Archive for paranormal

“Icy Passage” by: Ann Gimpel

Posted in Book Blog Tour, Book Promotion, paranormal, romance, thriller, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , on March 30, 2016 by mrsmack97

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Hey Readers. Help me welcome author, Ann Gimpel to Ready, Set, Blog. (Ann doesn’t know it but I’m a bit of a fangirl) Anyway, get ready to: ‘Tumble into the icy danger of Antarctica with a blazing hot romance. Mittens and fan required.’

And will you just look at the book cover! Icy? I say, NOT! Ann has been very kind to include an excerpt as part of this blog stop. I’m sure once you start reading, you’ll decide to ONE-CLICK IT!

Cherrie

 

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Icy Passage

Ann Gimpel

 

Dream Shadow Press

110K words

Genre: Supernatural thriller romance

 

Book Description:

Fresh out of residency, Dr. Kayna Quan opts for a tour in Antarctica. Money is short, so she hires on as medical officer aboard a Russian research vessel headed for McMurdo Station. Primed for almost anything, she plays her paranormal ability close to the vest.

Stationed on remote South Georgia Island for two years, Brynn McMichaels is eager for a change. When cultures of the single-celled organism, archaea, overgrow their bins in his lab and begin shifting into another form, he worries he’s losing his mind and talks with scientists at McMurdo, but they have problems of their own—bad ones. Brynn agrees to help. The weather’s too uncertain to send a plane, so he hitches a ride aboard Kayna’s ship and brings his mutant culture colonies along.

Attraction sparks, urgent, hot and powerful, between Brynn and Kayna, but her disclosure about her magic is a tough nut to crack. It doesn’t help that her dead father is stalking her. Lethal cultures, bizarre illness, and McMurdo’s refusal to let them land force Brynn and Kayna into an uneasy alliance. Will their fragile bond be enough to thwart the powers trying to destroy Earth, and them along with it?

 

Amazon    Barnes and Noble    iTunes

 

Kobo    ARe    Google Play

 

Excerpt from Icy Passage:

Chapter One

 

Micah Greenwich sucked air as he pushed up from his squat, a weight bar balanced across his shoulders. He did one more squat before a wave of dizziness threatened to bring him to his knees. Gasping, he shucked the bar onto pins protruding from the back of the squat rack and grabbed one of the metal stanchions for support. A headache pounded behind one eye, and he felt nauseous.

“What the fuck is wrong with me?” he muttered, still clinging to the metal cage shoved in a back corner of the gym at McMurdo Station, Antarctica. No one was in the gym. Not at this hour. Granted, the perpetual night for part of the year, followed by perpetual day, yielded some odd circadian rhythms, but Micah rarely had competition for any of the gym machines or weight equipment late at night.

He glanced at the weight plates balanced on the ends of the forty-five pound bar, thinking perhaps he’d misjudged and put too much weight on it, but that wasn’t the issue. He shrugged. Maybe he was getting sick. Something was going around. So far, he’d been lucky during his brief stint at the southern end of the Earth and had avoided the colds and flus McMurdo residents passed among themselves like candy.

He wiped sweat from his face with a ratty towel and decided to call it a night—at least for working out. He still needed to stop by his lab. Because he was the newest and greenest microbiologist, he’d been assigned archaea, the most ancient single-celled life form on the planet. His cultures had taken a decidedly odd turn, though, a couple of weeks back—growing like mad and not looking like any prokaryote he’d ever seen. While he might have started with archaea, what was in his bins didn’t look much like them anymore.

Another wave of nausea battered him, and he folded his arms around his midsection, wondering if he was going to vomit. Saliva flooded his mouth, but he choked it back. Even though he didn’t feel like doing anything beyond finding his bed, he left the gym and made his way three buildings over to his lab. McMurdo was a series of prefab buildings with interconnecting doors and insulated tunnel-walkways, so you didn’t have to go outside into the weather. Antarctica never got particularly warm, and nights were always bitter.

He glanced out a window at an inky sky shot with stars, and a reluctant smile split his face. It might be minus something outside, but it was beautiful too. He’d always loved wild, remote places, and Antarctica was about as wild and remote as it got—shy of signing up to be an astronaut, which was a long-standing dream of his.

Micah frowned, wondering if the astronaut gig was even possible. The United States had cut their funding for the space program rather dramatically. Besides, he needed more in the way of credentials to even be considered for something like that. With another swipe at his still sweaty face—the more he thought about it, the surer he was he was coming down with the flu—he pushed open the door to his lab and froze, not believing his eyes.

“Britta?” he called. “Marguerite!”

The women didn’t answer. They sprawled face down on the floor in front of his main workbench, clearly passed out. Wondering if they’d gotten into the high-grade, ethyl alcohol he used to preserve things, he called their names again, louder this time. The longer he looked at them, the weirder he felt. They were too still. Sudden fear gripped him, making the nausea worse.

“Jesus fucking Christ. Why me?” he muttered, and raced to the women. He bent, grabbed Britta’s shoulder, and shook her. When she didn’t respond, he flipped her over and stared at her cherry red face.

Fighting a deeply sinking feeling, he turned Marguerite over. She looked just like her friend and roommate. Micah squatted next to them and laid his fingers across their necks, searching for a pulse.

Nothing.

He placed his ear over their hearts, willing there to be something, anything, before he started CPR. Still nothing. He ground his teeth together, unnerved. How could there possibly be two dead women in his lab?

