Tour: Realm Walker Series by Kathleen Collins

Realm Walker Series Banner 851 x 315 realm walker coverRealm Walker
Realm Walker Series

Book One
Kathleen Collins

Genre: Urban Fantasy

Publisher: Carina Press
Date of Publication:  October 28, 2013

ISBN: 9781426896545
ASIN: B00E1V5S3S

Word Count: 76,000

Book Description:

An estranged mate, a mangled body and a powerful demon who calls her by name…

As a Realm Walker for the Agency, Juliana Norris tracks deadly paranormal quarry using her unique ability to see magical signatures. She excels at her job, but her friends worry about her mysterious habit of dying in the line of duty without staying dead. That’s only the first of her secrets.

Most people don’t know Juliana became the mate of master vampire Thomas Kendrick before he abandoned her seven years ago. Most people don’t know the horrors she endured at the hands of the vampire he left in command. Most people don’t know her true parentage, or why a demon on a world-threatening rampage has taken a personal interest in her…

Even as Juliana pursues the demon, it goes after all she holds dear—including Thomas, who is back to claim her for his own. But if she can’t reconcile her past and learn to trust herself again, she will lose him forever.

Available at  Amazon   BN  Harlequin Print

Excerpt:

The troll picked her up with nothing more than his teeth in her shoulder and shook her like a hellhound with a chew toy. She clenched her jaw in pain and let out a terrible keening groan as muscle and tendon ripped. She fought her base instinct to struggle, to squirm away from the source of the pain. If she did, she’d only injure herself further. Blood poured from the wound, staining the ground a horrible, vibrant crimson.

A growl tore through the clearing seconds before a brown blur flew through the air and landed on the troll’s back. Nathaniel. They all rocked forward with the impact and fresh pain lanced through her shoulder. The troll roared in anger, releasing Juliana’s shoulder by default and she dropped to the ground. She backed away, eyeing the two of them warily. The troll reached over his back, trying to grab Nathaniel who still had his teeth and claws dug deep into the beast. The wolf snarled, growled and shook his head as the troll danced around the clearing trying to get a grip on his attacker.

Juliana’s arm hung limp and worthless by her side. Pain burned through the wound and nausea rose in waves. Her head swam. She swallowed the acid down, sucked in crisp, cool air. She used her right hand to wrap her left arm around her waist in an effort to keep the shoulder from moving any more than necessary.

“Nathaniel,” she yelled as the troll ran backward into the trees.

He slammed his back with Nathaniel still attached into the trunk of a large oak tree once, twice, three times. The blows stunned Nathaniel enough that the troll was finally able to snatch the wolf and hurl him across the clearing. Her friend lay unmoving on the ground.

The troll locked crimson eyes on her and stalked across the clearing. She fought every impulse inside of her that told her to run and waited for him to come. One taloned hand wrapped around her throat and picked her up. Pulling her close, the troll roared in fury once they were almost nose to nose. She wrapped her legs around his waist to take the pressure off her throat. Juliana raised the Taser and jammed it into his ear. Not caring anymore if she fried his brain, she squeezed and held the trigger. His roar changed to one of agony.

He released her throat and raised both hands to his head. He stumbled backward in an effort to get away from her but her legs stayed clamped around his waist. She continued to pour electricity into him until he dropped to his knees. Only then did she put her feet on the ground and back away.

Her opponent stayed on all fours, shaking his head, trying to clear it. The air hung heavy with the scent of burnt fur and troll. As he rose to a kneeling position, she adjusted her grip on the weapon. From the corner of her eye she saw Nathaniel stagger to his feet.

The troll held up his hands in a gesture of surrender. “No more, Walker. I will go where you ask. Wherever you ask.”

Relief eased the tightness in her chest. She wasn’t sure she was up for another round of Taze the Troll. She ran her thumb along the side of her ring preparing to use it to call the portal tied to it. Then the troll began to laugh. A low sound at first, it quickly grew to a volume that made her ears ache. Great. She had fried his brain and now she had a crazy troll to deal with.

After putting more distance between them, she put her Taser away and drew her sword. It left the sheath with a ring of steel. She adjusted her hand on the grip. Nathaniel came to stand beside her, leaning his weight into her leg to let her know he was near. “You okay there, Mr. Troll?”

He opened his blazing red eyes and looked at her. “I’ve had your blood, Juliana Norris. It tells me things.” Apparently it told him her name, because she’d never given it.


deaths daughter coverDeath’s Daughter        
Realm Walker Series
Book 2
Kathleen Collins

Genre: urban fantasy, paranormal romance

Publisher: Carina press

ISBN: 9781426898112
ASIN: B00GKBIR80

Word Count:  68,000

Book Description:

Juliana Norris, Realm Walker with the Agency, is an Altered. A fact that she runs up against every time she’s forced to work with human police officers, and their species-ist commissioner, on cases they can’t solve themselves. Which happens more than they would like to admit.

Her gift—the quality that makes her the best Realm Walker in the business, without boast—is the ability to read magical signatures. Whether the gift came from her father, the dark fae god of death, or the mage mother she can’t remember, is anyone’s guess. And when Altered children start going missing with only wild magical signatures as clues, her heritage is the last thing on her mind.

She can’t afford such distractions, and she definitely can’t afford to worry about the fact that her mate, master vampire Thomas Kendrick, hasn’t spoken to her since she saved him from a demon—maybe it’s because she had to stab him to do so. Because whoever is kidnapping these children must be very powerful to wield wild magic. Very powerful, and very dangerous indeed.

Available at Amazon  BN  Harlequin Print

Excerpt:

In the warm afternoon light, a lone swing rocked back and forth in a steady rhythm, its chains groaning a mournful dirge despite the fact no one sat upon it. It hadn’t faltered once in the hour since the child vanished. The fifth to disappear in three weeks. Each one taken in front of at least a dozen witnesses who couldn’t recall a single thing later—no details of when they’d last seen the child, nothing about any strangers hanging around. They didn’t even recollect hearing a scream of protest. In this case, every student and teacher on the playground had been distracted at the same exact moment, but no one could remember by what when asked.

Police and technicians swarmed the steps of New Hope Elementary and the courtyard in front. All of them instinctively avoided the playground and the magic at work there. All except the figure that stood in the far corner by the rusty swing set, hands in her pockets as the late-October wind whipped around her, snatching at her clothes and carrying the scent of burning leaves. Her hair was short but still long enough for her to catch an occasional glimpse of the royal-blue streaks among the black as it blew into her face. She tucked an errant strand behind one ear, but doubted it would stay put for long.

A Realm Walker, an officer for the Agency, Juliana Norris was here because the first policeman on the scene had called her directly. This wasn’t the Agency’s investigation. Not yet, anyway. Her involvement was strictly advisory until the commissioner climbed down from his shiny pedestal long enough to admit local law enforcement wasn’t up to doing the job on their own. While the victims thus far had been Altered, the perp hadn’t been identified. Since it was possible a human was behind this, Commissioner Phipps claimed jurisdiction. No one high enough at the Agency cared enough to contradict him. Yet.

Her phone vibrated at her hip. She glanced at the screen as she pulled it out—Ben Nichols, her boss. The initial kidnappings had garnered so much attention in the Altered community he’d been forced to cut her suspension short by a week—an action he hadn’t been happy to take at all. A fact he reminded her of every day.

“Norris,” she answered and braced herself for another reprimand.

“You haven’t filed a report. What’s your status?”

The clipped tone of his voice exhausted her. She was tired of the daily conflict. “I haven’t filed a report because there is nothing to report. We know nothing further than we did before.”

“I took you off suspension to get results, Norris. So far I’m not impressed.”

“No, you took me off suspension because you didn’t want to get shredded by the press for keeping the Walker with the best record out of the game while the Thief does his hunting. You know I’m the most likely to find him.”
There was a stretch of silence. “I know you are. That doesn’t mean I have to like it.”

He hung up and she slipped her phone back into her pocket. Her insistence she was the best Walker for the job had nothing to do with arrogance and everything to do with her particular blend of talents.

She possessed a gift that enabled her to see the unique signature of any living being. A signature was a spectrum of colors that told her exactly what type of creature an individual was, no matter how artfully they might try to hide it. She could also see the signature of a spell cast on anyone, or anything, other than herself. Whether the gift came from her father, the dark fae god of death, or the mage mother she couldn’t remember, was anyone’s guess.

