EVOLUTION Release Day Blitz with Kate Wrath

Evolution, the second book in the E series, is now available! Get Evolution and E for only 99¢ each during release week, November 12th-19th, 2014.

 

cover of Evolution by Kate Wrath
Outpost Three is still standing… barely. But the deadliest threat it has ever faced is on its way– a violent force that will annihilate every man, woman, and child.

With the Sentries under his control and Grey’s army defeated, Matt is more powerful than ever. Eden is little more than his prisoner, but that line is blurring as her affection for him grows. Now, as the Outpost faces total destruction, Matt must sacrifice the possibility of attaining Eden’s love in the vague hope that her past might hold the key to saving them all.

Eden’s journey will begin to unravel the mysteries of her previous life, reveal dangerous new questions, and change not only the future of Outpost Three, but shape the course of history.

This eagerly anticipated sequel to Kate Wrath’s E begins an epic quest into the dark, dystopian landscape of Eden’s world.

 

 
Add to GoodreadsBuy E $0.99Buy Evolution $0.99

Get both books in the E series, E and Evolution, for 99¢ each on Kindle for a limited time only: November 12th- 19th, 2014.

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Connect with Kate:

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Join Kate for the Evolution Release Day Facebook Party:

You’re invited! Come hang out November 12th from 8-12 pm Eastern and celebrate the release of Evolution. Woohoo!

An excerpt from Evolution:

We run down the narrow alley and take the first turn, then another. We keep running, moving. I don’t even notice my surroundings until, at last, we slow to a stop. The smell hits me first—the stench of piss, of something rotten, all condensed into a small space. Breathing hard, we stand in the street and look around us. We’re in a main thoroughfare now, judging from the traffic, but it’s still narrow. I feel squashed, smothered. On all sides, a crowd throngs around us. Most of them are dressed in rags. Hollow faces huddle three or four bodies deep against both edges of the road, dirty, hopeless, and lost. Many of them are children.

I’m scanning their faces frantically before I even realize what I’m doing. “Oscar,” I hear myself whisper. It hits me, and I break off before I can call out his name. Before I can start running again, sifting through the masses of them.

Apollon’s hand clamps onto mine, but he says nothing. He and Jonas are focused on Jacob, who is shaking violently. Tears are pouring from widened eyes down his face. I want to help him, but all I can do is stand here trying not to break down, myself.

“We need to find somewhere to regroup,” Jonas says quietly. “Get out of this mess.”

I cast around for somewhere to go, but as far as I can see, it’s piles upon piles. People, and people, and buildings looming over them. There’s no breathing room. No space. I have to force my breath to steadiness. It’s too much.

There is a commotion on the street ahead, maybe a block away. The ragged masses push away from the center, squashing and trampling each other in the process. We’re caught in a wave of motion and carried backward, but still we try to look. Where the commotion started, there’s a group of figures, similarly dressed in black with blue bandanas. They’re moving down the street toward us.

The wave of people suddenly backlashes from the other direction, and we’re pushed the opposite way from before. We manage to finally see why. On our opposite side, there’s another group of people. These are dressed primarily in white. One of them, clearly a leader, wears a purple doo rag and carries what might be the biggest gun I’ve ever seen. He raises it toward us.

 

TAINTED ENERGY Book Blitz and Giveaway with Lynn Vroman

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A Young Adult Fantasy Novel

TAINTED ENERGY

by

Lynn Vroman

published by Untold Press

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For seventeen-year-old Lena, living in the trailer park with the rest of town’s throwaways isn’t exactly paradise. Dealing with a drunken father who can’t keep his fists to himself doesn’t help matters either. The only good thing in her life, other than track, is the mysterious man who visits her dreams, promising to find her.
When a chair burns her arms, Lena chalks it up to stress-induced crazy. Yet as bizarre incidents escalate, even being crazy can’t explain it all away… until one day dream guy does find her.
Tarek lost Lena seventeen years ago after she was accused of treason and marked Tainted. He finally discovers her reborn on Earth into a life of suffering as punishment for her crime. However, someone else has already found her… and wants her dead. Willing to sacrifice everything, he fights to keep her safe so she can live the only life she’s ever known—even if that life doesn’t include him.

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Born in Pennsylvania, Lynn spent most of her childhood, especially during math class, daydreaming. The main result that came from honing her imagination skills was brilliantly failing algebra. Today, she still spends an obscene amount of time in her head, only now she writes down all the cool stuff.

With a degree in English Literature, Lynn used college as an excuse to read for four years straight. She lives in the Pocono Mountains with her husband, raising the four most incredible human beings on the planet. She writes young adult novels, both fantasy and contemporary.

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Amazon Author Page

Be sure to click the link below for a chance to win an Amazon gift card and E-copies of Tainted Energy!

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EXCERPT TIME!

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Nothing annoyed me more than crappy best friends. The type who did stupid stuff, like grab my shoulder and scream right in my ear, “Help me, Barbara!”

