Giveaway – Vampires Rule in Wicked Night by Evi Rhodes @GoddessFish

Amazon

Wicked Night by Evi Rhodes

GENRE: Paranormal romance/urban fantasy

MY REVIEW

Wicked is his name. He watched her from the dark, barely able to control himself.

Gwen saw him approach from the dark, tall, heavily armed and looking like the warrior he is.

At first I had trouble figuring out who was talking, him or her. It took a moment to catch the shift.

How she becomes a vampire is a bit different and so are these vampires. I am always on the lookout for an author that represents them in a new to me light. They are accepted as part of the human world.

When I heard Gwen say, “Well, hurray for me. Don’t I feel special?”, I knew I was going to love this character. LOL I love her sarcastic wit. She is a Halfling, half vampire and half human.

We have other supernatural characters visiting and, in my book, we can never have too many.

Have you ever felt like…one minute I was attracted to him and wanted him to kiss me and the next I wanted to punch him in the face and watch him bleed.

As Gwen sits at his beside, tears rolling down her face, I came close to crying with her. I love a story that evokes emotions.

He met his match in her, but will she be his mate? In the supernatural world, love and romance is on a different timeline and I love to go with it, letting the author take me where they will.

Kayden…I laughed and worried about him. He is a great warrior, but, deep in his soul, who is he really?

Great and a bit gory fight scenes and sweet lovin’. This is not erotica, but I highly recommend it for adults only. The sex scenes are more sweet and loving than erotic.

As I saw the end coming, I knew what would happen, with 500 pages left, I was racing through the pages as I see the story undold right before my eyes. I worry so much more for Kayden than I do for Gwen and Wicked. After all, they are the stars of the show and can’t be killed off…can they?

Whew…no cliffhanger, unless you count the tease, which did its job and hooked me. I have to know more and this is one of those series that I want to read to the very end.

I am hooked on the characters, the vampire warriors, and Evi’s ability to spin a tale that captured me totally, completely. I was afraid I would have to wait for the next book in the series, but, no worries. It has been written. The only problem I see is there is no Kindle version available. Hey, Evi, help a girl out, please. I have to know more!!!!!!!

I voluntarily reviewed a free copy of Wicked Night by Evi Rhodes.

Animated Animals. Pictures, Images and Photos
4 Stars

BLURB

Follow the journey of a strong, independent, yet caring woman as she navigates the supernatural world she is thrust into. Gwen steps out of a dysfunctional family life and into a world filled with danger she never realized lives at every turn, fiery passion, and a love that is ever binding. How will she handle her strange new surroundings as well as the man with the intense and overbearing personality who threatens to destroy the emotional barriers around her heart?

Wicked, the next in line to become the vampire king, is caught off guard when he grudgingly agrees to take on a charge, something he never wanted to do. He is unsure how to handle the fierce and vibrant woman with the unsettling green eyes. It doesn’t take long for them to clash, but will it end passionately or burn down around them?

EXCERPT

Wicked stood in the darkness staring at his soon-to-be charge and felt like a deer in the headlights. He couldn’t take his eyes off of her and just stared, blinking with wide eyes.  

“I didn’t expect you to be so beautiful,” he whispered to himself.  He was late meeting her but he could not face her yet, not until the blood in his veins cooled and his breathing returned to normal. The last thing he needed to do was make an ass of himself by acting like a high-school boy hyped up on hormones.  He had never in all his 148 years felt this kind of draw toward anyone. He had the strongest urge to reach out and touch her hair, to whisk her off her feet into his arms and kiss her until their lips hurt and she breathlessly begged him to stop.  His blood felt as if it were boiling in his veins as the image of this woman in his arms flickered across his mind. 

Out of the blue, she laughed aloud, seemingly for no apparent reason, but it was almost his undoing. It was like she was purring in his ear; he could feel her breath against his skin as if she were standing right beside him.  He growled under his breath and then turned around and closed his eyes as he ground his teeth together in response to his body’s reaction. Good God, he wanted to march across the short expanse separating them and do something that he would definitely regret later, like push her up against the wall   and take her right there.  He could picture ripping open her jacket and lifting her off the ground . . .

AUTHOR Bio and Links

Evi Rhodes has always had a passion for writing and likes to spend as much time as possible hanging out with the array of rescue animals on her farm in Ontario, sipping on a cup of coffee and typing on her laptop.

In addition to getting her degree in business as well as competing in her favourite equestrian sport, dressage, she is an entrepreneur, and has coached many of a riding enthusiast, but she has always found herself coming back to wanting to write full-time.

“I just want to be me and to be authentic. To tell a story that others can immerse themselves in and enjoy is what I have always wanted.”

WEBSITE & SOCIAL LINKS

Website: www.awarriorspromiseseries.com

Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/evirhodesauthor/

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

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/18662575.Evi_Rhodes

BUY LINKS: Amazon / Barnes and Noble / Indigo

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4 Dark Tales in Highway 7 by Perry Prete @PerryPreteBooks

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I loved Perry Prete’s Ethan Tennant series, so I was curious how he would handle these four dark tales of horror…and I think they are a complete success. Well done Perry.

Highway 7: 4 Dark Tales

Amazon / Goodreads

MY REVIEW

The stories are short, so I didn’t have time to get lost in them, but I thoroughly enjoyed each and every one. If I had to pick a favorite, it would have to be Social Studies.

THE ELEVATOR: This was one creepy story and it had my mind wondering what was real and what was I imagining as I got lost in the dark…trapped in the elevator and in my own mind. Well done. 4 Stars

REUNION: It had been five years since his girlfriend went missing when the creature attacked and he had been back for a family reunion. Sad, frightening, but ya gotta hang in til the end because ya just never know. 4 Stars

SOCIAL STUDIES: One assignment = one grade and it took over her life. I didn’t see where this going and, wow, it was all over the place and I loved it. 4 Stars

HIGHWAY 7: Predictable, now you see it, now you don’t, but with a twist and I loved it.

I voluntarily reviewed a free copy of Highway 7 by Perry Prete.

Animated Animals. Pictures, Images and Photos
4 Stars

GOODREADS BLURB

A terrifying tale of claustrophobia reveals a dark secret even more disturbing than the present ordeal. What should be an idyllic family reunion turns to trauma when a demon from the past reappears to claim its victim. An innocent girl investigating a series of brutal murders becomes warped in ways one cannot imagine. And a pit stop along a long highway drive may lead to love, or it may be the final destination in a bizarre twist of fate…

Award-winning mystery novelist Perry Prete returns with Highway 7: 4 Dark Tales, an anthology of unsettling horror stories that are sure to leave you shivering as you triple-check your locked door. Get ready to experience a weird world as you journey along Highway 7!

ABOUT PERRY PRETE

Perry Prete

Perry Prete is a Canadian crime writer and paramedic. His first novel, All Good Things, introduced us to Ethan Tennant, a City of Ottawa paramedic who looks at crimes from the medical perspective.

Perry continues to work full-time as a paramedic and uses his thirty plus years of life changing and sometimes dramatic experiences to bring realism to his gripping medical novels. His other works include, The Things That Matter Most and All Good Things.

He is also a business owner, specializing in the pre-hospital care field. His company sells medical equipment across North America, primarily to EMS agencies.

A native of Sudbury, Ontario, Perry, graduated from Fanshawe College in London but now lives and works in Brockville, Ontario.

MY PERRY PRETE REVIEWS

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Giveaway & Review – Beneath London’s Fog by Iona Caldwell @IonaCaldwell7 @XpressoTours

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Beneath London's Fog

MY REVIEW

The eerie cover of Beneath London’s Fog by Ilona Caldwell makes me think of Jack the Ripper and ghosts. Are you creeped out yet?

Jonathon has made himself a prisoner in Raven Hollow Manor, along with his daughter, Holly. He lost his love, Anna, but her ghostly presence lingers.

His past is coming back to haunt him when a serial killer goes wild in the foggy nights of London.

He is able to transform himself and I loved it. He becomes a cat, a Great Dane, or a mist in the night. Being immortal allows him to see without being seen. He is very protective of Holly and struggles to allow her some freedom. He is easily able to ‘spy’ on her, assuring her safety. After all, he knows first hand the monsters that lurk in the shadows. His oasis is by Anna’s gravesite. He reads Poe and Robert Frost to her.

Holly knows that he is an immortal. Authors have the freedom to create the immortal they want to portray, and I love Ilona Caldwell’s version.

I begin to wish for his happiness, for him to move on and create a new life, without Anna.

Enter…Walter Deverough, a detective on the hunt. I wonder….I feel we’ll be seeing a lot more of him.

Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned and SHE will scorch the earth with her need for revenge.

