Keeper Under Fire

Title: Keeper Under Fire
Author: Jennifer Malone Wright
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Expected Release Date: August 15th, 2017
Cover Designer: Molly at We Got You Covered
Blurb:
The Reapers are coming…
The Keepers are ready to fight … to defend their home and the souls, no matter what the cost.
Olivia Estmond is tired of waiting to be attacked. It is time for the Keepers to strike first against the Reaper Empress. Preparing to fight is not a new concept for Liv, but living with a target on your back is not something she has ever dealt with. The Reapers were ordered to take out the entire Estmond family, and unless the Keepers did something about it, they wouldn’t stop until their mission was complete.
Not long ago, Aiden was a high-ranking soldier in the Reaper Army, but now he has fallen from grace in the eyes of the Empress. More than that, he wants his best friend back. He grew up with Jack and the two were once like brothers. Now, more than ever, he needed his brother. However, what he didn’t expect from becoming a double agent, was the attraction to a sexy red headed Keeper that came with the job.
Jennifer Malone Wright is best known for her short story series, The Vampire Hunter’s Daughter. Other works include the follow up to The Vampire Hunter’s Daughter series called The Arcadia Falls Chronicles, The Graveyard Guardians series, and her vampire novel called Savior. Jennifer also co-authors a series called Once Upon A Zombie Apocalypse as well the Beary Tales series.
She resides in the beautiful mountains of northern Idaho with her husband and five children where she practices preparing for the zombie apocalypse. Just kidding!
But seriously, between the craziness of taking care of her children, Jennifer has little time left for herself. The time she does have left, usually leading far into the night, is spent working on her beloved fiction or chatting with her equally crazy friends.
Jennifer also loves coffee, has a passionate affair with red bull, wishes the sushi were better where she lives and dances while she cleans.
Author Links:
Website: www.jenniferwrightauthor.com
Pre-Order Links:
Pick up Book One now, always free on all platforms:
Amazon: http://amzn.to/2tlGwfU

Torched

Title: Torched
Author: Liz Long
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Cover Designer: Indie-Spired Design
Hosted by: Lady Amber’s PR
Blurb:
Lucy Sullivan and her circus family are finally back where they belong – in the spotlight and with each other. Even ringmaster Sheffield Donovan is in good spirits as their show delights audiences each night. Life is almost back to normal.
Until the US government appears in the form of one General Baker and his army of soldiers. At the threat of worldwide exposure, life as the Donovan Circus knows it is over. Cornered into the General’s terrible experiments, they have no rights, no friends, and no hope of escape. Lucy will lose more than one loved one, and perhaps her own life, in the process.
The Donovan Circus will face the worst danger yet – can Lucy take down an entire government sector, or will the gifted world finally be destroyed once and for all?
Liz Long is a proud graduate of Longwood University and author of ten novels. Her inspiration comes from action and thriller genres and she spends entirely too much time watching superhero movies. Her day job as Associate Editor includes writing for a magazine publisher in Roanoke, VA. She is also the director of the Roanoke Regional Writers Conference and the annual Roanoke Author Invasion.
Comic book readers and fans of CW Network smash hits Arrow, The Flash, Legends of Tomorrow, and Netflix’s Daredevil will root for Liz Long’s bestselling YA summer series as the HoA’s gifted teen superheroes attempt to save their city from its impending demise. The Donovan Circus series has best been described as “X-Men meets the circus.” Adult horror story Witch Hearts tells the tale of a serial killer hunting witches for their powers. New Adult PNR A Reaper Made is about a teen Reaper who gets caught between falling in love or saving her sister’s soul. All titles are available for paperback or ebook on Amazon.
To learn more about Liz (including more information on her books, plus writing, marketing, and social media tips), visit her website: http://lizclong.com.

Author Links:
Newsletter signup (new subscribers get 2 free ebooks, including DC #1): http://www.subscribepage.com/lizlongauthornewsletter
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Torched Buy Links:
One of our tigers roared, triggering Suzy the elephant to release a trumpet of warning. These strange men were probably stirring up circus members who weren’t already at the party, scaring them half to death. My stomach clenched at the thought; my whole family, practically everyone I knew and loved, was right behind me in the Big Top.

I have to protect them.

It was the only thought I had, the only one that mattered. I would do whatever it took to keep my people alive. The soldier directly in front of me snapped to get my attention, instantly annoying me. “Where is Sheffield Donovan?”

