Outreach and Cimmerian Shade

Promo Tour for

OUTREACH by Dariel Raye

&

CIMMERIAN SHADE boxset

 

Outreach: An Orlosian Warriors Novella

Genre: Paranormal Interracial/Multicultural Romance

Broken dreams, an ancient enigma tainted by the past, a mystical bond beyond time and space.

Three years after the accident, Jaci Allen believes she is as lost now as she was the day she awakened to the sudden, tragic deaths of her husband and two-year old daughter. When she accepts a new client, Andreus Shannon, a man who has been imprisoned since the age of 16, she soon realizes their connection is much more than chance.

Their meeting ignites the awakening of Andreus’ frightening special gifts – gifts he has not only tried to hide from the rest of the world, but from himself. Through the bond they share, Jaci is introduced to a dark and deadly world she never knew existed. Can two shattered souls overcome their enemies and find a way to heal one another?

Andreus followed Jaci to her car and held the door for her to slide into the driver seat before walking around to the passenger side. The night air felt good, but his back began to ache, his shoulder blades and spine suddenly throbbing. He knew it was not a result of his workout. In addition to the pain, a sense of foreboding grew more intense the longer they remained outside.

The moment he saw her, memories started to resurface from his dreams, Jaci’s face front and center. They had never met before, but there was a strong connection between them in some way. When they touched, he had felt intense pain, hers, and he sensed that some entity or group of entities would take great measures to keep them apart.

“Thank you, Andreus. Nice to meet a rare gentleman these days.”

He had no idea what to say to her. Starting conversations wasn’t something he had ever been good at, so he simply watched the road, periodically surveying their surroundings.

“So Steve told me you didn’t eat anything. Prison food is the worst, so I’m sure you have a craving for something. I’m not much of a cook, but we can stop and get whatever you want. Just say the word.”

Jaci seemed oblivious to the ominous energy brewing around them as its intensity continued to grow, making it hard for him to concentrate on what she was saying. “You’re right. Prison food is crap, so I’m sure anything will be an improvement. I’d appreciate it if you just take me to one of your favorite places for takeout, so we can get inside as soon as possible.”

“Okay. You like seafood?”

“I’ll eat just about anything.” Andreus smiled, his pointed incisors scraping the inside of his upper lip.

“You’re easy. There’s a nice place close by with some variety, so if you have a taste for more than one thing, that’s fine too.” When he didn’t respond, Jaci glanced at him, her dark eyes narrowed. “You okay, Andreus?”

He didn’t want to alarm her, but he knew she would have to deal with whatever dangers they were about to face, sooner than later. His ability to concentrate was now nonexistent. The pain in his shoulder blades had become unbearable, as if someone was tapping their way out with a sledgehammer. “No. We need to hurry and get off the—”

Sssss! Boom!

Andreus felt the air crackling around them just milliseconds before a single bolt of lightning came out of oblivion, striking the ground in front of them and knocking out two of the car windows. Sudden, inexplicable seismic activity shook the ground directly underneath.

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Dariel Raye is an animal lover, animal rights activist, musician, and award-winning author of powerful paranormal romance and dark urban fantasy with IR/MC (Interracial/Multi-cultural) alpha male heroes to die for, and strong heroines with hearts worth winning. She fell in love with books and started reciting stories at the age of 3. A counseling psychologist, classically trained vocalist, and pianist, she plays over 11 musical instruments, and naturally incorporates behavioral psychology into her characters. Her stories tell of shifters, vamps, angels, demons, and fey (the Vodouin variety). She is also a Netflix paranormal TV series binger.

Dariel is currently writing two series: “Dark Sentinels” (wolf shifters), and “Orlosian Warriors” (Vampire-like Nephilim). For more about Dariel, follow her blog or visit her website. She also publishes a new release newsletter. If you enjoyed this book, please post a review on review sites. You can also follow her and contact her on Twitter, Facebook, or Pinterest.

Cimmerian Shade

A Limited Edition Paranormal Romance & Urban Fantasy Collection

Genre: Paranormal Urban Fantasy Romance

A Limited Edition Paranormal Romance and Urban Fantasy Collection

Dare to discover what lurks in the shadows in **New & Exclusive** paranormal and urban fantasy stories from your favorite NY Times, USA Today, and International Bestselling authors.

Under moonlit skies, witches, werewolves, vampires, demons, dragons, and more, battle not only for their mates, but to stay alive…

Fall for the alphas who play by their own rules despite the odds, whether century-old curses or forbidden love, or worse. For them, what lies in the darkness is worth the fight when it comes to romance.

