In His Keeping by Maya Banks [BookBlitz]

In-His-Keeping-Maya-Banks

IN HIS KEEPING

In His Keeping
Slow Burn #2

By: Maya Banks

Releasing January 27th, 2015

Avon Romance

 

 

Blurb

#1 bestselling author Maya Banks continues her suspenseful and steamy Slow Burn trilogy with this second book-a twisting tale featuring a strong yet vulnerable heroine in danger and the sexy alpha hero who must save her.

 

Abandoned as a baby to a young wealthy couple and raised in a world of privilege, Arial has no hint of her past or who she belonged to. Her only link lies in the one thing that sets her apart from everyone else—telekinetic powers. Protected by her adoptive parents and hidden from the public to keep her gift secret, Ari is raised in the lap of luxury, and isolation. That is, until someone begins threatening her life.

 

Beau Devereaux is no stranger to the strange. As the head of Deveraux Security, he’s more than familiar with the realities of physic powers. So when a family friend approaches him about protecting his daughter, he’s more than ready to jump on board. What Beau isn’t prepared for is the extent of his attraction to his beautiful and powerful client. What began as a simple assignment, just another job, quickly turns personal as Beau discovers he’ll do anything at all to protect Ari. Even if it costs him his life.

 

Excerpt

 

He would have laughed at the idea of fate and soul mates. The professor of his Human  Resources and Development class had once said that the concept of there only being one person out there for you was utterly false. That you could fall in love— and love—many different people in your life.

 

He’d believed the exact same thing until one day a beautiful chestnut-headed, brown-eyed, adorably shy woman had walked into his life and his existence had been irrevocably changed. He’d known since the very first time she’d shyly accepted a dinner in- vitation with him that he was already in so deep that he had no hope of ever finding his way out. He hadn’t wanted to.

 

Gavin was a man who was decisive, could handle any issue flung his way. He had the total package, or so women liked to tell him. Good-looking, charismatic, dark and brooding and wealthy. He was no naïve fool. The last attribute was his most com- pelling one. The  women  he’d  been  with  hadn’t  likely given thought to anything beyond the tag that was solidly fixed on his

forehead.

 

Billionaire.

 

He’d actually laid eyes on Ginger the very first time, ironi- cally, when he’d been out with another woman. He’d had his en- tire evening planned, in fact. Nice dinner, intimate atmosphere, flirt with his date, whose name completely escaped him now, and then go back to her place to have sex before returning to his own apartment.

 

No one came to his home or invaded his private sanctuary. Sex was always at his date’s place or in a hotel, and he always left afterward. To some women that made him a cold bastard, but he was hardly hypocrite enough to indulge in postcoital cuddle when he’d made it clear that there would be no emotional entanglements.

 

He hadn’t stayed when he’d dropped his date off, much to her disappointment. His mind had been too occupied with the sweet, smiling waitress with big brown shy eyes who blushed when he stared at her for too long.

 

He wasn’t normally so ill-mannered or lacking in social graces, but he’d  been captivated by her from the moment he’d laid eyes on her, and so the next night, he’d  gone back to the restaurant. Alone. He’d made certain he was seated in her section of tables and he’d proceeded to be the most demanding of cus- tomers, commanding her attention every few minutes for some trumped-up need.

It had taken three agonizingly long weeks before he’d been able to talk her into going out with him to dinner. Three weeks of self-induced celibacy because he’d known that she would be the last woman in his bed forever, so he hadn’t minded the wait.

 

It had then taken him six more months of dating before he took things further than heated good-night  kisses and feeling the warmth of her soft body against his while he held her.

 

It had been the best six months of his life.

 

The night he’d finally taken her to bed and very gently made her his, he’d proposed and she’d cried all over him.

It had taken him three more months of her practically liv- ing with him to talk her into accepting his marriage proposal, but once he’d gained her acceptance, his patience had fled. He’d hustled her in front of a judge at the very first opportunity and had claimed her for all time.

 

After a blissful year of having her entirely to himself—and he was extremely possessive and selfish of his time with her— she’d  begun talking about having his child. He hadn’t  thought he could be happier than he was, but then he’d begun imagining sweet little girls who looked just like their mama and he’d been determined to fill their home with a dozen if that was what she wanted.

And that was where they’d hit a brick wall.

 

 

 

Link to Follow Tour: http://www.tastybooktours.com/2014/12/in-his-keeping-slow-burn-2-by-maya-banks.html

Goodreads Link: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/21900558-in-his-keeping?from_search=true

Goodreads Series Link: https://www.goodreads.com/series/119196-slow-burn

 

Buy Links: Amazon | Barnes | iTunes | Kobo

Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/His-Keeping-Slow-Novel-Novels/dp/0062312480/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1418171121&sr=8-1&keywords=in+his+keeping+by+maya+banks

B&N: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/in-his-keeping-maya-banks/1119220722?ean=9780062312488

iTunes: https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/in-his-keeping/id862610905?mt=11

Kobo: http://store.kobobooks.com/en-US/ebook/in-his-keeping-1

 

Author Info

Maya Banks is a #1 USA Today and New York Times bestselling author whose chart toppers have included erotic romance, romantic suspense, contemporary romance, Scottish historical romances. She is the author of the Breathless Trilogy, the KGI novels, the Sweet series, and the Colters Legacy novels.

She lives in the South with her husband and three children and other assorted babies, such as her two Bengal kitties Maya Banksand a Calico who’s been with her as long as her youngest child. She’s an avid reader of romance and loves to dish books with her fans and anyone else who’ll listen! She very much enjoys interacting with her readers on Facebook and Twitter as well as in her Yahoo! Group.

 

Author Links: Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads

Website: http://mayabanks.com/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/AuthorMayaBanks
Twitter: https://twitter.com/maya_banks
Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/24978.Maya_Banks

 

 

 

 

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Blind Faith by Rebecca Zanetti [BookBlitz + Giveaway]

Blind-Faith-Launch-Day-Blitz[22]

Zanetti_Blind Faith_MM[22]

BLIND FAITH by Rebecca Zanetti

(January 27, 2015; Forever Mass Market; $8.00)

A betrayal he couldn’t forget . . . 
For Nate Dean, love is a four-letter word. As part of a secret black-ops military unit, he and his brothers were genetically engineered by the government to be ruthless soldiers with an expiration date. They were loyal only to one another . . . until Nate laid eyes on the woman who stole his heart and blew his world apart. Now, years later, his family is still paying the price for his mistake. But as time runs out, there’s only one person who can save his family: the very woman Nate swore he’d never trust again.

A love she couldn’t deny . . . 
The moment Audrey Madison spies Nate across a crowded ballroom, she can barely breathe. He’s just as undeniably sexy as she remembers, yet there’s an edge to him now that’s as irresistible as it is dangerous. When he asks for her help, Audrey can’t refuse. But she has secrets of her own–secrets that, if Nate ever discovers them, may cost them both their lives . . .

 

Excerpt

“Let’s dance.” He turned her toward the dance floor.

She balked. “No.” God. She couldn’t dance with him, couldn’t be touched by him.

“Yes.” His hold slid down to the back of her elbow, and he ushered her toward where the orchestra was playing “I Will Wait for You” by Michel Legrand. The warmth in Nate’s touch flared her nerves to life in an erotic need she’d worked hard to overcome.

“Nate—”

“Shhh.” He tightened his hold and drew her into an impressive erection.

She gasped, her face heating, her sex convulsing. Blinking, she glanced up in confusion to see if he was as affected as she was and stilled at the look in his eyes.

Furious. The man was truly furious. Even with the contacts masking his eyes, his anger shone bright.

She tried to step back and didn’t move. Yeah, she knew she’d hurt him when she’d ended their relationship, but after nearly five years, he shouldn’t still be so mad. He’d had freedom for five years, which was a hell of a lot better than she’d had. She’d had pain and fear and uncertainty. She blinked. “What is wrong with you?”

His impossibly hard jaw somehow hardened even more. “Oh, we’ll discuss that shortly.” Threat lived strongly in the calm words. “For now, we’re going to finish this dance. Then you’ll take the north exit and meet me in my car so we can talk.”

“If I don’t?” she asked quietly, wings fluttering through her abdomen.

His hold tightened imperceptibly. “I know where you live, I know your daily routine in working for Senator Nash, and I know where you go when you need time alone. You can’t hide, you can’t outrun me—and you know it.”

The hairs on the back of her neck rose. “How long have you been watching me?” More importantly, why hadn’t she noticed?

“A week. Long enough to know the two apes toward the doorway are following you, too. What’s up with that?” His hold tightened just enough to show his strength.

She shrugged. “They haven’t made a move, so I’m not worrying about it.” Not true, and by the narrowing of Nate’s eyes, he could still smell a lie a mile away. “The commander is having me followed.”

Nate’s jaw clenched. “Why?”

“Dunno.” They didn’t have time to discuss it. “You should go now.”

“No.” He spun her, easily controlling their movements.

Her leg hitched, and she stumbled against him.

He frowned. “What’s wrong?”

“Nothing.” None of his damn business, that was. “What do you want to talk about?”

His gaze narrowed, and he spun her again. She tripped again. Her damn leg didn’t move that way. She glanced toward the doorway and the two soldiers watching her. They’d straightened to alert stances. Damn it.

“What’s wrong with your leg?” Nate asked, brows furrowing.

Oh, they were so not going into her injuries on the dance floor. “You almost sound like you care.” She threw his words back at him, gratified when his nostrils flared in irritation.

His gaze probed deep, wandering down her neck. He blinked several times, his chest moving with a harsh intake of breath. “I like your dress,” he rumbled, his voice a low whisper.

With his tight hold, she had no doubt the tops of her breasts were visible. “Nathan, don’t—”

“Don’t what?” His gaze rose to her lips. A light of a different sort filtered through his angry eyes. She knew that look. Her body heated and her thighs softened. His erection jumped against her, and she bit down a groan.

“One kiss, Audrey.”

Her eyes widened to let in more light. “No,” she breathed. One of his hands held hers, the other pressed against her back. Thank goodness. He couldn’t grab her and kiss her, no matter how appealing the thought. “Bad idea.”

“I know.” Nate didn’t need hands. His lips met hers so quickly, she never saw him move.

His mouth covered hers with no hesitancy, no question—as if he had every right to go deep. His tongue was savage and demanding, holding nothing back and accepting no evasion. He tasted of loneliness, anger, and lust. Hard, needy, demanding lust.

The men at the door were watching.

But her body didn’t care—instantly igniting instead of pushing away. Her heart thundered in her ears, and she fell into his heat, uncaring of whether or not he caught her. He wrapped around her, his unyielding body holding her upright. He caressed her with his tongue, and she met him thrust for thrust, fierce pleasure lighting her on fire.

She forgot where they were, who they were, everything but the desperate need he created.

He broke the kiss, blatant male hunger crossing his face. His breath panted out even as he moved them in tune with the music.

She softened against him, allowing him to lead so she didn’t collapse. Her mind whirled, and she shook her head to regain reality. “Nathan, what do you want?” The question emerged as a breathless plea she couldn’t mask.

That quickly, all hints of desire slid from his face. His chin hardened. “Want? I want to know what happened to the child you were carrying five years ago when you ripped out my heart. Where’s my baby, Audrey?”

 

Buy Links:

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About the author:

New York Times bestselling author Rebecca Zanetti has worked as an art curator, Senate aide, lawyer, college professor, and a hearing examiner – only to culminate it all in stories about Alpha males and the women who claim them. She is a member of RWA, has won awards for her works throughout the industry, and has a journalism degree with a poly sci emphasis from Pepperdine University as well as a Juris Doctorate from the University of Idaho. ZanettiFORGOTTENSINSRebecca[22]

Growing up amid the glorious backdrops and winter wonderlands of the Pacific Northwest has given Rebecca fantastic scenery and adventures to weave into her stories. She resides in the wild north with her husband, children, and extended family who inspire her every day-or at the very least give her plenty of characters to write about.

 

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Hold On! by Peter Darley [BookBlitz + Giveaway]

HoldOn!_850HIGH

Romantic Suspense/Thriller

Date Published: July 9, 2014

 Thriller

Two lovers! A deadly conspiracy! A race to freedom!

When Carringby Industries, a government-contracted arms manufacturer, is raided by what appear to be terrorists, the CEO’s secretary, Belinda Reese, is rescued by Brandon Drake, a dashing young AWOL soldier. Using an experimental test aircraft, he flees with her to his remote, isolated cabin in the mountains of Aspen.