Activating her gift made her eyes glow several shades brighter than their normal emerald, so she kept them hidden behind a pair of dark glasses. She studied the muddy brown of the stasis spell used on the swing. This particular shade of brown marked it wild magic. Dangerous magic. It also meant that whatever cast the spell wasn’t using his own power. Wild magic belonged to no one; it simply existed. And its signature was strong enough she hadn’t been able to get a read yet on what was doing the casting. It could be a mage, a fae, a god or anything else with any kind of magic ability. Which narrowed the suspect list down to about nine-tenths of the Altered community.

What she did know was the magic took great power or skill to wield. While it was better for everyone if they did, power and skill didn’t necessarily go hand in hand. Maybe luck would be with them for once and one of the bastard’s spells would backfire and fry him.


michael bishop coverThe Making of Michael Bishop
A Realm Walker Short Story
Kathleen Collins

Genre: urban fantasy, dark fantasy

Date of Publication: August 30, 2014

ASIN: B00N5YWPCE

Number of pages: 20

Book Description:

Keep your distance. Don’t look him in the eye. Feed him and leave.

Michael D’Augustino is a priest in the time of the Inquisition. Marked as weak for his refusal to torture those charged with sorcery, heresy, devil worship or worse, he’s given another task. Feed the prisoner in the cell in the darkest corner of the dungeon. With the edict comes a set of instructions.

Ever obedient, Michael does exactly as he is told. Until the night his charge doesn’t eat and Michael has to enter the cell to find out why. Instead of the beast he believes to be imprisoned there, he finds a man. A broken, tormented man who asks for help.

But all is not as it seems and, before the night is through, Michael will be changed forever.

Available at Amazon and BN

Excerpt:

An unlit torch hung on the wall beside the cell and Michael took the flint from the table beneath it. His hands shook as he tried in vain to light the torch. Finally, it sparked and flared to life. With trembling fingers, he pulled it from the wall and reopened the door. Stepping quickly inside, he shut the door behind him and pressed his back to it. He could not risk anything escaping, animal or otherwise.

Darkness recoiled from the flickering flame and receded before him. There along the back wall a huddled form. Michael’s pulse raced and his palms grew slick with moisture. He adjusted his grip on the torch. He both anticipated and feared the moment the creature revealed itself.

“I can smell you, priest,” it said, without lifting its head. When Michael didn’t respond, it looked up, squinting its eyes against the light. Michael was careful not to meet its gaze directly. His father told him the creature could ensnare with a look.

He was struck by how normal the man—the vampyr, he corrected himself—looked. Emaciated from his captivity perhaps, but otherwise his blond hair and dark eyes could have belonged to anyone. Any human. This was not the beast Michael had been led to believe was imprisoned here. Was this another innocent falsely accused? No, Michael had heard it kill and eat the animals he brought to it. Whatever it was, it was not purely human. He needed to remember that.

“You’re the timid one. If they sent you, they must intend for me to live another day yet,” its abused voice croaked.

The creature’s words had an echo of the bishop in them. Pointing out Michael’s flaws, his inability to hurt another as if it was something to be ashamed of. “Why do you say that?”

“You feed me, heal me. You have never injured me.” The voice sounded so pained, Michael cringed in sympathy. The creature detected it, though it misinterpreted the cause. “You have no reason to fear me. You have done me no wrong.”

“I am uncertain of that,” Michael said. “If I were a merciful man, I would not continue to bring you food.”

The vampyr’s dark eyes studied him, the flickering flame of the torch reflected in their depths. “Why do you say that?”

“They only heal you so they can torture you afresh on the morrow. If I did not feed you, you would not heal and perhaps they would leave you be. For a day at least.”

“Do you honestly believe that?”

Michael shook his head. If it didn’t heal, the bishop would only torture it further to find out why. “Abomination you may be, but no one deserves an existence of endless torture.”

The vampyr chuckled, a low sound, halting as if he’d forgotten how to laugh. “Don’t be so sure of that, timid one. I can think of many who deserve the punishment I have been given, even if I am not one of them.”


BloodSlaveBlood Slave
Realm Walker Series
Book 3
Kathleen Collins

Book Description:

Can she find a killer in a town where the basest desires are allowed to run free?

There are zombies in the Dead Zone and Juliana Norris is sent to take care of the problem. And for there to be zombies, there had to be bodies. When vampires are found to be the culprits, Juliana is sent undercover in the red light district of Kansas City. Lying to her mate, Thomas Kendrick, isn’t something she wants to do, but she’s in another vampire’s territory and Thomas would not be pleased. Besides, she’s more than capable of doing the job and she needs to prove it to everyone. Most of all herself.

Charles Morgan is in control of the Kansas City area, making a rich living off his various enterprises. Juliana goes undercover at the strip club Lust and gets sucked into his dark, decadent world. More victims turn up and the Agency is positive they’ve got their man, but Juliana is not so sure. When the Agency refuses to listen, she reluctantly turns to Thomas for help. He intervenes but finds Juliana unaware of the danger she is in and discovers she may just be too deep for him to save.

Available at Amazon    BN    iTunes

Excerpt:

Juliana pulled her coat tighter around her body as a cold wind whipped in a frenzy sending a chill through her. She hated the weather in this city, constantly changing without even a weather mage to blame. Maybe she should try to convince Morgan to bring one in just to regulate things. At least until she left town. Scanning the area again, she shook her head. How was she supposed to find a killer in the midst of so much depravation?

The scene around her seemed as if it was pulled straight from a public service announcement about the dangers of prostitution. Hookers and blood slaves staked out their territory, chasing off those that dared encroach. Flyers littered the fronts of buildings, and loose ones skittered along the pavement as they raced to freedom. While several of the men and women plying their trade made eye contact with her, it was evident that she was poor and not a vampire. Their interest quickly waned and moved on to the next target. The unclean taint in the air was familiar from the time she’d spent in Devil’s End in New Hope. Desperation had the same stink no matter where you were.

Juliana had opted to walk to work, hoping that immersing herself in the city would help her find a clue, a suspect. So far it wasn’t working. But it wasn’t as if she thought someone was go-ing to hop up and down in front of her screaming, “I did it!” It would be lovely if that was the way things worked, but nothing ever happened the easy way.

Walking through a neighborhood like this without her sword or her gun was not high on her list of experiences she cared to ever repeat. Even though she knew Nathaniel was following dis-cretely not far behind, it did little to ease her nerves. She trusted the wolf more than most, but a lot could happen in the time it would take him to get to her.


authorAbout the Author:

Kathleen Collins lives and works in Missouri. By day, she labors in the local prosecutor’s office. At night she writes while surrounded by her husband, two boys and two loveable mutts. She is constantly thinking of her next project and loves to connect with her readers. You can find her most often on Facebook or on her website.

www.Kathleencollins.net

@kathy_collins

www.facebook.com/kathleencollinsauthor

http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7191208.Kathleen_Collins

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Tour: Fall of Heroes by Jennifer Harlow

Fall of Heroes Banner 851 x 315 fall of heroes cover

Fall of Heroes
The Galilee Falls Trilogy
Book Three
Jennifer Harlow

Genre: Urban Fantasy

Publisher: Devil on the Left Books
Date of Publication: 10/31/15

ISBN: 9780989394482
ASIN: B015L4D9IE

Number of pages: 253
Word Count: 100,000

Book Description:

“Show me a hero; and I’ll write you a tragedy.” -F. Scott Fitzgerald

Hero and Villain.

Good and Evil.

Love and Hate.

Would that the world were that simple. Nothing is ever simple in a world filled with superheroes and villains. She may not wear a cape or have superpowers, but no one would say Joanna Fallon isn’t a hero. At great personal cost she’s saved the city of Galilee Falls from two supervillains, but has finally found a measure of peace. But whatever rises often falls, and even the city’s champion may not be able to fight the cataclysm about to befall not only her city but the whole of the world…or even want to.

Read the conclusion to the critically acclaimed Galilee Falls trilogy from the imagination of the IPPY award winning author Jennifer Harlow.

Amazon     Kobo

Fall of Heroes Button 300 x 225

Excerpt: Chapter One-Wedding Bell Blues

 

I swear to fucking Christ, if he’s late for this wedding, a supervillain won’t kill him, I will.