My chin jutted out. “Who’s asking?”

A new, strong voice answered behind the soldier. It definitely belonged to a man of authority. “The United States government.”



Blood Rose

Title: BLOOD ROSE
Genre: NA Urban Fantasy
Cover Art by Gwenn Danae
Cover Text by Eight Little Pages
Blurb:
There’s no wrath like that of a witch scorned.
As one of the only spirit users in her coven, Avah has been chosen to wield The Power, the ultimate weapon against the immortal vampire species witches have been at war with for centuries.
But on the night of her birth rite, Avah’s coven is attacked. Forced to seek refuge among the very beings she’s sworn to kill, Avah vows revenge on those who took her former life from her.
As Avah slowly transitions into a life of blood and war, she realizes everything she’s been told is a lie.
Danielle Rose holds a Master of Fine Arts in creative writing from the University of Southern Maine. Currently residing in the Midwest, where she spends her days dreaming of warmer temperatures, when she’s not writing, she enjoys pretending she lives in California, spending an embarrassing amount of time at Hobby Lobby, and binge-watching Netflix. Visit Danielle on the Web: www.Danielle-Rose.com.
Author Links:
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The Lightning Progeny

Title: The Lightning Progeny
Author: Emily Cyr
Genre: Adult Urban Fantasy
Cover Designer: Najila Qamber
Publisher: CHBB
Model: Amee Gaddy
Photographer: Mandy Hollis
Hosted by: Lady Amber’s PR
Blurb:
Delaney Hagen’s life has spiraled into complete pandemonium. After killing the monster who turned her, she thought she’d finally escaped … only to find herself trapped with new enemies. Worse, these enemies are among the Coven – one of whom she thought she could trust.
Reid Jamison refuses to rest until his beloved mate is back in his arms. If that means organizing wolf packs around the globe and taking on the Coven, so be it. But doing so means achieving the impossible task of finding the oldest living wolf – and Reid is running out of time.
The fight to find one another reveals even greater dangers, ones that threaten the future of werewolves and witches alike. The stake of her people rests solely on Delaney’s shoulders. Reid must convince his kind to forgive a centuries-old grudge. Or there will never be peace among the chaos.
War has come to their world. Will Delaney and Reid reunite amidst the bloodshed, or will the fight for freedom send them into ruins?
Release Party
Emily Cyr is a stay-at-home mom turned writer. She holds a degree in middle grades education with certification in English and social science. She has always had a love of all things paranormal and fantasy, but it wasn’t until Emily’s husband said the words, “Why not?” that she considered putting her thoughts and ideas into the book, The Lightning Prophecy. This trilogy was just the start for Emily. It seemed to open a creative door that had been locked.
Emily has always been an avid reader. Through reading came her love of writing. The more she read, the more she knew she wanted to create her own world. Many of her first works were fan fiction.
Emily and her family currently reside in Cibolo, Texas. She has an incredibly supportive husband who is also an officer in the United States Air Force. They have three sons, ages 6, 4, and 1. Somehow, even with the demands of being a parent to two little boys, she finds time to escape to her fantasies and write them down.
Author Links:
Instagram: emilycyrauthor
Buy Links:
The Lightning Prophecy: http://amzn.to/2q9RnUx
The Lightning Legacy: http://amzn.to/2rqStjG
The Lightning Progeny: http://amzn.to/2roGLme

 

Secret Knights Series

Title: Secret Knights Series
Author: Mary Ting
Genre: YA Fantasy/Paranormal
Cover Designer: Naija Qamber Designs
Hosted by: Lady Amber’s PR
Blurb:
(Spin-Off to Crossroads Saga – Prequel to The Chosen Knights) can be read as stand-aloneMichael and Claudia’s decision to move back to Crossroads was to keep their children safe, but they can’t escape who they are. Their children, Zachary and Lucia, were destined to be demon hunters—Venators. From the age they were able to hold a sword, they were trained to become the best and to ensure they would become leaders one day.All is peaceful throughout the land until the Fallen and demons’ presences were felt in the between and on Earth. As the Venators investigate these locations, they will quickly learn how dangerous their lives are. Hearts will be broken. Teammates will lose their lives. And they will face obstacles which will test their faith.

