Heir of Nostalgia by Steve Muse

This is an excerpt from Heir of Nostalgia by Steve Muse, available on Amazon.

Blurb:
Age Level: 14 and up | Grade Level: 9 and up

I’m here to tell you, the world never started out this way. It became this way through a mistake, through my pride. I created the Hell we all have to live through. Because of me, the decisions I made, the world has been earmarked for suffering. I tore the veil between life and death. I caused the great shift, the new awakening. Because of me, the world will never be the same.”

Theo Valerian’s world is one of privilege, of always having enough, of having everything go his way. Up until the moment he meets Phillip, a thirteen year old runaway.

Phillip is homeless, hungry, and heartbroken. He’s been living on the streets of New York ever since losing his family. Since that time, the only thing that keeps him going is thoughts of vengeance. He’s looking for the man he feels is responsible for his father’s disappearance, the same man that destroyed his family, a man with silver singing spurs that can walk between worlds. Will a Riot Grrl called Maggie, who claims she can talk to angels, be able to help Phillip? Will a murder of ravens masquerading as teenage thugs defeat them? Or are there stronger forces at work, dark forces? Forces bent on destroying everything in Phillips life?

No one ever said growing up would be easy- then again no one ever said it would be this hard either.

Excerpt:

I finally located Phillip, he was with a man- but before I go there, there is something you must know, the corners of the roof, the corners of the doorways, anything at all that resembled a clear ninety degree angle of any sort; they all began to bleed darkness like a severed artery bleeds blood.

And that darkness the corners bled began to pool.

“Dad?” Not a cry, not an observation, but a plea from my son.

“Don’t worry,” I said, trying to reassure him, “everything is going to be alright.”  But I was lying; everything wasn’t going to be alright, because everything felt so incredibly wrong, starting with the man lounging beside the entrance of the stairwell leading back down into Union Station, the one with his hand on the back of Phillip’s neck, the one with the smirk on his face, raven hair hanging in strings alongside a face so pale, so long, as to appear cartoonish and sinister, the one holding a small silver dagger against my son’s throat.

In the fading light of day, “I’m glad you could join us.”  A voice so harsh, so painful, that simply hearing it is enough to cause headaches and nosebleeds.  Gratingly low, it sounded like what dragging your fist through a box of broken glass would feel like, only in your head.

“What do you want,” I asked.

Over the man’s left shoulder, hanging low upon the horizon, Domiciles sword, the all too familiar comet, like a blood smear drawn across the sky.

The man appeared to be dressed in the rags, the haphazard clothing of a street dweller.  In other words, nothing all that unique or familiar about him, in fact, he could have been anybody, but at the same time it was obvious he was more than that.  From the look on Phillip’s face, the boys stance, his drawn shoulders and hunched back, the man’s grip obviously caused him a great deal of pain.

Before the man answered, he seemed to breathe in deeply, as if ‘tasting’ the very air, like a bloodhound seeking to catch the scent of his recently acquired prey, “Nothing now,” he said.

The way he said this only confirmed what I already knew, that we were in for some serious trouble.  It would take more than simply staring the man down to get rid of him.  If he could be gotten rid of at all.

“Is there anything I can do?  Can we talk about this?”  I hated doing it, bargaining with both our lives, but I’d do anything at the moment.  Try as I might, I couldn’t shake the quivering of fear from my voice.

Phillip immediately picked up on my fear, because of this, any glimmer of hope in his eyes and on his face, quickly vanished, as tears began to leak from his eyes.  ‘Sorry,’ he silently mouthed.

‘It’s alright,’ I returned.

“There is nothing to discuss.  The only reason you two are still breathing is because, it has been such a long time since I’ve been here.  My curiosity has bought you both a momentary stay of execution, that’s all.”

It was obvious, unlike the majority of bad guys portrayed in popular novels, and/or made for the TV or big screen, our ‘bad guy’ was neither stupid nor obnoxiously helpless, simply put, if dark and gruesome had anything to say about it, we were going to die.

The only real question left to answer, was when.


About Steve Muse:

After meeting Frank Herbert, author of the acclaimed Dune Series, I decided the life of writing was for me. That was about 30 years ago, I’ve been writing ever since.

Heir of Nostalgia is my first published novel, and thanks to the encouragement of my loving wife Janet, is the first in a series chronicling the trials and tribulations of young man in search of his family, his country as well as his place in the world.

Here’s to the land of wonder, an air of Nostalgia, and childhood memories. May we never grow too old to dream… Got a question, comment or review, I’d love to hear from you. Simply drop me a line at: heirofnostalgia@gmail.com.

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For more information  please visit :


Warrior by Violette Dubrinsky

This is an excerpt from Warrior by Violette Dubrinsky, a Fantasy-Historical novel available on Amazon, Barnes & Noble and All Romance Books.

