Category Archives: free books

REVIEW: A Short Paranormal Romp – BOREALIS ARDOR by Kay Phoenix

Borealis Ardor Banner 851 x 315

REVIEW & TOUR WIDE GIVEAWAY

5 e-book copies of  Borealis Ardor (pdf format)

Enter HERE

Borealis Ardor

Seasons of Passion

Winter Winds

Kay Phoenix

Genre: Paranormal Romance

Publisher:  MuseItUp Publishing

ISBN:  978-1-77127-495-1

ASIN:  B00IA1QKFK

Number of pages:  58

Word Count:  14,709

Cover Artist:  Suzannah Safi

BOREALISARDOR-largeBook Description:   

Lauren Madison’s life started unraveling at a speed too fast for her to keep up with. Every truth she had taken for granted was torn away, and the pieces that were left painted no clear pictures at all…only more confusion.

The only pillar of strength in her fragile life was David Wagner, her bodyguard who was placed in witness protection. But, what had he seen that day, and why couldn’t she remember?

She had no choice but to run. And if her life was threatened again, who would be there to protect her?

Available at Amazon

REVIEW:

If you’re in the mood for  a short paranormal escape, Borealis Ardor is just the ticket. I read it in the doctor’s office while waiting for DH. It’s less than 15,000 words but packs a lot of “oomph” into its pages.

The story opens with Lauren Madison on her way to a cemetery to pay respects to her dead boyfriend. Except she knows he’s not really dead. He’s in witness protection. Or so she thinks. As the scene unfolds, we’re offered some back story to explain the events leading up to her current situation. Lauren is soon pursued by an unknown assailant, chasing her through the woods until she is captured and rendered unconscious by an injected drug. When she awakens in a damp, earthen basement, Lauren realizes she is being used as a pawn to manipulate her father, a talented scientist who has been working on secret projects.

I don’t want to give away too much or the unique element that should and hopefully will be expanded upon in future books. The story won’t disappoint paranormal fans who love fangs of all kinds. It also provided a nice sizzle that didn’t leave me feeling like a voyeur.

As I said, Borealis Ardor is an interesting story with an original twist. I enjoyed it. It needs a little more editing to tighten up the pace. reduce some of the adjectives and add clarity to a few scenes but it is still a fun romp through the paranormal realm that I can easily recommend to my followers.

Excerpt:

“You shouldn’t be here, Lauren.  Leave quickly.” The voice stopped me in my tracks.  It was David’s voice, in my head.  But, I shrugged it off and walked forward until I saw the new stone and the rectangle of earth in front of it that had noticeably less pine needles than the surrounding area.

I knelt beside it.

“David Alan Wagner.  Beloved Son, Brother and Friend.”  The lines of the letters were etched deep and black, contrasting heavily against the light grey stone.  I gently lay the roses down and traced the letters with my finger.  There was a cross carved below the words.  I ran my hand along the entire edge of the top of the stone, feeling the rough edges in contrast to the freshly polished front and back.  I wondered how long the stone had been there.  Dad assured me he had taken care of the funeral expenses, and he must have made sure there was a rush order on the headstone.  There was a fresh bouquet of white roses lying at the base of the stone and it made me feel deeply saddened for his family, as well as for him.  As much as dad irritated the living hell out of me with his overprotective gestures, if I had to disappear forever and have him think I was dead, it would break my heart.  After we lost mom, we were all the family we had.

I loved David with my whole heart.  Even though we had only been together for two of the six months that he was assigned to me, I knew that he was the “one”.  I just knew it.  There was no explanation.  And, I was the “one” for him as well.  But, now he was gone, and it was unlikely that I would see him again, at least not any time soon.

I reached up to trace the “D” again and saw a strange light flash across the polished surface of the stone, which I realized with horror to be a set of headlights.

Who would be coming to a graveyard at this hour? Besides me of course? Teenagers with a Ouija board and bottle of Strawberry Hill wine in tow, perhaps?

I could take no chances.  I could have been followed.

About the Author:Kay

Ms. Phoenix is a lifelong resident of Las Vegas, Nevada.  She serves on the board of the Las Vegas Romance Writers and is also a member of the Kiss of Death and Women’s Fiction chapters of Romance Writers of America.

In her spare time she enjoys hiking, camping and photography and is pursuing a Bachelor’s in Psychology.  She is also a member of the Vegas Artists Guild as a photographer.  Prior to writing, Kay was a Graphic Artist for 15 years in the casino industry.

Kay writes in the contemporary and paranormal romance categories, as well as non-fiction articles.  Please visit her website at http://www.KayPhoenix.com.

Website:   www.KayPhoenix.com

Blog:   http://kayphoenix.blogspot.com/

Facebook:  www.facebook.com/KayPhoenixAuthor

Twitter:  https://twitter.com/KayPhoenix_

THE WINTER KING by Best Selling Author, C.L. Wilson

An epic romance and an epic contest from NY Times and USA Today best selling author, C.L. Wilson.il_570xN.584501973_oj2l

Win this beautiful Winter White Rose pendant. Entry details following excerpt from THE WINTER KING.

 

The Winter King Banner 851 x 315

The Winter King

C.L. Wilson

91G-t5phdNL._SL1500_Genre: Fantasy Romance

Publisher: Avon Romance

ISBN 13: 9780062018977

Book Description:

Wynter Atrialan, the Winter King, once lived in peace with his southern, Summerlander neighbors, but when Falcon, the prince of Summerlea, stole Wynter’s bride and murdered his young brother, Wynter vows vengeance. Calling upon a dangerous Wintercraig magic called the Ice Heart, he gathers his armies and marches against Summerlea, crushing their armies and spreading icy winter in his wake.

After three long, bitter years of battle, Summerlea is defeated and Wynter comes to the heart of the kingdom to issue his terms for their surrender. The prince of Summerlea stole Wynter’s bride and slew Wynter’s Heir. He wants the loss replaced. The Ice Heart is consuming him. Wynter hopes holding his own child in his arms will rekindle the warmth of love and melt the Ice Heart before he becomes the monster of Wintercraig legend, the Ice King.

The Summer King has three very precious daughters whom he loves dearly. Wynter will take one of them to wife. She will have one year to provide him with an Heir. If she fails, he will turn her out in the ice and snow of the mountains and claim another princess for his wife. And so it will continue until Wynter has his Heir or the Summer Kingis out of daughters. All the while, Wynter will enjoy the vengeance of knowing the Summer King will suffer each day without his beloved daughter(s), as Wynter suffers each day without his own beloved brother.