As danger grows, the fear of fallen angels and demons regrouping has the Divine Elders on pins and needles. Now, Zachary and Lucia, along with Uncle Davin, must prepare themselves—mentally and physically—to live on Earth to investigate where the focal point of evil resides before it’s too late.

Blurb:
(HIGHLY recommend to read prequel first–The Angel Knights)
***City of Bones meets The Da Vinci Code.
Urban fantasy lover’s dream! Demons, vampires, angels, witches, and fallen angels all set to the back drop of high school in Hawaii, and astral travel to the past to Knights Templar era.
*** SILVER AWARD WINNER 2016–YA FANTASY–READERS’ FAVORITE INTERNATIONAL BOOK AWARD***
A page turning mystery with a supernatural twist that entertains to the last page! ~InD’tale Magazine
When teens go missing in Hawaii, a group of demon-hunters—half human and half angel—disguised as high school students, must leave Crossroads, the place where they reside. In a race against time, they uncover the mystery connecting the missing teens, which dates back to the era of the Knights Templar. However, when they discover one of the Templars passed down a book containing all the secrets and codes to finding a particular treasure, they soon realize this forbidden treasure needs to be found before Cyrus, the lord of the possessor demons, acquires it—a treasure which been safeguarded and hidden from him.
There is only one problem: the pages containing the clues leading to the treasure is missing. When the first page is found, Cyrus threatens to kill more descendants of the Knights Templar if it is not given to him by Friday the thirteenth. In the midst of threats and discovery, the demon-hunting angels find they are not alone when supernatural beings begin to reveal themselves. Can they put their differences aside and work together to solve the Knights Templars’ cipher? As they astral travel to the past, they witness a lot more than they have bargained for. And some things are better left unseen.missing. When the first page is found, Cyrus threatens to kill more descendants of the Knights Templar if it is not given to him by Friday the thirteenth. In the midst of threats and discovery, the demon-hunting angels find they are not alone when supernatural beings begin to reveal themselves. Can they put their differences aside and work together to solve the Knights Templars’ cipher? As they astral travel to the past, they witness a lot more than they have bargained for. And some things are better left unseen. 
Blurb:
Above a small hill lay a home.
And green men peer out under the dome.
Thirteen crisscrossing arches behold,
with angels singing must be told.
Cubes like teeth thus showed,
pierce one and the door shall glow.
Part the sea like Moses,
to see the bundle of red roses.
Only then you shall see,
what is destined to be free.
Eli, Lucia’s half-demon love interest, has been stabbed with a true-cross dagger and captured by Cyrus, master of the possessor demons. The Chosen Knights must work together once again not only to save Eli, but also to decipher a clue to find the second missing page of Jacques de Molay’s journal. Meanwhile, Uncle Davin informs Crossroads’ Divine Elders of the danger ahead and learns there is much to fear. Countless children are being taken from all over the world to be turned into demons. Michael, one of the Divine Elders, has no choice but to intervene. The Chosen Knights track down Mortem, the demon who is the key to finding Cyrus, and learn they must travel deep into the pit of a Hawaiian volcano. When they astral travel to the past in search of a clue and follow Jacques de Molay to Rosselyn Chapel in medieval Scotland, what they find will rewrite history.

Mary Ting resides in Southern California with her husband and two children. She enjoys oil painting and making jewelry. Writing her first novel, Crossroads Saga, happened by chance. It was a way to grieve the death of her beloved grandmother, and inspired by a dream she once had as a young girl. When she started reading new adult novels, she fell in love with the genre. It was the reason she had to write one-Something Great. Why the pen name, M Clarke? She tours with Magic Johnson Foundation to promote literacy and her children’s chapter book-No Bullies Allowed.

Author Links:
Buy Link:
The Angel Knights: http://amzn.to/1RyYWdZ
The Chosen Knights: http://amzn.to/1PpJU8H
The Blessed Knights: http://amzn.to/2skJkt1


