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Dark Arts and a Daiquiri
“This is really nice,” I gushed, unconcerned by the apartment’s lackluster finishes. Beggars couldn’t be choosers, and having spent the last ten months sleeping on my brother’s sofa, I was ready to overlook anything less than holes in the walls.
Which, unfortunately, had been included in all the apartments we’d viewed so far, along with complimentary mold, cockroaches, and suspicious odors. That wasn’t including the batshit crazy landlords. Did normal people not dabble in real estate investment, or did all the well-adjusted landlords have tenants already?
“It’s clean,” Sin observed. “Running water. Heat. Wait, does it have heat? It’s cold in here.”
“Well, it is a basement.” I flapped my printout. “It says all utilities are included in the rent. How sweet is that?”
Sin wrinkled her nose suspiciously. “It’s too cheap. There’s got to be something wrong with it.”
“Maybe there’s a hobo living in the crawlspace.” I pointed at a half-height door tucked in a corner of the living room. “That’s a crawlspace, right?”
We crossed the room and I crouched at the door, Sin leaning over my shoulder. I pulled it open. Inside was nothing but impenetrable darkness.
“Use your phone’s flashlight,” Sin suggested. “There must be a light switch or—”
Chill air whispered over my skin and all the hair on my body stood on end—then arctic wind blasted me in the face.
I recoiled, crashing into Sin’s legs. She landed on her ass as the wind howled out of the crawlspace, whipping dust through the room. My printouts went flying and we scrambled backward on our butts with the papers spiraling toward the ceiling.
The darkness in the crawlspace leaked out from the doorway and pooled on the floor like ink. Shadows writhed and something pale materialized in the threshold—a skeletal woman on her hands and knees, toothless mouth gaping, empty eye sockets dribbling black blood.
I took one look at the moaning specter and screamed like the sissy girl that I am.
Sin let out her own terrified shriek as the ghostly woman dragged herself out of the crawlspace, her long hair trailing on the floor. She stretched a hand toward us, blackened fingers curled like claws, and icy gusts lashed at our faces. Still screaming, Sin grabbed my arm, her fingernails digging into my skin. Sharp pain cut through my panic.
I jammed my hand into my pocket and whipped out my trump card—yes, a literal card.
My trusty Queen of Spades was more than it appeared: a sorcerer’s artifact embedded with a spell that reflected magic. Was there any magic here to rebound? I had no idea. Would it work on a ghost? Also no idea. I wasn’t a sorcerer. I was a crime-of-convenience thief and I had only the vaguest notion how to use the card.
But it was the lone magical defense I had, so I thrust it at the phantom and shouted, “Ori repercutio!”
The air rippled and the gale-force wind reversed direction. It slammed into the woman, flinging her back into the crawlspace. Her head hit the door frame with a whack.
“Ow!” she squeaked.
Sin’s scream cut off. In unison, we launched to our feet. We weren’t screaming anymore, but I for one was even more freaked out. The woman was too solid to be a ghost, but holy freaking shit, that body did not belong to a living being—papery skin clinging to bones, empty sockets for eyes, stringy hair down to her knees.
The ghost woman sprang up, raising her hands like claws. “Begone from this place,” she moaned. “Begooooone … or else!”
I tilted my head toward Sin, not daring to take my eyes off the not-a-ghost. “Hey, Sin. Is that … a vampire?”
“No.” She pulled a handful of vials with colorful liquid contents out of her purse. “Not even close.”
Selecting a bottle, she dropped the others back into her bag and unscrewed the top. A hideous smell like burnt iron singed my nose.
“No!” the woman shrieked—except she didn’t sound like a woman anymore. Her voice was two octaves higher and painfully nasal. “Don’t!”
Sin held out the bottle threateningly. “Show us your real form or I’ll drench you!”
“Noooo! Go away!” The woman stomped her foot. “Stupid humans! This is my house!”
Raising her hand higher, Sin started to tip the bottle.
“Uuuuugh. Fine.” The woman threw her hands up—and her body melted. It lost solidity and shrank, then reformed into something new.
