Giveaway – The Blue Unicorn’s Journey to Osm by Sybrina Durant @Sybrina_spt @GoddessFish

I love the magical and elusive unicorn, so when I heard about The Blue Unicorn’s Journey to Osm, I had to ‘saddle up.’

The Blue Unicorn’s Journey To Osm by Sybrina Durant

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GENRE: Teen Fantasy Book

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MY REVIEW

There’s no place like home…OSM means awesome.

He is supposed to be their savior. But how can that be possible? He has no magic.

He feels an outsider, he just doesn’t fit in. Does anyone feel a touch of Rudolph in this?

The fun, colorful, imaginative illustrations are wonderful, filled with fantastical creatures, both good and bad.

Each creature is unique, individual, just like in real life.

Is there such a thing as a fish unicorn? If so, imagine the possibilities.

Set your imagination free.

The Blue Unicorn…reads like old time fairy tales…where life and death choices are made…And …maybe, you will learn why you never see a unicorn.

This magical fantasy filled with fun and humor, sadness and happiness, and lessons learned. We are not alone.

I voluntarily reviewed The Blue Unicorn’s Journey to Osm by Sybrina Durant.

 

Animated Animals. Pictures, Images and Photos  4 Stars

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BLURB

The book is about a little blue unicorn who was born into a magical metal-horned tribe of unicorns.  He is expected to save the tribe from the evil sorcerer, Magh but how will he be able to do that with no metal and no magic?  Read the book to find out how a plain blue unicorn comes of age with the help of a brave stag and a loyal firebird.  The book is meant for teen readers and anyone else who love unicorn stories with lots of pictures.

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EXCERPT 

“Why, would you take off alone, Ghel?” Alumna asked. “You know how dangerous it is out there.  You were almost a manticore’s dinner.”

It was obvious Alumna was angry.  She tried to control her voice but it came out in sharp, short tones.

 “Or worse,” Lauda exclaimed, “you might have been captured by Magh’s minions and had your hooves and horn taken.”  The hide on her back rippled fearfully.

Ghel shuddered, too.  She had thought she was doomed when she first saw the manticore.  She would have been if Nix had not arrived in the nick of time to save her. 

All the other unicorns put on brave faces but the thought scared them, also. 

The seriousness of their situation was fully revealed when Alumna said, “The entire tribe is going to have to make a journey all the way across MarBryn to Mumna said sadly.  “The Numen told me Blue’s destiny is to ensure the safety of our tribe. He said it is time for Blue to join with the Moon-Star.” 

No one tried to hide the shock they felt.  They all spoke at once: “Join with the Moon-Star?”

“Corn feathers! Is he gonna sprout wings to do this trick?” Lauda exploded.    “The Moon-Star’s in the sky and Blue sure as heck can’t fly.” 

They all thought it sounded like nonsense. Unicorns cannot fly.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~

AUTHOR Bio and Links

I am the author of the “Learn To Tie A Tie With The Rabbit and The Fox” series of instructional books for boys and girls. I also co-write, edit and publish children’s books by other authors, Sandi Johnson (Children’s books) and Britt Brundige (Tween graphic novel). For the older crowd, there’s a little bit of romance by Historical Regency Romance author, Gina Rose.

I am also the publisher of the 4 volume set – Sybrina’s Phrase Thesaurus.

Createspace  /  Amazon  / B&N  /  Smashwords  /  ITunes  /  Kobo  / Newsletter  / Website  /  FacebookGoodreads / Twitter  /  Pinterest  / Instagram  /  LinkIn

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GIVEAWAY 

Sybrina Durant will be awarding a $10 Amazon/BN GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour.

 a Rafflecopter giveaway

Follow the tour and comment. The more you comment the better your chances of winning. Follow the tour HERE.

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One Sentence Review – Apparition Lake by Doug & Daniel D Lamoreux @dracsdemeter

Apparition Lake by Doug and Daniel Lamoreux has all the fixings for a horrific trip to Yellowstone National Park. You will not forget it!

What do you think of when you look at this fabulous cover by Creativia?

Apparition LakeAmazon  /  Goodreads

MY ONE SENTENCE REVIEW

If you are ready to be freaked out and getting lost in a story of mythical horror and mother nature’s revenge, you will need to look no further than Apparition Lake and its aura of menace and terror may lead you to jump at shadows and look closer…into the fog.

Animated Animals. Pictures, Images and Photos 4 Stars

GOODREADSS BLURB

Something is terribly wrong in the nation’s oldest national park.

Horrific deaths have occurred throughout Yellowstone and everyone believes that a monstrous grizzly bear is on a rampage. Scientific evidence suggests another terrifying conclusion. For Chief Ranger Glenn Merrill, putting an end to the mysterious deaths is more than just his job, it is a mission that will take him to the brink of death and shatter the foundation of his beliefs.

Apparition Lake plunges Glenn, his full-blooded Shoshone friend Johnny Two Ravens, and Jennifer Davies, an aggressive young biologist, into a world of Indian mysticism where mankind and nature struggle for control of Mother Earth. Apparition Lake races through its supernatural tale of an environment that has “had enough” and the Native American spirit it uses to mete out its revenge.

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Giveaway & Review – The Ghost King by Jeff Altabef @JeffAltabef @novelpublicity

Welcome! Today I’m helping author Jeff Altabef launch his latest book, The Ghost King!

Who are Aalis, Wilkey & why are they going to war? Will there be more magic & mayhem in this second book? One of the best parts of this release is you can get both books for only 99c right now!