Torched – Donovan Circus Book 5

Title: Torched
Author: Liz Long
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Cover Designer: Indie-Spired Design
Expected Release Date: June 23rd, 2017
Blurb:
Lucy Sullivan and her circus family are finally back where they belong – in the spotlight and with each other. Even ringmaster Sheffield Donovan is in good spirits as their show delights audiences each night. Life is almost back to normal.
Until the US government appears in the form of one General Baker and his army of soldiers. At the threat of worldwide exposure, life as the Donovan Circus knows it is over. Cornered into the General’s terrible experiments, they have no rights, no friends, and no hope of escape. Lucy will lose more than one loved one, and perhaps her own life, in the process.
The Donovan Circus will face the worst danger yet – can Lucy take down an entire government sector, or will the gifted world finally be destroyed once and for all?
Liz Long is a proud graduate of Longwood University and author of ten novels. Her inspiration comes from action and thriller genres and she spends entirely too much time watching superhero movies. Her day job as Associate Editor includes writing for a magazine publisher in Roanoke, VA. She is also the director of the Roanoke Regional Writers Conference and the annual Roanoke Author Invasion.
Comic book readers and fans of CW Network smash hits Arrow, The Flash, Legends of Tomorrow, and Netflix’s Daredevil will root for Liz Long’s bestselling YA summer series as the HoA’s gifted teen superheroes attempt to save their city from its impending demise. The Donovan Circus series has best been described as “X-Men meets the circus.” Adult horror story Witch Hearts tells the tale of a serial killer hunting witches for their powers. New Adult PNR A Reaper Made is about a teen Reaper who gets caught between falling in love or saving her sister’s soul. All titles are available for paperback or ebook on Amazon.
To learn more about Liz (including more information on her books, plus writing, marketing, and social media tips), visit her website: http://lizclong.com.

Author Links:
Newsletter signup (new subscribers get 2 free ebooks, including DC #1): http://www.subscribepage.com/lizlongauthornewsletter
Buy Links:
Torched Pre-Order Links:
One of our tigers roared, triggering Suzy the elephant to release a trumpet of warning. These strange men were probably stirring up circus members who weren’t already at the party, scaring them half to death. My stomach clenched at the thought; my whole family, practically everyone I knew and loved, was right behind me in the Big Top.

I have to protect them.

It was the only thought I had, the only one that mattered. I would do whatever it took to keep my people alive. The soldier directly in front of me snapped to get my attention, instantly annoying me. “Where is Sheffield Donovan?”

My chin jutted out. “Who’s asking?”

A new, strong voice answered behind the soldier. It definitely belonged to a man of authority. “The United States government.”




All Who Wander Are Lost

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ALL WHO WANDER ARE LOST

Icarus Fell series, book 2

by Bruce Blake

 

Genre: Urban Fantasy

If we’re good, we go to Heaven; if we’re bad we go to Hell. No one wants to go to Hell.

Except one man who wishes people would just remember to call him Ric.

In the aftermath of a serial killer’s murderous spree, souls who didn’t deserve damnation went to Hell. The archangel Michael doesn’t seem concerned, but Icarus Fell can’t bear the guilt of knowing it’s his fault they ended up there.

But how can he save them when the archangel forbids him from going and his guardian angel refuses to help?

The answer comes in the form of another beautiful, bewitching guardian angel who offers to be his guide. They travel to Hell to rescue the unjustly damned one by one, but salvation comes at a cost and the economy of Hell demands souls.

Is it a price Icarus is willing to pay?

Chapter One

When your guardian angel and her friend, the archangel Gabriel, tell you to stay put, it’s probably a good idea to listen.

I should have, but I have inexplicable difficulty with authority figures. It gets me in trouble. A lot.

An old Buick sat to the right of my motel room door looking like it hadn’t moved in a decade or so, and it certainly hadn’t budged since I checked in; a few other cars were parked in the motel’s lot but there were no people. I stepped across the threshold and closed the door behind me, the click of the lock firecracker-loud in the winter night.

I paused. Still no one around. I breathed deep and stepped away from the door, the first time I’d been outside the dingy, musty-smelling room in weeks.

A month ago, the police found a tranny prostitute named Dante Frank dead on a bed in a five-star hotel, hairy chest and hairless vagina exposed for the world to see along with the biblical references his killer carved in his flesh. Dante, whom I’d known as Danielle Francis, was the last victim of the serial killer dubbed the Revelations Reaper by the media. The police had a suspect in the string of killings: me.

I didn’t kill any of them but, if the truth be told, their deaths were on me.

Forget the angels telling me to stay indoors, the fact the local news had been flashing an unflattering picture of my face on the screen every night until a week ago should have kept me inside my seedy room. But you know what they say about common sense…it ain’t so common.

