I know you’ve been waiting, so here it is.
Rachel’s brother’s gone missing and behind the scenes in Las Vegas is a big place to be lost. A strange meeting at a party could lead her to finding her brother…or a mate. Chris has been hunting for his step-sister. He’s only recently taken over the werewolf Fraction and is trying to bring everyone back together and find his sibling. What he wasn’t expecting was for his search to find his mate. A dragon shifter. But can it work if she’s a dragon and he’s a werewolf?
Sleight Of Hand
Dragomir Starkov poses as an illusionist, a showman performing tricks, his Romanian accent and dark good looks all just a part of the drama. That’s how Rose Carlisle first sees him. She’s a respectable girl—she wouldn’t accept witchy birthday gifts from a demon.
But the hustle and bustle of 1912 New York City offers plenty of ways to slip around the strict old rules of propriety. A good thing, too, because once Rose meets Drago, she no longer cares about being respectable.
But the only illusion in Drago’s act is that his magic is smoke and mirrors. Every word of power he speaks is as real as Rose before him, in thrall to his lust and adoration. Drago knows about Rose’s curse, that she will die on her next birthday.
But the shadowy threat that stalks her hasn’t won her yet. If she can trust him, perhaps he can save her too…
New York City
A torrential downpour bounced off the sloping roof of the Sunshine Theater. Inside the auditorium, an eager audience sat riveted by Dragomir Starkov’s onstage presence.
Dressed in black, he moved with confidence. With his hair slicked back from a widow’s peak and his eyes drawing the crowd into his mirage, he spoke in a heavy, Romanian accent. “Ladies and gentlemen, I will now attempt something few magicians dare. I will bring a creature back to life.”
Turning to the rear of the stage, he hid his hands from view. When he faced the audience again, he presented the body of what appeared to be a dead kitten. The small animal hung limply across his open palm. Murmuring a low chant, he waved it from one side of the stage to the other. Then, with a flick of his white-gloved fingers, he urged the kitten back to life.
The small cat sat up erect and blinked in astonishment. As it let out a satisfied “meow,” it sprang to the floor.
The audience clapped wildly. In turn, Drago stepped forward. That’s when he spotted the woman he had willed to come to tonight’s show.
With an abundance of flaxen hair that swayed from a ponytail like wheat in a summer breeze, and a flawless complexion that glowed against the stage’s low-lying gaslights, the young woman’s beauty imprisoned Drago like a padlock. In the sparkle of her violet eyes he saw something amazing—a unique essence of goodness that compelled him as he often compelled
She’s even more beautiful than she was in my vision.
The girl flashed him a smile—and when it illuminated his world of darkness like a bright spotlight, the need to protect and possess her rose within him. But it didn’t matter how he felt. He was here to banish a cruel curse cast upon her when she was a baby. And if he wanted to weave his unique spell around her, he needed to hypnotize her now.
A hush fell over the theater. Clasping his hands behind his back, Drago paced the stage like a caged animal. “For my next trick, I need a female volunteer from the audience.”
Numerous hands went up. He ignored them. Once he unlaced his dark cape, he threw it into the wings. “I need a very special participant for this mystifying trick.”
Pressing his forefinger to his temple, he pretended to use his powers of telepathy. Just then, the beautiful blond girl left her seat, accompanied by her dark-haired friend. They scurried to the theater’s center aisle, apparently adverse to the thought of being called on to volunteer.
“You there!” Drago thundered.
The duo froze in their tracks and wheeled around.
Pulling on her thick, blond ponytail, Rose—her name popped into Drago’s head suddenly—blushed.
“You, my dear.” He galloped halfway down the staircase at the side of the stage and extended his hand.
“Go on, Rose!” her friend encouraged. Drago was right about her name.
Rose smoothed her gingham dress. She joined him on the shadowed staircase, then took his hand. As Drago grasped it, an alarming chill raced up his spine. And when her pink lips spread into another shy smile, he found himself completely enchanted.
Leading her to center stage he said, “Please tell the audience your name, Miss.”
“It’s Rose Carlisle.”
“Have we ever met before, Rose?”
“If you don’t mind, I’d like to tell the spectators how old you are.”
“I don’t know how you could guess that, but very well,” she replied in a sweet, clear voice.
He cleared his throat. “Today is your birthday, and you are twenty years old.” The number surfaced in his mind as surely as he knew his own birthday.
Rose’s jaw dropped open. She nodded vigorously. “How did you know?” Her friend, who had returned to her seat in the front row, mirrored her stunned expression.
Drago felt his affinity for the doe-eyed beauty grow. Yet he urged himself to be careful—and to make her feel as comfortable with him as possible.
“It doesn’t take a magician to see that you’ve attended this show without your parents’ permission,” he said. “Is that right, Miss Carlisle?”
The crowd chuckled lightly at the joke. Rose looked stunned. “I haven’t seen my parents since I was a baby. But my adoptive parents don’t know I’m here.”
“I see,” Drago remarked lightheartedly. But when he saw Rose clutching her hands together nervously, he sensed her pain ran deep.
“Have you ever been a magician’s assistant?”
“No,” Rose replied. “In fact, this is my first magic show.”
“We’ll have to make it one you’ll never forget.”
When he reached for her small, velvet hand, it trembled inside his at the suggestion.
“Promise me you won’t be anxious,” he said. “I would never allow harm to come to you.”
She slid a glance his way—and they locked eyes for what felt like an eternity.
“I’ll try not to be nervous,” she finally promised. “What do I have to do?”
“Absolutely nothing. Just close your lovely eyes and remain in one spot.”
Rose did as she was told. Drago took the opportunity to study her high cheekbones, dainty mouth, and hourglass figure. Though she was tall, her demeanor lent her a fragile air. She seemed to him a delicate, porcelain doll which could be broken easily if handled improperly.
Frowning, he tried to concentrate on performing his illusion. While Rose kept her eyes closed, he massaged the air in front of him with his fingertips. As he murmured something inaudible, he willed Rose’s feet to rise slowly off the ground.
It appeared as if someone was pulling her legs out from under her. Eventually, her torso, limbs, and head reached a plane parallel to the stage and she was levitating in space.