The plan is perfect—except for one small detail. The Summer King has a fourth daughter. One of which he is not so fond.

Blamed as a child for the death of her beloved mother, Khamsin Coruscate, the forgotten princess of Summerlea, has spent her life hidden from the world like an embarrassing secret. Dressed in cast-off gowns and left to her own devices, with only the determination of her loyal nursemaid to ensure she receives the education befitting an Heir to the Summer Throne, Khamsin haunts the abandoned towers and gardens of Summerlea’s royal palace, close to her beloved late mother’s treasures, and waits for the day her father will recognize her as a Princess of the Rose. But though she dreams of the valor and sacrifices of ancient Summerlea heroes and pines for paternal love that will never come, Khamsin is no sweet, gentle, helpless princess-in-a-tower. She is a fiercely passionate creature with a volatile, rebellious temper that is often as reckless and destructive as the dangerous forces of her weathergift, the power of storms.

Together will their stormy personalities be able to meld or will their powers destroy not only their love but the whole world?

Add it to your Goodreads Shelf

Available for purchase at Avon Romance Amazon  BN  Kobo

Excerpt:

King’s Keep

Vera Sola, Summerlea

“Do you have to go?”  Seventeen year old Khamsin Coruscate clung to her beloved brother’s hand as if by her grip alone she could anchor him fast and keep him from leaving.

“You know I do.  Our treaties with the Winter King are very important.”

“But you’ll be home soon?”  Whenever he was gone, the ancient walls of the royal palace of Summerlea that had been her home and her prison since birth seemed somehow more confining, more restrictive.

“Not this time, little sister.”  Falcon shook his head.  A strand of black hair that had pulled free of the queue at the back of his neck brushed against the soft, dark skin of his cheek.  “It will take weeks to negotiate the treaties.”

Khamsin scowled, and the wind began to gust, sending Kham’s habitually untamed hair whipping into her mouth and eyes.  “Why does he have to send you?  Why can’t his ambassador negotiate the treaty?  He’s sending you away because of me, isn’t he?  Because he doesn’t want you spending so much time with me.”  Her hands clenched into fists.  The wind sent her skirts flying and a dark cloud rolled across the sun.

Their father, King Verdan IV of Summerlea, didn’t love her. She knew that.  He kept her isolated in a remote part of the palace, hidden away from his court and his kingdom, on the pretext that her weathergifts were too volatile and dangerous and she couldn’t control them.  That was all true.  Kham’s gifts were dangerous, and she couldn’t control them any better than she could control her own temper.  Until now, however, he’d never stooped to sending his other children away to keep them from visiting her.

“Here now.  Be calm.”  Falcon smoothed her wayward curls back, tucking them behind her ears.  Compassion and pity shone softly in his eyes.  “I wish I didn’t have to leave you.  But Father believes I’ll have the best chance of getting what we want from Wintercraig, and I agree with him.”  Summerlea, once a rich, thriving kingdom renowned for its fertile fields and abundant orchards, had been in a slow decline for years. Although the nobles and king maintained a prosperous façade for political and economic purposes, beneath the gilded domes and bright splendor of Summerlea’s palaces and grand estates, the rough tatters of neglect were beginning to show.  “Besides, you won’t be alone while I’m gone.  You have Tildy and the Seasons.”

“It isn’t the same.  They aren’t you.”  He was the handsome Prince of Summerlea, charming, witty, heroic.  He’d lived a life of adventure, most of which he shared with her, entertaining her with the tales of his exploits…the places he’d seen, the people he’d met.  His hunts, his adventures, his triumphs.  No matter how much her nursemaid, Tildavera Greenleaf, doted on Khamsin, or how often the three other princesses, Autumn, Spring, and Summer, snuck away from their palace duties to spend time with their ostracized youngest sister, Falcon was the one whose visits she couldn’t live without.

“Now there’s a pretty compliment.  Careful, my lady.  You’ll turn my head.”  He smiled, and warmth poured into her.  It was no wonder the ladies of their father’s court swooned at the slightest attention from him.  Falcon had a magical way about him.  He could he literally charm the birds from the trees with his name-gift—controlling any feathered creature on a whim–and the weathergift inherent in his royal Summerlander blood was stronger than it had been in any crown prince in generations.  It was as if the Sun itself had taken up residence in his soul, and its warmth spilled from him each time he smiled.

Kham took a deep breath.  The sharp edge of her temper abated, and in the skies, the gathering storm began to calm.  Perhaps King Verdan truly had chosen to send his only son as envoy to Wintercraig for political reasons.  Long, long ago, as a small child crying herself to sleep, she’d decided Falcon was the reincarnation of Roland Triumphant, the Hero of Summerlea, the brave King who had defeated an overwhelming invasion force with his wit, his weathergifts, and a legendary sword reputed to be a gift from the Sun God himself.    If anyone could charm the cold, savage folk of the north into concessions most favorable to Summerlea, Falcon could.

“Will you at least write to me?” she asked.

“I’ll send you a bird every week.”   He tapped her nose and gave her a charming, roguish grin. “Cheer up.  Just think of all the swordfights you’ll win when you’re fighting invisible opponents instead of me.”

Kham rolled her eyes.  He’d been teaching her sword-fighting for years, but she had yet to best him in a match.

“You know,” she said as they walked towards the doorway leading back into the palace, “it might actually be a good thing that you’ll be spending months in Wintercraig.”

“Oh?”

“Yes.  You can use that time to find out what happened to Roland’s sword.”

Falcon tripped on an uneven flagstone and grabbed the trunk of a nearby tree to steady himself.  “I’m sure I’ll be much too busy to chase fairy tales, Storm.”

She frowned in surprise.  “But you’ve always believed the stories were true.” Blazing, the legendary sword of Roland Soldeus, had disappeared shortly after the heroic king’s death.   Legend claimed it was the Winter King, the father of Roland’s betrothed, who had spirited the sword away so Roland’s brother Donal couldn’t claim it.  Every royal Summerlea Heir for the last two millennia had dreamed of finding the legendary blade and bringing it back home where it belonged.  Falcon had spent years chasing lead after lead, determined that he would be the one to find Blazing and restore Summerlea to its former glory.

