Tag Archive | Urban Fiction

Kingdom of War

Title: Kingdom of War – Hunter’s Story
Series: Kingdom Journals #5
Author: Tricia Copeland
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Release Date: June 21, 2019

 

 
They were just imaginary childhood friends until Alena found in him in a library thirteen years later. In their quest to find the third of the trinity, they created a coven of witches, eight souls shouldered with the burden of breaking an age-old curse. But someone must lead, and from the moment he became a full witch, Hunter knew it had to be him. His power, the magic coursing through his veins, hungered for a life of its own. Can he control his own demons? Will Alena, Camille, and Hunter figure out how to break the curse or will the darkness consume them?
 

Tricia Copeland grew up in Georgia and now lives in Colorado with her family. Her books include the clean new adult Being Me Series, Is This Me?, If I Could Fly, Thinking You Know Me, and the final installment, Being Me, as well as a young adult novellas, Drops of Sunshine and the Lovelock Chronicles, Lovelock Ones: Native One, published in The Butterfly Box. If she’s not out running, you can find Tricia at www.triciacopeland.com or your favorite social media.

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Bridges Burned

Title: Bridges Burned
Author: Chris Cannon
Genre: YA Urban Fantasy
Publisher: Entangled Teen
Narrator: Julie Niblett
Audio Producer: The Audio Flow, LLC
Blurb:
Since discovering she is a shape-shifting dragon, Bryn McKenna has seen her world thrown into chaos. Being a “crossbreed” – part Red dragon and part Blue – means Bryn will never fit in. Not with dragon society. Not with the archaic and controlling Directorate. And definitely not when she has striped hair and a not-so-popular affection for rule-breaking…
But sneaking around with her secret boyfriend, Zavien, gets a whole lot harder when he’s betrothed to someone else. Someone who isn’t a mixed breed and totally forbidden. And for an added complication, it turns out Bryn’s former archnemesis Jaxon Westgate isn’t quite the evil asshat she thought. Now she’s caught between her desire to fit in and a need to set things on fire. Literally.
Because if Bryn can’t adapt to the status quo…well, then maybe it’s time for her to change it. 
The Going Down in Flames series is best enjoyed in order.
 
Chris Cannon is the award-winning author of the Going Down In Flames series and the Boyfriend Chronicles. She lives in Southern Illinois with her husband and several furry beasts.
She believes coffee is the Elixir of Life. Most evenings after work, you can find her sucking down caffeine and writing fire-breathing paranormal adventures or romantic comedies. You can find her online at www.chriscannonauthor.com.

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Going Down in Flames: http://amzn.to/2C6jGhy

 

Bridges Burned: http://amzn.to/2BNRvQu
Trial by Fire: http://amzn.to/2Cij0Te
Fanning the Flames: http://amzn.to/2BMyDRL
Audio Buy Link:
Going Down in Flames: https://tinyurl.com/yb35sd7o
Bridges Burned: https://amzn.to/2x8fklj

The Vogt House

Title: The Vogt House
Author: Quinn Slater
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Cover Designer: Silla Webb/Masque of the Red Pen
Publication Date: May 24th, 2019
Blurb:
The Vogt House is looking for a new owner. Someone rich. Someone willing to explore and expand its fairytale existence in the town of Decadence.Cy Hall, the newest Powerball winner, a man with wicked dreams, and the money to make all his dreams come true takes a liking to Vogt House. But Vogt House has its own plans for Cy, plans that take him into the fairytales of his youth. Plans that include most of the people in his life. And a plan to turn him into a creature of the night.In Vogt House dreams, fairytales and nightmares do come true.
Quinn Slater lives in a large town in Kentucky where many of his stories take place. His writing career began in mainstream fiction where he has published five novels. But then he found a delicious appetite for writing erotic fiction. As one college professor put it, “You need to go write the dirty stuff.” And that’s exactly what he did.
Quinn’s work features strong male and female protagonists and antagonist, all of who have just the right amount of sexy with a healthy dose of naughtiness. He was once asked why he turned to erotica. The answer was simple. He wanted to put characters in compromising situations and see how their carnal appetites helped them find a way to a pleasurable ending.
Author Links:

Series Review Tour

SERIES REVIEW TOUR

This series is about dragons who want nothing more than to live in peace, but refuse to be subjugated. In war there’s also love, and love is blind. Love doesn’t care about gender, race, species (in this case), or sexuality.

