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Tuesday, October 26, 2021

 


Dark Fantasy

Date Published: October 26, 2021

Publisher: Darkstroke Books



Cinna would quite literally kill for the throne.

She’s spent years forced to serve her wealthy cousins rather than attend society events alongside them, waiting for the chance to prove herself and exact revenge. When a ball is announced at the castle, promising to bring many powerful people to town, she seizes the opportunity to strike.

She bets her best friend, a small-time thief and con-man, that she can land a greater score the night of the ball than he can. They embark on parallel heists. But as their plots unfold, things begin to unravel: by the end of the night, the castle’s on lock down, a duchess is dead, a mansion has burnt to the ground, and Cinna hasn’t stolen anything. Or has she stolen something more valuable than gold and jewels?


Excerpt

How interesting, Cinna thought. She had spent so many hours bent over a stove in the kitchen or crouched before the hearth, stoking flames carefully that refused to light. But she had prepared: this house was waiting tinder, ready to be consumed.

She couldn’t hear the screams over the roar of the flames, but surely they were there. Strangely, she didn’t feel cheated to have not heard their voices. It was fine that they died in silence.

It did not take long for the neighbors to begin streaming out of their own houses, and she did hear their screams. They swarmed around the flames, politely mute once they realized they could not do anything, full of awe before the enormity of the fire. Cinna blended into the crowd, nearly invisible in her costume.

At last, just as she had always pledged she would, she watched the house fall in on itself.


About the Author

I am a software engineer and author living and working in Silicon Valley, California. I studied computer science at Stanford University, but I’ve always loved stories in all their forms. I approach writing fiction the same way I approach writing code: I like to know where it’s going, but I want to figure out the details as I go along. Good software is a lot like a good story, full of neat and clever solutions to tricky problems, beautiful at a granular level but also from a distance.

Originally from Seattle, I love getting outdoors and living in places that allow me to escape to the mountains on the weekends, and I care deeply about the ecosystems that humans impact and that impact us. My writing explores these issues while also following classic coming-of-age arcs in science fiction and fantasy. I’m also very interested in stories and characters that complicate the traditional and familiar, leading me to fairytale retellings from unexpected angles.


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Happy Halloween Month, Everyone! For Halloween every year, I like to share my favorite spooky story from my family’s arsenal of tales about the Fae. In this one, my Irish grandmother recounts her personal encounter with a Banshee when she was a teenager. Enjoy!

Bumped by the Banshee

by Celia Breslin

… I lived in a large two-story house with my parents, younger sister, and grandmother. It was a cold, winter evening, nothing special or out of the ordinary. My family dined together, then my sister and I cleaned up while our parents and grandmother drank tea. We joined them at the dining table to do our homework, but my grandmother said she was tired and went upstairs to bed. My parents followed shortly after that, but my father paused on the landing.

“Maeve, it’s going to be a cold night. Fetch us some coal, please.”

I abandoned my homework, grabbed the empty coal bucket from the kitchen, and went down into the cellar. I filled my bucket and returned to the stairs. I had one foot on the first step when the temperature in the cellar, already cold, dropped dramatically. Chills ran down my back. Behind me, someone moaned.

But how could that be? I was alone...

Terror rooted me to the spot. The keening grew louder. I dropped my bucket and covered my ears. A cold wind bumped against my back. I stumbled forward as the shrieking wind rushed over me and up the stairs.

But how could that be? The cellar had no windows...

Above me, the cellar door slammed shut. The sound broke me from my stupor. I screamed and ran up the stairs and out of the cellar, through the kitchen and dining room, and up the stairs to my room. My parents and sister found me under my bed, shaking like a puppy lost in a snowstorm.

“Maeve! Maeve! What is it? What’s wrong?” They asked me, while pulling me from my hiding place.

“I heard the Banshee wail.”

We stared at each other in silence, all of us reaching the same conclusion moments later. We hurried to my grandmother’s room.

She was dead.