The crowd gasped as Drago reached for a large silver hoop. He proceeded to pass the circle back and forth over Rose’s stiff body. When he twisted and turned it in every direction, the audience gasped. The trick, which had been performed only one time before, proved it had the power to intrigue.
“Are you doing all right, Rose?” Drago asked in a gentle voice.
She nodded. Her ponytail swung toward the wooden floor.
“Excellent.” Drago passed the silver hoop to his brunette assistant, Katherine. “Ladies and gentlemen, I have a confession to make. The second half of this trick is new even to me. However, it’s something I feel bold enough to try with Miss Carlisle’s help.”
Drago’s assistant cast him an angry look. He continued on anyway. “Katherine, would
you hand me that red silk drape?” he asked.
Clearly irritated, Katherine moved to the tiny prop table in the corner. Once she passed a large cloth to Drago, he unfolded it and draped it over the length of Rose’s levitating body.
“Ladies and gentlemen,” he said in a low tone. “Making a woman levitate in midair is one thing. But what if I made her …disappear?”
He whipped off the red drape and exposed nothing but air. Men in pinstriped suits leapt to their feet and women touched their hats in astonishment.
When the audience’s enthusiastic clapping subsided, Drago removed his gloves. “Now
I’ll make our lovely Rose reappear. Just… like… that.”
Snapping his fingers loudly, he moved to a cabinet in the middle of the stage. He opened the cabinet’s door with an exaggerated gesture and there stood a pale-faced Rose. Grinning, Drago took her hand and helped her out. Together they walked to the front of the stage and were greeted with thunderous applause.
As he took one step away from Rose, Drago bowed to her as well. Her cheeks regained their color—and she looked at him as if he were the most wonderful man in the world.
Although leaving her was the last thing he desired to do, he had no choice. Drago came closer to her and pressed something into her hand. Then he mouthed the haunting words, “Wear this and come back to me.”
Rose’s hand closed around the item the handsome magician had placed in her palm. The curtain closed with a dramatic whoosh—and as she stumbled up the aisle, she unfurled her hand and stared at the object. It was a beautiful amulet that bore a silver chain and mysterious Egyptian engravings.
About the Author:
Marina Myles’s love of books began as soon as she read her first fairy tale. During her college days, she received degrees in English Literature and Communications—and enjoyed the unique experience of being a Dallas Cowboys Cheerleader.
Now that she lives under the sunny skies of Arizona, she hasn’t left her glamorous life behind completely. After all, she gets to divide her time between her loving family, her loyal Maltese, and worlds filled with fiery—but not easily attained—love affairs.
Visit her at www.marinamyles.com
What happens when monsters turn out to be real? One summer night while camping in the woods, Morgan Carter finds out in a big way. A tall mysterious stranger, Greyson Crawford, risks his life to try and save her sister from the vicious wolf attacking their camp. When he’s bitten and disappears into the night, Morgan can only assume the worst.
Greyson shows up a year later, and he’s a different animal altogether. His eye color shifts constantly and the rumble in his throat sounds more animal than human. She hasn’t any idea where he’s been all this time, but a good guess as to what he’s become.
Grey is determined not to let the darkness of his new existence affect Morgan and the little girl in her care. He hasn’t been able to stop thinking about Morgan but knows he should stay away and let her live a normal life. That’s easier said than done, though. A new danger pulls him from the shadows to keep her safe, and he’s no wolf in sheep’s clothing.
Can she accept what lurks just below his surface? More importantly, can she survive him?
Book Trailer: http://youtu.be/I2T3WCcYjKM
Grey’s arms and legs were on fire, burning from his very veins, blistering every nerve ending on the way out. Why was the pain tearing through his chest? He tried to hail the woman but nothing came out except a quiet groan. Was he dying? He arched his neck toward her sister. Her body was so mangled it was all but unrecognizable as human. The girl’s eyes were open, fixed, staring back at him. She was dead. Would he die, too? What was that thing? That monster?
Maybe this was all a dream. Maybe he still slept, back in his campsite a quarter of a mile away. He’d been sleeping there only a few minutes ago. Maybe he was just having a vivid night terror and he’d wake at any moment to the relief that this wasn’t real. The girl slid over to him, but he was already panting in pain. Fire in his blood burned him up.
Her mouth moved, but he couldn’t hear anything over the roaring in his ears. Like helicopter blades, the sound drowned out everything. Her lips were full, and when his vision blurred, he tried to focus on her face. She was beautiful. Tiny. Delicate like a hummingbird. Even through spilling tears, the moss green color of her eyes was clear and compelling.
Her voice overcame the screeching in his ears. “What’s your name?”
“Greyson,” he rasped. “Greyson Crawford.” Someone should know who he was. Notify Dad what had happened there in the woods of Enchanted Rock. “What’s yours?” It was getting so hard to breathe. He had to know. He’d leave the world on her name.
“Morgan. My name’s Morgan.”
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About the Author:
Tera Shanley writes in sub-genres that stretch from Paranormal Romance, to Historic Western Romance, to Apocalyptic (zombie) Romance. The common theme? She loves love. A self-proclaimed bookworm, she was raised in small town Texas and could often be found decorating a table at the local library. She currently lives in Dallas with her husband and two young children and when she isn’t busy running around after her family, she’s writing a new story or devouring a good book. Any spare time is dedicated to chocolate licking, rifle slinging, friend hugging, and the great outdoors.
For more information about Tera and her work, visit http://www.terashanley.com
An impossible love as divided as the world around them.
After Addison finds a nearly-dusted vampire in the garbage outside her building, her ability to stay off the supernatural world’s radar is deader than the vamp. Almost as dead as she’ll be if anyone thinks she put him there. Should she finish the job somebody else screwed up or move him somewhere humans won’t find him? To keep the Heights hidden, she may have shoved a stake into her own chest. Just when she thinks her life couldn’t possibly get any more dangerous, she finds out who he is.
As vampire king and Prime to all supernatural beings in the North American zone, Rhyse is accustomed to getting what he wants without asking. But he neither wanted nor asked to be wounded in an ambush, waking up chained to a bed with a hole in his chest. Unfortunately, he needs help to discover who tried to kill him. But worse than that, his only ally is his captor, someone unaware she has the power to destroy their entire world.