While assisting in the design of military weaponry, Brandon discovered a plot within his own government to attack its own facilities, under the guidance of immoral politician, Senator Garrison Treadwell. Belinda’s body was not found among the dead at Carringby Industries, and Treadwell suspects that Drake was responsible for rescuing her. In an effort to entrap him, Treadwell arranges for an all points bulletin to be placed on Belinda.

Deeply in love, Brandon and Belinda attempt to escape from America, only to endure one harrowing experience after another as they try to evade and expose Treadwell’s corrupt faction.

But on the run, with danger around every corner, Brandon makes a discovery so devastating that it shatters the very foundations of his reality.

 

 

Book Trailer

 

Excerpt

[Belinda] dropped to the floor and pushed the door open only to be met with a wall of flame, causing her to instinctively recoil. She gave herself a moment to compose herself before seizing a break in the fire.

Darting to the left, she found herself in the maintenance stairwell. Below her was an inferno. It wasn’t possible for her to go back down.

In a desperate effort to escape the fire, she ran up the steps, but the smoke continued to engulf her.

By the time she’d reached the next flight of stairs, only a few steps from where she’d started, she fell to her knees in a coughing fit. Her eyes stung, watering from the smoke, but she persisted.

Despite her initial determination, she became convinced she wasn’t going to make it. She couldn’t see anything ahead of her, and her consciousness was slipping away . . .

She thought she could see a dark shape coming down the stairwell toward her, through the smoke. As it came closer, she could make out a human decked-out in black.It has to be one of them, she thought.

Through her squinted eyes, she could see he wore a shiny black helmet, similar to the type worn on a motorcycle, although far less bulky. It seemed to cover his head with a slender, streamlined fit, and there was a reflective visor covering his face.

In her weakened condition, she resigned herself to the belief that she was going to die. The fight was leaving her, and smoke inhalation stole her consciousness. She couldn’t be certain whether or not she was dreaming the man in the black helmet.

And then, she felt strong, gentle hands cradling her face for just a moment. “P-please don’t kill me,” she mumbled.

“I’m not going to kill—”

Belinda passed out.

She woke without a sense for how long she’d been out. Had she been unconscious for seconds? Or days? Why was everything upside down?

She felt a tight grip on her legs below the knees, and she was moving quickly with a jerking motion. The smoke seemed to clearing, and the blood rushed into her head, bringing her back to consciousness. She saw the white surface of the steps from her inverted position, and she suddenly understood. He was running up the stairwell while carrying her over his shoulder.

Moments later, the ground turned black and she sensed herself being turned upright in the freezing cold. In her dazed state, it took her a few moments to realize that she was outside.

The stranger knelt down beside her and she shivered. “W-who . . . are you?” she asked.

“Your only way out of here.”

“Where . . . where are we?”

“We’re on the roof. We can’t go back down. The place is a torch.”

Belinda couldn’t place his tone, but there was a masculine depth to it that was genuine and sincere.

“Please, trust me,” he implored her. “Can you stand up?”

“Y-yes, I think so,” she said, but her coughing resumed.

He waited for the attack to abate before speaking again. “I’m going to get you out of here. There’s only one way.”

As he helped her to her feet, she realized how high up they were with the skyscrapers all around them.

“I need you to listen to me,” he said. “What’s your name?”

“B-Belinda. Belinda Reese,” she answered quivering, and hugged herself tightly against the chilling effects of shock and the brutal February wind.

“All right Belinda, I need you to come over here with me.” He motioned toward the edge of the roof. “There’s nothing to worry about, trust me.”

As a show of good faith, he walked toward the edge before her. Once he was standing on the ledge, he reached out and beckoned her to join him.

Trembling, she placed one foot in front of the other, but she froze when she saw him taking a gun-like device from his tool-belt.

“It’s OK,” he said in a reassuring tone. “This isn’t what you think it is. I swear to you on my own life, I’m not going to hurt you.”

With great trepidation, she resumed her steps toward him.

“That’s it,” he encouraged her. “Just a little closer.”

As Belinda stopped inches away from him at the ledge, he aimed the device toward a skyscraper opposite and brought a small targeting sight to eye-level. Although it bore a resemblance to a gun, it didn’t have a barrel, but rather a tennis ball-sized bulb held fast by his palm.

He depressed a button on the top of the metallic casing and a thin, high-tensile steel cable jettisoned from the nozzle toward the building opposite. The cable reached the other side and a small steel claw at the end of line clasped a maintenance rail in the center of the roof. He pulled on the cable to ensure that it was secured, and stepped away from the edge.

He hurried across to a maintenance stairwell next to the entrance and climbed three steps. Once he was in position, he wrapped the wire around an iron step above him repeatedly. From the height of the roof’s ledge, the step would be approximately twelve inches above his own height. Reaching height.

With a flick of a switch on top of the bulb, the cable was locked inside the casing.

Belinda watched him, bewildered. “What are you doing?”

Intensely focused upon his task, he didn’t reply.

He returned to her and took another device from his belt–a black metal tube, approximately fourteen inches in length, from which he pulled out two hand-grips from either side.

Belinda noticed a small pulley wheel on the underside of the tube, which he clipped onto the wire. He created a zip-line between the two buildings.

Upon that realization, she panicked, believing that he intended for her to hang from the hand grips and glide across to the adjacent building. “I can’t do this. Please, I’m begging you. I can’t do it.”

He stepped back up onto the ledge. “You don’t have to. I do. Now, take it steady and join me here.”

She raised her right leg so slowly that she thought she would never put it down, but eventually, the tip of her shoe settled onto the ledge.

He gently placed his hand upon her shoulder. “All right, now grab hold of me.”

She permitted him to grasp her under her armpits and lift her onto the ledge. She trembled with vulnerability and vertigo. “Oh, God, please don’t let me fall.”

“You’re not going to fall.”

He carefully placed her arms around his chest. She immediately detected the solid base underneath his black, bullet-resistant attire. It was clear that, beyond the Kevlar; he was muscular, heightening her sense of safety with him. With shaking hands, she held onto him for dear life.

He gripped the pulley with his left hand and lifted the visor with his right. Belinda looked into his deep green eyes. He looked exactly the same to her as his voice sounded: strong, but kind.

The moment ended and he pulled the visor back down into place.

Holding the right hand grip, he looked at her again and gave her the most unnecessary piece of advice she had ever heard:  “Hold on!”

 

 

 

Author Bio

 

 

 

IMG_2186Peter Darley (P.D. to his friends) is a British novelist, whose professional history is in showbusiness. He is a graduate of the Birmingham School of Speech and Dramatic Art, and he studied television drama at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art (RADA.) His television credits include guest-starring roles is UK productions such as BBC’s Crime Ltd, Stanley’s Dragon for ITV, The Bill, and Sky One’s Dream Team, and numerous TV commercials. He has also worked as a model, presenter, and voice-over artiste for ten years, and has acted as an agent for several variety acts. His lifelong admiration of heroes, and love of roller-coaster-style thrills have been a huge influence on his writings. He is a keen athlete and body builder, and lives with his partner in rural England.

 

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Matt Archer: Redemption by Kendra Highley [BookBlitz + Giveaway]

 

Matt Archer: Redemption – Cover Reveal
By Kendra C Highley
Young Adult Paranormal
Date Published: July 3, 2014

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   “There’s more to me than you know…”
When Matt Archer’s sister, Mamie, said those words to him three years ago, he had no idea how prophetic they were, or what this would mean for his family.
Now, he knows. And it changes everything, bringing the war right to Matt’s doorstep.
In the epic conclusion to the Matt Archer series, the endgame is near. Betrayed by an enemy, the wielders have been called off the hunt by their own government, despite increasing reports of paranormal activity—and deaths—worldwide. Matt is forced to sit on the sidelines, knowing that proving monsters exist means revealing who—and what—he is. Soon the world will know his name…which will only make his job harder.
Matt’s only hope resides with a man he barely knows—his father. If Erik Archer can put together the final puzzle before the monsters do, maybe they’ll have a chance. Maybe.
Mystery, tragedy and the power of family combine as Matt races to win the war and save the people he loves. There’s just one thing he’s afraid of…
It might already be too late.
EXCERPT
        