★✩★Authors Featured in this Collection★✩★

USA Today Bestselling and Award Winning Authors Kiki Howell & Gina Kincade

USA Today Bestselling Author Kathleen Grieve

International Bestselling Author Lashell Collins

USA Today Bestselling and Award Winning Author Angelica Dawson

International Bestselling Author Elvira Bathory

USA Today Bestselling and Award Winning Author Erzabet Bishop

International Bestselling Author Red L. Jameson

USA Today Bestselling and Award Winning Author Muffy Wilson

Bestselling and Award Winning Author Dariel Raye

USA Today Bestselling and Award Winning Author Amanda Pillar

USA Today Bestselling and Award Winning Author Savannah Verte

Award Winning Author Alyssa Drake

International Bestselling Author Mychal Daniels

USA Today Bestselling Author Decadent Kane

Kharma Kelley

Shelique Lize

USA Today Bestselling Author Kallysten

Liz Gavin

USA Today Bestselling Author Isis Pierce

Catherine Banks

NY Times & USA Today Bestselling Author Catherine Vale

USA Today Bestselling Heather Marie Adkins & Bestselling Author Felicia Beasley

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Last Days of Summer Mega-Giveaway: A giveaway every 20 minutes

When? August 25th, 2017

Where? HERE

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Unconditional Surrender & Crescent Moon

PROMO TOUR FOR PATRICIA CHARLES

Unconditional Surrender & Crescent Moon

 

UNCONDITIONAL SURRENDER

Genre: Contemporary Romance with Military Elements

Nothing could drag Kristen McConnell back to re-enacting. Nothing, except the wedding of her best friend. Maybe Creed Graham wouldn’t attend the 150th Battle of the Wilderness. Maybe she wouldn’t see him even if he was.

When Creed discovered Civil War reenacting, he knew it held everything he loved: history, horses, sleeping under the stars, guys drinking beer by the campfire. There was nothing better. Then he met Kirsten McConnell. And she ruined everything for him.

The Wilderness held his salvation. He knew she would return after three long years. This time he would erase her from his heart for good,

While the Battle of the Wilderness rages in explosions of cannon fire, Kirsten can no longer avoid Creed. Will they continue their war or will there be an Unconditional Surrender?

Where else in the entire world but at a reenactment could one cross the lines of history, camp near a forest and go shopping at the same time? She marveled at the people in period clothing as they browsed through the shops—a 19th century shopping mall made of canvas tents. Thousands of men, women and children wandered through the tents for items made especially for reenactors.

The sounds of approaching horses jarred her attention from the earrings. Her hands trembled so much she dropped the jewelry back into the case.

Just because there were cavalry, didn’t mean Creed would be riding with them. Maybe he hadn’t even come, Kirsten rationalized. Perhaps he gave up reenacting long ago.

But as the pounding hooves on the dirt road grew closer, her heart mimicked their thunder. She wiped the perspiration from her quivering hands onto her skirt.

Get it over with. You’ll be anticipating him to be on every horse you hear or see. On the other hand, if she could avoid him for the weekend, she wouldn’t have to address the problems that plagued her so long.

Yet, if she came face-to-face with him again, she might be disappointed. Could it be that only his memory caused her heart to flutter? Impulse drove her to the edge of the sutler’s tent. Hiding behind the rows of Confederate butternut jackets hanging at the edge of the tent so he wouldn’t see her, she peeked over the clothes as the tide of Yankee blue surged upon her. She glanced from face to face, searching for the one who made her anticipating heart threaten to burst from her body.

The snake-like column drew to an end. No Creed. Relief overcame curiosity, and she glided from her hiding place.

Then, as if the devil played with her heart, he appeared at the tail of the procession. Their eyes met. He squinted through the dust at her. Beneath his slouch hat, a frown creased his forehead, and his teeth clenched.

Recognition. Yes, he recognized her, and she recognized something also. If she ever doubted, she appreciated that he was still the most handsome man in the world, at least to her. Steeling herself, Kirsten faced the man she would love forever.

As he neared, she recalled his tousled hair when he woke at her side and how his original declaration of love caused her to sob so hard she couldn’t answer. Most of all, she remembered the look in his eyes as they glowed with desire.

Yet today was different, not just because they already had loved each other or because he proposed and she accepted. Her heart still trembled as it had every time she looked at him, but today was different mainly because a young boy, perhaps two years old, sat before him on the saddle. The child was a close duplicate of Creed from his black hair covered with a Yankee kepi to the boots on his tiny feet. He looked up at Creed with a smile and adoration.

CRESCENT MOON

Genre: Romantic Suspense

Sinner or saint?

When Celine St. Pierre is murdered under the canopy of oaks on St. Charles Avenue, questions arise about this New Orleans sainted woman, and Assistant District Attorney Claressa Dupré vows to find the answers. Top of her list of suspects is the sexy Texan, West Morgan, IV.

Wealthy oil baron Weston Morgan, IV, arrived in New Orleans on a mission to return to Texas what Celine St. Pierre stole from him and his family. But the woman’s death throws a monkey wrench in the works and pins him as the top suspect in the murder investigation. Further complicating his life is the beautiful but determined Clarissa Dupré, whom he can’t seem to get close enough to or far enough from.

As the investigation spirals out of control, Clarissa and Morgan find that nothing is simple in The Big Easy.

The evidence against West Morgan in Celine St. Pierre’s death practically stuffed the valise she carried. Yet she lacked the most important: motive. Why had Morgan come to New Orleans? Why had he killed Celine? What circumstances had driven him to murder? Not that she needed a motive, but she’d learned juries preferred it.

Astonishingly, his attorneys had asked to meet with her.