 

BOOK 1 of 3

Book Title: SYN Consulting: Dragon War Chronicles Book One

Author: A.G. Carothers

Publisher: A.G. Carothers

Cover Artist: Angsty G

Genre/s: LGBT Urban Fantasy

Heat Rating: 4 flames

Length: 69 000 words/ 263 pages

Release Date: August 17, 2018

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Blurb

Continue to hide or help save the very kin she’s hidden from?

Welcome to SYN Consulting, the top business strategy consulting firm in Europe, home to a motley crew whose leader has a life changing secret. CEO, Danica Lestrange, is the first female dragon born in the last 800 years. Hidden from the rest of her kin and raised in the human world, she built a life that she would defend until her death.

A devious plan is unearthed while working on a new business deal that could plunge the dragons into another war with the humans. The humans may have forgotten the last dragon-human war, but the dragons have not. Will the war reveal this hidden world to the humans, or will the clans come together to defeat their enemies and maintain their anonymity?

Danica must gather her allies and help the very dragons she’s hidden from her whole life. She can only hope that she’ll be strong enough to protect her chosen family.

This is the first book in a new series about dragons who want nothing more than to live in peace, but refuse to be subjugated. In war there’s also love, and love is blind. Love doesn’t care about gender, race, species (in this case), or sexuality.

Warning: This book contains explicit sexual content between consenting adults. The sexual scenes are MM, MF, and MMF. There are romantic relationships depicted that are MM. There is also a high level of explicit language, snark, kink, and possibly bad puns and fart jokes.

This book does end in a cliffhanger. Secrets Revealed: Dragon War Chronicles Book Two is Available Now!

 

Buy Links – Available on Kindle Unlimited

Amazon US

Amazon UK

 

Excerpt

Matthew finished the last bit of his sandwich as he stood up going over to a wall of glass that overlaid the actual wall. The glass was one large computer interface, much like most of the glass in the building from the table they were eating on to elevator walls, to all the glass panel monitors of various sizes. Matt tapped on the panel bringing up several windows and enlarging them so that everyone could see. He pulled a photo of Kollin Olsen and moved it to the center.

He reached back, grabbing his bottle of water. Swallowing a mouthful, he cleared his throat and started his report. “I finished my preliminary research into KleanTech and Global Gas. You’ll never believe who Kollin Olsen is.” Danica was completely occupied with a large mouthful of her sandwich and gestured for him to continue. “He’s the next alpha to the Norwegian Dragon Clan, son of none other than Hafthór Ormsson, making him Jǫkull Ormsson, The Glacier himself.”

“Fuck!” Danica thought, looking over at Xander, who could hear her thought clearly.

“Fuck is right,” he answered out loud.

Danica took another bite of her sandwich and looked around the table at the family she had created, mulling over that bombshell. Matt, thankfully, let her take her time and waited silently while she came to terms with that disturbing news.

These SLIPs who stood by her, supported her, and loved her were, for the lack of a better word, her pack as motley as they were. They were hers to protect as much as they protected her. She thought about that as she continued to eat. Xander placed a hand on her thigh and squeezed it reassuringly. If she took this job, she risked exposure of what she was. With that, she risked not just her life, but all of their lives.