“What about those letters?” she added.  “The really old ones you found tucked in that monastery?  You said they proved the stories were true.”

“That was six years ago.  I was seventeen.  I wanted the stories to be true.”  He gave her a quick hug and a brotherly kiss on the forehead.  “I’ve got to run. I’m meeting with Father and his advisors to go over our list of demands and concessions one last time before I leave.  I’ll see you in a few months.”

“I’ll miss you every day.”  She trailed after him, feeling bereft and forlorn when Falcon turned the corner and disappeared from view.  But this time, she also felt confused. She’d never known Falcon to give up on something he felt passionately about.  And he’d been passionate about finding Roland’s sword.  He’d been certain he was on the right trail.  He’d shared his discoveries with her because he knew she was just as hungry as he to find the legendary sword.

So why would he deny it now?

* * *

Gildenheim, Wintercraig

“She’s not good for you.”

Wynter Atrialan, King of Wintercraig, cast a sideways glance at his younger brother.  “Don’t say that, Garrick.  I know you’ve never liked Elka, but in six months time, she will be my bride and your queen.”

Garrick shook his long, snow-silver hair.  Eyes as bright and blue as the glacier caves in Wintercraig’s ice-bound Skoerr Mountains shone with solemn intensity that made the boy look far older than his sixteen years.

“You love too deeply, Wyn.  From the moment you decided to take her to wife, you’ve blinded yourself to her true nature.”

Wynter sighed.  “I should not have shared my worries with you when I first met her.”  Wyn was an intensely private man, but he’d never kept secrets from Garrick.  Not one.  Wyn had raised his brother since their parents’ death ten years ago.  And in those years, he’d never tried to sweeten the ugly world of politics, never tried to gloss over his fears or concerns—even when it came to the more personal but still political matter of selecting a queen.  If something happened to him, Garrick would be king, and Wyn didn’t want his brother thrown into such a position without preparation.

Unfortunately, the years of openness and plain, unfettered talk had paid unanticipated returns.  Because of his unflinching honesty with Garrick, no one in Wintercraig–no one in all the world, for that matter–knew him better than his young brother.  Not even Wyn’s lifelong friend and second-in-command, Valik.  Such deep familiarity could be as troublesome as it was comforting.

“She is cold,” Garrick insisted.  “She does not love you as she should.  She wants to be queen more than she wants to be your wife.”

“Elka is a woman of the Craig.  She is as reserved with her feelings as I.”

“Is she?  So that is why she laughs and smiles so warmly when the Summerlander is near?”

Wynter frowned a warning at his brother.  “Careful, Garrick.  Elka Villani will be my wife and queen.  Insult to her is insult to me.”

“I offered no insult.  I merely asked a question.  And based on my observations, it’s a perfectly legitimate one.”

“You are misreading what you see.  Elka knows it’s vital the Summer Prince feels welcome here if we are to come to an amicable agreement.”  The lush, fertile fields of Summerlea provided much needed sustenance to the folk of Wintercraig during the harsh, cold months of a northern winter.  Their grains, fruits and vegetables, which Wintercraig bought with furs, whale oil and forest products, could mean the difference between life and death for his people during years when their own harvests were poor.  That had, unfortunately, been quite often of late, since the summers had grown shorter and food from Summerlea had been growing steadily more dear after Wynter had taken the throne.  Falcon Coruscate, son of the weathermage king who ruled Summerlea, had come three months ago at Wynter’s invitation to negotiate terms of a new treaty that would ensure longer summers in the north and more affordable trade in foodstuffs for the winters.

“She makes him feel welcome to more than the court,” Garrick corrected.  “She flirts.”

Wyn arched a brow.  “And if she does, where’s the harm in it?  A pretty face and a sweet smile can persuade a man better than cold figures and dry treaties—especially self-indulgent peacocks like the Summer Prince.”  He smiled when Garrick rolled his eyes.  “You don’t remember our mother, but she could charm a Frost Giant into the fire.  Father used to call her his secret weapon.  Elka merely uses her gifts to aid the realm, as any good queen would.”

Garrick gave a snort.   “How fortunate that she takes to the task so well. All right, all right.” He held up his hands in surrender when his brother’s glance sharpened.  He paused a moment, using hammer and chisel to chip unwanted ice from the frozen sculpture he was working on, then added, “But even if you trust her, you’d best keep an eye on the Summerlander.  He’s up to something.”

“Foreign dignitaries are always up to something.  That’s called politics.”

“He’s been asking too many questions about the Book of Riddles.”

Wyn’s hand stilled momentarily in its work on his own sculpture.  “Has he?”  He tried to pull of nonchalance, but shouldn’t have bothered.  Garrick knew him too well.

“That’s what he’s really here for.  To get the book and find Roland’s sword.”

Roland’s sword was a fabled Summerlea weapon of inconceivable power.   It had disappeared three thousand years ago, not long after the Summer King who first wielded it sacrificed his life to save his kingdom from invasion.  Many myths and legends swirled around its disappearance.  One of those legends suggested that the Winter King of that time, fearing the sword’s power would be misused by Roland’s successors, had smuggled the sword out of Summerlea and hidden it in a place it would never be found.  The Winter King had also left behind a book of obscure clues and riddles that supposedly led to the sword’s secret hiding place, in case his own descendants one day had need of the legendary weapon’s vast power.

“Well, good luck to him with that,” Wynter said.  “The sword is a myth.  It’s long gone by now, if it ever existed at all.  And he won’t find whatever treasure the Book actually does protect, either, because he will never find the Book.  It’s kept in a place no man can go.”

“But Elka can.”

He scowled.  “Garrick, stop.  She is my betrothed.  She will be my queen.  She would never betray me.”

Garrick heaved a sigh.  “Fine. She is your true and worthy love.  I’ll never suggest otherwise again.”

“Good.”  Wyn pressed his lips together and focused on the small block of ice sitting on the pedestal before him.  Patient as time itself, he carved away the excess ice until he revealed the hidden beauty inside.  Fragile, shimmering, a bouquet of lilies emerged, petals curved with incredible delicacy, each flower distinct and perfect, rising up from slender stems of ice.   “What do you think?” he asked when it was done.

“That’s beautiful, Wyn.  One of your best yet.”

