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by Sierra Cross
(Coven of Fire, #1)
Publication date: June 15th 2017
Genres: New Adult, Urban Fantasy
I closed the door on magic long ago…the day it made me an orphan.
Ten years ago, the Coven of Fire sacrificed their lives—my mother among them—to hold off an overwhelming demonic force. Now it’s back.
As a poorly-paid bartender, how can any of this be my problem? But Callie, another orphan of that battle, swears I’m the key to reviving the coven. And there’s an incredibly sexy guardian stranded on my couch who’s promising to help me stop the demons and keep the veil between the realms standing.
One problem: I’ve never been able to use magic. Our local bad boy warlock assures me I have the talent, but even if I did, we don’t have enough witches to complete a coven. The only way to survive is to pull together this pack of magicborn misfits, who have more secrets than spells, into a makeshift coven.
Can we—three untrained witches, a sarcastic warlock, and an overly intense guardian—take back the city…before the demongate falls and the forces that killed my mother destroy us too?
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This was a fun and intriguing read, different from what I usually go for but I wanted to try something different :) I'll admit I did have to flip back and forth to the glossary quite a bit so I could follow along in certain parts, but was happy the author included it as it was quite helpful!
This Paranormal had a bit of everything: witches and warlocks as well as ghosts and demons. It was an interesting mix and I couldn't wait to finish to get to the bottom of the mystery! Alix and Matt made a good team and I enjoyed their side of the story. There's a twist in the story that had me surprised but worked well with the storyline.
I give this 4 stars!
Spells and skyscrapers. Warriors and warlocks. Coven secrets and forbidden romances. Sierra Cross lives for urban fantasy, for modern magic and the bold supernatural beings who stalk our contemporary world. Her Spelldrift universe stars kickass witches and their heroic guardians, as well as vampires, shifters, mages, Fidei, and the dark demonic forces that threaten them all.
Facebook Author Page: https://www.facebook.com/enigmaticbooks/
There Be Demons
by M.K. Theodoratus
Genre: Urban Fantasy
After her father remarries, Britt Kelly’s life becomes a cesspit. She lives in her sister’s two-bedroom tenement apartment with her mother, two brothers, and two young nephews. She starts a new high school where she knows no one. And, even when Britt thinks she’s making friends, the church where she studies in is torn down.
Then, the field commanders of The Demon Wars draft her and her friends to aid the four Gargoyle Guardians who fight the demons invading the city of Trebridge. The fate of the city hangs on Britt’s ability to lead and learn enough self-control to manipulate the natural magic of Grace. Meanwhile, she also needs to decide what to do about Cahal, her chemistry lab partner who is as strong as her and may have interests more than just protecting Trebridge.
“There Be Demons” is a continuation of M. K. Theodoratus’ urban fantasy, "Night for the Gargoyles". It tells the tale of Gillen and his team of Gargoyle Guardians as they defend Trebridge while teaching Britt and her friends – the untrained “reinforcements. Along the way, Gillen and Britt learn things about each other to make them stronger both together and alone.
Get the Short Story – Night for the Gargoyles FREE! It was the first story set in Andor and formed the inspiration for There Be Demons.
Night for the Gargoyles -- A Story Combining Magic with Reality!Gillen's dilemma. Who to fight? The Demons overrunning the city or Orvil, the rival lusting for his position.
The four gargoyles guarding Trebridge are outnumbered by a growing number of demons. Gillen, their leader, is caught between fighting Demons and the schemes of Orvil to replace him. He tries patience with the plotting Orvil and asks the Angeli for reinforcements. Will help come in time?
A free short story set in a world where reality plays with magic. Read the short story that inspired There Be Demons!
I'm one of those weird people who have always played with fantasy. Had a pretend friend by the time I was three, play acted elaborate fantasies even after I learned not to talk about them, read comic books, and discovered Oz, A. L. Merritt, Andre Norton, and Fritz Leiber before my teens.
The gears changed to include writing fantasy after the sixth grade. Until then, mysteries ala Nancy Drew were my favorites. Most of my fiction writing has been lost through the years. Must admit, though, I still have the Clue of the Clay Cats, written in the sixth and seventh grade, sitting in some file drawer.
