden cult, so she catches the night train north out of town. Her lifetime commitment to the cult may well be her death sentence, but she’s not sticking around to let them frame her.

Wolf shifters, Les and Karl, eke out a primitive existence on the flanks of the Canadian Rockies. Between Hunters who want to kill them and a wildfire raging out of control, they’re glad when Jed, their clan leader, shows up. And even more delighted when they see who’s in his car.

Jed’s mate, Alice, spied Megan by the side of the road looking lost and desperate and offered her a ride. Before Jed’s car even stops rolling, Les and Karl know she’s their mate. So skittish she’s barely willing to exit the car, Megan busies herself helping Jed and his pack mates unload supplies. Can Les and Karl convince her to join her life to theirs? If she does, will the risks she faced as a cult member pale in comparison to being mated to shifters?

Amazon     AmazonUK     Kobo     iBooks     BN     Google Play     ARe

Excerpt 

Megan’s Mates:

The phone jangled again. Loud and strident, it made Les’ sensitive lupine hearing ache. It took him a moment to realize he needed his human form to make the noise go away. He’d tried to ignore the damned thing, but whoever was calling wouldn’t give up. Every time he ventured near the house, it was ringing. With an aggravated growl, he commanded his body to shift.
As soon as he had feet rather than paws, he strode through the door of his cabin deep in the woods, jaw tight with annoyance. The remote location a few miles outside Rocky Mountain House often lost phone service for long periods of time.
“Yes and too bad this isn’t one of them,” he muttered, snatched up the receiver, and barked, “Yes, I’m here.”
“It’s about damned time. I’ve been trying to get hold of you for days.”
Les’ eyes widened. “Jed?”
“Who the hell else?”
Les brayed laughter. “Good point. It’s not as if very many people have this number. What’s up, boss? I thought you were coming my way months ago. The boys and I wondered what happened.”
“Now that I have your attention, hang up.” Jed’s voice held a sharp edge that Les remembered all too well. “We’ll do this a more private way.”
“You got it.” Les dropped the black receiver back into place. He kicked the door shut to keep the cold breeze out. It didn’t bother him as a wolf, but he was naked, and the air had a chill edge to it. He trotted into the bedroom and had begun to dress when Jed’s voice sounded in his mind.
“Where the hell have you been? I’ve been trying to reach you for a week.”
Les sank onto the bed and pulled a quilt over his still-bare legs as he considered where to start. Jed was clan leader for wolf shifters. He needed all the information Les could provide. “First off, we’re all still okay.”
“That’s a relief. When I couldn’t raise you, I was afraid Hunters had killed everyone. Made me half-crazy not to know anything. Anyway, we pulled into Calgary last night, so I’m finally close enough to use telepathy.”
“Is your new mate with you?”
“Affirmative. Bron, Terin, and Alice are with me.” Jed blew out a breath. “You may have heard through the grapevine, we’d originally decided to come north as part of our wedding trip, but Hunters nabbed half a dozen of us in northern California. It took a major offensive to free our people. Even so, we lost a couple.”
Les nodded, and then realized Jed couldn’t see him. “Yes, I know. We’ve had problems of our own. Hunters almost got your cousins, Ron and Chris. We killed them, and I’m still waiting for the fallout on that one since we also killed the whole posse that came afterward, hunting for their fallen companions. All five of them.”
“How many total? Was there any choice?” Jed’s voice was stern as he peppered Les with questions.
“Seven. No, no choice.” Anger tightened Les’ muscles. He’d like to kill every goddamned Hunter in the universe, but he wasn’t about to tell Jed that. And there hadn’t been any choice, not really. They’d been surrounded. The only thing that saved them was taking a firm offensive position.
Jed broke into Les’ thoughts. “What’d you do with the bodies?”
“Don’t worry, boss. No one will ever find them. We dragged them to the very bottom of a cave system where there’s a vent to an upper cave and burned them.”
“How long ago?”
Les thought about it. He’d spent much of the last month as a wolf, which skewed his time sense. “Maybe a week.”
“You still haven’t told me why you weren’t answering your phone.”
“We’ve all been in our wolf forms. There’s a fire burning out of control between our pack and the crest of the Rockies. A couple of the cabins farther west incinerated—”
“Humph,” Jed interrupted, obviously not concerned about an out-of-control wildfire. “Any of you find mates yet?”
“What do you think? It’s not as if the odds are in our favor.”
“Maybe Alice can change that. Women trust her. She’s actually scared up three mates since she joined Bron, Terin, and me.” A hesitation. “How close did you say that fire was?”
“My cabin’s not in any immediate danger. It’s fall and I’m expecting it to rain soon.” Les scratched at month-old beard growth on his chin. “It’s pretty primitive here, boss. Nothing like your digs in Hollywood.”
