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Playing with Fire by Various Authors - Book Blitz

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Playing with Fire

Forbidden Love Box Set


It doesn’t matter who you think
you are… falling in love with the wrong person can have dire consequences.

They say love conquers all, but
in the paranormal worlds of these twelve USA Today and international
bestselling authors, falling in love means playing with fire…

Someone’s about to get burned.

Dig into hours of forbidden love,
lust, and heat as these heroes and heroines long for their beloveds, break
taboos, and fight for the ones they never should have chosen—but could never

This boxed set is bursting at the
seams with romance grounded in all things magical—from dragons and sexy
shapeshifters to angels, warlocks, and uninhibited masters. We have something
to strike everyone’s fancy.

Authors in the Playing with Fire set include:

Adrienne Woods – USA Today bestselling author
Carlyle Labuschagne – USA Today bestselling author
Kristin Ping – USA Today bestselling author
Ashlee Nicole Bye
Toni Cox
Carissa Andrews
Kathrin Hutson
Kat Stiles
Majanka Verstraete
Kat Parrish
Karen M. Bryson
Monique Singleton

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The Poisoned Cup

Kat Parrish

Book Description:

In the end, they blamed Guinevere
for the downfall of a kingdom and the death of a king. Wed to Arthur but
Lancelot’s lover, she was demonized and reviled for the tragic consequences of
her betrayal. The story played out as a narrative of forbidden love and she was
cast as the villain. That narrative was good for ratings and for selling
newspapers, but it wasn’t anything like the truth. And despite all the words
wasted by the media, spilling across pages and screens like so much black
blood, the true story never came to light.

Until now.

The Poised Cup

In the end,
people blamed me for the fall of Camelot and the end of the British monarchy.
As if one woman could do in a thousand days what a thousand years of war,
murder. Family feuds, and anti-royalist sentiment could not. Those who blamed
me conveniently forgot that when Arthur took the throne, he inherited a kingdom
already in disarray. The Breixit mess had weakened the economy, fractured the
United Kingdom, and left his subjects demoralized and unhappy. They needed a
scapegoat, and they chose me for the role.

It wasn’t even

Royals have
traditionally been a focus for “civilian” discontent, and in many cases, understandably
so. Royals were rich, after all, and therefore had no idea what it was like to
live paycheck to paycheck or work more than one job just to be able to afford
the basic necessities.

It grated on the
public when a royal—usually some dotty dowager duchess—was praised for being
“hard-working” when the work involved was mostly smiling pleasantly while
listening to a boring speech about some issue of little practical concern to
anyone outside the room. After all, no one wants to hear the extinction of the
skylark when their own jobs are in danger of disappearing even sooner.

And it didn’t
help that the royals were always so ubiquitously on display, with the press and
the bloggers feverishly covering their every move, recording their every
utterance, and memorializing their every fashion faux pas. And even then, in
the face of nearly universal mockery, it took forever for the “fascinator” fad
to die. I never could understand how a grown woman could wear something that
looked like a toddler had made it out of pipe cleaners and keep a straight
face. Or those silly flat hats that are tilted at such an acute angle that they
looked like tiny alien spaceships had just landed on the royal coif.

As a fashion
designer myself, I always had problems with the overall royal “style,” but I
never dragged anyone for it because I knew the women were stuck with all sorts
of silly protocol, and not just practical rules like carrying purses in your
left hand to keep your right free for handshakes and waves.

My best friend
Suze, who is simultaneously fascinated and horrified by all things royal, used
to send me links to articles like, “36 Unexpected Fashion Rules the Royal
Family Must Follow.” It was a lot more amusing to read them before I was an
actual member of the royal family.

Or as my cynical
friend Jimi used to say, “Fresh meat.”

Tired of the
boring, well-done hamburger of the royals they were used to, everyone pounced
on me like I was a rare filet mignon. I couldn’t really say I wasn’t warned. It
wasn’t like I didn’t know what I was getting into. I’d been around celebrity
culture long enough to know how these narratives go. And the “commoner marries
the prince” is one of the most potent stories of all.