If your boyfriend is the premier superhero in the city with the highest concentration of the super-powered in the country, you get used to situations like this. Dinners where you find yourself sitting alone in a restaurant, cancelled vacations, missing birthdays. I’ve endured them with a smile and forgiveness, but not today. I’ve stressed to him a thousand times how important this day is to me. Just this morning, before my hair appointment, I told him three times. But no, when I got home to put on my dress, he was nowhere to be found. I had to start up the comms on Doris Jr. to track him down. Sure enough he was out in the field fighting Hexen and more of the villains damn zombies at a war reenactment. Still, he swore he’d be here on time. Trust me, he said. Damn superheroes. Guess it’s partially my fault for falling in love with one. Again. I should have learned the first time around. Damn you for being so amazingly brilliant, Jem Ambrose. Damn you.

“What are you still doing out here?” my old partner Cam, Detective Terrence Cameron to you, says behind me. I spin around just as he reaches me on the bottom of the church steps. He looks damn fine today, the white shirt off-setting his dark skin, and he’s even sporting the paisley blue silk tie I bought him two Christmases ago. “You should get inside. It’s freezing.”

“I’m not going inside without him.”

“You catching pneumonia won’t make him show up any sooner,” Cam points out.

“If he shows up at all,” I mutter. “Fucking Hexen.”

“He’ll be here,” Cam insists.

Two stragglers hustle toward us from the overflowing parking lot. I recognize the man, former plainclothes now Detective Conover, who worked the Alkaline case with me. He and his date both smile and nod as they pass us up the church steps.

“Seriously, Jo, come on. The ceremony’s supposed to start soon. And—”

“I can’t go in there without him, okay? This shit’s awkward enough for me already. Just…I’ll give him a few more minutes then I’ll come in. These things never start on time anyway.”

“Fine. I’ll just tell everyone…I’ll figure something out.” I nod at my friend who nods back before returning inside the warm church.

Dead. Jem is so fucking dead. And I get he’s saving people’s lives, I do. Most of the time I’m on the comms in our apartment, guiding him, literally watching his back on the surveillance feed. Hell, I’m the one who suggested he become the new Captain Moonlight. I should have kept my damn mouth shut.

It’s not as if we had tons of free time on our hands before. I had to cancel my fair share of dinners too. Being the figurehead of an international billion dollar empire with the board meetings, charity events, and general boring day-to-day business bullshit leaves little time to sleep let alone spend quality time with the man I love. Add to that Jem’s day job at the hospital, his research for his new virus project, and the city constantly being in peril from asshole villains, we’re lucky to spend a few hours a week face to face just being a damn couple. At least we make those few precious hours count. And we do work damn well together. Just last week we stopped an eco-terrorist cell from releasing a toxin in the meat packing district that would poison anyone who consumed the meat. If this were any other day I’d be on Doris Jr. helping him bring down Hexen, but this isn’t any other day. He needs to be here. He has to be here. He will be here. He will. Unless of course he’s…no.

God, why does my mind always go there? I have personally seen him survive multiple gunshots, being impaled by a rod, being beaten to a pulp, and an explosion. He has super-healing, super-intelligence, has a black belt in Judo and Karate, knows Krav Maga, not to mention the suit I commissioned for him is bullet, knife, and flame resistant. But every time I lose contact or he’s a minute late, that is my first damn thought.

I should be used to this by now. I knew what he was before I fell in love with him. Hell, I had a front row seat to that side of his life. I ended up in the hospital twice because of it, well three times if you count the plastic surgery needed to fix the scar on my face left by his brother. Not to mention the horrible minute when I thought he’d died that day. I lost my soul mate, my best friend to a supervillain, I couldn’t handle another man I loved dying for me.

We should have learned our lesson then. Jem killed Lord Nightingale right along with his psycho twin brother, and that should have been it. No more capes and cowls. No more kidnappings, attempted murders, and torture for either of us. Yeah, that lasted all of three months. The crime rate skyrocketed again, there was a supervillain attack every week, and despite his assurances he was content fighting crime behind our supercomputer Doris, I knew he was lying. It was in the way he’d stay glued to the computer and news. The way he’d stare out the window down at the city when he couldn’t sleep. How he spent more and more time in his dojo beating up the punching bag and dummy. He couldn’t help it. He’d fought the good fight for almost a decade. Before me, it was all he had. It was what got him out of bed. Something else we had in common. He couldn’t deny that part of himself, it was literally in his blood, and I know the longer he repressed that for me, the more he’d resent me down the road. So one night I shoved his new black and yellow costume at him, and told him I wanted him back before dawn. That was three months ago. Crime’s gone down twenty-two percent, two new villains are now rotting in Xavier Maximum Security Prison, they’ve just released the new Captain Moonlight action figure, and I’m freezing my ass off worrying about the man I love. Doing the right thing sucks balls.

Shit. He’s not coming. He’s not. I’m going to have to go in there and face all those people alone. All their whispering, their looks, their stares. How am I going to explain his absence? Fuck. Damn it. I need to get in there. Me being out here just looks worse. With a sigh, I start up the steps. Jem Ambrose you are—

“Joanna!”

Here. Thank Christ. Never had a doubt.

jennifer harlowAbout the Author:

Jennifer Harlow spent her restless childhood fighting with her three brothers and scaring the heck out of herself with horror movies and books. She grew up to earn a degree at the University of Virginia which she put to use as a radio DJ, crisis hotline volunteer, bookseller, lab assistant, wedding coordinator, and government investigator. Currently she calls Northern Virginia home but that restless itch is ever present. In her free time, she continues to scare the beejepers out of herself watching scary movies and opening her credit card bills. She is the author of the Amazon best-selling F.R.E.A.K.S. Squad, Midnight Magic Mystery series, The Galilee Falls Trilogy, and the steampunk romance Verity Hart Vs The Vampyres.

For the soundtrack to her books and other goodies visit her at www.jenniferharlowbooks.com

Twitter: http://twitter.com/#!/jenharlowbooks

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/jennifer.harlow.52

Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/4708453.Jennifer_Harlow

Pinterest: http://pinterest.com/jenharlowbooks/


 Tour giveaway

1 $25 Amazon or Barnes & Noble Giftcard
2 E-book Copies of Justice
2 E-Book Copies of Galilee Rising
2 E-Book Copies of Fall of Heroes
Jennifer Harlow name a character after you in her next release, The Sin Eater

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Tour: Strange Magic by James A. Hunter

Strange Magic Banner 851 x 315 strange magic cover

Strange Magic:
A Yancy Lazarus Novel
Pilot Episode
Yancy Lazarus Series
Book One
James A. Hunter

Genre: Urban Fantasy

Publisher: Shadow Alley Press, Inc.
Date of Publication: January 16th, 2015

ISBN: 978-1507706923
ASIN: B00R7QEFN8

Number of pages: 221
Word Count: 75,000

Book Description:

Yancy Lazarus is having a bad day: there’s a bullet lodged in his butt cheek, his face looks like the site of a demolition derby, and he’s been saran-wrapped to a banquet table. He never should have answered the phone. Stupid bleeding heart—helping others in his circles is a good way to get dead.

Just ask the gang members ripped to pieces by some kind of demonic nightmare in LA. As a favor to a friend, Yancy agrees to take a little looksee into the massacre and boom, he’s stuck in a turf war between two rival gangs, which both think he’s pinch-hitting for the other side. Oh, and there’s also a secretive dark mage with some mean ol’ magical chops and a small army of hyena-faced, body-snatching baddies. It might be time to seriously reconsider some of his life choices.

Yancy is a bluesman, a rambler, a gambler, but not much more. Sure, he can do a little magic—maybe even more than just a little magic—but he knows enough to keep his head down and stay clear of freaky-deaky hoodoo like this business in LA. Somehow though, he’s been set up to take a real bad fall—the kind of very permanent fall that leaves a guy with a toe tag. Unless, of course, he can find out who is responsible for the gangland murders, make peace in the midst of the gang feud, and take out said dark mage before he hexes Yancy into an early retirement. Easy right? Stupid. Bleeding. Heart.

Available at Amazon

PRAISE FOR STRANGE MAGIC:

“Move over Harry Dresden because there’s a new wizard in town. Yancy Lazarus a chain-smoking, take no prisoners S.O.B. with a heart of gold and a fistful of primal power. A stellar debut novel from James Hunter, the next big name in Urban Fantasy.” —Rick Gualtieri, Author of Bill the Vampire (The Tome of Bill)

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Excerpt:

The piano keys bobbed and danced under the pressure of my fingers. Music—low, slow, and soulful—drifted through the club, merging and twirling with wandering clouds of blue-gray smoke. So many places have no-smoking laws these days, it seems like there’s nowhere in the country where a guy can take a drag from a cigarette in peace. Everyone is so worried about their health, they make damn sure you stay healthy by proxy.