Wyn smiled.  When it came to ice sculptures, Garrick hoarded his compliments like a miser.  Only perfection earned his highest praise.

“Do you think she will like it, then?  Frost lilies are her favorite.”

Garrick stepped abruptly away from his own sculpture–a complex scene depicting a family of deer welcoming their newest, spindly-legged member into the herd–and brushed the dusting of ice crystals from his furs.  “Any woman who truly loves you would love it, Wyn.  It’s obvious how much care you put into it.”

“Then she will love it.  You’ll see.”

“I’m sure she will,” Garrick said, but his eyes held no conviction.

“Coruscate!” Wynter’s roar shook the great crystal chandelier that hung in the entry hall of his palace, Gildenheim.  He stormed up the winding stairs to the wing where royal guests were housed and burst into the suite that had been occupied for the last two months by the Prince of Summerlea.  The rooms were empty, and judging by the state of the open drawers and the clothes flung haphazardly about, the inhabitants had vacated the place in a hurry.

“He’s gone, Wyn.”  Valik, Wynter’s oldest friend and second in command stepped into the room.  “Laci checked the temple.  The book’s gone, too.”

Wynter swore under his breath.  Barely two weeks ago, Garrick had warned him to keep an eye on the Summerlea Prince, and Wyn had dismissed his concerns with such blind, confidence! “When did they leave?”

“About an hour after we left for Hileje.  Elka and his guard went with him.  Bron didn’t think anything of it.  The Summerlander kept blathering about not letting some fire ten miles away ruin a good day’s hunt.”

“We’d better start tracking them, then.”

“There’s more, Wyn.”  Valik hesitated, then said, “I think Garrick went after them.  He and his friends rode out not long after the Summerlander.  Bron heard them talking about something the Summerlander took that Garrick meant to get back.”

Wyn’s jaw turned to granite.  With Valik close on his heels, he ran back down to the courtyard.

Still saddled and ready to ride, Wynter’s stallion was waiting in the hands of a stableboy, and beside him, a dozen of Wynter’s elite White Guard held Prince Falcon’s valet at swordpoint.  The valet looked nothing like the sleek, meticulously turned-out peacock Wynter’s courtiers had mocked amongst themselves.  He’d traded his velvet brocade livery for rough-spun woolens, a furred vest, and a heavy cloak.  His knuckles were scraped, and his face sported a bruised jaw and an eye that was swollen shut and rapidly purpling.

“We found him in the village trying to bribe a merchant to smuggle him out in a trade cart, Your Grace.”

“Where is he?”  Wyn grabbed the valet by his vest, yanking him up so fast the man’s feet left the ground.  Wynter was tall, even for a man of the Craig, and holding the Summerlander at eye level left almost two feet between the man’s dangling toes and the icy stone of the courtyard.  “Where is that Coruscate bastard you serve?”

“I don’t know!” Clearly terrified, the man started babbling.   “I swear to you, Your Majesty!  I didn’t even know he was leaving until one of the maids delivered his note.  And that only advised me to leave Wintercraig as quickly and quietly as possible.”

“In other words, the coward abandoned you while saving his own skin.”  Wyn threw the man aside.  “Lock him up.  If we don’t find his master, he can face the mercy of the mountains in his prince’s stead.  The rest of you, mount up.  Time to hunt.”

Minutes later, Wynter, Valik, and two dozen White Guard were galloping down the winding mountain road that led from Gildenheim to the valley below.  Wynter howled a call to the wolves as they went, sending a summons to the packs that were spirit-kin to his family’s clan.  Wolves were faster in the dense woods, and they tracked by scent rather than sight.  The Summerlanders’ smell was alien to this part of the world, so the wolves should have no trouble picking up their trail.

He wasn’t sure if the prince would try heading south, towards Summerlea, or west to the Llaskroner fjord.  The fjord was closer, and the port there was a busy one, full of strangers from distant lands.  For thieves looking to get out of country quickly, that was the better destination. When the wolf call came from the west, Wyn knew he’d guessed right.  He whispered to the winds, calling to the old Winterman in the north to blow his icy horn, then summoning the Vestras, the freezing maritime winds of the western seas to send their bone-chilling fog.

As he and his men rode west, following the call of the wolves, the temperatures began to drop.   If the Summer Prince fought back with his own weathergifts, that would pinpoint his location.  If he didn’t, the rapidly worsening weather would slow his escape.  Either way, Wynter would track him down, and make him pay for what he’d done to the people of Hileje.

The prince had hours on him.   That was the purpose of the fire in Hileje—a distraction to get Wynter and his men out of the palace so Falcon Coruscate could steal what he came for and make his escape.   But the distraction had been much more than a mere fire.  The Summerlanders had raped and murdered dozens of villagers, then locked the rest in the meeting hall and burned them alive.

Eighty-six lives wiped out in one senseless act of violence.  Eighty-six innocent Winterfolk who had depended on their king to protect them.  And he had failed.

The tone of the wolves’ howls suddenly changed, the howls becoming longer, mournful, announcing a loss to the pack.  Wynter sent out his thoughts, connect to the pack mind and seeing through the wolves’ eyes as he searched for the source of that cry.  He caught a glimpse of scarlet splashed across the snow, bodies that were clothed not furred.

“No!”  He knew instantly why the wolves howled and for whom.  “No! Garrick!”  He spurred Hodri faster, galloping at a reckless pace.  The wind whistled past his ears.  Snow flew from Hodri’s hooves.

It didn’t take long to reach the clearing where the wolves had gathered.  The smell of death filled the air—a dark odor Wynter had smelled before. It was a scent few men ever forgot.

He reined Hodri in hard, leaping from saddle to ground before the horse fully stopped.  The first two bodies were boys Wyn recognized. Garrick’s friends.  Sixteen years old, the same age as Garrick.  Arrow-pierced through their hearts.  They’d been dead within minutes of being struck.

A moaning cough brought Wyn scrambling to his feet.  He half-ran, half-stumbled across the snow towards the source of the sound, but when he got there, he felt as if his heart had stopped beating.  He fell to his knees.

The coughing boy was Garrick’s best friend, Junnar.  He’d been gut-shot, and the dark, matter-filled blood oozing from the wound told Wynter the boy was a dead man even though his body still clung weakly to the last threads of his life.

Junnar lay atop the prone, lifeless figure of Wynter’s brother.  An arrow–its shaft painted with the Prince of Summerlea’s personal colors –protruded from Garrick’s throat.