Even though he was pretty sure it wouldn’t do any good, he tilted Marguerite’s head back and breathed into her mouth before doing chest compressions. When he looked over at Britta, he understood he had to have help and lurched to his feet. Snapping up the wall phone, he punched in the after hours code for the clinic. As soon as one of the nurses answered, he screeched, “Send help now. Third micro lab.”

His headache worsened. So did his twisting, roiling guts, but he went back to the women. He didn’t need to be a doctor to recognize death. Despite the futility, he alternated CPR from one to the next. Five long minutes passed—but they felt like five years—before the door burst open.

“Christ!” One of the docs—Stewart maybe, Micah was too rattled to take a good look—pulled him off Marguerite. A tall, broad-shouldered woman Micah didn’t recognize examined Britta.

“Looks like carbon monoxide poisoning to me,” the female medic said flatly. “This one’s well past CPR.”

Dr. Stewart rocked back on his heels. “Yeah, her too.” He trained his blue eyes on Micah. “What happened?”

Micah shook his head. “Damned if I know. I just got here. I had dinner in the mess hall, worked out in the gym, and then I swung by here to check on my cultures.”

The woman narrowed her eyes and half-crawled to where Micah sat on the floor. She folded her fingers over his wrist and took him in with practiced hazel eyes. Her reddish hair was short, almost in a butch cut. She pressed her lips into a harsh line, frowning.

“I’m Ariana,” she said, letting go of his wrist. “One of the nurse practitioners. How have you been feeling?”

“Bad,” he admitted. “Think I finally succumbed to the community disease everyone else has.”

Dr. Stewart joined them and squatted next to Micah. He ran a hand down the side of Micah’s neck and listened to his chest with a stethoscope before exchanging a pointed glance with Ariana. “Where’s the CO meter in here?” he asked.

Micah gestured behind him. “On that wall.” He twisted to look at it, but the indicator light was green—safe. Maybe it was defective. His scientifically trained mind arranged informational bits into an unpleasant pattern. “The women,” he said. “If I’d been firing on all cylinders, I’d have figured it out as soon as I looked at the color of their faces. They died from carbon monoxide poisoning, didn’t they?”

“Probably.” Dr. Stewart said cautiously. “But it’s conjecture at this point.”

“That cherry red color is a dead giveaway,” Ariana said with conviction. “Nothing else will do that.”

“We’ll wait for an autopsy before we make statements like that.” The doctor eyed his colleague coolly.

“Yes, Doctor. Sir. King of all things medical.” She set her lips in a thin line, clearly biting back further sarcasm. “Meantime,” she ground out, “I’m pretty sure he—” she jabbed a finger at Micah “—has whatever killed these two.” She stood and punched numbers into the wall phone. “I’m calling security.”

Dr. Stewart sifted his hands through his untidy, blond hair. “Tell them to alert maintenance. Until we figure out what killed these two, we’ve got to get out of here. Now.”

Micah straightened. “Wait a minute,” he sputtered. “The meter says it’s safe. For all we know, Britta and Marguerite got poisoned elsewhere and just happened to be in here cleaning when they collapsed.”

Dr. Stewart got to his feet and hauled Micah upright. “For tonight, we’ll put you in the infirmary and run tests to check if your hemoglobin’s been compromised. I’ve got to alert the boss and talk with base security. We’ll to get to the bottom of this.”

“But my lab—”

Dr. Stewart made a chopping motion with one hand, and the rest of Micah’s protest died unspoken.

Ariana hung up the phone and nodded at Dr. Stewart. “You take care of the boss. I’ll deal with security and maintenance. Need to get the gas sniffer in here to make sure there’s not a leak.”

Micah tried to focus, but the room spun crazily. He really was wiped out. Much more tired than a thirty-year-old man had a right to feel.

“Can you walk?” Dr. Stewart nudged him.

Micah focused bleary eyes on the physician. “Yeah. I think so.”

“How are you feeling?” Ariana asked the doctor.

He shrugged. “Normal. But it takes time for exposure to take a toll. Micah probably lives in this lab, except when he’s asleep.”

“Yeah, but,” Micah pointed out, “those women didn’t. They clean all the science labs. Maybe one of the other ones is the problem.”

The doctor folded an arm around Micah’s waist supporting him, and led him out of the lab. “I’m on it. By the time you wake up, we’ll know more.”

Micah staggered through the door, flanked by Dr. Stewart and Ariana. “What are you going to do about the women?” he asked.

“You were there when I alerted base security. They’ll take care of them,” Ariana assured him. “For tonight, focus on getting well.”

* * * *

It hadn’t been just that night, though. Micah spent the next three days in the infirmary sucking bottled oxygen. When that didn’t clear his red blood cells fast enough, the doctors ordered chelation treatments. In the meantime, he had a chance to think, and he didn’t care for what he came up with. Besides, it was so fantastic, no one would believe him.

Maintenance had given his lab, and the other three microbiology studios, a clean bill of health, which meant he could go back to work tomorrow. Even more disturbing, the entirety of the science wing where the dead women cleaned showed zip in the way of evidence of a gas leak. In the interest of thoroughness, maintenance had checked the female dorms too, and found exactly nothing. Autopsy was conclusive regarding cause of death, but no one could figure out how the women had been exposed to a big enough dose of carbon monoxide to kill them.

The same was true for him—major exposure to something pigging up his hemoglobin, but without an identifiable source. Another few hours without medical intervention and he’d have been just as dead as Britta and Marguerite.