Not Nick’s Smoke House, though. Nick’s—like some rare, near extinct animal—is the kind of bar where you can die unmolested by laws or ordinances. You can burn yourself up with cancer, drown yourself into liver failure, or binge on a plate of ribs until a heart attack takes you cold, and no one will say boo. And you can die to music here: the beautiful, lonely, brassy beats, of the like only ever found in New Orleans.

The house band was on a break, so I sat thumping out an old Ray Charles tune in the interim while I watched the man standing offstage in a pool of inky shadow.

I’d never met the guy before, but I instinctively knew he was looking for me, or rather The Fixer—a shitty alias I’ve been trying to ditch for years. It was in the way he stood: chest forward, back straight, arms crossed, chin outthrust. He was a man used to intimidating others, used to being obeyed. In short, he was a thug. A thug sporting an expensive suit, a three-thousand dollar watch, and a pair of loafers that probably cost more than most people paid on rent. At the end of the day, though, he was still just a thug—somebody else’s trained pit bull.

I don’t know why, but thugs are always looking for The Fixer. Either they’ve got something that needs fixing or they’re looking to fix me. I didn’t know whether this guy wanted option A or option B, but I figured he’d get around to it in his own sweet time. So, instead of tipping my hand prematurely, I continued to pound out melodies on the black and whites. My Ray Charles faded out, and I started up a gritty, ambling version of Meade “Lux” Lewis’ famous “Honky Tonk Train Blues.”

My left hand hammered out the thudding, rhythmic, rock-steady pulse of a driving train pushing its bulk across the rolling open space of some forgotten Midwest wilderness; the bass notes offered a mimicry of the ebb and flow of pumping gears. My right hand flitted across the keys, touching down here and there, sending up a rusty whistle blowing in the night. The dusty clatter of track switches being thrown. The braying of hounds, while bullyboys searched for stowaways. If there was ever a song to make a man dance his way onto the boxcar of a rolling train, it was this funky ol’ honky-tonk rhythm.

I let the beat roll on, hoping the thug would hop and jive his way right out of Nick’s Smoke House and out of my life, no harm, no foul. Though a whole helluva lot a people think of me as The Fixer, really I’m just an old rambler trying to get by and enjoy the time I have on this spinning little mud ball. All I wanted was for this overdressed clown to walk away and leave me be.

The man in the black suit just glared at me like I’d offered him an insult, and I knew then things would not end well between us. Still, I mostly ignored him. I should’ve been worried, but I wasn’t.

I’ve been around for a good long while, and I don’t scare easy.

After what felt like an age, the hulking suit stepped up to the stage and into a pool of soft amber light, illuminating his features for the first time. He was enormous, six and a half feet of pro wrestling muscle, with a pushed-in nose and military cropped blond hair. His face was a mosaic of scars, though the thick tissue on his knuckles put them all to shame. One meaty paw lifted back a coat lapel, revealing the glint of chromed metal: a Colt 1911.

A Colt 1911 is a big gun, not the kind of thing a person normally chooses as a concealed carry. The things are too large to conceal easily, and they can be awkward to draw on the fly, so he probably wasn’t here to assassinate me. A pro assassin would never have used something as ostentatious and conspicuous as this McGoon’s 1911. A hitter would’ve chosen a sleek, nondescript .22. The kind of gun that’s easy to hide, would go off unnoticed, get the job done without much mess, and could be disposed of in a dumpster somewhere. This guy’s choice of weapon told me he was intimidating muscle, but likely better with his fists than with his piece.

“Yancy Lazarus?” he asked with a low voice like grating cement. “You the guy who fixes things?”

Yep, a thug.

I could’ve denied it, but the guy had found me fair and square, so it was safe to assume he already knew the answer. I nodded my head a fraction of an inch. That was all. I went right on playing as though I hadn’t noticed his veiled threat or didn’t care. Now don’t get me wrong, I’m not suicidal and I’m not a pompous jackass—at least that’s not how I see myself—but I knew I could take this guy. I had an edge, although Macho Man Hulk in the other corner didn’t know it.

I can do magic and not the cheap kind of stuff you see in Vegas with flowers, or floating cards, or disappearing stagehands. People like me, who can touch the Vis, can do real magic. Although magic isn’t the right word: magic is a Rube word, for those not in the know, which is precisely why we who practice call it the Vis in the first place. Vis is an old Latin word meaning force or energy, nothing fancy about it.

There are energies out there, underlying matter, existence, and in fact, all Creation. As it happens, I can manipulate that energy. Period. End of story.


authorAbout the Author:

Hey all, my name is James Hunter and I’m a writer, among other things. So just a little about me: I’m a former Marine Corps Sergeant, combat veteran, and pirate hunter (seriously). I’m also a member of The Royal Order of the Shellback—‘cause that’s a real thing. And, a space-ship captain, can’t forget that.

Okay … the last one is only in my imagination.

Currently, I work as a missionary and international aid worker with my wife and young daughter in Bangkok, Thailand. When I’m not working, writing, or spending time with family, I occasionally eat and sleep. Strange Magic is the first novel in the Yancy Lazarus series—the third, full-length novel, Wendigo Rising, just released on November 3rd, 2015.

www.JamesAHunter.Wordpress.com

www.twitter.com/@jamesahunter13

www.facebook.com/WriterJamesAHunter

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Release Blitz: Wendigo Rising by James A. Hunter

Wendigo Rising Banner 851 x 315

Wendigo Rising CoverWendigo Rising:

A Yancy Lazarus Novel
Episode Three
James A. Hunter

Genre: Urban Fantasy

Publisher: Shadow Alley Press
Date of Publication: November 3rd, 2015

ASIN: B0163REPD6

Number of pages: 400
Word Count: 110,000

Cover Artist: Dane EbookLaunch.com

Book Description:

Bigfoot is real. Yancy Lazarus—mage, bluesman, and rambler—knows because there happens to be a nine-foot-tall, walking myth standing in the road, flagging him down.

Yancy just can’t escape his reputation as a supernatural Fix-it man even when cruising through the forgotten backwoods of Montana. Turns out Bigfoot has a serious problem on his hands: one of his own has gone rogue, developing a taste for the flesh of humans and Sasquatch alike. A greater Wendigo has risen for the first time in thousands of years and if Yancy can’t stop the creature it could be a slaughter for the residents of a rural Montana town.

But even with the monstrous threat looming on the horizon, Yancy has bigger fish to fry. He’s working as an agent of Fate, attempting to put the kibosh on a nefarious scheme, aimed at upsetting the tenuous balance between the supernatural nations. When your boss is Lady Luck, however, nothing is ever left to chance, and his two cases may have more in common than it appears. If he can’t figure out the missing link it could usher in a new world order: an age of inhuman creatures and walking nightmares … one where Yancy Lazarus doesn’t exist.

Available at Amazon

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Excerpt:

Bigfoot is real. I know the existence of this nigh-mythical figure is pretty controversial in a lot of circles; tons of drunken bar brawls and fistfights have started over this very topic. Money, religion, politics, and Bigfoot: these are the things best avoided in polite conversation. Unless, of course, you want someone to punch you in the nose or call the men in white jackets. Don’t believe me? Next Thanksgiving, ask your assorted family members their thoughts on Bigfoot and see where the conversation goes. It’ll be entertaining, that much I can promise.

Me, though? I’ve never been one for polite conversation, and I’d love to see the crazy-police try to haul my ass in.

Plus, this isn’t some delusional, government-conspiracy, paranoia thing. I know Bigfoot is real. There was one standing in the road, flagging me down.

Jeez, my life.

I’d glimpsed one years ago and at a distance. A rare encounter. The creatures—Chiye-tanka, for those in the know—are elusive as hell and covet their privacy like paparazzi-weary celebs, evidenced by the fact that no one has ever managed to get much on ’em despite what basically amounts to a nationwide ape hunt. They’re monstrously big and about as inconspicuous as a pro wrestler sporting a neon pink tutu, but they’re also faster than the Road Runner high on speed, uncannily quiet, and boast some crazy-impressive skills with illusion and glamour constructs.

Apparently, the creature standing in the road was the slow kid in the class, the one sitting in the corner with the dunce cap, because this big, hairy roadblock was taking approximately zero percent of the usual Bigfoot evasive precautions. Might as well have been wearing a road guard vest and waving a friggin’ hand flare.

He was colossal, nine feet easy, all mud-colored hair and muscle. Lots and lots of muscle—heck, his muscles had muscles with their own gym membership. He was built on the same scale as a gorilla, only bigger. Much bigger. His face was leathery black and flat, surrounded by flecks of silvered hair. He had deep recessed eyes of brilliant green, which regarded me with a strangely thoughtful expression.