I jumped and a cloud of popcorn exploded above us. The kernels remaining in the tub I threw in Zander’s face.

We sat in the back row, Night of the Living Dead on the screen. No emergency exit signs interrupted the darkness, adding a little more to the scare department. But Zander killed the mood as soon as the graveyard scene popped up.

“You promised to watch, now watch.” I chucked the popcorn tub at him when he wouldn’t stop laughing.

“Fine, but my hands are stayin’ in my pockets this time.” He rubbed the tiny crescent-shaped marks on his left hand. “I have no idea why you watch these things. You can’t sit through one without a week of nightmares.”

“Not true. The Ring was just extra freaky.”

“Ah, and so were The Shining and Paranormal Activity…” His southern accent rolled off his tongue like sap from a maple tree. “I think you like bein’ afraid all the time.”

I hated it when he was right. “Shut up.”

Fear triggered the fight-or-flight mechanism in our brains. The signal that proved we still wanted to live. That was my theory, anyway.

Maybe I was a masochist, but I did like experiencing the fear. It ensured the numbness hadn’t completely taken over. Numb could be good. A takeover, though…not so good. Zander shoved that logic in my face and smeared my nose in it every time I decided to make sure fight or flight still worked.

“All right, but when you’re lyin’ in that floating bed tonight, don’t expect dream guy to save you.”
“Don’t worry.” I slumped in my chair, focusing on the screen. During a weak moment, and after a couple stolen beers from Dad’s case, I told Zander about Him–my dream guy with gray eyes and dimples. He acted odd afterward, especially when I admitted what Him always promised: I’ll find you.

Yeah, Him was what I called my imaginary guy. No one ever accused me of being creative. Point was, for the last month Zander decided to make a joke of it. I’d never told anybody about my dreams, and I guess I should’ve kept it that way.

Hey, self, remind me again why Zander held the bestie slot? Oh, right. He was the only one who applied for the position.

The next hour we watched in silence. I’d seen this movie at least ten times already, and so his concern of me mauling him never happened.

About the time Barbara annoyed everyone in the house with her relentless Where’s Johnny question, Zander’s constant slurping and ice-crunching crawled under my skin. “It’s empty.”
He took one last noisy sip and stood, blocking my view. “I’m gonna get a refill. You want one?”
“No. Christ!” I bent and twisted to see around him while he countered every move with a grin. I didn’t want to admit it, but that grin always caused my brain to cloud. Hell, having him within a ten-foot radius caused a huge case of head fuzz. But to be clear, I wasn’t the only mountain dweller who found that smile, or that accent, hot.

“Suit yourself. Be back in a sec.” He gathered up some empty wrappers and went out the door, creating a quick flash of light in the room.

Once he left, it didn’t take long for the dark to fold me into its arms as the moans on the screen grew louder. When a particularly menacing zombie ate Barbara, I let out a tiny yelp–even though I knew it was going to happen. My face heated, and I looked around, happy no one witnessed.
I’ll go with coward for $500, Alex.

Sinking deeper into my seat, I watched the whole house get taken over by zombies, my heart pounding and the hairs on my arms standing at attention. Two minutes alone and I was already freaked out.

I gripped the armrests, stealing a glance at the exit. My nails dug into the plastic. Leaving was the obvious remedy, but my legs refused to walk toward the door.
A zombie eating black and white brains filled the screen.
Screw this.

I was out of there whether my legs were ready or not. Yes! Fight or flight still in perfect working order.

Zander was right. I had issues.

I planted my feet on the cement floor and tensed to run. As I hopped up, my arms refused to come with me. I made the mistake of looking down.

What the…?
The armrests curled around my hands, the plastic ends separating into thin, spider-like fingers. I screamed, trying to yank my hands away, but the armrests became stronger, forming rows of fingers that encased the whole length of my arms, burning them. Tears flooded my vision, the pain branding my skin.

Panic turned into terror when the theater filled with whispers that brushed through my hair like wind and hit me in the face like an open palm. The whispering slipped into my throat when I opened my mouth, gagging me while it pushed me back into the seat. I struggled as the chair sucked me in and gasped for enough air to yell, the sound coming out as a grunt.
My head stayed glued against the seat, my scalp searing as I tried to yank it free. Then the movie stopped playing. Total darkness swallowed me, the blackness stealing the last drops of my courage. No matter how hard I tugged, my arms refused to pull free. I strained to turn my head toward the exit, but it stayed nailed to the chair. All I could do was look forward and try to relax my arms to stop the burning.

The whispers grew quieter, and the hold it had on my head weakened when I stopped moving. I cleared my throat. “Zander!”
My arms loosened a fraction.

“Help me!”

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“You always smell like apples and flowers.” She inhaled deeper, making it hard for him to breath.
“It’s our orchard.” The strain of control made his voice a whisper, and against his better judgment, he bent to kiss the top of her head, allowing his lips to linger in the softness of her hair.
“Our orchard? Is that where we’re going?” She craned her neck, and green eyes shot him straight in the heart.
Mouth dry, he said, “Somewhere better.”