“Mr. Morgan.” She glanced up from her notes. Eyes cold, calculating, and conceited gazed back at her through hooded lids. Celine St. Pierre hadn’t stood a chance.

“I only have a few questions.”

“Take all the time you need,” he answered. “I’ve nothing else on my agenda today.”

“Why did you kill Celine St. Pierre?”

“I didn’t.”

“Didn’t you?” She glanced at the three attorneys, and suddenly she envisioned the three monkeys: see, hear, and speak no evil. “Then prove it to me.”

Removing the Stetson, he threaded his fingers through his hair. “Hell, Honey, I don’t have to. Remember? I’m innocent until you prove otherwise.”

Honey? She’d worked long and hard to get where she was. No one called her, “Honey.”

His hand was on the doorknob.

“Mr. Morgan, you agreed to answer some questions.”

After several anxious moments, Morgan shrugged off his attorney’s instructions not to answer. “Ask away.”

Glancing back at the note pad where she had listed the questions, she proceeded. “Why did you sell more than half of your assets before you came to New Orleans?”

He sat in the hard wooden chair at the end of the table, like a corporate giant ruling his boardroom. Crossing one leg over the other, he rested his ankle on his knee and his Stetson on the table. His long legs appeared to go on forever.

She asked again, “Why did you sell off your assets?”

“Ask my accountant.”

“I have.” She waited, hoping he would reply. Nothing.

“Why did you put all of it into checking accounts?”

“I’ve been to New Orleans before,” he said, and Claressa inched forward, anticipating his answer, the last puzzle piece. “Knowing your city’s reputation, I didn’t want to carry that much cash on me.”

Smart aleck. “And why would you need that much money during your visit?” At least this cowboy didn’t spurt four-letter words at her. Or lunge for her throat. Not yet, anyway.

Thankful for the civil atmosphere, she took a deep breath and a different route. “How long have you known Celine St. Pierre?”

No response.

“Mr. Morgan . . . “

“West.”

“Mr. Morgan, why did you kill Mrs. St. Pierre?”

He shot forward so quickly that Claressa jerked back. West leaned as far as possible over the wide table and demanded, “Look at me.”

She tilted her chin defiantly, met his gaze, and tried to seem undisturbed.

“I’m successful. I’m rich. Why would I have to kill someone?”

“Rich people kill all the time. Don’t you read the news? Why would you kill Mrs. St. Pierre? What’s the connection?”

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Patricia Charles remembers going to the public library when she was a small child. The library was only a block away. Because she was too young to cross the street alone, her older brother reluctantly volunteered to take her. Of course, she wouldn’t let him carry her books. She was a big girl. She had so many books she had to balance them with her chin, and she cried when she had to return them. Books have been in her life as long as she can remember.

Her love of books eventually lead her to the theatre. She has a Master’s of Arts in Drama and Communication and a Master’s of Library and Information Sciences. Naturally, she is a librarian, a medical librarian.

She is a member of the Romance Writers of American, Southern Louisiana Chapter of RWA and Celtic Hearts Romance Writers. In 2013, she won Best Historical and Highest Overall Score in the Dixie Kane Contest.

Patricia lives on the Gulf Coast, having moved there from New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina. Frodo, her large 16-pound Pomeranian, likes to lick her feet while she writes.

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Beguiling Indeed

BLURB

He’s a Navajo sworn to bring her to America;

She’s a sexy genius in a race with him across France

At last! Beguiling Delila (Romancing the Guardians, Book 6) is here. This one took longer than usual to write because of all the settings I had to research. Most of the book is set in France. Delilah Moreau, the glamorous French Guardian, possesses a miraculous mathematical talent that provides her a privileged life, but it can’t give her what she truly wants: lasting love.

Leon Tseda, a Navajo whose homeland serves as a hidden gathering place for the Guardians, vows to bring Delilah to safety, thwarting thugs sent to capture her and the valuable scroll she guards. Opening in Paris, the story whisks the pair in a life-and-death chase across France to Nice and Monte Carlo on the breathtaking Côte d’Azur.

Both Delilah and Leon have lost loved ones, and they’re no longer youngsters, but they are not too old for a second chance at love. Their journey is fraught with danger, excitement and steamy, mature romance. Will it lead to love – if they live long enough?

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OVERVIEW OF THE SERIES SO FAR

There are seven Guardians, each possessing a psychic gift and a precious scroll containing a secret prophecy handed down from ancient Irish seers. Not to be revealed until mankind is ready to listen, the prophesies are in danger of being seized by vicious “Hellhounds” who want to use them for their own evil ends.

 

 

Rescuing Lara (Book 1), winner in the 2015 Paranormal Romance Guild Reviewers Choice Awards, is set in Ireland and Texas. It stars Lara Spenser, the injured niece of the murdered high Guardian, and Connor O’Shea, a hunky ex-Special Forces soldier Lara hires as her bodyguard. Lethal villains, hot romance and a few surprises make this a wild ride.

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Decoding Michaela (Book 2) features a heroine who can read minds. Stunned by news that her revered leader, the High Guardian, has been murdered, Michaela Peterson is attracted to Dev Medina, the handsome messenger, but fears he may be out to steal the scroll she guards. Can Dev win her trust and unlock her heart before the Hellhounds capture her?