Many fantasy worlds have entertained me since then...but I've only written in two since I started writing again, aka consistently. My main two worlds are Andor where demons prey upon humans and other supernatural events occur and the Marches of the Far Isles. My favorites, though, are my Far Isles Half-Elven, Renna, Mariah, and Kerry, where I explore the political ramifications of genetic drift on a hybrid elf/human population. Unfortunately, my Half-Elven had become a cliche by the time I completed the 600,000+ words moldering in my computer. [Which is okay. I mainly write to amuse myself.]
Currently, live with my old man and two lap-cats in Colorado. The kids have long flown the coop. Some of my favorite authors remain Alexander, Briggs, Belcher, Cooper, Croogon, Pierce, Butcher, Elkins, McCrumb, Gaiman, O'Connell, etc. etc. etc.
Oh, yes, my pubs. I've published shorter fantasy for my Half-Elven, including Troublesome Neighbors and Vengeance. Andor short stories include Night for the Gargoyles [which inspired Andor], Showdown at Crossings [prequel to There Be Demons], Doom Comes for a Sold Soul, and The Ghost in the Closet. The short stories are both free and 99c.
Why Does a Normal, Practical Person Become a Writer?
To be truthful, I don't know the answer to that question. Who knows what lights the spark in a person? It's an individual thing. Writers write and edit and edit and edit some more. It's an itch that needs to scratched by playing with words. Even pragmatic people like me succumb and never recover.
My reason for being a writer centers on my fascination with make-believe. As a three-year-old, my adventures with my imaginary playmate were so vivid, my mother named my new brother, Jerome. [He still hasn't forgiven me.]
Comic books kept my interest in make-believe alive. But I "couldn't read" in primary school. The frisky letters kept moving around in strange ways, especially when I wrote things. But I devoured comic books from Donald Duck to the Classics series. Tales from the Crypt were my favorites even though I had to hide them from my mother. I didn't tame letters enough to be comfortable with them until I was in the fifth grade.
My sixth grade teacher turned me into a writer when she gave the class an assignment to write a story. Everyone else wrote two or three pages--beginning, middle, and end. Me? I wrote an incomplete 28 page Nancy Drew pastiche called the Clue of the Clay Cats and got a "C".
The itch had bitten me. I did finish the story during the next summer and managed to type it on my mother's typewriter. The kid's librarian even said it was good, and I continued writing. Wrote other stories, some of which I even go endings on. A couple even got published in the kid's stories section of newspapers of the times. [We won't say how long ago that was.]
Don't know what I did with the results. Know I wrote bits and pieces when my kids were young. Some was fiction. But, mostly the stuff that sold was non-fiction. While working as a bookkeeper at a local newspaper, I became a serious freelancer of short non-fiction. Even wrote a weekly column that teased Reagan's policies.
This was back in the day before computers. Print ruled. I remember pounding my typewriter on the dining room table in the evenings after the kids went to bed. I wrote some bits and pieces of fiction, but mostly sold short filler articles of about 500-750 words. At the time there were lots of small special interest publications. A writer could sell first rights to one publication and reprint rights to noncompeting ones. I supplied how-tos, self-help, and humorous historical pieces. My "best-seller" was a modest proposal for getting rid of grasshoppers without pesticides but with recipes.
Around the turn of the century, I stopped writing. I was too busy working to feel the itch.
After I retired and was recovering from a serious illness, I began writing again to amuse myself. When I looked up from my computer, I had 600,000 words about how genetic drift influenced the politics of a hybrid human/elf population. The tale centered on a orphan elf with no back story before she was found in her swaddlings in a snow-covered forest. I self-published a couple Half-Elven novellas which got decent reviews, but the book I cut out of the verbiage never sold or caught an agent's interest. My son says: "There's not enough action in the book. It's all politics."
But I had been studying my craft. And wrote another series about magic and invading demons, set in an alternative universe. I published a couple of novellas set in Andor. The first book I wrote in it, There Be Demons, caught a small publisher's interest, but the venture imploded before the manuscript could be edited. While it was waiting in line, I wrote another book, On the Run, with a different protagonist.
But I thought I would give Britt and Gillen another chance. So here's There Be Demons. On the Run should come out towards the end of 2018.