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“What about you? You immortal or something?”
His eyes hardened, the smile turning a little dangerous. “No, I’m just really good at staying alive.”

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Tainted Energy Book Blitz!

Woohooo!

lynn vroman

TaintedEBlitz

A Young Adult Fantasy Novel

TAINTED ENERGY

by

Lynn Vroman

published by Untold Press

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For seventeen-year-old Lena, living in the trailer park with the rest of town’s throwaways isn’t exactly paradise. Dealing with a drunken father who can’t keep his fists to himself doesn’t help matters either. The only good thing in her life, other than track, is the mysterious man who visits her dreams, promising to find her.
When a chair burns her arms, Lena chalks it up to stress-induced crazy. Yet as bizarre incidents escalate, even being crazy can’t explain it all away… until one day dream guy does find her.
Tarek lost Lena seventeen years ago after she was accused of treason and marked Tainted. He finally discovers her reborn on Earth into a life of suffering as punishment for her crime. However, someone else has already found her… and wants her dead. Willing to sacrifice everything, he fights…

View original post 1,248 more words

Dare to Kiss Blog Tour with SB Alexander

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Title: Dare to Kiss
Author: S.B. Alexander
Genre: New Adult
Hosted by: Lady Amber’s Tours

Dare to Kiss

Blurb:
Besides her family, Lacey Robinson’s only other love is baseball. She’s on top of the world when Arizona State University approaches her to discuss a scholarship. To play for a college boys’ team is beyond what she has ever dreamed. Her fastball is impeccable, her slider equally as good, and her curveball annihilates anyone who dares to step in the batter’s box. But fate has its own way of throwing curveballs. When she looses her mother and sister to a home invasion, baseball and her dreams die with them. Tragedy has a way of seeping deep into her psyche, causing nightmares, panic attacks and blackouts. Diagnosed with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, her psychiatrist recommends a change of scenery and picking up the things that she loved to do, and for Lacey that is baseball.

After a move clear across the country, only two things matter to Lacey—overcome her PTSD and make Kensington High’s baseball team. But trying out for the team comes with complications—the captain, Aaron Seever, doesn’t want a girl on the team.

Adding to her new life, she never counted on meeting someone who wants her as badly as Kade Maxwell. The tall, sexy and drool-worthy bad boy has a magical touch that awakens her feminine side, and a kiss that slowly erases her nightmares. But getting involved with him may be dangerous when Kade’s arch-nemesis returns to town to settle a vendetta.

To complicate matters, her PTSD has taken a turn for the worse. She has to find a way to push away the demons otherwise she may not have a chance at anything in life.

Strong language. Sexual content. Intended for audiences 17 years and older.

Book Trailer: http://youtu.be/bUjx-3krlGw

Author Bio:
S. B. Alexander’s passion for writing began when she read her first Stephen King novel, The Shining. Over the years she kept telling family and friends she was going to write a book. Fifteen years later, on the advice of a friend, she sat down and wrote her first novel. One year later, she published two novels with three more slotted for release. Her books are targeted toward the young adult and new adult markets.

Her young adult series, Vampire SEALS, includes two books, On the Edge of Humanity, and On the Edge of Eternity, which have garnered high praise from readers. Dare to Kiss is the first book in her new adult series.

Alexander’s career has been colorful—a former navy veteran, high school math teacher and college professor, sales consultant, coach, and manager. She loves baseball, especially the Boston Red Sox. She enjoys playing golf, is moved by music and great stories, and will go out of her way to help people.

She currently works full time in Corporate America and writes any chance she gets.

She believes words are the key to opening the door to extraordinary places with amazing characters that tell a great story.

Author Links:
Facebook Fan Page http://www.facebook.com/sbalexander.authorpage
Facebook Friends http://www.facebook.com/susan.alexander.14473
Twitter http://www.twitter.com/sbalex_author
Amazon Author Page https://www.amazon.com/author/sbalexander
Goodreads https://www.goodreads.com/sbalexander
Google+ https://www.google.com/+SusanAlexandersbauthor