As a prophesized war brews in the Heights, Addison and Rhyse must decide which carries more risk—trusting someone who could destroy you or trusting someone who could love you?
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Addison backed up until she hit the counter. It was over. It had been over ever since those chains came off. Ever since she brought him into her apartment. Into her life.
“I saved you. I could’ve left you outside until the sun came up.”
“I imagine you wish you had.”
“Can you…can you not kill me? Just take some, but not all?”
Rhyse brushed her hair behind her shoulder and curled his fingers around the nape of her neck, whispering, “Do you trust me that much?”
“I don’t even trust you a little.” She felt the sting of tears. “I don’t want to be turned. If you drain me, let me die.”
He ran his other hand up her shoulder, to her throat and slowly closed his fingers around it. One move and her neck would break. “To drain you I would have to drink from you. And that, my pet, I will not do.”
She didn’t know what he meant but now seemed like a bad time to argue.
“Did you know what you are? How many of you exist?”
She didn’t answer. Partially because speaking required the air he was cutting off. Then his hands were gone, just like the rest of him.
Was it over?
When one of the women behind the counter moaned, Addison went to make sure they were alright.
Rhyse was on top of one of them, his fangs obviously burrowed in her neck. The woman moaned again, her legs wrapping around him. One hand clutched his shoulder and the other slapped the wall, searching for a hold.
It had to have been shock that made it impossible to look away. Or run away. The woman’s moans got louder, then crested, and her body went limp. Not in a dead way, but in an I-just-had-the-best-orgasm-of-my-life way.
Get out of here.
“Leave and they will die.” His voice stopped her after only two steps. “Stay and they will wake up from a very pleasant, very erotic dream.”
She grinded her teeth when she heard another moan. He must have moved on to the other woman. With two to feed from, there was less of a chance he would drain them, but… “Why should I trust you?”
The woman’s moans stopped and she whined, “No.”
“I do not care if you trust me,” he said. “Only that you obey me.”
“Fuck you.” But she didn’t move. “Are they alive?”
“Of course. It is against the law to kill humans.”
“Then let me go.”
“You are not human, Addison.” His voice came from just over her shoulder.
“I am. I promise. Totally human.” Somehow he’d missed the fact that seers were human, despite her telling him at least five times.
She heard the shuffling of fabric and looked down to see him wrapping his already-bloody shirt around the arm she’d cut. He tied a knot with the sleeves and pulled it tight. There was no part of this that she understood.
She sucked in a breath when he put his hands on her hipbones. Then another as they slid to her belly and down, pressing her back into him. She felt his heat and a vibration on her back as he made a sound similar to a cat’s purr but scarier. Clenching her eyes shut, she waited for death.
“You should thank them.” His voice was all sex. Dangerous, risky, awesome sex. “They just saved your life.”
They did? “Thank you,” she called out with a shaking voice. “Now that your belly’s full, how about you back off a little?”
“I should kill you, Addison.”
“I’m going to have to disagree with you about that.”
After a moment he stepped away, sighing as if he just made a really tough decision and wasn’t sure it was the right one.
“So,” she said, heading for the door, “it seems like you’re feeling better which is great. I’m really happy for you. Since you don’t need me anymore, I’m gonna go now. I’ll see you around.”
“Come to me, Addison.” His eyes were back to their original inhumanly beautiful color. Though he didn’t quite look calm, he looked satisfied.
“Come to me or I will snap your neck.”
“If you had simply brought a human to me, this all could have been avoided.”
“I was just thinking the same thing.” Total lie—she wasn’t thinking a goddamn thing besides, “Shiiiiit!”
“You and I have things to discuss, and a few memories to alter along the way back to your home.”
Damn it on many counts. “Alter or wipe?”
“Alter, of course. Although my strength has returned, wiping that many minds would still be highly taxing. I prefer to save my power for other activities.”
Like…? Nah, she didn’t want to know.
He opened the door and gestured for her to go first. Which he’d probably never done before. Minions opened doors for him and she doubted chivalry ranked high on his list of valuable traits. But she went because when you gotta go, you gotta go.
“Did you know?” he asked.
What was it with that question? “Know what? That your victims come while you feed? Yeah, I heard it happens occasionally.”
“Always. They always come while I feed. If it were possible, I would show you.”
“I just heard more proof than I wanted to, thanks.”
“I have no doubt that it would be far more enjoyable to feel you come than to hear her do it.”
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About the Author:
Lauren Stewart lives in Northern California with two of the most amazing children that the world has ever seen. She reads almost every genre so, naturally, her writing reflects that. With every book, every story, you’ll find elements of other genres–fantasy, mystery, romance, paranormal, suspense, YA, women’s literature, all with a touch of humor because what doesn’t kill us should make us laugh.
Narrowly escaping death at the hands of the Magistrate, Mira travels west, toward the coast. With three weakened human fugitives accompanying her, she searches for the mythical land of Sanctuary.
After encountering a pack of wolf shifters, headed by the charismatic—and brazen—Stryker, Mira learns that Sanctuary is real after all. Caldera Grove: home of the Otherkin. Hidden in the mouth of a dormant volcano, it has protected its residents from humans since the early days following the great cataclysm. For Mira— a vampire— Caldera Grove is a land of peace; an escape from the relentless persecution of the humans who once enslaved her, and an end to the daily struggle and bloodshed of being a gladiator.
For the humans accompanying her, Caldera Grove means death. Humans, greedy and untrustworthy creatures, are destroyed before they can penetrate its borders.
To plead her case for entry into Caldera, Mira must abandon her companions, albeit temporarily, and follow Stryker into the heart of the city. What she finds within Caldera Grove presents her with an unenviable decision between her own desires for freedom and peace, or honor and the human companions who risked it all for her.
Endowed with special powers and abilities, beyond those of mortal women, I can get the munchkin off to gymnastics, cheerleading, Girl Scouts, and swim lessons. I can put hot food on the table for dinner while assisting with homework, baths, and bedtime… And, I still find time to keep the hubby happy (nudge nudge wink wink). I can do all of this and still have time to write my novels.