We, also, have Leland…a hero to the end.

Fast paced. Suspenseful. A vampire of a different color. Great world building as I pictured him walking the streets of London, damp and weary. Ilona Caldwell draws pictures with her words.

I voluntarily reviewed and ARC of Beneath London’s Fog by Ilona Caldwell.

Animated Animals. Pictures, Images and Photos
4 Stars

Beneath London’s Fog
Iona Caldwell
Published by: FyreSyde Publishing
Publication date: October 30th 2019
Genres: Occult Fiction, Ghost Story, British Literature

Jonathan is the immortal master of Raven Hollow Manor – a decrepit mansion riddled with superstition, murder and restless ghosts. Beneath it lies a restless malice.

Its previous owner driven mad, violently kills his guests with a rusted ax, creating the perfect venue for Jonathan to seclude himself in a prison of his own device.

When the streets of London begin to run red with blood; the bodies exhibiting disturbing signs and baffling wounds, the identity of the killer remains elusive to police.

The bodies are just the beginning of Jonathan’s troubles. A mysterious letter accusing Jonathan of committing the murders appear, raising suspicion in the police. Hidden beneath the mangled bodies, Jonathan soon realizes he is being forced to face demons he thought died in a forlorn past he attempted to escape.

One thing Jonathan knows for certain: He must deal with the demons of his past if he is to survive his future. Not only him but those he has come to love as well.

For fans of Jim Butcher, Stephen King, Darcy Coates and Nick Cutter.

Goodreads / Amazon / Barnes & Noble / Kobo

EXCERPT:

The Streets Ran With Blood

I want it known before this tale begins – I am not a hero but a villain. I want no sympathy from whomever reads this recalling of my story; no mourning for the tragedy that befell my life. I am not an innocent man but a sinner forced to face the ravaging demons and ghosts of his own creation.

My story began as many do – a lie, a fire and murder. One of my kind murdered the woman I loved in the coldest of blood in one of history’s darkest times at the behest of a possessive noble.

After a run in with him in Nottingham, I soon found myself fleeing for my life from hunters, framed for a murder I had not committed.

Forgive me, I am getting ahead of myself.

Let me begin where this part of my story took place.

A bloody civil war ravaged London followed shortly by the Great Fire in 1666. A glorious time for me and those like me to take advantage of the chaos and remain hidden in the shadows.

I managed to pursue the one responsible for nearly getting me killed two centuries prior to the plague which befell London before the fire.

Within the shadows of the flickering flames of St. Peter’s Cathedral, I struck him down and departed the city, thus avoiding my demise.

I had yet to escape him, however, when his vengeful spirit devoured the souls of the innocent in a mad bloodlust.

Though greatly injured, I managed to drive his spirit to my new home Raven Hollow Manor in London, imprisoning him in stone coffin in the crypt beneath it.

Peace resumed in my life and nobles of all kinds enjoyed lavishly hosted parties within the halls of my estate.

Unfortunately, the short lived splendor at the hands of the hauntings filled the ears of the locals and my beloved home decayed into a tangled web of blood-filled rumors and superstition.

My once glorious halls became infested with dust, its crystal chandeliers covered with cobwebs, their spiders fat on the insects buzzing around the decay and mold-covered wallpaper.

Yet, there I remained as it proved a decent place to not only contain my greatest sin but served also as a castle of solitude.

The tides of time swept by in a cacophony of modernization and the movement from superstition to things only mortal science could explain.

I still needed to venture into the city, not only to feed but also to purchase other items needed for everyday living.

It wasn’t until the winter of 1910 that my silence would be disrupted in the form of a girl named Holly, a young street urchin accused of theft. I took her with me after using a bit of “persuasion” on the local officers to let her go.

They did not need to know where I would take her and she soon grew into a wonderful messenger on my behalf. She became a rather attractive young woman with bouncy blonde curls who kept me company with stories of what went on in the city.

I am sure, at one time, she became infatuated with me. It did not surprise me. To mortals, my kind held a certain allure they found difficult to ignore. I ended her infatuation quickly following a stern talking to and dousing with cold water.

One day, while in my labyrinthine garden, Holly came to me in tears.

When the people of London learned where Holly lived, the townsfolk dubbed her a practitioner of black magic.

One day, I found Holly sitting on one of the marble benches in the garden, sobbing. I picked a flower and put it in my daughter’s hair, sitting next to her beneath the statue of a praying angel.

“You need not worry about them, dearest. Mortals are always quick to place labels on what they do not understand.”

Holly sniffled and sobbed, wiping her nose and offering me a smile. “But why do they avoid this place, Jonathan?”

“Mortals fear what they cannot comprehend. Pay them no mind. You are a wonderful young woman,” I purred, brushing a blonde curl from her face.

The words appeared to have placated her as she smiled and joined me in a moonlight stroll through the garden.

***

Around midnight, after dinner with Holly, I dismissed her to bed. Once she departed, I sought out sustenance in the city.

A dense fog rolled in due to the cool winter weather and the recent days of rain.

Combined with the darkness of the streets and alleyways, I managed to meet a young working woman on the corner and wooed her into joining me for a walk to the park. As with other women, I made sure she understood I respected her body with gentle caresses and loving words murmured into her ears.

Once I placed her deep under my spell, I kissed the tender flesh of the woman’s throat and exposed shoulder, thanking her for her gift.

My fangs pierced her flesh, earning a moan of pleasure as her body surrendered its precious life force without any significant damage. Her body pressed against mine, her moans increasing with pleasure at my kiss.

I preferred this method to those of many of my other brethren who tore their victims apart during a feeding, choosing power to subdue instead of sexual allure.

When signs of weakness began manifesting I released my hold, picking her up after licking the small puncture wounds, my saliva healing them, leaving no marks or scars.

To assure she received care, I took her to the nearest hospital and deposited her on the steps without anyone noticing.

As always, I used hypnotic suggestion to erase her memory and leave her with a pleasant dream.

During the wee hours of the morning, I tended to enjoy the calls of the birds and the chirping of the crickets to help relieve the burden on my mind.

Not a soul roamed the streets near the bridge where I liked to sit and write poetry or read a book.

In the midst of the silence, a horrifying shriek caught my attention, almost startling me.

My pupils narrowed to those one might see in a viper or a cat. I let my body dissipate into the form of a black mist, hovering over the city in search of the source of the scream.

I found it in the shape of the body of a mangled man.

The whites of his eyes consumed most of the portion of the glossy orbs in his skull, mouth gaped open mid-scream.

I knelt before him, my own brows furrowed in frustration at the recognition of the familiar puncture wounds on the man’s throat. This cannot be. No other has hunted here in centuries.

The disturbing find made something clear.

Many of my kind preferred not to hunt in one place occupied by another of higher status, or in another’s territory for that matter. We changed due to the growing number of human hunters who would kill any of us they came across.

Despite the city’s size, my reputation often kept others out of my hunting grounds, for which I remained grateful.

This new kill had been malicious.

If I allowed such behavior to continue, it could draw the attention of the hunters or the local police to my home.

Whomever the responsible party, I needed to locate them and have a word with them or kill them if necessary.

My eyes closed, a heavy sigh drawing up from within my lungs. I placed my fingers over the man’s eyes, using a gentle touch to close them. “Forgive whichever of us did this to you. You did not deserve to die in such a horrific manner.”

Searching through the pockets of his trench coat, I located his identification card and vowed to send some money and roses to his family.

Sounds of sirens and the calls of the corner watchmen announced the arrival of the authorities. I left them the man’s wallet so they could inform his family of their loss.

I lurked in the shadows listening to the inspectors scrutinizing the scene.

“Bloody mystery, it is. This is the second mangled body we found this week. One has to wonder if we might be witnessing the birth of another blighter of a serial killer.” One of the inspectors scratched his head beneath the dome shaped hat.

I recognized him as Bertrand Abrams, a well-known officer and one of the only men who aided Holly during her visits to town.

From his looks, one would expect him to hail from Scotland. A bushy mustache and stringy hair with the consistency of sheep’s wool held the color of fire. Dimples set into high cheekbones and a double chin made me smile. A portly belly betrayed his affinity for too many scones and perhaps Scotch.

He had been wrong. This death held no mystery. I merely needed to find the one responsible before it resulted in too much of a personal dilemma.

Following the release of the corpse to the medical examiner, I took the form of black mist and drifted back to Raven Hollow.

The beginnings of my night would be haunted by dreams of a past filled with love, vengeance and pain.

It would be filled with shining auburn locks and eyes the color of the fresh leaves of spring.