In the meantime, I have about 28,000 words of outline and scribbling which may become a third book in the series, where Britt and Pillar meet to fight a demon biker gang who want to cut out a demon territory in northwest Andor.
The itch hasn't gone away with publishing one book.
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by Devyn Jayse
(Magic Runes #1)
Publication date: November 28th 2017
Genres: Adult, Urban Fantasy
Meet Carmen Rebello – Rune Witch, owner of the best magic store in Barcelona, and black sheep of her family.
When Carmen successfully removes a spell from a bewitched human, she never thought she would get ensnared in an ongoing Supernatural Bureau of Investigation case. Her life is already complicated by trying to stay hidden from her powerful family members, Carmen can’t afford the attention of joining the investigation but the SBI insist on her involvement. Add an annoying (but hot) SBI agent and her life is getting more difficult by the day. Can she help the SBI without exposing her identity?
“What are your plans for the week?” Mateu asked me.
“Nothing much. Business has been slow, so I’m thinking of giving a class.” Usually I supplemented my income by giving classes in various forms of magic. I taught runes, potion making, and other activities. Sometimes it was struggle to keep things afloat and earn enough to pay for rent, but my store served a purpose in the community and I enjoyed the work. I also liked being in charge of my own work hours. Like many of the other specialty stores in El Born, I opened and closed my store whenever I wanted. And my customers were okay with it. Most of them had my phone number and I left a note on the door for those who didn’t. If I was nearby, I could return to the store and help them with what they needed.
“Do you want me to tell the other gargoyles to talk up your services? Give you a small marketing push?”
I shook my head. “No, that's okay, I kind of need this week to prepare. I have a speaker visiting the store next week. It’s going to require a lot of coordination and work. I’ve told the local covens but I’m going to have to send out reminders.”
“Whatever you like. If you change your mind, let me know.” Mateu returned to people-watching.
To drum up work and business, I had put together a little event for witches and wizards. I had invited many of the nearby covens to sign up. I had ordered a lot of inventory and had to send out a newsletter letting them know what was in the store. I hoped that would help increase sales.
“In fact…” My voice trailed off. Mateu’s shoulders had stiffened and his body was on alert as he stared out the window. I tensed. “What's wrong?”
“Come over here,” Mateu said, still focused on whatever he saw outside the window. I walked around the counter and made my way to him. He got to his feet and stared intently at the street. As soon as I was within arm’s length of him, he asked me, “Do you see that woman?”
“Which one?” I searched among the people outside the store. Locals walked past us going about their daily lives while tourists gawked at everything they saw. Across the street was a larger group of tourists. They were focused on the tour guide who held a cane and pointed at various landmarks around them.
“The one in the red T-shirt. She’s part of the group.”
I resumed my search and spotted the woman he was talking about. She stood across the street, her body turned away from us. She gestured at the same buildings the tour guide did and talked to her companion who appeared to be bored from the restless way her head darted around looking at anything but the building in question.
“Yes? What about her?” Before the words had left my mouth, the woman turned slightly towards us and I immediately saw the problem.
A mark over her eye pulsed with a faint blue glow.
“Do you think she knows someone’s cast a spell on her?” Mateu asked me.
$25 Amazon gift card and ebook copy of MAGIC RUNES
Devyn Jayse is the author of the Dare Valari and Magic Runes series.
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by Brian James
Genre: Urban Fantasy
About the Book:
The Viking gods have been banished from Asgard by Odin. Today they make the best of life on Earth. Thor is a professional athlete, Freya a prostitute, and Loki sells cheap products on QVC. Lurking in the background of their lives is a prophecy; one that declares that their time is at an end. Ragnarok is about to throw the gods into a state of civil war and the one who controls the hammer of Thor may be able to change the arc of destiny.
FREYAFreya tore up the letter and threw it away. She had moved from Michigan to New York to get away from Odin’s harassment. Apparently she hadn’t moved far enough away as this was the third letter he had sent to her in a week. Well, not exactly Odin. His pet sycophant, Simmons, was the one pestering her through the mail. Apparently the bastard wouldn’t take no for an answer. That or he was afraid of what Odin would do to him if he did. Either way it wasn’t her problem and she just wished he would go away. She had enough trouble with creditors constantly chasing her. She didn’t need Odin on her back again. The envelope that the letter came in was sitting on her makeup stand. She tore it to pieces with the same enthusiasm that she destroyed the letter. With that done Freya turned back toward the mirror as the pieces settled in the garbage can amongst the candy bar wrappers and discarded pasties.