Sorry… I can’t even write that with a straight face.
Lies all lies.
Here’s the reality. I’m a sleep-deprived, overworked, mom who just doesn’t know the meaning of the word balance. I try so hard to do it all, (be super mom, wife, & author) and at the end of the day I fall face forward into the couch.
Yes, you read that right, I tend to sleep on the couch. It’s a point of frustration for my hubby and a thing of comedy for my daughter. Imagine waking up to your little child yelling, “Mom slept on the couch again!!!”
Because being supermom (or trying to) means a lot of time devoted to family, writing is often done when said family is peacefully snoozing away. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve fallen asleep with my laptop, on the couch. It just happens. Then, bright and early at 7am either my hubby (on his way to work) or my daughter (getting ready for school) wakes me up.
Writing is my passion. It’s a part of me. More than just a hobby, it’s a compulsion. I have to do it. If I don’t do at least one writing related thing each day I get cranky.
Hopefully, my passion can be your entertainment!
Book Trailer: http://youtu.be/X_BfnE1kxJg
When Jasmine Graves is invited to the set of the movie based on her book series, she thinks all her dreams have come true. The Vince Demarco, the man she’s based her hero on for the past seven years, will be there and she can’t wait to meet him. Little does she know that she’ll have to face her worst fears to keep her leading man.
Vince Demarco has never been as intrigued by a character or an author before being introduced to the haunted werewolf he’s been cast to play. So when he comes face to face with its creator, Jasmine Graves, he’s awestruck. But he fears an author who’s a reported recluse will want nothing to do with the paparazzi madness and crazy shooting schedule that comes with dating a movie star.
Neither one can deny the almost animal attraction that overwhelms them at first contact. But can an author and her muse breakthrough the barriers between them, or will the heat between them turn to ice in the winter cold of the Adirondack Camp?
Oh, God, no. No, no, no. Please do not come over here! Her first meeting with Vince couldn’t be while she was face-down in a tangled heap of arms and legs. With another man, to boot. She was supposed to be breaking the ice around Vince, not her ass, damn it.
She pushed her gloved hands into the snow and tried to lever herself up. She attempted to get her knees under her, but the snowshoes were too big in the front, keeping her off balance.
“Here, let me.” Vince’s large hands closed around her arms and he lifted her as if she weighed nothing. At five-nine, and none-too-skinny, she wasn’t used to being manhandled. But when Vince set her upright, steadying her with those strong hands of his, she felt almost delicate.
His shaved head was covered with a fur-lined hood clouding his features with shadows, but she would know what he looked like in the pitch black: Dark skin, a wide-set nose, low eyebrows, and thick pink lips she’d imagined kissing a thousand times. Even within the confines of his coat, she could see the broad shoulders, the thick, corded neck, and tapered waist.
Jasmine looked into those dark eyes and forgot everything around her, even the fact that not thirty seconds ago, he’d been telling another woman he loved her.“Uh… I’m…” Coherent thought left her completely.
“Jasmine Graves.” The deep rumble of his mildly-accented voice caressed her name, sending a shiver skittering down her spine.
He knew her name? She’d entered an alternate universe where movie stars knew authors’ names, not the other way around. She nodded like a fool.
“Are you all right, Ms. Graves?”
“Jaz,” she said.
His hood slipped back, revealing that devastatingly handsome face. He looked momentarily confused, and if she didn’t know any better, she’d think his face looked as star-struck as hers felt in that moment. She blinked, trying to make sense of the situation and regain her equilibrium, but as soon as her eyes opened, they were captured again by his gaze. What did he see when he looked at her?
She’d pulled a soft multi-colored knit hat low over her ears. her long hair flowing out behind her in the wind. A rib-knit scarf covered her chin and neck. Only a bit of her face was visible in the night, but Vince’s attention didn’t waver an inch. She’d imagined this day a thousand times, a thousand ways, but this instant physical reaction hadn’t been part of the equation. He still held her arm, and he was standing closer than was necessary. But she sure as hell wasn’t going to complain.
“You’re taller than I expected.”
He’d anticipated this meeting too? Out of all the fantasies she’d ever had, his knowing who she was immediately and making some comment like that hadn’t been one of them. She swallowed. Not even in her worst bouts of writer’s block did words desert her so completely. “Thanks,” she managed to squeeze out, then remembered to smile at him and at least attempt to be flirtatious.
“For saying you’re tall?”
She laughed. “No. For picking up my sorry, klutzy ass from the snow bank.”
“Yeah, what the hell happened?” Brian asked from beside her. His voice broke the spell and Vince let go of her. The separation was like a physical blow and she shivered in the sudden coldness.
She turned her attention to Brian. “Sorry. I was… admiring the scenery. I didn’t realize you had stopped until I looked back toward the path and was nose to back with you. I couldn’t stop in time. You okay?”
“Yeah, I’m fine.” He brushed some snow from the front of his coat. “As I was saying, up ahead is the main lounge. It’s where all the meals will be served. There’s always hot chocolate, coffee, and tea on tap, as well as bottled water and all that. You’ll be sharing a cabin with a few of the crew. It’s over there.” He pointed to a set of cabins next to where the blonde actress was staying. Damned if Jaz could remember the woman’s name. After Vince had stepped down off the porch, Jaz had gotten a good look at Vince’s latest co-star.
Out of the corner of her eye, Jaz saw Vince staring at her. That same look of wonder was in his eyes, but she didn’t turn her gaze back to his. He’d just been professing his love to someone else. It was one thing to fantasize about a man, create a character around him, and fall in love with him in her dreams. It was another thing entirely to interfere in his real-world relationship with someone else. She would keep her distance.
“I’ll show you the rest of the way to your cabin if you’d like,” Brian said.
Damn. The man had taken the words right out of Vince’s mouth. He wanted to be the one to show Jaz to her cabin. It was a stupid reaction, but one he couldn’t quite quell. She was almost as tall as he was. When she’d posed with those wolves for her author photo, she’d been kneeling in the dirt. He’d had no idea that she was so tall. Her thick, dark hair ruffled in the night breeze, adding an ethereal quality to her looks. A chill climbed over his bare head, but he couldn’t quite bear to put up his hood yet and restrict his view of her.