At first, people
were charmed that a plucky American businesswoman had caught the eye of their
favorite playboy prince. We were photographed everywhere we went—to the point
where it began to seem like we were the twin leaders of some freakish cult. And
that was the “honeymoon” phase. Soon enough, we all moved on to the second phase.

Like a jealous
mother, the public had their notion of who a perfect mate for Arthur would
be.  And their standard was so exacting,
there was no way a woman who could possibly live up to their expectations and
be “good enough” for “their boy.” 

About Kat Parrish:

Kat Parrish is a former reporter
who prefers making things up. Born into a military family, she has lived in
seven states and two European countries and would sign up to colonize Mars if
she weren’t so fond of summer. She is the author of the Shadow Palace Trilogy,
the Bruja Roja series, and the upcoming Brotherhood of Stone and Artifacts of
Chaos series. She lives in the Pacific Northwest near a haunted cemetery and
several waterfalls.

Twitter: @eyeofthekat


Love is a Merciless God

Carissa Andrews

Book Description:


When Guardian Angel, Evangeline,
fell in love with her human charge, Liam, she never expected it to come with
such a high price. She was perfectly fine watching his life from a distance,
but when Liam prays for guidance and he can suddenly hear her, Evangeline can’t
help but confess her love.

However, there are laws in
place—laws strictly separating the affections of humans and angels—and
Evangeline knows it. If the Guild found out about her love, she could be sent
to Purgatory—or worse.

Unfortunately for them both,
Liam’s prayer opened him up to more than just hearing Evangeline. All the
demons in the known universe come calling to answer his prayer and one of them
overheard Evangeline’s confession. Unless she can stop the demon from turning
them into the Guild, it will mean the end of everything.

This title is Carissa Andrews'
submission into the epic forbidden love anthology: Playing with Fire!

Read an excerpt:

About Carissa Andrews:

Carissa Andrews is an
internationally bestselling author from central Minnesota who writes a
combination of science fiction, fantasy, paranormal romance, and dystopia. As
an expert in independent publishing and audiobook production, Carissa
continually writes and publishes books readers of all ages enjoy. Her plans for
2020 include hitting the NYT Bestseller list with her upcoming urban fantasy
series, The Windhaven Academy, due out September 2020.

You can learn more about Carissa
and her upcoming books by visiting her website:

Fated Exception

Enhanced Series

Book 1

Kat Stiles

Book Description:

Cass is just a brilliant
programmer to the outside world, a super geek paid millions to fix unfixable
computers. What no one knows is she's really a technomage—she has the ability
to communicate with any program or machine through touch.

The world Cass lives in is one
that fears her kind. She is one of a dwindling number of “enhanced,” people
whose DNA was optimized at birth.  Hunted
by OCEI, an organization that will stop at nothing to eliminate the enhanced,
Cass and other enhanced hide their abilities to survive. Relationships are
forbidden—the chemical reaction of fluids exchanged with super-charged DNA can
be deadly.

When Cass is called in to
troubleshoot an unresponsive android, she makes an alarming discovery: humanity
is on the verge of extinction. Her only clue is a sexy shapeshifter, Tyler, who
sparks a desire within her she can't control. No matter how much she tries to
ignore him, she can’t deny the intense attraction she feels.

But that attraction is dangerous,
for both of them.

Can Cass discover the plan to
wipe out humanity before it’s too late? And can she resist Tyler, or will her
desire for him be her undoing?