(Copyright 2021, Celia Breslin. All rights reserved.)

 


A Demon's Embrace
Cupid Dating Agency 
Book Four
Celia Breslin

Genre: Paranormal Romance
Publisher: Celia Breslin
Date of Publication: December 2020
ISBN: 9781393692881
ASIN: B08Q8JRLWN
Number of pages: 124
Word Count: 30K
Cover Artist: Brantwijn Serrah

Tagline: She believes him the enemy. He's determined to prove her wrong.

Book Description:

Former relic-hunter and soldier for Hell, Stryker spends his days of redemption running a holiday store in a cheery little town in the California wine country. He’s not complaining. The gig puts him across the street from his one and only heart’s desire—a blue-eyed angel with a clever brain, a hot bod, and the wickedest right hook this side of Heaven. Too bad his delectable Angel Cake won’t give him the time of day.

Warrior-class angel and restaurateur, Zara keeps busy designing interesting foods and beverages for the eateries and gym she owns with her celestial teammates. She certainly has zero time or interest in the annoyingly sexy, darkly bronzed demon who drove her bonkers for eons while working for the other side.

But then a freak storm complete with hell beasties rampages their hometown, and God and the cupids order the pair to team up to investigate. Frustrating news for Zara. Fantastic for Stryker. His new mission? Show his feisty angel their partnership is meant to extend far beyond this one job for Heaven...

Amazon US       Angus and Robertson       Apple Books

BN      Kobo       Scribd      Vivlio


Excerpt

Stryker and Zara's First Kiss...

Location: Charon's boat, River Styx, the Underworld...

...The boat heaved upward as if struck from below, sending her airborne. Before she could conjure her wings, Stryker shot up and snatched her around the waist, hauling them both to the deck.

Flat on his back with her sprawled atop his hard body, he grinned, much too pleased with himself for her liking. “Told you it gets rough,” he shouted over the rush of water. “I never lie to you, Angel Face.”

“That in itself is a lie,” she shot back, wedging her fingers in the gaps between the bone flooring and gripping tight while the chopping river tossed their ride. She could list thousands of his deceptions. Fine, they were revisiting his loathsome past behavior. “What about the time you stole the Ark of the Covenant? Or the Holy Chalice? The Vatican heist? Or when you took Joan’s sword and—”

“Aw, c’mon, she deserved it. She cut off the tip of my wing.”

“It regenerated, and you had no right to bother her in the first place when she was busy saving—

“Hey, I gave it back.”

“I made you give it back, demon.”

He laughed but the sound was lost in the great roar of the river. Its turmoil increased, waves thrashing over the bow as if their presence angered the river.

“Buckle up, baby.” Stryker held her tight to his chest. The boat bucked upward and bashed down, again and again. Freezing water sprayed everywhere, drenching them in seconds. Zara shuddered, chilled to the bone, half expecting ice to form on her frame.

Cheek to cheek, Stryker clutched her close with a hand cupping her head and one massive arm banded around her torso. “Hang on Angel Cake, I’ve got you.” Warmth slid into her quivering body, a soothing heat wafting from the demon. “Nice trick, right?” he murmured into her ear, lips grazing her skin.

Teeth chattering, she didn’t reply, too caught up in the sensation of his surprisingly soft lips on the shell of her ear, and his spicy scent, an intriguing blend of cardamom, cinnamon, and earthy, masculine musk.

Desire danced through her, followed fast by denial. No. Please, no. Eternal enemy. Archnemesis. He’s the bad guy. But her libido didn’t seem to care one bit about their battle-filled past, or even their more recent clashes. Her treacherous body relaxed against his, basking in the continued warmth emanating from him.

“Yes, baby. That’s it.” His hand slid to her nape, and he exhaled against the sensitive skin of her neck, setting off a flurry of butterflies in her stomach.