Armed with that knowledge—and a phalanx of unanswered questions—Micah spent his downtime in the infirmary mapping out a series of tests to run on his strange archaea colonies. He had suspicions, but needed facts before he presented them to Jack DeVoe, the man in charge of McMurdo operations. If he went to him now, Jack, who had a Ph.D. in biochemistry, would laugh him right out of his office. And there would go Micah’s hopes of earning his chops, so he could go on to something more prestigious than working at McMurdo Station.

 

 

 

About the Author:

 

Ann Gimpel is a national bestselling author. A lifelong aficionado of the unusual, she began writing speculative fiction a few years ago. Since then her short fiction has appeared in a number of webzines and anthologies. Her longer books run the gamut from urban fantasy to paranormal romance. Once upon a time, she nurtured clients, now she nurtures dark, gritty fantasy stories that push hard against reality. When she’s not writing, she’s in the backcountry getting down and dirty with her camera. She’s published over 30 books to date, with several more planned for 2016 and beyond. A husband, grown children, grandchildren and wolf hybrids round out her family.

 

Find Ann At:

 

www.anngimpel.com

 

http://anngimpel.blogspot.com

 

http://www.amazon.com/author/anngimpel

 

http://www.facebook.com/anngimpel.author

 

@AnnGimpel (for Twitter)

 

 


 

 

 

 

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Banewolf by: Eden Ashley

Posted in Book Blog Tour, ebook, paranormal, romance, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , on March 9, 2016 by mrsmack97

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Welcome to Ready, Set, Blog. What a hot cover! Congrats to Eden Ashley on the release of Banewolf, the second installment of the Amazon Bestselling Dark Siren series. And readers…. the first one is FREE! (Man! I love a freebie!) I’ve included the link at the bottom of the post. Read on to meet Eden and check out an excerpt from Banewolf (Such a cool title.) Happy Release Day, Eden.

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Banewolf

by Eden Ashley

GENRE: Paranormal Romance

BLURB:

Love. Conflict. Adventure. Banewolf continues the romance, betrayal, and heartbreaking secrets between Kali, a girl who largely lacks understanding of the powerful creature contained within her, and Rhane, the mysterious and passionate man from her forgotten past.

Excerpt:

Hurry.

The sound of her screams reached him as he neared the dorm. Pausing at the threshold, the man stepped inside. Death and the wind were at his back. Dozens of hollow-eyed students turned to observe his presence. Fear had twisted their youthful faces into horrific masks. A few of them wept. Others clung together as another scream echoed into the night. The man flinched. Then he steeled himself against all emotion. His kind was supposed to feel nothing.

He made his way through the crowd, students eagerly shuffling aside to let him pass. It was as if somehow they sensed in him the power to end her suffering. When a young man dressed only in boxers and a lettered shirt stepped forward from a cluster of solemn dorm mates, the man stopped. He recognized the boy.

“You are William. You are the one who called.”

“Yes, sir,” the young man said while nodding. His eyes were wide and frightened as he pointed ahead to a closed door painted prison grey. “She’s in there, sir.”

The man looked at the door, and then back at the boy. “Is she alone?”

William’s shoulders slumped with embarrassment. “I tried to stay with her but…” his voice trailed, dropping to a hoarse whisper. “She looks bad, sir. She wouldn’t stop screaming for me to get out. I got scared. I’m sorry.”

“It’s alright, son. You have done well.” The man laid a hand on the boy’s shoulder with an encouraging smile that reflected none of the sadness he felt. “She’s going to be okay.”

But her cries were becoming more tormented by the second. He quickly continued down the hall to the grey door. Behind it, he found her all alone. Her thin, pale body was curled on a beaten sofa in the center of the room. She was drenched in sweat. Dark hair plastered against her face, framing a beautiful canvas contorted with anguish. He placed a hand gently on her forehead.

Her eyes fluttered open. “Daddy?”

“I’m here, sweetheart. Everything is fine now.”

Sobbing in relief even as another surge of agony ransacked her strength, she gritted her teeth. “It hurts.”

Squeezing her hand, he spoke in a voice thick with regret. “I know. I’m sorry. Letting you come here was a mistake. I’ve waited too long.”

She was lost in the pain and didn’t seem to hear him. “I see horrible things. I did horrible things. There was so much blood.”

It hurt him terribly to see her in such distress. No matter what the others said, this girl had truly been his daughter. But right now, his love for her could not matter. He had a job to do. There were things he needed to know. There were questions he had to ask.

“What do you see?”

“Bodies, hundreds of bodies littering the ground…” The words broke off as she rolled with another wave of misery. “They’re burned…old and young, women and children.” She sobbed again. “I think I burned them.”

“I’m going to give you something to stop the pain. It will help you sleep.”

“Please hurry, Daddy. Make it stop.” Her body shuddered. “I can’t take any more of this.”

She lifted her head, giving him a good look at her face. Surging veins had crept like black spiders from the corners of her eyes, transforming the surrounding skin into dark pools. She was deteriorating rapidly. If the process wasn’t slowed, the human form would soon be lost.

 

Meet The Author:

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Eden currently resides in a small town in sunny South Carolina where thunderstorms inspire her best ideas. When not daydreaming about her next novel, she can be found curled up with a musty old paperback and a cup of coffee…or mired deeply in her next plot to take over the world. Since Eden enjoys reading or watching anything with supernatural elements, writing paranormal and fantasy romance is a natural fit.

Banewolf is the second installment of the Amazon Bestselling Dark Siren series. The first book is currently free for download on Amazon.