A different voice sounded in his head, rich, vibrant, and definitely female. “I’ve been listening in. Shameless of me not to have said something earlier. Don’t worry about me. My life was a whole lot simpler before I met up with Jed and my other two mates. Besides, I’m looking forward to meeting the clan members here in Alberta.”
Les’ mouth twitched into half a smile. “You must be Alice. We’ve heard a lot about you. Are you really six feet tall?”
Alice snorted, making Les wish he’d kept his mouth shut. After all, Alice was mated to his clan leader. “How about if we leave the details open, and you can see for yourself when we get there? Jed says it’s a four or five hour drive, and we should arrive sometime tomorrow. Is there anything we need to bring from the big city?”
Les gazed around his one-bedroom cabin as if he expected a grocery list to materialize. He cleared his throat before remembering he didn’t need his actual voice. “Um, we’ve been pretty much living off the land this past month, so anything you bring would be welcome.”
“I get the picture.” Jed broke in with a laugh. “We’ll fill up the trunk and the rest of the back seat.”
Les couldn’t help himself. “Who gets to sit next to Alice?”
Female chuckling made his heart lighter than it had been in a long time.
“Oh, they fuss and snarl a bit, but they sort of take turns. It’s nice actually, to have three doting mates.”
“I’m sure it is.” Les brushed a wave of sadness aside. He’d love to have a woman to fuss over, alongside Karl, his pack mate. They’d hunted for years for a female to grace their lives without success after their first mate died in childbirth in the 1600s. A few promising candidates crossed their path when they’d lived in Edmonton, but Hunters had driven them out of the city fifty years before.
“We’ll be there by tomorrow afternoon.” Jed’s voice was gruff, and Les figured his clan leader could read his mind.
“I’ll alert the troops, boss. Everyone will be really glad to see all of you. And to meet your mate.”
Les waited, but a certain emptiness told him Jed had signed off. He shoved the quilt aside, finished dressing, and called Karl through their telepathic link. It didn’t take long before paws scrabbled against the door, and Les remembered he’d shut it. By the time he crossed the small space and pulled the door open, Karl had found his human form and stood shivering, arms wrapped around his tall, spare frame. Black hair hung to his waist in tangles.
“Thanks. Damned cold out here.” The wolf shifter bounded into the room, giving the door a shove as he passed through it. “What’s up?”
“Jed’s here.” Les spread his arms wide and rolled his eyes. “Along with his lieutenants and their new mate. We’ve got to clean this place up.”
“Why? It’s always been good enough for us.”
Les slugged him in the arm. “You weren’t listening. Jed’s mate will be here.”
“Oh, I get it.” Karl chortled, his dark eyes gleaming with glee. “Maybe if we didn’t do anything, she’d take pity on us and—”
“Right. Find some clothes, and we’ll get to work. I don’t think Jed, Terin, or Bron will want their new mate waiting on the likes of us.”
Karl sprinted for his sleeping alcove toward the rear of the log cabin’s main room. Drawers banged open. “Fire’s getting closer,” he called over one shoulder. “Maybe it would be better for all of us to get together in Red Deer.”
Les considered it. “Nope. Too soon since we axed those Hunters. That’s where they were from—there and Edmonton. I don’t want any friendly sheriff asking questions if they discover we live out here. Are you sure the fire’s closer? Maybe the wind just shifted direction.”
“It’s definitely closer. The smoke’s thicker, and I can actually hear it burning from the rise a couple miles west of here. At least my wolf can.” Karl slid his legs into trousers and pulled a sweater over his head before shoving his feet into an ancient pair of sheepskin slippers. He turned to Les. “Where do you think we should start? Come to think of it, when do you want to alert the rest of the clan, or should I do that?”
“We can take care of that later tonight. How about if you work on the dishes? I’ll sweep and get the kettle going for laundry.”
Karl strode to the sink and pumped the handle for water. “Eww.” He wrinkled his nose. “How long have these plates been here?”
“Does it matter?” Les lugged a large, cast iron kettle in through the back door and hefted it onto a wood-burning stove. He opened the firebox door, levered a pocket knife out of his pants, and started shaving tinder. “Let’s warm some water. That should help.” As he worked, Les dialed in his lupine senses and scented fresh air coming through the back door. It was indeed tinged with smoke. What bad timing for a major fire. If it drove them into one of the nearby towns, they’d risk discovery because Hunters could scent them.
“Les?”
He looked up from his half-built fire. “Um-hum.”
“Maybe it’s time to move on.”
“No!” Les banged a fist down on his thigh. “I’m sick of running. If the fire gets this far, we’ll come back when it’s over and rebuild.”
“But we’ll never find a mate out here.”
“Just do the damned dishes. We’ve got enough problems without adding to them.”…