Trap. This had to be a trap, right? Nothing good could come of a tryst with a demon. It didn’t matter how loudly the hum chimed in her, or how wonderful his hard body felt under hers, they couldn’t possibly—

Oh, no, now his clever fingers kneaded the knots in her muscles, massaging the tension from her neck and shoulders, making her melt.

His warm lips brushed her ear once again. “Angel…”

She should stop him. Really, she should. Then he nuzzled the hollow of her shoulder, and his soft kisses eroded her superego’s usual iron will. […] Maybe, if she explored the cosmic hum trying to call them together instead of running from it, she would discover it meant nothing at all. Maybe, she could simply kiss him and move on.

She turned her head. He stilled, one hot palm planted between her shoulder blades, the other lounging on her lower back, his mouth so close their breath mingled. Goose bumps tracked over her and not from the cold since she had Stryker as her personal space heater.

Zara didn’t dare look into his eyes, instead digging deep one last time to stop this insanity, dredging up reasons this was a bad idea. Demon. D’uh. Longtime foe. Brash, blunt, devious, conniving, opinionated, manipulative, flirtatious, and yes, flirting was bad, so very, very ba—

[...] Lord help her, she wanted him too. Her gaze clashed with his. Such pretty eyes for a demon, like black onyx flecked with amber. He went statue-still beneath her, seemed to be holding his breath now, waiting for her to…

Make a move?

She wrapped a lock of his shoulder-length hair around her finger. Damp from the crashing river. Shiny, deepest black. Silky, and as warm as his body. She tugged on it.

A groan escaped him, and he kissed her. 

About the Author:

Celia lives in California with her husband, daughter, and two feisty cats. She writes urban fantasy and paranormal romance, and has a particular fondness for werewolves, vampires, and the Fae. When not writing, you’ll find Celia exercising, reading a good book, hanging with her family, or indulging her addiction to fantasy TV shows and movies.

Website: http://www.celiabreslin.com   

Blog: http://www.celiabreslin.com/blog/   

Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/celiabreslin  

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/CeliaBreslinAuthor   

Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/CeliaBreslin  

Pinterest: http://www.pinterest.com/celiabreslin/  

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/celiabreslin/

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A Reign of Blood and Magic, Book 3

Dark Fantasy, Epic Fantasy

Date Published: October 26, 2021

Publisher: SPK Publishing



A slain god and a crippled queen with stolen powers join forces to battle a mutual enemy in this dark fantasy.

When Queen Cynara summons magic into the king’s forest, she cannot know how a stolen power will cripple her, or that an orb used during her spell has let loose a single droplet of blood. Now, immortal blood is multiplying, and breeding with living creatures, which includes the statue of an undead king.

Resurrected from the dead, Anastacio once lived in the Otherworld. With his godly life reborn, he resolves to find the goddess from his past and avenge the injustice done to both of them, but to thrive, in life and in health, he requires assistance from someone without trust. Queen Cynara has a secret that may provide the answers, but she’s trapped inside her frozen body, similar to the husband she encased in mortar. Why would anyone help her?

How will a god oversee the kingdom; the royal family, a former queen and a true born prince whose secret has been kept from everyone? With help from a witch and Norse goddesses from the Otherworld, might blood and magic seed the ultimate revenge? Or will an enemy hated by everyone claim victory—again.


Other books in the A Reign of Blood and Magic series:


The Scarlett Mark

A Reign of Blood and Magic. Book 1

In The Scarlett Mark the first novel in A Reign of Blood and Magic, Princess Scarlett tests her stepbrother, unaware that her behavior will endanger her father the king, threaten her royal sisters, and help her power-hungry step-mother—the queen. The sorceress plans to steal the throne and rid the castle of her stepchildren, but a risk taken forces the queen to banish Scarlett, delivering her to certain death.


