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Pneuma Series Book Tour & Giveaway


Genre: Science Fiction, Supernatural Romance
Publication Date: November 13, 2015
Pages: 423
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Estelle Caldwell caused a war with her birth.
She didn’t find out until her eighteenth birthday. She was normal, or so she thought. She had regular, divorced parents that she still kept in touch, and a trio of best friends that had a bond so strong, they gave her a meaning to existence.

When her life started to unravel the truth, it started with her grandfather, Larry, giving her a special necklace the night before her birthday. Not only did it start changing her, but it showed her the truth of her past in her dreams that she couldn’t quite grasp, or accept.

pneu·ma
ˈn(y)o͞omə/
noun
the vital spirit, soul, or creative force of a person.
 

Do you know what it feels like to hold fate in your hand?
Was it fate that my whole life got turned upside down?
He was the reason I had to leave.
Making the sacrifice caused my heart to rip in two.
I wanted normalcy. I wanted my life to be my own.
But it’s nothing without the people I love, and it’s for
the people I love that I have to leave.
Fate. Please be kind.
Will he still remember me?
Will our first and last kiss be one and the same?
Please remember.
Please be with me. 

Family is tested.
Memories are everywhere.
Love is one of the biggest reliefs and hurts you can have at the same time.

Where to Buy

Free on Amazon!

“Get her out of here! Now!” Gramps commanded. They didn’t hesitate and pulled my arms the opposite direction and my feet followed as I ran with them. I looked back just as we were about to turn the corner and saw Borin stand tall and push Larry back with his heavy arms. Gramps fell to the ground.
A wave flooded through me. A wave of intense violence.
“NO!” I screamed and quickly turned back, seizing my arms away from their grasps, heading back to help Gramps. I could hear Reed and Kent’s footsteps run back after me. But I didn’t care. I was not about to leave him. He was rubbing his head as Borin stood over him, about to place a hand on him.
“Don’t you touch him!” The voice that came out of my mouth was unrecognizable. I ran to him, holding out my arms to shove him away.
My body felt unfamiliar. My feet lightweight. My arms tingled as I felt a sensation rise to my shoulders, down my forearms, and out my fingertips.
Before I could even touch Borin, he flew away from Gramps’ side and slammed into a garbage receptacle a few feet away, causing a dent with his body.

 
Genre: 
Science Fiction, Supernatural Romance
Publication Date: April 22, 2015
Pages: 392
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Follow Estelle and Reed’s journey in Book Two- Surge.

surge 
/surj/ 
noun 
1. a strong, wavelike, forward movement, rush, or sweep. 
2. a strong, swelling, wavelike volume or body of something.

Confusion.
Jealousy.
Possession.

When I find out our link isn’t complete, we have a whole other journey to discover.
Through pain, sweat, and a full out war between the planets, it is laid, not only on my shoulders, but Reeds as well.
And when I find out who Vega has captured and what he has in store for us, I am going to need everyone’s help in the process.
Can I do what I am fated to do?
Will our love survive?
Or will it be a tornado destroying everything in it’s path?

Where to Buy

Amazon

 
Genre: 
Science Fiction, Supernatural Romance
Publication Date: September 10, 2015
Pages: 355
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camatic
/ka-ma-tik/
noun
A pair of beings who have formed an unbreakable, metaphysical link. They often experience heightened levels of ESP, including telepathy, telekinesis, and remote viewing.


EARTH
 

The first place I called home .
The place I lived .
The place I fell in love . The place my family raised me. The place I formed everlasting bonds.
Can I ignore the ache in my chest when all I see through their eyes is hate and built up hostility ?
When I think I am done with one war, I have another to deal with.
Can I do this?
Will I be brave enough?
Reed gives me strength .
Earth is my home .
I will save it.

Where to Buy

Amazon


I am a Leo. Born August 10, living on the east coast. I self-published my first novel, PNEUMA, November 2014, and it’s hasn’t stopped since.
One of my biggest problems was having too much to read. Now my newfound problem; having too much to write and not enough hands to type it out. Not enough brains to put the stories together fast enough. Not enough tea or coffee to keep me awake 24/7.

So, like every normal person, I have to take it one day at a time.

My cravings for sweets keep me going, any sort of cakes (especially red velvet), pies, cookies, and ice cream.
I have a cat named Bongo-Bongo, who loves to get in my way when I’m trying to work, but is too cute for me to fight him off.
And then I have my family, specifically my husband, who puts up with my endless nights, my tapping of the keyboard, my ridiculous imagination, and yet, he always encourages me to believe in myself and follow my dreams.

Connect with Serena

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Y’Keta Book Tour & Giveaway

 
Genre: 
Epic Fantasy
Publication Date: February 12, 2017
Pages: 261
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Banished. Cast out. Powerless. Y’keta is exiled to the small village of Esquialt as his father’s punishment for his rebellious spirit. Village tradition gives him one Cycle, from spring to spring, to earn the right to stay.

The villagers have a legend about mighty beings called the Waki’tani, mythical lords of the wind and lightning who can shapeshift into human form. Y’keta knows the truth behind these stories. Could there be more to them than just tales shared around the campfire?

If Y’keta reveals what he knows to the villagers, it will tear their history and traditions apart…but sharing his secrets may be their only hope for survival when Esquialt is threatened by the brutal, ferociously destructive Utlaak.

Loosely based on the Thunderbird of North American legend, Y’keta is an epic fantasy set in an ancient world where legends walk and the Sky Road offers a way to the stars.

D’vhan held out a wrinkled hand to the dejected Kit’na. “If you agree to be honest, with yourself and with me, I will count you as one of my warriors.” Grasping Y’keta’s wrist, D’vhan pulled with surprising strength, yanking the younger man to his feet and almost tumbling him into the surf. “You have a lot to learn about our ways. It will not be easy to put your pride away and learn as an adult what you should have learned as a child; but if you are willing, I will teach.”

Y’keta grasped D’vhan’s arm, forearm to forearm in the way he’d seen other warriors in the village greet each other. “I promise,” he said, “I will try.”

The grizzled hand clapped Y’keta on the shoulder and gave him an ungentle shove towards the forest. “Let’s get back to work then, young hatchling. Laban and Ren are not far ahead of us.”

“But didn’t you say we would meet up on the beach at sundown?” Y’keta queried.

“Laban and Ren will head towards the beach for nightfall,” D’vhan agreed, “but if they found anything in the forest, I want to see it before dark.”

“You sneaky old crow,” Y’keta spluttered. “You planned this just to find out about me!” “Exactly,” D’vhan cackled, the beads sparkling in his hair as he laughed. “Be wary of old crows. We are not as quick to fight as you young hawks, but infinitely more devious.

Where to Buy

Amazon

 

 Hi, my name is Sandra Hurst, the author of the Sky Road fantasy series.
As a child growing up in England stories and legends surrounded me, I learned how important imagination was. When I was 8, we moved to northern Canada and the legends changed. Stories of the Fae and the little people were replaced by legends of the Thunderbird and stories of the woodlands. I never stood a chance. What could I be but a writer?

Growing up in Northern Alberta gave me a great love and respect for the wild lands and indigenous cultures which made its way into the worlds I create. A mythmaker at heart, I started writing poetry in middle school and graduated to epic fantasy.

Myths give us a way to interpret the world past our normal experience. To ask questions and explore answers in a larger-than-life game of ‘what if.’ We need to make room for myths and mythmakers in our fact driven world. To give space for worlds that are brighter and clearer than our own. For it is in doing so, that we have room to become more fully human.

My first book, Y’keta, is loosely based on the Thunderbird of North American legend, Y’keta is a Young Adult, high fantasy set in an ancient world where legends walk and the Sky Road offers a way to the stars.