She checked her makeup one last time, and teased her amber hair into something that would look appropriate on Sunset Strip or Spring Break in Daytona.
“Just a little more blush...” she said as reached for the brush.
Her high, Nordic cheekbones were one of her most striking features—she wanted to make sure they got the notice they deserved. She then adjusted the bra that held her other “most striking features” in place, checked her stockings for runs, and snapped the elastic around her thigh. She was satisfied with the fit. Sexy could quickly descend to comical if the wardrobe fell apart before its time. Janet Jackson had proven that.
With her pre-flight done the goddess stood up and checked her outfit in the mirror one last time to make sure that Victoria was truly keeping her secrets (at least until someone paid to see them). Once satisfied that she looked perfect, Freya walked out of the dressing room and toward the stage.
She could hear the music from the other side of the door. The voice of Celine Dion came crashing through the wall that separated the rooms from the stage. Freya shook her head and wondered how people could listen to that sentimental garbage. The song was dripping with so much cavity-inducing sap that it should only be played after a disclaimer from the American Dental Association.
Just as Freya was grabbing her throat in a mock, retching motion, the song ended. She composed herself during a moment of silence as the DJ cued up her music. The quiet was shattered by the deep resonant sounds of a very large bell as Freya burst through the door, hips swaying to the ringing and the wild guitar notes. Hot stage lights reflected off her snow-white skin as she wove a hypnotic spell with her dance. She seduced the crowd with graceful athleticism, unbridled sensuality, and a transcendent beauty that most couldn’t describe without having to wipe away a tear of joy. She was the Goddess of Love, turning the crude, bludgeoning sounds of Metallica’s, “For Whom the Bell Tolls” into a celebration of the erotic.
By comparison to her, the other girls were Clydesdales. They would gracelessly clomp around the stage, taking off their underwear for the scraps from the audience’s wallets. Freya didn’t play the “lingerie for loot” game with the bachelor party crowd—she didn't have to. She was probably the only stripper in the free world who could leave her audience feeling emotionally spent with only the poetry of her movement. No actual stripping was necessary for her to be the club’s top draw.
Her dance ended in the usual shower of dollar bills. She bent over in the most provocative ways possible to pick up the tens and twenties, arching her back while lowering herself towards the money. Once she had collected a couple thousand dollars’ worth of other people’s hard earned cash she blew a kiss back over her shoulder and headed backstage.
In the dressing room she pulled on her robe and ignored the catty looks of hatred from the other jealous dancers. She stuffed the wad of bills into a high-end wristlet purse and enjoyed a few quiet moments with a bottle of water and her thoughts. She poured some low-calorie energy powder into her drink. It turned the water purple but obstinately refused to taste like grapes. She looked into the bottle and wondered if the combination of chemicals that went into making her “not grape” drink had any real energy boosting effects on the physiology of a goddess. After a few moments of this train of thought she decided that she didn't want to know; if she was going to get through the rest of the night on placebo power, that would have to be good enough. She finished her drink, tossed her robe into a corner, and went out to work the room.
Freya ignored most of the men in the place. She already had as much of the cash as she was going to get out of the club’s working class customers. She was on the hunt for bigger prey. Even though she was a goddess, Freya didn't allow herself the illusion that she wasn't a prostitute. That ship had sailed eons ago when she traded sex with four disgusting dwarves for a piece of jewelry. The Necklace of the Brisings was an indescribably beautiful, almost magical, work of gold and jewels, but it still took an act of prostitution to get it. She never saw herself the same after that.
At work, Freya would find the guy with the biggest wallet in the room, slide into a seat next to him and turn on the charm. She would let them talk about themselves and feign interest in their stories. She would giggle at all the proper moments and whisper into their ears how sexy she thought each one of them was. Once the goddess had the man hooked she would lure him away for a private dance.