When I was fourteen, I picked up a knife, ignorant of the destiny that awaited me. That night seems like a lifetime ago, even if it’s only been three years.
A lot of things can change in three years.
A boy can become a man. A man can become a soldier. And that soldier can witness things he’ll never forget. Earn scars that won’t fade. Cut down enemies. Save lives.
Lose them, too.
Through it all, I’ve tried to remember who I am, where the legend ends and the man begins. Not to lose myself to my blade-spirit and become a monster. Some days are harder than others. I’ve seen friends die in this war, injured myself, and nearly lost the girl I love more than anyone, all for the cause. The price for being named the guardian of humanity is high, especially when my own government is calling me a criminal.
Despite all the obstacles, despite the pain, one thing remains true: it’s still worth the fight.
My name is Matt Archer. And I’m going to save the world.
Or die trying.
* * *
Packed into a black government SUV with five other people on the way to a Congressional hearing wasn’t my idea of fun.
That it was my reality made it even worse. Especially since riding with these particular men gave me a migraine of epic proportion. Being in close contact with the other knife-wielders always caused me pain. It was better than usual—I’d gotten used to the sensation of overwhelming power somewhat. Still, not the best way to start this day.
My new suit wasn’t heavy, but a trickle of sweat ran down my back the closer we got to the Capitol and my tie felt like it was trying to strangle me slowly. If I’d had my way, I’d be going to the hearing in bloodstained BDUs and my oldest combat boots—the ones with African sand still on them. The House Armed Services Committee wanted to call me a hardened juvenile delinquent? Fine, at least let me look the part.
Everybody else—except Will—told me that was a terrible idea. So Mom and Aunt Julie took me shopping and wrangled me into the suit. Complete with shiny new wingtips.
I felt, and probably looked, very stupid.
“I heard CNN was going to carry C-SPAN live during the hearings,” Will said. He stared out the window with his shoulders bunched up around his ears. “Everyone in the world will know who we are after today.”
Everyone in the world would know…but how we’d be judged was the question. Would our accusers accept that everything we’d done was to protect and defend the defenseless? Or would we go down in flames, remembered by history as the very worst of violent offenders?
What worried me most was that the world wouldn’t learn the truth until it was too late: that the war wasn’t over. Pentagram Strike Force had been pulled off of active duty to participate in this political circus. Meanwhile, the Dark Master had gained a toehold in our world. The search for the Chinese shaman, our final lead—along with hunting the last two prime monsters—should’ve been our priority, and necessary to putting an end to the Master’s reign of terror. Instead we were here, sold out to Congress by the enemy’s favorite human servant.
As we made our way through the streets of D.C., Tink made a sullen noise in my head. I’ve never liked this place. Too many skeptics.
“Insulted some people don’t believe in you?” I asked, biting back a nervous smile. “Do we need to clap and bring you back to life?”
Will laughed, while Tink growled. The nickname is bad enough without the jokes, thank you very much.
The other wielders didn’t react. Parker was more pale than usual, and his freckles stood out like measles on his face. Ramirez glared out the window. Jorge had his hands folded in his lap and his eyes were closed, almost like he was praying.
“Anybody else coming to the party?” I asked.
“This is it, far as I know,” Parker said, the faintest hint of Alabama twang coming through. “We brought a couple of our guys as character witnesses, but they aren’t allowed to testify unless they’re called. So it’s just us.”
Ramirez flashed me a rare smile. “Murphy’s here.”
“I heard,” I said. “He’s driving my family over to the hearing.”
“He can’t wait to see you.” Now Ramirez was chuckling. “Said he’d watch as we do the walk of shame through the crowds at the Capitol.”
“Wait…crowds?” I asked. “What crowds?”
“Haven’t you been watching the news?” Parker raised an eyebrow. “That’s why we’re taking a caravan with draconian seating arrangements. They wanted the wielders to be the first out.”
“We gave up on watching the news a few days ago when that anchor on MSNBC called me and Matt ‘budding psychopaths,’ who’ve become trained killers,” Will said.
“You’re in for treat, then,” Parker said.
He wasn’t kidding. As we turned down First Street leading past the Capitol steps, people choked the sidewalks. Some had signs saying we were saviors. Some yelled that we worshiped Satan. Every single one of them watched the cars pass. We were sacrificial lambs, going to the slaughter, and it would all play out on television.
“This…is gonna suck,” Will said as an egg splattered against the SUV’s window.
“They can’t get near the entrance,” Johnson told him. “They have barriers holding everyone back.”
Yeah, because a little bit of plywood would be an excellent deterrent against mob violence.
We turned the corner on Independence, heading for the Sam Rayburn building. It was one of the House’s office buildings and where we’d have the hearing. You’d think the President was coming to visit, because we were led by a police car and followed by two motorcycle cops.
More people crowded the mall around the Capitol building and lined the streets all the way to our destination. Tink was jumpy, twitching around my skull. Instinctively, I reached for my knife handle, sheathed in my thigh pocket.
Ramirez’s eyes tracked the movement. “The knives have to stay in the car.”
“I thought they’d demand to see them,” I said.
“We don’t want members of Congress to get a hand on them, so the plan is to lock them up and leave them with Johnson.”
Being without my knife in tense situations usually caused me physical pain and leaving it behind sounded like torture. “But—”
“This is the only way we’ll be certain to get them back,” Ramirez said as he handed his knife to Johnson, looking as if it hurt to loosen the handle from his fingers. “General’s orders.”
We followed his lead. I set the blade in its metal box and locked it in. My head ached the instant contact was broken.
I’ll be nearby no matter what. You aren’t forsaken just because you aren’t wearing the knife, Tink said. All the same, don’t do anything stupid.
“Okay,” I murmured. Will whispered something similar and Captain Parker smiled at us. Instructions were universal sometimes.
A rap on the window announced the MPs’ arrival—military escort from the SUV to the hearing rooms. I didn’t know if that was for our protection, or to make us look more like criminals.
We slid out of the vehicle, all of us steely-eyed and standing erect. The MPs led us along the barricaded street. Cameras pointed our direction and reporters screamed questions. As of now, anonymity wasn’t a luxury I had anymore. Everywhere I looked, people were staring at us. I could almost hear the gasps of surprise zooming through Billings as our faces started showing up on television. Greenhill High was on fall break, but that only meant the news would travel faster.
The building itself was white stone, with two massive statues guarding the front door. Crowds of people surrounded them, pressed against the blue police barriers and jostling to get a better look.
As we headed for the stairs, someone shouted my name and the voice sent a shock wave through my chest. I stopped dead in my tracks and searched the crowd for the source, finding who I was looking for when I spotted a flash of auburn hair. I wasn’t sure how she’d gotten here…but I was sure she would be grounded for six months for coming.
Ella stood at the edge of the barrier, scowling at the MPs. I knew how she’d gotten such prime real estate—by holding a sign that read “No more monsters under your bed, courtesy of my boyfriend!”
Penn stood next to her, directing the crowd in a chant. Something about “stupid politicians.”
“What are they doing here?” I asked.
“No idea,” Will said.
Before the MPs could react, I ran for Ella. I heard Will pounding the pavement behind me, but she was all I saw. Ella dropped her sign and flung out her arms. We got in one long kiss before one my escorts put a hand on my arm.
“I can’t believe you came,” I told her in a rush.
She lifted her chin. “There’s no way I wouldn’t be here for you today.”
The MP’s grip tightened around my bicep. I dug my heels in. “I love you.”
A second MP had joined the first, tugging at my arms. As they dragged me away, she yelled, “I love you, too!”
The frenzy from the press got more chaotic, jostling to shove microphones in Ella’s face. The last thing I saw as the guards pushed me into the building was her granting interviews, looking like the queen of all she surveyed.
Our handlers led us to a small room off the hearing chambers. A few minutes later, my family showed up. My uncle and his wife, Colonel and Captain Tannen, came in first, followed by General Richardson. Not long after, Mom, Mamie and Brent arrived. Mamie looked anxious, twirling a pigtail around her finger, but Mom was angry. The night she’d found out about the hearings…well, I’d never seen her that pissed off, and her mood hadn’t improved much over the last few weeks. She paced the room, looking like she wanted to punch something really hard.
Once we were all settled, Army counsel gave us last minute pointers. Mom glared at him several times, finally saying, “Enough. You’re making them nervous.” She put her hand on my shoulder. “Tell the truth. That’s all you can do. Don’t let them twist your words.”
I would do my best, because I needed to focus on getting through the proceedings without slipping up. If I did, Uncle Mike, Badass Aunt Julie and General Richardson could lose their jobs. Or go to jail for endangering minors. Take your pick.
The general and Uncle Mike talked quietly in one corner, wearing their Class As. It was the first time since his wedding that I’d seen my uncle in full dress uniform. The large section of commendation ribbons on his jacket made him look impressive and I stared longingly at the uniform. I hated being in this suit. I belonged in uniform, but when I begged to enlist with Mom’s permission, no one had gone for it.
“You wouldn’t complete basic in time for the hearings,” Captain Johnson had said.
Mike had ground his teeth a full minute before adding, “Before he died, you promised Colonel Black you’d go to West Point. Stay the course and we’ll get you there.”
Mom’s answer was even simpler. “No.”
So here Will and I were, looking awkward in coat and tie, as if this was some joke of a graduation ceremony instead of a moment that would decide the fates of every single person in this room. I tugged at my collar, wondering if it would suffocate me before the hearing was over.
Mamie touched my hand. Brent loomed behind her, an ever present watchman to keep our sister out of harm’s way. Despite the gravity of our situation, she smiled. “Go get ‘em, Tiger.”
And so I was laughing when someone knocked. A House page about Mamie’s age stuck his head in. The guy eyed Will and me warily, then said, “I’m here to escort you to the proceedings.”
The general stood. “All right, gentlemen. Time to go.”
About the Author:
Kendra C. Highley

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Kendra C. Highley lives in north Texas with her husband and two children. She also serves as staff to two self-important and high-powered cats. This, according to the cats, is her most critical job. She believes chocolate is a basic human right, running a 10k is harder than it sounds, and that everyone should learn to drive a stick-shift. She loves monsters, vacations, baking and listening to bad electronica.
 
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The Mating Game by Melissa Snark [BookBlitz + Giveaway]

This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. Melissa will be awarding a Nordic Lights Dolphin Triskilian Pendant for Guidance and Inner Peace to one randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour, as well as a signed paperback copy of The Mating Game to two randomly drawn winners (US ONLY) via the rafflecopter at the end of this post.

Melissa will be awarding a Nordic Lights Dolphin Triskilian Pendant for Guidance and Inner Peace to one randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour, as well as a signed paperback copy of The Mating Game to two randomly drawn winners. (US ONLY)

 

Two males…two friends…a competition for the right to claim The Heart of the Iron Stone Pack.

An alpha female at her core, Theresa Sanchez struggles to protect her young daughter, but rivalries and politics create volatility in the pack. As Theresa comes into heat, lust and need rule her body. Her pack demands only the most virile male have her. How can she choose only one mate when her body craves two—the virile beta and the man she loves?

Zachary Hunter will do anything to take Theresa as his mate, even if it means killing his best friend. However, Robert Blane is just as determined to ascend to Alpha. Both their beasts howl to mark her flesh, but only one can survive to claim her.
But with enemies circling, they must fight…for the pack, for Theresa, and for a future together.

Warning: Book contains wolf shifters, pack politics, gritty fight scenes, offbeat humor, and sizzling sexual adventures between a ménage of partners.

Enjoy an excerpt:

Bright and early Saturday morning, Theresa Sanchez opened her front door to discover Zachary Hunter clad in a bright orange dress on her porch. The loose bodice fell low on his chest, displaying dark blond curls and showcasing his broad shoulders and powerful torso. The neon hemline stopped above the knees, revealing muscular calves, strong ankles, and shapely feet.

It was unusual attire for a dominant male werewolf.

She stepped closer and sniffed, seeking to satisfy the impulses of her she-wolf. The earthy scent of him flooded her nostrils—masculine and potent—inciting the heated ache of arousal between her thighs. She licked her lips, hoping that drool hadn’t dribbled down her chin. The man made her mouth water.

“My eyes are up here, love,” Zach quipped in a crisp British accent. His hand lifted and a long, elegant finger tapped her chin.

“Oh, right. Sorry.” She forced her roaming eyes upward, away from his buff chest, striving to remember that she and Zach didn’t play like that. The man was many things to her: best friend, confidant, and protector. He fixed leaky faucets and kept her ancient car running. But of all the roles he played, he remained “lover” only in her dreams.

Fast Facts About Melissa Snark:

• Melissa Snark is published with The Wild Rose Press & as an Indie author with five unique titles: A CAT’S TALE, THE MATING GAME, LEARNING TO FLY, THE CHILD THIEF, HUNGER MOON.

• Her Loki’s Wolves series includes THE CHILD THIEF, HUNGER MOON AND BATTLE CRY (to be released in 2014).

• She lives in the San Francisco bay area with her husband, three children and a glaring of cats.

• She is a professional cat herder and unrepentant satirist who blogs about books and writing on The Snarkology.

Connect with Melissa Snark:

Author Website

http://www.melissasnark.com/

The Snarkology

http://www.melissasnark.blogspot.com/

Email: melissasnark at gmail.com

Facebook Author Page

https://www.facebook.com/melissasnark.author

Twitter

https://twitter.com/MelissaSnark

Goodreads

http://www.goodreads.com/MelissaSnark

Amazon Author Page

http://www.amazon.com/-/e/B0076EEQIU
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Scandal by Sarah Ockler [Guest Post + Giveaway]

 

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File Size: 3989 KB
Print Length: 416 pages
Publisher: Simon Pulse (June 17, 2014)
Sold by: Simon and Schuster Digital Sales Inc
Language: English
ASIN: B00FNVSNCI

Blurb

Lucy’s learned some important lessons from tabloid darling Jayla Heart’s all-too-public blunders: Avoid the spotlight, don’t feed the Internet trolls, and keep your secrets secret. The policy has served Lucy well all through high school, so when her best friend Ellie gets sick before prom and begs her to step in as Cole’s date, she accepts with a smile, silencing about ten different reservations. Like the one where she’d rather stay home shredding online zombies. And the one where she hates playing dress-up. And especially the one where she’s been secretly in love with Cole since the dawn of time.

When Cole surprises her at the after party with a kiss under the stars, it’s everything Lucy has ever dreamed of… and the biggest BFF deal-breaker ever. Despite Cole’s lingering sweetness, Lucy knows they’ll have to ’fess up to Ellie. But before they get the chance, Lucy’s own Facebook profile mysteriously explodes with compromising pics of her and Cole, along with tons of other students’ party indiscretions. Tagged. Liked. And furiously viral.

By Monday morning, Lucy’s been branded a slut, a backstabber, and a narc, mired in a tabloid-worthy scandal just weeks before graduation.

Lucy’s been battling undead masses online long enough to know there’s only one way to survive a disaster of this magnitude: Stand up and fight. Game plan? Uncover and expose the Facebook hacker, win back her best friend’s trust, and graduate with a clean slate.

There’s just one snag—Cole. Turns out Lucy’s not the only one who’s been harboring unrequited love…


You can purchase #scandal at the following Retailers:
Guest Post
Sarah stopped by the neighborhood to chat about random preferences in a very fun this and that

——> This OR That with Sophie!

Fiction or Non-Fiction? Fiction

Tea or Coffee? Both! Coffee is a must-have for mornings. At night I like tea.

Physical Books or E-books? Both! I’m a total book sniffer, so I’ll always have a spot in my heart for physical books. I used to be one of those people who said I’d never get an e-reader… until I received one as a gift. I LOVE it. Basically, I’ll take my books any way I can get ‘em!

 

Writing in the Morning or in the Afternoon/Evening? It’s different every day. I no longer have a set routine, but I generally feel more creative late at night.

Dinner or Dessert? Dessert for dinner!

Comedies or Dramas? Both. But I haven’t seen a great comedy in a long time. Today’s trend of cruelty-as-humor or lady-bashing-as-humor doesn’t do it for me.

Pen or Pencil? Both. Depends on the mood. They each have a different feel on the page. But if I’m writing something I want to last, like a journal entry or letter, pen for sure.

Sleeping In or Waking Early? Sleeping in! It’s one of the perks of working from home.

The Past or the Future? The present. It’s all we have!

Being Outdoors or Indoors? Outdoors! Put me up on a mountain or out by the sea.

Dusk or Dawn? Generally I only see the dawn if I’m still up from the night before. So, dusk!

Chocolate or Vanilla? What kind of question is this? CHOCOLATE!