I now live in Calgary, Alberta with my husband and son, both of whom I love dearly, and have put for sale on e-bay when their behaviour demanded it. My day to day life is a balance between my outside life as a paralegal counsellor and my inner life as an author/poet. In between, I work on courses to improve my writing, learning the Cree Language, book reviews and blogging on my website, and studying mythologies from around the world.

Connect with Sandra

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2x $20 Amazon and Signed Copy of Book

 

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Mental Damnation: Reality Book Tour & Giveaway


Genre:  Epic Dark Fantasy
Publisher: Reveal Books
Publication Date: July 17, 2012
Pages: 384
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Having her family murdered by the humans during her people’s banishment from the surface world, Krista and her only friend, Darkwing, struggle to remain alive. The pair of reptilian street scum live in their newfound home, the City of Renasence, dictated by a fascist military known as the Renasence Guard. The two find themselves at odds when Krista puts her faith in the Five Guardians’ goal of unification, while Darkwing chooses to stand with a notorious gang, the Blood Hounds, who are known for their anarchist views
This divide in their friendship forces Krista to persist on her own as the Five Guardians become crazed from an unknown disease – Mental Damnation. After their infection, the Guardians develop a bizarre interest in her, claiming they must reap her innocence for their newfound master, the Weaver.
With a military dictatorship, politically-driven gangs and their guardians infected and on a hunt for her, Krista has limited options for survival: Does she fend for her life in the City of Renascence, against menacing forces, or risk leaving everything behind and enter the uncharted realm of the underworld?

Where to Buy

Amazon

The strange male and Krista paused simultaneously, listening to the noise. Once the roar faded, the Corrupt continued to squirm. Krista suddenly realized that he was trying to crawl off of her, but his hands and feet had been cut off. Blood oozed from his limbs and smeared onto Krista. The Corrupt was essentially defenseless, so she calmed down – a little bit – and tried to work with him to get him off her.

Krista managed to roll the Corrupt to the side and he attempted to scurry away, but without hands and feet, he stumbled back to the ground whining, moving like a newborn calf.

A second male leaped from the higher rocks and landed with a heavy thud, raising dust. He threw a spear at the bleeding Corrupt. The weapon soared into the air, piercing through his victim’s skull and pinning the Corrupt to the ground.

Krista looked at the newcomer, mesmerized by his physical appearance. Muscles bulged on his shirtless torso. His skin was peach-toned, something Krista had never seen before.

What is he? she wondered, eyeing the male from his feet to his head.

The male’s five-toed feet were clad in sandals, with leather wrapped around his ankles. He wore a green kilt and several sheathed weapons strapped to his bare chest, which was marred by numerous jagged scars. His right hand had a cloth wrapped around it, and a ring flashed on his left.

He had a tail similar to Krista’s but with no scales. His brown scalp-feathers were plucked on the sides, leaving the remaining long feathers tied into a ponytail running down to his shoulder blades. Like hers, his eyes glowed, but they were bright white, not nearly as vibrant, and had green irises.

The male’s light skin and unusually flat facial structure called up flashbacks to the human raiders of Krista’s childhood.

He’s like a cross of humans and my people. I’ve never seen anything like it before!

The male walked over to the dead Corrupt and pulled his spear free from the body, then kicked it over the rocky edge. He kept his gaze on the rocks, watching the corpse fall into the fog.

Krista could hear the body tumble down the mountain, until the sound faded. Now that his back was facing her, she could see his spine was covered in light grey scales that came up to his neck. Krista was frightened by the peach-skinned male and kept motionless. She was uncertain whether he was a friend or a foe, or what she should do.

He’s going to notice me eventually. She waved nervously. “Hi.”


Konn Lavery is a Canadian horror and dark fantasy writer who is known for his Mental Damnation series. The second book, Dream, reached the Edmonton Journal’s top five selling fictional books list. He started writing fantasy stories at a very young age while being home schooled. It wasn’t until graduating college that he began professionally pursuing his work with his first release, Reality. Since then he has continued to write works of fiction ranging from fantasy to horror.

His literary work is done in the long hours of the night. By day, Konn runs his own graphic design and website development business under the title Reveal Design. These skills have been transcribed into the formatting and artwork found within his publications supporting his fascination of transmedia storytelling.

Connect with Konn

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An original and out of print Mental Damnation t-shirt (jpg attached)

A signed copy of the Mental Damnation: Reality novel

A Mental Damnation Button Pin

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The Descendant Prophecies Book Tour & Giveaway

Book 1

 
Genre: 
Urban Fantasy, Young Adult
Publication Date: October 17, 2013
Pages: 317
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***2013 InD’Tale RONE Award Finalist for YA****

Did you just see a flash of lightning across the sky on a clear sunny day?

Don’t blame Mother Nature.

Skylar Rome can’t wait to spend her last summer before college with her cousin, Kayla. Everything changes when they meet the Grand brothers. Skylar is sure she should stay away from Mason Grand, but their attraction is undeniable. Then Skylar’s life erupts into turmoil. She steps into a world where descendants of ancient gods have super powers, evil beings chase her, and questions arise about her own identity. She is running out of time and running for her life, while trying to unravel the mystery of what they want from her.

Forced into a battle set into motion long before she was born, will Skylar find the answers she seeks, or will she die trying?

Where to Buy:

**Free on all major platforms**

Amazon US | Amazon UK | iBook | Barnes & Noble | Kobo | Google Play | Audio

Book 2

 
Genre: 
Urban Fantasy, Young Adult
Publication Date: October 13, 2014
Pages: 268
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***Ms. Ting seamlessly blends classic mythology with contemporary college-life, and heightens the stakes against seemingly impossible odds. Without a doubt, this author rocks at world building! – InD’tale Magazine

A mysterious stranger enters Skylar’s inner circle, destroying her precarious peace. She begins college amid new secrets, emerging powers, fresh dangers, and a potential stepfather.

In New Olympus, a hidden dwelling place for descendants of the gods, she finally gets answers. But can she trust them? Skylar and the Grand family must work together with these descendants to discover the key to their rescue from the evolving, evil vultures of Hades.

As the threat increases, Skylar must learn to control her newfound powers and decide who to trust before it’s too late.

Where to Buy

Amazon US | Amazon UK | iBook | Barnes & Noble | Kobo | Google Play | Audio

Book 3

 
Genre: 
Urban Fantasy, Young Adult
Publication Date: March 27, 2015
Pages: 248
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Faced with an impossible choice, Skylar and the other descendants embark on a deadly quest to the underworld to confront Hades, who has been plotting to kill them all.

They discover the ancient gods are not dead, as once believed, but are instead held captive in a secret location. In order to save the world from destruction at the hands of Hephaestus, the descendants must rescue their ancestors, the gods of Olympus.

Skylar learns more about her bloodline and her powers, but there is a heavy price to pay. The darkest forces known to man are about to return to reclaim their stolen kingdom.

Where to Buy

Amazon US | Amazon UK | iBook | Barnes & Noble | Kobo | Google Play | Audio

Book 4


Genre: Urban Fantasy, Young Adult
Publication Date: June 24, 2016
Pages: 215
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Everyone is searching for Mason.

Zeus sent Hermes, and the Oracles have used their magic, with no success. A sparkle of hope arises when Eris, the goddess of Chaos, sends an invitation to her wedding engagement party. She’s holding Mason hostage, and Skylar and her friends only need permission to enter Eris’s world to rescue him.

At the party, Eris gives them one condition: In exchange for Mason, they must travel to the Land of Reverse and bring back the bottle of gold water King Midas used to wash himself free of his gift. Further chaos follows when Eris not only sets up a hunt in the Labyrinth of Crete, but makes a bargain with the Titans she rescued.

The Titans possess power more than anyone anticipated, and Cronus is hungry for revenge after his own children locked him up in Tartarus. No one is safe. Not even the humans.