 

BOOK 2 of 3

Book Title: Secrets Revealed: Dragon War Chronicles Book Two

Author: A.G. Carothers

Publisher: A.G. Carothers

Cover Artist: Angsty G

Genre/s: LGBT Fantasy

Length: 53 000 words/194 pages

Release Date: November 2, 2018

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Blurb

Last time on Dragon War Chronicles, we left our heroes fighting for their lives in the midst of battle…

Kollin races against time to get samples of the weapon used in Canada to their lab in Oslo. Kenshin races to get Danica back home in time to save her, Aiden and Xander. Danica’s allies start to converge in Toulouse in aide and help to prepare for what may come.

Will Kollin be able to help save Danica, Aiden, and Xander before all is lost? Will Matt be able to track down who’s responsible for a new weapon that threatens them all? What will happen when Danica’s biggest secret is revealed?

Secrets are revealed that will change the future for all dragon and SLIP kind alike.

Warning: This book contains explicit sexual situations that are MM, MF, and MMMF. There are romantic relationships displayed that are MM and some depictions of loving and consensual BDSM relationships. There are also bad puns, a game of tag with an invisible dragon, and lions, jaguars, and bears. Oh my!

 

Buy Links – Available on Kindle Unlimited

Amazon US

Amazon UK

 

Excerpt

Kenshin relaxed back against the hull of the plane again after ending the call with Kollin.This time yesterday everything was fine. How did things get this fucked up, this quickly? Kenshin closed his eyes, and exhaustion started to seep in. The noise of the cargo plane dimmed inhis mind with each breath he took.

“I remember when I first met her.” JP’s voice cut through his attempt at meditation and Kenshin’s eyes flew open. JP continued, “She looked no older than fifteen. I thought for sure she was using a fake passport to get into La Trésor. She wouldn’t stand down though. She looked up at me, and even though she had an American passport, she spoke in fluent French, which I didn’t expect. But I also didn’t expect her to stand her ground when I tried to get her to move and go home.”

Kenshin was tempted to stop him from telling his story, to shout out that he’s being stupid for talking like that. Telling stories like that is something you do when you’re talking of the dead and DAMN IT! She wasn’t dead yet.

“Cool as a cucumber she looked me in the eye and demanded to speak to the owner. Even the threat of the Gendarmerie didn’t sway her, and she didn’t try to bribe her way in like most would have. That right there was why I finally made the call up to Olivier. And you know what she did when she finally came face to face with him?”

Kenshin turned his head towards JP. The packmates closest to them were all looking at JP completely enraptured by his tale. Kenshin didn’t know what happened, so he was curious.

JP smiled and gave a little laugh at the memory. “She didn’t do what you’d expect someone to do. She didn’t yell or demand he fire me. No, not Dani. She said, and I’ll never forget this. She said, Whatever you’re paying him, double it and put him in charge. She went on to tell him how the other bouncers didn’t look twice at her because they were too busy looking at her tits. She said it just like that too. She didn’t back down then to get what she wanted, and she’s not going to do that now. She’s strong, our Dani. She’s never backed down from a challenge, and she won’t back down from this. We have to have faith because we all know she’d have it in us.”

Claps and cheers went up around Kenshin, and he smiled probably for the first time that morning. JP was right, and Kenshin needed to keep in mind how strong she really was. Listening to him made Kenshin think about his own first time with her. He knew when he saw this arrogant kid stride into his father’s office in Kyoto, dressed the way she normally does that he just might have a way out from under his father. That he could finally be free for the first time in over two-hundred years. And make no mistake at a fraction of his age, she was a kid, and he had just spent the last sixty years helping his father build Nakamura Industries. But there was something about her, and her business proposal to his father was solid, a little crazy, but solid.

The plane quieted down as everyone settled in for the long flight home. Faith. He had faith in her all those years ago and he’d not waiver now. JP was right. Strength, determination, stubbornness. These were the things that made up their dragon. They were the things that would see her to the other side of this in one piece. Kenshin closed his eyes again and sleep finally took him now that his mind was settled.