Buy Links:
Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00MSEVKQY

Excerpt:
He grinned with his infamous Maxwell smirk as he cupped my face.
I had barely caught my breath when his mouth was on me. I opened to him as his tongue dipped inside, twining with mine. He tasted like forever. I wiggled against his hardness, and he moaned. Abandoning my mouth, he trailed his lips along my jaw, my ear, and my neck. He licked over my racing pulse while the heat from his hands was scorching my back. His torment was too much, yet not enough. My clothes grew constrictive. I wanted to feel his bare skin against mine.
As if he sensed my need, he lifted my sweater over my head, throwing it to the floor. His eyes were seas of shimmering copper. The backs of his fingers ghosted up and over my abs to land on the clasp of my bra. For perhaps one second he hesitated before unsnapping it. When he did, I sucked in a breath, my nipples hardening. He removed one strap then the other before it fell behind me.
“Beautiful,” he breathed, as he traced the outline of my breasts, teasing, but never touching the sensitive peaks that ached for his magical fingers or even his mouth.
I pressed my hips into him, feeling his arousal. Desire swirled down my belly in a slow, sinuous slide.
He groaned, deep and sensual. “Baby, tell me what you want.”
My body tingled. My brain went blank. “You.” All I wanted to do right now was feel him and everything he had to offer.
His eyes widened with a savage intensity that frightened me, yet calmed me. He pressed a kiss to my breast, gliding his warm mouth over my nipple before sucking on it. I arched into him, rubbing against him. He moaned, giving my other breast the same attention.
I fisted my hands in his sweater, tugging it up. He eased back, raising his arms. I lifted his sweater and T-shirt over his head before tossing it aside. My gaze wandered over him, drinking in every muscled inch of him from the line of light brown hair that disappeared into his jeans, to the six-pack abs that sculpted his midsection, to the tattoos on his chest. Pushing his fingers through my hair, he brushed his lips over mine.
“Are you sure, Lace?” His voice was barely audible.

Kissing Trouble Blog Tour with Airicka Phoenix

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A Psychological Thriller Romance

Kissing Trouble

(In The Dark Series, #2)

by

Morgana Phoenix

Warning: Strong language and sexual content


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Their screams will be his lullaby.

Escaping into the wilderness should have been a piece of cake for a super-babysitter like Julie Brewer. But even she isn’t prepared for the horror awaiting their arrival, or the man who had broken her heart all those years ago to suddenly show up on the doorstep.

Mason Brody has a plan and it is simple: wait for Julie to grow up. Yet in no way is he prepared for the fierce amazon who ambushes him with a baseball bat, or the way the shy fifteen year old has blossomed into a beautiful, passionate woman he can’t get enough of.

But there is so much more than just their past between them. There is a dark force lurking in the shadows, waiting for the chance to appease its hunger for death and it will stop at nothing until it is fed.

Can Mason and Julie keep the evil at bay long enough to escape? Or will the monster add their lives to its list?

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Airicka Phoenix

International Bestselling author Airicka Phoenix lives in a world where unicorns, fairies and mermaids run amok through her home on a daily basis. When she’s not chasing after pixies and rounding up imps, also known as her four children, she can be found conjuring up evil villains, bad-ass heroines and swoon-worthy heroes to play with. 

Airicka is singlehandedly responsible for her greatly anticipated collections, the Touch Saga, The Lost Girl Duology, The Regeneration Series, Games of Fire & Betraying Innocence. She also writes mature paranormal & contemporary romance under the dark guise of Morgana Phoenix. To date, she is responsible for the Sons of Judgment Saga, My Soul For You, & Kissing Trouble.

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Website: www.AirickaPhoenix.com 
Newsletter: http://eepurl.com/VgLqD
LinkedIn: ca.linkedin.com/pub/airicka-phoenix/40/432/74/
Facebook:
Airicka: https://www.facebook.com/airicka.phoenix
Airicka Author Page: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Airicka-Phoenix/252135634831614
Morgan Author Page: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Morgana-Phoenix/148839731972606
Airicka’s Mystical Creations: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Airickas-Mystical-Creations/462373910480084
The Dark Realm: https://www.facebook.com/TheDarkCourt
The Touch Saga Page: https://www.facebook.com/TouchSeriesByAirickaPhoenix
Twitter: 
https://twitter.com/AirickaPhoenix (@AirickaPhoenix)
https://twitter.com/AirickaPhoenix  (@Morgana_Phoenix)
Goodreads:
Airicka: https://www.goodreads.com/AirickaPhoenix 
Morgana: https://www.goodreads.com/MorganaPhoenix 
Google+
Airicka: https://plus.google.com/u/0/101248439681101533712
Morgana: https://plus.google.com/115636000442414081509
Booktropolous: https://booktropoloussocial.com/index.php?do=/profile-941/
Book Pages:
Amazon.com: http://www.amazon.com/Airicka-Phoenix/e/B00906AGHM
Amazon.ca: http://www.amazon.co.uk/Airicka-Phoenix/e/B00906AGHM
Amazon.de: http://www.amazon.de/Airicka-Phoenix/e/B00906AGHM
Amazon.fr: http://www.amazon.fr/Airicka-Phoenix/e/B00906AGHM
Amazon.jp: http://www.amazon.co.jp/Airicka-Phoenix/e/B00906AGHM
Barns & Nobles: 

http://www.barnesandnoble.com/c/airicka-phoenix
iTunes: https://itunes.apple.com/us/artist/airicka-phoenix/id562768863
Scribd: http://www.scribd.com/airicka6phoenix
Inktera: http://www.inktera.com

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Buy Links:
Amazon:  

http://smarturl.it/KissingTrouble

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Disturbingly Beautiful Cover Reveal with J & L Wells

Title: Disturbingly Beautiful – A Paradox in Time
Author: J & L Wells
Genre: New Adult, Time Travel/ Regency Romance

Release Date November 2014
Synopsis:
The premeditated ripping of her dress seals her fate, and an intricate family plot slowly begins to unravel in which she finds herself centre stage. She was never supposed to leave Haunchcroft estate … and he will do everything in his power to keep her there.
Nell Dodsworth, a nineteenth-century governess, is seeking alternative employment following the tragic passing of her ward, Abigale. Her master, Mr Buchannan, suggests that she work for his elder sister, and until such time as she is able to take up the position, he insists that she remain at Haunchcroft Estate.