Where to Buy

Amazon US | Amazon UK | iBook | Barnes & Noble | Kobo | Google Play


International Bestselling Author Mary Ting/M. Clarke resides in Southern California with her husband and two children. She enjoys oil painting and making jewelry. Writing her first novel, Crossroads Saga, happened by chance. It was a way to grieve the death of her beloved grandmother, and inspired by a dream she once had as a young girl. When she started reading new adult novels, she fell in love with the genre. It was the reason she had to write one-Something Great. Why the pen name, M Clarke? She tours with Magic Johnson Foundation to promote literacy and her children’s chapter book-No Bullies Allowed.

 

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Remnants Book Tour & Giveaway

Brandon Fisher FBI Series, Book 6
Genre: Crime, Mystery, Thriller
Publisher: Hibbert & Stiles Publishing Inc.
Publication Date: April 11, 2017
Pages: 264
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All that remains are whispers of the past…

When multiple body parts are recovered from the Little Ogeechee River in Savannah, Georgia, local law enforcement calls in FBI agent and profiler Brandon Fisher and his team to investigate. But with the remains pointing to three separate victims, this isn’t proving to be an open-and-shut case.

With no quick means of identifying the victims, building a profile of this serial killer is proving more challenging than usual. How is the killer picking these victims? Why are their limbs being severed and bodies mutilated? And what is it about them that is triggering this killer to murder?

The questions compound as the body count continues to rise, and when a torso painted blue and missing its heart is found, the case takes an even darker turn. But this is only the beginning, and these new leads draw the FBI into a creepy psychological nightmare. One thing is clear, though: the killing isn’t going to stop until they figure it all out. And they are running out of time…

**Can easily be read as a standalone!!**

Excerpt from the Prologue of Remnants (Brandon Fisher FBI series):

PERIMETER MALL, ATLANTA, GEORGIA
FRIDAY, FEBRUARY 10, 11:30 AM EASTERN

THE TIME HAD COME TO select his next victim. He had to choose carefully and perfectly—he wouldn’t get a second chance. The mall was teeming with life, and that made for a lot of eyeballs, a lot of potential witnesses. But he supposed it also helped him be more inconspicuous. People were hustling through the shopping center, interested solely in their own agendas. They wouldn’t be paying him—or what he was doing—much attention.

He was standing at the edge of the food court next to the hallway leading to the restrooms eating a gyro. The lidded and oversized garbage bin on wheels that was behind him would ensure that anyone who did notice him would just think he was a mall janitor on his lunch break.

The pitchy voice of a girl about eight hit his ears. “Daddy, I want ice cream.”

Trailing not far behind her were a man and woman holding hands. The woman was fit and blond, but his attention was on the man beside her. He was in his twenties, easily six feet tall with a solid, athletic build. He’d be strong and put up a fight. Yes, this was the one. And talk about ideal placement—he was across from the Dairy Queen.

He wiped his palms on his coveralls and took a few deep breaths. What he was about to do wasn’t because of who he was, but rather, because he had to do it.

And he had to hurry. The family was coming toward him.

“It’s almost lunchtime,” the woman said, letting go of the man’s hand.

“Daaaaaaddyyyyy.” A whiny petition.

The man looked to the woman with a smile that showcased his white teeth. “We could have ice cream for lunch?”

The little girl began to bounce. “Yeah!”

“Really, Eric?” The woman wasn’t as impressed as the girl, but under the man’s gaze she caved and smiled. “All right, but just today…”

“Thank you, Mommy!” The girl wrapped her arms around the woman’s legs but quickly let go, prancing ahead of her parents and toward the DQ counter.

“Brianna, we wash our hands first.” The woman glanced at him as she walked by and offered a reserved smile. Had she detected his interest in them?

Breathe. She thinks you work here, remember?

Smile back.

Remain calm.

Look away and act uninterested.

“Oooh,” the girl moaned but returned to her mother anyway.

“We’ll just be a minute,” the woman said.

“Hey, doesn’t Daddy have to wash his hands?” the girl asked.

Sometimes things just work out…

The woman smiled at the man. “Eric?”

“Yes, he does,” he playfully answered in the third person.

Mother and daughter headed to the restroom, the man not far behind.

It was time to get to work.

He took the last bite of his sandwich, crumpled the wrapper, and tossed it into the bin. He casually moved behind it and pushed it down the hall into the men’s room.

He put up a sign that said it was closed for cleaning and entered, positioning himself next to the door. From there, he could see his target at one of the urinals and another man washing his hands at the sink. Otherwise, it was quiet.

Just as if it was meant to be…

The stranger left the restroom without a passing glance. This left him alone with his target.

He twisted the lock on the door and then moved behind the man, who paid him no mind. He took the needle out of his pocket and plunged it into the man’s neck.

The man snapped a hand over where he’d been poked. “Hey!”

It would take a few seconds for the drug to fully kick in. He just had to stay out of the man’s way and block the exit in the meantime.

“What did you…” The man was away from the urinal now, coming toward him on unsteady legs. Both his hands went to his forehead and then it was lights-out. He collapsed on the floor.

He hurried to the bin, wheeled it over to the man’s body, and lifted him just enough to dump him inside. Once the man was in there, he lowered the lid, unlocked the restroom, collected his sign, and left.

His heart was thumping in his ears as he wheeled the bin out a back service door. Some people were milling around, but they didn’t seem curious about him. He went to his van and opened the back door. He put the ramp in place and simply wheeled the bin inside.

When he was finished, he closed the doors and headed for the driver’s seat. He wanted to hit the gas and tear out of the lot. The adrenaline surging through his system was screaming, You got away with it again, but he didn’t like to get too cocky.

Still, he did take some pride in the fact that he’d gotten what he’d come for—and it had been so, so easy.

Where to Buy

Amazon | Barnes & Noble | iTunes | Kobo | Google Play

Series Information

What to expect from the Brandon Fisher FBI series:

Profilers. Serial killers. The hunt is on. Do serial killers and the FBI fascinate you? Do you like getting inside the minds of killers, love being creeped out, sleeping with your eyes open, and feeling like you’re involved in murder investigations? Then join FBI agent and profiler Brandon Fisher and his team with the Behavioral Analysis Unit in their hunt for serial killers.

This is the perfect book series for fans of Criminal Minds, NCIS, Silence of the Lambs, Seven, Dexter, Luther, and True Crime.

Read in any order or follow the series from the beginning.

Find the series on Amazon!


CAROLYN ARNOLD is an international best-selling and award-winning author, as well as a speaker, teacher, and inspirational mentor. She has four continuing fiction series—Detective Madison Knight, Brandon Fisher FBI, McKinley Mysteries, and Matthew Connor Adventures—and has written nearly thirty books. Her genre diversity offers her readers everything from cozy to hard-boiled mysteries, and thrillers to action adventures.

Both her female detective and FBI profiler series have been praised by those in law enforcement as being accurate and entertaining, leading her to adopt the trademark: POLICE PROCEDURALS RESPECTED BY LAW ENFORCEMENT™.

Carolyn was born in a small town and enjoys spending time outdoors, but she also loves the lights of a big city. Grounded by her roots and lifted by her dreams, her overactive imagination insists that she tell her stories. Her intention is to touch the hearts of millions with her books, to entertain, inspire, and empower.

She currently lives just west of Toronto with her husband and beagle and is a member of Crime Writers of Canada.

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Paperback Copy of Violated (Brandon Fisher Series #5)

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Ahe-ey Book Tour

 
Genre: 
Fantasy, Romance
Publisher: Jamie Le Fay
Publication Date: April 26, 2017
Pages: 696
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About the Book

“A thoughtful look at empowerment for women.”

“A rollicking trip into a fantasy world complete with dragons, love and strength, and ideas that really get you thinking.”

“Highly recommended for all ages.”