 

BOOK 3 of 3 – NEW RELEASE

Book Title: First Strike: Dragon War Chronicles Book 3

Author: A.G. Carothers

Publisher: A.G. Carothers

Cover Artist: Angsty G

Genre/s: LGBT Fantasy

Length: approx. 58 000 words/230 pages

Release Date: March 8, 2019

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Blurb

Previously on Dragon War Chronicles, our heroes recovered and were preparing to take the fight to a still unknown enemy. Meanwhile, startling breeding experiments were revealed.

Three sites are discovered in Russia that could hold all the answers they’ve been looking for. Three strike teams are assembled led by Xander, Kollin, and Tyler. Three simultaneous attacks are combined to make one devastating first strike against their hidden enemies.

What horrors will they discover? What plans will be revealed? Why is a member of the Dragon Council showing up on Danica’s doorstep with ultimatums?

Find out in the next exciting installment of Dragon War Chronicles.

Warning: This book contains explicit sexual contact between consenting adults. There are romantic, BDSM, and purely sexual relations shown that are MM and MF. There is also high sexual tension and alpha male posturing that will make you laugh and roll your eyes along with plenty of snark and definite teasing of dwarf-like dragons.

 

Buy Links – Available on Kindle Unlimited

Amazon US

Amazon UK

 

Excerpt

Aiden and Lukas were able to leave Danica’s flat right after dinner. She told everyone to go and have fun before she curled up on her couch with Bastien to watch movies. Aiden led Lukas out the office door and down to the river. He’d never been out with his Master like this, and all he wanted was to take a walk holding hands. So, they did.

As they came closer to the bridge, Aiden stopped. He pointed to some bushes that were growing against the wall. “This is where I found Bastien. He was such a small pup. His fur was matted, and he was so skinny. I knew right away he was one of us.” Lukas squeezed his hand gently. “It took me forever to coax him out and let me touch him. He was so scared. You know we still don’t know what happened to his pack or where he came from? He says he doesn’t remember, but we think he just really doesn’t want to talk about it.”

Lukas listened to Aiden ramble patiently as always. “You’ve raised him well, Aiden. He’s a fine young praeses. He’s smart and has learned a lot from everyone around him.” Lukas pulled him close and wrapped an arm around his waist.

Aiden wrapped his arms around Lukas’ neck. He was only slightly taller than Aiden, and he was slimmer, but they fit together perfectly. “That first year with Bastien was the hardest. He had nightmares almost every night. Danica would sit with him and read him stories until he fell back asleep. He’d curl up on her lap refusing to shift out of his wolf form.”

“I remember when you brought him for the first time to the pack lands for a run. That was the first time I really saw you. You were so patient with him. We only had a few pups around his age at the time, and he didn’t want to go near them, but you finally got him to play with them. That was the first time I saw you as a wolf too, and you stole my breath away.” Aiden blushed at Lukas’ praise. Lukas leaned down and nipped at Aiden’s ear. “I wanted you so much starting that day. You know you’ve been my pup for almost ten years now?”

Lukas’ deep, low voice sent shivers down Aiden’s spine as he nodded. “Yes, Master.”

“I have many plans for us, now that we don’t have to hide anymore.” One of Lukas’ hands traveled lower and cupped Aiden’s ass. Aiden whimpered softly.

 

About the Author

 

A.G. Carothers is actually a dragon very cleverly disguised as a human. They are a non-binary author of LGBTQIA Romance and Urban Fantasy, who enjoys writing original and entertaining stories. They are very excited to share the worlds they’ve created with you.


A.G. currently lives in Tennessee with their platonic life partner, who is not a dragon. They yearn to live back in Europe and will some day. In their spare time they are addicted to losing themselves in the lovely worlds created by other authors

A.G. is committed to writing the stories they see in their head without restrictions. Love is blind and doesn’t see gender, race, or sexuality.