The Beginning of a Story or The End? Love them both, but there’s something especially magical about the start of a new writing or reading adventure.

Author Bio

Sarah Ockler is the bestselling author of several books for teens: The Book of Broken Hearts, Bittersweet, Twenty Boy Summer, Fixing Delilah, and the upcoming #scandal. Her books have received numerous accolades, including ALA’s Best Fiction for Young Adults, Girls’ Life Top 100 Must Reads, Indie Next List, Amazon Top Movers and Shakers, and nominations for YALSA Teens’ Top Ten and NPR’s Top 100 Teen Books.

She’s a champion cupcake eater, coffee drinker, tarot enthusiast, night person, and bookworm. When she’s not writing or reading at home in Colorado,Sarah enjoys hugging trees and road-tripping through the country with her husband, Alex. In addition to her website at sarahockler.com, fans can find her on Twitter, Tumblr, and Facebook.

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Giveaway

Neither Book Nerd Tours or Book Suburbia are not responsible for Lost or Damaged Books the mail

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2 Winners will Receive a Copy of #scandal by Sarah Ockler.

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Atlas by Becca C. Smith [BookBlitz + Giveaway]

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Atlas

The Atlas Series

Book 1

Becca C. Smith

Genre: Urban Fantasy

Publisher: Red Frog Publishing

Date of Publication: 11/14/13

ISBN: 978-0985027667 (Ebook)

ISBN: 978-1493648375 (Print)

ASIN: B00GPBF8X2

Number of pages: 293

Word Count: 73,000

Cover Artist: Stephan Fleet

Amazon   Kindle

Blurb

Kala Hicks is part of a covert elite military team that answers directly to the President of the United States. But during an emergency mission aboard Air Force One, Kala is shocked to discover that the real threat is none other than the President himself. Defying her commanding officer, Jack Norbin, Kala takes the shot, and her life changes forever.

The moment the President is killed, a supernatural force speaks to Kala, telling her that she has to commit one act of atrocity every four days… or the world will end. Thrown into a reality she never could have imagined, Kala faces off with creatures of legend; from demons determined to make her fail and plunge the Earth into chaos, to angels who don’t trust her to do the job and are willing to kill her to claim it for themselves.

Pitted against the forces of good and evil, Kala must choose whether to save the world by doing the unthinkable, or sit back and let it burn. And four days later, she’ll have to do it again.

 Excerpt


Very carefully, Jack opened the door that led to the President’s office.

What awaited them was terrifying.

President Jareth Wilton stood behind his desk. He was wearing a vest that held five grey bars of C-4 wired into a bomb. Wilton was a tall man, well over six feet with stark black hair and a long face. He was a young President, only fifty years old, but he looked like he’d aged twenty years since the last time Kala had seen him at a press conference, with dark rings under his eyes and worry lines on his forehead.

But his smile was what made the scene surreal and horrific. His thin lips were grinning as if he’d just climbed Mt. Everest.

President Wilton stared directly at Jack as the door swung open the rest of the way. “I figured it out! I figured out how to break it! No one will ever have to do what I’ve had to do again! Do you realize what this means?”

Kala knew then and there that the man was cracked. Figured what out? Break what? He was rambling like a mad man.

But the more frightening moment came when Jack responded back to Wilton. “Killing yourself is impossible. People have tried that in the past.”

Not only was President Wilton talking crazy, but apparently Jack knew his language and was responding accordingly.

Kala noticed that Wilton’s eyes lit up when Jack spoke. “You’re the one they sent to replace me.”

Jack nodded.

What? Kala was seriously confused.

Kala spoke up, “What’s going on Jack?”

Replace him for what?

Jack didn’t acknowledge Kala or the rest of the team, which was shifting uncomfortably behind him.

Wilton shook his head, serious. “You can’t do it. You have to let me detonate this bomb. We have to crash the plane! It’s the only way to stop it!”

“You can’t stop it!” Jack yelled back.

“I can and I will!” Wilton talked into an earpiece. “NOW!”

The plane nose-dived.

Everyone jolted forward and stumbled from the force of it.

Jack barked orders, “Lali get up to the Flight Deck and by any means necessary take over this plane!”

Lali paused for a second, she looked more confused than Kala felt, but after a moment to gain her bearings as the plane was falling fast, she managed to high-tail it out of the room and up to the Flight Deck.

Kala was sure they’d hit ground at any moment.

Jack aimed his gun at the President’s head.

Wilton was frantic. He ducked behind his large oak desk that was bolted to the ground.

“You can’t kill me! You’ll ruin everything!” Wilton yelled.

Jack turned to Kala and Derek. “No one shoots him but me!”

Kala kind of nodded, but she was in shock at the fact that they were about to flatten a part of the capital with Air Force One. She really didn’t care what Jack was saying. She couldn’t let President Wilton set off that bomb and kill thousands.

Jack shot at the desk, trying to hit the president, but he didn’t come close.

Only Kala could make a shot like that and not get them all killed from shooting a hole through the plane.

Kala and Derek made eye contact. Kala could tell Derek was thinking the same thing. He whispered so only Kala could hear, “Do it.”

Kala’s nod was barely perceptible.

Jack saw her and his eyes went wide. “Kala STOP!”

Kala shrugged. “I can’t let him do this, Jack. I’m sorry.”

Only the top of Wilton’s head was showing.

It was enough.

Kala took her shot.

 

Author Bio

 

Becca C. Smith received her Film degree from Full Sail University and has worked in the Film and Television industry for most of her adult life. In 2010 Becca published her first novel, Riser followed by the sequel, authorReaper, in 2011, and the finale, Ripper in 2013. In 2012 Becca wrote the children’s novel Alexis Tappendorf and the Search for Beale’s Treasure. She is also the co-author of the teen graphic novel Ghost Whisperer: The Haunted.

 

Becca currently lives in Los Angeles, CA with her husband, Stephan and their two cats Jack and Duke.

 

 

 

Links

 

 

Giveaway

 

 

5 print copies Atlas by Becca C. Smith

 

 

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The School of Ministry: The Windgate by Braxton A. Cosby [BookBlitz + Giveaway]

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The School of Ministry

By: Braxton Cosby

BLURB

 TO CHOOSE, IS FATE!

A young man named Ziv struggles to find his place in life after both of his parents are murdered. Orphaned and alone by the age of six, he bounces in and out of foster homes hopeless and afraid, wondering if he will ever find a path to happiness. He resolves to accept a life of depravity, until one day he discovers he possesses the gift of sight: to see creatures from the afterlife, but not angels…demons!

Ziv is recruited by The School of Ministry, a secret society that promises to help him find his best friend Stephanie, who has gone missing. But there is one catch: he must agree to join them in their quest to eradicate evil and protect the weak. Ziv learns that he is a “Conduit,” which allow him to cross over into the spirit world and transcend time itself. When he is partnered with two other young men who have similar gifts, the unlikely trio is trained in the mastery of weapons and the art of Shouting, during treacherous challenges of the tortuous Quad in preparation for their mission: to secure the Windgate.

Entrenched in a quest of identity and love, he will eventually come face to face with pure evil itself-Akabod, the spiritual prodigal son to the School of Ministry and a master of talents.

 

Cover

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Mr. C. takes a deep breath and spits it out. “It is Stephanie. She’s here. We found her.”
Time seems to stand still as Stephanie’s name rang through my eardrums. My heart rate increases. 
“She…Stephanie’s here? Well, where is she? When can I see her?” I head toward the door.
 
“She’s safe.” Maxwell halts me. “She’s being detained in one of the fifth floor containment units where she will be under close surveillance. She is not to come out until we have assured our own safety.” 
My voice cracks. “What do you mean detained? Is Stephanie considered a threat?” 
“She was picked up by one of our scout teams in the northeast. We think she may be involved in witchcraft.” 
I lean back in my chair, snickering. “Witchcraft? Come on. You’ve got to be kidding me, right?”
 “We would certainly hope not,” he warns, not sounding the least bit confident. “But there is only one way to be sure. We have to put her through the Purge.”
“No,” I scream, as my heart pounds against my chest wall. 
“It’s the only way to be sure, son.” Mr. C. places his hand on my shoulder. 
I drop my head, struggling to hold back the tears welling up in my eyelids. “Can I see her?” 
“No!” Maxwell’s tone scorches my ears. “Unequivocally—no! Not under any circumstances. She must go through the Purge first. Then there will be time to visit her. If she survives, that is.”
I storm to the window and look down at the cross. My mind drifts to thoughts of freedom, away from this place: just me and Stephanie, all alone. This is what I came here for—to free her. My hands fist at my sides. She can’t go through the Purge. All I want is for things to go right for once in my life. But it hasn’t and never will if I don’t start dictating back. I didn’t want any of this for her. I didn’t ask for my family to be torn apart. I didn’t ask to be born an orphan. Yet, for some reason, I continue to be a doormat. 
I want more than this!
“Ziv,” Mr. C. says.
 
If only I could see her again. Her eyes would tell me the truth.
“Dr. Ethridge will be conducting the interrogation. She will be in the best care. You have my word on that.”
A surge of heat pours through my stomach and I ask, “Is that the complete truth?”
“Yes,” Maxwell warns, “and don’t question the authority at hand. Be mindful to stay in your place.” 
“Fifth floor, huh?” The words spill from my mouth.
I face Mr. C. and Maxwell, who stand blocking the door. A heap of air gusts from my mouth and I shout, “Sit Down!”
My voice, covered in thunder, explodes throughout the room and bounces off the walls. A small vase on the table shatters, sending ceramic shards everywhere. Mr. C. and Maxwell tremble and collapse to the floor, landing on their backsides before crossing their legs.
I storm past them. 
Maxwell reaches out a hand and sarcastically utters, “Nice…technique!”
Breaking to the back corridors, I run to avoid guards. I know I only have a few seconds to spare before Maxwell and Mr. C. are back on their feet. The elevators would be too slow, so I take the stairs, skipping multiple steps as I float down, using the handrails to propel me. The jolts of my knee joints are barely noticeable as I land and quickly pounce to the next level below. As I reach level five, the alarm blares overhead, along with an unfamiliar announcement about some code that I haven’t invested enough time in to recognize. I race past a crowd of onlookers before they can identify me, bumping a young man off his feet as I turn the corner and head toward the detainment room. 
I fling the doors open, where a pack of burly built men stand waiting for me. They are unarmed, but more than husky enough to take me out with one or two well-placed punches. 
 
Then I would not see her again, wasting this adrenaline filled romp. 
“Stand down sir,” one of the men yells, pointing a weighty fist at me. 
The air is pregnant with potential. I bite down on my bottom lip, straining to hide a smile.
Steady, the words pour out, “Don’t you mean,” and I shout, “Sit Down!” 
All five men stagger and fall to the ground, one at a time like dominoes. I step over them, lifting the set of keys from one of their hands, while I whistle. Pressing forward, I reach the room and insert the key. The swooshes in my chest have suddenly merged, creating one large rhythmic pulsation as I anticipate seeing Stephanie again. I open the door and there she sits, alone on a bench with her head in her hands.
She looks up at me and asks, “Ziv, is that you?” 
Her mouth seems to move in slow motion and her voice travels through the air in asynchronous fashion. 
“Yes, it’s me!” I slam the door behind me.
Thoughts of hugging her transform my brisk walk into a run as I pull her close. The softness of her body is pure kryptonite to me and I melt away like ice. Time stands still as my heart stops and my emotions freeze. I’m not quite sure if it’s the safe or something else at work, but my fear and doubt have completely left me. Nothing else matters at this moment—nothing but Stephanie. All those words of truth and trust have been cast aside as well. And it’s going to take a miracle to bring them back. 