The Ebony Queen

A Reign of Blood and Magic, Book 2

In The Ebony Queen, the second novel in A Reign of Blood and Magic, the devil Daemonis schemes with Queen Cynara, enabling her to conjure the highest level of Solomonic magic. Using this mega-spell, she deploys tempests against three princesses, casting a blanket of evil on her enemies. The ensuing storm ushers Ruby into the night, stifles Rose at sea, and threatens Scarlett in a home where she thought she’d be safe. A lord and two guardians cannot protect their wards and not even a god is safe from the queen’s sorcery. But power comes with a price, and unknown to Cynara, the devil has a secret strategy. When a blood moon eclipses the night sky, Cynara invokes her magic in the king’s forest.

Amazon



About the Author

Abby Lane is the author of several novels in genre fiction, including her latest release, The Immortal Blood. She appreciates the many ways myths, fairy tales, and epic fantasy tell a story, and credits Disney’s Sleeping Beauty and George R. R. Martin’s Song of Ice and Fire, with inspiring her love of storytelling. A history enthusiast, she’s traveled to the United Kingdom and France to explore secret gardens and medieval castles, having an avid interest in the Tudor period. Abby shares her life with her husband and adores her adult children, including three special grand pups named Bella, Arya, and Charlie. When she isn’t at her home in Calgary, she’s admiring the ocean from her cottage in Maple Bay.

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Biography and Memoir, Adventure

Date Published: October 26, 2021

Publisher: Pepin Enterprises



At age eighteen, Yvonne set out to build a home from trees on 80 acres she bought on an Oregon mountainside. In 1975, log by log she creates a cabin and heals from an orphaned past, finding a new family in the forest, and with people in a valley named John Day.

Babe in the Woods: Self Portrait is the second in a three-book series. It chronicles a span in Yvonne's four decades long relationship with her log cabin and the people she meets in the valley. The book continues Yvonne's story of learning to live in the wilderness within and outside of herself. It is also a story of rogue bears, building a bear-proof log studio, a young artist's development, and the trials and triumph of finding oneself, alone in the backwoods.


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Title: Fire & Ice
Author: Michele Barrow-Belisle
Genre: YA Fantasy Romance
Cover Designer: AMDesign Studio
Publishing: BarBelle Publishing
Publication Date: Oct. 26th, 2021
Hosted by: Lady Amber’s PR

Blurb:

Adventure wasn’t something Lorelei was interested in. Gifted by a dark Faerie with two other-worldly talents for singing and healing, she’s always shied away from her gifts, preferring invisibility, over attention and fame. But when she meets the enigmatic Adrius, with his dark and dangerous mystique and eyes that see into her soul, her life becomes irrevocably altered.

 

Adrius turns up in every one of her classes and knows more about her than any newcomer should. Including the condition of her mother who is suffering from a mysterious illness. Accepting his offer to help leads her into a terrifying and thrilling world, where Elves are even hotter than Legolas, and Faeries...are nothing like Tinkerbell. The two magical beings are fire and ice opposites. One Lorelei can’t help falling for, and the other she's compelled to be with.

 

Now she’s trapped, expected to prevent a war between witches and faeries, or forfeit her mother’s life. Nothing is what it seems. Not her family. Not the Fey. Not even Adrius, whose feelings for her balance precariously between desire and danger. Despite her better judgment, she can’t stay away.

 

As secrets unravel and unsettling truths are revealed, Lorelei must fight to save much more than her mother’s life. One mistake could put the fate of his world, and her soul in jeopardy.

 

But hey, no pressure...right...



 

Michele Barrow-Belisle is a USA Today bestselling author who spends most of her days eating chocolate while talking to imaginary people. It's technically not considered crazy when they're your book characters. Her favorite genres to write are YA fantasy romance and paranormal romance, and her debut series FIRE AND ICE (Faerie Song Saga) is currently in development for a feature film.

 

Michele resides in southern Canada with her husband and son who indulge her ever-expanding obsession with reading, writing and most importantly... chocolate.