“Garrick?” After moving Junnar to one side and packing his wound with snow to numb the pain, Wyn reached for his brother with trembling hands.  His fingers brushed the boy’s face, and he flinched at the coldness of his brother’s flesh.  Garrick had been dead for hours.  Probably since before Wyn had left Gildenheim in pursuit.  How could Wyn have lost the only family he had left in the world and not known it the instant it happened?

Horses approached from Wynter’s back.  Then Valik was there, laying a sympathetic hand on Wynter’s shoulder.

“I’m sorry, my friend.  I’m so sorry.”

Wyn nodded numbly.  The ache was consuming him.  The pain so deep, so indescribable, it was beyond feeling.  His whole body felt frozen, like the ice statues he and Garrick carved together.

“Help Junnar.”  How he spoke, he didn’t know.  His voice came out a choked, gravelly rasp.  “Make him as comfortable as you can.”

“Of course.”

He waited for Valik to lift Junnar and settle him off a short distance before gathering Garrick’s body into his arms.  He held his brother for a long time, held him until Junnar breathed his last and the White Guard packed the bodies up for transport back to Gildenheim.  Their hunt for Prince Falcon of Summerlea had ended the moment Wynter found his brother’s corpse.  But there was no doubt in any of their minds that this was far from over.

Wynter carried Garrick in front of him on Hodri’s back, cradling his body as he had so many times over the years after their parents had died and it had fallen to him to raise his brother.  He carried him all the way to Gildenheim, releasing him only to the weeping servants who would prepare Garrick and the others for the funeral pyre.

Wynter stood vigil by his brother’s side throughout the night.  He murmured words of sympathy to the parents of the other lost boys, but shed no tears of his own though his eyes burned.  At dusk the following night, he stood, tall and dry-eyed beside the pyres as the flames were lit and remained standing, motionless and without speaking, throughout the night and into the next morning.  He stood until the pyre was naught but flickering coals.  And when it was done and there was nothing left of his brother but ash, Wynter mounted Hodri and took the long, winding road to the Temple of Wyrn, which was carved into the side of the next mountain.

Galacia Frey, the imposing and statuesque High Priestess of Wyrn, was waiting for him inside the temple.  She had come the night before to bless his brother and the others and to light their pyres, before returning to the temple to await his visit.

“You know why I have come.”

Her eyes were steady.  “I know.  But Wyn, my friend, you know I must ask you to reconsider.  You know the price.”

“I know and accept it.”

“There’s no guarantee the goddess will find you worthy,” she warned.  “Many men have tried and died.”

“You think that frightens me?  If I die, I will be with my brother.  If I survive, I will have the power to avenge him.”

She closed her eyes briefly and inclined her head.  “Then take the path to the left of the altar, Wynter Atrialan, King of the Craig.  Leave your armor, clothes and weapons in the trunk by the door.  You must enter the test as you entered the world.  And may the goddess have mercy on your soul.”

 

Tour Giveaway:

A copy of THE WINTER KING, complete with a gorgeous white rose snow globe pendant reminiscent of the book!

Open to US Shipping

ENTER RAFFLECOPTER GIVEAWAY

il_570xN.584501973_oj2l

 

 

About the Author:

C. L. WILSON grew up camping and waterskiing across America, from Cherry Creek reservoir in Denver, CO, to Lake Gaston on the border of Virginia and North Carolina, to Georgia’s Lake Lanier and Lake Allatoona. When she wasn’t waterskiing and camping on family vacations, you could usually find her with a book in one hand and a sketch pad in the other—either reading, writing stories, or drawing. Sometime around the ninth grade, she decided she was better at drawing her pictures with words than paints and charcoals, and she set aside her sketchpad to focus entirely on writing.

Wilson is active in Tampa Area Romance Authors (TARA), her local chapter of Romance Writers of America. When not engaged in writerly pursuits, she enjoys golfing, swimming, reading, playing video games with her children, and spending time with her friends and family. She is also an avid collector (her husband says pack rat!), and she’s the proud owner of an extensive collection of Dept. 56 Dickens and North Pole villages, unicorns, Lladro figurines, and mint condition comic books.

Wilson currently resides with her husband, their three wonderful children, and their little black cat, Oreo, in a secluded ranch community less than thirty miles away from the crystalline waters and sugar-sand beaches of Anna Maria Island and Siesta Key on Florida’s gulf coast.

http://clwilson.com/

https://twitter.com/clwilsonbooks

https://www.facebook.com/clwilsonbooks

https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/1310735.C_L_Wilson

http://www.amazon.com/C.-L.-Wilson/e/B001JS38U6

Interview With The Author: Robyn Bachar

Dear Readers . . . I had so much fun interviewing author, Robyn Bachar, creator of the intriguing BAD WITCH series and I can’t wait to share it with you! But first . . . as a special treat, I’ve included an excerpt from her recent release, POISON in the BLOOD following our Q&A. Also, keep scrolling to the end for details on the fabulous tour wide contest with some prizes you won’t want to miss!
Poison in the Blood Banner 450 x 169

 

Now . . . on to the interview!

What made you decide to combine witches and vampires with a Chicago setting? How do you maintain realism in a fantasy/paranormal tale?

I live in the area, and I have a vivid imagination. It’s easy to look at an old house and wonder if a vampire lives there, or if the strange next-door neighbors are witches. I imagine my characters as normal people with extraordinary abilities. Magic is a danger to them as much as it is a benefit.

I’ve read you are a gamer and love role playing games. What is your favorite role/game? Does this activity help when you are developing characters? If so, how?

My favorite rpg is Dragon Age: Origins. It’s a fabulous, complex game with adventure and romance. I think being a gamer has helped me in my writing. It’s definitely helped me to map out battle scenes.

Rock, paper, scissors . . . which one will you most likely play first? (I’m scissors!)

Rock, unless I have the bomb and win on ties.

Tell us about your books. Correct me if I’m wrong . . . you have two “Bad Witch” series, one defined as The Emily Chronicles, the other Bad Witch Books. Are their characters or plots connected?

Poison in the Blood is part of the Emily Chronicles, which are prequels to my modern Bad Witch books. The plots and characters are connected. One of the nice things about writing vampires is being able to show them throughout history. Emily causes trouble in the past and in the present. She would make a good Doctor Who companion.