Morgan is a dreamer, change maker and art lover. She is a feisty, slightly preachy, romantic feminist full of contradictions and insecurities. Morgan uncovers a world where women have the power, and where magic is no longer just a figment of her wild imagination. Sounds like a dream, but it may, in fact, turn into a nightmare.

The world of the Ahe’ey challenges and subverts her views about gender, genes, and nature versus nurture.

The strong and uninvited chemistry between her and the dashing Gabriel makes matters even more complicated. His stunning looks keep short-circuiting her rational mind.

Where to Buy

Books2Read | Amazon | Barnes & Noble | iTunes | Kobo

Editorial Reviews

“A bracing mix of emotionally and intellectually honest fantasy.” – Kirkus Reviews

“This book is a thoughtful look at empowerment for women. At the same time, it’s a rollicking trip into a fantasy world complete with dragons, love and strength, and ideas that really get you thinking. This book is highly recommended for all ages.” – HUGEOrange

“They’re flawed, real, and honest characters that can be easily related to. Ahe’ey is the kind of novel society needs to read, to create inspiration and to make people think. Ahe’ey is daring, complex, and honest. A must-read novel that tackles heavy and real topics with a mix of serious and humorous, charm and tragedy.” – Reader’s Favorite – 5 Star Review

“Ahe’ey contains a richly imagined world that raises complicated and timely questions about our own.
Jamie Le Fay’s Ahe’ey is an action-packed love story that puts forth a nuanced vision of gender stereotypes, body politics, and the dark side of seeking perfection.” – Foreword Clarion – 4 Star Review

Excerpt

“She believed in magic—the magic of places, the magic of people, the magic of coincidences, serendipity, and fortune. She enjoyed wandering through the world with the open mind and curiosity of a four-year-old child. In her world the mystical, mythical, and magical inhabited the same space and time as the ordinary and the practical. At Bethesda Terrace, she always felt close to a source of magic and creativity. It was as if she were tapping into the place where dragons, angels, gods, sorceresses, and demons came to life.”

About the Author


Jamie is an accomplished writer and speaker that focuses mainly on topics related to girlhood, feminism, gender equality, and the misrepresentation of minorities in media and marketing.

Connect with Jamie

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Shadyia Ascendant Book Tour & Giveaway


Genre: Epic Fantasy, Romance
Publication Date: Jan 1, 2017
Pages: 461
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About the Book

Forbidden Romance in an Age of Veiled Magic!

When Shadyia, a courtesan of the Silver Rose, violates the tenets of the Sisterhood, she is commanded by her madam to appease an order of vicious crusaders by seducing a powerful magician masquerading as a wealthy scholar.

Caught between an ancient conflict of Order and Chaos, Shadyia and her companions must descend beneath the Silver Rose into a labyrinth of deadly traps and shadowy guardians. For only there can she defy the crusaders who threaten her sorority and avert the prophecy of a darkness that returns to consume the world.

Excerpt

Shadyia backed away from the window and glanced at the madam and her two mistresses. Hopefully, someone would tell her what all this was about—and why she, of all the sisters, had been invited to bear witness. Sybaris knelt and loosened a stiletto sheathed in a boot. Uttering grim predictions, the raven-haired Makayla paced, gripping the sides of her black gown.
Madam Amrita turned from the window. “Ladies, please wait for me at the back doors to the audience. I’ll be with you shortly.”
They bowed and departed.
The madam gathered her dark brown hair, streaked with gray, behind her shoulders. “I believe I know why Lord Dunstan is here. He’s come for you, Sister.”
Shadyia blinked. There must be some mistake. Dunstan wasn’t one of her coins; he wasn’t any sister’s coin. The madam forbid servicing House Mienhard. No amount of silver, she often schooled them, was worth the peril of learning the secrets of the king’s house.
“For me? Why?”
“You are the favorite of Lord William Querry. This afternoon at the Diamond, the horse owned by William defeated the horse owned by Lord Dunstan. That race was very important to Dunstan, and he is furious.”
Shadyia stared hard at her madam. The ringing bells, scrambling sisters, Sybaris appearing as if she were moments from wading into battle—all this over a horse race? Then again, nobles obsessed over such things, but what had she herself to do with—
A chill seized her. Dunstan killed men who offended him, but for women he was known to pursue a different form of amusement.
“Dunstan will punish William Querry by commanding his guard to rape and beat me.”
“Correct,” Amrita said. “That is why you must hide. Don’t go to your quarters. He may know where that is. I suggest one of the storerooms beneath the kitchens. Go now and avoid the east vestibule.” She turned to leave.
Madam, wait. Mistress Sybaris said the wolfguard knows I’m here.”
Amrita stopped. “I’ll tell him you’re not,” she said over her shoulder. “I’ll tell him you are servicing a coin and are away from the palace.”
“Dunstan will never believe you over his guard. Even if he does, he’ll just choose another sister.”
Amrita faced her. “Unlikely. To beat another would fail to send the message he desires to William Querry.”
“But it would punish you for denying his wrath. Madam, this is Dunstan Mienhard. You were with me at the plaza last month. Did he strike you as a man who will just walk away on your word alone?”
She hoped her point had hammered home. Just the month before, Dunstan had accepted a challenge from a retired knight-general, a veteran of numerous campaigns and a grandfather of sixteen. The stodgy general had little choice but to demand a duel when Lord Dunstan called him a coward. Duels were a common form of entertainment for the gentry, and seldom to the death, so quite a crowd had gathered to bear witness, Amrita and Shadyia among them. They’d watched in shock as Dunstan repeatedly sliced the elderly knight-general and finished him with a piercing stab to the throat. ‘Cowards deserve no quarter,’
Dunstan had said, using a white cloth to wipe the general’s blood off his blacksteel sword.
“What is your concern?” the madam asked.
“If Dunstan has come for me,” Shadyia answered, tapping her chest, “then it is I who should deal with him.” She didn’t know exactly how she would deal with him, but another sister would not suffer in her stead.
Amrita studied her for a moment, but Shadyia couldn’t tell if her madam’s thoughts were filled with admiration or doubt. “Very well,” she said at last. “Take your place in the audience, but keep your hood low and blend in with the others. You are not to reveal yourself until I command it. Understood?”
“Yes, Madam.”
Amrita walked toward the back steps to the audience. Shadyia pulled up the hood on her short sapphire dress, dashed from the ballroom and hurried down the grand stairs to White Hall. She followed the last of her sisters into the audience and closed the doors behind her. Lanterns on hooks pooled light throughout the domed, circular chamber. Hood pulled low, Shadyia leaned against a pillar and crossed her arms above her waist. The others had taken various postures meant to distract, lure and entice, their faces partly hidden under low hoods. Red-haired Deresi, a sister from Shadyia’s own circle, looked particularly tempting as she sat on the lip of the fountain, her fingers playing in the rippling water and her legs parted just enough to tease a man’s attention.
The doors to the Welcome Hall thundered open and Lord Dunstan entered. He swept his gaze over the chamber, his hand resting on the pommel of his sword, and made for the madam’s chair. His wolfguard slammed the doors in the face their guardian sister escort, and then turned their backs to better observe their master. Dunstan halted before the single-step dais and scowled up at the statue of Luun standing protectively behind the madam’s chair. He removed his hat and cast it over the hand of the statue that held the silver rose.
Shadyia seethed. Luun was more than the sister’s patroness; she was an emblem of feminine strength and dignity—one that Dunstan had reduced to a rack for his hat.
The rear doors to the chamber opened. Chin elevated, shoulders back and one hand placed upon the other at waist-level, Madam Amrita entered with Mistress Sybaris and Mistress Makayla a few steps behind.
Lord Dunstan pivoted toward the approaching women, grasped his blacksteel longsword and tugged it within reach. Shadyia furrowed her brow. Was he actually afraid of the madam? Ah, of course. She grinned beneath her hood. His hilt-grip was meant for Sybaris. The mistress of guardians had a fearsome reputation.
Holding the hem of her elaborate pearl gown, Amrita dipped, her gaze lowered. Sybaris and Makayla did likewise.
“Lord Dunstan, you honor my house,” Amrita said, rising.
Dunstan puffed his cheeks behind a blond mustache. “That’s not saying much.” He removed his riding coat and flung it across the chair. Their backs still to the main doors, his wolfguard grinned like jackals over a fresh kill. Shadyia ground her teeth. The pig! He would not even allow the madam her place of honor.
“How may I be of service?” Amrita asked with—remarkably—no hint of outrage in her voice.
Dunstan faced her. “Service? I thought you didn’t service House Mienhard.”
“As a matter of policy, my lord.”
“Your girls suck half the cocks in Anderholm, but the king’s house isn’t good enough for them?”
“Take no offense, my lord. Even the most skilled courtesan can conceive a child. With any other house we are free to terminate the seed, but if the house that straddles a sister also sits upon the throne, this…solution…is inappropriate.”
Shadyia tensed as Dunstan took a step toward Amrita. “I am offended you think me fool enough to accept that excuse. But it is of no matter.” He addressed the room. “This policy ends tonight. I require one of your girls, the favorite of Querry’s third son, William. She goes by the name Shadyia. Bring her to my guard at once.”
“I’m sorry, my lord, but Sister Shadyia is away from the Silver Rose until tomorrow.”
Dunstan rounded on Amrita and struck her across her face. She cried out, fell back and only Sybaris’s reflexes kept her head from smacking the floor. Gasps erupted from the sisters about the chamber as Shadyia pushed against her pillar, her hands becoming fists.
Dunstan rubbed his knuckles in the palm of his hand. “Do not lie to me, whore. I know she’s here. Bring her to me at once.”
Sybaris reached back to her boot—but the madam caught her wrist. “She is not, sire. I swear it. She lies with her client, Lord Martel—”
Amrita cried out as Dunstan kicked her hip with a steel-tipped boot and reached for his sword.
Enough! Shadyia swept the hood off her gown. Amrita would not suffer on her behalf. No one would. She stepped to the center of the room. “My lord, I am here!”
The wolfguard rushed forward and seized her arms. Amrita shot her a seething look, but changed to an expression of pleading as Dunstan glared back down at her. “Mercy, Lord. She’s just a girl.”
Dunstan sneered, a look of victory in his eyes. “She’s no girl. And, from the way William boasted, he’s quite taken with her.” He turned his vulturous gaze on Shadyia and followed her curves. “But, after my men are finished, he won’t find her so attractive.”
Disgust nearly forced her to twist away, but she closed her mind to Dunstan’s words. Think. Don’t struggle. The calloused hands clamped on her biceps offered no hope for escape. What could she do?