Jasmine’s Native American heritage was apparent in her tan skin, breathtaking square face, and dark, slightly almond-shaped eyes. Together, the effect was mesmerizing. Though right now he couldn’t see most of her face beneath her hat and scarf, he knew what she looked like. She glanced at him and he smiled.
“Thank you, again…”
“Vince. You can call me Vince.”
“Okay then, Vince. Thanks. I suppose I’ll see you around?”
God, he hoped so. He nodded and she turned away. It would be entirely too awkward for him to stand there another second, so he headed for his own cabin to reread tomorrow’s scene.
“I’m actually starving, is there still food about?” she asked Brian as they walked toward the other end of the camp.
“Great. I’ll just drop my bags, and then could you show me over to the lodge?”
And if Vince happened to be there, having another cup of hot chocolate and Jasmine happened to come in to have a late dinner, there’d be nothing wrong with that, right?
“I’d be happy to,” Brian said. By the man’s voice, he really hadn’t minded being pancaked into the snow by the lovely Ms. Graves.
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About the Author:
Rachell Nichole is a contemporary erotic romance author. She currently writes what she likes to call Sizzling Romantic Entanglements. She loves creating memorable characters and putting them through the paces on their discovery for and journey to love.
Rachell holds two undergraduate degrees, one in Professional Writing and the other in French. She also received a Master of Fine Arts in Writing Popular Fiction at Seton Hill University. She is the author of The Marietta Hotels Series, Spicy with a Side of Cranberry Sauce, and Queen of Hearts.
Rachell lives in New York with a mountain of books, a loving family, and an evil cat named Godiva that she adores.
The Dragonian Series
Genre: YA Fantasy
Publisher: GMTA Publishing – Mythos Press
Date of Publication: 20th November 2013
ISBN: 13: 978-1491244654
Number of pages: 289
Word Count: 95 000
Cover Artist: Mary Park and Kitty Bullard
Dragons. Right. Teenage girls don’t believe in fairy tales, and sixteen-year-old Elena Watkins was no different.
Until the night a fairy tale killed her father.
Now Elena is in a new world, and a new school. The cutest guy around may be an evil dragon, a prince wants Elena’s heart, and a long dead sorcerer may be waking up to kill her. Oh and the only way Elena’s going to graduate is on the back of a dragon of her own.
Teenage girls don’t believe in fairy tales. Now it’s time for Elena to believe in…herself.
A girl singing her heart out about a miracle boomed inside my ear. A miracle would get me what I needed: a chance at a semi-normal life.
The bedroom door hitting the wall expelled the thought from my mind. With his hand tangled up in his copper hair and with huge brown eyes, Dad’s figure filled the entire doorway. “Pack your bags.” He had that set to his jaw, the one that meant there was no way out of this. He bolted out of the room just as suddenly as he had appeared.
My teeth ground hard against each other, and the sharp pain behind my eyes, I guessed from the lack of sleep, grew stronger. Every fibre of my being wanted to explode.
Ever since I could remember my name, Dad and I had been on the run. From what? Beats me.
For the last two weeks, I’d been pacing up and down through the house, struggling to fall asleep at night, waiting for this day.
For the love of blue berries, no sixteen-year old should live this way!
I climbed off my bed, and the first step I took left my toe tangled in the wide leg of my jeans. I tried to regain my balance as the closet inched closer, but with wildly flailing arms, I came crashing down. The thud reverberated across the wooden floor, and it sounded as if I’d broken something.
Dad darted back into my room. “Are you okay?” He lifted me back onto my feet as if I weighed nothing.
Tears lurked in the corners of my eyes, threatening to burst, as I stared up at him.
“Don’t give me that look, Elena. Please, we need to hurry.” He pulled my suitcase from the top shelf and chucked it haphazardly onto my bed. “We need to go. Now.”
He started to grab my clothes from the shelf and tossed them messily inside my small suitcase. Then he paused, sighed, and looked up with soft eyes. He stroked the side of my cheek with his hand gently. “This wasn’t the right place, Bear. Please, you’ve got to trust me.”
His hand reached back to pull everything off my shelf, while my hands curled up into balls of fury. My heart pounded fast as those two words bounced inside my skull. “Trust you, Dad?”
“Elena, we don’t have much time,” he yelled. “Pack your bags! You can ask questions later.” He left, and the hollow “doof” sound from his footsteps stomped loudly as he made his way into the hall.
Ask questions? Yeah right! I’ll only get answers that don’t reveal why we are on the run for the gazillionth time.’ “Trust me” and “I’ll tell you when the time is right” were the only two answers Dad gave. Guess time with him will never be right.
It was no use arguing with him anyway. Once, he threw me over his shoulder and carried me out without any of my things.
So I grabbed the stuff I needed: my mp3 player, a photo of Mom that Dad didn’t know I had, and my journal from underneath my bed. I tossed them into my backpack. It wasn’t much, but it was the stuff that made my miserable life felt less pathetic. I zipped up my suitcase and took a deep breath. Looking around my bedroom for the last time, I said goodbye to my sixtieth-something room.
Dad almost ran me over in the hall with his army bag slung over his shoulder. He grumbled, which I assumed was an apology, took my suitcase, and ran down the stairs. He always rented these huge old houses, pre-furnished and near the countryside, and we always left after three months.
The pickup’s horn honked as I shut the front door. I closed my eyes and took another deep breath. Just two more years, then I’ll be eighteen and free from this freak show. Huge raindrops fell hard onto the ground. The smell of wet dirt filled the air. It was my favorite smell.
The water that pooled on the ground covered all the gaps in the driveway, forcing me to hopscotch around all of them. My shoe got caught in one of the gaps and I smacked down hard in a huge puddle. By the time I reached the truck, my jeans and shoes were soaking wet.