He didn’t look particularly pissed off, which was good since I was sure he could throw me into orbit with those big ol’ monkey arms. Either that or put an asteroid-sized dent in the hood of my ’86 El Camino—part car, part mobile home, and one hundred percent badass—the worse of the two options in my book. I braked since there was no point in trying to run the walking carpet over. With my luck, a collision would level my car without putting so much as a dent in Kong. I slowed to a crawl, the engine rumbling beneath me as I tried to decide what in the hell to do. I drummed my fingers on the steering wheel.

Dammit.

  

authorAbout the Author:

Hey all, my name is James Hunter and I’m a writer, among other things. So just a little about me: I’m a former Marine Corps Sergeant, combat veteran, and pirate hunter (seriously). I’m also a member of The Royal Order of the Shellback—‘cause that’s a real thing. And, a space-ship captain, can’t forget that.

Okay  … the last one is only in my imagination.

Currently, I work as a missionary and international aid worker with my wife and young daughter in Bangkok, Thailand. When I’m not working, writing, or spending time with family, I occasionally eat and sleep. Strange Magic is the first novel in the Yancy Lazarus series—the third, full-length novel, Wendigo Rising, just released on November 3rd, 2015.

www.JamesAHunter.Wordpress.com

www.twitter.com/@jamesahunter13

www.facebook.com/WriterJamesAHunter

bewitching tours

Tour: Confessions of a Punk Rocker by Nessie Strange

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confessions coverConfessions of a Punk Rocker
Living Dead World
Book 0.5
Nessie Strange

Genre: Paranormal/Urban Fantasy

Publisher: Etopia Press
Date of Publication: Sept 25 2015
ISBN: 978-1-944138-05-9
ASIN: B015QJ7TAS

Number of pages: 268
Word Count: 55305

Book Description:

The dead should stay dead…

Jack Norris has just lost his best friend—who also happened to be his band’s drummer—to a drunk driving accident. As he struggles to deal with the band’s uncertain future and his own personal demons, those issues soon become unimportant. His dead friend has come back. And he’s not showing any signs of going away. Questioning his own sanity, Jack finds his life spiraling out of control. But when a new acquaintance not only hooks him up with a drummer, but promises to help get rid of his ghostly stalker, Jack’s life does a one-eighty.

Drew MacLellan, the new drummer, is more than just a new set of sticks—he’s the brother of the insanely hot Jen MacLellan, who’s definitely not Jack’s biggest fan. Jen is nothing like the women Jack’s dated in the past, but the more he gets to know her, the deeper he falls. The only problem is she’s got a boyfriend. Caught between his growing attraction and the desire to do the right thing, Jack does everything he can to keep his distance. But the more he sees of her, the more he realizes he can’t. He’s determined to win Jen’s heart, if only he can figure out how to help his dead friend rest in peace…permanently.

Amazon     BN    Kobo    Google Play    iTunes    ARe    Etopia Press

TeaserCONFESSION1

EXCERPT

It’s almost a week after we get back from New York when I wake sometime in the middle of the night with this awful, skin-crawling feeling that someone is watching me. Did I have a dream? If it was a dream, I don’t remember what happened, only that I can’t shake the bad vibe it left behind.

I sit and rub my hands over my face. I’m about to get up and go to the bathroom when a chill brushes over my skin.

“Whoa, stop right there, bro. You’re naked, right? I ain’t gotta see that shit.”

I nearly fall out of bed at the sound of his voice. “Jesus…fuck!”

Eben is sitting on my bureau, watching me. One of his eye sockets is crushed in, and the side of his face looks like bloody hamburger. Bits of skull stick up through his hair. I guess I haven’t woken up yet after all. He leans forward and his scalp flops over.

“What, you’re not happy to see me?”

“I need to wake up.” I rub at my eyes.

“Who says you’re dreamin’?” Eben drops to his feet. Sort of. He’s actually hovering a few inches over the floor.

“Who says I’m not?”

He laughs. “Right? Now for the love of all fuck, please tell me that clown who was pawin’ all over my drums today ain’t in the band.”

“Not if I can help it.” I say it more to myself than to him. “So, uh…what are you doing here?”

He sinks onto the end of my bed with a sigh. The temperature drops in steady increments. “I don’t know, man. I don’t remember much from that night. This dude, he found me standin’ at the side of the road, and he was like Eben Francis? And I was like ‘Yeah. That’s me…except, how come I’m over there…and over here at the same time?’ And he was like, buddy, you’re dead.” Eben shakes his head in slow motion. Blood rolls down his face and hangs from his chin before it drops onto my blanket. “Bro, that’s some fucked up shit.”

“Yeah.” Not nearly as fucked up as having a dead dude sitting on your bed. I force a laugh, because it’s Eben. The live version would’ve wanted me to mean it, but Dead-Dream-Eben doesn’t seem to notice.

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A Bookaholic’s Fix Review:

I had the pleasure of reading one of Strange’s stories in the Love Least Expected Anthology last year so when the review option for this one came through my inbox, I just had to sign up.

So this one features a punk rocker on the rise to fame, a dead best friend, and the girl that’s off limits. Honestly, I would have read that without knowing anything about the author’s previous work. The story is told in first person perspective from Jack’s POV and it is written in present tense. Now this usually is problematic for me but I have to give the author credit, it was amazingly well done. Jack’s voice is strong and it never seems to slip; I knew throughout the story everything was his–thoughts, perceptions, feelings, etc. And as for the tense–it was so well done that I didn’t even notice. I never got that ‘off’ vibe that clues me in to this particular style. I actually noticed it when I went back through the text to make sure I had my details right.

When I sat down to review, I went back and looked at the other story I’d written a review for and noticed something similar about the characterization in the books. The main characters start off a little weak for my taste but once again, Strange makes it work.

At first, I hated Jack. There, I said it. He came off as whiny, self-centered, self-absorbed, self-destructive… His whole poor-pitiful-me routine made me want to kick his ass up between his ears. Now, I admit my opinions are tainted a bit because: 1) I am the oldest child so I don’t relate to the baby of the family mentality and 2) By my early twenties, I was already married with children so the concept of being young and doing normal stupid-kid-stuff is kinda lost on me. I really related more to Jen because taking on too much responsibility has always been my gig. Anyway. As the story progressed, I began to understand that Jack’s familial strains weren’t just his imagination or a matter of faulty perception, and I began to feel sympathetic to his plight. I guess he grew on me the same way he grew on Jen.

I did like the other characters tremendously. Like I said, I get the older sibling mentality so I actually liked Ashton even if he was a bit of an ass. I loved PJ and Ethan because everyone needs weird friends. Drew was the typical little brother–having 2 of my own, I know they tend to be both wonderful one moment and a PITA the next. Then there were the depictions of family relationships. I loved the way she captured different family dynamics through the descriptions and personalities of the various parents (and the interactions with their children) present in the story. Strange managed to create an entire community of separate and interconnected people which gave the characters and the story a tremendous amount of credibility.

The Paranormal elements were great. Ghosts, talking with the dead, crossing over–these were handled wonderfully. I did like the more gruesome factor the haunting had. It reminded me a lot of R.M. Gilmore’s Dylan Hart books. The author took a different approach and instead of doing the cliched type of ghost story, she created something raw and gritty. I love the paranormal genre but it is super popular right now and sometimes is in danger of becoming homogenized. Stories like this provide novelty and keep the genre fresh and alive.

This is definitely a 5-star read. I can’t wait to read the other books in the series and I fully intend to stalk–um, I mean follow–this author to discover what other amazing stories she concocts.

authorAbout the Author:

Nessie is a Massachusetts native and mother of two who has dabbled in everything from abstract painting to freelance sports reporting. She also loves a good story, whether it’s reading or writing one. The first two novels in her Living Dead World series–Living Dead Girl and Reaper Madness–were published in 2014.

http://www.nessiestrange.com

http://nessieslivingdeadworld.blogspot.com

https://www.facebook.com/AuthorNessieStrange

https://twitter.com/NessieStrange

http://amazon.com/author/nessiestrange

https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7463821.Nessie_Strange

http://www.pinterest.com/nessiestrange/


Tour giveaway

$25 Amazon Gift Card

1 set Ebook copies of Living Dead Girl, Reaper Madness, Confessions of a Punk Rocker and Valentine’s Heat I

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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Tour: Five Past Midnight Muti-Author Box Set

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box setFive Past Midnight      
Robin Bielman, Robyn Bachar,
Cassi Carver, Anne Hope,
Corrina Lawson

Genre: Paranormal Romance/Urban Fantasy
Publisher: Samhain Publishing
Date of Publication: October 20th, 2015

ISBN: 978-1-61923-082-8
ASIN: B014SIHRG4
Number of pages: 1200
Word Count: 480,000
Cover Artist: Kanaxa

Book Description:

Falling in love has never been so deadly.