What else is so great about this release? This exclusive excerpt! There are 5 featured excerpts on this tour. One on the Novel Publicity page, one on Jeff Altabef’s Website, and 3 spread among the 20+ blogs that have helped Jeff with this release!

About the Book

An Ancient Prophecy foretold.
An Evil haunts the land.
A battle looms against overwhelming odds.

Led by a powerful witch, a wild invading army threatens to tear the Soulless lands apart. To survive, the three tribes must join together, but old grievances and hatred divide them. Only Wilky can unite them, but when he glimpses the future, he sees only a glimmer of hope; too much of the future remains veiled in darkness.
As the battle approaches, King Dermot orders his brother, Eamon, to stay behind at the Stronghold and defend against a possible siege. Eamon, who took an oath to fight the invaders, defies his brother, risks everything, and plunges into a desperate race with Aaliss and Wilky to unite the tribes.
Enemies from all sides conspire against them. Only together can they hope to succeed against the witch who will stop at nothing to destroy them. Yet even united, they will need magic to defeat this enemy at their door.
As the battle looms, only one chance at survival remains–the Ghost King–but who is he, and what will be the price of their redemption?

MY REVIEW

I am so happy to be back in Jeff Altabef’s magical world of danger, treachery and betrayal, greed and power, good and evil…

We start with Wilky, and what he sees in the future makes him more determined than ever to change it. He will not lose Aaliss, his sister.

In this complex world of different ‘tribes’, a war is on the horizon and the misfit group will have to learn to pool their resources and work together to defeat the evil coming at them.

OF COURSE, my favorite is Aaliss. I can’t imagine any hot blooded man not falling in love with this badass warrior.

The cutest one is Pryluck. Love this odd little man, but he is so innocent I can’t help but want to protect him, find him a home.

Jeff Altabef has built a fabulous magical fantasy world with characters that had me eating out of their hands gasping when they are attacked, melting with a gently loving touch, yet cheering when they deal evil a violent deadly blow.

I think The Ghost King can stand alone, but to get the most out of this wonderful story, I don’t know why you wouldn’t want to grab Red Death too.

I voluntarily reviewed an ARC of The Ghost King by Jeff Altabef.

Animated Animals. Pictures, Images and Photos 4 Stars

About the Author

Jeff Altabef is an award-winning author who lives in New York with his wife, two daughters, and Charlie the dog. He spends time volunteering at the writing center in the local community college. After years of being accused of “telling stories,” he thought he would make it official. He writes in both the thriller and young adult genres. Fourteenth Colony, a political thriller, was his debut novel. Evolved Publishing has published Jeff’s second thriller, Shatter Point, which won the Pinnacle Book Achievement Award for Fall 2014 in the category of Best Thriller.Jeff’s first young adult novel, Wind Catcher: A Chosen Novel will be published in March by Evolved Publishing. He’s extremely excited that his daughter, Erynn Altabef, is his co-author on the Chosen Series. As an avid Knicks fan, Jeff is prone to long periods of melancholy during hoops season. Jeff has a column on The Examiner focused on writing and a blog designed to encourage writing by those that like telling stories.

You can follow Jeff on Facebook, Twitter, or join his newsletter!

MY REVIEWS FOR JEFF ALTABEF

You can also enter this rafflecopter for a chance to win $50, signed paperbacks, or crown necklace!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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Fear Inducer by Ellie Douglas Giveaway – @AuthorEllie @SDSXXTours

 
Fear Inducer
by Ellie Douglas
Genre: Psychological Thriller
 
 

MY REVIEW

LOVIN’ THAT COVER

Hello. Meet Felix. He’s a genius. But he is all evil.

Have a phobia. He wants to know about it, then use it against you.

Let me count the ways a person can die.

Each chapter begins with a morbid picture, hinting at the upcoming torture.

Ellie Douglas will take you on a horror trip that may have you squirming in your seat, brushing imaginary critters from your arm, glancing at flickering shadows out of the corner of your eye…then laughing at your silliness. If you weren’t afraid before, you will be now.

You will need a strong stomach…and maybe a barf bucket.

I loved it…but then so much death, torture, blood and guts, that I needed a break. I actually became bored with it. This is killing, just to kill. I love serial killers and I want  to know their motivation, the WHY of it. What made this so necessary for him?

And then…it’s just done. I felt lost…

I voluntarily reviewed a copy of Fear Inducer by Ellie Douglas.

Animated Animals. Pictures, Images and Photos  3 Stars

 
They believed their phobias were just nightmares…

They believed Dr Felix Bloom would cure them.
They were…SO WRONG!
 
 “Doctor Felix Bloom is a brilliant psychiatrist and pharmacologist who has
done a lot of good for humanity. But, he has a dark side as a serial
killer of some of his patients using their phobias against them. How
he gets his patients to kill themselves in some bizarre fashions
satiating his greed for death and mayhem you will have to discover.
But, nonetheless, if you love horror, you will love Dr. Bloom’s
methods and madness. Yes, he is as composed as they come, but maybe
more evil than most. He’s charming, considerate with his secretary,
Joanna, and his best friend, a doctor. But, beneath the elegant
exterior rages the thirst for blood as a serial killer.
 
Without going into the gory details or the method of Dr. Bloom, his patient’s
deaths are spectacularly staged (and gory) and witnessed by the good
doctor. The author does a great job telling why Dr. Bloom is a serial
killer and it may make you feel some empathy for the man. But, that
is a whole chapter worth exploring on your own. I was pleasantly
surprised at the intricate detail of the mind of Dr. Bloom. He’s
smart. Incredibly smart. The book is definitely worth your time. It
has everything a chilling horror novel should have. I would be remiss
if I didn’t mention the author’s other book about a serial killer
named Toxic Desire, which features a female serial killer. Who’s more
evil? Dr. Bloom by far. Why? I won’t spoil the novel for you. Fear
Inducer is more malevolent while Toxic Desire is erotically-charged.
Also, look for the subtlty in Doctor Bloom over the novel. He has a
lot of secrets worth discovering. Excellent book and a welcome
addition to my bookshelf.
 