Warm heat from the vents inside the truck hit me full blast as I jumped in; a million goose pimples erupted across my skin. As soon as I shut the rusty door, Dad floored the gas pedal. Tires screeched and the truck spun away as if the Devil chased us. My lower lip quivered softly as he swerved onto the road. The streetlights flew by in a blur as I plugged in my earpieces. The same stupid song about a miracle boomed from my mp3, drowning the sound of the engine and the hard dribbles on the roof, a percussion that became the perpetual soundtrack to my misery.
A feeling of utter loneliness consumed my heart as I stared out the window. Homes with white picket fences and the convenient store whizzed by in a flash. A tear rolled down my cheek as I said goodbye, and my breath on the glass created a foggy condensation. Reaching out my index finger, I drew a small heart. These were the reasons why Mom had left. She couldn’t handle his paranoia, but why she’d left her daughter to deal with it was a mystery. Dad constantly reminded me of the latter, and that was the only time he ever spoke of her. If he ever discovered I had that picture, he would kill me. That was how much he hated her for leaving us.
The lights of a vehicle in the upcoming lane shone directly into my face. I shut my eyes, waiting for it to disappear. As a little girl, I used to watch Dad as we drove away from yet another house. He would glare into his rearview mirror every five seconds, every muscle in his face clenched, and his knuckles white on the steering wheel. I hadn’t been able to force myself to peek out the window then, as it used to scare the living crap out of me to consider the possible reasons he was fleeing from, or who might be following us. Now, I didn’t look at him or care much for what he was going through. He created this problem. With me becoming the luggage. It was a ritual I endured every three months, and nothing over the past sixteen years had ever changed that.
The “Interstate 40” sign flew by in a whirl, and the pickup slowly moved onto the turnoff lane.
My eyes started to burn as I stared at the rain running down my window. Each rivet resembled another town, another place I would never again call home. Exhaustion consumed me and my eyelids felt heavy. I laid my head against the window and struggled to stay awake.
Suddenly, a dark and huge figure flew past me. Dad swerved to the left, which made me crushed into the side of the passenger’s door. My entire body pumped with adrenaline. I jumped straight in my seat and wrenched the seatbelt over my shoulder to buckle myself in. I tore out my earpieces as I tried to process what had just happened.
“What was that?” I looked at Dad.
He stared straight ahead with huge eyes. Beads of sweat rolled from his hairline down to the side of his temple. He looked terrified, something that conflicted with his personality. I’d never seen Dad look that scared in my entire life.
“Did you see where it went?” he asked, attempting to inject calm into his voice, but I could hear the fear lacing each syllable.
“See where what went? Dad what was that!”
“You wouldn’t believe me if I told you.”
“For once in your life, just tell me!” I screamed. Sixteen years of frustration exploded from my lungs. I couldn’t take the unknown anymore.
“Fine.” He mumbled something else that I didn’t catch. “Do you remember the stories I used to tell you?”
“Stories? What stories?”
“The ones about Paegeia, Elena.” He looked in his rearview mirror again with huge, unblinking eyes.
Vaguely, but I didn’t tell him that. “What does that have to do with this?”
I froze and I stared at him.
“All of it, it’s real. The dragons, the magic, the wall, everything is real.”
I was born and raised in South Africa, where I still live with my husband, and two beautiful little girls. I always knew that I was going to be a writer but it only started to happen about four years ago, now I can’t stop writing.
In my free time, If I get any because Moms don’t really have free time, I love to spend time with friends, if it’s a girls night out, or just a movie, I’m a very chilled person.
My writing career is starting with Firebolt, book one with the Dragonian Series, there will be four books in total and two to three books that is about the stories taking place inside The Dragonian Series.
I do write in different Genres, I have a woman’s fiction called the Pregnancy Diaries, but it would be published under another name. And then I have a paranormal series, called the Watercress series. There are about ten novels in that one.
So, plenty of novels to come out, so little time.
I hope you are going to embrace the Dragonian Series as much as I loved writing them.
Goodreads: Adrienne Woods
Google+: Adrienne Woods
An estranged mate, a mangled body and a powerful demon who calls her by name…
As a Realm Walker for the Agency, Juliana Norris tracks deadly paranormal quarry using her unique ability to see magical signatures. She excels at her job, but her friends worry about her mysterious habit of dying in the line of duty without staying dead. That’s only the first of her secrets.
Most people don’t know Juliana became the mate of master vampire Thomas Kendrick before he abandoned her seven years ago. Most people don’t know the horrors she endured at the hands of the vampire he left in command. Most people don’t know her true parentage, or why a demon on a world-threatening rampage has taken a personal interest in her…
Even as Juliana pursues the demon, it goes after all she holds dear—including Thomas, who is back to claim her for his own. But if she can’t reconcile her past and learn to trust herself again, she will lose him forever.
Kathleen Collins has been writing since Kindergarten. And while her ability has drastically improved, her stories are still about monsters and the people who play with them.
The rare instances that she actually finds some spare time, she spends it playing with her two boys. Three if you count her husband.
She is currently hard at work on her next book.
A powerful djinni, enslaved to her lamp. An undead thief, bound to a cruel demon’s whim. A passion that will outlast death itself…
A dark, delicious urban fantasy romance from the author of Shadowfae.
Jewel is a djinni of the lamp, an enchanted slave, bound to her owner by dark magical cravings she can’t resist. She burns for freedom, and when her lamp is stolen—by Tam, a hot and dirty bad-boy thief—she vows to be rid of her new master at any cost. Even as she plots Tam’s demise, the lamp’s dark fascination makes her long to claim him as her own.
But the last thing Tam wants is a spellbound djinni who can’t say ‘no’. Cursed by a demon to suffer living death, he’s tormented by undead longing for pain, pleasure, any sensation he can get. To have this exquisite, besotted Jewel at his bidding is pure torture… because Tam refuses to succumb to her magical allure.
Not when he knows she can’t truly be attracted to an ever-dying freak. And not when he’s already on a mission from his cruel demon master: capture and deliver one djinni…
Warning: this novel contains a feisty magical heroine, a besotted fairy best friend and the hottest wise-ass dead-guy hero in town.
In seconds, I crystallized. My bare feet hit carpet that was streaked with dim moonlight. Dusty grey curtains swelled with warm breeze. The place smelled of blood, sticky and salt-drenched. I couldn’t see anyone.