It is unheard of for a master to be so familiar with a member of the household as Mr Buchannan is with Nell, and after an uncomfortable encounter, he confuses her with his parting words … “My dear, I find you disturbingly beautiful.”

For reasons known only to her, Nell is anything but fond of Mr Buchannan and does everything in her power to avoid him. However, her avoidance tactics are usually unsuccessful, for it always seems that he has a way of seeking her out.

Upon overhearing a conversation between Mr Buchannan and his bedridden father, the Earl of Dulverton, Nell is unnerved by the revelation that her master intends to marry her. As the glass she is holding slips from her fingers, the noise alerts Mr Buchannan and she is discovered. While escorting her onto the landing, he requests that she join him in his bedchamber.       

Unnerved by a thief on the estate, Nell gives chase and in so doing manages to travel forward in time, finding herself in the 1960s. Having left her archaic existence far behind, her life is suddenly enhanced as she finds friendship, egalitarianism and true love. But complexities unfold, leaving her broken-hearted after finding the man with whom she hopes to share the rest of her life….

On finding that there is no future for her in that time period, Nell returns home, though all is not well. The ripping of her dress seals her fate, and an intricate family plot slowly begins to unravel in which she is centre stage….

It is all too much for Nell to comprehend, and once again, she runs away, only this time she finds herself in the twenty-first century. When she comes face to face with a broken family, she discovers that many of their underlying problems are the result of her actions from her visit to the 1960s. Where love flourishes it has the means of finding a way, seemingly allowing Mr Buchannan to travel to this era to be with her.
When he finally meets up with Nell he sets the record straight, leading to a night of passion under the watchful eye of the stars. Wanting to be together but unable to settle in the twenty-first century, they decide to travel home. When they return to the year 1813, a paradox is created-

Laura Wells is a swimming teacher, with a love of books, animals and, of course, Jane Austen. Once a national swimmer, she now runs three swim schools of her own. She enjoys spending her spare time with her family and two mad Shiba Inus. She lives in Staffordshire, England.

Judy Wells works at a school; in her spare time she enjoys writing poetry and novels, and spending time with her animals. She also lives in Staffordshire, England.

Laura and Judy are a mother and daughter duo; with Judy’s love of poetry and writing and Laura’s ideas, they work extremely well together. Time-travel and historical romance novels are their passion, and they hope that after you have read their books, you will feel the same.

Why not come and say hello to us on Facebook – J & L Wells –

and have a look at our novels on Goodreads:


Nell sighed as she entered the little girl’s bedchamber. The crisp cotton bedcovers were crumpled and misplaced from their usual perfection. Her long strands of chestnut hair, an interwoven decorative remembrance, lay across the pillowcases. The darkened room and its melancholic mood were now aglow as a powdery light filtered between an opening in the drapes, eerie in appearance. To her it looked as though minute crystals hung in a display of elegance.
Abigale was now a mere memory, though one held ardently within the fabric of Nell’s heart. The empty room, once filled with happiness and hours of laughter, was now an empty shroud of yesterdays gone by.
Nell ruched up the coarse material of her skirt between her fingers and knelt down, her knees instantly chilled by the stone hearth as she warmed herself before the open coals. She felt angered, for the winter months had been particularly harsh this year. Cruel, she thought to herself.
She gave a sideways glance and from the corner of her eye caught sight of winter’s first snowflakes. Abigale adored the snow, and had done from a very early age. Remembering that time, a shiver ran the length of Nell’s spine. Letting out a despondent sigh, she rose to her feet and straightened her clothing. It was a bittersweet emotion that surged inside her. In the next few days she would be leaving her post of governess and the life she had known for the past five years. She was touched by a pang of nostalgia as her eyes caught the black crepe band she wore around her arm in mourning for her ward. She paused momentarily to reminisce.
Abigale had been such a bright, pleasurable child to teach, her art in needlecraft commendable. It was such a pity that she had been a sickly soul, and from birth, Nell had been told.
With Christmas just over a month away, she was saddened by the realisation that Abigale would not be here to share this year’s festivities. Nell had spent many hours preparing her gift, but the embroidery would remain incomplete on the petite bodice of the dress, and now the garment lay with no purpose. She could envisage Abigale wearing it, the pretty little girl with a ribbon tied in her hair running towards her. Nell could still recall the pallor of her skin, like the virgin snowflake; it was long ago that the kiss of a rose had left her cheeks. The bitter weather had served Abigale no favours; her chest was her overriding weakness, and pneumonia her downfall. Even when the end was nigh and breaths were hard to take, she was still able to offer Nell a paper-thin smile as she sat holding her hand and watched her fade away. Words were not needed, for she knew how much she was loved.
Her mourning brought with it a cold reality that broke through the silence. How she would miss that beautiful girl, snatched from life so cruelly at only twelve years of age.
Nell meandered towards the window, and lifting her arm slightly pushed aside the heavy velvet drapes, allowing in more light which danced around the walls of the bedchamber, illuminating the bold wooden panelling and turning the numerous tapestries into a rich display of artistry.
She folded her arms neatly across her chest, pulling in her petite frame. A heavy sigh passed between her lips as she cast her gaze far out across the fifty-acre gardens. A three-tiered landscape opened up before her. Her eyes embraced an open fan of evergreens, their branches kissed by the frost, leaving only the briefest of imprints. Sporadic stepping stones weaved their way from one tier to the next, and a small stream appeared to join their divide where snowflakes fell, their individuality lost forever. Its dramatic incline gave the extensive gardens an illusion of endlessness.
Nell was overwhelmed by a sudden feeling of freedom. After all the heartache, how she relished the thought of what a new beginning would bring. Perhaps she would find employment as a teacher, a path she found to be most agreeable. In her opinion she needed a change; her role of governess was all played out. The position had brought with it much isolation; she was shunned by the servants, and not valued by her employers, so she found herself to be neither fish nor fowl in the estate. She was a middle-class lady, for all intents and purposes, and it was only due to her parents’ lack of wealth that she had to seek employment; but this had prevented her from being considered an equal alongside that echelon.
A warm glow inside ignited her imagination, throwing her into a fictional world where words, lines and chapters from the countless books she had read came to life, filling her mind with hope. How different her life could be if she were to become a leading lady in one of the novels she had read, how her dreams could lift her from the monotony of the life she led. The picture she painted in her mind was herself as a beautiful butterfly — a red admiral — hovering high above the world, visiting flower gardens. She had no intention of outstaying her welcome, or forming liaisons, remaining just long enough for her beauty to be admired, for the briefest of moments, for then once again she would be free, at one with herself and with nature. It was so very different from the constraints of Haunchcroft, where the walls held her deep within. It was only Abigale’s presence that had given the walls a warmth, allowing her to feel able to live happily inside.
Nell snapped out of her daydreams as footsteps entered the bedchamber, and she listened as they echoed over the polished wooden floorboards. The reflections of the frosted gardens were lost in an instant as her master stole up from behind. He was now the reflection staring back at her.
“Mr Buchannan, you startled me.” Nell breathed heavily.
A trickle of condensation decorated the glass pane as Nell did her best to compose herself. She did not turn to greet him, her backward stance hiding her unease.
“You rise early, sir,” she stuttered, choking out her words.
Although she had seen the gentleman at various times around the estate, she was not overly familiar with Abigale’s father, and whenever their paths crossed she felt uncomfortable in his presence. She took a breath, allowing her the courage to speak.
“I would just like to take the time to express how very sorry I am for your loss.”
There was an awkward silence as Nell’s eyes traced his reflection through the partially frozen windowpane; his facial outline looked angular through the icy glass, giving his distorted features a stern, unapproachable look.
Turning slightly, Nell said, “You will no longer be requiring my services.” Exhaling, she continued, “I shall send word to my father, who will arrange for my transportation home. All I ask is if you could possibly supply me with a reference?”
“That will not be necessary; my family do not wish you to leave.”
Nell was thrown off guard by his response.
“You see, Miss Dodsworth, my niece has outgrown her nanny, and my sister is seeking a governess as we speak. You need not worry your father; I assume that his parish requires his undivided attention. If you are agreeable to my sister’s offer, then I will provide your transportation to her home in Gloucestershire; your reference to her will be my word.”
“Thank you kindly, but since your daughter’s death, I have had a change of heart.” Nell could feel a pain rise within, and hurriedly blinked back her tears. “I cannot possibly put myself in the position to grow as close to, and to love another child as I came to love dear Abby.”
“My sister will be most displeased, for you know not how I have sung your praises. Please do not be hasty in your decision, and allow me to arrange a formal introduction. I have it on good authority that Catherine will be arriving in the coming weeks.”
“Sir…”
She paused, his fallen face showing the non-appreciation of her reply.
“Have I offended you, sir?” she enquired, looking up sheepishly, for eye contact with Mr Buchannan felt so demeaning.
Nell could not help but notice the confusion etched on his face, the rise of his dark brow. How much softer his features appeared in close proximity. Mr Buchannan was in his early thirties, a good few years her senior. A peppering of light auburn streaks highlighted his sideburns and deep-brown hair. She could feel his eyes as they penetrated her own, and their softness ebbed. His eyes were like dark pools of the most unusual colour, a gunmetal grey, deep set, cold and unfeeling. She held his gaze, difficult though it was. A silence fell, broken only by the constant tapping of Mr Buchannan’s shoe on the floorboards.
“No, my dear,” he said abruptly, taking a step forwards. “I find it hard to comprehend that such a handsome creature as yourself could be no more than a mere governess.”
Nell frowned; she felt his words to be both belittling and complimentary, if that were possible. His tone was harsh, and it held an annoyance that she was unable to read. His offhandedness forced her to lower her eyes, immediately returning her to her station. If anyone was capable of making her feel subservient, it was Mr Buchannan, and he had managed to do just that with one short sentence. Her eyes rose as she felt his hand brush against her face. She flinched at the feel of his smooth skin against her own.
“Sir!” Blushing, she gasped as his hand swept along her cheek, his index finger coming to rest softly upon her lips.
“You, madam, are my weakness. Believe me when I say that I did not seek you out, you just happened upon me.” His eyes widened. “You have not the slightest idea how I have tried to fight my desires long and hard, but I have to admit defeat; I have succumbed to your charms.” His words faltered as he continued. “I … I find you uncommonly…” With a shake of his head he corrected himself. “No, my dear, I find you disturbingly beautiful.”