 
Genre: 
Epic Fantasy, Romance
Publication Date: March 31, 2017
Pages: 346
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About the Book

Shadyia’s Adventure Continues!

‘I will never leave you, and I will always come for you.’
Shadyia’s vow to her lover is put to the test when the Innocenti rise and envelope the sisterhood she adores.

As the magician she aided hunts for the path to an ancient city, the new madam of the Silver Rose strives to please the evil that has promised, upon its freedom, to make her a queen.

Meanwhile, the adviser to the Innocenti prepares the final stage of his strategy to crush the faith of the old gods. He needs but a bit of magic to carry out his ultimate plan.

Magicians. Zealots. Madams. Whores. It’s all the same to he who waits within the enchanted box. Soon he will unleash his servants, and every horror of the abyss will once again consume humanity.

Excerpt

IN THE SHADOW of the Black Tower, Shadyia nudged the shoulder of the scruffy, tired woman strolling by her side. When Deresi turned her head, she offered her a spirited wave. Hello, my sweet friend. They both needed a hot bath and a good night’s rest, but that hardly mattered. Deresi was alive. They had each survived the horrors of Mirrikh’s labyrinth with whole skins and sound minds.
Deresi crossed her eyes and stuck out the tip of her tongue.
Shadyia shifted her attention to the damp street. Yes, I know. I should stop gawking at you. She couldn’t help it. Her fingers ached to get lost in the tangles of Deresi’s red curls; her ears yearned for the sounds of Deresi’s passion, and her skin craved the warmth they had not shared often enough. I almost lost you. The death they had faced during the past two days made her crave another night, like the smallest fox in a litter peering at the last quail egg. Words Shadyia had spoken that morning they lay entwined in arms, legs and blankets—the morning Deresi had pledged her love—coursed through Shadyia’s veins and spurred her heart to beat. I will never leave you, and I will always come for you. Shadyia had never made such a promise to anyone before.
She yanked her thoughts from the past and listened in on the men walking a few paces in front of her. Aaron was asking his apprentice what it had been like to hear Verthandi’s voice in his thoughts.
“I didn’t know it was his voice,” Benjamin replied. “I thought it was mine.”
Aaron swept a hand through his graying hair and narrowed his gaze at the young man. “But you had no idea how to open the tower. Didn’t it seem odd to you that these thoughts were in your head?”
Benjamin shrugged. “It does now. At the time, I thought I was just guessing, experimenting. Do this, turn that, push, pull—and then the doors opened. I couldn’t believe it.”
Shadyia seized the pommel of her blacksteel sword. She couldn’t believe Benjamin had left Janell outside while he bumbled around inside the Black Tower. Janell may be a fellow sister of the Silver Rose, but for all of Madam Amrita’s training, she was a mewling kitten lost in a rainstorm. Anderholm was no city to walk about alone, even for a veteran with a drawn sword and a stern gaze on every dark alley. Shadyia tamped down her anger. If Benjamin hadn’t opened the doors of the tower and entered, she, Deresi and Aaron would now be facing a slow death from thirst and starvation in Mirrikh’s oubliette, the place the ancient magician had used to forget people who had angered him.
Aaron led them north. They followed the smooth stones of Queen’s Way, the scrape of their footfalls the only sounds in the damp streets. Shadyia glanced around. Too quiet. Today was the second day of Samprina and so the citizens were either fasting in their homes or visiting relatives in the country, but the silence didn’t feel right. Anderholm was a city of noise. The clap of hooves, the roll of wagons, merchants bellowing over one another, armed guards hollering to clear a path for a snobbish lord on horseback, the squeal of orphaned children, the bark of dogs—chaos was the lifeblood of Anderholm. Quiet did not become the trade capitol of the northern realms.
“Here, this way.” Aaron turned them down a long alley between the Ministry of Art and a pottery warehouse. As Shadyia recalled, the alley ended at the Rum Barrel Inn near the Bridge of Swans. Aaron’s Featherquill Manor, packed with the historical books he had written over his many centuries, was a short walk up a winding road past the other mansions in the Artisan Quarter. When they arrived, he had promised to treat them to an evening of relaxing and recovering. Shadyia blew a gust through her lips at the thought. After two days and a night in the dark, twisting halls of labyrinth, pits of spikes hidden under false floors and shadow beasts that drained the life from their victims, she craved a quiet evening in Deresi’s arms more than all the gold in Anderholm. I just hope Janell made it back there without trouble.
Midway through the alley, a single-horse cart, driven by two cloaked men, rolled toward them. Shadyia and the others flattened themselves against the wall. She turned her head as it passed. Some mortified soul lay wrapped in a heavy cloth in the back of the cart. Likely the men were gravediggers on their way to—The corpse! Shadyia recognized its white boots.
“Stop that cart!”
The driver snapped his reins against the horse as Aaron grabbed the air and twisted his fist. The wheels locked and dragged until the cart screeched to a halt. The driver lashed his reins again, but the horse only reared. The men, one thin and the other large, jumped back off the bench, stepped around the wrapped figure and dropped to the street. They threw open their cloaks and pulled out a pair of long knives. Shadyia drew her blacksteel sword as she and Aaron met them halfway. Aaron twisted his hands, palms outward, and the fat one was hurled against the wall by an unseen force. The other stood dumbfounded until Shadyia knocked the knife out of his hand with a downward slash and pressed the tip of her sword under his chin.
“Over there, move,” she said, urging the driver, a man with dark lines tattooed on half his face, to stand next to his fat companion. He lifted his hands in surrender and complied.
The force holding the large man released, but Shadyia moved the tip and pricked the fleshy pouch under his chin. “Drop the knife.”
The knife clattered to the street and the fat man lifted his portly arms.
“Dee, check the cart.”
Deresi snatched the thin man’s knife off the ground and leaped into the cart. Shadyia heard her cut the ropes. She glanced down the alley to make sure no others were coming, but only Benjamin stood there, ringing his hands and looking as if he were not sure what he should do.
Silence from the cart drove Shadyia to risk a glance. Deresi was sitting back on her heels, her shoulders slumped, staring down at the person she had partly exposed beneath the cloth. “Dee, who is it? Is it Janell?”
Deresi’s mouth moved but no sound came out. “I…”
What’s wrong with her? “Dee!”
“I can’t tell!” Deresi briefly covered her lips with trembling fingers. “I think it is.”
Benjamin charged, jolting Shadyia as he passed, and leaped into the cart.
A freezing wave passed over Shadyia. Deresi couldn’t tell? She glanced at Aaron, who had remained at her side, then faced the portly man and jabbed him with the tip. “What did you do to her?”
The fat man’s jaw shuddered and a drop of blood leaked down his pouch. “She asked to join us.”
Shadyia nearly stabbed him again when Benjamin’s wail echoed along the alley. “Mentor, please help!”
Aaron rushed the cart as Shadyia coiled back her sword, daring either man to move. She glanced as Aaron further pulled open the cloth, stained dark red on the inside, to reveal a naked body. Benjamin wailed anew as Aaron placed a hand on her forehead. Deresi scooted back into the corner of the cart and stared at Janell, as motionless as one posing for a sculpture.
Benjamin sobbed. “What have they done to her?”
“She’s alive,” Aaron said.
Movement from the tattooed man caught Shadyia’s attention. His hands came down—back!—and she stabbed deep in his shoulder.
He snarled, reeled and fell against the wall, his hand over the wound. “You bitch.” He checked the blood on his fingers.“Next time it will be your eye.”
A bellow of anguish tore Shadyia from the men. Aaron fell off the cart, hit the cobbled stones hard, and rolled on the ground. Benjamin called his name and jumped down as Deresi stood high on her knees, her face pale.
Benjamin kneeled and grabbed Aaron by the shoulders. “Mentor, what’s wrong, what’s happened?”
Aaron knocked the hands away and rolled on his side, agony twisting his face. He howled and thrashed as if someone had set fire to his clothing. Shadyia glared at the men. Had they done something? No. They stood with gaping mouths and baffled stares.
His hands covering his face, Aaron seemed to bring his torment under control. He sat up and turned eyes of pure rage on Shadyia’s prisoners. “Innocenti. They mutilated her,” he said through seething gasps. “That one and that one. There was a third, but he’s not here. They raped and tortured her for hours.”
He pushed Benjamin back, rolled to his feet, and brought his hands up as if he were lifting the end of a table. The men slammed against the wall and slid up until their feet dangled.
“Vile warlock,” the tattooed one said then spat. “Fate will be your judge.”