 

 

 BIO

Braxton

Multi-Award-Wining Author Braxton A. Cosby is a dreamer who evolved from concepts on pen and paper to pixels and keyboards. He tells stories that evoke emotions and stimulate thought. Protostar: Book 1 The Star-Crossed Saga and The School of Ministry: The Windgate are currently two Young Adult series he created. Braxton lives in Georgia with his wife, three children and a troop of crazy African Cichlids

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No Place Like Rome by Julie Moffett [BookBlitz]

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BLURBA Lexi Carmichael Mystery: Italy might seem like a long way to go to hide after a disastrous date. But when sexy uberhacker Slash (no, that’s not his real name) asks me to go with him to Rome on an investigation, the timing is sort of perfect. My messed up love life becomes the least of my worries though, after the dead body, the near-kidnapping, and the discovery of a top-secret encrypted file that even I can’t hack. With time running out, there’s only one thing to do: call in the legendary Zimmerman twins and my best fluent-in-Italian friend, Basia, to crack the code. Now if only someone could help me solve the mystery of whether Slash is flirting, or if all the kissing is just one of those “when in Rome” things… But when we finally uncover the secret someone would kill to keep, it’s up to me to solve the case and save the lives of my best friends. Just another week in the life of geek-girl Lexi Carmichael. Read about Lexi’s previous adventures in No One Lives Twice, No One To Trust and No Money Down.

 mys

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Chapter 1

I’ve loved listening to music since I was a little girl. Not because I’m musically gifted, but because notes, themes, chords and tempo all have an intrinsic mathematical logic that speaks to me. After all, music is defined by its numeric divisions, such as a beat, a measure or a bar. Musical scales are actually harmonics based on the numerical ratios present in the Fibonacci series, which are a sequence of integers beginning at zero and one and continuing with each new number being the sum of the previous two.

I know all of this because I’m a geek first-class. My name is Lexi Carmichael and I’m a mild-mannered twenty-five-year old who, thankfully for music aficionados, is not employed in any part of the music industry. By day, I work as the Director of Information Security at a hot new cyber-intelligence firm just outside of Washington, D.C. By night, I’m a gamer, book nerd and fangirl (Bond, Star Wars, Dr. Who, Lord of the Rings). I’ve got long brown hair, no discernible curves and zip in the social skills department. I double-majored in mathematics and computer science at Georgetown University with a specialty in cybersecurity. Ask me to talk about a rigorous axiomatic framework or computational complexity theory, and I’m all over it. Ask me to make small talk and I’ll imagine myself jumping off a bridge.

Yet here I am, dressed in my fanciest dress—okay, it’s my only dress—and attending an opera at the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C., with a man whose social skills and intellect far exceed my own. Small talk is inevitable, and I have a sad feeling that my observations on the Fibonacci series in Don Giovanni won’t fill more than a few minutes.

My acquaintance’s name is Slash, which is short for “backslash” in hacker lingo. I’m pretty decent myself at the keyboard, but Slash is a hacker of extraordinary ability. Of course, Slash isn’t his real name but so far he’s never felt compelled to tell me what his family named him at birth. In fact everything about Slash is a mystery, except that he assures me he’s Italian-American and he works, at least partially, for the NSA, where I was once gainfully employed. He’s so good at what he does that he’s watched around the clock by a team of FBI agents who I’m pretty sure are instructed to kill him rather than let him fall into enemy hands.

Tonight, Slash looked jaw-droppingly handsome in three piece suit and tie. I’m pretty sure this isn’t a date because I’m quasi-seeing my boss, Finn Shaughnessy, and Slash knows that. But Finn’s and my situation is fraught with complications and I’m having a hard time sorting it all out. Maybe Slash doesn’t care about Finn or maybe he does. I wouldn’t know either way. Technically, the word date wasn’t mentioned once in relation to our evening. So, as far as I know, this is just Slash’s goodwill gesture to expand my personal horizons into areas, up until now, unexplored.

 

 

julie moffettBIOJulie Moffett is the award-winning author of thirteen published novels in the genres of historical, paranormal fantasy, and time travel romances, and action/adventure mysteries.

She grew up as a military brat (Air Force) and has traveled extensively. Her more exciting exploits include attending Kubasaki High School in Okinawa, Japan, backpacking around Europe and Scandinavia for several months, a year-long college graduate study in Warsaw, Poland and a wonderful trip to Scotland and Ireland where she fell in love with castles, kilts and brogues.

Julie has a B.A. in Political Science and Russian Language from Colorado College, a M.A. in International Affairs from George Washington University in Washington, D.C., and is nearly finished with her M.Ed.  Able to speak Russian and Polish, she worked as a journalist for the international radio station, Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty in Washington, D.C. for eleven years, publishing hundreds of articles. She now works as a proposal writer and research advisor for a defense contractor in the Washington, D.C. area.

 

Julie is a single mom with two sons, who keep her quite busy. She belongs to Romance Writers of America and Washington Romance Writers where she served six years on the organization’s Board of Directors. She was also the Market News Columnist and Feature’s Editor for the organization’s monthly newsletter, Update, for eleven years.

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Liberty’s Torch by Janet McNulty [BookBlitz]

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Title: Liberty’s Torch

Author: Janet McNulty

Genre: YA Dystopian

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All it takes is one spark to ignite the flame of liberty.

Six months have passed since Dana and Kenny parted.  Forced to live as a wanderer, Dana discovers a crashed drone and learns of the chaos within Dystopia and what President Klens has planned for the resistance. Realizing that she must go back, Dana acquires the help of a seventy-year-old man and an old friend.  Upon her return, she finds that rebellion is in the air as the government continues to eliminate dissenters.

Forced to disguise herself, Dana searches for the resistance to tell them of President Klens’ plans.  After a few run-ins with the officers and narrow escapes from Colonel Fernau—his obsession with her growing each day—she learns that the people of Dystopia yearn to be free from their oppression.  What they need is a leader.  Knowing that everyone she cares for will never be safe so long as the government reigns supreme, Dana must decide how far she is willing to go achieve freedom.

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Dana burst through the brush.  The other man reached for his weapon.

“Drop it,” said Dana pointing her gun at him.

“That gun is empty,” said the man.  “You used both barrels.”

Dana cocked the weapon pointing it at his head.  “You sure about that?”

The stern look on her face unnerved the man.  He dropped his knife and bag.

“Kick it over here,” said Dana.

The man kicked the bag to her.

“Now the both of you get going.”

“Fine.  You can have the runt.”

The second man helped his friend up and carried him away.  They scurried through the brush and away from Dana’s cold exterior.

Once she made sure they had gone, Dana searched the bag for anything of value.  She put any valuables she found into her own.  Kenny coughed.  Dana tossed him a water bottle.  “Drink that.”

“Dana?”

For the first time, Dana looked at Kenny finally realizing who he was.  She threw the bag aside.  “Kenny?”

“Bet you never thought you’d see me again.”

“I had hoped I wouldn’t.”  Her controlled voice hurt Kenny.

BIO

Ms. McNulty began writing short stories at an early age. That passion continued through college until she published her first book: Legends Lost: Amborese under the pen name of Nova Rose. Since then she has gone on to publish a mystery series, children’s books, and even a dystopian series.

Recently, her grandmother was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s causing her to visit her grandparent’s and record her grandfather’s memoirs before they become lost. The final result is Grandpa’s Stories: The 20th Century as My Grandfather Lived It. She did this to preserve her family history before it becomes lost.

Ms. McNulty currently lives in West Virginia where she enjoys hiking, being outside, crocheting, or simply sitting around and doing nothing. She continues writing. She is finishing up her dystopian series (the second book, Tempered Steel, is to be published in August 2013 and the final one, Liberty’s Torch, in November 2013).

Books include:

Legends Lost Series: (Published under Nova Rose)

Tesnayr
Amborese
Galdin

The Mellow Summers Series:

Sugar And Spice And Not So Nice
Frogs, Snails, And A Lot Of Wails
An Apple A Day Keeps Murder Away
Three Little Ghosts
Oh Holy Ghost
Where Trouble Roams
Two Ghosts Haunt A Grove
Trick Or Treat…Or Murder

Children’s Books:

Mr. Chili’s Chili
Mr. Chili Goes To School
Mr. Chili’s Halloween
Mr. Chili’s Christmas
The Hungry Washing Machine
Mrs. Duck And The Dragon
Rhymes-a-lot
How Do You Catch An Alien
Are You The Monster Under The Bed?

You can learn more about her and her writing at www.legendslosttrilogy.com

Follow her blog: http://booksandlegends.blogspot.com/

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Speak of the Devil by Shawna Romkey [Blog Tour + Giveaway]

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Title: Speak of the Devil

Author: Shawna Romkey

Publisher: Crescent Moon Press

Genres: Young Adult Paranormal

Format Available: eBook

Amazon | Purchase | Goodreads

Speak of the Devil (young adult paranormal romance novel), published by Crescent Moon Press and released March 15, 2013.

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What happens when falling in love and falling from grace collide?

 High school junior Lily Tyler dies along with her two best friends in a car accident, but miraculously she comes back to life several minutes later. Unable to deal with her loss and her survivor’s guilt, she moves to her dad’s. While there trying to heal from this tragedy and come to terms with the event, she meets some people at her new school who are all too eager to help her. Struggling to fight her feelings for two of these strange new acquaintances, Luc and Mo, she finds out their true identities.

 Lily must move on from the past, reconcile her feelings for Luc, and find a way to stop a divine war with the fallen angels, all while trying to pass the eleventh grade.

Speak of the Devil Blog Tour – An Excerpt from the book…

Speak of the Devil

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Luc waited on the hood of my beige Chevy, holes in his jeans, forearms resting on his knees. The sun had risen behind him and shone through his shaggy hair. All this time I knew I’d been crushing on him, but looking at him with his bright green eyes and his sly smirk, I knew I loved him.

When I looked in his eyes, I couldn’t turn away. It was like some stupid magical connection; when our eyes met I could read him. I knew what he thought and felt and knew he wasn’t just good, but pure, genuine, perfect. I felt the warmth and knew he loved me. “I know,” I said, probably not making any sense.

I couldn’t read minds or anything, but I could read Luc and knew he could read me. There was a link between us, and I longed to be with him every minute of every day. It was love in a sense I’d never experienced before. I was so confused about him at first, and it had scared me and kept me away. I wasn’t used to being touchy feely or making eye contact. I’d felt safer hiding behind my wall of hair, letting it block my view and keep everyone at a distance, especially since the accident.

But now, after talking with him and spending time with him, I knew what the feeling was. I could label it; name it and face it rather than hide from it. I loved Luc.

I loved everything about him. I loved the holes on the insides of his dirty black Converse All Stars. I loved his careless army flak jacket frayed at the cuffs. I loved the shape of his fingers. I loved his grin and his eyes and his shoulders. I couldn’t compare him to any other person or divine being. The intense feeling washed over me, obliterating the butterflies and making me feel whole, healed, restored.

I needed to be near him, his presence… so I walked slowly up to him. He looked at me strangely since I didn’t slow as I got to him. He straightened, but I moved until I closed in on him. I took his face in my hands and kissed him like I’d never kissed anyone in my life, as though my life depended on it, all the while knowing he could be gone tomorrow and we had no stable future together. All we had was the moment and the kiss. Love lit me up until I felt like I was brighter than the sun behind him, and finally… finally for the first time since I’d died, I felt alive again.

He put his hands up to stop me at first in a feeble attempt at best. Slowly his tension released and his body relaxed as he kissed me back. I felt like I was home. The kiss was light and innocent and sweet. It was pure and all encompassing. I didn’t feel the usual guilt for being happy. I didn’t feel sad for living. The kiss mended everything.

Flashes from the accident zipped through my brain at super speed, the crash, drowning, death. The images slowed when I got to the white space, the feathery space. Heaven. Hope. Happiness. All I’d felt when I’d been dead shot through me again. A release. A letting go. Peace. The rush of divinity didn’t scare me this time. Nothing scared me in Luc’s arms.

 

BIO

Shawna grew up around farms in the heart of Missouri but went to theSR-78 University of Kansas, was raised in the US but now lives on the ocean in Nova Scotia with her husband, two sons, two rescue dogs and one overgrown puppy from hell. She’s a non-conformist who follows her heart.
She has her BA in creative writing from the University of Kansas where one of her plays was chosen by her creative writing professor to be produced locally, and two of her short stories were published in a university creative arts handbook. She earned her MA in English from Central Missouri State University where she wrote a novel as her thesis.
She’s taught English at the university and secondary levels for close to twenty years and can’t quite fathom how all of her students have grown up, yet she’s managed to stay the same. She’s a huge geek and fan of Xena, Buffy and all kick ass women, and loves to write stories that have strong female characters.

Shawna Romkey, Author of  Speak of the Devil

Website  |  Facebook  |  Twitter  | Pinterest  |  Goodreads  |Amazon

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Schedule

 

 

 

GIVEAWAY

ONE copy of SPEAK OF THE DEVIL. Open Internationally

 (you must leave a comment to participate!)