P.S. – I forgot something. There are loads if images in the book at the
front of each chapter based on the fear the patient has. Really cool
visuals to put you in the mood for what you are about to read.

-from Amazon reviewer Cameron Rowe
  
 
 
 
 
 
 
I’m Ellie Douglas, and like you, I love horror, everything about horror,
the goriest and most gruesome of horrors is the ultimate. I can’t
get enough. So much so that I write horror. That need to be graphic,
and explicit with my horror scenes makes me stand out. I give what I
want to read to others, so now they can enjoy a true horror
story.


I’m not all about just being graphic, I also build characters that the
readers will love and or hate, so they can feel pulled right inside
of the story that they are reading. It gives me so much enjoyment
when I hear remarks like, ‘You made me want to puke,’ ‘I have
nightmares every damned night –thanks,’ and ‘Quentin Tarantino
and Steven King made a baby, YOU!’ when I hear comments like that,
I know then I’ve succeeded, that also pushes me into writing more
and becoming even better.
I’m fun loving, generous and very mysterious. I enjoy spending time with
my family, and have four children to keep the horror writing alive. I
enjoy helping others and volunteer my services to help Autistic
children, I love cosplay and the chance to dress up as a monster,
zombie or some other gritty character is fun, oh so much fun.
I love summer, and well…I hate winter. I live in New Zealand and feel
often too far away from all the cool stuff going on in the world. I
love helping people all the time. I’ve got my hands dipped in a few
things, I write books, but I also make professional book covers for
other authors, I also create adult coloring books and I have a
gambling app that I designed on the apple store 🙂 I’ve always got
a project going, be it writing or creating, that is who I am and I
love it 🙂
My ultimate aim is to give back, paying it forward, to constantly better
myself and give the audience amazing stories. Let me scare you…
 
 
 
 
Follow the tour HERE!
 
 
 
 
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Giveaway – Not His Werewolf by Annie Nicholas @annienicholas @XpressoReads

Not his Werewolf
Annie Nicholas
(Not This Series, #2)
Publication date: July 24th 2017
Genres: Adult, Paranormal, Romance

After being disowned and labelled human because she can’t shift, Betty Newman rescues unwanted dogs to fulfill her need for pack. Being rejected by her birth pack was enough pain for a lifetime and she’ll do anything to avoid subjecting herself to their prejudices.

Things change when Ken Birch wakes in her kennel still in wolf form and declares she’s his soul mate. His presence wakes her feral heart and makes her long for a life she can’t have. Old wounds are opened and she refuses to listen to instinct.

But only a shifter can be a soul mate and now her life is in danger by New Port’s pack. Either Betty learns to shift or she dies. Problem is the only one willing to help is Ken, the last person she wants.

Goodreads / Amazon / Barnes & Noble / iBooks / Kobo

 

Author Bio:

Annie Nicholas writes paranormal romance with a twist. She has courted vampires, hunted with shifters, and slain a dragon’s ego all with the might of her pen. Riding the wind of her imagination, she travels beyond the restraints of reality and shares them with anyone wanting to read her stories. Mother, daughter, and wife are some of the other hats she wears while hiking through the hills and dales of her adopted state of Vermont.

Annie writes for Samhain Publishing, Carina Press, and Lyrical Press.

Website / Goodreads / Facebook / Twitter

 

GIVEAWAY!
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Giveaway – The Freedom Broker by K J Howe @KJHoweAuthor @SDSXXTours

 .
Everything about The Freedom Broker by K J Howe speaks to me.
Soooo….let’s check it out, shall we?
.
The Freedom Broker
by KJ Howe
Genre: Thriller
.
MY REVIEW
.
Everything about The Freedom Broker by K J Howe, spoke to me. I am always on the lookout for strong female characters that are different, that walk to the beat of their own drum and Thea does that in spades. The thrills and chill begin early and never let up.
 
I don’t feel I did this book justice in my review. For some reason, the words won’t come for the level of feelings I had for some of the characters…not the rich and famous…but the ones caught up in the maelstrom, for the sense of truth I felt throughout the story, even though I know it’s fiction. The level of brutality someone can callously inflict on another is indescribable.
 
All hell breaks loose in Africa.
.
We have action from the beginning…a hostage to be rescued in Nigeria.
 
Kidnapping is big business. Thea is one of the top negotiators in the world and the only female. Her team is the best of the best. When her father is taken, she will pull out all the stops to save him. There is no way she will step aside and let others run the investigation.
 
Thea is not so much flawed or disabled, she just has to stay in tune with her body. She has diabetes, but it doesn’t stop her from trudging through jungles, fully geared up, fighting alongside men twice her size.
 
Bullets are fired, throats are slit, bombs are exploding, bodies are literally falling off the cliffs, a plane crashing, and as the body count rises, so does the mystery for those investigating Christo Paris’ kidnapping.
  
The brutal torture, starvation and filth the kidnapped endure is only compounded by the mental isolation and helplessness. Professional kidnappers, terrorists, political agendas.
 
I was stunned at Ares’ true identity. He is wanted worldwide for gun trafficking, kidnapping and murder. This is really bad. Every time HE comes near Thea, I fear for her. When she does figure it out, I wonder what will happen.
 