A Fated Exception:

The problem
android was strangely sitting upright with his eyes closed on a long desk in
the middle of what appeared to be a lab. A mirrored glass took up an entire
wall behind him. The first thing that struck me about him was his how lifelike
he appeared. The only clothing he wore was a pair of white cotton pants with a
drawstring, so I could see his entire upper body. I was amazed by all the
little details—from the thousands of tiny little hairs on his arms  to the beauty mark on his shoulder, and even
his toned muscles—he was indistinguishable from any other human male. Apart
from the low technological hum I could sense with my power, I wouldn’t have
known he was a machine. It appeared as if he was in some kind of stasis, or
suspended mode.

To say I was
fascinated would be a gross understatement. His skin was so realistic, his
complexion a neutral kind of tan that would have made it impossible to
speculate his ethnicity, had he’d been human. His hair was also a style and
texture that could’ve belonged to any number of ethnic groups, or perhaps it
was designed as a composite from several. It made him seem more universal
somehow, friendlier and accessible. I was certain that was intentional, and I
wondered what his purpose was.

“He was created
here?” I asked Lisa. “What do the scientists who worked on him say?”

stumped. That’s why we called you. Even if it is a long shot, you’re our last
hope.” She handed me a small binder with a cover sheet entitled, Victor. “This
is the important stuff about this model.”

And with that
simple statement, she left me to my own devices. That’s it? No real background
of the problem, no explanation at all? It was a nice departure from what
usually happened—drinking from the firehouse of an IT guy, being bombarded with
a lot of useless information. But whether I’d liked it or not, I’d come to
expect it, and this was feeling more and more like a setup.

I took a deep
breath and exhaled. To my surprise, I felt instantly relaxed, which didn’t make
sense given I was presented with a problem I didn’t know how to solve and
likely under surveillance. The sensation was similar to the one I felt in the
lobby, when…

I glanced
around, but Tyler wasn’t there. Weird. I couldn’t shake the feeling I wasn’t
alone, but I wrote it off to most likely being observed. By whom, I wasn’t
sure, but there were too many odd things about this job to not be a little

I cracked open
the binder and read through its contents. It outlined the things I’d already
asked about or Lisa had mentioned: his off button, where his batteries were
stored, and brief overview of his programming and functionality. I had a
trickle of hope when I encountered a chapter called, How to run a diagnostic,
but that fizzled out quick when I realized it required the android to be

For sanity’s
sake (and because clients often lie) I went through the steps Lisa had said
they’d already taken—to reboot the android. The low hum I felt remained

Though I was
apprehensive about using my power there, I had reached an impasse with the
android. I covertly touched one of his hands.

“What’s your
story, Victor?” I said aloud. “Are they overworking you here?”

I didn’t expect
a response of any kind, I mean, I didn’t do anything. He was still in suspended
mode, so it’s not like there was anything to interface with. But that low hum
grew louder and more complex. I could sense his systems come online, as the
POST occurred. His code base was a language called Dalia that I’d never heard

His eyes opened,
but they were all white—no irises or pupils, only the sclera. Which was just a
little totally terrifying.

Then light began
to shine through his eyes, projecting an image on the wall in front of him. I
turned around to see none other than Tyler in a video playing from his
eyes.  The timestamp was two weeks into
the future.

Tyler’s veins
were bulged out and darkened, and his breaths were labored. “This isn’t just
about eliminating enhanced, don’t you see that?” he said. “The strain has
evolved. It’s killing regular humans now.”

“We can fix
that. We’ll develop an antidote.” The voice was garbled and I couldn’t see its
speaker in the video.

you?” Tyler spoke in uneven gasps, appearing to be on the verge of death. The
illness seemed to be spreading. It was as if some kind of black substance had
taken hold of his circulatory system and was now coursing through him, sucking
his life force away.

“If it wipes out
enhanced, it was worth it.”

I watched as
Tyler collapsed. Then the video skipped to a different scene. The timestamp was
later, about two months into the future. This one was much quieter. The video
panned the streets of New York City. Bodies strewn about silently decomposed.

“No survivors,”
Victor said, his voice so close I guessed he was the one filming it. “They’re
all gone. Everywhere.” He turned the camera towards himself. “You have to stop
this. For the sake of humanity, don’t let them release that serum, it—”

And then the
video cut out.