My skin prickled. I’d expected bright lights, laughter, gloating, that kind of thing. Usually people giggle and caper about like fools when I appear, before they find out about the moon and the french fries.
But this time I’d appeared in dim silence, alone.
My eyes adjusted, and the shadow of a bed emerged. I wasn’t alone after all. A man, naked, fit and golden-skinned. His dark hair was a tangled mess. Curling thorns were inked up his arm and over his shoulder. He stirred, lifting his face from the pillow, fighting long black strands away before he even opened his eyes.
Recognition speared under my skin like a needle, and I groaned, disbelief mingling with irony. They had to be kidding me. Owned by a crazy vengeance-obsessed corpse?
My thoughts twirled in crazy circles. How did he get my lamp? And how did he know my name? They needed my name to own me. I hadn’t told him. Hadn’t said a word . . .
Except in my dream.
But that was crazy. How the hell could a dead guy eavesdrop on my dreams?
Someone had cornered him since we’d met at the club, by the looks of the spidery red bruise across his kidneys and the dark blood leaking from his nose onto the sheet. Still, he looked great naked. Lean tight legs, smooth back, cute butt. Not that I noticed.
Inwardly, I sighed. This is what happens, see. They claim me, the magic switches on, and poof! I’m all romantic and girly for a while.
I’d get over it.
I kicked the bedframe to rattle it. “Wake up, genius. Where’s my lamp?”
He jerked fully awake, scrambling to turn over and crawl away from me at the same time. His dark eyes fixed on me, and widened. “Jesus, you’re really . . . what the fuck are you doing here?”
Okay. Yeah. He looked even better from the front. That soaping I imagined before? All done, his skin clean and glistening with just a hint of mysterious darkness to keep you interested. He had a nasty gash on one hip, but who cares? I couldn’t help letting my gaze slip a bit lower. Very nice.
He didn’t seem to mind being naked in front of a suddenly-appearing woman, either. Maybe he liked guys. Damn. I wouldn’t even be able to seduce him into letting me go. What I’d give for a glimmer of persuasion right now. I couldn’t, not of my own accord. My power wasn’t mine to play with anymore.
I tried it, just in case. Reached for my magic, a shimmer of seduction or a trick. Nothing.
Damn it. I scowled, in case he saw me staring. “Don’t play dumb. You called my name, remember?”
He halted, leaning back on his elbows, staring at me with a crease in his forehead like I had three noses or something. “What are you on about, lady?”
I rolled my eyes. “Come on, already. Brass lamp, long neck, about this big?” I held up my hands a foot apart. “Sound familiar?”
He stared, and swallowed, his throat jerking. “You’re kidding.”
“You’re telling me. Look, just hand it over, release me and I’m gone, okay? No harm done.”
He sat up, dragging that gorgeous black hair into a twist and draping it over his shoulder out of the way. “Look, lady—”
“It’s Jewel. You know that. Enough with the ladies, it doesn’t fool me.” I wanted to look at him, to watch him move, and it made me mad. He was trouble, pure and painful, I didn’t care how bad and dangerous and downright tasty he was.
“Jewel, then. Whatever. I don’t believe you, all right? Kane sent you to screw with my mind. Or you’re just some crazywoman stalking me, or something. Either way, you can get out of my house right now.”
Nah, nah. He didn’t say the magic words. If they don’t say my name, I don’t have to. “I can’t do that. Not without my lamp.”
He lifted his hands, a mocking shrug. “Fine. Stay here. Just shut up and let me sleep.” And he grabbed the sheet and made to roll himself back into it.
I tugged it away. “Ask me for french fries.”
He laughed. “What?”
“Ask me. Say, ‘Jewel, go get me some french fries’.”
He shook his head, a tolerant smile. “If I say it, will you get the hell out of my bedroom?”
“Sure will.” I just hoped something was still open around here. I couldn’t charm french fries from the air any more than I could charm anything else. Sure, I can turn iron into gold or make things disappear, but that’s not the same as creating something out of nothing. That can’t be done, at least not by me. The only way I can get something new is to take it away from someone else. Like I said, I’m a collector, a fetcher of baubles. I swap things. That’s all.
“Great. Now we’re getting somewhere.” He jammed the pillow against his curled arm and flopped down onto it. “Jewel, darling, if you’re not busy and it isn’t too much of a hassle, can you please leave me the hell alone for a few seconds and go find us some french fries?”
God, what a sweetie. I only wished I could stay to watch his face when he saw what happened next.
Erica Hayes was a law student, an air force officer, an editorial assistant and a musician, before finally landing her dream job: fantasy and romance writer.
She writes dark paranormal and urban fantasy romance, and her books feature tough, smart heroines and colourful heroes with dark secrets.
She hails from Australia, where she drifts from city to city, leaving a trail of chaos behind her. Currently, she’s terrorizing the wilds of Northumberland.
The only way to save her life is to resurrect the dead…
Julian Darke was only a newborn when he was abandoned on the doorstep of a gentleman doctor. Though raised with love, he is driven to discover his true origins.
Convinced Sir Thaddeus Ormond knows something, Julian shadows him one night—and is shocked to see a young woman thrown from Ormond’s carriage and accosted by a thug. Julian manages to save her life, but not her face and hands from horrific injuries.
Nellie Barchester doesn’t recognize the scarred, disfigured stranger in the mirror. Though the gifted doctor and engineer has done his best to repair the damage, scars ravage her body, and chill her soul with the realization that her own husband may have plotted her death.
Julian’s tenderness is a balm to her soul, and Nellie is drawn to the edge of passion by a man not repelled by her deformities. But as their pursuit of the truth draws them into London’s underbelly, they cross the path of a ruthless enemy who will stop at nothing to fulfill his schemes.
Warning: Can a brilliant but troubled doctor find happiness with a woman scarred both inside and out? A hint of the supernatural plus a night of passion spice up this Uncanny Chronicle.