Tour Wide Giveaway: $10 Amazon gift card

(click on Rafflecopter below)

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Gadget Girl: The Art of Being Invisible by Suzanne Kamata [BookBlitz + Giveaway]

Nerd Blast

 

Aiko Cassidy is fourteen and lives with her sculptor mother in a small Midwestern town. For most of her young life Aiko, who has cerebral palsy, has been her mother’s muse. But now, she no longer wants to pose for the sculptures that have made her mother famous and have put food on the table. Aiko works hard on her own dream of becoming a great manga artist with a secret identity.

When Aiko’s mother invites her to Paris for a major exhibition of her work, Aiko at first resists. She’d much rather go to Japan, Manga Capital of the World, where she might be able to finally meet her father, the indigo farmer. When she gets to France, however, a hot waiter with a passion for manga and an interest in Aiko makes her wonder if being invisible is such a great thing after all. And a side trip to Lourdes, ridiculous as it seems to her, might just change her life.

Gadget Girl began as a novella published in Cicada. The story won the SCBWI Magazine Merit Award in Fiction and was included in an anthology of the best stories published in Cicada over the past ten years.

You can purchase Gadget Girl: The Art of Being Invisible at the following Retailers:

    

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GIVEAWAY

5 Winners will receive a Copy of  Gadget Girl: The Art of Being Invisible along with Eiffel Tower Key chains (straight from Paris!) by Suzanne Kamata.
Must be 13+ to Enter
US Giveaway Only

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About Suzanne Kamata

Website

  
 

Five-time Pushcart Prize nominee Suzanne Kamata is the author of the novels Gadget Girl: The Art of Being Invisible (GemmaMedia, 2013) and Losing Kei (Leapfrog Press, 2008), and editor of three anthologies – The Broken Bridge: Fiction from Expatriates in Literary Japan, Love You to Pieces: Creative Writers on Raising a Child with Special Needs, and Call Me Okaasan: Adventures in Multicultural Mothering (Wyatt-Mackenzie Publishing, 2009). Her short fiction and essays have appeared widely. She is the Fiction Co-editor of literarymama.com.

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The Hellequin Chronicles by Steve McHugh [BookBlitz]

Introduction Tour of Steve McHugh’s Hellequin Chronicles.

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Small Time Vengeance

A short story that takes place just before the beginning of Crimes Against Magic, the first book in the Hellequin Chronicles. This can be seen on my blog.

 

Near Soissons, France 1414.

The only reason the man wasn’t dead was because he hadn’t taken part in the raid. He swung gently from the rope I’d wrapped around his chest and under his arms, before I’d hoisted him off the ground. After gaining the information I’d needed about his friends, a cloth gag ensured he would make no sound, and if he woke up and thought about making problems, the four corpses of his comrades, lying clearly visible below him, would prove I wasn’t someone he wanted pissed off.

The four had died while they slept, their throats cut without a sound by the light of their campfire. They’d deserved no less, but my anger would be saved for the man who truly deserved it, the chief of the bandits I’d decimated.

I sat on the thick branch of the old oak tree, high above the ground, watching the man swing slowly back and forth beneath me.

My patience was rewarded as the moon reached its fullest and the sound of laughter came through the forest. The newcomers called to their friends in the camp, their laughter dying when there was no reply. Weapons were drawn and their leader barked orders, as he realised that there would be no answer from his erstwhile followers.

I stepped off the branch and white glyphs erupted over the backs of my hands and up my arms, as my air magic slowed my descent. When I was just over head height with the bandits, I forced the magic down toward my feet, so that I smashed into the ground with a roar. Leaves and dirt were thrown into the air, causing enough confusion and panic that the two closest bandits died before the leaves had drifted back to the earth. A blade of white-hot fire cut through their throats as I moved past them, out of the clearing and into the darkness of the forest, where the blade vanished from my hand.

Four were left in the circle of their camp, their eyes flickering frantically at the merest hint of movement.

The chief grabbed the nearest minion and pushed him. “Get in there and find him,” he barked.

I used my fire magic to see in the dark, turning my vision into a mixture of reds and oranges without casting any visible light from me.

Two large men crept into the forest, their daggers drawn. I moved behind them and took the first one with a blade of air into the base of his skull, almost decapitating him. He fell forward, alerting his companion who turned toward the noise, only to have a gust of air lift him off his feet and crash him into a nearby tree. The angle of his neck suggested he wouldn’t get back up.

“What are you fucking idiots doing in there?” the chief shouted from the tree line, his voice full of barely concealed anxiety.

I charged out of the forest and caught him in the jaw with a blast of air that threw him onto the ground.

I sprinted to the final bandit and he swiped at me with his sword, but I dodged aside and broke his knee with a swift kick. He screamed in pain and fell back, but I caught him and snapped his neck before he hit the ground.

The chief had gotten back to his feet and drawn a dagger, waving it in my direction. A gust of hardened air removed the danger and a second shattered his arm. He howled in pain and I punched him in the stomach, doubling him up, and then pushed him onto the ground.

“Who are you?” The chief’s voice was raspy with pain.

The noise had woken the hanging man, and he watched wide-eyed as I picked up the dagger and crouched beside his boss.

“You terrorised that village. You went there time and time again to steal and have your fun. And when a boy of twelve stood up to you, you murdered him in front of his parents and maimed the man who tried to stop you.”

I smiled down at the chief as fear oozed out of him. “You did everything in your power to break them. But you know what? When I arrived there two days ago, the first thing they did was offer me hospitality.

“They warned me of you and your bandits. They made sure I was going the other way. They wanted to keep me safe from you. Even though you tortured those people, you couldn’t break them.”

“So?” he groaned as I placed the tip of the dagger against his stomach, drawing blood.

“So, clearly you’re very bad at your job. And someone that terrible needs to be shown how to do it properly. So allow me to educate you on the fine art of breaking someone.”

The chief’s screams and pleas lasted only a short time. I gained no enjoyment from what I did, but it needed doing.

The surviving bandit begged me to spare him as I cut him down and removed his gag.

I nodded. “But you’re going to do something for me in return for your life.”

“Anything,” he said immediately.

“You’re going to gather up every last coin and item of worth from your fellow bandits here, and you’re going to take it back to the village you stole it from. You will do this tonight. You will beg for forgiveness. And if you fail to do any of these things, I will find you.” I dragged him over to the body of his chief.

“And I will make what I did to him appear as a tap on the wrist, are we clear?”

The man nodded repeatedly.

“One more question,” I said. “Have you heard about Soissons?”

“You don’t want to go there. The French army murdered everyone. I’ve heard stories of monsters and demons roaming the city.”

“Monsters and demons?” I smiled. “Sounds like my kind of city.”

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McHugh_Crimes_Against_Magic_cvr_FINALThe next book in the series is Book One in the Hellequin Chronicles:

It’s been almost ten years since Nathan Garrett woke on a cold warehouse floor with nothing but a gun, a sword, and no idea of who he was or how he got there. His only clue … a piece of paper with his name on it. Since then, he’s discovered he’s a powerful sorcerer and has used his abilities to work as a thief for hire. But he’s never stopped hunting for his true identity, and those who erased his memory have never stopped hunting for him. When the barrier holding his past captive begins to crumble, Nathan swears to protect a young girl who is key to his enemy’s plans. But with his enemies closing in, and everyone he cares about becoming a target for their wrath, Nathan is forced to choose between the life he’s built for himself and the one buried deep inside him.

Crimes Against Magic is an Urban Fantasy set in modern day London with Historical flashbacks to early fifteenth century France. It’s book one of the Hellequin Chronicles, a series about Nathan (Nate) Garrett, a centuries old sorcerer.

Book Links:

Amazon Ι Amazon UK Ι Goodreads

You can read the Prologue, Chapter 1 and Chapter 2.

 

Blurb:

There are some things even a centuries-old sorcerer hesitates to challenge… McHugh_Born_of_Hatred_cvr_FINAL (1)

When Nathan Garret’s friend seeks his help investigating a bloody serial killer, the pattern of horrific crimes leads to a creature of pure malevolence, born of hatred and dark magic. Even with all his powers, Nate fears he may be overmatched. But when evil targets those he cares about and he is confronted by dire threats both old and new, Nate must reveal a secret from his recently remembered past to remind his enemies why they should fear him once more.

Born of Hatred, set in modern London with historical flashbacks to America’s Old West, continues the dark urban fantasy of Crimes Against Magic, the acclaimed first book in the gritty and action-packed Hellequin Chronicles.

Book Links:

Amazon Ι Amazon UK Ι Goodreads

You can read the prologue and first chapter

 

BIO

Steve McHugh lives in Southampton on the south coast of England with his wife and three young daughters. When not writing or spending time with his kids, he enjoys watching movies, reading books and comics, and playing video games.

 

Website Ι Facebook Ι Twitter

The Keeper: Revenge by O.L Ramos [BookBlitz + Giveaway]

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The Keeper: Revenge

The Keeper Series

Book 2

O.L. Ramos

Genre: Paranormal Romance

ASIN: B00ERHTOUE

 Number of pages: 296

Word Count: 112,930

Cover Artist: Dane Low

Amazon

 

 

If the world you lived in was someday revealed to be nothing but a lie, would you really want the truth? Elizabeth McBeth did, and she’s paid the price for it…

 After almost 10 years since Liz’s mother was taken from her, Liz finally found her mother, Mary. But Mary has been forever changed, something that Liz will have to accept. The beginning of happier times, one would think…

The conspiracy has been exposed; Liz, Vincent, Mary and Michael had all thought that the vampire plot had been destroyed. They should have never underestimated Klein.

Klein has reinforced his armies, splitting the entire vampire species with the question… is Klein the vampiric messiah? Unfortunately for the heroes and the world itself, Klein has set in motion a plan that will destroy the world and recreate it in his own image.

Will the group be able to defeat Klein and restore the balance to nature? Or are they already doomed?

 

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 Chapter 1

It had been several months since the uproar at the Coronam estate. Klein had been deemed an enemy of the state for the entire vampire nation, the ones that wanted to stay on Vincent’s good side, anyway. In all honesty, the entire time since then had been both frantic and surreal. Vincent’s declaration before the Coronam asserting that he was Cain’s enforcer had caused a massive schism in the entire vampire race.

The bloodsuckers had always been a chaotic, selfish bunch. But at least with a strong government like the Coronam reining them in, they were fearful of getting tortured … or worse. The idea that mass executions could be a consequence had never entered their minds, however. Yet now, that’s all anyone could think about. The united stand made by Vincent and Michael had finally broken the camel’s back. Some of the more fearful vampires, the ones prone to paranoia, believed it was an example of what Klein had been warning about for over a thousand years. They believed Klein to be the true messiah of Cain, and Vincent to be a mere false prophet sent to lead them astray. This group of vampires announced themselves as the Hand, a creepy mishmash of politics and skewed religion.

They droned on and on about how Klein was the voice of Cain, and they were the ones who would take action on Cain’s behalf. It was all pretty shady, and there wasn’t a thing that we could do about it. Unfortunately, the entire world behind the veil was becoming increasingly unstable. Vincent was forced to allow Algarus to accept the Hand’s request for freedom of religion, even though everyone suspected the whole thing was just a front for a terrorist organization. But nothing could be proven.

Even the werewolves had ostracized Michael. Although he was never truly accepted because of his close association with Vincent, Michael could at least always request help in the past. Now, he was cut off from almost all of werewolf society. Almost all of them resented Michael openly, dismissing his claims that a werewolf was to blame for Klein’s success. They saw his actions as the beginning for a total civil war amongst all supers. When dozens of supers were caught acting as willing slaves for openly rebellious vampires, Michael realized that there might be truth to the charges imposed against him. This caused him no shortage of pain.

I often found myself staring outside my window wondering how things had worsened so quickly. But then again, I wasn’t the same person I’d been before all this started. I was now hardened by the experiences I’d been made to endure, decisions I’d had to make. Things I truly hoped to repress.

In the past months, I had witnessed Mom, I mean, Mary, go through a very thorough and intensive training regimen. The guys had run through everything from battle concepts and strategies to weaknesses of almost every super in existence. I have to say it that way because that was another key point that Michael always stressed to Mary: to be ready for anything and everything. That it was impossible to know of every super in the world. It was crazy, considering Michael had an almost encyclopedic knowledge of thousands of different kinds of supers. But after dealing with the Hela poison, I could definitely see why he was being so cautious.