 

Author Links

Blog/Website

Facebook

Readers Group

Twitter: @ag_carothers

Goodreads

BookBub

Amazon

 

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The Mystic

Title: The Mystic
Author: Jo Michaels
Genre: Urban Fiction/Apocalyptic Fiction
Editor: Tia Silverthorne Bach with INDIE Books Gone Wild
Publication Date: December 17th, 2018
Blurb:
It’s one year until the apocalypse of 12.21.12 is supposed to take place.
Burning buildings, screaming babies, and death will surround us.
It will be the end of the world.
That can’t be allowed.
When six powerful women come together with one goal—to save humanity—they’ll get much more than they bargained for. They join forces and learn to use the gifts hidden within themselves to battle a monster feeding off something too many of us feel in our souls: Hate. But they must first learn how to forgive—themselves as well as others.
Hate is birthing a creature dwelling under Central Park in New York, and the fiend is eager to burst forth and sink his fangs into the Earth.
The Fury, The Visionary, The Beguiler, The Siren, The Prophet, and The Mystic are our last hope, and even they aren’t sure if they can win.
The end is coming, but with it, there may be a new beginning.
 
Buy Links:
The Visionary: https://amzn.to/2RXtH4W
Jo Michaels is…
Hi, I’m Jo. Let’s forget all the “Jo Michaels is blah, blah, blah” stuff and just go with it. I’m a voracious reader (often reading more than one book at a time), a writer, a book reviewer, a mom, a wife, and one of the EICs at INDIE Books Gone Wild. I have an almost photographic memory and tend to make people cringe at the number of details I can recall about them and/or their book(s). My imagination follows me around like a conjoined twin and causes me to space out pretty often or laugh out loud randomly in completely inappropriate situations.
I have a degree in graphic design, and my journey to the end was one few students who begin that program ever complete. However, this was one case where my memory and OCD tendencies helped me. Graduation was one of the most amazing days of my life. But, my most amazing day was when my now husband proposed. Every little girl dreams of being Cinderella someday, and he pulled off the proposal of fantasies.
At the risk of sounding cliché, I’m going to let it out there and say how much I absolutely adore the man I’m married to. Along with my children, he’s my whole world.
I’ve lived in Louisiana, Tennessee, and Georgia, but I’ve had my feet in almost every state. Traveling is something I adore, and have plans to someday see the Mongolia I’ve written about in Yassa.
One of my favorite things is hearing from fans! You can find me on social media most any day of the week. Connect! I’d love to hear from you.
Author Links:
Buy Links:
Chapter One ~ Being Psychic
Markaza sat at the table in The Clementine’s restaurant and chewed her food. Never in her life had she been so afraid of being alone. What if the monster’s description caused the other young ladies of Women Save the World to abandon her? There was no way she could fly solo. She’d die; they’d all die. Goosebumps lifted the hair on her arms, and she shivered.
They were bantering in their easy way, everyone seeming to feel deeply for the other after hearing their stories. Bronya being ostracized for being a lesbian, Lily and her self-image after the accident that left her scarred for life, and the other three, Shelia, Melody, and Coralie, all mangled or abused in some way.
Even though they were all damaged, each held a power that would determine the fate of the human race. Markaza hid her irritation over not being able to tell the ladies how to use their power, only help them discover it for themselves. She smiled as she watched Lily poke Bronya and point out the hottest woman in the room. Markaza’s ladies had a bond that would, hopefully, be difficult to break.
She was staring at her Reuben sandwich and pile of fries when the room went dark.
Blood.
There’s blood everywhere. It’s on the ground, her clothes, and her hands. Screams shatter the darkness.
A disembodied voice fills the air. “You’re next.”
She woke to someone shaking her. With her butt still in the chair, she blinked and looked around the table. “What happened?”
“Girl, you just fell into your plate. You scared the shit outta me!” Shelia was as white as a linen napkin.