Five supernatural thrillers packed with action and romance, each introducing you to an exciting series. Honorable heroes, strong heroines and relentless suspense combine to bring you five page-turners you won’t soon forget.

 

Samhain    Amazon    Amazon.ca   ARe   BN   Kobo


Veiled Target—USA TODAY bestselling author Robin Bielman

Book One of the Veilers Series

Tess wants revenge, but thrust into an inconvenient alliance with her sexy enemy, she must trust the shifter she’s supposed to kill or risk losing everything.

Blood, Smoke and Mirrors—Robyn Bachar

Book One of the Bad Witch Series

Hunted by a powerful evil, exiled witch Cat must entrust her fate to the man who betrayed her. Now Lex faces the fight of his life to keep her safe. If they both survive.

Slayer’s Kiss—Cassi Carver

Book One of The Shadow Slayers Series

Fallen angels Gavin and Julian have been sent to protect Kara, but she’s determined to track down a killer, even when she realizes her target may be the creature hunting her.

Soul Bound—Anne Hope

Book One of the Dark Souls Series

Jace is no longer human. Something dark and powerful has taken root within him. Something that that could destroy the one woman he’d sacrifice everything to protect.

Phoenix Rising—Corrina Lawson

Book One of the Phoenix Institute Series

Everyone looks at firestarter Alec Farley as a weapon. Beth is the only one who sees a hero. But proving that could be deadly.

Warning: Contains shifters, vampires, witches, fallen angels, a firestarter and troublemaking faeries. Watch out for gratuitous violence, gripping emotion, unconventional sex, some foul language, and a love triangle that gives new meaning to the term hot-wings.


Five Past Midnight Button 300 x 225


Excerpts:


VEILED TARGET BY ROBIN BIELMAN

“Cut the crap, Tess. Why were you following me?”

“How do you know I was following you?” Oops. She meant to say, “What makes you think I was following you?”

He gave a knowing smile—that looked ridiculously sexy rather than irritating. “I know you don’t want to insult my intelligence so let’s just say for argument’s sake, if you were following me, why would that be?”

At least she’d gotten him to change his tone.

“Truthfully?” She leaned a little closer to him. She couldn’t help it.

“That would be nice.”

“I’m really not a very nice person,” she announced.

“Neither am I.” He reached out and moved a strand of hair behind her ear.

Was he trying to confuse her? Because it was working. She’d nearly fallen into his hand before he pulled it away. He was indeed a very bad man.

“That’s good. I hate nice guys. So where does that leave us?”

“I haven’t got all night, Tess.” He lowered his chin, indicating—she presumed—he was growing tired of their banter.

She lifted an eyebrow. “No? That’s too bad. I’m a night owl. I can—”

“Answer my question before I haul you to your car over my shoulder.” His tone sent a little zing of pleasure right to the tips of her breasts.

“As if you could—” She was over his shoulder in one second flat. He moved swiftly, quietly and with superhuman strength. Uh oh. “Hey, put me down!”

He started down the alley, seemingly unbothered by her spastic attempts to get him to let her go. “You ready to walk and talk now?”

“Fine,” she conceded, although the view of his backside was pretty damn good.

When both feet securely hit the ground, she tugged down her dress and shifted the V-neck into place. He watched her squirm to put the rest of the material back where it belonged and his roving eyes heated her from the inside out.

“I followed you because I wanted to help.”

He started walking. “Do I look like I need help?” A little gleam—and major interest?—flickered in his sideways glance.

“Well, no. But I’m very capable and I didn’t feel like going home, so I decided there was no harm in making myself available to you should you need me.” She took a deep breath. It was time to put the question out there. “Did you know Dane is a—”

“Wolfen? Yeah I know.”

“How do you—”

He stopped and turned toward her with confusion and passion in his deep blue eyes. For several seconds he stared at her, like he was trying to get inside her head. Guess what she was thinking. “I’m the leader of the Night Runners,” he finally said.

She imagined he’d told her something he’d never told another human being before.

What the hell was she going to do now?


BLOOD SMOKE AND MIRRORS BY ROBYN BACHAR

“I’ll be here as long as you need me.” Lex looked down at me, seeming sincere, and I shook my head at him.

“Don’t, Lex. You’re only here on orders. You’ll be gone and on to the next as soon as this assignment is over.”

“What if I don’t want that?”

“What if I do? I’m all for the life-saving thing, but I don’t want you in my life again.”

“Are you sure of that?”

Scowling, I took a steadying breath and prepared to launch into an explanation of the myriad reasons why I wasn’t about to go through another round of heartbreak with him, but before I could speak he leaned down and brushed a kiss across my lips.

A warm tingling suffused my body as soon as our lips met, the sort of electric reaction I usually associate with casting magic, but much, much better. He was hesitant at first, probably afraid I’d slap him or zot him with a spell, but when I didn’t object he slowly began to deepen the kiss. My knees went weak as my good sense vanished, and I slipped my arms around him to steady myself. Lex held me close as he continued to kiss me, and I leaned into him. I’d forgotten how well we fit together. He sighed, as though my lips were delicious and he savored them.

“This is a bad idea,” I murmured.

“No, this is a good idea.” Lex nudged me back toward the couch, and I sat down in a less-than-graceful flop. Next he joined me and drew me into his arms.

“Oh yeah? How?” My hormones were obviously happy to see him, but I still had a little bit of brainpower left, enough to be skeptical of the situation.

“Because letting you go was a bad idea. I don’t want to make that mistake again.” His voice was low and strained, and I wished it wasn’t so dark so I could see his expression. I sighed, a mix of old pain and new uncertainty, but he kissed me again and I stopped arguing.

I relaxed into the embrace, returning the kiss passionately. I felt better instantly—safe, warm, desired. Lex stroked my braided hair and let his hand rest at the small of my back. I ran my own hands up and down his back, debating whether or not it would be a good idea to tug his shirt off, but then I felt him unhooking my bra. My pulse jumped, and my magic decided to take that opportunity to wreak havoc on a pair of unsuspecting table lamps. With an electric sizzle followed by two sharp pops the light bulbs flashed and exploded. Startled, we jumped apart, the mood broken. We stared at each other, and I felt a guilty blush heat my face.

“Cat—” he started, and I held a hand up to stop him before he could say anything further.


SLAYER’S KISS BY CASSI CARVER

After a quick handshake, just a fleeting grasp of one wrist to another, Gavin broke away from the other man and came through the door. His gaze arrowed through the crush of bodies and landed squarely on Kara.

Her mouth went dry. Tha-thump. Tha-thump. Her heart throttled from zero to sixty in one glance, hammering as if she’d run a hundred miles through the desert.

But he was the oasis she’d been waiting for.

Gavin reached the bar, pulled out a stool and settled himself on the brown vinyl perch.

“Miss Reed.” He tipped his chin in greeting. His suit jacket was draped across one knee, leaving him in slacks and a white-collared shirt with the first button undone. With the way the fabric stretched around his biceps, he didn’t look like any businessman she’d ever met.

Her mind raced. Maybe he’d thought through her unspoken offer. Maybe she wasn’t the only one who’d felt the connection. Her body flushed, but not in embarrassment this time—this was simply blood rushing to all her important parts.

She nodded back and smiled, trying not to look as smug as she felt. “You found me.”

“I did. It must be nice working so close to home.”

“Yeah. It’s not a bad gig.” She wanted to laugh. It was clear he had something to say, and she already knew what it was going to be. Mutual attraction this strong couldn’t be denied. She wasn’t going to play hard to get just to get even with him. He might deserve it, but that wasn’t her style. She rarely wanted a man, but when she did, she let him know flat-out. “I’m glad you rethought my offer.”

He clasped his hands on the bar before him. “It’s the key.”

She put down the bottle in her hand and cocked her head. “What’s the key?”

“The reason I’m here.”

“Huh? I’m confused.” Confused and sinking like that rock in the pit of her stomach.

Gavin looked like he’d swallowed a bug. “The key doesn’t work.”