I guess that brings me to Bobby. Poor Bobby. His entire clan was ousted from the slayer community, even the children who had never known combat. This caused many fights to break out … even one Anvil clan member’s death. The majority of Bobby’s clan blamed him for siding with a vampire and a werewolf. I don’t know the specifics of what happened, but I’m positive that the slayers were just trying to evade the wrath of Klein’s Hand and the Coronam, too. It was generally agreed that the Hela poison was a threat to the entire world, both supernatural or otherwise. Still though, an example had to be made. And so Bobby took his entire clan and relocated all 188 of them to the only place they could safely go. About thirty or so miles from Angel’s Retreat.

And I guess that’s why I’m keeping this diary. It’s cliché as all get out, but for all my big talk … I’m terrified. Everything has changed. And I’m not even sure it’s for the better either. The reality is—

            A loud knock announces the presence of a visitor. I turn in my chair to look at my bedroom entrance and see Vincent. He has a curious look to his face as he leans on my door and waits for me to say something.

“Hey Vincent,” I say with a bit of a sigh. “How’s it going?”

“Same old, same old,” he answers as he walks into the room and heads straight to the balcony. He opens it up and sits on the guardrail. “How about you, Goldilocks? You seem to be brooding on a Michael-esque scale lately. The hell’s wrong with you anyway?”

            “What do you think is wrong with me?” I reply angrily, the sharp tone in my voice echoing throughout my room. I give it a chance to linger before I continue. “You know … it’s just that I really thought we won. Seriously. You guys kicked some major bad guy ass. I thought that would be that. My mother could come home and be back with Dad, I could have some semblance of an ordinary life, I don’t know.”

“Why be ordinary, though?” he asks with a brief turn to me before he returns to browsing the outside scenery. “You were special before, you were special during. You’re special now. Why all the teenage angst? So everything didn’t end up roses … it sucks. We’re working on it, though. Besides, is this the way you treat me after not seeing me for two days? That’s hurtful.”

            He pretends to get stabbed in the back, does a horrible silent death scene and then throws himself off the balcony. I merely shake my head.

“Wow, tough crowd,” Vincent says as he floats up and hovers in the air a little above my balcony. Such a strange sight, but I’m completely desensitized to it. “You really are on a bummer aren’t you? What really gives?”

“Oh, I don’t even know …” I admit reluctantly with a deep sigh. “I decided to keep this stupid diary. I thought it would make me feel better if I could just write out my thoughts. Maybe keep them here, and the negativity would only be here. In secret. Then I could go and live my life as if nothing ever happened. But it didn’t work out like that at all. I wrote everything down and it just upset me more. What good have we done? Everything is just so much worse now. And this stupid diary is just a reminder of how much we’ve failed.”

“If it’s so bad, why not just throw it out?” He asks, as if the issue was a simple one. “Besides, you know that things have to get worse before they can truly get better.”

“If it exists, someone can find it,” I explain, already defeated. I know there is little sense in what I am saying. But it’s the way I feel. “Maybe someone can know the truth about what we really tried to do. If the world ends, I mean.”

“What?” Vincent straggles his question with a chuckle. He stops his silly flying and lands on the balcony. “Seriously, what happened in the two days I was gone? This is the most ridiculous thing you’ve ever said to me. And lady, you’ve had your fill.”

I shake my head slowly. I know he’s right. But what a person thinks and feels aren’t always on the same page. I know I’m not helping things. But I can’t just press a switch and change the way I feel.

“While you were gone, Bobby had to make an example again,” I explain as I inhale deeply, hoping to forget about the trauma. “Three slayers came in and tried to kidnap me, or kill me. I don’t know what they were going to do. Before they even had a chance to touch me, Michael was on top of all three of them and was carrying them out like a bunch of … I don’t know, rabbits or something.”

He looks at me in disbelief. He’s clearly angry, but my strangely odd word choice has him a little off balance.

“Michael manhandled them, Vincent,” I say, irritated. “It just looked weird. They were kicking and screaming and they just never stood a chance.”

“And how are you?” Vincent asks as he walks around the room examining it. “The place seems to be all right, so I guess Mikey didn’t wreck the place too badly. By your kinda crazy word choice I’m guessing he didn’t hurt them at all, huh? Knowing him, he probably just dragged them back to Bobby by the nape of their necks. Oh, I get it now; rabbits. Heh, pretty good.”

“Yeah, it was still mildly terrifying, though,” I answer as I start to feel myself chuckle as well. The image in my head about the incident is pretty funny, if you can get past the three guys trying to hurt me part.

“I’m sure it was,” Vincent says as he switches his attention and walks towards me slowly with a warm smile on his face. “But you do know that between Mary, Michael and I, there’s really no chance anyone can harm you, right? I mean come on sweetheart, you’re stacked.”

            I laugh a little more before shrugging my shoulders.

“So what kind of example did Bobby make?”

“He killed the one who made the plan. Skyles was his name,” I report, once again feeling the burden of the tragedy. “Did you know him? He expelled the other two.”

“Skyles … never heard of him. Did they at least find out why or what they were trying to do?”

“More or less,” I say as I look down at the ground and inhale deeply again. “They were trying to take me to the slayer leadership and barter for their family to live within their community again. Bobby came by and apologized … he explained that no matter what, what happened had to happen. He said that almost all of the slayer leaders know it had to be done. This was just—”

“Damage control,” Vincent says, finishing my sentence. “Yeah, politics will kill you every time. I knew that something must have rained on your parade, though. Want to go downstairs and get a drink?”

I chuckle. I don’t know if Vincent remembers it, but he drank the entire house dry before he left.

“How are we going to do that, smart guy?” I ask playfully. It was good to see him. Every time anyone leaves the house, I feel vulnerable and lonely … and it was only getting worse. “You drank everything in the house before you left on your little excursion.”

“A, it was not an excursion,” Vincent says with a mischievous smile. “It was a fact-finding mission. Unfortunately, not much of said facts were to be found. I’m kinda in a mood myself, now that I think of it. I did find out that some of the smaller islands of the Dodecanese was hosting a Klein party … the jerk. He’s even got Greek critters siding with him.”

“But why would he be doing that?” I ask, puzzled.

“Not done yet,” Vincent says as he raises a finger to hush me. “And B, you should know better than to think I wouldn’t be prepared. I stocked everything back up and even ordered an underground cellar to be constructed to house our reserves.”

It takes me a moment to understand what he means.

“You’re talking about the booze?!” I say in shock. “Why wouldn’t you just gloss over that and continue talking about what you found in Greece?”

“Far be it for me to allow my reputation to be sullied,” Vincent answers sarcastically before stifling a laugh. “Besides, Greece has been there forever; it’s not going anywhere. Booze has to be maintained and regulated around here. It’s like an endangered species. And besides again, it’s a part of Greece, but if you want to be technical it’s really a series of islands off the coast of Greece. So I didn’t find it in Greece, I found it near Greece.”

I grunt in frustration before slapping him. I examine him to see his reaction but he just turns his gaze up to me and smiles.

            “Feeling better, are you?” He asks knowingly. How I hate him and his sneakiness. “That’s more like it. To thy own self be true. Silly, down on her luck Izzy. That isn’t Izzy at all. Wow, say that five times fast. Anyhoo, stop being such a hard luck case and focus on the task ahead.”

I continue analyzing his smile before I sit down again. He’s right. I shake my head because I know that telling him that he’s right is about as painful as a root canal. But not telling him he’s right becomes much, much worse.

“I know,” I say as I admit my lack of options. “You’re right. I’m sorry. It’s been hard. This last month we haven’t sat down as a family, or whatever you want to call our group. Not even one Sunday dinner. We’re not running this like a home. We’re running this like a prison.”

“Well, this is the first I’ve heard of it,” Vincent says as he straightens out his dress shirt. “But have you told the furry boy scout anything about how you feel?”

“No, I haven’t,” I answer with yet another sigh. I suppose it’s not fair to be bothered if I haven’t even given the guys a chance to fix things. But I just felt restricted.  I shrug those feelings off before continuing. “I know you both have your reasons to do what you do. Klein needs to be found. The supers are all scared and getting desperate. Everyone is afraid that the humans will find out the truth of the world because the vampires all seem to be getting ready for a civil war. Mary needs to be in fighting shape, my father needs to be watched and guarded, and I need to be protected.”

“All while keeping the balance,” Vincent points out in a matter-of-fact tone. “As you can see, it’s more than a day’s work. You gotta have more faith. This guy had a ton of failsafe tools, people, and secrets to work on. It’s a thousand years of this guy thinking that I was coming to kill him and take his seat of power in the Coronam. He was ready before we ever even thought about going. As much as I hate to say it, the guy’s smart. He was prepared.”

Vincent leans back and stretches his arms; he lets out a yawn. It’s the worst fake yawn in the history of fake yawns. I suppose when you haven’t slept or felt exhaustion in 1600 years, you forget these things.

“Man, this is boring,” he finally says as he snaps to attention. “I feel like I should be asleep. I guess it’s been too damn long … Anyhoo, where was I? Oh yeah, the Dodecanese. Thing about Greece is that it’s relatively close to Romania and it holds a very important position in Europe. It’s a brilliant strategic choice. If Klein wants to hit the Coronam, he can, rather easily. On top of that, there are so many islands out there, not many are gonna find him. I found him because I figure he has vastly underestimated my information network.” Vincent smiles proudly before poking me softly in my right upper arm.

“Come on,” he suggests with a nod of his head. “Let’s have a drink, you could use one. I’ll tell you all about it. We also have to talk about what we’re going to do to liven this personality of yours permanently. I can’t have you slapping me every time you feel down in the dumps.”

I stand up slowly and look at his incredible, deep blue eyes.

“I don’t know why you say that,” I say slowly. “I have no problem slapping you all day long if that’s what needs to happen. You gotta do what you gotta do, right?”

“I suppose so,” Vincent agrees with several short nods of his head. “Of course, you’re just going to end up breaking your hand.”

I laugh a little before I end up pushing Vincent’s chest. We walk out of my bedroom and take the obscenely long journey to the common area of Angel’s Retreat. The place is still as beautiful as ever. The décor is a very classy blending of old European castle with modern Hollywood flair, but all of it seems gray and blurred to me. It has become my prison over these last few months. And I am really sick of it. When we finally make it to the bar, Vincent urges me to sit. A change, and a rather drastic one, from me playing bartender to Vincent’s regular drunk roles.

“Wow … What a treat!” I exclaim as I sit on the barstool, something I had become increasingly familiar with in times of stress. “I can’t believe we’re having a drink and I’m on this side of the counter. Feels pretty different. It’s nice. If I get Vincent-drunk, will you help me make it to my bed like I always help you?”

Vincent clears his throat before raising his finger again. Oh geez, here he goes again.

            “Two things I have to point out again. Apparently I’m gonna be doing this all day here,” he says as he puts down the bottle of vodka he was opening. “A, again, is that you should never make suggestive statements like that to me unless you want sarcasm as a reply. You should know better than that. I.e. you want me to help you to bed, don’t you?”

I slap him in midsentence just for the sake of slapping him. I have to admit, it’s a strange relationship we share.

“And B, again,” Vincent says as he shakes the strike away from his face and continues his rant. “Saying that someone is Vincent-drunk implies that I’m nothing but a no-good drunk. That’s also very hurtful. Besides, you’re the minor here. You should just be glad I’m even allowing you to drink.”

“You? Allowing me? That’s hysterical,” I say as I pick up the vodka cocktail Vincent has slid over to me. “Admit it Vincent, you just love the company. Michael doesn’t drink much anymore and you just want a drinking buddy.”

“Yeah, well, it’s all a part of my nefariously genius plan to get into your barstool,” Vincent says as he raises his own cocktail to me. “And before you think about it, I’m not gonna let you slap me again. You’ve used up your limit for today. Now, as is customary we will follow the beautiful tradition of—”

“Yeah, I know,” I say as I raise my glass and tap his with it. I answer his smile with one of my own. “The beautiful tradition of blessing our drink. It is a beautiful tradition. Salud, Vincent.”

“And to you, Izzy,” he says as he brings his glass to his mouth. “Cent’anni.”

“One hundred years to you,” I say. Knowing him, this is probably a test.

“Very good, you’ve been keeping to your studies.”

“No,” I point out a little sharply. “You just say it so often it’s hard to forget.”

Vincent scratches his head and chugs down his drink. He grabs the vodka bottle and drags it along the counter until it’s in between the two of us. He looks at me longingly, licking his lips suggestively. It was good to see at least one of us behaving normally.