What the hell
was that? Victor appeared to continue booting and his eyes became normal,
complete with irises and pupils. They were a strange color—more of a brownish
hue, with hints of green and blue. 

It was so
real…the voices, the disease, the bodies. I doubt he could’ve fabricated
something like that. But watching the future? That’s not possible.

About Kat Stiles:

Originally a Jersey girl, sunny Texas
is where Kat now calls home, in a town way up north in the panhandle called
Wellington. Along with the man of her dreams, she has two children: a
rambunctious nine year-old girl and a sweet but vocal five year-old boy. Four
cats, three dogs and an inordinate amount of pet hair complete her household.
Kat writes super-powered urban fantasy that’s sexy, fun and dark. For fun she
likes to read urban fantasy, horror, and existentialist fiction, as well as
watch cartoons, movies, and sometimes even cartoon movies. She tries not to
take anything in life too seriously and she tends to smile often.

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The Wolf of Ashford Manor

Toni Cox

Book Description:

The animal within him was never
far from the surface, but with her, the wolf was untameable.

Patrick Blakesley, born to a
bloodline of werewolves, falls in love with the mysteriously shy, yet
ravishingly beautiful daughter of his new employer – the Lord of Ashford Manor.

When the town of Ashford is
besieged by a sudden spate of murders, suspicions fall on Patrick, for he has
been discovered for the beast that he is.

Although forced to go into
hiding, it does not stop Patrick from pursuing his love for Angelica. Shacked
up in an old boat shed, they discover pleasures such as only forbidden fruits
can yield.

As Patrick discovers all that
Angelica has to offer, the brutal murders continue.

Are they strong enough together
to discover the true beast and tame it, before all of humanity perishes before
its wrath?

The Wolf of Ashford Manor:

Patrick stood at
the precipice of the white cliffs, and looked out over the ocean, staring at
the distant continent across the water - the ship he had stepped off earlier
already out of sight.

Too long had he
been away from home, and he now turned his back on those distant shores,
burying deep within him the memories of the last three years.

He strode out
strong, his long legs steeled from the years in the war. He had miles to go to
Ashford, and would not reach it for several days. He knew there would be some
inns along the road, and hoped to find accommodations there for the nights.

After a good
day’s march, Patrick re-adjusted his heavy satchel, and stepped of the rutted
road to let a wagon pass. The two heavy draught horses snorted uneasily as they
passed him. He looked up into the sky, and realised night would be upon him

“Good sir,” he
called out to the driver, “Would there be an inn close by?”

“Not for another
twenty miles, ‘m ‘fraid.”

The horse
nearest to him snorted uneasily, and the driver turned his attention away from
Patrick. Stepping back from the road, he cast another look above. Wispy clouds
sailed across an orange tinged sky as the sun began to set in the west. Soon,
the moon would rise.

Leaving the
driver of the wagon to calm his horses, Patrick turned away from the road, and
headed towards the forest not far off. A vein in his neck throbbed at the
thought of spending the night within the confines of the dark trees before him.

He walked deep
into the woods, well out of sight of the road. At a pebbly creek, he hung his
satchel upon a high branch of a tree before slaking his thirst with the cool

As the light
faded, Patrick gathered firewood and made a fire pit with rocks from the river
bed. He put dry moss and kindling in the center, and then stacked some logs
around it, but he did not light it.

Instead, Patrick
removed his clothing, folding it neatly and stacked it next to the fire pit.
His clothes were worn and faded, but clean.

muscular, his tall body was made of clean lines, long legs, and a broad chest.
Years of war had made him lean, and tough.

Naked, he cast
an approving glance over his sparse camp, then walked away from it. Over the
years that he had been away, he had learned to control himself. It had not
always been easy, and until even a year ago there were occasions where he could
not trust himself.