Most of her customers didn't look like Brad Pitt or Gerard Butler so acting attracted was a bit of a chore for her. As she performed privately for one of these men she would do her best to find something about that person (no matter how disgusting, fat, ugly, or smelly) that she found attractive. It was on this single trait that she would focus while going through the close quarters act of a lap dance. If the night was right, and the money was big enough, she would offer other services to him. Prostituting herself was something that disgusted her tremendously; their sweaty hands touching her all over...with their smelly, hairy bodies on top of her…these were things she could do without. Their money though, that was another issue altogether.
Freya had never learned to live within her means. In fact, the very concept of a budget seemed about as alien to her as the space shuttle controls would be to a three-toed sloth. Budgetary issues and her desires were often at odds because it seemed hardwired into her DNA to want the best of everything. And as anyone who has ever been shoe shopping at Alexander McQueen knows, “the best” usually has a fairly hefty price tag. The gold and diamonds she wore were, of course, real. Her finger was adorned with a ring that had a fluted platinum band and a single massive diamond. The sheer size of the stone was a gaudy distraction from the artful cut of the rock and the aesthetics of the setting.
There was a time when she also owned a car—a bright red Aston Martin. Once again, it was a car of the highest quality. Unfortunately, she never really did get the hang of driving. Five cats, one skunk, three homeless people, a deer, and one congressman later, the police deemed her to be unsafe at any speed. To her credit, when they did eventually drag her into court on a vehicular manslaughter charge for the death of the unfortunate congressman, she left her lawyer behind, spent three hours in the judge’s chambers “negotiating,” and managed to successfully plea bargain down to a charge of speeding. The state took away her license for ninety days and the judge's relations with her raised the bar for what he considered really good sex. His marriage was never quite the same and he eventually went into a deep depression. Three months later, on a brisk October morning, the judge shot himself in the head. He left a suicide note that mentioned extreme sexual frustration. He also named Freya as his sole heir. To this day his last will and testament is possibly the most contested legal document in the history of New York.
Freya had become accustomed to a very high standard of living. Back in the old days, when she was worshipped as a goddess, maintaining this standard was easy. Everything was simply provided for her by the people who loved her and the gods who lusted after her. Living in modern America just wasn’t that easy. For Freya to live the type of life she was accustomed to required money and lots of it. For her entire existence, Freya’s only marketable commodity had been her beauty. In the early days it was enough to just be beautiful. Only once did she have to exchange sexual favors for something she desired. The world had changed since that time and now her day-to-day livelihood depended on the money she was given for her sexual prowess. Every time she would sell herself to another man she felt less like an object of worship and more like a piece of recreational equipment. Freya was no longer the unattainable goddess; she was a pricey toy for rich men. For however long it took the guy to complete the act…she belonged to him—a possession.
It was after two in the morning when Freya left the club. She didn’t go home immediately. It was her habit to walk the streets until sunrise after a night of trading her dignity for cash. She enjoyed the solitude. Her work clothes were wadded up in her bag as she traded the lingerie and stockings for baggy fitting jeans and an oversized Red Wings jersey. Her hair was wadded up in a tight bun and covered with a scarf that tied under her chin. Any traces of makeup were scrubbed off her face. This walk was something best done in privacy so she dressed in a manner that would almost guarantee a lack of male attention.
While wandering the streets of the city Freya would fill her mind with any distracting thoughts she could muster. Events from a thousand years ago would be relived, her grocery list would be created, and new recipes for herring would be considered.
Usually by the end of this walk the feelings of shame and anger were successfully suppressed and the events at the club would be a distant memory, tucked neatly into the dark corners of her subconscious. The thousands of new dollars stuffed into her purse would be the only evidence remaining of her night’s work. Of course there was the occasional unpleasantness. A woman on the streets alone, even one dressed as sloppily as she was, would sometimes be a target for a mugger, rapist, or a John with really bad taste. On this crisp, early morning the unpleasant event drove a 1973 Dodge Dart and was offering her twenty dollars for a quick roll in the back seat.
Freya was almost fatally offended. Even at her frumpiest that offer was an insult of enormous proportions to her vanity. She aimed a disarming smile at him as he waved the bill at her from out of the driver's side window.