The blood drained from Kara’s face. “Oh…you’re not here to see…me.” She was the world’s biggest jackass. Such an ass, in fact, she was surprised she hadn’t brayed the soft, mortified words from between big blocky teeth.

“Technically, I am here to see you. The key doesn’t fit. I can’t move in my things until you open the door.”

She turned her back on him under the pretense of getting another bottle of tequila from the low storage cupboard, but she needed a minute to get herself under control. She rummaged around, shifting bottles, until she thought she could speak without her lips quivering.

“Take this for your trouble.” She handed him a shot of their best tequila. “I’m so sorry. I don’t know what could have happened—they’re all numbered. But don’t worry. I have a set of master keys. As soon as I get off, I can let you in.” She swabbed the counter near him with shaking hands.

“Kara.” He reached out and covered her hand with his. “It’s all right. I waited weeks for that apartment. A couple more hours aren’t going to kill me.”


SOUL BOUND BY ANNE HOPE

He retrieved the driver’s license, which belonged to Jace Cutler. So now he had a first name to go with the second. Unfortunately, it still didn’t trigger a memory. The man in the photograph was a complete stranger. He quickly scanned the description provided: six-foot-two, dark brown hair, green eyes. The height felt about right. The guy in the snapshot had a cleft on his chin. He ran his thumb across his jaw and traced the slight indentation.

Suddenly curious, he headed to the mirror hanging over the pedestal sink. The man gazing back at him was no more familiar than this place, this room, the nurse he’d apparently scared half to death. He wasn’t very old, early thirties he guessed. He slanted a glance at the ID again, quickly did the math. Yup, thirty- two.

Peeling off his hospital gown, he stood in front of the tiny mirror, as naked as the day he was born, studying himself. From the looks of it, he worked out regularly. His legs were long and lean, his stomach flat and ripped. But that wasn’t what shocked him. What blew his mind was that he didn’t have a scratch on him, not even an old scar to show he’d lived some kind of life. How did a person exist for thirty-two years and maintain skin as untarnished as a baby’s?

Another presence slowly invaded the room, one that made everything inside him come alive and the darkness retreat. For a moment, he felt almost human again. Almost.

Jace turned around, not caring that he didn’t have a stitch of clothing on him. The woman entering his room froze at the sight of him.

He squinted. Glancing at her made his eyes hurt. She was so damn bright, he needed a frigging pair of sunglasses just to look at her. The nurse who’d examined him earlier paled in comparison, and not because this woman was any kind of beauty. She was plain at best, with blond hair pinned in a ponytail and not a drop of makeup on. Still, something inside him recognized her.

She checked him out briefly before averting her gaze. “Looks like you’re feeling better.”

He couldn’t find his voice to answer. Waves of emotion washed over him, constricting his windpipe. He’d felt nothing since he’d awakened in this stifling hospital room, and all of a sudden he couldn’t get his feelings under control long enough to offer some kind of greeting. Her glow enfolded him, and the hunger returned with sharpened fangs.

“Katie, the nurse who was just in here, told me you were awake, but I had to see for myself.”

She took a step toward him, then another.

Please, don’t come any closer. I can’t stand it.

“Who—” The word scraped his throat. “Who are you?”

Her gaze latched on to his face. Confusion and a touch of fascination glimmered in her clear blue eyes. Right there and then, he could’ve sworn he glimpsed her soul, and it was a beautiful thing to behold, potent and familiar.

She shook her head, swallowed hard. “The person who watched you die last night.”


PHOENIX RISING BY CORRINA LAWSON

“I’m trying to get you to reconsider what you’ve been forced into doing for your entire life. There’s a whole world out there you haven’t seen.”

She walked over to the coffee table, reached down and brushed her fingertips over the gun. Her hand trembled. The gun looked like the same kind that her kidnappers had used, years ago. If he stayed with the Resource, Alec might become like those men, using any ends to justify the means.

“Hey! What’s with the nerves? Where’s my competent, no-nonsense counselor?”

The gun rose from the coffee table, floating in air. She turned and followed its flight. He snatched the gun out of midair with a smile and holstered it.

“See?” he said. “I control the guns, not the other way around.”

“And who controls you?”

His chest, Kevlar vest and all, rose and fell in a deep sigh. “I know someone in this room who’s trying to control me. What’s wrong, Beth?” He walked to her and lifted her chin with two fingers, his dark eyes crinkling around the edges.

“This is not a life you chose, this is a life that’s been imposed on you, from birth.”

“And?” His fingertips moved along her jaw, in a soft caress. I should move away. It feels too good. But he’s listening.

“I’m scared. About this mission, about you being locked up inside the Resource forever.” Deathly afraid, so afraid her stomach felt like a heavy lump of coal. “There’s so much you don’t know about the Resource and about Lansing, so much you don’t understand. And you need to know it before it kills you.”

“Hey, I know Lansing can be a bastard. And that he’s overprotective and controlling. I’m working on it. But it doesn’t change the fact that this is my job.” Alec leaned closer to her face. “We can talk about that another time.”

“Do you really think there’s going to be another time?” Her voice rose, almost panicked now. She wasn’t getting through. “What if you get hurt tonight?”

“Look, this cell might have a dirty bomb. They need to be stopped, and I’m the one who can do it. I have to do this, right now.”

“Just that simple?”

“Yep. I walk away, people get hurt. I do my job, people are saved. That’s the deal, that’s my life. You analyze things too much.” He cupped her face in his hand. “But if it took this mission to find out you care, then good.”

She shuddered. Wrong, wrong, she shouldn’t let him touch her like this. Yet it felt like he touched her somewhere far deeper than her skin. A shiver, like the one from their first meeting, traveled from her neck to her toes, setting her nerves jangling. “This is wrong.”

“The mission isn’t wrong,” he said, misunderstanding her. “Relax.” His face was less than an inch from her lips and his breath fell on her cheek. Her skin felt inflamed, sensitive to the slightest movement of his hands.

He kissed her.

His lips were softer than she had expected, tender, not at all like his casual, even macho, confidence. She closed her eyes and wrapped her arms around his neck, feeling those strong muscles and pulling him against her, intensifying their contact, even as her mind screamed in protest. This is not what I came for!

Her body became enveloped in that strange energy, alive as never before. It was like the kiss had a second level, one which she responded to instinctively, creating a living connection between them. He drew her lips apart with his tongue, still tender, still allowing her the chance to back away. But she opened her mouth to him instead, her whole self consumed with wanting to touch him, her face flushed with desire. She grabbed the buckles of his body armor for balance, her equilibrium lost along with her reason.

He crushed her against him, no longer tender, a bruising kiss demanding conquest. She allowed him full control, despite the buckles digging into her shoulder. He lifted her completely off her feet and brought her up to his eye level.

“Beth,” he breathed, brushing his lips against her neck before moving back to her mouth.

Her mind whirled, too lost to remember that she should stop him. She wanted him too much. The air heated up, warming them. The papers on the coffee table began to smoke.


 About the Authors:


robin bielmanRobin Bielman:

When not attached to her laptop, USA Today Bestselling Author Robin Bielman can almost always be found with her nose in a book. A California girl, the beach is her favorite place for fun and inspiration. Her fondness for swoon-worthy heroes who flirt and stumble upon the girl they can’t live without jumpstarts all of her story ideas. She is a 2014 RITA Finalist, loves to frequent coffee shops, and plays a mean game of sock tug of war with her cute, but often naughty dog, Harry. She cherishes her family and friends and loves to connect with readers.

Website: http://robinbielman.com

Blog: http://robinbielman.com/blog

Facebook: www.facebook.com/RobinBielmanWriter

Twitter: www.twitter.com/RobinBielman

Goodreads: www.goodreads.com/RobinBielman


robyn bacharRobyn Bachar:

Robyn Bachar enjoys writing stories with soul mates, swords, spaceships, vampires and gratuitous violence against the kitchen sink. Her books have finaled twice in the PRISM Contest for Published Authors, twice in the Passionate Plume Contest, and twice in the EPIC eBook Awards. As a gamer, Robyn has spent many hours rolling dice, playing rock-paper-scissors, and slaying creatures in mmorpgs.

Website: www.robynbachar.com

Blog: http://therobyn.blogspot.ca/

Facebook: www.facebook.com/AuthorRobynBachar

Twitter: www.twitter.com/RobynBachar

Goodreads: www.goodreads.com/iamtherobyn


cassi carverCassi Carver:

Award-winning author Cassi Carver lives in sunny Southern California with two dogs, four kids and a hubby who gives great massages. She gets to the Gaslamp for research (okay, happy hour) as often as possible. She’s never saved the world, but she keeps sexy boots on hand just in case the opportunity arises.