Find it here: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00DSPPOX2

Banewolf: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00GTT3RDI

Eden loves to hear from readers and can be reached at the following links:

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/EdenAshleyAuthor

Blog: http://edenbynite.blogspot.com/

Twitter: Eden_byNite

Email: edenashleyromance@outlook.com

Enter to win a  $10 Starbucks Gift Card: <a href=”http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/28e4345f1590“>Enter to win a $10 Starbucks GC – a Rafflecopter giveaway</a>

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Introducing #freebiefriday

Posted in Author, ebook, erotic romance, FreebieFriday, novella, paranormal, romance with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on February 26, 2016 by mrsmack97

TGIF. I love those letters. To me, they say, get ready for Saturday. I immediately think of sleeping in, being lazy and dragging my feet around the house wearing fuzzy slippers. There’s no appointments looming, no drop off schedule, no car pooling, no work–just me and a hot cup of coffee while I pour over my latest “hot” read.

I love erotic romance but if the mood strikes, I can dig into a mystery, a horror or even a little chick-lit. Hey, what can I say–I’m a reader.

I love to write erotic romance but I do tend to cross genre’s. A lot. There’s just so much sex you can write before you need to take a break and write something else. But, if I must be honest, those scenes sneak into all of my books at some point or another. Some a lot more than others. In the last year, I started a paranormal series, A Late Summer Bloom – Witches Of The Bayou.

I even wrote a free prequel to kick off the series which brings me to #freebiefriday. Although this prequel is readily available for you to download at any time by visiting the Evernight Publishing website, I thought I might gift it to you right here on my blog. But a little at a time. Please enjoy the first three chapters of my free prequel, The Beginning – Witches Of The Bayou. Every Friday I will post another three chapters until you have the entire novella. Read it here, all of it, on my blog.

If you are one of those people who need the rest of the story right away…well…I can relate. Visit http://www.evernightpublishing.com/the-beginning-by-cherrie-mack

OR…Fill out the contact form at the bottom of this post and I will send the remaining chapters your way. That’s it. By filling out the form, I will enter your name in a drawing to receive A Late Summer Bloom – Witches Of The Bayou.

DISCLAIMER…This novella includes ADULT CONTENT and is not intended for those under the age of 18.

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WARNING: The unauthorized reproduction or distribution of this copyrighted work is illegal. No part of this book may be used or reproduced electronically or in print without written permission, except in the case of brief quotations embodied in reviews.

This is a work of fiction. All names, characters, and places are fictitious. Any resemblance to actual events, locales, organizations, or persons, living or dead, is entirely coincidental.

Copyright© 2014 Cherrie Mack

 

Chapter One

 

New Orleans, 1992

 

Cecily Jareau’s clumsiness was a definite win today. At least that’s what she thought after a muscled, tattooed arm reached out, catching her as she stumbled forward into a crowded Jackson Square. As she stared into the stranger’s smoky lavender eyes, she tried to ignore the embarrassing trip over her own feet that landed her in his arms. Left speechless by his good looks, she wasn’t too unhappy about her misstep and the interesting predicament it caused. Silently, she searched for something clever to say but nothing came out except for that strangled grunt when she lurched forward.

“You okay?” His velvety baritone voice commanded attention without being forceful.

She felt her cheeks flush as she tried to right herself. Soaking up his masculine scent, she smiled. He was easy on the eyes but his handsome features weren’t the only thing Cecily appreciated. His firm yet gentle grip sent a warm tingle through her body. She studied him before speaking—after all, witches were so easy to spot these days. However, here in New Orleans, it was a bit of a challenge. The variety of people, some feigning supernatural powers, could be daunting. But, the stranger before her wasn’t putting out any mating pheromones which led her to believe he wasn’t a witch. Good. I’m safe.

Her voice came out in a dreamy whisper. “Obviously I can be clumsy but otherwise fine.”

His smile was slow to appear but when it did, a mere feather could have sent her toppling all over again.

“Yeah—you’re no worse for the wear. You be careful now.” He winked.

“Thanks. I will.”

When he released her, she wanted to go after him. Instead, she watched him strut away into the crowd until he was out of sight. Cecily shook her head. Now, if witches were made like that, I’d be mating like crazy. With regret, she continued on in the opposite direction to the Creole café where she was to meet her friend, Brigitte.

New Orleans—now this was the city where she wanted to spend her time. Not in a stuffy, slower-than-molasses Florida town. Why they would choose Cottonwood Landing for their home base was a mystery to her. It had no culture, no excitement. Although the sprawling estate was a royal witch’s palace and housed the most blue-blooded witches of the covens, here she felt different. Normal.

However, according to the higher-ups, Cecily was anything but normal. She was statuesque, beautiful, talented and most importantly—royal. She could hear the words they repeated over and over like a mantra. But Cecily’s truth was far less intriguing. She was of royal blood for sure but mostly she felt tired, discouraged, and just plain miserable.

Her abilities, her royal status, it was all a burden. Although humans were of a lesser race, she couldn’t help but yearn to be like them. Not knowing the things she knew would be a relief. The happiness she desired always seemed to evade her. And she wanted her life to be different—she wanted to be human. What better place than the city of New Orleans? It was the perfect setting to blend in with the human population for a while. To her, the irony was amusing. Here, human people often pretended to be witches. If they only knew how real we are.

The Creole café was bustling when Cecily arrived but she managed to spot Brigitte easily enough. The flamboyant witch captivated everyone around her by her brightly colored clothes, large-brimmed hat and red lipstick.

“Cecily my dear. It’s so good to see you.” She held her arms open wide, inviting Cecily in for one of her famous hugs. The embrace was more like a squeeze from a python and it lasted way too long for her liking, but she managed to stifle her annoyance. Brigitte released her, waving her arms in a downward motion signaling her to sit.