Could you provide some details about your trilogy, Cy’ren Rising? What inspired the story line?

Cy’ren Rising is my spicy space opera romance series, and it has action, adventure, laser gunfights and epic space battles. I have a lifelong love of sci-fi, ever since my dad introduced me to classic Star Trek. Cy’ren Rising has its roots in everything from Star Wars to Firefly to Mass Effect.

Of your three novel sets, which did you have the most fun writing and why?

They’re all fun in their own way. 🙂 The Cy’ren books are really fun because they’re so over the top, but Emily has a special place in my heart. She always has new entertaining ways of politely yelling at people.

I’m an amateur Paranormal Investigator so I was intrigued by your comment that you believe the English building at UIUC is haunted. Tell us why you feel this way and describe any “ghostly” experiences you may have had.

I do have a homage to the TAPS team from Ghost Hunters in my book Fire in the Blood… The legend is that a girl drowned in the English building’s swimming pool when it was a dorm, and her spirit haunts the building today. There are stories of hearing footsteps and seeing shadows, but I never had personal experience. The building just felt wrong to me. It was the only building on campus that I would instantly lose my sense of direction in.

If you found a stone that could magically transport you to any location at any point in time, where would you visit and why?

This is one of those scenarios that can bite a character if they don’t choose carefully. Would I like to see original Shakespeare at the Globe? Yes. But unless said magic stone also transforms my clothes and translates Elizabethan English, I’d be in trouble. (Well, the language wouldn’t be too bad, but you get the idea.) Maybe I’d go back to 1908 to see the Cubs win the World Series, because though I am a Cubs fan, I don’t see them winning again anytime soon.

Poison in the Blood

Bad Witch: The Emily Chronicles

Book 2

Robyn Bachar

PoisonintheBlood72webGenre: Paranormal Romance

Publisher: Samhain Publishing

E-book: June 18, 2013

Print:  June 3, 2014

ISBN: E-book 978-1-61921-587-0

ISBN: Print 978-1-61921-916-8

Number of pages: 272, Word Count: 55,711

Cover Artist: Kanaxa

Book Description:

She is honey to his throat…but one sweet taste could part them forever…

Banished from home while her husband adjusts to life as an immortal, blood-drinking chronicler, Emily Black is homesick, heartsick and struggling under the constant sensory barrage of a city drenched in ancient magic. When an old friend asks for her aid in solving a string of murders, she welcomes the distraction, despite the danger.

Justine Dubois is grateful for a seer’s help, and more understanding than anyone of Emily’s plight. As a guardian, Justine commands respect; as a woman, her magic is considered inferior. Together, they are determined to prove their worth to London’s magicians, starting with solving these murders—with maybe a bit of matchmaking on the side.

Long before he met his soul mate, Michael Black made a commitment to join the Order of St. Jerome. He will live forever, forced to watch the woman he loves age and die. As Emily hunts the murderer, Michael struggles to protect her. But if he loses control of his hunger, the greatest threat to her safety could be Michael himself.

Warning: Contains tortured soul mates, scheming faeries, vampire debauchery, deadly parasols, illicit blood-drinker relations, and adorable plot moppets.

Amazon    Barnes & Noble   Samhain Publishing   Kobo  All Romance eBooks

Readers can receive 30% off the ebook of Poison in the Blood from the Samhain Store by using the coupon code POISON14 at checkout.

Excerpt:

Normally stepping into a garden would soothe me, but we were still within London, where there was no comfort whatsoever. I looked up at the night sky and wished I were with Michael.

“You have the soul of an artist, Miss Rose. It is a rare gift.” Mr. Paris stroked my hand, and I tugged it free of his arm. I folded both hands before me primly and smiled.

“Again, that is very kind of you.”

“I consider myself a patron of the arts.”

“So you attend gatherings such as this often?” I asked.

“Of course. I am always on the lookout for new talent.”

“I see. Did you know Mrs. Harding?” I tried to examine his aura to determine his reaction, but his magic continued to be so overwhelming that my eyes watered. Mr. Paris must be unspeakably powerful, and I found myself both worried and intrigued. Perhaps he was a sorcerer? One who specialized in darkness?

“I did. Poor girl. What a terrible thing to have happened to her and her family… Tell me, are you working on a second collection of your work?” he asked, quickly changing the subject.

“I am, though I am afraid the subject matter is quite a bit darker.”

Mr. Paris smiled a predatory grin, and my pulse leapt with a thrill of fear. “I am not afraid of the dark, Miss Rose. Are you?”

He stepped closer, but I held my ground, studying him with a curious tilt to my head. “What are you?” I asked.

He blinked, startled. “I beg your pardon?”

“What sort of magic do you practice?” I clarified.

“Oh. I am a librarian, of course,” he replied, and I laughed, unable to help myself. “What’s so funny?”

“You are most certainly not a librarian. Do people truly believe that lie?”

The smile slid from Mr. Paris’s face as his expression hardened. He stepped forward and tried to grab my arm, but Miss Dubois was suddenly between us, a shining silver blur. With a snarl he turned and ran, and the guardian chased him out of the garden and into the street.

Uncertain of what to do, I followed. I stood hesitant at the garden gate, wondering which way they went. My vision shifted, and I followed Miss Dubois’s blazing footsteps. I paused next to a blur traced over the high brick wall of another garden. It was another magical doorway, rather like the one I had discovered near Mrs. Harding’s body outside the Undiscovered Country. Foolishly I raised my hand to touch it, despite knowing full well that doing so could trigger another vision, but a hand emerged from the brick wall and grabbed my wrist.

Overwhelmed with shock, I barely managed a strangled gasp as Mr. Paris stepped through the wall and glared down at me. “Who are you?” he demanded.

“You first.” My voice trembled, and Mr. Paris grinned. He tightened his grip and snapped several small bones in my wrist, and I screamed.

“Who are you?” he repeated.

Something bubbled up within me, a bright plume of prophetic magic that became my answer. “I am your end.” That time my voice did not tremble at all, but was filled with terrible certainty. I would cause Mr. Paris’s death, and I knew it with as much confidence as I knew the sun would rise in the morning.