“So, I was thinking about this anyway, before you even brought it up; so was Michael,” he says as he opens the bottle and begins to pour himself another round. “We both feel that a lot has happened in such a short amount of time, we should probably reopen the discussion about what you should be doing with your life in the meantime. I’m not going to say that what’s been happening lately is normal for us, but it has happened several dozens of times in our lives. But we can’t expect you, in your short nineteen years, to be dealing with it anywhere near as easily as we have been. I’m surprised you haven’t snapped like you just did before.”

“Well thanks a lot,” I say before chugging down my own drink and snatching the bottle from Vincent’s hands. He only looks at me and shakes his head. “If you knew I wouldn’t react well, why keep me here?”

“I don’t really know what you expected us to do,” Vincent admits almost in frustration. “You yourself said you were never much of a social butterfly.”

“More like a social spider.”

“Yeah, no kidding,” Vincent agrees before taking the bottle away from me as I was helping myself to another drink. “Everything in moderation there, drunko. What I was getting at was that we didn’t really have a lot of choices here. We could have sent you back to the campus, and you could have kept working, but for what? You never really mentioned liking it there. Besides, everyone in town doesn’t even know you exist anymore. I could try to screw around with their heads again and give them back their memories of you, but that’s a real loose option. I don’t wanna do that if I can help it. It’s too dangerous, even with my newfound powers.”

“Yeah, yeah, I get it,” I answer in more evident frustration. The whole thing sucks. He’s right and I know it. But that doesn’t really matter. It was different when I was still searching for my mother. I had a plan and a goal. We had achieved that goal and my mother was back and safe. Now all I did was take alternating courses of education by the guys … that was losing its fun, to say the least. “It was easy for me to not appreciate everything in my old life while I had it, but it’s all I think about now. I even miss the shrink visits. Don’t misunderstand me, I know what you’re saying, but there has to be something better to do with my life. I love you guys, I always will. You both have saved my life, you saved my mother’s, I mean … there’s no repaying any of that. But when are we going to get off of terror alert red here?”

“I was just getting to that,” he continues as he pours himself another drink. Wow, I never noticed he drank the one he had. Lush. “Michael and I have been thinking about what we could do to make your time pass by a little easier. Michael wants you to be protected and watched over at all times. I disagree with that because you do need some level of freedom, or else you’ll end up resenting the both of us.”

“I would never,” I argue in almost a scream. “I just want some fun. I’ve watched everything I can on TV; I’m caught up on all my reading. I would go back to studying all the supers that you guys know about, but what’s the point? Michael is a rolodex of information on the subject. Maybe if I could get my job back at Jack’s Place? Go back to the university, have a normal life? I’m not going to do anything crazy.”

“You say that, but you don’t know what you’ll do,” he contends firmly. “I don’t have you on a leash. None of us do. But what I’m saying is don’t take this temporary phase of you being down in the dumps for more than what it is. It’ll pass. Deep down you know what the right thing to do is. You can’t really risk too much crazy behavior right now. I bet Klein thinks we aren’t anywhere near here, especially with all the false information and dead ends we’ve been leading him on with. But we can’t risk lives with that type of hunch. Jack’s wouldn’t be so bad, because why would you have a job if you were with us? But on the other hand, there’s nothing to do around here but visit Jack’s. Same deal with the university. We gotta take this slow.”

“How slow?”

“Not very,” he assures me before pouring me a little more vodka. “But reasonably slow. So why don’t you start thinking about what you want to do when you grow up, huh? The choice is still yours, eventually. If you wanna walk away from all of this when Klein’s dead, then you have that option open. It’s just not open to you right now because we can’t in good conscience let you get yourself killed.”

“So what are you saying, Vincent? Stop with the theatre and spit it out.”

He grasps his glass and stares me in the eyes before presenting his glass to mine again. “What I’m saying is, give us some ideas,” Vincent says with a smile as he raises his glass. “And you’re free to go do whatever you want. Just don’t skip town, huh?”

I smile back at him and I can’t help hugging him over the counter. He was obviously not expecting this as I sense him almost jerk in place.

Now what should I do? 

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  Michael Clark a.k.a. Michael the Ironskin

Hair – Black

Eyes – Jade Green

Height – 6’8”

Weight – 308 lbs while in human form

Age – Approximately 535 years old

Traits: Michael is a man from a different era. As a man who was originally born in Italy, he maintains the values of his upbringing. Honesty, honor, fair play and an emphasis on strategy; all of these are held in the highest of regards for the decorated werewolf. His nature and the role he plays in conserving nature’s balance make him very careful in choosing his friends. Michael is truly one of the most selfless beings ever to walk the Earth, but his role forces him to keep his existence a secret.

Michael is a mystery to Liz, who is just tugging away layers from his handsome facade, desperately trying to uncover his secret. But what Liz doesn’t know, what she couldn’t possibly even suspect is that Michael is a werewolf. But unlike fictional werewolves, Michael is responsible for the order and balance of nature. It is Michael’s sole responsibility to make sure that the world of man and the world behind the veil, where the true world lies, never cause chaos to one another. But chaos follows Michael’s closest friend, Vincenzo Della Rosa, wherever he goes…

 

Questions ( in no particular order)

 

  • What’s the biggest challenge you have with your height?

It’s really hard to find clothing that fits. I’m also confined to only driving big trucks, or older style sedans. Beds don’t really fit me… I never really noticed it before, but it is a hassle being so tall…

  • What is the one thing that has been passed down to you that you want to pass on to your children?

My father always emphasized honor and honesty; in all things, always be honorable and honest. If I am ever blessed with children, I would hope they would inherit these values. They are important qualities that I believe everyone should possess. Perhaps if more of us were honest with one another, the world wouldn’t be in the state it is now.

  • What was your first thought when you knew that you were a werewolf?

It was very hard to come to terms with at first. My phasing was particularly hard to get under control. I was changing my form with the slightest change in mood. Even while just watching things on television, like football games. It was… inconvenient.

  • What’s your favorite food?

I have a very serious love for steak and potatoes. Perhaps that is boring, but there is nothing tastier than that. A nice, rare filet with some baby red mashed potatoes… some cheddar cheese and bacon. I’m hungry just thinking about it. Although, if I’m being completely open, I usually am hungry.

  • In all the years that you have traveled the earth, what is the most beautiful place that you have seen?

There are many places that come to mind, all for different reasons. Mexico has some beautiful white beaches, Japan has a beautiful horizon… this is a question I could go on and on about. Truly, our world is a marvel.

  • What is the one quality in a woman that you find irresistible ?

To echo my previous statement, I love a woman with a good heart. As an empath, I can always feel motives in others… picking up on the intentions of a good woman is a very satisfying feeling. A good woman who you can talk to, that keeps you laughing… what could be better?

  • You are usually a very serious kind of guy, what makes you laugh?

Children and young animals make me smile uncontrollably… there is something about that level of innocence that is just awe-inspiring.

  • What’s the hardest part to keeping the balance and the Veil hidden?

Ah yes… the never-ending battle. In this past century, the population of humans has increased exponentially. The supers aren’t really slowing either, it’s a powder key. A very dangerous one. Constantly keeping these two populations away from one another is extremely difficult. Keeping the humans ignorant of the existence of the supernatural community… that is nearing impossible.

  • Who has been your favorite famous person that you have met over the years?

Edison was a seriously funny man, although he did have a side of him that tended to be very pensive. My favorite though?… Most likely Jimi Hendrix. He was a very nice man, the music was always great and he was the life of the party when he got himself going.

  • Give me one piece of advice that you would give to mankind to survive?

No matter what happens, never panic. A person who panics is completely incapable of rational thought. It is during crisis that we must have our minds clearest. That is the only way out of these situations. The current problem is currently being addressed and will be resolved soon. This is not the first time the world has been in peril, and I doubt it will be the last. The world will survive, it always has.

 

 BIO

From what I understand, the first line of this thing is where I say something really interesting that wins you over. After all, they say that you know within seconds of meeting a person whether you like them or not.

So…yeah… I got nothing. But if there is one thing I know, it’s that through stories we discover the world, learn about history and traditions; and in doing that, we become who we are as an individual.

Since I was a very young child, my only dream was to become an author one day. I wanted to reach people with my words, maybe even entertain them. I wanted to touch their lives and give them something to think about. After all, I am a loveable blowhard kindaUntitled2 guy… that’s gotta be entertaining, right?

In my life, I’ve done many things; from supervising sales for a retail giant chain to being a Deputy Sheriff. You would think that a person who had been shot at for a living would be brave enough to write a biography without all the sarcastic quips. Unfortunately no, that’s one of my main flaws as the above mentioned blowhard.

Anyhoo, please feel free to drop me a line! If you loved the book, I wanna hear about it. If you hated every word of it, please make sure to let me know, but please avoid the CAPS LOCK! The font can be a little… demeaning. Make sure to have fun guys! They say you only live twice; and if that’s true, we’re at least half done.

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Counterpoint by Daniel Rafferty [BookBlitz]

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Counterpoint Cover

Title: Counterpoint

Author: Daniel Rafferty

Genre: Scifi/Fantasy

 

BLURB

Move over “War of the Worlds,” we’ve got bigger issues to deal with now!  In author Daniel Rafferty’s “Counterpoint,” things aren’t always as they seem—but what, exactly, does that mean?   Is it time for the fight to the end between good and evil, Heaven and Hell? Is it the beginning of Armageddon and the end of time?

It all starts out innocently enough when 12-year-old Mary asks her father where he’s off to, which happens to be one of mankind’s worst endeavours, a World War.  But the story quickly moves beyond earthly boundaries, with angels, demons, the devil, archangels and even humans with supernatural powers, coming together to fight a battle between right and wrong, good and evil.  And the powers-that-be are acting on God’s behalf, but is he just watching from a distance to see what happens? What’s God’s role in all of this—and will he be back to save the day—does he even still exist?

You may think you know the storyline, with so many familiar biblical names being thrown about like fresh holy water; however, there are strange twists and turns that’ll leave you wondering who the good guys and bad guys really are. Is Lucifer actually the devil incarnate or do we humans have it all wrong?  Is Archangel Michael really who we think he is? Can all angels be trusted and are some demons good? It’s a mixed up dimension of space and time when you’re dealing with supernatural entities and human beings—and whose to be trusted?

Beyond the clear symbolism of names such as Mary, Gabriel, David, Ariel and others, what role does the Bassett family play and why does everyone seem to have plans for them?  Why have they been chosen among all other families on earth to do what they do? What have they been selected to do? Will they realize their roles in time to save the planet and the universe as we know it or are they just pawns in a much bigger scheme?

This epic tale takes places from Liverpool to London, to the Scottish and Welsh highlands and over to Dublin—but the end-game results will either be salvation or total destruction of the entire world—and the outcome is still not certain. Is God’s human experiment over—or will we continue for another millennium?  To find out, you must stop what you’re doing right now and read the pages of this exciting story! Say your prayers and hope someone’s listening!

excerp1

“Then destroy Hell!” Gabriel countered loudly. Both had now squared up to each other.

“Destroy Hell?” shouted Michael, over Gabriel’s repeated yeses, “and lose hundreds of angels in the process. What about the millions of demons roaming the planet? They’ll regroup and we won’t have the troops to counter them.”

“Michael,” said Gabriel calmly. He didn’t want them ending up brawling and destroying half the city in the process. “This is wrong. If we try to forcefully remove evil from this planet we risk destroying it. Humanity is capable of ejecting evil from this world. Give them the time to do so. Let the experiment run its course,” he reasoned.

“Evil was never meant to be part of this experiment!”

“We don’t know that. God left no instruction, nothing. For all we know evil is the very object humanity must overcome to pass this experiment.” Gabriel sat back down again. He knew the other Archangels agreed with him, at least to some extent, but would not anger Michael.

“The time is now,” finished Michael once more. The other archangels listened to Michael and Gabriel now descend into an ear bashing row. The world’s inhabitants, human, animal and supernatural alike had no idea that at this very moment, their fate was being determined in a hotel suite in London.

 

BIO

Daniel Rafferty currently lives in Belfast, Northern Ireland. He is actively engaged in writing the epic Counterpoint Trilogy Series and is also working on 665183_583779674987556_897964118_odifferent pieces of writing outside this genre. This includes the upcoming sci-fi thriller Destiny: Illusions. Always intrigued with epic dramas and grand questions, which have been asked throughout the history of civilisation, he aims to incorporate dramatic stories around these questions. This provides a large tapestry in which his writing is sewn.

 

 

 

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