“Sit my dear. Mmm. Still as stunning as ever. You never age, do you?”

Cecily rolled her eyes. “You are dramatic but quite good for my ego.”

“Seriously, Cecily. A woman of your looks and status should have the witches falling at her feet.”

She laughed it off. The only line of witches she fought off was the line to get out the door. She felt nothing for them and the feeling was mutual.

“Maybe it’s my black wavy hair that ensnares them and my piercing dark eyes that send them running for the hills.” She widened her eyes then batted her lashes.

“Don’t be ridiculous. So—tell me everything.” Brigitte waved her arms in the air erecting a privacy wall to protect their conversation from human curiosity.

Cecily scrunched up her face. “Not much to tell since that last time I saw you.”

“Nonsense. How are things in Cottonwood Landing?”

Knowing she’d have to put up with her friend’s meddling questions, she let out a sigh. “Fine. Percy is running things quite well.”

“How is that fine specimen of male witch?”

“Still holding out hope for one of us royal witches to birth a female child.”

“Anyone nearing a tenth pregnancy?”

“Not that I know of.”

The silent pause gave her an uneasy feeling. It told her Brigitte was fishing for information.

Brigitte narrowed her eyes, trying to be nonchalant. “How many is it for you now?”

Ah ha! Cecily felt resentment coil in her gut. Never able to carry her pregnancies to term, she felt inept. Unworthy. “I lost count,” she stated coldly.

Brigitte’s voice rose up an octave. “I’m sorry. Did I hit a nerve?”

“You always hit a nerve Brigitte,” Cecily snapped.

She shrugged her shoulders. “It’s difficult for our kind to become pregnant, Cecily. You should know this. And carrying a child has its share of problems for us as well. But, our race needs its tenth power. If you are nearing a tenth pregnancy, you should try to have a child. You could birth a female. You owe it to our people to at least try.”

That. Was. It. Her stomach churned with anger. She was realizing she had been lured here to discuss the future of the covens. Not her future. Not her life. No—it was never about her. It was always about the covens, the royals—the need for the tenth power. Cecily leaned in and told her friend just how she felt.

“I owe it to our people? The same people who treat female witches like chattel? Is that what this get-together is about? To convince me to procreate?”

Feigning outrage at her accusation, Brigitte held her hand against her chest, displaying blood red nails. “I can’t believe you would think such a thing. I’m only asking because you are still of child bearing years. We all must do our part, Cecily. You are only thirty-five.”

Cecily narrowed her eyes. “That’s right and I’m far too old for this! I’m done. I’m tired of sacrificing my happiness, my life, my desires—all for what? On the off chance I’ll give birth to the tenth power? Let someone else deal with it. I want out of this vicious cycle. I sleep with witch after witch just to let them spill their seed inside me. Where’s my pleasure? Where’s my payoff? There is no love, no romance, no relationship. Most of these male witches don’t even take the time to arouse me. They just shove their cocks into me without as much as a second glance. It’s revolting.” She shook her head at Brigitte with disgust and continued with her tirade. “You come here pretending to care. Tricking me into believing I might have one friend left in this whole coven who actually cares about me. Well, it looks as though I was wrong. Percy put you up to this didn’t he?”

Brigitte looked around the café, her desire to keep up appearances obvious. The patrons might not hear what they were saying but they certainly could see her angry demeanor.

“Put a lid on your anger, Cecily. We don’t want to bring attention to ourselves. Percy is worried for our race. And he is right to worry. There are murders every week now. One—several. The warlocks are taking the souls of our loved ones and we are losing what little control we have left. The travelers are sparse, their army weakening. If there is a tenth power born today, we’d still have to wait years before she comes of age to access her power. That means it will take almost twenty years of waiting. If it doesn’t happen soon, we could all be doomed.”

Cecily no longer wanted to carry the responsibility of the coven on her shoulders. “Let the travelers kill the warlocks. That’s what they pledged to do. I’ve heard stories about them. They’re nothing but power hungry immortals—let them earn their keep.”

Brigitte spoke as if trying to reason with her.   “The travelers are thinning out. Most are reverting back to witch status and dying off. They’ve seen too much blood and sadness. They themselves are a dying race.”

Cecily’s chair made a loud screech as she abruptly pushed it back and stood up. Towering over Brigitte, she pointed her finger in her face. “Let the master of the realm worry about it. I’m through! And I’ll tell you another thing—I’m not going to allow myself to be used anymore. I refuse to be a whore for the cause. I can promise you, there isn’t a male witch on this planet who will get within ten feet of me!”

When Cecily stood up and marched toward the exit, she vowed just that. She swore off the witch population. From now on, if she couldn’t be human, she’d pretend to be.

****

Brigitte watched her leave, ignoring the stares of the locals. She rummaged through her oversized bag and pulled out her cell phone. The large clunky thing was more of a nuisance than it was useful. She pulled up the antenna and dialed. When she heard Percy’s voice on the other end, she let out a loud sigh.

“I’m sorry Percy. She told me nothing and I’m afraid the news gets worse. Our Cecily has refused to try anymore. It doesn’t look as though she’ll be the host for the tenth power.”

 

 

Chapter Two

 

Cecily couldn’t walk away fast enough. Out the door and into the street she went without looking back. She was shedding her witch world and trading it in for a new one. A human one. No longer would she cower to that royal bunch of bullies. She would live here in New Orleans and to hell with everything else. It was her turn to make a grab at happiness. And if she didn’t try, she’d have no one to blame but herself.