Today, however,
he was in control. Away from his camp, with the moon rising over the forest,
his naked body distorted, changing shape with agonising contortions.

heavily, the werewolf’s fur bristled in the cool evening air and he raised his
snout to taste the scents on the wind. Tonight, he would  hunt.


With blood
dripping from his muzzle, the dark werewolf lay down beneath some brambles to
rest. He licked his paw, content, his belly full with the flesh of a roe deer.

As morning
dawned, the wolf rose, silently padding towards the neat camp prepared the
night before. After ensuring that the camp had not been disturbed, Patrick
changed into his human form, reversing the contortions from the night before.

He stood for a
moment, shivering and sore, before he willed himself to light the fire. He
washed the blood off his body in the shallow creek, donned his clothes, and
then warmed himself by his fire while the memory of the wolf slowly retreated
from his body.

Coming back into
his human form was always unpleasant. There had been times where he considered
taking the wolf form permanently. Once, he had remained a werewolf for several
months, and it had almost cost him his humanity.

Once the
shivering ceased, Patrick drank from the river, then extinguished his fire. He
cleared his camp to make it look as if he had never been there. Soon, he was on
the road again, striding out strong towards his home.

He looked
forward to coming home. Patrick was the only son and heir of Edward Blakesley,
and they have always had a close bond. From the moment he was born, his father
had spent every available moment with him.

When the time
came that Patrick could walk and talk and understand, Lord Blakesley had
undertaken the task of educating Patrick in the history of their bloodline.

It had
frightened Patrick at first. Although his father never transformed in front of
him until he was much older, Patrick often dreamed of beasts during the dark
nights. When his mother came to comfort him, he would shy away from her, and
only settle down when his father came into his room.

For the most
important, and unbreakable, rule his father taught him, was to never hurt his
mother. It was one of Patrick’s biggest fears as he grew up. The werewolf rage
could be a hard thing to control even for a grown man, for a teenager learning
the skill, it could almost be impossible.

Often, his
father would take him away on hunting trips. Patrick felt more at ease during
those times, away from his beloved mother, as well as the town folk.

During the years
between eleven and seventeen, Patrick learned everything he needed to know
about being a werewolf, but the biggest test was yet to come. During those
early years, the transformation was only partial, becoming fuller with every
passing year.

Patrick’s father
called him a late bloomer, for Lord Blakesley had fully matured by the age of
eighteen. When Patrick turned seventeen, his transformation still lacked its
full intensity.

Shortly after
his eighteenth birthday, however, Patrick’s demeanour changed. He became
agitated, expressed anger for no apparent reason, and often fought with his

He could not
control these feelings and on days when he was calm, he regretted the way he
had spoken to his parents. One day, his parents called him into the parlour.

“It is time, my

At first,
Patrick did not understand.

“I have written
to your uncle in Villadiego. There is civil unrest in that country, bordering
on war, but he will be glad to receive you. Your term to reach full maturity
has begun. For the next two to three years your body will undergo the most
radical changes in your development. Are you ready to take this journey?”

They had
discussed this so many times, Patrick knew what to expect, yet the sudden
thought of leaving had sent him into a fit of rage.

With his father
in full werewolf form, and his mother levelling her rifle at him, he had
eventually calmed down enough to answer.

“Yes, Father. I
am sorry, Mother. I shall pack my things immediately.”


And so, his
journey had begun three years ago. He had taken a sailing vessel across the
channel to the mainland and then begged to accompany a tradesman on his trip to
the Iberian peninsula.

The tradesman
carried weapons, for by now, the Carlists had declared war. Patrick knew
nothing of Carlists, or even much about Spain, so he listened carefully when
the tradesman spoke of what awaited them.

By the time he
reached his uncle, Angus Blakesley, two months after his departure from his
homestead in Ashford, Spain was in turmoil. Lord Blakesley’s modest villa, set
deep within the farmlands and away from the town of Villadiego, lay unscathed,
unlike some of the towns Patrick had come through along his way.