About the Author


The Shadyia Ascendant Book Series is the kind of fantasy book I wanted to read, but could never find. Sexy, powerful, positive.
The heroes are beaten, but are never broken.
Although this is a medieval setting (more or less 15th century Renaissance), the characters don’t scratch at fleas and trug through the book ass-deap in mud and blood and disease. I’m sure all that is accurate, but I never wanted to read about it.
I wanted magic that is rare, women that are bold and beautiful, mysterious magicians with a hidden agenda, and gods that move mortals about like pieces on a chessboard. That’s the book I wanted.
I was inspired by the fantasy writer David Gemmell in terms of pace. When you read one of his books, you get your money’s worth. He won’t spend eleven chapters with this characters arguing in a castle. The term “I could never put it down” fits a Gemmell book perfectly, and it’s what I have striven to accomplish in the Shadyia Ascendant series.
Get ready for a sexy adventure you won’t soon forget!
A graduate in history, specializing in Central-European history, I’m an avid computer gamer, reader enthusiast, and teacher of English as a foreign language. I’m American and currently reside in Poland.

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Beneath the Night Book Tour & Giveaway

 
Genre: 
Paranormal Romance
Publisher: Lyrical Press
Publication Date: April 25, 2017
Pages: 192
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Sometimes survival means surrendering everything . . .
Lord Navarre Casteel wakes from a long sleep to find the vampire city he rules forever changed and his future in the hands of a mysterious beauty who offers her life for his. Fiery-haired Cat survives his feeding, fueling Navarre’s body and mind—as well as his suspicion that she is one of the Forbidden—a lethal mix of vampire and human blood. Yet that doesn’t stop the throb of Navarre’s desire, the feeling that she is destined to be his mate, to hell with consequences. . . .

A solitary fighter sworn to protect the children in her charge, Cat never expects to feel so much for Navarre in the face of his savage feeding. Which is why his offer of protection is nearly her undoing. For how can she let down her guard when she has always walked alone? But Cat has never faced an enemy like the one she faces now, never felt such a powerful need to surrender to the force of love . . .

Peace. He didn’t care for the word, didn’t believe in its existence. The concept seemed possible, and certainly desired, but he’d yet to witness it in his own life. Even when Balinese had been under Lord Navarre’s rule, the city prospering and harmonious, Devlin Savard had not been at peace. Savard glanced over his shoulder for the second time tonight. Something had him on edge. He scanned the tree line at his back. Nothing.
From where he stood, high on a hillside, the impressive château below him seemed somehow benign. Yet it concealed the entrance to Balinese, a vast underground city of vampires. The forest surrounding the château took it a step further, cloaking the stone structure from any who might wander near.
Winter was well on the way, and though snow had yet to fall, it would come soon enough. The château had been sealed and prepped months ago, and only in the last few weeks had the chill of the night permeated the ground and seeped into the city below.
Savard cocked his head slightly. A low ripple of energy in the air sent his senses on high alert, rousing survival instincts that had refused to fade over time. Someone, or something, approached.
He curled his fingers around the hilt of his sword, but then the shift in energy became substantial and settled at his right side. Heavy, like waves on the ocean. Then, though the air around him was already cold, a chilled patch of air pushed toward him.
“Report,” Savard commanded. Keir dropped out of his invisible Spirit form and appeared at Savard’s right.
“You’re damn hard to sneak up on,” Keir said, and then suddenly thinking better of his words, he raised his hands in mock surrender. “Not that I was sneaking.”
Savard nodded, but said nothing. It was best others didn’t know how Savard’s talents worked, especially when he knew of no other who possessed a similar gift. In Spirit, Keir moved with a certain high-energy fluidity, something Savard had yet to encounter in another vampire, and was easily recognizable.
Finally glancing at the man who had joined him, Savard asked, “What did you find?”
“Nothing,” Keir said, supremely confident in his own abilities.
Savard simply nodded.
“I give you the same answer every night. Seven years of nothing. You’re not paying me to say ‘nothing’ to you every night.” Keir scratched his chin, the goatee darkening his already sinister look. “You bought my loyalty.”
“Have I?”
Keir cracked a grin. “Yeah, you have.”
“Perhaps.” Savard looked over his shoulder, once again peering deep into the forest, but still finding nothing amiss. “One day your answer will change.”
“And when it does?”
“Then everything will change,” Savard said, his tone even, expectant.
Savard would have been a fool to not at least attempt to buy Keir’s loyalty, and so far it had paid off. The man was an ace in his pocket. While Savard’s own ability to travel in Spirit was extensive, Keir’s was unsurpassed.
Since the phenomenon of traveling in Spirit only seemed to surface when a vampire was caught in a fight-or-flight situation, Guardians tended to be the most likely to possess the ability. The species had lived in peace for centuries, and few had experienced even a small taste of taking Spirit.
Once the trick of walking in Spirit was learned, it was simple to duplicate, though most couldn’t advance beyond several feet in this invisible form.
Some grew physically ill should they pass through an object. The process also seemed to deplete the body so extensively that most vampires needed to feed soon after traveling in Spirit.
Not only could Keir travel great distances and pass through multiple structures with ease, he could linger in Spirit for nearly an hour. Invisible and undetectable, he was the perfect spy. Having Keir on his side had been useful, and on occasion, life-saving.
“Same time again tomorrow?” Savard asked.
Keir shook his head, smiling just a little. “And again and again.”
The radio at Savard’s hip popped with static and Steffen’s voice came through, sounding hollow as it floated away on the chilled night breeze.
“Several animals were just spooked.”
Savard searched the edge of the forest surrounding the château and saw nothing. Whatever movement Steffen noted had settled back into the safety of the trees. He gripped the radio in his hand, brought it to his lips. “Where?”
“North forest. Deer.”
The north forest was at his left, the château his right. A call concerning the north forest made him nervous. The entrance to the château, the gate, faced north. In the recent past, his Gatekeepers had occasionally reported the night going silent, or animals fleeing the woods. They’d come to associate these signs with the presence of demons.
“Damn it. If the deer are moving at this hour, then something deep in the forest disturbed them,” Savard said as he switched radio channels.
“Briona! I have Keir. I need two more Guardians at the gate. Now!”
“Already on their way!” the cheeky little half-Irish dispatcher yelled.
“Move your arse, m’lord.”