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Capturing Gabriel (Book 3) is set in Colombia. Gabriel Valdez refuses to believe the feisty
Navajo beauty who tracks him down with a message to meet the other Guardians in the United States. Instead, he takes her prisoner. Josie doesn’t count on falling for him. Gabriel doesn’t intend to trust her with his secrets or his love, but the heart has a mind of its own.

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Touching Charlotte (Book 4) Introduces Charlotte Dixon, an empathic Guardian, and Tristan Jameson, an ex-NYC cop burdened by grief. He needs healing and love, but how can a man romance a woman who can’t stand to be touched? Breaking through Charlotte’s barriers while protecting her from Hellhounds proves his ultimate challenge.

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Profiling Nathan (Book 5) is a chilling murder mystery/sexy romance. Guardian and ex-con Nathan Maguire just wants to make a living inking tattoos in Tampa, Florida, but when FBI profiler Talia Werner walks into his shop, she turns his life upside down. To save her pretty neck, he must help catch a serial killer. His deadly psychic gift may come in handy.

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BEGUILING DELILAH Excerpt

Leon thrust open the door to Delilah’s outer office and charged in. He tossed Esme a quick greeting as he strode to the inner door. She replied but didn’t try to stop him when he once again entered Delilah’s private office unannounced. He found her standing at a small open closet tucked in beside the wet bar in the corner.

“We must leave. Now,” he said the moment she turned to look at him. “The Hellhounds have come. They were at your condo asking for you.”

Her eyes widened. “How do you know it was them?”

“I know because at least one had a gun. Come, we must go. They might be on their way here right now.”

She made a choked sound, grabbed her coat from the closet and stuffed her arms into the sleeves. Snatching her handbag off her desk, she rushed over to him, breathing fast. Leon gripped her elbow and turned toward the door he’d left partway open. At that moment, a man’s voice sounded from the outer office. He spoke in French. Leon didn’t understand the words but caught his threatening tone.

Esme screamed and Delilah cried out, clutching Leon’s arm. Then her inner door was shoved open, banging against the wall. Three men barged in. Determined to protect Delilah, Leon circled his arm around her, slipping his other hand into his jacket pocket at the same time.

The shortest of the three, who had asked for Delilah at her condo, was apparently the leader. An ugly lantern-jawed tough, he reached under his coat and pulled out an automatic. Pointing it at Leon, he growled something in French.

“I do not understand your words,” Leon said mildly, “but I have no gun if that is what worries you.”

“Oh yes? Then show what you do have,” the man ordered in thickly accented English, indicating the hand Leon had stuffed in his pocket.

He nodded and obeyed. Extending his fisted hand, he uncurled his fingers to reveal a small pile of fine, dark powder lying on his palm. “This is only a calming medicine I sometimes use.”

Laughing, the Frenchman sneered, “You need calming now, eh, old man?” He waved his weapon at Delilah, causing her to gasp. “Release the woman. She is to come with us.”

Delilah trembled in fear. Would Leon meekly hand her over to the vile trio? Intending to resist, she tried to draw away from him, but his arm tightened like an iron band around her waist, holding her close. Seeing him bend his head, she thought he meant to inhale the calming powder but, instead, he blew it into the men’s faces.

The three inhaled sharply, choked, coughed and screwed their eyes shut. “What the hell?” The leader demanded in a strangled voice. Trying to blink the dust from his eyes, obviously unable to see, he waved his gun back and forth.

Delilah shrieked, certain he was about to shoot both Leon and her. But he didn’t get the chance. Clutching her arm, Leon hurried her past the blinded men and out the open door. She spotted Esme crouched on the floor behind her desk. Resisting Leon’s tug on her arm, she shouted, “Don’t cower there like a frightened rabbit, Esme. Come! We must escape!”

White with fear, the trembling girl rose and followed them. As the elevator doors opened, Delilah heard the three villains stumbling from her office, shouting furiously. Heart hammering, she dashed into the elevator with her companions and sagged in relief against the wall when the doors closed. Esme huddled in the corner, crying and shaking.

Leon laid his hand on the girl’s shoulder. “Calm down and look at me,” he said, drawing her tearful gaze. “When we reach ground floor, Delilah and I must run. But you should go to the security desk and ask the guard to call the police. Will you do that?”

“Oui, M-Monsieur,” the girl stammered, swiping tears from her cheeks. “But what if those terrible men follow you?” Esme glanced anxiously at Delilah. “Can you protect Madame Moreau?”

“We must leave the city for a while, but do not worry. I will keep her safe.”

MY REVIEW

5* BEGUILING STORY

I haven’t read the others in this series but I can guarantee you, I will be after reading Beguiling Delilah.

Leon is a Navajo Indian sent from the US to Paris on a mission – to bring Delilah to the states where she can be kept safe from the Hellhounds who have other plans for her and the precious secret she holds.

Ms. Horner takes the reader on a chase through Paris, then France, before the couple eventually make it into the US, BUT, it’s not over.

Will Leon be able to keep his charge safe and deliver her to where she can be protected?