“Oh, sorry.”
“What was that?”
“Nothing. Don’t worry about it. I’m fine. I just need to eat. I think.”
Shelia lifted an eyebrow. “You should probably start with the fries stuck to your face. Seriously, you okay?”
Markaza nodded. “Happens all the time.”
“We know. But not usually in the middle of dinner.” Bronya added. “I was about to make a scene if you didn’t come back around.”
~~~~~
Nancy arrived and sat down on the floor. “What is it, child? What did you see this time?”
Markaza threw herself into the woman’s lap, wrapping both arms around her waist. “Oh my God, it was horrible! Nancy, we have to do something!”
Rocking the distraught child, Nancy used an even voice when she spoke. “Calm down. I can’t understand you when you’re hysterical.”
Markaza gulped for air, taking it in as if she was being suffocated. Her stomach settled as her hair was stroked. “Sunny died.”
“Baby, you’ve seen these kinds of things every year since you were just a little thing. What was different this time that’s got you so upset?”
“I was inside her head. I saw what she saw; felt what she felt. I died, too,” Markaza whispered. She pushed away and trembled again. It started deep in her belly and radiated out through her limbs, causing her words to come through chattering teeth. “She went skydiving and got severed from her partner when he pulled the chute open. We hit the ground… What do I do?”
“Oh my God.” Nancy’s eyes were wide and blank, her lips were pressed together, and her hand flitted up to touch her forehead. “I’m so sorry. I can’t imagine…”
“It was horrible.” Rapid breathing ensued, and Markaza could feel she was losing her grip again. “What do I do? If I call her, she’ll think I’m a freak! She’s the only friend I have.”

From The Grave

Title: From the Grave
Author: Karina Espinosa
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Cover Designer: Orina Kafe ArtWorks
Editor: Beyond DEF
Publication Date: December 13th, 2018
Hosted by: Lady Amber’s PR
 
Blurb:
Secrets don’t stay buried forever.
Mackenzie Grey is a lone wolf who’s earned her fair share of battle scars from the past, but that’s all over now. Or so she thought.
Known as the Freedom Princess, her heroic deeds have come with a heavy price when a mysterious new villain emerges, one who’s intent on killing Sebastian. As a new breed of danger lurks on the horizon, secrets between Bash and Kenz pile up and her worst nightmare is realized.
Mackenzie spent the last three years learning who she was in Origins. Now she will face her greatest challenges in Trials …
Buy Links:
From the Grave: https://amzn.to/2Pxlmm6
*Disclaimer* While it’s not required to read Mackenzie Grey: Origins before From the Grave, it is recommended.
 

Karina Espinosa is the Urban Fantasy author of the Sins of the Fallen series and the Mackenzie Grey novels. Infatuated with travel, pop culture, and the need to write everything down, she spends much of her days in front of a computer working on her next book, shopping online, and listening to music. With nomadic tendencies, she is currently resting her head in South Florida until the itch to move strikes again. You can usually catch her on Facebook, Instagram and live-tweeting during episodes of Game of Thrones, The Walking Dead, and Orphan Black. Follow her on social media!

Author Links:
Buy Links:
From the Grave: https://amzn.to/2Pxlmm6
*Disclaimer* While it’s not required to read Mackenzie Grey: Origins before From the Grave, it is recommended.

The Prophet

Title: The Prophet
Author: Jo Michaels
Genre: Urban Fiction/Apocalyptic Fiction
Editor: Tia Silverthorne Bach with INDIE Books Gone Wild
Publication Date: December 3rd, 2018
Blurb:
It’s one year until the apocalypse of 12.21.12 is supposed to take place.
Burning buildings, screaming babies, and death will surround us.
It will be the end of the world.
That can’t be allowed.
When six powerful women come together with one goal—to save humanity—they’ll get much more than they bargained for. They join forces and learn to use the gifts hidden within themselves to battle a monster feeding off something too many of us feel in our souls: Hate. But they must first learn how to forgive—themselves as well as others.
Hate is birthing a creature dwelling under Central Park in New York, and the fiend is eager to burst forth and sink his fangs into the Earth.