Warriors Watchtower Book Blitz with Aedan Byrnes

Title: Warrior’s Watchtower
Author: Aedan Byrnes       
Genre: Fantasy, Paranormal RomanceHosted by: Lady Amber’s Tours
Blurb:
“I am yours, and you are mine…Whatever comes now, we are one.”
Her heroes are gone, taken together in a flash by a vengeful God leaving Jondre to find her way alone. Befriended by a woman who knows more than she’s telling, she makes a choice to try to help what’s left of her family and finds herself at the seat of power but also the center of the expanding abyss. Her world is nothing that it seemed.
A Eupion raid near the boundary delivers a surprise to High House, a new tragedy to deal with and the catalyst for an even more difficult future to come. Just when she thinks there cannot be more, she sees the most fearsome immortal she’s ever encountered, and as match-mates are revealed, this one is hers. Nothing is simple anymore.



There is no simple description for Aedan Byrnes. Obsessive, dreamer, reclusive, compulsive, outdoorsman and wordsmith would be among the list if one were started. The displaced Gael lives in the upper Midwest with family between jaunts wherever the road goes. A frequent traveler, Aedan is as likely to be found rock climbing, spelunking, sitting fireside dreaming or aimlessly floating away as hiding with pen and paper working on the next tale.
A lifelong lover of words and writing, Aedan claims a diverse reading appetite and the writing reflects the myriad influences. A self-proclaimed ‘reader’s writer’, the emotional and sensory results of word combinations outweigh the visceral comprehension of phrases for the stories and drives the prose. The original ‘Eclectic Bard’ enjoys the special magick of storytelling, those who embrace the challenge of writing, and the dreamers who get whisked away by the words making the journey worth taking.
Author Links:
Website: www.aedanbyrnes.com
Facebook – Personal Page: https://www.facebook.com/aedan.byrnes.7
●●Foreword●●
They jumped.
If I would have blinked I would have missed it. It was that fast. For every breath of every moment of my life one or more of them were there and yet in the span of time between breaths every one of them had disappeared.
Playing it back in my head, it was just too fast. I didn’t see it coming until the moment it happened, and then I couldn’t believe it happened.
“What have you learned Vengelys?”
“We have learned we are at war.”
“What else have you learned? You should have known we were at war.”
“We have learned that our adversary is wily and cunning and we have been, but should not underappreciate his tenacity in the war he is waging.”
“Do you infer that the strength of the enemy has been misrepresented to you Vengelys?”
“No.”
“Do you believe then that the complexities of the war we wage are beyond our abilities?”
“No.”
Tynan reached up to tap him out and take over. Rigor would never allow that I’m sure, but Tynan had tried anyway. I’m not the only one who noticed. Amaranos seemed to launch at the action as Rigor refocused fully on the God.
“Do you act in union or from a divided front? Perhaps it is not the war that was the problem with your ability to deal with the situation you discovered.”
“We stand as one, Amaranos.”
“Do you? It would seem that your kin believes they have the ability to stand before me with a calmer presence. Perhaps you should let them try.”
“We stand as one, and I speak for us all. My brother was reminding me to remember my place. It is his job to protect me as it would be mine to protect any of the others of us here before you.”
“Do you need reminding of where you stand? Is my presence before you not reminder enough?”
“No, I do not need reminding, though I appreciate his reminder just the same.”
I had never seen my father sit so still. His eyes were the only things that changed. They grew larger and larger as the comments flew between Rigor and Amaranos. My mother’s hands were red from ringing them and shaking in her lap. As I watched, Asmodai started to twitch and shake in the line behind Rigor. Tynan and Mastema traded worried eye glances. They were all showing the nervousness and fear I was feeling and I wasn’t standing there so I imagine it was multiplied for them. Kyrna’s forehead wept a large shiny sweat tear. I watched it splat on the stone floor before I looked back to Rigor again as Amaranos continued his verbal siege of my brothers.
“Do you supposition then that the task you were charged with was beyond you and your brother’s abilities? Is that why you flinch and fidget before me?”
“No my liege. I believe, as we all do, that we will become better with more training and that we completed the charge given to the best of our abilities.”
“So you instead infer that you were sent out ill equipped for the battle you were asked to take on. To read between the lines of your answer, you are yet unskilled and need training to become that which Amarine believed you had already evolved to. Perhaps my other face had seen something that I myself cannot, as I see a group of brothers with far to go.”