The creature was dark green with skin the waxy texture of pine needles. Even with twigs sprouting off its large head in place of hair, it barely reached my waist, and a mixture of spruce branches and pine cones hid its torso. Thin arms and legs stuck out of the twiggy mess, its hands and feet comically oversized.
Its eyes, narrowed angrily, dominated its face, the crystalline green irises unnaturally bright and entirely lacking pupils—just giant green orbs.
The creature pointed an accusing finger at us. “This is my house! Leave or I’ll turn you into bean sprouts!”
I cleared my throat. “Okay, not a vampire,” I said to Sin. “What is it?” “This,” Sin replied grimly, “is a faery.”
Title: Hold Still
Author: Arell Rivers
Genre: Rockstar Contemporary Romance
He’s a rockstar who lost his muse. She’s a graphic designer who discovers that kickstarting his imagination is the easy part...
Ozzy Martinez is smoldering.
Tatted and pierced. Everywhere.
With his sold-out Vegas residency ending, he’s scheduled to record his next album soon. Only problem? His creativity—and trust—are both MIA following a soul-crushing, deeply personal double betrayal.
McKenna James is feisty.
A Las Vegas original.
Brunette with an ever-changing shock of dyed hair.
She’s vying for a spot in a national competition that will give her the funds she desperately needs to keep her mother at home. But her contest submission hinges on new songs—from the one man whose productivity has run dry. Not to mention he embodies everything she’s vowed to leave behind.
For McKenna, he can’t be anything more than a ticket to success. For Ozzy, she’s an honest straight-shooter with a curvy body he remembers well. But then he finds himself divulging his darkest secrets. With every confession about his past, with every heart-pounding kiss, all the reasons why a romance between them can never happen fades.
Until he discovers her secret.
To have a chance at a life together, they both must learn how to HOLD STILL.
For as long as Arell Rivers can remember, she has been lost in a book. During her senior year in college, she picked up a romance novel … and instantly was hooked on the genre.
Arell started writing her first novel because the characters were screaming at her to do so. The story started coming out in her dreams and attacking her in the shower, so she took to the computer to shut them up. But they kept talking.
Born and raised in New Jersey, Arell has what some may call a “checkered past.” Prior to discovering her passion for writing romance, she practiced law, was a wedding and event planner and even dabbled in marketing. Arell lives with a very supportive husband who doesn’t care that the bed isn’t made or dinner isn’t on the table. When not in her writing cave, Arell is found making dinner in the InstantPot, working out with Shaun T or hitting the beach.
Arell is a member of the New Jersey chapter of Romance Writers of America.
The Attraction Equation
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But then…footsteps. Headed her way. She hopped away from the door and looked frantically around the room. Nope, still nowhere to hide.
Oh, God. I am so busted.
Only one day of breaking the building’s No Pets rule and now she was going to have to find her best friend another place to live.
Yep. I’m so totally screwed.
Her heart decided it wanted out of this hot mess and went for the escape hatch up her throat, but lodged there as the door opened.
Max stood there. Just Max.
They stared at each other for a long moment before she leaned to the side to peer around him. No Super lurking in the halls. No nosy neighbors. No animal control person threatening to take away the dog. They were alone.
“I took care of it,” he said.
Gina did her best to swallow her heart back into its rightful place in her chest as she stared at him. “What does that mean?”
His mouth tilted at one corner. “I didn’t dump their bodies in the river, if that’s what you’re thinking.”
Ha. Ha. Now the man was a comedian. She waited for a real answer.
Max shrugged. “I told them I tripped and fell, then I sent them on their way.”
The guy had been in the middle of yelling at her, or his silently fuming version of it. Why on earth would he cover for her?
For the second time that night, she got the distinct impression he was trying not to smile, despite how his expression didn’t change at all, other than a sardonically lifted eyebrow. Her expression must’ve reflected the combination of incredulity, relief, and suspicion that was going on inside her.
“You’re welcome, by the way,” he added.
Gina squeezed the dog close to her chest, stroking its soft fur for comfort. “Thank you,” she acknowledged belatedly.
“Your secret is safe with me…for now.”
Damn. She should’ve known her head was still on the chopping block. “What do you mean, for now?”
“I took care of it, but if you want me to keep taking care of it, I need something from you.”