Every time I begin to relax, trying to put the pieces together, some danger rears its ugly head and more people die.
 
An aura of danger permeates every page. We have many convoluted machinations within multiple factions, each with their own agenda. Betrayal…that word does not begin to describe what happens. I keep waiting…waiting…waiting…for her to learn the truth.
 
The Freedom Broker by K J Howe is one of those books that reads like a true story filled with death and danger. The research K J Howe has done shines through.
 
I voluntarily reviewed a copy of The Freedom Broker by K J Howe.

Animated Animals. Pictures, Images and Photos  5 Stars

 
KIDNAP & RANSOM
IN-DEPTH RESEARCH FOR CANADIAN AUTHOR’S DEBUT INTERNATIONAL THRILLER
There are twenty-five elite kidnap negotiators in the world. Only one is a
woman. And she’s the best in the business. Meet Thea Paris in THE
FREEDOM BROKER.
With over 40,000 reported kidnappings every year—which
translates to five people every hour
—the
world of kidnap and ransom is taking on a newsworthy role across the
globe. Displaced military and police in third world countries have no
way to put food on the table, but they do have security skills, so
they have turned to kidnapping as a way of making a living. Also,
terrorists are using kidnapping as a fundraising enterprise, filling
their coffers with over 125 million dollars since 2009. Kidnappers
used to only abduct high net-worth individuals and executives of
multi-national organizations. Not anymore. Journalists, aid workers,
and family members of executives have now become high value targets.
Kidnapping is a growing international crisis. What tools do we have to fight
against this increasing threat? There are twenty-five elite kidnap
negotiators who travel to the globe’s hotspots to bring hostages
home, through negotiation or recovery, and they are called response
consultants or freedom
brokers
. Local to Toronto, author K.J. Howe has immersed herself in the world
of kidnapping for the last three years, interviewing kidnap
negotiators, former hostages, kidnap and ransom insurance executives,
hostage reintegration experts, psychiatrists specializing in the
captive’s mindset, and the Special Forces soldiers who deliver
ransoms and execute rescues.
Howe’s research culminates into her debut thriller, THE FREEDOM BROKER,
published by the Hachette Book Group under the Quercus imprint in the
US, Canada, U.K. and many foreign territories. The book has reached
attention North America wide, and has led to reviewers such as #1
NYT Bestseller James Patterson
calling
it “fact and fiction at its best.”
 
 
K.J. Howe’s novel has received positive and international acclaim from some of North
America’s most influential mediums and authors including:

TIME Magazine called the book a “Dark Delight.”
 

#1 NYT Bestseller Lee Child endorses
the book: “Razor sharp and full of you-are-there authenticity—a
superb thriller.”
 

NYT Bestseller Linwood Barclay shares, “Breathless
action, great characters, and convincing details make Howe’s debut
a surefire rocket to the top of the lists.”
 

In The Providence Journal,
USA Today Bestselling author Jon Land reviews,
“The
Freedom Broker is a blisteringly original, superbly crafted thriller
that promises to be one of the major debuts of 2017. K.J. Howe’s
gut-wrenching foray into the world of hostage negotiation turned
upside down propels her straight into the league of Linda Fairstein,
Tess Gerritsen, Lisa Scottoline, and Karin Slaughter, thanks to a
tale framed by an emotional complexity and structural elegance both
rare for the genre. As riveting as it is bracing, this is reading
entertainment at its absolute best.”
 
EXCERPT
CHAPTER ONE

500 feet above Kwale, Nigeria
November 1st
2:30 a.m.

Thea Paris knew the drill.

If the mission failed, no one would retrieve her body. She’d be left to rot in the jungle, unidentified and forgotten. And that wouldn’t do. She couldn’t miss her father’s 60th celebration.

Her gloved hand glided over her flak jacket and M4 with practiced ease. Night vision goggles, flares, grenades, extra magazines—all easy to access. The weapon had been tested, cleaned and oiled, ready to combat the humidity of the jungle. Pre-mission checks done.

The hypnotic purr of the resurrected Hughes 500P helicopter set the tone for the operation. Black, in every sense of the word. Sound, movement, light, all kept to a minimum. They were flying Nap-of-the-Earth; low, utilizing the terrain to stay below the radar.

As operational commander, she’d led her seven-man team through endless rehearsals, using a model of the targeted area. Now it was time for execution. Brown listened to Hendrix in his earbuds, his way of psyching up. Johansson stared into space, probably thinking about his pregnant wife who wasn’t happy he’d accepted this mission. Team A, following behind in the other gutted chopper, consisted of twin brothers Neil and Stewart—yep, born in Scotland—and a wizened former French Foreign Legionnaire named Jean-Luc who could outshoot them all. She’d handpicked each one from the pool of operatives at Quantum International Security.

Except Rifat Asker, her boss’ son.

Who was staring at her. They’d known each other since they’d been kids, as their fathers were best friends. Rif had serious combat skills, but they often locked horns on methods of execution. She traced the S-shaped scar on her right cheek, a permanent reminder of Rif clashing with her brother Nikos.

She pressed a special app button on her smartphone. The glucose monitor read 105. Batteries were fully charged. Perfect. Nothing screwed up a mission more than low blood sugar. She slipped her phone into the pocket of her fatigues beside her glucagon kit. Rif’s assessing gaze still focused on her. Did he suspect she had diabetes? She’d done her best to keep her illness under wraps. Competition was tough among this elite group, and she didn’t want anyone thinking she wasn’t up for the job.

The pilot’s voice crackled in her earpiece. “Three minutes to touchdown.”

“Roger that. We’re green here.”