Sophie’s Shifters
Wolf Clan Shifters
Book Three
Ann Gimpel

Dream Shadow Press
66K words

Release Date: 5/2/16

Genre: Shifter Ménage  Romance

One spirited woman + three coyote shifters = e-reader ecstasy.

Book Description:

Late 1930s, California.
The winds of change are blowing hard as shifters gather deep in the Sierra Nevada Mountains for a war powwow. Tempers run high as they argue their next move.

An unexpected attack from more Hunters than they’ve ever seen forces their hand, and Blake, alpha for the coyote clan, fights alongside his brothers. He’s grimly pleased when every single one of their enemies is finally dead, the bodies chucked into glacial crevasses.

Sophie Laughing Wolf tracked her hated brother into the mountains. Gifted with foreseeing, she wants to make certain he ends up just as dead as he was in her vision. When the large group of men he’s with are set upon by shifters, mythical dual-natured beings who can take animal forms, she hides, calling on earth power to shield her.

It doesn’t work. Two shifters, back in their men’s bodies, haul her from her hiding place once the battle ends and drag her before their chief. He spares her life—for now—but she senses the animosity the others have for her. They see her as a threat, a witness to multiple murders.

When the mate bond strikes, she fights its pull. So does Blake. He can’t believe the gods would be so cruel as to bind him and his lieutenants to a woman with blood ties to Hunters—their ancient enemy. She runs from her fate. So does he, but the bond burns bright, transcending everything.

Amazon    BN    Kobo    Google Play


Excerpt 

Sophie’s Shifters:

Jed slipped and slid down the glacier, grateful his mate Alice wasn’t there to read him the riot act. An accomplished mountaineer, she’d have laughed herself sick after the second time he fell on his ass and slid twenty feet.
“Goddammit!” Terin screeched from behind him and went flying past on his stomach. He shifted mid-slide and dug his claws into the icy surface to stop his suicidal descent. Once he’d stopped on the uphill side of a boulder, he shifted back.
Jed drew to a halt next to him. “Good thing you didn’t bother getting dressed. Your clothes would be strewn over the last fifty feet of ice in shreds.”
“Yes and no,” Terin muttered, glancing pointedly at Jed’s shoes. “My boot soles would have helped—a lot. Jesus but I’m glad Alice isn’t here to see this.”
“Keir’s doing okay in bare feet,” Bron noted, catching them up. “And I’m not doing that bad, but the soles of my feet hurt like hell—and I miss my claws.”
Jed eyed the edge of the glacier. Patches of rocks and dirt, interspersed with ice, began a couple hundred feet below them. Walking would get much easier then. He grabbed one of Terin’s arms. Bron seized the other one, and together they lurched over the remaining rock-studded ice.
“We have a problem,” he said without preamble.
“Tell me something I don’t know,” Bron muttered.
“We have to get home and make sure Alice is okay,” Terin added.
Jed winced. He’d wanted to leave someone home with the women, but neither Alice, nor Megan—Les and Karl’s mate—would have any part of that. He reached for Alice through the mate bond, but she was too far away for him to sense anything.
“Which particular problem were you alluding to?” Bron asked. “Somehow it seems like more than getting out of these mountains with our hides intact.”
“It is,” Jed said tersely. “Les and Karl found a woman. They’re holding her back in the cave.”
Terin stopped dead. “What? Is she a climber like Alice, who got stranded up here?”
“Somehow, I don’t think that’s it,” Jed muttered.
“We’ll find out soon enough,” Bron broke in. “Shit! If she came with the Hunters, we’ll have to kill her.”
“That already occurred to me.” Jed shot a pointed look at his lieutenant. “Keir said the same. He was standing close enough to hear when Les gave me the bad news.”
“Damned shame.” Terin shook loose from them. “I’m good. I don’t need you two to nursemaid me anymore.”
They covered the remaining half mile to the cave in silence. Terin and Bron went to collect their clothes, and Jed strode briskly to a back corner where he sensed Les and Karl. Crouched behind them in a quivering mass was a woman with her head buried in her crossed arms. Long black hair shot with thick silver streaks spilled around her onto the dirt floor. She was swathed in dark colored wool and flinched away when Jed hunkered next to her.
He probed her mind and found terror so gripping, it obliterated everything else. He started to tell her not to be afraid, but the words died on his tongue. He couldn’t give her any guarantees, and he wouldn’t lie to her.
“Who are you?” he asked, keeping his voice gentle.
“We tried that, boss,” Les said.
“At first, all she did was moan,” Karl added. “She got quieter after a while, but she hasn’t answered any of our questions.”
“Where’d you find her?” Jed asked.
“After we lifted the last of the bodies in our sector out of the moraine, so others could move them up the mountain, Les and I sensed something living. It wasn’t a Hunter, but it was human, so we dug a little.”
“Didn’t have to go far,” Les cut in, “before we found her hiding between a huge piece of deadfall and a big rock.” He shrugged. “Without our wolf senses, we’d never have discovered her.”
A low whimper escaped from the woman, and Jed laid a hand on her arm. “What’s your name?” he repeated.
“Just get it over with.” Her low, musical voice was strained. Hysteria trod near the surface.
“Get what over with?” Jed probed. Maybe if he could get her talking, he could learn something.
The woman lifted her head from her crossed arms and Jed’s eyes widened. She was absolutely stunning with huge midnight blue eyes. Pronounced bone structure and copper skin suggested Native American blood flowed through her veins. Sharp cheekbones, a hawk-bridged nose, and a squared-off chin lent her an exotic cast.
She tilted her chin at a defiant angle. “You have to kill me. I know too much. Get it over with. The others—” she cast a spurious glance Les and Karl’s way “—they were waiting for you to make the decision.” Her mouth worked as if she’d tasted something bitter. “Anyway, get it over with. I took my chances when I tracked my brother today. If he’d known, he’d have forbidden me to come.”
Jed frowned. “One of the Hunters was your brother?”
The woman nodded mutely. “Yeah, that’s what I just said, isn’t it? Get it over with, white man. If you’re going to kill me, do it. If not, let me go.”
Bron and Terin had joined them once they’d dressed. Bron passed a hand over the woman’s head, and Jed felt him probing with shifter magic. “You have white man’s blood too,” Bron murmured.
The woman shot him a scathing look. “Not much. What of it?”
“Where we come from in Canada,” Les said, “Indians are friends to those like us.”
She curled her upper lip in withering scorn. “We have enough problems without associating with shifters. You’re nothing but trouble. Bad enough we got stuffed onto reservations, land no one else wanted.”
Jed tried a different tack. “Why’d you track your brother today?”
She buried her head in her arms again, refusing to look at him.
“Please.” He gentled his voice. “Give us something to work with. Les and Karl, my brothers who found you, didn’t harm you.”
“Only because they were waiting for you, their chief.” Her voice was muffled.
“Goddammit!” Les squatted in front of her and yanked her head upward. “Karl and I could’ve killed you. We didn’t. We were not waiting for Jed to make that call. Tell us why you were tracking your brother.”
Jed heard compulsion flow beneath the other shifter’s words.