“My boy, it is
good to see you,” his uncle welcomed him. “I last saw you when you were but
five years old.”

“Thank you, for
having me, Uncle.”

“It is my
pleasure. Come, freshen up and then you can talk to me of home.”

They soon formed
a close bond, his uncle continuing the teachings of his father. Although a
likable man and pleasant company, Patrick’s uncle was a strict and unforgiving

This was good,
for never before had Patrick felt such rage. At times, Angus locked Patrick
within the cellar of the villa for days while his blood boiled within him, and
his body screamed in pain as it changed.

Other times,
however, Patrick’s rage simmered deep beneath the surface, calmed by the gentle
hands of the nubile bodies of his uncles maids.

When he was
nineteen, the war had spread, foreign legions joining the fighting. With the
villa; and the town of Villadiego; under threat, Patrick joined the Spanish
military. In desperate need of soldiers, no-one questioned his lineage.

With his uncle
by his side, he learned everything there was to learn about war, and more.
Angus made him fight with rapier and lance until his body was lean and strong.

Only once
Patrick had proven himself in battle as a man; and proven he could control his
temper; did Angus allow him on the battlefield as a wolf.

During those
times, their combined power was that of twenty men and they would always win
the battle on those days. No-one ever believed those who said they saw an
abnormally large wolf, and most dismissed the reports as wolves scavenging the
countryside for corpses.

It was then that
Patrick tasted human flesh for the first time. It disgusted and excited him at
the same time. The werewolf within him had never tasted anything as deliriously
delicious as human flesh before, but the human within him rebelled against the
thought of feasting on another human being.

“It is was sets
us apart from the ferals, Patrick.”

werewolves. Not bred of our noble line, but humans that were bitten. They are
unable to show restraint and so choose to remain in their wolf form. It makes
them forget their human lives. I know of no beast more vicious or dangerous.”

“That is

“Indeed, my boy.
Those creatures are truly terrifying, and are the werewolves the legends are
based on.”

After serving
for nearly two years, Patrick returned to the villa. Angus now concentrated on
continuing Patrick’s academic education, teaching him astronomy, mathematics,
Latin, and the fine art of Spanish cuisine.

Another thing he
learned while residing at his uncle’s villa, was the delectable taste of the
Spanish maidens. With his dark hair, pale skin, and sultry looks, he was never
in short supply of admiring ladies.

The servants at
the villa soon spread the word of the handsome nephew and the young women who
tended the orchards and vineyards around the estate would often make the detour
past the villa on their way home.

Patrick’s uncle
neither encouraged, nor forbid it, but rather left him to find his own way in
the matters of the heart and sexual fantasies. They never spoke about it,
except during a lesson about reproducing and the woman bearing a son. Patrick
took heed and, using his exceptional senses, would only lie with a woman if it
was safe to do so.

Patrick took all
his uncle’s lessons to heart and, as he grew older, he matured. The war taught
him humility, honour, valour, and, above all else, to value life.

His final act on
the mainland was to help his uncle hunt, and kill, a pack of ferals that had
terrorised the town of Villadiego. A lesson Patrick would never forget.

About Toni Cox:

Born in Germany in 1976, Toni Cox
moved to South Africa in 1991. Although she has spent much of her working
career in the timber wholesale business, she is also an accomplished horse
rider, has a diploma in project management, photography, and nutrition, and has
a passion for books and all things fantasy.

From a young age, her dream had
always been to put her imagination into words - give the stories life. When she
was diagnosed with Rheumatoid Arthritis in 2013, she decided life is too short
not to follow her dream. So, with the support of her husband and three children,
she began writing book 1 of the Elemental Trilogy in January 2015.

Toni Cox writes Epic Fantasy,
Young Adult Fantasy, Sci-Fi Fantasy, Urban Fantasy, Dystopian Fantasy, and Dark
Fantasy. She is a firm believer in dragons.

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