Author Bio:

Iona Caldwell is the lover of all things arcane, folklore, nature and magic.
She is the author of the British Occult Fiction, Beneath London’s Fog set to be published by FyreSyde Publishing October 2019. Her second title, Hell’s Warden is forecasted to release in February of 2020. When she’s not busy weaving worlds of the arcane and dark, she’s spending time out in nature. An avid lover of books, Iona claims her biggest inspirations are H.P Lovecraft, Stephen King, Neil Gaiman and Edgar Allen Poe.

She believes storytellers should tell the stories they want to tell. As such, most of her titles are stand-alone novellas she hopes will leave her readers immersed in magical worlds.

She is also an extremely active book blogger who will review primarily horror, suspense, supernatural thriller, mystery, and occult/gothic fiction.

Website / Goodreads / Twitter / Instagram


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Do You DARE To Play The Game? Scavenger Hunt by Michaelbrent Collings @mbcollings

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This is my introduction to Michaelbrent Collings and I wonder why I haven’t read any of his work before. I immediately remedied that after reading Scavenger Hunt and followed his blog, getting two more books to read just for signing up.

Michaelbrent Collings does his own covers and I LOVE this one. How about you?

Scavenger Hunt

Amazon / Goodreads

MY REVIEW

As soon as I saw the cover, I knew I had to read Scavenger Hunt by Michaelbrent Collings. Why I haven’t read any of his work before, I can’t say, but I am glad HE found ME and offered me an ARC.

At first, I was confused and thinking, uh oh, is this one of those books I am going to struggle through. Well, I didn’t have long to wait to find out that I was too quick to judge.

THEN: The bottom dropped out of five lives as they are thrust into a deadly game of Scavenger Hunt and I quickly find out how the bloody smiley face on the cover comes into play.

Bloody, gory happenings as we flip between the past and the present, learning each characters life, exposing the reason for them being chosen to PLAY the game.

The camera is on and it could be watching YOU!

There’s more going on than the Scavenger Hunt. We have Thaddeus…a rich muckety muck and Hope, a young girl haunted by her past.

WOW…WOW…Scavenger Hunt is turning out to be so much more than what I expected. Michaelbrent Collings has a wicked mind. I haven’t read a book quite like this and it took me to a really dark place. I love the DARK.

I wondered how the stories would all come together, why these particular characters were chosen and it took me a while to see the common factor. As each character’s history is revealed, the threads weave together, though the perpetrator continues to elude me

I love the ending, and for all you high and mighty muckety mucks out there who think you are above the law…BEWARE.

You may think the same thing I did when I first began reading, but don’t give up too soon. The story just keeps getting better and better as it unfolds.

Scavenger Hunt’s originality, fast paced action and tension filled pages makes this an unputdownable book. I read it in one day, while at the dentist, at the eye doctor and finished it up while watching my Detroit Lions play the Green Bay Packers on Monday Night Football. Anything that takes my eyes off the game has to be great!

I voluntarily reviewed an ARC of Scavenger Hunt by Michaelbrent Collings.

Animated Animals. Pictures, Images and Photos
5 Stars

GOODREADS BLURB

“I already know all your names. As for me… you can call me Mr. Do-Good.”
***
Five strangers have woken up in a white room.

Apparently chosen at random, they have been kidnapped, drugged… and chosen to play the world’s most high-stakes scavenger hunt.

Run by Mr. Do-Good, a madman who ides his identity behind a bloodstained smily-face mask, the contestants are given a series of deadly tasks to complete.

All they have to do to survive is…

… complete every task…
… on time..
… and not break any of Do-Good’s rules.

Breaking the rules is forbidden, and failure is not an option. Because Do-Good has plans for these strangers, and refusing to play the game carries the most deadly of consequences…

ABOUT MICHAELBRENT COLLINGS

Michaelbrent Collings

Michaelbrent Collings is an internationally-bestselling novelist, multiple Bram Stoker Award nominee, produced screenwriter, and one of the top indie horror writers in the United States.

He hopes someday to develop superpowers, or, if that is out of the question, then at least to get a cool robot arm.

Michaelbrent has a wife and several kids, all of whom are much better looking than he is (though he admits that’s a low bar to set), and also cooler than he is.

Michaelbrent also has a Facebook page at http://www.facebook.com/MichaelbrentC… and can be followed on Twitter through his username @mbcollings. Follow him for cool news, updates, and advance notice of sales. You will also be kept safe when the Glorious Revolution begins!

STALK MICHAELBRENT: Website / Twitter

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Nightfall on New Babylon by Carmen Dominque Taxer & Richard T Wheeler @RichTWheeler

I have been reading and reviewing some books that authors have requested and they have been a pleasant surprise. Nightfall on New Babylon by Carmen Taxer and Richard Wheeler is one of these books.

Nightfall on New Babylon (Gaslight Vamp #1)

Amazon / Goodreads

MY REVIEW

Nightfall on New Babylon by Carmen Dominque Taxer and Richard T Wheeler is told from multiple character viewpoints. At times I found it confusing trying to remember who was who and what’s happening to them, but I do love my vampire stories, so I read on and I’m glad I did.

Things started falling into place. Characters are being exposed for who they truly are. Horrors arise and they are not only the vampire kind.

The women seem to pay the biggest price. As I learn more about the four main characters, I find their lives tragic and frightening. There is more going on than meets the eye and the ending set me up for wanting to know what comes next.

The setting seems like the time of Jack the Ripper in England, but I could visualize the street and ruins of Italy too.

Cliffhanger ending that hooked me.

I voluntarily reviewed a free copy of Nightfall of New Babylon by Carmen Dominque Taxer and Richard T Wheeler.

Animated Animals. Pictures, Images and Photos
3 Stars

GOODREADS BLURB

Nightfall on New Babylon (Gaslight Vamp #1)

A Gothic Political Thriller Serial in a Victorian Vampire Horror Setting

In a city built on sin, the immortal Lords of Night move all the pieces.

New Babylon is a city of sin, built on lies told over generations. The inhabitants may think they are the masters of their own destinies at the dawn of the Scientific Revolution, but as night falls on New Babylon, the true Lords of Night once again move their pieces across the playing field in a secret war for dominance – Devika Templeton is a girl who has it all, including a nightly visitor; Roald Black has lost it all, but the truth is even more painful than the loss will ever be; Dalla Arnesen must rebuild her scuttled career, a tenuous feat in a city set against her; and Victoria Campbell has a secret that she must share with her rich suitor if she has any hope of escaping the streets.

Binding all four together with strings of obligation and pain is House D’Asur, the disgraced Lords of the Glass Manor – Those who would be Lords of Night again.

ABOUT THE AUTHORS

Carmen Dominique Taxer

Carmen Dominque Taxer: Author, artist, and sometime philosopher, Carmen Dominique Taxer was born in South Africa with familial roots across the globe. She began her career with early scribblings of the dark and twisted, and this love of dark Gothic Horror, and equally dark Romance, has only grown over the years. Her first love was vampires, and to this day she cannot write without the words pouring out in the shape of roses, blood, and thorny kisses.
Carmen uses the presence of vampires in a fictional setting to give voice to the struggles and successes of humanity, painting a portrait of the world that is both dark and beautifully highlighted with love conquering death above all else.

She and her husband and co-author, Richard T. Wheeler, have constructed a universe of these vampires with the affectionate title of Sanguinem Emere. All of these stories take place in the fictional city of New Babylon, a melting pot of cultures, ethnicities, and desires.

Website

Richard T. Wheeler

About Richard T Wheeler: Richard T. Wheeler is the co-author of the Sanguinem Emere Gaslight Vamp novel serial and runs Dauntlesswriting.com, helping writers become authorpreneurs.

Website / Twitter / Facebook / Pinterest / Tumbler

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Giveaway, Review, Short Story – Kendra Sparks Series by S Peters Davis @spdavis788 @RoxanneRhoads

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MY REVIEW FOR UNORTHODOX by S Peters-Davis

Kendra is an author of mystery romance novels. A woman after my own heart. She is also a ghost whisperer. She doesn’t leave her comfort zone, whether in fashion or personality. That will all change when Jenna seeks her help

Jenna is her best friend and quickly becomes a ghost. Fantastic personality and I can relate to her. She is afraid for her FBI father and hangs around, refusing to go into the light. She wonders how Jenna could be her best friend and she not realize she was gay. It makes her question herself. Kendra’s mind just never went there.

The plot thickens and bodies fall.

Kendra will be working with Derek Knight, who Jenna was investigating the death of numerous FBI agents with. I feel a romance in the making. The attraction was quick and it developed rapidly, them being pushed together all day, every day.