The Fury, The Visionary, The Beguiler, The Siren, The Prophet, and The Mystic are our last hope, and even they aren’t sure if they can win.
The end is coming, but with it, there may be a new beginning.
Buy Links:
The Visionary: https://amzn.to/2RXtH4W
Jo Michaels is…
Hi, I’m Jo. Let’s forget all the “Jo Michaels is blah, blah, blah” stuff and just go with it. I’m a voracious reader (often reading more than one book at a time), a writer, a book reviewer, a mom, a wife, and one of the EICs at INDIE Books Gone Wild. I have an almost photographic memory and tend to make people cringe at the number of details I can recall about them and/or their book(s). My imagination follows me around like a conjoined twin and causes me to space out pretty often or laugh out loud randomly in completely inappropriate situations.
I have a degree in graphic design, and my journey to the end was one few students who begin that program ever complete. However, this was one case where my memory and OCD tendencies helped me. Graduation was one of the most amazing days of my life. But, my most amazing day was when my now husband proposed. Every little girl dreams of being Cinderella someday, and he pulled off the proposal of fantasies.
At the risk of sounding cliché, I’m going to let it out there and say how much I absolutely adore the man I’m married to. Along with my children, he’s my whole world.
I’ve lived in Louisiana, Tennessee, and Georgia, but I’ve had my feet in almost every state. Traveling is something I adore, and have plans to someday see the Mongolia I’ve written about in Yassa.
One of my favorite things is hearing from fans! You can find me on social media most any day of the week. Connect! I’d love to hear from you.
Author Links:
Buy Links:
Chapter One ~ Death
Bronya lifted a hand. “Shhhh, I hear something.” Turning her head to the side so she could pay attention to the noises reaching her ears, she noticed Shelia crouching and staring straight ahead. Soft sobbing sounds were coming from inside the car parked across the street. Bronya’s eyes followed the line of Shelia’s gaze and fell on two figures, both male.
“I see you,” whispered Shelia. Before she could be stopped, she took off like a flash and ran straight for the men.
Cursing, Bronya followed; already igniting the power in her hand. Red sparks flew as she knocked the figures aside so Shelia could get to the car. Another red flash and the door flew off the hinges, revealing a third form huddling inside.
At once, the woman scrambled out of the car and fell to the asphalt.
Shelia stopped running and took a defensive posture, creeping slowly toward the mass of hair and limbs tangled on the ground.
Bronya could hear soft words being spoken. “It’s okay. We’re here to help.”
A shrill scream pierced the night air, and both girls put their hands over their ears to shut it out. Then, everything went quiet. It seemed the city hushed to listen to the momentary scream of the woman now lying silent and prone on the road.
“Shit!” Shelia ran forward and put her fingers to the young woman’s neck. “Call an ambulance! No pulse! We’re too damned late!”
“Hello? Operator? I need an ambulance!” Bronya rattled off the names of the cross-streets and approached the girl at the operator’s request. “Yeah, she has no pulse. There’s blood everywhere.”
Footfalls echoing in the distance signaled the retreat of the two men. Everything was quiet except Shelia’s heavy breathing.
She was frantically doing CPR, via instructions yelled out by Bronya, as the whining siren of an ambulance shattered the new quiet. Tires squealing, the vehicle pulled up and two EMTs leapt out, equipment in hand. Bronya clicked her phone off, pulled Shelia back, and stood nearby, watching.
After working furiously over the girl for a number of minutes, the medics lifted her onto a stretcher and everyone climbed into the ambulance. The two girls shrank back against the walls, trying to stay out of the way.
Dark hair, matted with blood, fell around the pillow and framed the girl’s face. She had a nasty bruise below her left eye and red welts here and there on her arms. But there was still no clue as to where the blood was coming from. Bronya scratched her head and chewed the inside of her cheek while her eyes roamed over the mess in front of her. One of the medics was suddenly in her face. “Do you know who did this?” he asked.