The second helicopter followed somewhere behind them, but the stormy sky obliterated all evidence of its existence. She wiped her damp palms on her fatigues. Rain rattled the chopper’s fuselage, and the turbulence unsettled her stomach. Flying had never been her strong suit. The reduced visibility worked in their favor, but the cloying humidity and heat degraded the airtime and performance of the chopper. To compensate, they’d reduced their fuel load to stay as light as possible, but that left only a minimal buffer for problems.

Rif shifted to face Brown and Johansson. “Okay, boys, let’s grab this ‘Oil Eagle’.”

The hostage, John Sampson, an oil executive based in Texas, earned high six figures to visit remote drilling sites and increase their output. Sampson had two kids, and his wife taught third grade. He coached baseball every Thursday night, but he’d missed the last ten weeks because he’d been held captive in the swamp by MEND—Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger-Delta. Seemed like every terrorist group had some catchy acronym, like they’d hired PR firms to come up with them.

This Nigerian militant group wouldn’t budge from a three-million-dollar demand, and Sampson’s kidnapping insurance topped out at one mil. That left one option. Rescue. But one out of five was the success rate for extractions.

“One minute until touchdown,” the pilot warned.

She slipped on her night vision goggles and clutched the straps anchored to the cabin walls.

“You sure there’s no leak?” Black camo paint emphasized the tension in the lines around Rif’s eyes.

“Roger that.” She concentrated on the positives—always better than bleak thoughts when descending into hellfire. They should have the element of surprise, and she’d selected a crackerjack team. Every member would put his life on the line for the others, and their combined combat experience read like the Ivy League of special ops.

The pilot threaded the riverbed using the narrow view provided by the FLIR camera mounted near the skids. Flying into the thick jungle on a moonless night was far from optimal, but their intel was time sensitive. They had to get Sampson out tonight.

“Thirty seconds.” The pilot’s warning was like a shot of caffeine injected into her veins.

They’d arrived at a small clearing in the triple canopy jungle two miles from the rebel camp. A film of perspiration coated her back. Her body tingled. Alive, awake, adrenalized.

“Ten seconds.”

The pilot raised the bird’s nose, flaring to a hover, then settled onto the grass. She nodded to her team, and they hit the ground and rolled away from the chopper. Heat emanated from the rotorwash, as their transport rose up and away.

A moldy stench flooded her mouth and nose, the residual effect of endless rainy seasons. They huddled in the thick bush while the other Hughes dropped off Jean-Luc and the two Scots. She scanned the area. The choppers faded into the distance, their peculiar silhouettes showcasing the modifications for stealth.

Night sounds returned. Crickets chirping, water gurgling from the nearby river bed, the ominous roar of a hippo. She checked her GPS, signaled Rif, and entered the dense foliage. Forty-two minutes to execute the rescue, rendezvous with the helicopters, and get the hell out of here. She circumnavigated the heaviest brush, then froze.

A sound. Scuffling in the bushes. Her hands tightened on her M4. A sentry so close to their launch point?

She glanced over her shoulder. Rif’s large frame crouched two feet behind her. Brown and Johansson squatted beside him while Team A covered the rear. The shrubbery to their left rippled in the brisk breeze.

Silence. A mosquito implanted itself in her neck. She ignored the sharp sting.

A branch snapped. She flicked off the safety.

Crunching footsteps. A shrill cry.

She scanned right, left. Movement flashed in front of them at ground level.

Her finger hovered beside the trigger.

More footsteps.

A porcupine scurried across their ingress route, its quills in full attack mode.

She exhaled a long breath and gave Brown a half-smile. Dammit to hell. She’d almost shot the prickly creature, which would have blown their cover. Brown touched the rabbit’s foot around his neck and nodded. Good luck charms were an operational must. She always wore the St. Barbara silver pendant her father had given her on her twelfth birthday. It hadn’t let her down yet.

The two teams traversed the unfriendly terrain, minimizing any disturbance of the bush. Animal sounds punctuated the night, the rainfall a constant backdrop. She scouted the path, moving cautiously in the darkness. At the edge of the ridge, she paused. Faint flames from a fire kicked her heart into overdrive. The outskirts of the MEND camp lurked below.

She scoured the area. No sign of sentries along the bluff. She squeezed Rif’s arm, signaling him to lead Team A down the escarpment. They’d have a rough time of it. The earth was thick, muddy, slick.

Thea, Brown, and Johansson remained on the curved ridge. As commander, she needed a bird’s eye view. Brown and Johansson flanked her, positioned to counter any patrolling rebels.

She cloaked herself in shrubbery and settled into her hide. They’d mapped all the major landmarks from satellite images: the rebels’ weapons hut perched beside the acacia trees, a large shelter to the west sequestered in the jungle, and five small buildings rooted in the southwest quadrant. Outbuilding Tango held their hostage, a quarter mile away.

She waited and watched for what seemed to be an eternity, rain seeping into her shirt mixing with sweat, leaving her skin clammy and cold. Her mind went to the weirdest places during missions—she pictured this sodden landscape as an ideal backdrop for a waterproof mascara ad.

A tiny shiver darted across her shoulders. The world was preternaturally still, quiet—like death had already arrived. Twenty-five precious minutes had evaporated. Not good.

Precise and measured, she nestled her rifle into the overhang. Her breathing slowed. She scanned the area, pursing her lips, the familiar taste of camo grease comforting her.

A soft hiss whispered in her earpiece, then Rif came on. “Going for the Eagle.” Team A hovered on the outskirts of the camp.

Muffled laughter echoed in the distance. A few rebels huddled by the campfire, undoubtedly trying to ward off the dampness with some kai-kai, a local palm liquor.