Something in my gaze must have worried him, because he snarled. Scowling, he grabbed my forearm with both hands and twisted. The bone snapped like dry kindling, and I screamed again. Before he could torment me further Miss Dubois arrived and bashed him with a round silver shield. Mr. Paris vanished into thin air, and the guardian stood near me. One arm bore the shield, while in her other hand she held a sword. How cunning of her. I wanted a sword as well.

“Are you all right?” she asked.

My knees wobbled and began to buckle, but then two dark blurs streaked up to us, and I was suddenly swept from my feet and cradled close in Michael’s arms.

“Darling! What happened?” he asked.

“You caught me.” I blinked—however had he moved that fast? Simon sighed and shook his head at his student, and I sensed that Michael and I were both in for a scolding.

“Of course I did. I will always catch you. Are you all right?”

About the Author:

RobynBacharRobyn Bachar was born and raised in Berwyn, Illinois, and loves all things related to Chicago, from the Cubs to the pizza. It seemed only natural to combine it with her love of fantasy, and tell stories of witches and vampires in the Chicagoland area. As a gamer, Robyn has spent many hours rolling dice, playing rock-paper-scissors and slaying creatures in MMPORGs.

 

Twitter    Blog    Facebook     Google+   Goodreads    LibraryThing    Shelfari  Amazon

 

TOUR GIVEAWAY

Poison in the Blood Button 300 x 225

1 signed print copy of Poison in the Blood

1 $25 Amazon gift card

ENTER HERE

The Secret Wolf by Ana W. Fawkes

Tour Wide Contest

The Secret Wolf Banner-Blitz-450 x 169

ENTER HERE

1 Grand Prize giveaway of a $25 Amazon.com gift card 

10 eBook copies of the second Full Moon Mercy book – The True Beast. There will 10 winners of a single.

Additional Giveaway

***Anyone who buys a copy of The Secret Wolf (A Full Moon Mercy) and sends the proof of purchase to Ana atAnaFawkes@gmail.com will be put on a list to receive a *free* ebook Full Moon Mercy novella when published. (Novella is due for summer publication!)

The Secret Wolf

A Full Moon Mercy Novel

Book 1

Ana W. Fawkes

Genre: paranormal romance, motorcycle club, shifter, werewolfwolf

Publisher: Hundred to Home

ASIN: B00K64FVO0

Number of pages: 185

Word Count: 57,000

Book Description:

Welcome to the world of FULL MOON MERCY.

This isn’t just a book about a MC… this is about a brotherhood, a group of men who share a bond not just within the MC, but within their souls…

They’re men. They’re beasts. They are… FULL MOON MERCY.

Sitting next in line to run Full Moon Mercy Motorcycle Club, Lucas Trowwer has kept his fair share of secrets. Whether it’s the cover up of murders in town or the fact that all the men that sit at the table are truly beasts on the inside, Lucas knows the line between paranormal and reality is very thin.

When bodies start piling up in town, the evidence points to a rival shifter crew looking to take down the MC, and the last thing Lucas needs is to save an innocent woman and fall for her. His trust must now reside in a woman who is beyond beautiful… and completely human. If things couldn’t get any more confusing, a one night stand from Lucas’s past comes forward with news that could change the path of Full Moon Mercy and Lucas is trapped within secrets, romance, and bloodshed.

There’s a war brewing in the town of Mercy… and deep inside Lucas’s beast of a heart.

Available at Amazon

 

About the Author:

Ana W. Fawkes is the best selling author of several series including, BY HIS COMMAND, WITH THE ROCKSTAR, and the new smash hit shifter MC romance, FULL MOON MERCY.

Mailing List: www.eepurl.com/ADM0j

Twitter: @AnaFawkes

Facebook: www.Facebook.com/AnaWFawkes

Site: www.AnaFawkes.com

Spotlight on: Book 3 – Noon Onyx in White Heart of Justice

Oh me, oh my! I don’t know if I’m more excited about the May 27th release of WHITE HEART OF JUSTICE (Book 3 in the Noon Onyx series by Jill Archer) or the incredibly awesomeness of the CONTEST accompanying the book tour. Let’s start with the contest because this really IS one of the best I’ve promoted in a long time.

White Heart of Justice Banner 450 x 169

CONTEST PRIZES:

$50 Amazon eGift Certificate (or bookseller of winner’s choice) (international)
5 copies of White Heart of Justice (or an earlier book in the series, winner’s choice) (international so long as Book Depository ships to your address)
Dark Light of Day themed SWAG pack (incudes signed copy of book and other awesome goodies) (US only)
Fiery Edge of Steel themed SWAG pack (incudes signed copy of book and other awesome goodies) (US only)
White Heart of Justice themed SWAG pack (incudes signed copy of book and other awesome goodies) (US only)
Contents of Prize Packs
Dark Light of Day Prize PackDARK LIGHT OF DAY PRIZE PACK
Signed print copy of Dark Light of Day
Handmade bookmark with charm
Natural Face Paint Kit
Orange Silk Flower Hair Clip
Atomic Fireball Candies
Signed copy of galley pages of scene that inspired prize pack
FIERY EDGE OF STEEL PRIZE PACKFiery Edge of Steel Prize Pack
Signed print copy of Fiery Edge of Steel
Handmade bookmark with charm
“The Queen of Flowers” T-shirt Tank Top
Set of three Silver Glass Mercury Votive Holders
Petite Pear Candies
Signed copy of galley pages of scene that inspired prize pack
White Heart of Justice Prize PackWHITE HEART OF JUSTICE PRIZE PACK
Signed print copy of White Heart of Justice
Handmade bookmark with charm
White Crystal Headband
Vintage Star Pin
White Chocolate Meltaways
Signed copy of galley pages of scene that inspired prize pack

 

ENTER HERE

 

NOW . . . on to the details of WHITE HEART OF JUSTICE.

White Heart of Justice

Noon Onyx

Book 3

Jill Archer

Genre: FantasyWhiteHeart

Publisher: Ace

Date of Publication: May 27, 2014

ISBN-10: 0425257177

ISBN-13: 978-0425257173

ASIN: B00EOARZP0

Number of pages: 304

Word Count: 95,000

Cover Artist: Jason Chan

Amazon   Barnes and Noble   Books-A-Million

Powell’s Books   Book Depository  IndieBound

Book Description:

Since Lucifer claimed victory at Armageddon, demons, angels, and humans have coexisted in uneasy harmony. Those with waning magic are trained to maintain peace and order. But hostilities are never far from erupting…

After years of denying her abilities, Noon Onyx, the first woman in history to wield waning magic, has embraced her power. She’s won the right to compete in the prestigious Laurel Crown Race—an event that will not only earn her the respect of her peers but also, if she wins, the right to control her future.