Yup. Here came the axe. Gina edged away, nerves and disappointment both dogging her steps. Hottie McBlackmailer turned out to be a perv. She lifted her chin. “I’m not sleeping with you.”
Max crossed his arms, and she swallowed at the sight of defined muscles under the fine material of his shirt. “I don’t want sex.”
She stopped scooting back and eyed him, trying to determine how serious he was. “No?”
Max slammed her with a charming smile, one that softened the harsher lines of his face and had her stomach fluttering in response. However, like in the hall earlier, his blue-eyed gaze remained distant, and she didn’t quite trust that I-have-my-own-agenda light in his eyes.
“No,” he said. “I want you to pretend to be my girlfriend.”
Zee + Annmarie and Tan + Jubilee. Forever. No exceptions. They were to have the picture-perfect life together. Everything was all planned out. Jubilee was to marry Eitan and Ezekiel was to marry Annmarie. That’s how it was always supposed to be from the moment that they met. Textbook, right? Wrong. Eitan and Annmarie die in a freak accident that never should have happened, leaving the two survivors reeling. Sixteen years later, Jubilee and Zee can’t even be in the same room with each other before things begin to deteriorate. Too many memories. Too much pain. Not enough forgiveness. They’re like hellfire and holy water, and neither one of them is willing to admit that they’re wrong. Then one day things change, and all of a sudden, they’re looking at each other like maybe they aren’t each other’s enemies after all. ADD TO GOODREADS
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Title: The Scandals of Life
Series: The Working Girls Series
Author: K.L. Humphreys
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Release Date: November 14, 2018 Cover Design: Undercover Designs
Escorting was supposed to be a short-term job to pay the bills. It wasn’t meant to lead to heartache. For Stefanie Wiley, love was never in the cards—until she met James Moore.
Being an escort was taboo but falling for James was downright scandalous.
He blew through her life like a tornado, leaving a path of destruction in his wake—a path she isn’t sure she can recover from.
Second chances aren’t something Stefanie believes in, but when truths are unveiled and lies are exposed, she has to decide whether to guard her heart or take a leap of faith.
KL Humphreys lives in Ireland with the love of her life and her baby girl. In a way, the world has him to thank for her debut novel, Deadly Hunt. After years of thinking about writing the story that had been dying to get out of her head, she finally confided in her other half. He gave her all the encouragement she needed to get the story out, he has been with her every step of the way.
KL loves music, especially pop, R'n'B and rap and if she's writing you will find it playing somewhere nearby. She also loves all romance novels but of course, Romantic Suspense is her go-to genre. When she isn't writing it...it's a good bet she is curled up somewhere reading it.
Title: Spiced Holiday Kisses: A Small Town Holiday Romance Anthology
Author: Alyne Hart ~ Kara Liane ~ Harlow Layne ~ Kelsey Cheyenne ~ Larissa Gail ~ Syd Ryan
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Release Date: November 15, 2018
Authors Alyne Hart, Kara Liane, Syd Ryan, Kelsey Cheyenne, Harlow Layne and debut author Larissa Gail come together to create a sizzling collection of holiday inspired stories. Outside the weather is getting colder, but these stories have all the heat and spice you need to stay warm!
Can a focused romance novelist and a playboy bachelor survive a snowstorm when they get stuck in a hotel room together? From Alyne Hart comes a blizzard to remember and enough heat to melt your kindle.
Kara Liane delivers a camo-covered Christmas tale, sure to be sweet and spicy like a yummy candy cane. Get your boots in gear!
Watch tinsel fly when the headstrong nurse gets caught under the mistletoe with the driven administrator. Can they find holiday cheer or will they end up on the naughty list? Syd Ryan depicts a night almost too hot to handle.
Kelsey Cheyenne brings a sweet and hilarious holiday tale about two friends reconnecting. It’s Thanksgiving with the family, what could possibly go wrong?
One accident, a one-night stand, two hearts and some mistletoe. Harlow Layne shows us what happens when the ball drops on New Year’s...
One dominant rancher and one headstrong veterinarian. Get snowed in for a sizzling Christmas story by Larissa Gail that will warm you up on a cold winter night.