“Six hostiles by the fire with AK-47s. You’re good to go.” Her voice was barely audible. They had to assume MEND had guards posted. Double-crosses dominated the rebels’ lives, making them especially paranoid.

Footsteps sounded nearby. She froze. Definitely a human cadence. The soft glow of a cigarette caught her eye. A rebel headed straight for her.

Time for cocktail hour. She eased her hand into her pack and pulled out the tranquilizer gun, her fingers brushing the ballistic syringe loaded with an immobilizing drug.

The rebel cleared his throat and continued his patrol, oblivious. She waited, keeping her breath even, her body motionless. He stepped into range. In one motion, she twisted her body, lifted the tranquilizer gun, and fired. The rebel grunted and slapped at his neck, as if swatting an insect. Seconds later, he slumped to the ground.

She scrambled over to him and poked him with the toe of her boot. No response. She crushed his cigarette into the wet earth and secured his hands and feet with plastic cuffs, slapping duct tape on his mouth. They should be long gone before he woke.

Thea’s skin was slick as the rain continued to batter the earth. She glanced at her stopwatch—another four and a half minutes had passed since Team A had entered the camp. Glancing to the southwest, she waited for Rif and his team to return with the hostage, anxious to hear the code “gusher,” meaning the hostage had been found.

Minutes ticked by, and nothing. Her nerves were tighter than the strings on a Stradivarius.

Her radio buzzed. Rif’s measured voice came through. “Dry well. The Eagle isn’t in Tango.”

She sucked in air. Intel from two hours ago had confirmed Sampson’s location in that outbuilding. He must’ve been moved.

“Abort.” It killed her to do this, but she couldn’t endanger her team members’ lives by ordering an exploration of the camp. There wasn’t enough time. They’d tried—and failed. The intel was bad. End of story. End of mission.

Silence greeted her. Dammit. Rif was a pro; he knew to respond to her command.

“Abort mission. Confirm.” She scanned the camp. A few more rebels joined the group around the fire.

Rif’s voice filled the silence. “Give me three minutes, over.”

No way. Three minutes was a lifetime. They needed to leave immediately to meet the choppers.

“I repeat, abort mission, over.”

Silence.

Her earpiece finally crackled. “Wait, out.” Operator speak for bugger off, I’m busy. Rif had spent years in Delta Force, but this wasn’t the U.S. Army. She was in charge of this mission, and he was defying orders.

Before she could respond, shots fired below at the base camp. No more hiding in the shadows. Time to bring it.

“Go active,” she commanded her team.

The men from the campfire scrambled for their weapons while Brown and Johansson blasted their M4s from their positions on the ridge. Figures dropped to the muddy earth. Bullets ripped through the night, and the scent of gunpowder flooded her nostrils.

“Brown, take your shot.” He was responsible for disabling the rebels’ ammo hut with the grenade launcher.

“Eyes shut,” Brown warned, protecting the team’s vision from the bright lights of the explosion since they all wore night vision goggles. Seconds later, the building erupted in a burst of crimson flames.

The sound of metal hitting rock sharpened her focus. Bullets showered the area around her. She pressed her chin into the mud, flattened her body, and returned fire.

A group of rebels stormed toward the cliffside, but the team’s NVGs made the figures easy targets. Blasts reverberated across the valley as muzzle flashes flared.

“Return to home base, over.” Her voice remained calm, but four-letter words ricocheted through her brain.

Where was Rif?

She spotted rebels at the base of the hill, the men cutting off Team A’s egress route. Dammit to hell. Well, “all in” was obviously the theme of the day.

“Cover me, Brown.” She jumped up from her hide and ran down the slippery hillside, her footing uncertain in the muck. Before the rebels could react to her presence, she pressed the trigger on her M4, rattling off round after round. She slammed in a fresh magazine and kept firing. Several men fell, others ran for cover. She continued the barrage. The egress route was clear. At least now Rif and the others had a chance of getting out.

Her radio buzzed. “Bravo four, hit.” Johansson’s voice was reedy. He’d been shot.

The northeast wasn’t covered, and Rif was AWOL. It was up to her to help Jo.

She pressed the talk button. “Coming, Jo. Brown, watch my back.”

Sprinting back up the hill, she traversed the ridge toward Johansson, mud sucking at her combat boots.

Fifty feet. She pushed harder.

Thirty.

Ten.

Bullets peppered the air around her. She dove behind the tree.

Her forearms bore the brunt of her landing, the pain rumbling up to her shoulders. She scrambled forward on her belly and checked Johansson. Blood seeped from his shoulder. His face was ashen, his eyes unfocused. She grabbed a quick clot from the first aid kit in Jo’s backpack and placed it on his wound. “I’m too scared to face your hormonal wife alone, so keep your shit together.”

He gave her a weak smile.

She secured the morphine syringe from his front pocket and injected him. He’d be lost in the hazy world of Pink Floyd’s Dark Side of the Moon soon enough.

A group of rebels climbed the embankment. Brown maintained his disciplined fire, but couldn’t keep up. She aimed at the oncoming attackers and pressed the trigger. Several men fell. She shoved a fresh magazine into her M4.

Figures appeared in the mist, the heat of their bodies a hazy green through the night vision goggles. She counted them. Four. The tallest one, Rif, had a body slung over his right shoulder. Sampson. They’d found him, but she couldn’t tell if the hostage was dead or alive.

“Jo, Team A’s back. Can you walk?” Her breath was rapid and shallow.

“Hell, yes.”

Not sure she believed him, given he was on morphine. She was strong for a buck thirty lightweight, but couldn’t run while carrying over two hundred pounds. They’d be an easy mark for the rebels.