The woman drew back. She tried to combat Les’ spell, but the contest was laughable. “To stop him,” she said. The words were clearly dredged from her, but they held the ring of truth.
“Good. He needed to be stopped,” Les said. “Why’d you think he’d listen to you?”
The woman’s face crumpled and she started to cry, big noisy gulping sobs that ripped through her. “It’s not what you think. I didn’t try to make him listen to me,” she managed between ragged breaths. “I have the gift of prophecy—farseeing—and I knew things would go to hell for all of them today.”
“Do your visions always come true?” Jed probed. Despite the problems the woman presented, her story fascinated him.
She nodded, but didn’t say anything further.
“Did your brother know you followed the Hunter group?” Jed asked.
She shook her head. “No. He doesn’t share my gift. His magic came mostly from the goddamned white man’s Church.”
“Odd none of the rest of them sensed you behind them,” Karl muttered.
“Not odd at all,” she shot back, choking a little on snot running down her face. “I can blend my energy into the rocks, the dirt.”
“We found you,” Karl pointed out.
“Because you were in your natural form, and wolves sense such things far more acutely than men.”
Jed waved Karl to silence. This was going nowhere fast. Returning his attention to the woman, he said, “So you came along, but didn’t talk with him. Didn’t try to warn him. Help me understand why.” Jed hoped things might get clearer, but so far they were just becoming more confusing.
“Let me get this straight.” Bron hunkered next to Les and caught the woman’s gaze with his dark one. “You saw in a vision that your brother would die, and you came along anyway but didn’t try to warn him. Did you want to make certain he was dead?”
Jed silently offered his lieutenant credit for shrewdness. If the woman knew today would end in a bloodbath because she’d seen it—and she made no attempt to warn her brother—what other reason would she have had for trailing after him.
The woman’s sobbing escalated. She tried to jerk her chin out of Les’ grip, but he held fast. “Yes,” she gasped out. “Yes. I hated that bastard. He…used me, hurt me the way men hurt women, when I was only ten years old and never stopped until I ran away when I was sixteen. No one believed me. No one c-cared.” Her last words were almost obliterated by sobs.
Suddenly her phrase to stop him took on a whole new meaning. Jed just stared at her. “So it’s not that you didn’t say anything today. You never told him anything.”
She did yank her chin away then and spat on the dirt floor. “Hell no. I haven’t spoken to him in ten years, but he’s blood and he shows up in my visions.”
Running on instincts that had rarely failed him, Jed glanced at the four wolf shifters ranged around him. They didn’t need to talk. After hundreds of years of working together, they understood one another.
“Stand up.” Jed told the woman.
“Why?”
“Did you see your own death in your vision?”
An odd look washed over her face before she shook her head and pushed herself upright. Standing she was of a height with Jed, and her hair reached past her ass. She squared slender shoulders. “Is that a backhanded way of saying I can leave?”
Jed shook his head and hurried to add words before she sank into a puddle of terror again. “You’re right that we can’t allow you to return to your life. We have no idea who you are, who you’d tell. We could wipe your memory of us, but you’d still recall the death that happened in this canyon.”
“What are you going to do with me?” Her voice shrilled and she jerked her chin upward. “If you think you’re going to abuse me like my brother, think again, white man. I’d rather be dead.”
“We don’t do that to women.” Terin pushed into her line of vision so she had to look at him.
“Not what I’ve heard,” she retorted. “My brother said he learned it from you.”
“Bull crap!” Jed said succinctly. “I’ve never known a shifter to take a woman against her will. Not on my watch, and not in my clan.”
“You planning to bring her home with us?” Bron quirked a dark brow.
Jed nodded. “The only question—” he focused on the woman “—is whether you come willingly, or we knock you out and carry you down the mountain.”
“Home as in staying under the same roof with five men?” Her face twisted into a grimace. “No. Not happening. Just kill me here and get it over with.”
“We’re mated,” Karl informed her. “Les and I have a mate. Her name is Megan. And Jed, Bron, and Terin are mated to Alice.”
The woman tossed her head. “Fine. Just because you located some sluts who—”
Jed snaked out a hand and slapped her hard across the face. He grabbed her head between his hands and forced her to look at him. “Never say one bad word about my mate. I love her. So do Bron and Terin. Don’t disparage what you don’t understand.”
A shocked look blossomed on her face and she muttered, “Sorry,” before looking at her feet.
“Let go of her, boss.” Bron pulled Jed’s hands away. “She only understands what she’s lived. And it hasn’t been pretty.”…


About the Author:
I'm basically a mountaineer at heart. I remember many hours at my desk where my body may have been stuck inside four walls, but my soul was planning yet one more trip to the backcountry.

Around the turn of the last century (that would be 2000, not 1900!), I finagled a move to the Eastern Sierra, a mecca for those in love with the mountains. Stories always ran around in my head on backcountry trips, sometimes as a hedge against abject terror when challenging conditions made me fear for my life, sometimes for company.

Eventually, the inevitable happened. I returned from a trip and sat down at the computer. Three months later, a five hundred page novel emerged. It wasn’t very good, but it was a beginning. I learned a lot between writing that novel and its sequel, and I've been writing ever since.

In addition to turning out books, I enjoy wilderness photography. A standing joke is that over ten percent of my pack weight is camera gear, which means my very tolerant husband has to carry the food -- and everything else too.

Find Ann At:






@AnnGimpel (for Twitter)