Multi Author Giveaway
Alyne Hart > https://www.facebook.com/alynehartnovels
Kara Liane > https://www.facebook.com/AuthorKaraLiane
Harlow Layne > https://www.facebook.com/harlowlayneauthor
Kelsey Cheyenne > https://www.facebook.com/kelseycheyenneauthor
Larissa Gail > https://www.facebook.com/larissagailauthor
Syd Ryan > https://www.facebook.com/authorsydryan
Title: Tailor Made
Author: Tasha Lewis
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Release Date: November 12, 2018
Dating, who has time for that? Between working and my art, I have room for nothing else. That is until my best friend sets me up on Tailor Made: a website where I can design the perfect guy and my dream date. Crazy? I thought so too. Until he shows up and proves me wrong. It’s supposed to be just one night of fun, but in my life, things rarely go according to plan.
Working at Tailor Made is the perfect arrangement: all the perks of dating without the commitment. Between school, two jobs and raising my sister, I don’t have time for relationships, nor the demands that come with them. Then a client books me for a night out and I know, one night will never be enough. What’s supposed to be a simple date, just a job, flips my world upside down.
Sometimes the perfect fit comes along when you least expect it.
Tasha Lewis is a romance author who grew up with her head in the clouds. Her passion for life has always kept her dreaming and moving forward. She believes in fate and is a true romantic at heart. Tasha is certain that anything can be solved with a good cup of coffee and a dog or two at your side.
When she isn’t reading, which isn’t often, she is usually working on a craft or three – she can never just stick with one. Join her on her journey of publication, crocheting and any other craft she is working on.
Today we have the blog tour for Marie Johnston’s A SHIFTER’S CLAIM. Check it out and grab your copy today!
Title: A Shifter’s Claim
Author: Marie Johnston
Genre: Paranormal Romance
About A Shifter’s Claim:A shifter without a mate is a shifter without a mind. It’s been five years since Shilo’s mate walked out on her and she’s been just a little, tiny bit unstable, a feeling that isn’t helped by the impending fight with a neighboring colony. She might not be all there, but even a crazed shifter knows waking up in a stranger’s bed hours from home to find the contacts from her pack murdered means she’s in trouble. Aimless and restless and unconcerned with anything beyond his next one-night stand, Waylon agrees to act as bodyguard for some shifter pack liaison embroiled in a power struggle. What could it hurt? He’s been aching for five years, and maybe this assignment will take his mind off all he’s lost. But when he meets his client, his world stops. It’s her. His mate. The one he left. Thanks to their history, he can’t just walk away and leave her as a target. Thanks to her instability, she can’t go home without backup. If either wants to survive the bloody present, both will have to set aside their heartbreaking past and fight for their uncertain future.
Get Your Copy Today:
A Shifter’s Claim is the first book I’ve read from Marie Johnston, and I thoroughly enjoyed it. This novel is a couple of book in on an ongoing series, but I was able to read it as a standalone.
**I will warn you, and this may be a possible spoiler, so don’t read any further if you don’t want to know …**
If you don’t like the hero and heroine with other people while they’re together but not together then this will bother you. Both main characters are with other people while broken up/separated. It’s explained in a way that makes you feel better about it, but you will get frustrated with both of them.
There’s a mystery and some angst which I loved. I read it in one day because I couldn’t put it down. I had to know what happened next. Marie Johnston created some realistic characters in a paranormal universe in which people shift to wolves.
One of my favorite parts of this shifter world was that they developed extra skills or powers. I thought that was interesting since it’s something I have only read in vampire novels. I also thought it was beautiful how the heroine’s gift was crafting and she used it to keep the culture of her people alive. That got me a little teary, and you’ll see what I mean at the end.
Overall, this is a book I would recommend to fellow PNR lovers.
About Marie Johnston:Marie Johnston is an award-winning writer of paranormal and contemporary romance, and a RITA® Finalist. Marie decided to pursue her passion for writing and traded in her lab coat for a laptop to write her first book ever, Fever Claim. She lives in the upper Midwest with her husband, four kids, and two kittens. Other than hanging out with her family, Marie enjoys reading, movie dates with her hubby, getting outside on sunny days, and the all too rare - girls' night out.