Of course, I knew she would have to do something stupid, ignoring her intuition. It happens in all romantic suspense novels. It can be frustrating, but builds the suspense, knowing she’s in big trouble with a capital T.

Well, I was right about one thing, but it wasn’t the killer and it didn’t go down the way I thought. I love when an author can surprise me and keep me guessing. And…now I know.

There’s more to come in this series and I want to be there with the gang. I can imagine all the hoots, laughs and danger that will be coming their way.

I voluntarily reviewed a free copy of Unorthodox by S Peters Davis.

Animated Animals. Pictures, Images and Photos
4 Stars

Ghost-Riddance!
A short story by S. Peters-Davis
                                              
“Do you have any idea how long I’ve wandered around, waiting for someone to see me?” I studied her misshaped face. Her eyes read, ‘who gives a rip.’ A deep sigh later, I zoomed through the air to catch up with her. “So, what’s your name?” Something about her seemed familiar to me.
“Go find someone else to pester.” Only a short side-glance at me, and she hiked on, trekking through the forest, ever closer to where my bones lay.
“How long have you been able to communicate with the dead?” I would engage her, make her listen to my story, and why would that even matter? All of my family had long passed from this world. “Do you ever take a beat to rest?”
She stopped and glared at me. “If I talk to you for a minute, then will you leave me alone forever?”
“Forever?”
Her eyes misted over. “I’m not feeling friendly. I don’t wish to chat, and certainly not to a stranger. Can’t you see I’m upset?” A tear took a nosedive and slipped off her chin.
“Who’s responsible for your misery? I’ll haunt them ’til the end of time.” I stomped my foot, even though it made no sound and actually slipped below the ground surface for a second.
She laughed. Her voice rose above the birdsong and then ricocheted off the trees eerily like a haunted forest. She fell to the ground with uncontrolled gasps and guffaws of laughter. Her eyes leaked a lot as she rolled half in and half out of the ground, and then suddenly, she stopped with a hiccup. Her brilliant blues swept over me. She sat up with her legs stretched out in front of her.
“I meant what I said, not a joking matter haunting someone ’til the end of time.” I folded myself to the ground beside her, arms crossed over my chest to impress my seriousness on her.
Her full, shapely lips stretched into a smile. “So, why are you stuck in the forest? Who are you anyway?”
“Landus James, at your service.” I reached my hand toward her, and she grabbed it. My eyes went wide as did my mouth that we could actually touch each other.
“Yea, so…what does one ghost say to the other?” She grinned and stood.
I followed suit, rising from the ground as I recognized those lovely blues staring back at me. “Zee?” I held her at arms-length. “How? Why?”
“You’re not the only one wandering through this forest in search of your significant other.” She studied me, scanning. “What happened to you? Half of your face is gone.”
“It is?” I touched my cheeks, feeling raw tissue and bone on the right side of my face. Something I’d never been able to do before now. What a nightmare I must look like after being mauled by a grizzly. “I had no idea my spirit-self would be portrayed as I must have appeared in death.” I studied her face, parts swollen, discolored, and gory. “What happened to you?”
“Someone attacked me from behind. I don’t know who as I lost consciousness with the first blow to the back of my head. I had gone looking for you the next morning. You had taken the gun long before nightfall, looking for supper while I set up our camp.” She looked around me, her focus on the ground underneath the branches of a big oak tree, where my bones rested. “All this time I’ve been looking for you, and there you are.” Her attention drifted back to me. “Let’s go bless your bones, then I’ll show you where mine lay to rest.”
We ambled over to the tree. Zee spoke the words, “Blessed are those who live in love.” She grabbed my hand and pulled me toward the south. “Let me take you to where I lay so you may speak a blessing for me.”
We moved with the wind as it hurled us between the trees and shrubbery. My heart lifted to heights it hadn’t visited for many centuries. Our fingers entwined a little tighter as we passed through miles of wooded terrain. Then suddenly, Zee drew my body closer, we slowed and settled beneath a huge walnut tree.
“Here I am,” she said, looking toward the ground.
Her remains resonated within my spirit, and I knew exactly where she lay. “You lay here.” I bent to touch the earth, and my hand vanished below the surface. “Blessed are those who live in love.”
As soon as the last word left my lips, everything went dark, and I wondered if I’d gone to hell…
* * *
My body shook incessantly to the words, “Wake up. Wake up right now! Landus, please wake up.”
I opened my eyes to Zee. Her lovely unmarred face hovered above mine, the sun creating a halo around her beautiful blonde hair. “Where are we?” I asked, raising to my elbows and looking around. The forest appeared the same.
She pinched me.
“Ouch. Why’d you do that?” I stared at her, noticing how beautiful she looked. How fresh and alive her cheeks blushed.
She started laughing like before.
The brambles, sticks, and dirt poked into my forearms, and I sat to brush it off, realizing I could actually feel the outside world.
My breath sucked in, my lungs filled, I breathed.
“We get a second chance, darling.” Zee settled on my lap, her lips gently finding mine.
I responded, fervent for more but not fully understanding how we could be together after being apart for so long.
She pressed her body against mine. Her heart thrummed against my chest.
We were alive.
Her eyes fluttered open, and she drew back, licking my lips as we parted. “I want you right now, right here.”
I sucked in another breath, fully aroused and on fire for her. “Blessed are those who live in love.”
“Ghost riddance,” she muttered against my lips and then proceeded to rip my shirt from my body.




Unorthodox
A Kendra Spark Novel
Book One       
S. Peters-Davis           

Genre: Paranormal Suspense-Thriller Romance
with a good dollop of Supernatural

Publisher: Books We Love Publishing

Date of Publication: September 15, 2017

ASIN: B073MZZPVM
ISBN 978-1-77362-303-0

Number of pages: 153 pages
Word Count: 63,000

Cover Artist: CoverUp.Net

Book Tagline:  Kendra’s ability of communicating with the dead is requested by her FBI criminal analyst friend to stop a killer from murdering agents.

Series Tagline: Kendra sees ghosts, and then her BFF, Jenna, becomes one. The two friends and FBI agent Derek Knight fight for justice to the victims of heinous crimes.

Book Description:

Kendra Spark, suspense-mystery romance author and communicator with the dead, is requested to hop on the first flight to D.C.

Jenna Powers, FBI criminal analyst and estranged best friend of Kendra, gets ghosticized in a fatal accident before relaying all the details of the FBI killer case.

Derek Knight, a dedicated FBI Special Task Force agent, takes lead on the case.

The investigation into the FBI agent killings continues as Kendra, Jenna – yes, even after death – and Derek work together on the case before Director of the Special Task Force Jackson Powers’ number is up. He’s Jenna’s father and the end-game of the killer’s target list.

Somehow the elusive killer remains undetected, until Kendra’s unique ability produces results and a final possibility at stopping his killing spree before it’s too late.

Amazon     BN      Smashwords      Kobo



Malevolent
A Kendra Spark Novel
Book Two
S. Peters-Davis

Genre: Supernatural, Suspense-thriller, Romance

Publisher: BWL Publisher

Date of Publication: August 10, 2018

ASIN: B07G36D3JC
EPUB 978-0-2286-0419-8
Kindle 978-0-2286-0420-4
WEB 978-0-2286-0421-1

Amazon Print 978-0-2286-0422-8
BWL Print 978-0-2286-0423-5

Number of pages: E-book length: 150 
Number of pages: Print length: 195
Word Count: 57,500

Cover Artist:  Michelle Lee

Tagline: Trafficked girls marked to lose their souls by a malevolent supernatural entity require someone with explicit abilities for their rescue. Will Kendra be able to save them?

Book Description:

Kendra Spark, suspense-mystery writer and communicator with the dead, signs on to the next FBI Special Task Force case, trafficked girls that are marked to lose their souls.

Jenna Powers, ghostified criminal analyst, sticks close to the case as she and Kendra are also marked by the same malevolent supernatural force.

Derek Knight, lead FBI Agent on this case, learns of the malevolent entity and the deeper paranormal realm of danger.

Kendra’s unfiltered feelings for Derek struggle to take a backseat, and as the menacing threat grows more intense, so does her passion for Derek.

Derek faces uncertainties he’s never dealt with in his past, like malicious entities and the loss of his heart to love. How can he protect Kendra against forces he can’t see?   

As boundless supernatural danger intertwines with the future reality of the trafficked teens, Kendra and Jenna realize only they can shoulder the rescue by calling in a voodoo priestess…

Amazon      BN      Kobo      Smashwords

Scribed      Indigo      Books2Read


Albatross A Kendra Spark Novel
Kendra Spark Series 
Book Three
S. Peters-Davis

Genre: Supernatural, Paranormal, Suspense-Romance

Publisher: BWL Publishing, Inc.