Through the long hours of the night London pitched and groaned, a restless creature in uneasy slumber. A thousand fires flickered across its twitching back. Over rivers and hills it sprawled, swallowing up quiet fields and meadows, an insatiable protean organism powered by a life of its own. To the north, the edge of the city lapped up against ancient hamlets, preparing to overtake them one by one. And just a few miles past, surrounded by winter fields lying fallow, sat a crumbling manor house, its lichened facade bravely and futilely facing the city’s inevitable onslaught. Tonight its peace was broken by a rider galloping up the drive, his horse all afroth, a limp figure clasped in front of him. They slithered to a halt outside the stout oaken door. Still carrying his load, the rider dismounted awkwardly and ran towards the house.
Julian Darke battered his shoulder against the oak door. His arms were fully occupied with the comatose woman, and he dared not set her down. In his agitation he had some strange notion she would disintegrate if he loosened his hold.
“Figgs! Open up,” he bellowed, his lungs burning with the effort. Despite the frigidness of the night, sweat poured down his back, soaking into his shirt and britches. He kicked at the front door with his scuffed boots and cursed like a tar.
On the other side of the oak, heavy feet shuffled, then a key rattled in the lock, and the door finally groaned open. Julian barged in, shoving aside the lumbering manservant.
“Call my father,” Julian ordered. “Rouse him if you must. Quick, man. Don’t just gawp there. Can’t you see this is a dire emergency?”
Not pausing in his stride, he moved down the dimly lit hallway. His shoulder muscles twinged under the weight of the woman in his arms. She couldn’t have weighed much, but he’d held her debilitated form steady on his mount for what had felt like hours, and his limbs shrilled for respite. Not yet, not yet. The peril had not yet passed.
He kicked open the door to his father’s examination room. Despite the darkness he trod surefooted to the table in the centre of the room, where he gingerly lowered his burden onto the surface. Not the faintest sound issued from the bundle of cloak that was the woman he’d carried home. His throat tightened. Surely she hadn’t perished just when he’d brought her to safety?
“Julian? What’s going on?”
He turned to see his father entering the room. Despite the lateness of the hour, Elijah Darke was still fully dressed in suit and waistcoat, reading spectacles perched on the end of his nose, an unlit pipe in his hand.
“This woman needs our help.” Julian gestured towards the figure lying on the table. “She’s gravely injured. She needs both our expertise.”
Pocketing his pipe, Elijah approached the table and turned on the twin lamps suspended above the examining table. Julian let out a small sigh of relief. In a crisis, his father was always clear-headed. He would act first and ask questions later.
“What have we here?” Elijah lifted the stained cloak covering the woman. He froze. “God in heaven! Her face—”
Julian nodded grimly. He had seen her face earlier on and, after a cursory examination, had instinctively hidden it with her cloak.
“Good grief, son, you’re injured too!” His father’s face whitened as he stared at Julian. “You’re covered with blood.” He moved towards Julian and hauled open the lapels of his rumpled coat.
“A few scratches only. Most of the blood is hers.” Impatient, Julian tore off his bloodied coat and dropped it to the floor. “It’s nothing, Father, nothing compared to her wounds.”
His father made a testy growl. “Your injuries need proper seeing to.”
“You cannot assist me in that state. At the very least wash your hands.” Elijah divested himself of his jacket, rolled up his sleeves, and scrubbed his hands at a washstand.
Julian hurriedly followed suit, flung on one of his father’s clean aprons and within moments was back at the table. His father had peeled the cloak back from the woman’s body and was bending over her.
“Well?” Julian asked.
His father grunted. “See for yourself.”
For some reason, instead of staring rudely at her exposed face, he found himself reaching for the hood of the cloak and smoothing it back from the woman’s head. A handful of brown curls tumbled out, incongruously bright and clean and fresh against the oozing mess staining everything else. The tang of spilt blood hit the back of his throat, like the taste of pennies. He swallowed hard, aware of his roiling innards. Why was the smell of blood unmanning him like this? Since he was old enough to walk, he’d assisted his father. He had lanced boils, drained suppurating wounds, stitched up gaping cuts, all with nary a wince. And he was a qualified doctor too. He’d dissected corpses, amputated arms and legs, trepanned a number of patients. In all these years he’d never suffered a queasy turn, and yet now his stomach threatened to unman him. Why now? Why did this woman affect him so?
She was a stranger to him; he’d never laid eyes on her before this evening. It must simply be his body protesting, sapped of energy after the tribulations he’d faced tonight. He willed his nerves to steady as he took a proper look at the woman.
Under the harsh, hissing light, the white of her face was crisscrossed with deep gashes, like a peach haphazardly sliced open. Mercifully both eyes appeared intact and unharmed. Congealing blood spattered the front of her dress, the pattern of the faded cotton submerged beneath the sticky mess. A swelling contusion on her right temple indicated the heavy blow which had rendered her insensate.
Elijah lifted up one of the woman’s hands. “What happened here?” His voice was rough with disbelief.
Julian could only shake his head at the bloodied stumps, all that was left of the middle and ring fingers. He had bound his handkerchief as best he could around the hand, but there had been considerable loss of blood, and the fingers had been crudely removed, leaving behind a messy lump of flesh.
“Can we save her hand?” he asked.
“We shall do our best.”
Using a sharp pair of scissors, Elijah began to cut off the woman’s dress in order to complete his examination. As the shears tore through the thin material, the woman moaned. It was no more than a murmur, but it seemed the most blood-curdling sound Julian had ever heard. She squirmed, her flailing arms almost knocking the scissors from Elijah’s hand.
“Hold her down, son,” Elijah barked.
Julian obeyed, but the instant he pressed down on the woman’s shoulders, her eyelids flew open. Two green eyes stared up at him, frozen in a moment of sheer terror. With the glaring lights overhead, he must appear like a dark silhouette looming over her, Julian surmised. And then every thought fled from him as she started to shriek and thrash her limbs, struggling with all her might to free herself.
Copyright © 2013 Coleen Kwan
Coleen Kwan has been a bookworm all her life. At school English was her favorite subject, but for some reason she decided on a career in IT. After many years of programming, she wondered what else there was in life — and discovered writing. She loves writing contemporary romance and steampunk romance.
Coleen lives in Sydney, Australia with her partner and two children. When she isn’t writing she enjoys avoiding housework, eating chocolate, and watching The Office.