Icarus Fell: living proof.

I didn’t think that because they finally stopped plastering my face all over the six o’clock news they’d stopped looking for me. Every cop in the city likely still carried my picture like they were at war and I was their girl waiting for them back home, but after four weeks in my motel-room-prison, the prospect of remaining inside held as little appeal as being girlfriend to a bunch of cops. I’d spent every moment of the last month thinking about my role in the deaths, wishing things were different. Another minute trapped alone with my guilt might prove one too many.

I slipped away from the motel and down a side street, disappearing in shadows and down alleys wherever I could. The taste of impending snow in the early December air fortified my lungs.

As I ranged farther from the motel, the garbage strewn on the streets and graffiti tags spray-painted on walls — ‘Big Turk Wuz Hear’ and other poetic gems — became less frequent until they disappeared completely. I’d made my way to a neighborhood where people cared, a fact which should have rang alarm bells in my head and made me more careful, but the lack of hookers and drug dealers lifted my spirits and my worry ebbed taking caution along with it.

Dumb ass.

I paused at the intersection, the lights of an approaching car reflecting on the frost-rimed pavement as I waited to be sure it would obey the stop sign. Without the fresh air loosening my wits, I’d have waved him through, but freedom made my head light in the way of a non-smoker after a few drags on a cigarette. The car’s brakes squeaked as it rolled to a halt. I stepped off the curb and raised a hand in thanks, squinting against the lights, but couldn’t see the driver. Hand replaced in pocket, I continued on my way, thinking nothing of it until I heard the hum and chatter of a power window in need of repair.

“Hey, you.”

The words weren’t spoken with the timbre of someone in need of directions. The caution and worry the beautiful night had leeched from me flooded back; I quickened my pace.

“Stop.”

I broke into a run before his engine roared and tires chirped. Cutting across a well-manicured lawn, I hopped a fence, ran through a back yard dominated by an inter-locking brick patio and an in-ground pool emptied for the winter, then vaulted another fence into a rear lane, cursing my stupidity with every step.

Despite a house between us, I heard the car’s engine rev and labor as the driver gave chase. I dove through a line of tall shrubs, their branches scratching my face, and into another yard, keeping my flight to places the car couldn’t go. Ten minutes of fence-jumping and shrub-diving later, I emerged on a sporadically lit street. Familiar graffiti scrolled across the side of a building; Big Turk and his poor spelling were back. Close to my motel. My lungs labored, the cold air hurting my chest instead of refreshing it as a stitch in my side dug in and grabbed hold. I stopped to catch my breath, bent at the waist, hands grasping knees like the world’s worst marathoner run out of steam, but rest didn’t last long. A siren wailed behind me and I forced my legs back into action.

I darted into an alley and the all-too-familiar stink of garbage and piss, depression and decay hit me immediately. I’d lost so many days and nights of my youth in alleys like this, sleeping off a bottle of vodka or poking a needle in my arm. I forced the thought from my mind. This was no time to self-analyze by way of shitty memories.

Tires screeched at the mouth of the alley. I didn’t look back, my attention taken by a figure stepping out of the shadows into my path. A Carrion, I assumed–a human-shaped demon sent to collect souls and make my life difficult–but I quickly realized the silhouette was smaller and more feminine, leaving two possible people. Angels, really. I halted a few paces beyond arm’s-reach in case I was wrong.

“Hey, mister. Long time, no see.”

I recognized the voice immediately. The angel stepped into the light and I saw her gingerbread hair, glimpsed the freckled skin of her cheek.

“Gabe.”

The Archangel Gabriel is the messenger. She brings scrolls with my assignments inscribed on them: who’s scheduled to pass, where, when, and where to take them when it’s done.

I couldn’t think of a worse time for her to show up.

“Did you miss me?”

Her pure voice echoed off the alley walls and a chorus of swallows which always accompanied her, but that I couldn’t see in the dark, chirped and chittered on a fire escape overhead.

“Don’t have time right now, Gabe,” I said breathlessly and glanced over my shoulder. The alley remained empty, but it wouldn’t for much longer.

“Here.”

She offered a scroll which hadn’t been in her hand a second before.

“Really, Gabe? I don’t–” I gestured toward the alley at my back, offered a pleading look. She shook the scroll at me and raised an eyebrow.