As I stated, I haven’t read the other books in this series, but this is a stand-alone and the story can be clearly understood. The tale is fast-paced, descriptive and keeps the reader enthralled from beginning to end.

I highly recommend this book.

BIO

Lyn Horner is a multi-published, award-winning author of western historical romance and romantic suspense novels, all spiced with paranormal elements. She is a former fashion illustrator and art instructor who resides in Fort Worth, Texas – “Where the West Begins” – with her husband and a gaggle of very spoiled cats. As well as crafting passionate love stories, Lyn enjoys reading, gardening, visiting with family and friends, and cuddling her furry, four-legged children.

Find Lyn’s books on her Amazon Author Page: http://amzn.to/Y3aotC 

Sign up for Lyn’s Romance Gazette: http://eepurl.com/bMYkeX

Follow Lyn on these sites:  Lyn Horner’s Corner   Facebook   Twitter   Goodreads

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The Kronicles of Korthlundia

THE KRONICLES OF KORTHLUNDIA series

Books 1-3

by Jamie Marchant

Genre: Epic Fantasy

The crown princess Samantha fears she’s mad; no one but she sees colors glowing around people. The peasant Robrek Angusstamm believes he’s a demon; animals speak to him, and his healing powers far outstrip those of his village’s priests. Despite their fears, their combined powers make them the goddess’s choice to rule the kingdom of Korthlundia. Samantha’s ability enables her to discern a person’s character through their multi-colored aura, and Robrek’s makes him the strongest healer the kingdom has seen in centuries. But their gifts also endanger their lives. Royals scheme to usurp the throne by marrying or killing Samantha, and priests plot to burn Robrek at the stake. Robrek escapes the priests only to be captured by Samantha’s arch-enemy, Duke Argblutal; Argblutal intends to force the princess to marry him by exploiting Robrek’s powers. To save their own lives and stop the realm from sinking into civil war, Robrek and Samantha must consolidate their powers and unite the people behind them.

The Princess Samantha sat at her dressing table and glowered at her reflection as her maids dressed her hair. She detested balls and loathed the hundreds of suitors who flocked around her, spouting empty flattery: “I have never seen a lovelier flower, Your Highness!” or “Your eyes rival the brilliance of the stars, Your Highness!” If I hear that one again, I’ll vomit. It wouldn’t be quite so bad if even one of them meant it. Sometimes she wished . . . . She pushed the thought away. She was the heir to the throne. She couldn’t expect romance.

“Let us be painting your face tonight, Your Highness!” Ardra begged, in her north Korthian accent. Samantha’s maid was as small and slight as the princess herself and had hair so blonde it was almost white.

“Yes, Your Highness,” Malvina chimed in. “Lady Shela’s maids said just yesterday we couldn’t possibly know our business ’cause you never wear paint.” Malvina, more of a typical Korthlundian woman, was tall and broad and not nearly as pretty as Ardra.

“Lady Shela,” Samantha snorted in disgust. Shela wore so much paint she resembled some ghastly sea creature. Samantha knew she wasn’t pretty, but she was fond of the freckles that speckled her nose and thought the emerald green brilliance of her gown set off her white skin and auburn hair beautifully. Besides being appallingly uncomfortable, paint would absolutely spoil the effect. The princess gestured toward the huge portrait that covered one wall of her bedchamber. “Do you think Danu wore paint?”

Malvina shrugged. “The Princess Danu was said to be a powerful sorceress, Your Highness. She probably didn’t need to wear paint to attract men.”

Samantha laughed bitterly, as she thought of the army of men waiting below. “I wish not wearing paint was all it took to scare them off. They say Danu never married, and see how happy she is.”

Samantha yearned for Danu’s freedom. The long-dead princess was laughing as she galloped across the fields. Danu’s auburn hair flew out behind her in the wind. The stars on the forehead and chest of her horse shone against its gorgeous coat. Samantha loved this painting, which was just as well because it was bolted to the wall and couldn’t be removed without tearing her chambers apart. She’d decorated the rest of her bedroom to match. Tapestries of horses covered the walls. Her dressing table, armoire, and large four-poster bed had horses carved into the woodwork. A quilt, embroidered with horses and stars, was spread over the bed. The mantle over her fireplace sported figurines of horses in gold, silver, jade, crystal, and precious stones. Every new ambassador added to her collection.

“Your Highness, you’ll be having to marry one of them eventually,” Ardra persisted. “The king won’t be letting you hold out forever. You are seventeen, after all. Your mother was only thirteen when she married the king.”

“You needn’t remind me, Ardra.” Samantha picked up her silver-backed brush from the dressing table. The gift from the Neaserian ambassador was inlaid with an amber Horsetad; diamonds marked the stars at its forehead and chest. She fingered it lovingly. “Do you think it’s true Danu rode a Horsetad?”

“So the bards sing of her,” Ardra said.

Malvina made an impatient noise in her throat. “And they also sing her kiss turned suitors into toads! You don’t really believe such nonsense, do you, Your Highness? Nobody can tame a Horsetad.”

“No, I suppose not,” the princess sighed wistfully, then smiled at the toads that hopped around the feet of Danu’s horse. How I wish my kiss could do that!