Without a direction in mind, she walked and walked until her feet ached. Guilt, slow and steady, weaseled its way into her mind. No. She wouldn’t allow it. She gave too many precious years—youthful years to her coven. She owed them nothing and nothing was what they deserved.

Cecily couldn’t walk another step. She must’ve circled the French Quarter more than a few times as it was growing dark. Stopping to survey her surroundings, she leaned her weight from one foot to another, wincing when she wiggled her sore toes around the inside of her shoes. It was then she heard it, the sound of a horn. Not a car horn, but a trumpet.

The melodious sound enveloped her, almost making her swoon. It called to her in a way she couldn’t describe. It wasn’t magic but it was damn close. And Cecily had to find its source. She followed the sound of the music straight to the door of Al’s House of Blues.

Inside, she was bathed in the smell of dry martinis and cigarette smoke so thick she could cut it with a knife. But Cecily didn’t care, she never did. It was a human smell and for that she was thankful. The music lifted her spirit, feeding it light and encouragement. The mellow, soulful sounds coming from the horn lulled her into a better mood. Maybe her life wasn’t so bad after all?

Cecily needed a better look at the bandmates gathered on the tiny platform. She moved through the crowd, slowly bobbing and weaving her way to the stage. As luck would have it, there was an empty table, right up front. She made a beeline for the seat and quickly sat down, her eyes searching out the person responsible for making such sinful sounds. Stunned, her breath hitched in her throat as she stared at the musician playing the instrument that willed her inside.

The tattoo on his arm stood out, assuring her this man and the man who saved her from falling into the street earlier today, were one and the same. His jet black hair looked glossy under the lights. His cheeks flushed a pinkish hue as he played his instrument with precision. Every sound reverberated under her skin, stroking a place deep inside—a place long forgotten and frozen with contempt.

She watched his fingers move, switching from one note to the other, mesmerizing fingers she suddenly wanted to feel touching her. Cecily dreamily watched him deliver a solo, the notes stroking her body, electrifying each erogenous zone. And when he was done, her body throbbed with a desire she had never known.

Continuing to watch him with intensity, she concluded he was one of the most beautiful men she’d ever seen. Somehow, in this place, in this light, with that instrument, he became her sole focus. And when his lavender eyes met hers, he smiled a knowing smile that, if possible, made her heart swell almost to bursting. Recognition lit his features, causing him to put a little more oomph into his performance. Suddenly, she felt as if he were playing just for her. The music rocked her body, penetrating deep until she swayed in her chair. His eyes widened as she sensuously performed, teasing his senses.

The time seemed to fly by when Cecily realized their set was over. Applause erupted and the crowd eventually thinned out. Apparently they were the one and only draw for this little dive of a blues joint. But if he continued to play here, she’d reserve this very seat for the rest of her life. The feeling she had at this moment was better than anything she’d ever felt before. And Cecily wanted more of it.

As she allowed herself some time to regroup, remorse quickly set in. Afraid she’d made a fool of herself, she decided a swift exit was a necessity. Who was she kidding? She was a thirty-five-year-old woman who, in the course of a day, acted like a clumsy fool and then a lovesick groupie. Cecily rolled her eyes at her stupidity. She scanned the club for the exit, got up from her chair, and headed straight for the door.

“I hope you don’t think you’re leaving,” the deep baritone voice said, a voice she heard once before and prayed to the fates she’d hear again.

Cecily stopped and turned around to find him standing inches from her. “I—yes I was. Just. Leaving. I planned on going earlier but your music—your music held me prisoner.”

“Prisoner? I like that. Are you a big fan of the blues?”

I live them. “Not really. This is my first time.”

He held his hand out to her. She obligingly placed her hand in his, watching as he brought the back of her hand to his lips, applying a chaste kiss to her skin. His eyes sparkled when he offered her a slight smile.

“There is a first time for everything and I hope I made yours one to remember.”

She was so enthralled she couldn’t pull her hand away. “I’m Cecily. And I don’t think I’ll ever forget tonight.”

Even his laugh was like music to her ears. She felt like a young girl who just discovered her first crush.

“I’m James.”

“It’s nice to meet you, James.” After a few seconds of silence Cecily leaned in close to his ear. “Can I have my hand back?”

She felt his grip loosen then tighten again. “No—I don’t think so. I’d like to hang on to you a little longer. Or at least until you agree to have a drink with me.”

She let out a nervous giggle. “I guess I do need my hand to function.”

“After that performance, I need a cool drink.”

“It was a very good show.”

“I’m not talking about my performance. You got me pretty heated up there with those moves in your seat.”

Cecily swallowed hard, embarrassment firing up her cheeks. “Oh—I’m sorry. I don’t want to give you the wrong idea but I—”

He pulled her close, so close his breath tickled her neck, sending shivers down her spine. “It’s just a drink Cecily. Nothing more.”

“Oh. Okay. That’s fine.”

His deep chuckle made her legs weak. This man could take her right here—right now. And the feeling was so foreign, it caught her off guard.

“Shall we?” He lifted his arm. Chivalry isn’t dead after all.

As she laced her arm through his, she narrowed her eyes at him. “How old are you?”

He gave her smile that could melt ice in a blizzard. “I’m thirty-two and you are—twenty eight?”

She giggled. “Nice try, Romeo.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

Another FREE read…Check it out!