Excerpt:

Jaisyn tugged her arm free and pushed past him, grabbing the brass handle and pushing inward. No fire had been lit in that hearth in the days since her father’s death. Just thinking about that made her want to cry. Her father was dead, the kingdom was no longer theirs and a large, evil wretch of a king now occupied Wilhelm’s chambers. What had her father been thinking, giving Mathilda to someone like him? Of all his daughters, he betrothed the one who would run screaming from this giant of a man?

As she’d sat across from Vulcan, Jaisyn had critically assessed him. She knew that many would find him handsome, with his thick head of silky black hair that cascaded past his shoulders, and stern yet sensual face, but he was in no way approachable. She had no idea how to reach him. She had to do something to get her kingdom back, but she didn’t know what. The people of Lytheria didn’t live for war, and this man did.

So lost was she in her thoughts that she didn’t recognize Vulcan was pushing the door in until she heard an audible snap of the latch. She spun immediately, recognizing that the door was closed and his tall body was against it.

His eyes looked dangerous and that scowl still loomed on his lips. What was he doing?

“Remove your veil,” he said in that pompous voice of his. Was he serious? She was a princess, a daughter of Lyria!

“King Vulcan,” she began stiffly, her hands clasped tightly at her midriff. “You are in my castle because I wish it. Do not think to disrespect me in such a manner.”

***

Vulcan could have laughed at how she phrased that statement. He was not here because she wished it; he was in his castle because he had conquered it. Twice. He took a step forward and with her fighter’s instincts, Jaisyn took one backwards.

“Take off the veil, Princess.”

***

Did he suspect it was she who’d tried to kill him on that horrid night? She’d tried her best to put that night from her mind but she’d still had dreams—nightmares—about it.

“My liege, you are being disrespectful. I am a princess of Lytheria—”

Two quick strides brought him directly before her and in the next instant, he was plucking the crown from her head, pulling the veil off and tossing it aside.

Jaisyn let out a startled cry and spun away from him, moving over to the fireless hearth. Vulcan’s voice came from somewhere behind her.

“Turn and face me, Princess. Or are you afraid your face will bring back memories of a night not so far gone?”

He did suspect her. How? It didn’t matter, but he did. Which probably meant that he wanted revenge. And he had promised to continue where he’d left off if he ever saw her again. Her eyes darted to the broadsword above the hearth.

Her father’s sword rested there as a reminder of the great king who had once occupied the place. She sent up a quick prayer to Lyria, and one to her deceased father, praying she would not soon be joining him soon.

Quick as a fox, she reached for the heavy weapon, unsheathed it, spread her legs wide, and spun to face him.

***

Vulcan was accustomed to the unusual. He prided himself on not being shocked easily, but this…girl—not just any girl, but a princess—wielding a sword? It was almost comical, with her flowing dress and brandishing a man’s sword. The he remembered that this same woman had almost killed him as he slept. There was nothing funny about that.

He lifted his eyes to her face. Her skin was lovingly kissed with the sun’s rays—a dark bronze. Her mass of golden curls was pinned intricately atop her head, and her eyes, cat’s eyes—almost yellow in their vivid brightness—flashed angrily at him.

This was his princess. This had to be his princess, or else she wouldn’t be gripping a warrior’s sword, looking like she was ready to decapitate him.

“Put the sword down, lady,” Vulcan said as calmly as he, known for his bouts of temper, could manage.

Jaisyn lifted it higher as her soft lips curled into a snarl. “So that you can rip off more than my veil? I do not think so! Lytherians are not as barbaric as your people, my liege!”

“Put the sword down before I am tempted to take you over my knee!” Vulcan bit the words out angrily, and took a menacing step forward.

She moved to the left, and the grace with which she did so made Vulcan recognize something: she was at ease with the sword. If it wasn’t completely unheard of, he might even say that she was a swordswoman.

He began to tread more carefully. More than likely she wasn’t skilled at using the weapon, but he was taking no chances. Stupidity did not a High King make.

“I am giving you to the count of three. If that sword is still in your hand after that, you cannot hold me accountable for what I do,” Vulcan threatened.

She held onto the sword. Vulcan had had enough. He took a few steps forward, intent on twisting her arm, as he’d done a few nights ago, and pulling the weapon away from her. He didn’t even get close. As soon as he was in range, she flicked her wrist so the flat of the broadsword faced him, and swung. A resounding crash reverberated in the room as the sword caught his breastplate, pushing him back a step and making his ears ring.

“I will not warn you again! Do not come any closer!” she hissed out, her hands aching slightly.

Vulcan recovered from his state of shock as anger took him by full force. Steel screeched as he pulled his broadsword from its sheath and advanced on her.