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Romantic Suspense

Date Published: 11-17-2021

Publisher: The Wild Rose Press


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Willow Daniels has a heart of gold and is willing to help anyone who needs it. When she helps Ethan McCormick one snowy night, she may have made the biggest mistake of her life. Trapped by a winter storm in a tiny North Yorkshire village, Willow is forced to re-evaluate everything she believes in and wonders if anyone is truly who they seem.

Fate may have brought her to Ethan, but as danger closes in, she must draw on strengths she never knew she possessed in order to protect the man she has grown to love.

Protection—not only against Ethan's worst enemy but also against himself


Excerpt

When the traffic light turned red, Willow Daniels pulled the car to a halt on the lonely side street and gripped the steering wheel hard. Briefly closing her eyes in frustration, she silently cursed herself at being utterly lost. A simple wrong turn after leaving the train station led to mounting confusion as she endeavoured to navigate her way through the streets of York city center in the dark. Getting into the wrong lane, then reading street signs too late led to further, and now obvious, wrong turns. She found herself well outside the center, and in the middle of what appeared to be an industrial estate. Deserted at this late hour of the evening, the streets were empty, with no one around to ask for directions. And now the occasional, drifting wisps of snow had evolved into a steady fall of large flakes, swirling, and glistening in the soft glow of the streetlights.

Willow blew out a long breath; everything was fine, she just needed to pull over somewhere, get out her phone and use the satnav function to find her way home. As the light turned green, she eased the car forward, aware of the thickening layer of snow covering the tarmac, and not wanting the car to skid on the slippery surface.

Could have turned in there…and there,” she muttered, as she saw the potential pull in opportunities too late. “Oh, for heaven’s sake, Willow, just turn in somewhere!”

Shaking her head at her indecision, she saw what looked like a carpark at the front of a large warehouse, and flicked the indicator switch on before pulling in through the gap in the low wall surrounding the building. She left the engine idling and sat back in her seat, flexing her shoulders to ease her tension as she stared through the windscreen. The festive tunes on the radio, and the snowflakes drifting down unhurriedly from the sky soothed her frustration.

It was an industrial scene, with low, squat functional buildings lining the road, and taller but equally non-descript warehouses stretching out behind them. But the harsh, straight lines of the buildings were softened by the dim light, and Willow imagined an artist might capture this scene with a moody, slightly out of focus composition of grays and yellows, brush strokes recreating the shadows on the walls and lending an element of interest to the otherwise dull concrete.

A frown creased her forehead. If this snow continued or got any heavier, there was a risk she might not make it back. Reaching into the back seat, Willow took the phone from her bag and tapped in her password.

The next moment, the car rocked as something slammed into the passenger side of the car with a loud thud. She jumped, dropping the phone in surprise when the door was flung open and someone threw himself onto the passenger seat.

Momentarily startled, she stared at the man before finally finding her voice. “Hey, what do you think you’re doing?”

The stranger ignored her and turned to look over his shoulder. He pulled the car door shut as he shoved a duffel bag into the back seat. “Drive.”

What? No, get out of my car.” The cheek of the man; this clearly wasn’t simply someone who had got into the car thinking she was someone else.

He turned on her with an explicit curse. “I said drive!”

Surprise and disbelief turned to fear, and Willow fumbled to unclip her seatbelt. Strong fingers curled around her upper arm, preventing from moving as she reached for the door lever. In the dim light, she saw the gun pointing at her stomach and drew in a strangled breath, barely able to believe what she was seeing.

The wing mirror on the passenger door suddenly shattered in an explosion of glass shards. The stranger ducked, releasing his grip on her arm. He swore, shifting once again to look over his shoulder, his eyes gleaming in the lamplight as he turned his head. “For God’s sake, drive!”


About the Author

I love to write heartwarming, contemporary romance, and romantic suspense novels, with characters I really want my readers to engage with. I live in the beautiful East Riding of Yorkshire in the UK and, although I work full-time in the public sector, my favourite pastime, when not writing, is wandering around old stately homes and castles, or sitting at a pavement café in the sun and watching the world go by – always on the lookout for something that might spark the idea for my next novel.

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