Date of Publication: June 1, 2019

ISBN-10: 0228608910
ISBN-13: 978-0228608912
ASIN: B07S29TF9V

Number of pages: 210
Word Count: 60,200

Cover Artist: Michelle Lee

Tagline: A cold-case investigation ends in facing the ultimate psychopaths, a highly-accredited police director gone crime lord and a beautiful malevolent “albatross of a spirit.”

Book Description:

Kendra Spark, Derek Knight, and “ghosty” Jenna Powers, members of an FBI special task force, investigate a cold-case and end up facing the ultimate psychopaths, a highly-accredited police director gone crime lord and a beautiful malevolent “albatross of a spirit.” Both want Kendra for her unique abilities but might settle for Jenna instead.

Derek stops at nothing to keep Kendra and Jenna safe, but what if the worst-case scenario happens, an unstoppable villain and villainess of the dark plane that picks the earth plane as their stomping ground?


Books2Read      Amazon

About the Author:

S. Peters-Davis writes multi-genre stories, but loves penning a good page-turning suspense-thriller, especially when it’s a ghost story and a romance. When she’s not writing, editing, or reading, she’s hiking, RV’ing, fishing, playing with grandchildren, or enjoying time with her favorite muse (her husband) in Southwest Michigan.

As DK Davis, she also writes YA and NA paranormal, supernatural novels that involve diverse and mature subject matter.



BWL Publishing Inc.: http://bookswelove.net/  




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The Ghoul Girl – Flesh by Laura Bickle @Laura_Bickle @RoxanneRhoads



Flesh
Laura Bickle

Genre: YA Horror

Date of Publication: September 19, 2017

ISBN: 9781537857992
ASIN: B074XBJ697

Number of pages: 307
Word Count: 76,573

Cover Artist: Danielle Fine

Book Description:

The dead are easy to talk to. Live people, not so much.

Charlie Sulliven thinks she knows all the secrets of the dead. Raised in a funeral home, she’s the reluctant “Ghoul Girl,” her reputation tied to a disastrous Halloween party. But navigating her life as a high school sophomore is an anxiety-inducing puzzle to her. She haunts the funeral home with her parents, emo older brother, Garth, their pistol-packing Gramma, and the glass-eyeball-devouring dachshund, Lothar.

Chewed human bodies are appearing in her parents’ morgue…and disappearing in the middle of the night. The bodies seem tied to a local legend, Catfish Bob, who has resurfaced in the muddy Milburn river near Charlie’s small town. When one of Charlie’s classmates, Amanda, awakens in the cooler as a flesh-eating ghoul, Charlie must protect her newfound friend and step up to unravel the mystery…and try to avoid becoming lunch meat for the dead.

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Excerpt

“Amanda, I…Oh.”
            I don’t know what else to say. My brain just shuts down.
            She is wearing the sheet, wound around her like a toga. It trails behind her bare feet, sort of like a painting about Greek goddesses I’ve seen in art books. She’s leaning over another body stored in the cooler unit on a cart. Her back is to me, and I can only see her pale skin and her burgundy-black hair shuddering.
            “Amanda.”
            She turns at the sound of my voice, seeming only to hear me for the first time. Her face is covered in dark blood. In her hand, she’s holding a big chunk of purple flesh. Her eyes are half-closed. The autopsy incision on the elderly body below her has been ripped open, and I’m pretty sure that what she’s holding is a lung.
            “So hungry…” she murmurs.
            I retreat until my back presses against the cold door. A whimper escapes my lips, and I drop the laundry basket with a sharp crack of plastic on the tile floor. This has to be a dream. A screwed-up anxiety dream that I’ll wake up from any moment now…
            Amanda’s black eyes snap open. She stares at the chunk of flesh in her hand. “I…Agh…What’s going on?”
            Lothar waddles over to her and begins to beg. Bile rises in my throat. “That’s Mrs. Canner,” I manage to answer. “She’s seventy-two and died of surgery complications for varicose veins. Deep vein thrombosis, I think. I don’t remember.” I’m babbling, trying to keep the bile down.
            Amanda drops the lung with a wet splat. The dog scrambles to it and begins scarfing it down. Her hands are trembling. She presses them to her temples. “I don’t understand. I don’t understand.”
            I nudge the laundry basket closer to her with my foot. “I brought you some clothes. And, um. Food. You should get dressed.”
            I think I should be afraid. I think I really ought to be. But Amanda seems genuinely confused. She reaches for the clothes I’ve brought her. To be polite, I know that I should really look away. But I can’t move. I am not turning my back on her. My heart pounds, and I struggle to take deep, uneven breaths.
            Amanda unwinds the sheet and slips into my clothes. Though I avert my eyes, I see that her shoulder and side are still torn open. But my mother hasn’t begun the autopsy yet, so there is no Y-incision across her chest and abdomen.
            “Do you remember what happened to you?” I manage to ask. I congratulate myself for having a rational thought. Woot.

            Her voice is halting, and her brow wrinkles as she struggles to button my jeans. “I remember…something was chasing me. Jesus, it hurt…” Her hand comes up to her neck, and she seems to remember, fingering the edges of the wound. “Am I in a hospital?” she asks again.
            I suck in a breath. “No. You’re at my house.” It’s not a lie. Not really.
            She scans the room, as if registering the sight of the cadavers. “You’re the girl whose parents run the funeral home. The Ghoul Girl.”
            “It’s gonna be okay,” I tell her.
            “Why am I here?” Her breath makes ghosts in the cold air.
            “The Sheriff found you, alongside the road.” That’s true also, even if not the whole truth. “I think we should get you upstairs, so you can talk to my parents…”
            She shakes her head, and her dark hair slaps across her face. “No. I…Oh my god. I’m here because…somebody thought I was dead?”
            I swallow hard. “Yeah.” 

About the Author:

Laura Bickle grew up in rural Ohio, reading entirely too many comic books out loud to her favorite Wonder Woman doll. After graduating with an MA in Sociology-Criminology from Ohio State University and an MLIS in Library Science from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, she patrolled the stacks at the public library and worked with data systems in criminal justice. She now dreams up stories about the monsters under the stairs. Her work has been included in the ALA’s Amelia Bloomer Project 2013 reading list and the State Library of Ohio’s Choose to Read Ohio reading list for 2015-2016.

More information about Laura’s work can be found at:



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MY LAURA BICKLE REVIEWS

The Dragon’s Playlist

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A New To Me Zombie – The Earthdead by Mark James Wooding #Mark James Wooding

I saw the cover for The Earthdead and it made me curious. At first glance, it looks like it could be a children’s book, .then, I looked closer at the hand on the tree. That’s not a very nice hand. The title made me more curious, so I had to read it.

The Earthdead

Indigo / Goodreads

MY REVIRE

The Earthdead by Mark James Wooding was a quick and dirty read. LOL

Rebecca woke up with something heavy on her chest and a bad taste in her mouth.

The Community of Men are on the hunt for Rebecca. The town knew the rumors of Earthdead rising from the ground to feast on humans.

The Earthdead is a different take on the Undead and looking at the cover I was fooled. I thought it was a children’s book, I didn’t foresee the gruesomeness, but the deaths are not the ususal bloody or gory for zombies….maybe when she seeks her revenge Rebecca will do worse.

For it’s originality, fun and entertainment value I give it a three.

I voluntarily reviewed a free copy of The Earthdead by Mark James Wooding.

Animated Animals. Pictures, Images and Photos
3 Stars

GOODREADS BLURB

A certain fungus brings corpses back from the dead. After the dead revive, they become stronger, faster, and smarter than they were. They can also travel underground. And there’s only one item on their menu: human flesh.

Two local lodges, the Community of Men and the Community of Women, must once again step up to defend the county against an evil that most people don’t even believe exists.

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Beneath London’s Fog by Iona Caldwell @IonaCaldwell7 @SydeFyre

Hey guys. Are you ready for a trip to London…but it won’t be the trip you imagine.

Beneath London's Fog

Amazon / Goodreads

MY REVIEW

The eerie cover of Beneath London’s Fog by Ilona Caldwell makes me think of Jack the Ripper and ghosts. Are you creeped out yet?

Jonathon has made himself a prisoner in Raven Hollow Manor, along with his daughter, Holly. He lost his love, Anna, but her ghostly presence lingers.

His past is coming back to haunt him when a serial killer goes wild in the foggy nights of London.

He is able to transform himself and I loved it. He becomes a cat, a Great Dane, or a mist in the night. Being immortal allows him to see without being seen. He is very protective of Holly and struggles to allow her some freedom. He is easily able to ‘spy’ on her, assuring her safety. After all, he knows first hand the monsters that lurk in the shadows. His oasis is by Anna’s gravesite. He reads Poe and Robert Frost to her.