However, Noon’s task is nearly impossible: retrieve the White Heart of Justice, a mythical sword that disappeared hundreds of years ago. The sword is rumored to be hidden in a dangerous region of Halja that she is unlikely to return from. But Noon’s life isn’t the only thing hanging in the balance. The sword holds an awesome power that, in the wrong hands, could reboot the apocalypse—and Noon is the only one who can prevent Armageddon from starting again…

Excerpt

Prologue

I can’t be with you anymore. That’s what she’d said. Six words that had become sixty then six hundred then six thousand . . . sixty thousand . . . six million . . . reverberating in his head, bouncing around inside his brain, driving him absolutely mad. There were no other words. No other memories. Only that last one of her. Standing at the edge of the oozy stew of the destroyed keep’s moat, flanked by two Angels, one preternaturally beautiful, the other full of purpose. The same purpose he’d had until those six words stripped him of it.

Flying out, he’d barely cleared the wreckage of the keep. His heart beat against the walls of his massive chest, and his monstrous wings beat against the infinite, empty sky, but the beats were slow and grew slower still. Slower. Until finally . . .

He made it across the river and then dropped like a ten-ton stone, crashing into the brush, breaking tree limbs and a wing. He lay there amongst the blackening scrub refusing to shift back into human form.

Man’s thoughts were unwelcome.

In time, the rogares came. Water wraiths. He killed them all. And then sickened by the smell of blood and meat he couldn’t—wouldn’t—consume, he left his nesting place. By then, the wing had healed, but unnaturally, so that flying straight was impossible. For days, he traveled in circles, never getting far. It wasn’t just the wing. The yearning to return to her was nearly unbearable. The emptiness inside of him an abyss.

Was she still in the Shallows? If he could just . . .

But then he remembered the Angels. And the look on her face when she’d said the six words. And the feelings in her signature. She’d need more than mere weeks for them to abate. She might need months. Hopefully, not years. Years meant nothing to him, but they did to her. And then the reminder that her time was more precious than his drove his yearning to a new level of ferocity. Ruthlessly, he tamped it down. He realized then that it might be best to return to man’s thoughts. After all, she was a woman.

And he wanted her back.

Chapter 1

“Glashia calls Noon the ballista.” Waldron Seknecus’ low voice rumbled through the Gridiron, a deep, cavernous underground space used by the upper years at St. Lucifer’s for sparring. “Because of how she fights now. Watch.”

He was speaking to three other spectators: my father, Karanos Onyx, executive of the Demon Council and the man who would ultimately employ all of the magic users who trained here at St. Luck’s; Friedrich Vanderlin, an Archangel who was the dean of Guardians over at the Joshua School, the Angel academy we shared a campus with; and a woman who looked unsettlingly familiar to me, though I couldn’t remember when we’d met or who she was. I cleared my mind and concentrated on my opponent, Ludovicus Mischmetal, who preferred the moniker “Vicious” for short. He was a second year Maegester-in-Training at Euryale University. We were competing against one another in the New Babylon MIT rank matches, which St. Luck’s was hosting this year.

All second-year MITs were required to compete. The top-ranked MITs from each school would then be eligible to compete in the Laurel Crown Race. The object of the race was to bring back an assigned target. Targets were either rogare demons or priceless artifacts that needed to be recovered. Participation in the Laurel Crown Race was voluntary, but the MIT who returned to New Babylon with his (or in my case, her) target before any of the others, won the coveted Laurel Crown. Winning the Laurel Crown often set a future Maegester up for life because winners could choose where they wanted to spend their fourth-semester residency. And ofttimes, those residencies turned into permanent positions. Everyone else would receive offers, but it would be the Council that decided which of those residency positions they accepted.

Last semester, we’d been given our first field assignment. It was an assignment that had been full of rogare demon attacks and other lethal situations. That assignment had lasted a mere three months and I’d barely survived it. My residency would last for twice as long, so I was well aware of how important the residency venue would be. Winning the right to choose where I spent next semester, not to mention who I would be working for, would go far in preserving not just my happiness, but also my life. The Maegester who was judging the match, a middle-aged man with thinning, ginger-colored hair and a near permanent frown, called out for us to begin.

I’d watched Vicious spar with other MITs. He was smart. His infliction of pain would be very calculated, very precise. There was nothing personal about his desire to beat me. He just wanted to win the match so that he could retain his current Primoris ranking at Euryale and compete for the Laurel Crown. Of course, I was similarly motivated.

Vicious gave me a curt bow, his long, black, razor-cut bangs briefly falling forward before he shook them back and used his waning magic to fire up a weapon, a flaming broadsword. It hissed and spit with fury in the damp air of the Gridiron as Vicious raised it toward me in an opening invitation to spar.

As a sparring partner, Vicious looked fairly intimidating. His front teeth were shiny, silver, and sharply pointed (likely, his real ones had been knocked out in fights) and he was much larger than me. He wore the usual black leather training pants and vest, but he’d elected to go shirtless underneath the vest. I guessed it was an intentional show of muscle, literally. He flexed his forearms and grinned at me, his message clear: I might be a woman playing a man’s game, but he wasn’t going to spare me any blows.

That suited me fine. Sparing me blows wouldn’t win me the match.

About the Author:

jillarcherJill Archer writes dark, genre-bending fantasy from rural Maryland. Her novels include Dark Light of Day, Fiery Edge of Steel, and White Heart of Justice. She loves cats, coffee, books, movies, day tripping, and outdoor adventuring.

Website/blog: http://jillarcherauthor.wordpress.com/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/archer_jill

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

Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/5782149.Jill_Archer

 

 

We’re Having a PARTY!!!

 

 

BlueFBBannerLove romance in the Spring? So do we! Fifty of your favorite authors are celebrating May 1st from 3-10pm EST. Live chat, win prizes, ebooks, audiobooks, gift cards, and more. Click on the banner above to join the fun and WIN PRIZES!!!  

And for an extra treat, you can view our promoted titles at http://www.BookLoversBuffet.net

Something for everyone! Great Books! Great Authors! Loads of Fun!!!!