Website: www.cassicarver.com

Facebook: www.facebook.com/cassi.carver

Twitter: www.twitter.com/CassiCarver

Goodreads: www.goodreads.com/CassiCarver

Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/cassicarver/


anne hopeAnne Hope:

Golden Heart Finalist and Amazon bestselling author Anne Hope writes emotionally intense romances with a twist—a twist of humor, a twist of suspense, a twist of magic. Whether they make you laugh or cry or push you to the edge of your seat, all her stories have a common thread. They all feature the redeeming power of love and the heart’s incredible ability to heal. She lives in Montreal, Canada, with her husband, her two inexhaustible kids, a lazy cat and a rambunctious Australian Kelpie.

Website: www.annehope.com

Facebook: www.facebook.com/annehopeauthor

Twitter: www.twitter.com/AnneHopeAuthor

Goodreads: www.goodreads.com/AnneHope


corrina lawsonCorrina Lawson:

Golden Heart Finalist and Amazon Bestselling author Corrina Lawson is a former newspaper reporter with a degree in journalism from Boston University. A mom of four, she now works from home writing romance novels with a geeky twist and as the Content Director and co-founder of GeekMom.com. She is also the co-writer of GeekMom Book: Projects, Tips and Adventures for Moms and Their 21st Century Families.

Website: http://corrina-lawson.com/

Blog: www.geekmom.com

Facebook: www.facebook.com/corrinalawsonwriter

Twitter: www.twitter.com/CorrinaLawson

Goodreads: www.goodreads.com/author/show/3448199.Corrina_Lawson

Tumblr: http://corrinalawson.tumblr.com/


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Tour: Season of the Witch by L.J.K. Oliva

Season of the Witch Banner 851 x 315

season of the witch coverSeason Of The Witch
Shades Below
Book 1.5
L.J.K. Oliva

Genre: urban fantasy/paranormal romance

Date of Publication: Oct. 1, 2015

Word Count: 99,733

Cover Artist: Amy Mateyka

Book Description:

Something wicked this way comes…well, more wicked than usual.

Georgia Clare needs help, and fast.  As the lone survivor of—and witness to—her coven’s brutal massacre, she’s felt the killer hunting her.  There’s just one problem: the rest of San Francisco’s witching community wants nothing to do with her, and the one man she can turn to doesn’t do witches.

Darius deCompostela has done his best to steer clear of subversive affairs.  A private investigator and reluctant medium, the last thing he wants is to advertise his existence to the things that go bump in the night.  But then Georgia knocks on his door, and try as he might, he can’t turn her away.

It’s just one case, after all.  It’s not like it’s going to change his life…

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3D Season of the Witch

Excerpt:

It was her third night in a row of frozen pasta for dinner.  Not that she was counting.

Georgia popped the top off yet another bottle of Corona and took a long draw.  She leaned back against the counter.  The microwave hummed behind her.  She glanced over her shoulder at the digital clock on the unused stove.  Sighed.

Nearly six o’clock, and still no sign of deCompostela.  The pang of disappointment in her chest chafed at her pride.  She should have known better than to believe he would stop by.  He’d already made it abundantly clear he thought she was out of her mind.

Truth be told, the possibility had occurred to her.  It had been a week since the new moon, and she hadn’t seen hide nor hair of…it.  Whatever it was.  If not for the lingering scent of blood in her nostrils, she could almost believe she’d hallucinated the whole thing.

The microwave beeped.  Georgia took one last drag of beer, then set her bottle down next to the two that had preceded it and opened the door.  Fragrant steam rushed out; a heady blend of tomato, basil, and MSG.

Georgia reached in and grabbed the microwaveable plastic bowl, hissed and yanked her hand back again.  She scanned the kitchen for something she could use as a potholder.  Finally, she settled on a bunched-up paper towel.

The hairs on the back of her neck prickled as she pulled out the pasta bowl.  Georgia tensed, turned…

…Just in time to see her living room window explode inward in a hail of glass.  She let out a startled shriek.  A massive, dark creature suddenly occupied the space where her coffee table used to sit.

Everything else seemed to happen in slow-motion.  The creature straightened, shaking shards of glass off its dull black fur.  Its ears twitched towards her.  Its lips peeled back from its razor-sharp teeth.

Georgia’s chest seized.  Recognition slammed through her.  The creature snarled.  Any lingering doubts she’d been harboring instantly evaporated.

It was here.

Georgia blindly hurled her steaming pasta bowl in the direction of the living room and bolted from the kitchen.  She looked over in time to see it connect with a loud splat squarely between the intruder’s eyes.  The creature howled and clawed desperately at its face.

Georgia didn’t wait for it to recover.  Her altar.  If she could just get to her altar, she could banish the ugly fucker and buy herself some time.

The creature was planted in the dead center of the straightest path across the living room.  Georgia veered wide.  She had almost cleared the front door when it flew open in a barrage of splinters.  Someone barreled into her.  They both sprawled to the ground.

The new intruder landed on top.  Georgia hissed, bucked, clawed at anything she could reach.  Her mystery assailant scrambled off her.

“Jesus Christ, would you calm down, you crazy—what the f*ck?”

deCompostela.  Georgia didn’t let herself pause to feel relief.  She rolled to her feet, grabbed his hand and dragged him after her.  They dove behind her sagging couch just as the creature regained its bearings.  It threw back its head and let out a roar that shook her remaining windows.

Darius sniffed.  “Is that tomato sauce?”

Georgia didn’t answer.  Her focus was squarely on her altar again.  It was still too far away.  “Wait here.”

“What—”

She leaped to her feet.  The creature’s eyes locked on her.  Georgia swallowed the terror that welled in her chest and sprinted for the altar.  She skidded to the floor in front of it like a baseball player sliding into home, yanked open one of the drawers and fumbled for the first items that came to mind.

The creature roared again.  A blast of superheated air hit the back of her neck.  Georgia braced for the feel of teeth around her throat.

“Right here, ugly!”

She turned in time to see Darius’ massive fist catch the creature square in the nose.  The creature yelped, then retaliated with a swipe of an even-more-massive paw.  The blow swept Darius clear off his feet.  He flew backwards and hit the wall with a dull crunch, then sagged to the ground with a wheeze.  Flecks of paint and drywall fluttered to the floor around him.

But he’d bought her the time she needed.  Georgia held up her black candle and flicked her Bic lighter to life.  She touched the flame to the wick.  The creature’s eyes widened.

“Black, the color of protection.  Black, the color of night.”

The creature snarled.  Darius heaved himself to his feet and surged forward.  He wrapped his arms around the creature’s hind legs and held tight.

“Black, the color of silence.  Black, the color of stillness.”

The creature swiped at Darius again.  Its paw caught empty air where his head had been just seconds earlier.  It tried to move.  Darius’ arms visibly tightened.  Muscles bunched under his suit jacket.

“With black I banish thee.  With will I banish thee.” Georgia poured intent into her words.  Her voice grew heavier, fuller.  “Return to the night.  Return to the silence.  Return to the stillness.  Be gone from this place.”

The creature let out a strange yelp-hiss as invisible forces compelled it to obey.  Darius released it and scrambled backwards.

Georgia lifted her chin.  Magic crackled through her veins, tinged her vision black.  “Be gone from this place,” she repeated.  “With black and with will, by my power and by the power of the Lady, I banish thee.  So mote it be.”  She blew out the candle.

The creature vanished in a swirl of acrid black smoke.  Its final, infuriated roar echoed through the small apartment.

Georgia finally allowed herself to breathe again.  For the first time, she realized she was coated in a fine film of glass and wood slivers.  She reached up to dust herself off, at the last minute thought better of it.

Instead, she turned to Darius.  He had hauled himself onto her sad excuse of a sofa.  His hands were planted on his knees.  He stared at the spot where the creature had last stood.

Georgia crossed her arms and cleared her throat.  She waited until he looked up at her, then arched an eyebrow.  “So.  Do you believe me now?”

Season of the Witch Button 300 x 225

authorAbout the Author:

L.J.K. Oliva is the devil-may-care alter-ego of noir romance novelist Laura Oliva. She likes her whiskey strong, her chocolate dark, and her steak bloody. L.J.K. likes monsters… and knows the darkest ones don’t live in closets.

Amazon- http://www.amazon.com/author/lauraoliva
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Website: http://ljkolivabooks.com
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