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , on June 2, 2014 by mrsmack97

It is my pleasure today to introduce a great FREE read from Naomi Clark and Evernight Publishing. I love these free reads because it gives you, the reader, a chance to sample the writing and storytelling of an author who might be new to you. Think of these stories as bite sized samples of deliciousness. Get it today for FREE.

phantom-fears-free

Phantom Fears – An Evernight Free Read

As a private investigator with a werewolf girlfriend, Shannon Ryan is used to the unusual. But her latest case has even level-headed Shannon questioning reality. Joyce Bonner swears her daughter is being haunted by a poltergeist. Charlotte Bonner swears she’s not. Shannon has one night to uncover the facts behind the supposed supernatural phenomena. Between an over-enthusiastic ghost-hunter and her own scepticism, can she get to the truth?

Available from – http://www.evernightpublishing.com/
http://www.allromanceebooks.com/

Excerpt

Charlotte moaned again, mumbling something incoherent and probably rude. She sat up slowly, as if she was moving through tar. “Whassup? S’not time for school.”
“There was a power cut,” I said in explanation. “We just wanted to make sure you were alright.”
“I’m fine,” she said irritably. “Just wanna sleep.”
Esther fussed around her like a mother hen, fiddling with the duvet and muttering about hormones. I was about to tell the au pair to leave Charlotte be when the screaming started.
I’m not ashamed to admit, I jumped. Esther did too, clutching at the bedpost for support. Charlotte just groaned “What the fuck?” and buried herself under her duvet. I wished I felt so apathetic. It was a woman’s scream, shrill and eerie, and once again I was plunged back into the shadows of Paris. I didn’t want Ayla’s night vision or sense of smell anymore; I just wanted Ayla.
I sucked in a deep breath and reminded myself forcefully that there was no such thing as ghosts. “We should go find out what that is,” I said, impressed at how calm I sounded. Esther gripped my hand as we left Charlotte’s bedroom and I squeezed her fingers as I would Ayla’s, missing the warmth and reassurance of Ayla’s firm grip.
Taiki was running down the hall when we came out, a torch in hand. “How amazing is this? Actual manifestation! I can’t wait to see the data!”
I snatched the torch from him since he was waving it around like a lunatic. The beam wasn’t very bright, but I felt better with a light in my hand. The sound of clanking blended in with the screams now, like some old brass machine full of rusty gears. I gritted my teeth, hating the sound. “Where’s Joyce?” I asked Taiki.
“In the kitchen. Where’s Charlotte?”
“In her room, trying to sleep through this racket.” I shone the torch around the hall, not sure what I expected to see. My chest was tight with adrenaline, but the longer I stood here listening to the awful noise, the less nervous I felt. Noise was all it was. No slime dripping down the walls, no apparitions or flying objects. It was surprisingly anti-climactic and I just wanted it to stop. That meant finding out where it came from.
Without waiting for the others, I ran down to the kitchen, calling Joyce’s name. She sat at the kitchen table, head in her hands. I touched her shoulder lightly and she jumped, slapping my hand away.
“Shannon! Oh goodness, I’m sorry. I just…my nerves…I can’t take much more of this.”
“Then let’s stop it,” I said. The noise wasn’t as loud down here, although I still had to raise my voice to be heard. “Let’s get the lights back on, okay? Where’s the circuit board?”
“In the basement.”
Of course it was. What horror film scenario was complete without a trip to the basement in the dark? “Right, show me the way then.”

About the Author

My first love as a writer is urban fantasy, quickly followed by werewolf myth and legend. The Urban Wolf series lets me combine the two and put my own spin on them – what more could a girl want? When I’m not writing, I’m probably creating my own perfumes, reading, watching wacky documentaries and/or drinking fancy tea.

Find me online:

Blog – http://naomiclarkwrites.blogspot.co.uk/
Twitter – https://twitter.com/naomi_jay
Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/naomijclark

The Beginning-Witches Of The Bayou-FREE READ

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , on May 27, 2014 by mrsmack97

thebeginning-freealsb21s
My newest read is free, courtesy of Evernight Publishing. This paranormal romance is based on a character from A Late Summer Bloom. It occurred to me, Cecily Jareau, needed her story told. Why was she so jaded? What caused her to hate her royal coven? Why did she want to walk away from her power and her witchhood?
Because her story comes to a satisfying conclusion in A Late Summer Bloom, I thought it would be fun to go back, just a little and tell the story of how it all began. After all, don’t we all love to fall in love? That no holds barred, can’t keep our hands to ourselves, butterflies in the belly kinda love?
Yeah, me too. My hope is you take the time to download and read, The Beginning-Witches Of The Bayou and love it as much as I loved writing it.
((HUGS))
Cherrie Mack

The Beginning
Witches Of The Bayou
Free Read
Number of pages: 46

Book Description:

A young and powerful witch of royal birthright longs to be human. When she meets a human man who gives her the love she’s never known, her decision to renounce her heritage is an easy one. But, not everything is what it seems.

This exciting, short story is a prequel to A Late Summer Bloom—Witches Of The Bayou.