I’d learned the hard way that harvesting wasn’t the kind of job you could slack off at; the hard way seems to be how I learn pretty much everything. I gave in without any real fight.

My finger brushed hers as I grasped the rolled parchment and an electric charge prickled the hairs on my arm, bringing with it a longing to spend time with her, to be in her presence as long as possible. I nearly forgot the man chasing me.

“Gabe, I–”

She smiled and shrugged. “You don’t have time, remember?”

Swallow wings beat the air above my head as she walked away. I stared after her for a second before pulling myself from the angel-induced stupor to look at the scroll in my hand. This was my second assignment since everything went down: the deaths, the media frenzy, the explosion at the church. What happened to souls during my seclusion? Did they make other arrangements or were they okay with everyone going to Hell for a few weeks while I got my wits about me? Great vacation for me, but kind of sucked for everyone else.

Unrolling the scroll unnerved me. After being given one inscribed with my son’s name, I couldn’t help but hold my breath. Probably would every time I did it.

Shaun Williams.

I set my captive breath free. Didn’t know him. The address scrawled on the yellowed parchment wasn’t familiar either, but I knew the city well enough to recognize it was close. I read the time of death, then checked my watch.

Two minutes from now.

The sound of shoes hammering pavement reverberated off the alley’s brick walls. I got my legs moving again and took a corner, feet tangling in a pile of garbage bags and spilling me to the pavement. My shoulder hit hard and I skidded a couple of feet along the damp ground, filth snow-plowing onto my jacket. I scrambled to my feet, glanced ahead and behind as the footsteps grew louder, and realized the futility of my flight. Facing my pursuer seemed the only option. Maybe I could talk my way out of it before my appointment came and went.

Damn it.

Bad things happen to good people when I miss appointments. And to bad people; also, the Swiss.

I backed down the alley and didn’t have to wait long for the man chasing me. He rounded the corner, avoided the garbage bags which had tripped me, and skidded to a halt in a pool of light cast by a security light mounted high overhead. The dress pants he wore looked a year or so beyond their best-before date; a long wool coat covered a rumpled dress shirt which may never have made a dry cleaner’s acquaintance. I might have noticed more but the gun in his hand distracted me.

“Mr. Fell,” he said between panted breaths. “If that’s really your name.”

“It’s the name the bastard gave me,” I muttered glancing from gun to a face I’d met a few times and seen many more on the news. The muscles in my jaw clenched and released as I silently counted the passing seconds in my head. “We seem to meet under awkward circumstances, don’t we, Detective?”

“Sometimes happens between serial killers and cops.”

“I didn’t kill anyone.”

“Right.” He leveled the gun, his eternally tired eyes unwavering. “And I’m Serena Williams. Put your hands behind your head.”

A little firework went off in my brain, interrupting my mental countdown. He obviously wasn’t Serena Williams — wrong sex, wrong skin color, and he didn’t look like much of a tennis player — so why pick her out of a thousand possible celebrities to use sarcastically? I chanced pissing him off and stole a peek at my watch: t-minus one minute. My gut wrenched one twist to the right.

If I don’t get out of here quick–

The thought cut off half-formed, bullied aside by another. The detective was the lead investigator in the Revelations Reaper case, the guy the newscasts interviewed no matter how uncomfortable he looked on camera, so I’d seen his face a hundred times on TV. And every time they showed him offering his oft-quoted ‘no comment’, they emblazoned his name on the screen in white letters.

How did I miss it?

Detective Shaun Williams.

I raised an eyebrow. “Detective Williams?”

“Yeah, that’s right. Now that we’ve been properly introduced, put your fucking hands behind your head before I shoot you.”

I peered past him, then to both sides. With his name on the scroll in my back pocket, there had to be someone waiting to ambush this man scheduled to die in about forty-five seconds.

“You need to get out of here,” I said, eyes still searching the shadows. “You’re in danger.”

“Me?” He stretched his arm toward me, pushing the barrel closer. “If you don’t get your hands up right now, you’ll never walk again.”

The seconds ticked off in my head, echoing down the hallways of my mind. I gritted my teeth, fought the compulsion to try and save him.

Not my job.

They sent me to retrieve his soul after his death, not prevent it. But so many already died because of me and my poor choices. Maybe this was an opportunity to make amends–with myself, if no one else. My eyes found his and held his gaze for a second; I didn’t have much more than that.