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The Crown Princess Samantha and Sir Robrek struggle to solidify their rule in the aftermath of the king’s murder and Duke Argblutal’s attempt to usurp the throne. They are thwarted at every turn by those who seek power for themselves and desire to prevent their marriage. Just when they think their problems are solved, a deadly curse begins to spread throughout Korthlundia and Samantha becomes pregnant. Samantha must fight off priests, enemies, and her closest advisors while Robrek discovers the reason the goddess chose him as king, to defeat the Soul Stone, a stone capable of sucking the soul out of its victims, which threatens to obliterate all life in the joined kingdoms. Their archenemy, the Bard Alvabane, awakens the Soul Stone and plans to use its power to reclaim Korthlundia for her people (a people driven out over a thousand years ago by the hero Armunn). Armunn had to sacrifice his life and soul to contain the Soul Stone. Will Robrek have to do the same? Will the young couple have only a few short months to love each other?

At bedtime, Alvabane sat at her dressing table brushing her long hair. It had once been a bright, rich red, but it had dulled with age and was now mostly grey with only a few strands of color to remind her of what once had been. It seemed a metaphor for her life—small flashes of color to remind her of her once bright purpose.

One of those flashes, Erick, set her nightly goblet of fortified wine next to her hand. She needed the strong alcohol to dull the pain of her joints so she could sleep. Erick had served her for ten years. When her former servant had died, he’d been sent by her people, despite the fact that she’d only been a disappointment to them.

She turned to thank him, but the words died on her lips as she saw the reproach in his eyes. Alvabane turned back to her mirror. Tonight was the night of the new moon. She should have been preparing to perform the rites of the dark gods, not preparing for bed. “They have forgotten us,” Alvabane said. “The Soul Stone does not live.”

In the mirror, she saw Erick’s eyes narrow. He was not yet twenty and still had the optimism of youth. He still believed the Stone would come to life again when the gods willed it. He believed it would again be the weapon it had once been. Created in the far past by magic which had since been lost, it had been used by her people to protect themselves from the barbarians that now ran free over Korth and Lundia.

“I will perform the rites next month,” she promised, but so had she promised last month and the month before that. The stairs to the bottom of the East Tower were agony to her knees. Erick made a mewing sound, reminding her what he’d sacrificed to serve her and the dark gods. She herself had cut his tongue from his mouth when he came to her as a ten-year-old child. He had surrendered it stoically. Only the Bards were allowed to sing the rites of the gods. All others who heard them had to be rendered mute so they couldn’t repeat music not meant for their tongues.

“Do you think you have sacrificed more than I?” She turned to face him. “I submitted to the brutish duke’s bed for years. I gave birth to a child of rape. All so I could remain near the Stone. I performed the rites faithfully every new moon for decades. And for what, I ask you? The power of the Stone remains trapped behind the shield the demon Armunn created from his own soul. That shield can’t be destroyed. I have dedicated my life to trying, but it is impossible. The Soul Stone won’t live again!”

Erick mewed again and looked toward the tapestry on the wall. It showed the map of the desert of Sehra, to the south of Korthlundia, where her people had lived in exile since Armunn and his hordes had trapped the Stone and then driven them from their homeland. Blinking back tears of despair, she turned from him. “Do you think I have forgotten? Every generation fewer of our children are born. Only by returning to the land of our birthright can we be strong again.”

She got up and went to the tapestry, touching it lovingly. “Do you not understand? The dark gods have found me unworthy to be their messenger. I once thought I was the child of the prophecy, the one who would drive the descendants of Armunn’s hordes back across the mountains into Korth and reclaim the land they call Lundia as our own. But I was wrong. I’m an unprofitable servant, an unfit vessel.”

The Ghost is going to hell. Not even the goddess can forgive his sins: assassin, oath-breaker, traitor (an affair with the queen earned him that title). No one can ever learn the princess is his daughter. To keep this secret, he flees to the land that turned him from a simple stable groom into an infamous killer.

His mission now? To find evildoers and take them to hell with him. But when an impulsive act of heroism saddles him with a damsel who refuses to be distressed, her resilience forces him to questions why he really ran from his daughter.

The Ghost knelt at Ares’s feet, where the stench of blood was nearly overpowering. The altar was stained with it, and the bowl at the god’s feet was full from a fresh sacrifice. The power present in this place was undeniable—dark and forbidding, far from the peace and serenity in Sulis’s temples. But he was no longer worthy of Sulis’s blessing. The Ghost drew his dagger, held his left forearm over the sacrificial bowl, and sliced a new cut alongside his numerous scars. As he bled into the bowl, he felt the magic of the place coalesce around him. His blood sizzled as it hit the bowl, and the wound on his arm healed instantly, signaling that The Ghost truly belonged to the Saloynan god.

A door opened behind him, he stood and faced the high priest. Zotico was completely bald and looked no older than he had when The Ghost had first met him ten long years ago. He had small, beady eyes and a typical Saloynan narrow nose. “Pandaros! How wonderful!” the priest beamed, calling The Ghost a name he’d decided he must take up again. He could no longer be either “Ahearn” and “Darhour”; they were both dead. “Rumors said you were no longer among the living. Come in, come in.” Zotico gestured toward the doorway. “I can’t tell you how happy I am to see you.”