Bronya and Shelia both shook their heads.
His voice dropped to a low growl. “Are you the girls that called nine-one-one?”
Taking point, Bronya lifted her hand into the air. “I did that. We found her this way. There were two men, but they ran off when we got here.”
“Two men? Can you describe them?”
“No. It was too dark. I only saw silhouettes and figured they were men because of the way they were standing. You know, leaned to one side, hands in pockets, kinda puffed up like they were big, bad dudes.”
“Do you know this young woman?” He gestured to the girl.
“No.” Bronya shook her head. “We were just walking by and heard crying coming from the car. When we checked it out, we found her and called you guys.” She knew damned good and well who the girl was, but explaining how they knew where she was going to be would take too long and raise too many eyebrows. Playing dumb seemed the best option.
~~~~~
Coralie smiled. She’d been friends with Regina for years. Another search and the name of the understudy for the part of Elphaba made Coralie groan. Fawne Holt! Why did it have to be her? Their long-standing rivalry was just going to get in the way and cause tension on stage.
Damn.
A split-second decision was made to speak with the director about choosing a new understudy. Coralie headed off to see if he was in his office.
She walked up the stairs, knocked on his door, and waited. Just as she was turning to leave, the door flew open and a young-looking man with hair standing on end, a loose tie, rumpled clothing, and no shoes was suddenly staring at her. All ability to speak was stolen as she looked at him. This guy is the director?
“Well?” He held his hands out to the sides.
“Um, I seem to have caught you at a bad time. I’ll come back later.” Again, she turned to go.
“Bad time?”
She spun back around to find him scratching his head.
“Oh!” His face lit up. “You mean the way I look!”
Coralie nodded and gave a nervous giggle.
“No, no, this is the way I always look. I sleep here most nights when a production is in the works.”
“Oh, I see.”
“Well, come on in! I’m sure you wouldn’t be here if you didn’t want to talk to me.”
Stepping through the door, she was overwhelmed by the mess in front of her. Clothes were strewn all over the furniture, empty pizza boxes covered the tops of tables, and paper was scattered everywhere.
“Sorry about the mess.”
“No problem,” she lied.
He stuck out a hand. “Trenton Harris, nice to meet you.”
“Coralie Meyers. You, too.” She wiped her hand on her jeans when he released it.
“Ah, one of my leading ladies! Here, have a seat!” He tossed a jacket and pair of shorts off the couch into a pile on the floor.
Carefully, she lowered herself to the edge of the cushion and perched there. He plopped down on the chair across from her and leaned forward with his elbows on his knees and his hands clasped. “Now, what was it you wanted to talk to me about?”
“It’s my understudy…” She trailed off, not sure if she should even mention it.
“What about her?”
“Well, it’s just that… See, she and I have had…”
“You don’t like each other; right?”
“Yeah.” It was a lame excuse and she knew it. Trying to recover, she added, “I’m just afraid it’s gonna cause unneeded tension on stage.”
Nodding like he agreed, he asked, “And you’re playing the part of Elphaba, right?”
She nodded.
“I have to tell you, I don’t usually make changes once the cast has been chosen.”
“Mr. Harris, I completely understand where you’re coming from, but—”
He lifted a hand. “Changing a casting after it’s been posted is like cutting off and re-attaching a limb. It’s painful.”
“I understand. I figured it wouldn’t hurt to ask.”
Shifting in his seat, he narrowed his eyes at her. “If I accommodated your request, I’d have to do things for other people, too. It’s better to not set any kind of expectation. But I thank you for the warning that things may get difficult.”
“Yes, sir. I’m sorry I bothered you.” She stood up to leave.
Trenton rose with her and opened the door. “You didn’t bother me. I want you to feel comfortable coming to me with anything, okay?”
“Okay. Thanks.” Halfway down the stairs, she heard the door close. “Fat lot of good it did me. Now I just look like a damned diva,” she muttered.