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Jen Colly is the rare case of an author who rebelled against reading assignments throughout her school years. Now she prefers reading books in a series, which has led her to writing her first paranormal romance series: The Cities Below. She will write about anything that catches her fancy, though truth be told, her weaknesses are pirates and vampires. She lives in Ohio with her supportive husband, two kids, one big fluffy dog, and four rescued cats.

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To Seduce a Stranger Book Tour & Giveaway

 
Genre: 
Historical Romance
Publisher: Lyrical Press
Publication Date: April 11, 2017
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Desire waylays the plans of a man with a mysterious past and a woman with an uncertain future, in Susanna Craig’s unforgettable series set in Georgian England.

After her much older husband dies—leaving her his fortune—Charlotte Blakemore finds herself at the mercy of her stepson, who vows to contest the will and destroy her life. With nowhere to turn and no one to help her, she embarks on an elaborate ruse—only to find herself stranded on the way to London. . .

More than twenty years in the West Indies have hardened Edward Cary, but not enough to abandon a helpless woman at a roadside inn—especially one as disarmingly beautiful as Charlotte. He takes her with him to the Gloucestershire estate he is determined to restore, though he is suspicious of every word that falls from her distractingly lush lips.

As far as Charlotte knows, Edward is nothing more than a steward, and there’s no reason to reveal his noble birth until he can right his father’s wrongs. Acting as husband and wife will keep people in the village from asking questions that neither Charlotte nor Edward are willing to answer. But the game they’re each determined to play has rules that beg to broken, when the passion between them threatens to uncover the truth—for better or worse.

The boy heard the click of the door latch, and before he could wonder who had dared to close a door that Father never allowed any- one to close but him, he heard Mrs. Henderson say, “My lady, I know it’s not my place. But that’s an ugly-looking bruise.”

When Mama had come in last evening to say goodnight, he had seen the bruise at her hairline near her temple, only partially hidden by her lace-edged cap. He could picture her slender hand rising now to shield her face from the other woman’s sight. “It’s nothing. I—I tripped and—”

“No need to make excuse, my lady. But perhaps a poultice—?”

“Oh, no, no.” She brushed the suggestion aside. She did not like anything that drew attention to her supposed clumsiness, he knew. Neither did his father.

He heard Mrs. Henderson’s footsteps cross the carpet quickly and when she spoke again, her voice was low.

“I know we mightn’t have much time to speak freely, my lady. Isn’t there anything a body can do to help you? Perhaps if Mr. Henderson spoke with his lordship?”

“Oh, God, no. Please, Mrs. Henderson. Say nothing more.”

“I will speak, my lady. I can’t do otherwise. It’s abroad in the village what’s become of your parlor maid.” His mother gave a hiccup of surprise. “You dared to speak on her behalf, I suppose.”

Someone stumbled to the sofa and sank down upon it—Mama, by the sound of it; the bulk of Mrs. Henderson soon followed. Their voices were quieter still, but now, only inches from his ear, he could not help but hear them. “I thought perhaps I could persuade him to let her stay on—in the village, of course, not here—at least until the child is born . . .”

“But he wants no evidence of his crime hereabouts?”
The sofa creaked as one of the women shifted. “What would you have me say, Mrs. Henderson? I cannot speak ill of my husband.”

“No, of course not.” Mrs. Henderson managed to sound at once wry and sympathetic. “Isn’t there somewhere you could go?”

“How could I leave my son?”

“Do you fear for his safety, then?”

Mama laughed again, but the sound was suddenly strange to him. “I fear for his life, Mrs. Henderson.” The boy crouched lower in his hiding spot, careful not to disturb the orderly ranks and files of soldiers at his feet.

“Dear God in Heaven! Do you mean—?”

“I mean that if left to his own devices, my husband will raise his son in his image. So now, while I can, I intervene. His mother’s influence may be the only stay against a violent nature.”

A violent nature? Did Mama believe he was fated to turn out like Father? People seemed to delight in telling him how he took after the man. In looks, certainly—he was big for his age, and dark where his mother was fair. Mr. Cummings insisted that must be where his quickness came from, too. Neither Latin nor algebra required much effort. But what if—the boy glanced down at the soldier still clutched in his hand—what if that is not all I have inherited?

“When he’s sent to school, however,” Mama continued, “I will leave. A visit to my sister’s—an extended holiday, we shall say.” He had never heard his mother use that tone of voice. It was something more than angry, more than stubborn.

“Oh, my lady.” Mrs. Henderson clucked her tongue. “But in the meantime . . . ?”

Mama rose to her feet and crossed to the door, opening it wide. The sudden gust of air through the room swirled the dust on the floor at his feet. A sneeze threatened, tickling deep in his nostrils, but he pinched the bridge of his nose to keep it at bay. “It was kind of you to call, Mrs. Henderson.”

The sofa protested once more as the vicar’s wife stood, and he heard her shuffle into a curtsy. “I am at your service, your ladyship.” They left, and the boy was alone again in the dusty silence. He rubbed his thumb back and forth over the figure he held, as if it were some sort of talisman. When the other boys had teased little Molly Keating about her freckles, Mr. Cummings had told him it was a gentle- man’s duty to protect a lady.

How he wished he were a pirate captain! What wouldn’t he do then to keep his mother safe? He would whisk her away across the seven seas, take her somewhere his father could not harm her again.

Alas, he had no ship, no cannon, not even a cutlass. He shoved angrily, impotently at the sewing basket, which plowed into the soldiers lining the shore, breaking their ranks. She could leave when he did, she had said. But he would not be going away to school for more than two years. Terrible things might happen in that time. If only it were in his power to leave now.