Excerpt:

Cecily sat at Al’s House of Blue’s for the fifth night in a row. She sat in the same seat sipping the same drink and watching James play his trumpet. Having a date afterward had become a welcome routine. She was falling hard for the dashing, swoon-worthy musician and her libido had suddenly awakened from its life of hibernation. Wanting him on every level, not just physical, had her worried.
Did she dare to dream he felt the same way? He certainly gave off a territorial vibe when it came to her. And although being human was James’ advantage, it served as his drawback as well. The fact remained, she was a witch—a witch of royal status. The covens wouldn’t allow her to renounce her origins so easily.
She sighed. James hadn’t even kissed her yet and here she was thinking of a life outside the boundaries of magic.
“You look far away tonight. Everything okay?” James stood near, his aftershave soothing her anxiety.
“I’m fine.”
He pulled a chair up close to her and sat down, taking her hands in his. “No. You were thinking about something that made you sad. I could see it in your eyes.”
“And that bothers you?”
“It bothers me a great deal.”
She stared at his mouth, licking her lips. “Why?” And why haven’t you kissed me?
Without warning, swift and certain, James leaned in and kissed her lips. The contact surprised her, making her pull back. But as she leaned away, he leaned forward, not allowing her to move out of his reach. His lips claimed her, branding her with a fiery passion she never experienced. The crowd was no longer a consequence as she returned his affection. Their tongues entwined in a blistering exchange sending a mass of intense impulses bolting through her blood.
The velvety texture of his mouth was more than she could stand. His tongue, hot and slick, moved in a sinuous rhythm, owning her, imprinting his being within her heart. This wasn’t a kiss—this was a declaration. And Cecily wanted more of it. When he pulled away, she felt exposed, like a raw bundle of nerves left unprotected in the smoky atmosphere.
Applause could be heard from behind her, the audience clapping at their display. The glorious feeling disappeared quickly when Cecily recognized Brigitte standing at the back of the room. James leaned over to whisper in her ear. “After this set is over—I wanna do that again.”
She gave him a nervous smile. “Yes. I’d like that. But right now, I need to use the powder room.” She fanned herself, gave him a wink and rose up on wobbly legs. When she headed for the ladies room she saw Brigitte fall in step behind her.
After they waited for it to clear out, Brigitte leveled a stern look at her. “A human man? Really?”
Cecily stood with her hands on her hips. “James. His name is James. And yes I want a human man because ultimately, I want to be human.”
Brigitte’s eyes widened as if Cecily had committed the worst of sins. “They are unworthy. Not just of a witch but—but you? You have aristocratic blood in your veins. You can’t be serious.”
“Oh I’m serious. Neither you, nor Percy and his band of blue-blooded bullies are gonna change my mind.”
Brigitte’s facial features relaxed. “We’ll just see about that.” Cecily panicked. She’d been living as a human for over a week, performing no spells, no magic. She washed dishes and clothes and floors. She purchased food at the market, she cooked. And she was comfortable doing all of it. Now, about to embark on a human relationship, so close to a physical, loving connection, an obstacle was thrown in her path.
Just like always. Her life was one big hurdle after another. Happiness was a breath away and once again she was faced with a complication she never saw coming. That kiss should have been one of her happiest moments but was ruined by the mere presence of another of her kind.

Write what you love…the rest will fall into place

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , on April 7, 2014 by mrsmack97

186386452That’s what they say—that’s what I do. I never paid attention to the “crossing sub genres is career suicide” mentality. Why? Because I didn’t have a career yet. And what better way to carve out a path than to take a few different directions. I knew what I preferred to read but even that had its peaks and valleys.
As a reader, I jumped around. A lot. I went through some major phases. In the eighties, I feverishly read every horror I could get my hands on. The more blood the better. Then it was on to thrillers and ghost stories until I could no longer read after sunset. In the early nineties I gobbled every suspense story you could think of. Mary Higgins Clark and Nora Roberts were at the top of my list. I also went through a fantasy stage as well.
Then the vampire craze hit and that put me on the road to paranormal. Ahhh—the world of the paranormal beckons me every time. I cannot resist a great blurb about witches, werewolves and things that go bump in the night. And those blood sucking men oozing sex appeal from every pore as they will you into giving your blood to satisfy their salacious needs always make me swoon. The authors that write those scenes as if the victim will orgasm as the vampire rips open her throat for his latest meal are pure genius…You gotta love it.
Which brings me to the next four letter craze. BDSM. This lifestyle has boomed in popularity amongst readers due to fifty shades of course. Readers can’t seem to get enough of those triple X books. Me likey too. However, my interest in the erotic has since changed and no longer do I love a submissive being taught how to defy her master only to be paddled into orgasmic bliss. I’m sorta over it. Not to say I’d pass on a good erotic romance. There are authors who can weave a tale so hot even I would try the cuffs.
As an author I’ve written all of the above. What do I enjoy most? Well, that’s easy. I enjoy writing paranormal because I enjoy reading it most of all. Does that mean no more BDSM contemporaries or romantic comedies? I wouldn’t rule that out just yet. But what I do know is this….Write what you love and the rest will fall into place.

What? You Never Read The Sentinel Series….

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , on March 19, 2014 by mrsmack97

I discovered The Sentinel Series through a friend a few years back. Ever since reading the first in the series, I’ve been pleasantly hooked. When I spotted the novella length Bound By Vengeance, I dug in. It flowed with the series well enough, Liam was your usual loveable, honorable theronai male. Our heroine had been damaged (part of an ongoing theme with these books lately) but stubborn and brave. Together, they slay demons, fall in love, and discover each other through their mind connection. I felt the ending was rushed but well worth reading if you’re a fan of Ms. Butcher’s, as I am.

Bound by Vengeance (Sentinel Wars, #5.5)Bound by Vengeance by Shannon K. Butcher
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I love The Sentinel series however, this one left me a bit cold. No problem with the length. It was an action packed, romance filled novella. The characters were likeable. My issue was with the ending. It was so abrupt, I went back to check twice to make sure my kindle wasn’t blanking out on me. It delivered the HEA but, for me, I felt like it was rushed.

View all my reviews