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Enter Marie’s Giveaway:a Rafflecopter giveaway
Title: On a Silent Night
Author: S.L. Sterling
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Release Date: November 6, 2018
Five years ago, I lost my best friend.
A year later, I fell in love with his wife.
That Christmas, I ran, afraid of what my feelings held.
Three years later, I still can't get her out of my mind.
So this Christmas, I've decided I am going to return to her. I just hope she'll take me back.
Five years ago, I lost my husband.
A year later, I fell in love with his best friend.
That Christmas, he left with no explanation.
Three years later, I've started over in a new town and a new relationship.
Just when I think everything is finally coming together, he shows up.
This Christmas is about to get interesting.
Grand Prize: 1 Signed Paperback Copy of On A Silent Night, 2018 Hallmark Christmas Ornament, Lindor Chocolate and Camomile Tea
10 additional winners will be chosen to receive 1 ebook copy each of A Kiss Beneath the Stars
S.L. Sterling was born and raised in southern Ontario. She now lives in Northern Ontario Canada and is married to her best friend and soul mate and their two dogs.
An avid reader all her life, S.L. Sterling dreamt of becoming an author. She decided to give writing a try after one of her favorite authors launched a course on how to write your novel. This course gave her the push she needed to put pen to paper and her debut novel "It Was Always You" was born.
When S.L. Sterling isn't writing or plotting her next novel she can be found curled up with a cup of coffee, blanket and the newest romance novel from one of her favorite authors on her e-reader. Her favorite authors include Kendall Ryan, Vi Keeland, Penelope Ward, Lauren Blakely, Alessandra Torre and Willow Winters.
In her spare time, she enjoys camping, hiking, sunny destinations, spending quality time with family and friends and of course reading.
The Broken Bows MC Book 1
by Kerri Ann
Genre: MC Romance
The Broken Bows MC Book 1.5
Forgive me Father for I have Sinned.
Oh, how I've sinned and sinned. Even my brother's pious meddling can't undo the damage I've done. As VP of the Broken Bows MC I'm content to be the devious, dark and dangerous twin.
I love to cause mayhem.
I enjoy destruction.
Truth though? I wish he was by my side. I'd do almost anything to pull him away from his flock and back to the darkness that I know resides within him.
I will do it anything.
I see their evil, their malice.
I see myself in them.
My brother and the MC want me to return to the club, though it's not my home. It never was. The church has nurtured me, settling my demons. When an attack occurs on the club their request becomes my undoing.
They use her.
She is my desire.
Scarlet is True's though I covet her.
I've fought their pull like the taught string of the bow.
Like me, a single shot will ruin everything.
Read the novella that bridges the continuation of King to Pawn. (To be read between KING and PAWN)
The Broken Bows MC Book 2
The Broken Bows MC Book 3
The King of Clubs had been laid.
He had been laid to rest.
I thought the game had been played.
I thought we were done.
The Queen had another play to make.
Her game was not done.
The Broken Bows MC brought you King, Rook and Pawn.
Delve into the Restless Souls and fall prey to the evil Queen.
Coming February 7th, 2019!!
Mother of two insanely (well trained) sarcastic men, wife to a dangerously smolder inducing grumble bunny (fireman), and friend to some amazing ladies (you know who you are). Thanks for reading, thanks for being a friend, and I look forward to meeting you in the future for drinks, danger and laughs.
Living in Northern Ontario, Canada, Kerri loves to read, travel and find new reasons to write you fantastic love stories. Remember, not all love is clean. Dark, light, angsty, sexually charged and twisted—that’s her genre.
It’s heart wrenching stories where the muse directs her. As the instrument of their lives, their stories are told piece by piece. You can hope for the good guy to win, but it won’t always happen. There's no guarantee of an HEA (happily ever after) or HFN (happy for now), because life doesn't always have those.
Enjoy the OMG's and tears. Tear your hair out, toss a book or two, because Kerri Ann wants for you to feel their pain too. As they live it, you absorb it on the pages.
Follow the tour HERE for exclusive excerpts, guest posts and a giveaway!
We are a group of authors,