“You’ll thank me for this later,” I murmured and darted toward him, moving faster than he expected an out-of-shape-almost-forty guy like me could.

He squeezed the trigger but I was on him before he got the shot off. The gunshot nearly deafened me, the explosion echoing through my head, ringing in my ears. My arms encircled him, pinning his at his sides, and inertia carried me forward, driving him to the ground. Breath whooshed out of his lungs when we hit, but I didn’t let go.

“This is for your own good,” I said into his ear. His body jerked but my grip held. The last few seconds counted down in my head.

Five…four…three…two…one.

When I reached zero, I held on a few seconds longer in case my timing was off or my watch was slow. Nothing happened. No gunshot, no one jumping from the shadows; a grand piano didn’t drop from a balcony. Nothing.

I leaned back, a hand on his gun arm to prevent him from shooting me. Some thanks that would be for saving his life. I gripped his wrist expecting him to squirm away, but he didn’t. His lack of movement should have tipped me something was wrong, but I was too concerned with making sure we weren’t about to be attacked to notice. Nothing moved in the shadows, no one approached down the alley.

Could the scroll have been wrong?

Unlikely, but it happened before, when other forces manipulated events. How did I know the same wasn’t the case this time?

I didn’t.

A small movement caught my eye and I looked left to see a figure standing five yards away. Fear forced bitter, electric saliva into my mouth like I’d bitten down on a piece of aluminum foil, and I snatched the gun from Detective Williams’ hand, jerked it toward the silhouette. The man didn’t react, but simply stood watching. His presence made a knot form in my stomach which worked its way quickly into the back of my throat. The figure stepped forward into the light and the muscles in my forearm tensed, my finger brushed the trigger. It only took a second to realize he wasn’t as opaque as he should be.

This wasn’t a man, but a dislodged soul.

“What–?” I began but the lump in my throat got the better of my voice.

My brain finally registered the detective’s lack of movement and I looked from the soul to the detective’s face. His tired eyes stared up at me blankly; a dark circle of fluid spread across the grungy pavement beneath his head.

“No, I–”

The sight of his glazed eyes hit me like a spinning kick to the gut, stealing my breath and energy. My gun arm sagged, the police-issue .38 resting against my thigh, forgotten. I resisted the urge to shake him by the lapel of his wool coat or slap him awake, call out his name. I already knew what the result would be. The overhead light reflected in the pool of liquid around his head making a grisly halo.

I was responsible for another death.

I shook my head in disbelief and looked back at the spirit. There were no black bags under its eyes or worry lines at the corners of its mouth, but there was no mistaking to whom the soul belonged: except for the felt fedora tilted over the soul’s left eye like he’d stepped out of a Mickey Spillane novel, the spirit wore the same clothes.

“I didn’t–”

My words stuck again. Or maybe I didn’t want to complete the sentence because it would make what happened real. No need to worry, the ghost took care of that piece of business for me.

“You killed me.”

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ON UNFAITHFUL WINGS

To some, death is the end; to others, a beginning. To Icarus Fell, it should have been a relief from a life gone seriously awry.

But death had other plans.

Icarus doesn’t believe that the man awaiting him when he wakes up in a cheap motel room is really the archangel Michael, or that God’s right hand wants him to help souls on their way to Heaven. Icarus doesn’t believe there’s a Heaven, so why should they want his help?

But the man claiming to be the archangel tempts him with an offer he can’t ignore–harvest enough souls and get back the life he wished he’d had.

It seems Icarus has nothing to lose, until he botches a harvest and the soul that went to Hell instead of Heaven comes back to make him pay by threatening to take away the life he hoped to win back.

To save the wife and son he already lost once, Icarus will have to become the man he never was. Somehow, he will have to learn to believe.

Bruce Blake lives on Vancouver Island in British Columbia, Canada. When pressing issues like shovelling snow and building igloos don’t take up his spare time, Bruce can be found taking the dog sled to the nearest coffee shop to work on his short stories and novels.

Actually, Victoria, B.C. is only a couple hours north of Seattle, Wash., where more rain is seen than snow. Since snow isn’t really a pressing issue, Bruce spends more time trying to remember to leave the “u” out of words like “colour” and “neighbour” than he does shovelling (and watch out for those pesky double l’s). The father of two, Bruce is also the trophy husband of a burlesque diva.

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