Holly knows that he is an immortal. Authors have the freedom to create the immortal they want to portray, and I love Ilona Caldwell’s version.

I begin to wish for his happiness, for him to move on and create a new life, without Anna.

Enter…Walter Deverough, a detective on the hunt. I wonder….I feel we’ll be seeing a lot more of him.

Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned and SHE will scorch the earth with her need for revenge.

We, also, have Leland…a hero to the end.

Fast paced. Suspenseful. A vampire of a different color. Great world building as I pictured him walking the streets of London, damp and weary. Ilona Caldwell draws pictures with her words.

I voluntarily reviewed and ARC of Beneath London’s Fog by Ilona Caldwell.

Animated Animals. Pictures, Images and Photos
4 Stars

GOODREADS BLURB

Jonathan is the immortal master of Raven Hollow Manor – a decrepit mansion riddled with superstition, murder and restless ghosts. Beneath it lies a restless malice.

Its previous owner driven mad, violently kills his guests with a rusted ax, creating the perfect venue for Jonathan to seclude himself in a prison of his own device.

When the streets of London begin to run red with blood; the bodies exhibiting disturbing signs and baffling wounds, the identity of the killer remains elusive to police.

The bodies are just the beginning of Jonathan’s troubles. A mysterious letter accusing Jonathan of committing the murders appear, raising suspicion in the police. Hidden beneath the mangled bodies, Jonathan soon realizes he is being forced to face demons he thought died in a forlorn past he attempted to escape. 

One thing Jonathan knows for certain: He must deal with the demons of his past if he is to survive his future. Not only him but those he has come to love as well

ABOUT ILONA CALDWELL

Iona Caldwell

My name is Iona Caldwell. I’m the author of the British Occult Fiction, Beneath London’s Fog set to be published by FyreSyde Publishing October 2019. When I’m not busy weaving worlds of the arcane and dark, I’m spending time out in nature. I love books. My biggest inspirations are H.P Lovecraft, Stephen King, Neil Gaiman and Edgar Allen Poe. I blog about many things but mostly everything bookish.

​All of my novels are stand-alone novellas, each with a cast of people I hope my readers will come to love as much as I have.

​I do accept reviews but they’re very selective and I urge you to check my review policy first. ​

Website / Twitter / Instagram

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Cover Reveal & Giveaway – Unearthed by CecyRobson @cecyrobson @CaffeinatedPR