Zotico’s enthusiasm seemed excessive even for him. Warily, The Ghost followed Zotico down the corridor to the high priest’s office. It was large, the walls covered with instruments of war—swords, shields, battle axes, and plaques ornamented with what looked suspiciously like human ears. The ears were new. Zotico caught The Ghost looking at them and swept his hand over a plaque that contained five ears nailed side by side. “Do you like the new decor? Sacrifices, all of them. I had them moved from our private sanctuary so I could better remember the devotion demanded by the god I serve.”

Zotico may not appear to age, but his ghoulishness grew with each passing year. The Ghost carefully schooled his features to avoid betraying any sign of revulsion.

In the center of the office was a large desk with one chair behind it and two large, comfortable chairs facing it. Zotico gestured The Ghost into one of the facing chairs. The Ghost sat, and the high priest offered him a glass of oenomel, a sweet mixture of honey and wine. Zotico poured himself a glass from the same pitcher and sat behind the desk. “Pandaros, my friend. Why have you neglected your obligations to Ares?”

The Ghost waited for Zotico to take a sip of his drink, then took one of his own. It was cloying in its sweetness. “I’ve been distracted.”

Zotico smiled sadly. “A true tragedy. There’s no one better with a blade.” The priest mimed drawing a knife across his own throat. “I’ve had acolytes scouring the city more than once looking for you, but I gave up years ago when not the slightest sign of your whereabouts could be found. Tell me, my son, where have you been?”

“Away.” The Ghost had no intention of ever letting Zotico learn anything about Samantha, who was both his daughter and his queen. Because of his careful disguise, Zotico believed The Ghost was a Saloynan.

Zotico laughed. “Long have I wished for the power of Delphi to penetrate your secrets. Is there a person in the world who knows even half of them?” Zotico looked expectantly at him, but The Ghost didn’t answer. “I see my curiosity shall have to be contained. Ares is a harsh master and not attentive to trifles. Still, I can’t tell you how happy I am that you have now returned to his fold. His temple has truly felt your absence.”

The Ghost grunted, “Do you have a job for me?”

Zotico’s eyes gleamed. “Do I ever! I’d nearly despaired of finding a capable assassin, but your fortunate arrival proves that Ares will never fail those who serve his name.”

“Who do you want dead?”

“I think it would be best explained by the one in need of Ares’s assistance, but I assure you it is your sort of kill. May I tell the client you’ll meet?”

The Ghost nodded.

Zotico’s entire body relaxed. “Good, good. The client would prefer not to be seen here. I’ve an arrangement with the high priestess of Aphrodite. The two gods were lovers, after all. Enter the goddess’s temple tomorrow morning and choose the acolyte wearing the pendant of a vulture.” Zotico smiled broadly. “Pandaros, my friend, it is a great day for you to have returned.”

“You are not my friend.” The Ghost left with Zotico’s laughter ringing in his ears.

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Jamie began writing stories about the man from Mars when she was six, and she never remembers wanting to be anything other than a writer. Everyone told her she needed a back up plan, so she pursued a Ph.D. in American literature, which she received in 1998. She started teaching writing and literature at Auburn University. One day in the midst of writing a piece of literary criticism, she realized she’d put her true passion on the backburner and neglected her muse. The literary article went in the trash, and she began the book that was to become The Goddess’s Choice, which was published in April 2012. Her other novels include The Soul Stone and The Ghost in Exile. In addition, she has published a novella, Demons in the Big Easy, and a collection of short stories, Blood Cursed and Other Tales of the Fantastic. Her short fiction has also appeared in the anthologies–Urban Fantasy and Of Dragons & Magic: Tales of the Lost Worlds—and in Bards & Sages, The World of Myth, A Writer’s Haven, and Short-story.me. She claims she writes about the fantastic . . . and the tortured soul. Her poor characters have hard lives. She lives in Auburn, Alabama, with her husband and four cats, which (or so she’s been told) officially makes her a cat lady. She still teaches writing and literature at Auburn University. She is the mother of a grown son.

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The Masterpiece Trilogy

THE MASTERPIECE TRILOGY

by Nikki Lynn Barrett

 

Genre: Contemporary Romantic Suspense

Twenty years ago, they survived a plane crash.

One boy, one girl. He was twelve; she was eight.

A bond forms when all they have is each other and a fight for survival on their hands.

Their story is one of friendship, danger, secrets and terrifying truths. For the first time ever, the Masterpiece Trilogy is bundled up in one boxed set. A Masterpiece Of Our Love, A Masterpiece Unraveled, and A Forever Masterpiece are full of twists, turns, suspense, and a love like no other.

Also included in this set is a new, never before published prequel.


A MASTERPIECE OF OUR LOVE

Hunter followed Becca inside, taking in the sights of her living space. The walls were a plain dull white, but Becca had filled them up with painting after painting, many of which he’d never seen before. Right by the patio door sat a large easel. A beige sectional took up a good amount of space in the living room. “It’s so homey. Very you.” he said, continuing to look around. Why had he never come to see her home before?

“All these paintings… You know I’m going to have to ask again. Why are you not selling these in a gallery somewhere?”