Rif’s team had reached the ridge.

“Stand up, Soldier.”

Johansson groaned. “My wife’s going to kill me.”

“No time for marriage counselling.” She helped him to his feet. He stumbled, unsteady in the mud. She wrapped his arm around her shoulder, supporting his weight. “Let’s get you home, Papa-To-Be.”

The faint sound of incoming rotorwash spurred her. They only had a few minutes to reach the clearing.

A burst of nearby gunfire startled her. She looked up, prepared to shoot, but she recognized Rif’s lanky frame running across the ridge. He joined them behind a massive tree. Rain had smeared the black camo paint, giving his face a sinister look. “Team A’s headed back to the clearing with Sampson.” He slung his rifle across his back and hoisted Johansson over his shoulder. “Cover me.”

She stormed after them, heart and rifle on full auto. The rebels dove for shelter as she and Brown laid down suppressing fire. She shouted at Brown. “Chopper!” All of her teammates needed to be on the Hughes before she would jump in.

The three of them sprinted for the clearing as another onslaught of bullets barraged the surrounding trees. She used a large mangrove for cover and returned fire, giving Rif time to help Johansson to safety.

She zigzagged across the open field. Her chopper rested in a valley a hundred meters away. The other Hughes holding Team A and Sampson lifted off into the rain. Bullets whipped by. A sharp sting flared in her arm as she plowed through the thick underbrush. She ignored the pain and ran faster.

She scrambled down the gorge and dove inside the chopper. Johansson, Brown, and Rif were already on board. She ripped off her night vision goggles and grabbed her headset.

“Go!” she yelled at the pilot.

“Hold tight.”

The winds gusted from the east, which meant they had to power up while heading straight into the barrels of the rebels’ AK-47s. The rotorblades strained as a group of armed men ran toward the Hughes. Come on, come on. Her fingernails dug into her palms. They plunged straight into live fire like a flying piñata.

She kept her gaze straight ahead, willing the chopper to reach 60 knots so they could turn. Seconds felt like hours as they finally accelerated and swerved away from the camp. She glanced into the cockpit. The pilot’s shirt was soaked.

Rif glanced at the blood on her sleeve. “You hit?”

“Just a graze.” She stared at the holes in the fuselage, realizing just how close a call it’d been—and how Rif changing the plan mid-mission could have cost her teammates their lives.

“Is Sampson okay?” After all this, she prayed the hostage was alive.

“He’s dehydrated and a bit roughed up, but he’ll make it.”

“Amen for that.” Saint Barbara had done her job again. Thea slumped against the fuselage, grateful the rebels didn’t have an RPG. She checked her phone. As expected, the intense stress had skyrocketed her blood sugar levels. But the insulin would counteract that soon enough.

She inhaled a deep breath. Another hostage safely returned by Quantum International Security. Looks like she’d make Papa’s party, after all.

 

 
 
 
 
 
Born in Toronto, Canada, K.J. enjoyed a nomadic lifestyle during her early
years, living in Africa, the Middle East, Europe, and the Caribbean,
which gave her an insider’s view into many different cultures.
While abroad, she read every book she could find, which triggered in
her a desire to create her own stories.
She attended Salzburg International Preparatory School, Neuchâtel Junior
College, and Albert College before earning a Specialists Degree in
Business from the University of Toronto. K.J. found success in the
corporate world, but her passion for travel, adventure, and stories
drew her back to school where she earned a Masters in Writing Popular
Fiction from Seton Hill University. She also won several writing
awards, including three Daphne du Maurier Awards for Excellence in
Mystery and Suspense.
While honing her fiction skills, K.J. worked as a medical, health, and
fitness writer. She then became involved with the International
Thriller Writers as the executive director of ThrillerFest, the
organization’s annual conference held every July in New York City.
In preparation for writing THE FREEDOM BROKER series, which focuses on
elite kidnap negotiator Thea Paris, K.J. spent extensive time
researching the dark world of kidnapping. She has interviewed former
hostages, negotiators, hostage reintegration experts, Special Forces
operatives, and K&R insurance executives.
K.J. is an avid tennis player, cyclist, and swimmer. Travel and adventure
still rank high on her priority list. She has had the pleasure of
riding racing camels in Jordan, surfing in Hawaii, zip lining in the
Costa Rican jungle, diving alongside Great White Sharks in South
Africa, studying modern combat in the Arizona desert, and
working with elephants in Botswana. Home is in Toronto, Canada, but
she is often missing in action.
K.J. Howe is available for interviews and appearances along with
presentations about kidnapping and travel safety. For media
appearances, interviews, speaking engagements, and/or book review
requests please contact [email protected] by email or by
phone at 403.464.6925.
 
 
 
 
 
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Giveaway – An Impossible World by S P Cervantes @spcervantes @XpressoReads

An Impossible World
S.P. Cervantes
Publication date: July 25th 2017
Genres: Adult, Dystopian, Romance

What would happen if terrorism spread and hate took over? What would the world become?

Isabella (Belle) Grey trained her entire adult life to protect those around her––training that would prove invaluable in her quest to make a new life. Forced to live in an impossible world, terror was not only outside the walls of her protected community but also raged behind the walls of her very own home.

No longer willing to put up with her husband’s drunken abuse, Belle made the desperate decision to run away from the safety of her community and escaped alone into the broken world beyond.

Chased by death as bombs exploded in the distance, her next decision could not only save her life but could potentially bring light back into her darkened soul.

When faced with the impossible, Belle found strength in an unsuspecting stranger who set her path in a new direction––one she never considered.

Fear. Love. Revenge. Strength … all come together in this epic tale of fate and survival.