Rigor shook. He looked like he was going to explode apart he was shaking so hard.
“Stand. Down. Vengelys. I will not say it again.”
Rigor stood, but barely. My father grabbed the arms of the chair, but his whitened knuckles betrayed the energy he was fighting to stay put. My mother dropped her head to look down and I could hear her muttering something to herself. All I caught of it was ‘Please…’ I could only look on in disbelief.
These were my brothers. These were the heroes of my waking and dreaming times. The sight of them fidgeting and failing in front of the God and the people was breaking my heart. Rigor turned to the line behind him and turned back on a rough growl at Dom who had lifted a foot toward him. What that was about I had no idea, but Rigor was having none of it. When he turned back to face us, he was different. His face was a mask of rage and his eyes had a fire in them I had never seen before. I loved every one of my brothers, but the idea of facing any of them as Rigor appeared right then had me torn between tears and screams.
“No Amaranos I would not stand down, and I am evolved. We took on a charge from Amarine and completed it. We have brought forward four Eupion, three males and a female found on this side of the portals and demonstrated by the items they had with them that they were here establishing an operation on our lands. We did this because we believed Amarine wished us to do so. It was not simple. It was not without confusion, and it was not without knowledge that we could have been better prepared, but in an effort to honor the charge, we did as we were told. Could we have done better? Perhaps. Could other warriors of longer tenure done better? Perhaps. Will we know one way or another for certain? No, because we did as we were tasked without stopping to question if we should or should not. We sealed into purpose for the throne and the throne bid us proceed.”
The collective gasp was so loud it hurt my ears, or maybe that was just me. Amaranos was visibly angry…red. faced. angry. The air in the room changed and any in the gallery who had been whispering, went silent.
“What did you say to me?”
“With respect, I said…”
With a gesture of his hand Amaranos silenced Rigor, freezing him in place.
“No Vengelys, as you have not respected, you will not proceed. Let all who are herein know that this impudence and blatant disrespect is not tolerated in the high house of Amaranth.”
A flash of light sparked between Rigor and my brothers in line behind him. As we watched it grew fatter and deeper between them. Rigor had no idea. I wanted to shout, knowing that would lump me in with them, but I could not find my voice. The six of them in line behind Rigor looked at each other, but that was the only movement before I watched them slide together. As the gaping hole got closer to Rigor, though he couldn’t see it, he must have known. His frozen form did not change, but his eyes grew larger and the fire in them blazed. He seemed to get bigger before my eyes too, but I think it was me feeling smaller and smaller as I knew I couldn’t help him.
It was all over but the jump and I nearly missed that. As Rigor began to tip over backwards, the rest of them grabbed on and they were gone. Replaying it in my mind changes nothing. I still cannot believe it.
I cannot breathe. I cannot cry. I cannot fathom the implications of this. I want to rub my eyes and see them there, that their disappearance through the now perfect floor was just an illusion. It isn’t.
I’ve never seen my father weep until this moment. My mother is caught in a vortex of rage, grief and denial that mimics the emotions I cannot summon to the surface.
They’re gone.
Before I know or notice, everyone else is gone too. The gallery, full to bursting earlier, is now empty. The court high seat, where Amaranos waved them off to no one knows where, is also void. All that remain are my parents and I; all numb, all shocked, all stilled in our disbelief.
Amaranos had raged all through the high light rise to peak and pitch before my brother’s arrival. For the neutral between the faces of the God, he was ruthless in his rule of the people. News of raids, open portals, and reports of missing emgur, durab and mataur from near the boundary had soured the day before the seven men I loved best after my father had walked in to stand at court center.
I imagine they were blind-sided. Given the notoriety they had gained in the war, I think everyone in the room was. I had expected their strides against the Eupion advancements to have been met with praise, not disdain. How wrong we had all been.
“They’re gone.”
Saying it out loud, even as a whisper does nothing to make the obvious more real. The echo of those two little words around the now empty court chamber only serves to lance the wound in my chest to a deeper cavern of empty. It can’t be, but I know it is.
They’re gone.
~Jondre