Today I am excited to join Cecy Robson in unveiling the cover for Unearthed, the first book in her Death Seeker urban fantasy series.  To celebrate Cecy is sharing chapter one with you and offering five winners an eBook copy of Sealed with a Curse. Enjoy!
Now Feast your eyes on …. 
Unearthed (Death Seeker #1) *cover designed by Rebecca Weeks @ Dark Wish Designs
September 24, 2019
Add to Goodreads
Pre-order your Copy: Amazon | B&N | iTunes | Kobo 
Fae was once a flourishing paradise. Until Death turned greedy and destroyed it, targeting the creatures who inhabited it. Those who survived escaped to Earth’s realm, but Death wasn’t far behind . . . Olivia Finn is just another pixie trying to blend in among humans and hide from the death hounds who devoured her family. Clinging to the talisman that keeps her veiled from those who hunt her, she believes she is safe. . .. Until Death finds her and discovers she’s immune to its grip. Now that Olivia’s power is unearthed, she is sought by Fae who see her as their savior and stalked by dark entities compelled to destroy her. Can she trust the King of the Dead who has sworn to train and protect her? Or should she obey her instincts that warn he desires more? Olivia can no longer hide from Death. To survive, she must seek it.
Chapter One
Ryker Scott, MacGregor and Santonelli’s newest associate, prowls past my cubicle wearing a tailored black suit that hugs his broad shoulders. I swear he’s not human. In the year he’s worked here, he’s represented a talk show host charged with having sex with multiple minors, a senator’s son accused of sexually assaulting a young boy, and a Wall Street executive snagged in a cocaine smuggling ring. All were acquitted under his watch, despite the odds and endless charges. His latest victory was mere days ago when his client, a Broadway star one blow shy of beating his wife to death, was found not guilty. Ryker’s military haircut fits his serious persona. The guy doesn’t smile, ever. I suppose when you represent walking pieces of filth, it’s hard to pretend you’d skip through a field of daisies. I’d ask him how he sleeps at night, saving all those horrible people and releasing them back into society, but I don’t know him, and I don’t care to. Ryker’s ice blue eyes dart in my direction when I glare. He knows I hate every inch of his hulking form. If I could flip him off, I would. Instead, I give him my back and return to my work, wishing he’d stay on his side of the office. I sense him stalk around the corner to speak quietly to another paralegal. She’s likely falling all over herself to please him. He has that effect on the staff, unlike my boss, who everyone avoids like shingles. Speaking of the most irate man to ever wear a suit, Marco slams down the receiver to the phone, his booming voice loud enough to rattle the glass of his fishbowl office. “Olivia! Where the hell are my notes?” My fingers fly across my keyboard, finishing the deposition Marco needs before that vein on his forehead finally pops. “In your briefcase, along with copies of the court documents,” I reply. My sensitive hearing picks up the click, click of the briefcase locks snapping open before the mad sound of rustling papers ensues. “I don’t have—” “You have three pens and two highlighters in the small zippered compartment and a new legal pad in the side pocket,” I call out. “My—” “Your cell phone is charging on the table behind you,” I remind him. I hit print and swivel in my high back office chair, working quickly to stack the copies neatly into a folder. After taking one last sip of tea, I lift the folder and an extra-large cup of coffee and hurry into my boss’s office. Marco welcomes me with a scowl, the motion joining his crazy caterpillar eyebrows. “You think you’re so smart, don’t you?” he asks. “Yup. Happy Monday.” I place the deposition on his desk and hand him the cup of coffee the new administrative assistant dropped off. So far, Marco is the only attorney she hasn’t hit on. “Drink up,” I tell him. “You’re due in court in an hour.” I play with the talisman around my neck, reassuring myself that Death can’t find me while I wear it. I examine my boss and shake my head. Marco is roughly five feet, six inches tall, three hundred pounds and balding, and about as cuddly as a rabid raccoon living in a sewer. And here he sits, partner of the most prestigious law firm in the region and the best defense attorney in Jersey. “What are you looking at?” I motion to his face. “I told you to do something about your eyebrows.” “There’s nothing wrong with my eyebrows.” He tries to smooth them, but the motion only ruffles them further. “Marco, they look ready to sprout teeth and bite.” I push off the desk. “Let me trim them.” Marco is one second away from releasing the brows like Zeus did the Kraken. “Do I strike you as someone who manscapes?” “No. That’s part of the problem.” I sigh when the vein on his forehead pulsates. “You need to take pride in your appearance. If I didn’t have your suits and shirts dry-cleaned, you’d resemble a serial killer walking into court.” My voice trails when I take in the creases lining his gray suit. It’s my turn to scowl. “Isn’t this the suit you wore Friday?” He doesn’t answer. “Marco!” “You’re one to talk. Look at you. Your hair is one pot of gold shy of a leprechaun.” I point a nasty finger at him. “Don’t make fun of the hair.” As a pixie, I look human, the exception being my rainbow-colored locks. That’s right, blond hair intermixed with strands of pink, lavender, and blue. It’s not on purpose. My hair was this color from birth, long before we crossed over from the dying realm of Fae. Many PTA moms scolded my mother for “doing this” to me. Mama tried to change the color, so I’d blend in better among humans, but nothing worked. Hair dyes dried my hair and faded in mere hours, and organic products made my hair shimmer like fairy dust. Between my hair and the Celtic cross tat on the base of my skull, everyone in school assumed I was Goth. Truthfully, I prefer pretty clothes and music I can dance to without risking an elbow to the face. “Why are you looking at me like that?” Marco snaps. “This suit cost two grand.” “It might as well cost two dollars by the way you take care of yourself.” I stomp in my pink kitten heels toward Marco’s closet and whip out a fresh suit, tie, and set of underclothes. After taking a good whiff, I also grab a stick of Right Guard. I set everything neatly in his private bathroom and poke my head out. “You still have time to shower before court. Do you want me to turn on the water—” The scuff of expensive shoes along the marble tile floor alert me we’re no longer alone. Damn it. It’s Ryker. Doesn’t he have puppy kickers to defend? Rock hard muscles bulge against his designer suit. When he’s not freeing predators back into society, he must spend his time in the gym. Ryker squares his jaw hard enough to smooth the dimple on his chin. He’s not pleased to see me or the glare I peg him with. Still, he tilts his head in polite acknowledgment. “Olivia.” I smooth the skirt of my long white sundress and walk toward Marco, ignoring Ryker. “Do you need anything else?” Marco’s features soften as he addresses Ryker. “Sorry you had to wait, son. I was negotiating the Andrews case with opposing counsel when you first stopped in.” That explains Marco’s prior screaming and swearing. Marco is the type who prefers coercion to tact, which makes his interactions with Ryker odd. Marco smiles at him, as in, genuinely smiles. “Congratulations on the acquittal, boy,” Marco says to Ryker. “That was a hell of a job you did. Keep this up, and you’ll make junior partner within a year.” “Thank you, sir. It was a challenging case, and I was grateful for the help.” “You can have all the help you want, anytime you want it.” Marco’s smile fades. “Is something wrong? You seem upset.” “I’m fine, sir,” the leech answers. “You don’t seem fine. Would you like some coffee? Olivia would be happy to bring you a cup.” “No, she wouldn’t,” I mutter, walking toward the door. “You have fifty minutes, Marco. Take a shower.” I shut the door behind me, muffling their conversation. The glass offices may allow a full view in, but they’re soundproof, except to my sensitive ears. Marco and Ryker glance in my direction before resuming their conversation. I was rude in there, and I’m embarrassed about my behavior. There’s just something about Ryker that fires me up and puts me in a hideous mood… I freeze when I glance toward Bill MacGregor’s office. Bill is the other partner and a Fae like me. Right now, he’s in serious trouble. The very slutty and very human admin is slinking closer to him. She leans over his desk, her tiny black skirt rising and exposing her butt cheeks. Bill’s eyes widen, and he tries to scramble away. The admin doesn’t let him. She yanks him to her by his tie and stamps her lips to his. Thunder booms, shaking the thirty-story building. Lightning blankets Bill’s office in a painful blare of white light. As the light fades, so does Bill’s glamour, revealing his true form. Glistening mocha-colored skin envelops the boulder-sized muscles of the seven-foot-tall gargoyle. Dagger-length fangs, sleek and deadly, protrude from his terrifying maw as glider-sized wings expand, shadowing the terrified woman in darkness. She screams, loudly, the thick glass mercifully silencing her terror. I leap from my chair when she face-plants on Bill’s mahogany desk and call to the administrative assistant in the cubicle beside mine. “Jane, clean up in aisle five.” Jane and I are both Fae and the only staff with a front and center view of Bill’s office. We don’t get a lot of traffic on this side of the building. Everyone avoids Marco, and no one wants to risk accidentally killing Jane. Humans only see Jane’s chosen glamor, that of a ninety-year-old woman with severe osteoporosis and one awkward step shy of a broken hip. For an eight-hundred-year-old druid priestess, Jane looks damn good. Unfortunately, she is ancient, and her hearing reflects it. “Jane? Jane!” I round back when she doesn’t hear me and shake her shoulder. “Jane!” She stops her two-finger typing and blinks her tiny black eyes at me, speaking in her two-pack-a-day smoker voice. “Whhhat?” “Clean up in aisle five,” I repeat. I bolt to Bill’s office, making quick work of drawing the privacy shades. Bill is freaking out. His mammoth wings snap irritably, and his clawed hands wave in distress. “Why dith thee havvvv to kitth meeth? Goth. Damnth ith!” he hisses through his fangs. “Your glamour form is smoking hot,” I remind him. He scowls, his forked tongue dangling from his mouth. “Did you have to pick that glamour?” I ask. I motion to the picture of him standing with the governor. “You resemble a young Laurence Fishburne with a goatee.” “I lithe Lawrenth Fishburth,” he replies. I pat his arm. “Try to relax and call it back.” I draw the last shade that blocks the view into his office and stick my head out the door to check on Jane. She’s resumed her two-finger typing. On a good day, Jane can type ten words a minute. This doesn’t appear to be a good day. “Jane!” “Whhhat?” she croaks. “You’re needed in Bill’s office!” I holler. “Bring the big guns—the big guns, Jane!” The slutty admin slides off Bill’s desk and falls to the floor with a thump. She groans, her forehead crinkling. “Sheeth wakingth,” Bill says, panicking. There’s no way he can recall his glamour in this state. “Jane, haul ass, sister girl!” Jane glances over her shoulder and adjusts the black veil on her head. With the speed of molasses, she reaches for the candy cane striped wand she keeps in her pencil holder and shuffles toward us. Her black dress, two sizes too big, drags behind her tiny form. The wand looks ridiculous clutched in her spotted hand. It’s not just the red and white stripes, it’s the red plastic heart complete with ribbons decorating the tip. Still, I wouldn’t mess with Jane’s wand. Our last temp tried to take it as a joke. Following a severe case of genital herpes and a beard so thick she looked ready to swing an ax, she was never heard from again. Jane reaches Bill’s office with all the grace and speed of a snail. Unlike Bill, Jane isn’t panicked. She merely passes her wand over the admin, chanting in ancient Irish. I try to make out the spell through her deep mumbles. It rings similar to the one she used to try to restore my magic. Unlike the Fae who occupy this world, I don’t possess magic. My power and wings were ripped from me when my family and I crossed dimensions and into Earth’s realm. Although I was young, I remember the pain. The last time Jane attempted to resurrect my magic, I cried with frustration. Jane wiped my tears, speaking slowly. “You have something, Livvie,” she insisted. She smiled softly and pointed at my heart with her long, crooked finger. “What you seek is in there.” I want to believe her. My family comes from a powerful line of pixies. It’s devastating to not possess even a wisp of their strength. It’s not that I think I need magic to feel more Fae. I just want something—anything—to strike back at those who robbed me of my family. Until then, all I can do is hide beneath the veil and protection of my talisman, just