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Author Bio:

S.P. Cervantes is the author of the acclaimed contemporary romance A BROKEN FAIRY TALE series. The series allows you to connect with a group of friends and their triumphs over tragedy. “Dust to Dust” is a suspenseful stand-alone romance that introduces readers to this close knit group of loyal friends. “Wished Away” is an emotional romance that should be read before the Bad-Boy romance, “His Jar of Hearts”.

S.P. highly acclaimed romance called “The Wife” is now available.

S.P. is also the author of the highly rated Young Adult Romantic Fantasy trilogy Secrets of Shadow Hill. “Always and Forever”, “The Prophecy”, and “War of Wizards” that has been described as “Twilight Meets Harry Potter”. It’s not your typical romantic fantasy.

S.P Cervantes lives in Orange County, California with her husband and three children, where she is a teacher. She enjoys spending time with her family, writing, reading, and running, but is always thinking of an idea for her next novel.

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Giveaway – Hunted Fate by Jennifer Derrick @BluEyedReindeer @XpressoReads

Hunted Fate
Jennifer Derrick
(Threads of the Moirae, #3)
Published by: Clean Teen Publishing
Publication date: July 24th 2017
Genres: Mythology, Romance, Young Adult

Alex and Atropos have taken refuge at an abandoned mountain resort compound. Atropos is a wanted woman in hiding, and the downtime with her soul mate is a nice change of pace. But the peace will be short-lived. The authorities are after her for her role in the attack on the city of Charlotte. Zeus has put a bounty on her head. There’s also a war to prepare for—and if she wins, the gods will be deposed once and for all. But first she needs to track down Gaia, and even that won’t be simple. Gaia resides at the bottom of the ocean, and the humans and gods are already hot on Atropos’ trail…

A heart-pounding romantic adventure where Greek mythology and modern-day life collide, Hunted Fate is the third book in the epic Threads of the Moirae series by Jennifer Derrick.

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Previous books in the series:

Grab book 1 – Broken Fate – for FREE!

EXCERPT:

“We need whoever provides security around here. Or Hades. They’re bound to be the ones who can open this. If we can find them, we can drag them down here and slap their hand on this thing to get it open,” Alex says.

“We need another way,” Sara says, shaking her head. “We haven’t seen a single person since we got here. It’s too time consuming to track them down. And we’ll never get Hades.”

“Anyone know of any other ways to crack a palm plate?” I ask.

“Short of finding a valid fingerprint and going through an awful lot of steps to create a fake finger, the only other way is to break down the software controlling it,” Alex says.

“Are any of you hackers?”

Alex raises his hand.

“You can hack this?” I ask. “I didn’t know you were a hacker.”

“I’m not. But there isn’t a lot to do when you’re stuck at home with a terminal disease or trapped in a crappy boarding school. I taught myself a few things, made a few online friends who were a little shady. Depending on how sophisticated the software is, I might be able to crack it.”

“Would it be controlled from the computer out front?”

“It might be. Or it might be controlled from a central server that’s who knows where. No way to know without looking,” he says.

“That computer is password protected. If you try to force it, you may set off alarms.”

“Then I’ll have to be careful,” he says, heading back to the lobby.

We follow and gather around the desk while he works. The keys clack under his fingers as he mutters instructions to himself.

“Okay, I’m in the system,” he says. “While I’m here, I’m going to shut down those security cameras. No need for everyone to know where we are.”

The TV feed blinks and is gone.

He keeps typing and clicking and muttering. The rest of us sit down on the floor and wait. There’s nothing we can do.

“Huh. That could be tricky,” he says.

“What?” I ask, getting up and going around the desk so I can see his screen. Not that the gibberish there means squat to me.

“The system that controls the fingerprint scanners also controls the card locks. Worse, it’s not separated by floor. I’m not good enough to bring down only one piece of the system. It’s all or nothing.”

“What’s the problem?” I ask.

“It means that the only thing standing between us and whatever is behind those cell doors is the hope that none of them try the doors. If the inmates figure out the doors are open, then security will be the least of our problems. All of them could walk right out of here.”

“Do it,” I tell him. “It’s not like we’ll be broadcasting the locks are down. No one will notice. Hopefully.”

“Okay,” he says and goes back to pounding on the keys.

After a few minutes, the computer beeps and Alex pushes away from it.

“Done,” he says.

The words are barely out of his mouth when a series of small pops echoes around the room. They sound like they’re both surrounding us and simultaneously heading away from us.

“Aw, shit,” I say. “The locks. We forgot they make noise! We are idiots. Come on,” I say, racing for the doors on the right.

We slam through the doors and pull up in front of door number four. No one is coming into the hall yet. I’m hoping the inmates think it’s a trap and are too intimidated to try their doors. Either that or they didn’t hear the locks release. Please, just let me get out of here before hell literally opens, I think.

 

Author Bio:

Jennifer is a freelance writer and novelist. As a freelancer, she writes everything from technical manuals to articles on personal finance and European-style board games. Her interest in storytelling began when she was six and her parents gave her a typewriter for Christmas and agreed to pay her $.01 per page for any stories she churned out. Such a loose payment system naturally led to a lot of story padding. Broken Fate, her first novel, earned her $2.80 from her parents.

Jennifer lives in North Carolina and, when not writing, can often be found reading, trawling the shelves at the library, playing board games, watching sports, camping, running marathons, and playing with her dog. You can visit her at her official website:www.JenniferDerrick.com.

Website / Goodreads / Facebook / Twitter / Pinterest

 

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  • Leave your link in the comments and I will drop by to see what’s shakin’.
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