The undercover goddess approached his car as her slim fingers untied the knot that held her scarf on. The silk wrap fell gently to the ground and Freya undid her bun, allowing her hair fall freely about her shoulders. The amber mane shone in the light of the rising sun. The driver's mouth gaped open and white drool started to collect at the corner of his mouth. He wiped it away, smearing most of it into the dark stubble on his face. Freya walked slowly across the street to where he was. Moving almost hypnotically she seductively removed the oversized jersey. It fell to the pavement behind her as she continued toward him. The driver was beginning to sweat. He nervously ran his hand over his hairless scalp. This was not what he expected. Under the scarf and baggy clothes Freya was every dream he had ever had of a woman come to life. Dreams didn’t hide under hockey jerseys and walk the alleys in the early morning hours like cheap whores, did they? He couldn’t tear his eyes away from her. When she arrived at his open window he pulled the twenty-dollar bill back inside his Dart. Freya opened the car door and knelt down in front of him. She ran her fingertips along the length of his arm. He was now completely soaked in sweat.
The T-shirt he wore clung to him as if it was spray-painted on. Self-consciously he sucked his belly in, hoping she would not notice the rolls of fat lopping over his belt. Freya touched his neck and cupped the back of his head in her hand.
“What’s your name?” she said with a light and disarming grin upon her face. A gurgling noise from his throat was the only reply he could make. The more she touched him...spoke to him, the more obvious it was that he was completely intimidated by her. Freya’s touch felt like silk against his skin. She smelled like rose blossoms in spring. The sheer aura of perfection that surrounded this woman had him scared out of his socks.
“Was there something you wanted from me?” Freya whispered into his ear. Her lips brushed against his cheek and he went weak at her touch. He took a deep breath as his head fell back into her hand. Unconsciously, he raised the twenty-dollar bill to her. She took it from him and began to gently kiss his arm. The Goddess grimaced at the taste. It was like dirt, salt, and bile all at once but she remained composed.
“Do you want me to have this?” she asked.
Speech was now almost impossible for him. All he could do was wheeze, “yes,” and nod.
“Mmmmm…thank you for the money, sweetie. You are as generous as you are handsome,” she cooed into his ear. Freya took his hand and placed it upon her breast.
“Was there something you would like me to do in return? Perhaps...” she let his fingers wander across her chest as she spoke.
He began to nod more wildly as she moved his hand down her stomach and between her legs. Desire and anticipation were starting to overpower his sense of fear and inadequacy.
“Ohhhhhh, so that is what you want to buy from me. Baby, I just had to be sure.” Her voice was like honey as she spoke these words. She looked side to side very cautiously and then ran her hand up his shirt. He closed his eyes and felt his whole world go warm as she touched him. Then, without warning he was blinded by a flash of extreme pain. He shuddered as life left his body. Freya covered his mouth with her free hand to keep the man quiet but the driver was dead before he had a chance to scream.
Moments later Freya sat on the pavement, her back against the rear bumper of the Dart. She wiped as much blood off her hands and body as she could with her scarf. It was still early so it would be at least an hour before anyone discovered the body. The papers were going to have a field day with this one. It isn’t often that a man is found with his heart ripped out and lying in the seat next to him. Stuffing the twenty into his mouth would have been poetic justice for the insult, but money is money. She put it in her purse instead...along with the other four hundred dollars she found in his wallet.
Freya slipped the jersey back on. It was a deep red in color so any blood that she got on it wouldn’t show. She got up and made her way to the nearest corner, leaving the alley as quickly as she could. From there she waited for a cab to pass. With a weary wave at the yellow car she hailed her ride home. She was tired and a little stressed as she got into the taxi. Her thoughts were so focused on a warm bath and the comfort of her Manhattan apartment that she completely overlooked the strange mist that had filled the alley where her victim lay dead.
About the Author:
Brian makes his home in Michigan safely out of bullet range of Detroit. His work has appeared in the Detroit Free Press, World Poker Tour magazine, Classic Rock magazine, and too many websites to list without petitioning the good people at Amazon to expand the biography word count limits.
Brian often brings his love of mythology into his writing. He enjoys the act of taking characters created during the "Bring out your dead", plague ridden days of the dark ages and placing them in our modern world.
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