like the rest of my kind. Glitter sprinkles from Jane’s wand as she shakes it over the admin’s face, freezing her in place when she abruptly wakes and tries to scream. I scoot around them and toward the large windows. “Please alter her memory, Jane, and kindly tell her to stop being such a skank— Oh, and if you could, help Bill recall his glamour. He’s having a tough time settling.” My voice trails as I peer through the window. Across the Hudson River, dark clouds crawl along the New York skyline, expanding quickly and morphing day into night. My blood chills to ice, threatening to snap my bones. Death has found us. It’s coming. It’s coming now. But why? The growing cluster of ominous clouds inks the sky. Jane stops her chanting, training her beady eyes toward the ceiling when the lights flicker. “Livvie,” she warns. My fingers find my Celtic sister knot—the talisman that hides me from Death. It’s still there. I look at Jane. Her talisman dangles from her neck. So then… Bill whirls left and right, knocking books from the shelves and sending the paperwork on his desk flying with the bat of his powerful wings. He falls to his knees when something on the floor catches his eye, the tips of his wings leaving deeps scrapes along the walls. Like a frantic cat, he scratches at the floor, trying to retrieve his broken watch. I dive for the watch, Bill’s talisman. The links snapped from his wrist when he resumed his true form, damaging the magical charge that gives the veiling spell its power. In the distance, I hear them, the cavernous roars of the Cù-Sìth death hounds, the form of Death that devoured my family. I drop the watch into his hand and cover it with my palm. It doesn’t work. With each crash of encroaching thunder, the growls intensify. The Cù-Sìth are hungry. They need a soul, and it’s Bill’s they hunt. The fluorescent bulbs explode, encasing the room in darkness. “Livvie…” Jane’s throaty voice carries fear I’ve never seen in her. “Ma-gic” My pixie eyes adjust to the darkness, only to widen when I realize what Jane is asking. She wants me to call my lost mojo. Is she crazy? Now? We’ve spent countless hours trying to summon it only to fail each time. Lightning flashes against the windows, illuminating the room. “Hurry,” Jane urges. The talisman can’t conceal Bill from Death. It knows he’s here. With sweat-soaked hands, I anchor the links around Bill’s giant fingers, searching deep within me and attempting what feels impossible. I scrunch my face, concentrating cocooning us in my aura. Emptiness is all that greets me. I hold my breath, focusing harder. The emptiness grows more pronounced. I open my eyes. Bill shakes his head, his pointy ears drooping as he motions for me to leave. Tears blur my vision. “No, Bill.” Magic or not, I won’t leave him alone to die. Thunder rattles the building, and the chorus of howls reach a mind-numbing crescendo. My eyes scan the office for something I can use to connect the links. I find a discarded roll of tape on the floor and lead Bill to it, both of us crouching low when we reach it. I snap the roll from the dispenser, careful not to lose the end. With more speed than grace, I wind the tape around the watch and secure it to Bill’s wrist. I run out of tape just as the first Cù-Sìth arrives. Tendrils of dark green smoke slink through the window and snake their way around the desk, widening and solidifying into a bear-sized hound with shaggy green fur and glowing red eyes. His long-braided tail snaps like a whip, cracking the tension-filled air while paws as big as my head scrape their long claws against the tile. Jane doesn’t move. I don’t even think she breathes. I can’t stop trembling, pleading for the good in the world to banish the hound from my sight. Like the time I was ten, my pleas go unanswered. The hound shoves his box-shaped head between Bill and me, his nose twitching until he latches onto a scent. A hungry growl vibrates through the hound’s immense chest. Slowly, he turns toward Bill, meeting him square in his eyes. Drool drips from his needle-length fangs, falling against Bill’s shoulder and sizzling like acid. He licks the air near Bill’s throat. My trembles turn into full out convulsions. He sniffs again. He’s almost on top of us. The hound’s gaze cuts to me when a small cry breaks through my quivering lips. He pauses, drawing in a deep breath and trailing his scorching ember eyes down my body. I’m certain he can sense me, until he looks past me toward the metal door where claws scrape again, and again, and again. More death hounds have arrived. The hound between us returns his attention to where Bill kneels, curling the lips of his long snout into a hideous snarl. He senses Bill’s soul and wants it for himself. He sniffs again. He knows Bill is here. Like the strike of a cobra, the hound snaps at the air, puncturing through Bill’s face. The cords of Bill’s neck strain as he struggles to contain his moans. I’m certain Bill is done for. But the magic from his talisman holds strong, veiling Bill’s presence and masking the taste of his blood. Dark blood dribbles from the hound’s fangs, staining his dark green fur. I cup my hand over my mouth as the hound withdraws and I see what remains of my friend’s face. Mangled skin dangles in flaps against Bill’s neck. It’s all I can do to keep from screaming. Talismans muffle sounds, but they have their limits, and nothing on earth will be able to silence the horror shredding my insides if I let loose. Bill’s heavy hand encases my small one. He’s trying to comfort me and encouraging me to be strong. But how can I be strong when Death has arrived to tear him apart? I jump when roars bellow behind the door. The pack of Cù-Sìth lingering outside is growing more insistent. I press my hand tighter against my mouth to stifle my sobs. It’s not right for Bill to die this way. He’s good and kind. It’s not his time. Two more hounds materialize like smoke through the door jamb, silencing my cries. These are swathed in matted white fur. They stalk around the office, growling and frantic to eat. One of them knocks into the green one as if demanding food. The green one barrels her over, perceiving her actions as a challenge. They fight like hungry beasts over a piece of meat, clawing, biting, and snarling. More hounds arrive. They prowl restlessly, sniffing for prey and ignoring the fight. The white hound never stood a chance against the green. He dominates her, driving her into the opposite wall of the large office. In one fierce move, the green hound flips over the female. He pins her to the floor and digs his fangs into her belly, tearing it open like rotting flesh. Souls spill from her gut in waves of translucent images. I recognize the faint forms of dwarves and fairies, their agonized faces pleading with me to help them. Tears spill down my face. I wish I could help. But like the rest of my kind, there’s nothing I can do except hide. The dead try to flee, except the remaining Cù-Sìth are too fast. The pack sweeps through the door like a raging fog of white and green, mauling the already damaged souls. Bill and I wrench our faces away, unable to stand the terror-filled cries and slurping noises of the feasting hounds. I steal a glance as the last of the shrieks die out, hoping they’re done. The hounds remain, raking their claws and scavenging for more. The spirits all are gone… except for one little Fae. A sprite hides trembling in the corner of Bill’s Juris Doctorate diploma. But just as I see her, so do the hounds. The Alpha who bit Bill’s face spots her first. He lunges, trampling over the others who try to intercept him. The little sprite shoots through the window, screaming in pain and fear. In streams of white and dark green smoke, the hounds give chase. I want to race after her and help. But I no longer have wings to fly nor magic to save her. My pathetic attempts to summon my power proved as much. I sniff meekly. The little sprite needs someone stronger than me. I weep in silence for the souls that will never find peace and curse all forms of Death for filling their bellies instead of carrying their charge to eternal rest. Bill and I rise carefully when the roars of the Cù-Sìth grow too faint to hear. He keeps his hand over mine until my trembling subsides and my tears stop falling, speaking kind words while his body mends his ravaged face and Jane’s enchantments repair the damage to the office. With Jane’s help, Bill recalls his glamour. The moment his resemblance of Laurence Fishburne returns, Jane goes to work on repairing his talisman as only an Ancient can. It takes time and an endless well of power to recharge damaged magic. Time Jane wouldn’t have without the makeshift band the tape provided. Forged from rare copper, gold, and silver found only in Fae and triggered by rare gemstones and diamonds from Fae mountains, talismans are a wonder. They serve to hide us and open the portals between our homeland and earth. Yet to open the portal, you must remove your talisman and risk a direct call to Death. My father took that risk, and it cost him his soul. Jane nods to Bill and lifts her wand when she finishes. He walks naked to the opposite wall tugging on links to test her work. It’s only when her magic seems to hold that the tension surrounding him eases. Bill punches a small indiscriminate button hidden in the dark mahogany paneling. Two sets of doors part, unveiling a hidden bar. He pours a large helping of Irish whiskey into a glass and downs it, and another. He then removes a pair of pants and a fresh shirt from his closet. As soon as he dresses, he pours another drink and offers it to me. “No, thank you, Bill.” “Cathasach,” Jane spits through her teeth. Bill nods. “I know.” My gaze dances between them. “What?” “The green Cù-Sìth,” he says. “The Alpha.” Bill tips back the glass, this time only taking a small hesitant sip. His hand is quivering. I didn’t notice it before. I see it now despite the shots of courage he poured down his throat. “Cathasach is the father of all the death hounds and the first to taste Life. It was he who convinced the other forms of Death to feed on the souls of the living.” He knocks back the glass, draining it of its amber fluid. “The Cù-Sìth originally carried the souls of mountain Fae into the Afterlife,” I say, my tears close to the surface. “They were peaceful. I don’t understand how they became what we saw.” Bill’s eyebrows knit tight, his anger momentarily shoving aside his fear. “It doesn’t matter what they were, only what they are, creatures who lack souls of their own with no conscience or respect for the Fae they consume. Did you see their size? They’re enormous from the plethora of spirits trapped within them. There’s no rationale. No pity. No pardon. No loyalty. Like all forms of Death, they’re selfish and their appetites insatiable. Look at how easily they turned on their own.” He pours a fresh shot and brings it to Jane. She takes a few gulps and resumes her wand waving over the admin. “Tell her she’s fired,” Bill says, his deep voice laced with resentment. Jane nods and tosses the rest of the liquor down her throat. I retrieve her glass and return it to the bar. It seems wrong to end our conversation this way, without hope or gentle words to remind us we’re safe. But this sense of safety is a momentary luxury, nothing that’s guaranteed. Even with our talismans, Death is never far away. I try to leave the office and this experience behind. Bill’s deep baritone halts my sluggish steps, keeping me in place. “Olivia, Cathasach knew you were here. The way he took you in, somehow he knew.” My response is almost robotic. “We’ve met before. I just didn’t know his name.” Jane stops chanting. Bill chokes on his next sip of whiskey. He rushes to me and grips my arms. “You met him before today?” I nod, shaking from the force of his trembles. “Twice,” I admit. The color drains from his face. “Listen to me, Olivia. Do not remove your talisman, ever,” he whispers tightly. “If you escape a hound more than once, you become more than prey, you become an obsession. He’ll want you and not stop until he finds you.” This is the last thing I need to hear. I break free and run from the room. In my haste, I slam into Ryker. I bounce off his broad torso and land hard on my ass. Shock parts my lips. Considering I’m the one sprawled on the marble tile, he seems plenty pissed. Perspiration feathers his forehead and his chest rises and falls in furious bursts. He clenches his fists, his blue eyes searing as he looms over me. By the way his imposing form takes me in, I should be terrified. Mostly, I’m baffled by his rage. I try to stand, feeling vulnerable. Before I can make it to my feet, Ryker storms away. ©Unearthed, Death Seeker #1, Cecy Robson, LLC 2019
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About Cecy Robson
Cecy Robson is an author of contemporary and new adult romance, young adult adventure, and award-winning urban fantasy. A double-nominated RITA® Finalist, Winner of the Gayle Wilson Award of Excellence, and published author of more than twenty titles, you can typically find Cecy on her laptop or stumbling blindly in search of caffeine.
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