Becca’s cheeks reddened again. She faced him, taking his hands in hers. “You really think I should, don’t you?”

“Well of course.” He pulled her closer, sliding his arms around her waist. “You just wait. You’ll meet people that are going to bow down to your talent. Don’t be surprised if you have a few offers. Then when you’re world famous, I can say with pride that I knew you back when. That I love the most amazing, talented artist on this planet.”

Her eyelashes fluttered and she looked down for a second, then flashed her gaze back to him. “Say that again,” she whispered.

“What? That I knew you back when?” His lips curved up in a grin. He knew exactly what she meant, but had to mess with her anyway.

A MASTERPIECE UNRAVELED

“Becca? What’s going on out here?” Hunter ran down the sidewalk toward them.

“This woman nearly knocked me over and when I try to help, she goes psycho on me as if I’m trying to hurt her. I didn’t do anything to her, man.” The guy took a few steps back.

Hunter knelt beside Becca, checking her over.

“Did he try to hurt you?”

“I didn’t-” the guy started.

Fresh tears in her eyes, Becca shook her head. “I don’t know. I did bump into him, and when he grabbed me I got scared.”

“Come on angel, let’s get inside then.” Hunter held out his hand and helped get her on her feet.

“Crazies always come out at night. If your girl can’t handle the dark don’t let her out of your sight,” the guy snarled, taking off.

She’d done it again. Panicked when nothing was going on. Practically attacked a guy most likely just trying to help, especially when she was the one who ran into him.

Hunter slid an arm around her shoulders. She limped away, her knee throbbing from hitting the ground. Before they went back inside, he stopped her on the patio by touching her shoulders, keeping her in place. “This isn’t good, Bec. You can’t-“

She stepped away from him. “I know. I can’t keep doing that. You think I don’t know this! I don’t want to be jumping all over everyone when they’re innocent bystanders! I hate losing my mind! I’m afraid I’m going to hurt somebody because I can’t stop thinking someone’s going to come after me again! I heard voices, talking about scaring someone. Part of me thought they were talking about me. Is that what you want to know? I’m paranoid. There, I said it.”

Becca left Hunter standing there in shock as she bolted back indoors.

A FOREVER MASTERPIECE

Needing to lighten the mood before his heart broke even more, Hunter took Becca’s hands in his. He gave her a light, mischievous smile. “You know, I never did get to bring a girl in my room to kiss her.” Not at twelve. He hadn’t been interested in girls that way, really. Not yet.

Had Becca been in his room when his parents brought her home? Did they bring her here, even for a while? They had to have before bringing her to the Langes. Hunter tried to picture what baby Becca looked like. Had he been curious about a tiny baby all of a sudden in the house? Did they try to keep her hidden, even from their four year old son? So many questions, and not enough answers.

“So what you’re saying is you wanted to take an innocent girl up to your room and seduce her,” Becca said coyly, fluttering her eyelashes at him. “I don’t know. I’m not that kind of girl. You’ll have to really work your way to get a kiss from me.”

Hunter chuckled, loving that she played along. He pulled her closer, sliding his arms around her waist. “Hard to get, eh? I think I can win you over. I’ve got the skills.”

She tilted her head to the side. “Oh? This I need to see.”

He leaned over and kissed her neck, trailing all the way to her jaw. “You know you want to kiss me. I’m one of your painting inspirations.” He blew air on the nape of her neck. Her fingers dug into his back. “Come on, give a man his wish. Do I have to beg?”

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No matter where she goes, USA Today Bestselling author Nikki Lynn Barrett hears voices in her head. Instead of calling her crazy and locking her up, her family realizes it’s just a product of being an author and allows her to write the stories so that the voices shut up.

But they don’t. And probably never will. There’s no need to lock her up, Nikki knows she’ll never escape the voices, not until each and every last story is written. And for every story she writes, about ten or more ideas pop up.

When she isn’t slaving away at her computer writing books that will probably make you cry and keep you in suspense, Nikki plots to take over the world one book at a time. What? It’s a sickness. One she can’t escape!

Books aren’t her only addiction, though. Nikki can be found making up parodies to drive her son crazy, and bantering back and forth with her husband, who somehow manages to steal her away from the fictional world she lives in all the time.

Nikki lives in Arizona with her husband and son, where she can be found using every creativity outlet she can find through music, photography, handcrafted things, and random interests that she may pick up from time to time.

If you want to learn more about the author who makes people cry for a living, check out her website.

Finding an Angel

Presents
Book Blitz: Finding An Angel
by P.J. Belden
 
Genre: YA Romance 
 
Add to your TBR 
 
Available Now!
 
99 cents or Free on Kindle Unlimited!
 
Blurb
There are few moments that I can look back in my life and not see her. She’d been a part of my life from the moment my parents bought the house next door. She was my best friend. 
 
But things changed. 
 
We got older. 
 
Our friendship changed. 
 
We fell in love.
 
My life with Jessa Rawlins would prove to be the best life I could ever dream of. It will always show me how truly far and hard I could fall. Nothing was boring with Jessa in my life. And I’d take her no other way…
 
Well, maybe other than here…

 

 

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