He studied the pirate’s painted face. Father was fond of saying that every Bristol merchant was a pirate at heart. And they had ships, the boy knew. He had seen them once when Mama had taken him to the harbor on an outing. If there were pirates so near as Bristol, he could run away and join them. He supposed Mama would worry about what had become of him. Mothers did worry, he knew. But she would forgive him if she were able to leave this place.

Away from his mother’s gentle guidance, he risked becoming more like his father. But what choice did he have?

His shoulders rounded under the weight of his decision, the boy began to pack up his soldiers. Perhaps his father had been right all along, for he suddenly felt far too old for such playthings. At the least, he would try very hard to be grown-up enough not to long for the day when he could come home.

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A love affair with historical romances led Susanna Craig to a degree (okay, three degrees) in literature and a career as an English professor. When she’s not teaching or writing academic essays about Jane Austen and her contemporaries, she enjoys putting her fascination with words and knowledge of the period to better use: writing Regency-era romances she hopes readers will find both smart and sexy. She makes her home among the rolling hills of Kentucky horse country, along with her historian husband, their unstoppable little girl, and a genuinely grumpy cat.

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Only A Mistress Will Do Book Tour & Giveaway

 
Genre: 
Historical Romance
Publisher: Lyrical Press
Publication Date: April 4, 2017
Pages: 286 pages
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About the Book

The man of her dreams . . . belongs to another woman.
Destitute and without friends, Violet Carlton is forced to seek employment at the House of Pleasure in London. She steels herself for her first customer and is shocked when the man rescues her instead of ravishing her. A grateful Violet cannot help but admire the handsome Viscount Trevor. But she must curb her desire for the dashing nobleman she can never have because he is already betrothed to another…

Tristan had gone to the House of Pleasure for a last bit of fun before he became a faithful married man. But when he recognizes the woman in his bed, he becomes determined to save her instead. Now, his heart wars with his head as he falls for the vulnerable courtesan. Unable to break his betrothal without a scandal, Tris resolves to find Violet proper employment or a husband of her own. Still, his arms ache for Violet, urging him to abandon propriety and sacrifice everything to be with the woman he loves…

Excerpt

Violet straightened her skirts as best she could. Suddenly stiff and self- conscious, she concentrated on putting one foot before the other until she came face to face with another obscene painting. She clenched her hands and averted her eyes.
“Turn please.”

Feeling more and more like a horse or a cow at Smithfield market, she did as she was told, hopefully with a bit more grace.

In reward, Vestry gave her a slight nod. “You speak and move as befit your station, Miss Carlton. With a little training, I suspect you will be quite popular with our patrons. I should be able to command a high price for your virginity.”

Violet’s feet tangled in the plush carpet.

The scant approval vanished as Vestry glared at her. “I assume you are intact?”

Oh, the shame. How could this woman suggest she had already lain with a man? Bitterness flooded her mouth and her chest ached with mortification. Finally, she managed a curt nod.

“Lie down on the sofa please.” “What? Why?”

“I am not fool enough to take your word, Miss Carlton.” Vestry smiled mirthlessly. “A brief inspection will allow me to assure your buyer he is indeed purchasing a virgin.”

Her cheeks heated at the humiliation this woman suggested. The cold inevitability of her situation rolled over her, engulfing her as though she was drowning beneath a relentless sea. Madame Vestry demanded almost nothing compared to the real horror awaiting her at the hands of her buyer. Still, she had chosen to live. She could no longer afford the luxury of respectability.

Vestry stood immobile, a flicker in her eyes the only hint of interest.

Steeling herself, without word or plea, Violet lay down on the disgusting sofa, raised her knees and turned her head toward the garish red satin cushion. Cool air rushed past her thighs. Hot tears slipped down her cheeks. She hadn’t wanted to cry. The time for weakness had passed.

“You may sit up now.”

Indignant, Violet sat up and raised her chin. “Are you satisfied as to my honesty now?”

“I always was, Miss Carlton.” Madame Vestry stared into Violet’s eyes, her gaze seeming to penetrate to her soul.

“Then why—”

“I needed to test your mettle.”

Rising, Violet scowled. Simply coming to this place should have shown her determination.

“Respectable women often believe they can eschew respectability to save their lives, only to find, in the end, starvation far pleasanter than immorality,” Vestry continued matter-of-factly. “You, however, I believe will do, Cassandra. Come with me.” Motioning her to follow, she headed out of the room.

“Cassandra?” Violet hurried to keep up.
“All of my girls have false names, false identities.” At the end of the hallway, they headed up a flight of stairs.

“The life they lead in the House of Pleasure is just as fraudulent. Cassandra is the mask you will wear to protect a vestige of your self-respect.” When they reached the landing, Madame twitched her silky robe out of the way and turned to her. “Think of it as a role, very like one an actress might take upon the stage. It is not who you are, unless you allow it be.” The vehemence of the last sentence rang in the cramped stairwell.

Violet stumbled back a step. “Why Cassandra?” It was a classical reference she couldn’t quite place.

A peculiar smile curled Madame Vestry’s red lips. “She was a prophet and a spoil of war. A woman men used but dismissed because they could not understand her prophecies, although they came true with a vengeance.” A fire glowed in her cunning eyes as she scrutinized Violet’s body.

More than her earlier examination, Vestry’s calculating perusal made Violet uncomfortable.

“What prophecy will you reveal to your customers, I wonder, Miss Carlton? A promise of pleasure or one of pain?” The light extinguished as quickly as it had come. “This way.” She started down a corridor to the right. “You will have a room of your own on the second floor. Depending on circumstances, you will entertain your clients either there or in one of the ground-floor rooms.”

Violet followed, each step hardening her heart.

“I will see to your training during the next week.” Passion drained from her voice. The businesswoman had returned.

A shiver shot down Violet’s spine.

“I will also inform certain special clients I have an item of interest for them.”

No going back now. She had become a whore. Tears threatened, but she beat them back.

“You can only sell your virtue once and I will make sure you receive the highest price, my dear. Half of those proceeds are yours.”

Violet wavered between fainting and nausea, then steadied. Perhaps thinking of the encounter as a business deal might make the situation tolerable. Madame Vestry showed her into a small, clean room boasting no lewd artwork, only a wide oak bed, a chest on chest, an armchair and table.

“This room is yours as long as you work for me, though should you receive a better offer, I’d advise you take it.”

“A better offer?” Who on earth would want her after this?

“Many of my girls have gone on to become exclusive mistresses to the noblemen who take a fancy to them. Such arrangements are often quite lucrative. With judicious saving one might have enough to start their life over after four or five years.” A mischievous smile flitted across Madame Vestry’s face. “One of the girls who passed through here briefly—very briefly, mind you—ended up marrying a marquess. That smacks more of fairytale than reality. Still the tale is true.”

The animation drained from her face as the brusque woman of business returned. “I will leave you to settle in, although I’ll expect you ready for your first lesson this afternoon. We serve late luncheon at four and supper after midnight. The house opens for clients at dusk.” She looked Violet up and down once more, lingering on her face. “You might want to stay in your room tonight. Just ignore anything you may hear. You’ll get used to the noise rather quickly.” Abruptly, she shut the door.

Violet dropped into the chair as her legs finally gave out, praying to God she could get through this nightmare, if only one moment at a time.

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About the Author

Jenna Jaxon is a multi-published author of historical and contemporary romance. She has been reading and writing historical romance since she was a teenager. A romantic herself, she has always loved a dark side to the genre, a twist, suspense, a surprise—so expect her to incorporate these elements into her work! She lives in Virginia with her family and a small menagerie of pets where she is currently working on the next House of Pleasure book, Only A Mistress Will Do, as well as a Regency series. When not reading or writing, she indulges her passion for the theatre, working with local theatres as a director. She often feels she is directing her characters on their own private stage when she writes. Jenna equates her writing to an addiction to chocolate—once she starts she just can’t stop!

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