About Violette Dubrinsky:

Violette Dubrinsky is the author of the Dark God, Warrior, and upcoming Moonlight (in which she introduces you to her werewolves) sagas. She enjoys writing romance stories with stubborn, at times, clashing characters, who eventually learn the error of their ways and sometimes grow to love each other. She is the youngest of three, and the only girl. As such, she was spoiled rotten (in her elaborate dreams), and always wished for a playmate closer to her age.  At a young age, she began creating stories to fill in for the lack of creativity on the part of her two older jock brothers. Violette resides in New York and Boston, and although she has no pets, is intent on getting a Malamute or Husky (since it is the closest she will ever be to a wolf and she is quite obsessed with werewolves) at some point in her life.

She can be reached at: violettedubrinsky.com and violettedubrinsky.wordpress.com

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For more information on this and her other titles, please visit :

Bid Not For My Love by Darcee Tana

Today’s excerpt comes from the Historical Romance Bid Not, for My Love by Darcee Tana

When Baron Raul of Kinsborough won a woman at a sale, he never knew, he would enter his castle with her as his bride.When Emma of Rosemund, fled from home, she never expected, she had commenced her journey to love. The first had wanted to become a Templar Knight, the second was on her way to the Abbey. But destiny had other ideas

“What happened at yer fathers?” Peter queried.

“My father wishes to see me wed. Nothing has changed much where that is concerned” Raul answered, once again bereft of emotion.

“I heard, there was disagreement” Peter remarked

“How is it, the news has reached before I did?” Raul grinned.

“Ye left yer squire behind when ye left in a rage. Yer father delivered him, just moments ago. We were about to set off with the others, when the guard saw ye both riding in. We worried a mishap had occurred to cause yer delay” Rowan filled in.

“Aye! My father, it is a wonder he did not get the bride delivered as well” Raul scoffed

“I must be getting old, Raul” Peter smiled “Ye bride is with yer father, yet yer betrothed is here with ye? What brings about this strange situation?”

“We will talk inside. For now, make sure all the guards know, that the lady is not to leave the castle. She is to be kept in sight, always. If she leaves, is taken or if anything happens to her, it will be at the cost of their lives” Raul was stern in his command. He then made his way towards the great hall.

“My Lord!” Sir Rowan called after him

“What is it, Rowan?” Raul inquired

“Does ‘our lady’ know that she is yer betrothed or have ye forgotten to inform her of it?” The question was serious, but the grin on Sir Rowan’s face could not be held back.

Raul was silent a moment and then he said “She will”

“And does she know to who she is to be betrothed to?” Sir Rowan asked

“She will” he repeated and with that reply he marched inside.

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You can get Bid Not for my Love on Smashwords

Cattitude by Edie Ramer

This is from Cattitude the Paranormal Romance by Edie Ramer available at: Amazon Barnes & Noble, Smashwords

“You’re reading Harry Potter?”

Belle started, Max’s voice shocking her head up, her jaw open, her heart hammering. The only other time she’d been surprised by a human was the day Caroline grabbed her. Caroline had snuck in, but Max didn’t sneak anywhere. He always strode in boldly.

“Harry Potter is wonderful,” she said. “He had a bedroom in a room beneath the stairs. The Dursleys are mean to him.”

“You learned how to read that well already?” He frowned, and she wondered if he thought she was faking, like Annette on The Love Chronicles.

“I’m not faking anything.” She scowled at him. Yes, she was lying, but he should still believe her. He should believe everything she told him.

He remained standing over her, his expression hard instead of soft. She liked soft much better than hard. “Your memory could be coming back.”

“Or it could be that I’m very smart.” Or brilliant. She’d always suspected she was brilliant.  Or perhaps she was tapping into the body’s brain cells. Though Sorcha had vacated the body, maybe some of her knowledge remained. Maybe that was why she was catching on so quickly.

She shifted in her chair, then shifted back. She wanted her own knowledge, not Sorcha’s.

He grinned and she sucked in her breath, feeling as if she’d been kicked in the heart.

His smile never made her feel this way when she’d been a cat.

Bending down, he grabbed one of the books she’d set apart. “Did you read this?” He showed her the cover, a cartoon cat in a hat, tall with stripes.

She made a face, though she was glad to talk instead of think. “It’s a silly book, the worst ever.”

His eyebrows climbed up his forehead and his body relaxed, an odd look on his face that she couldn’t place. A good one, not bad. “Sure it’s silly, but everyone loves The Cat in the Hat.

She waved her hand in the air. She didn’t care what everyone liked. Everyone was human and didn’t know better.  “Cats don’t wear hats,” she said.

He laughed harder than she’d ever heard him in all the years she’d lived with him. Looking at him, she felt the kick in her heart again. She swallowed a scream that said, No, no, no! I should not feel this way about him.

“What about a book about a dog?” he asked.

The horror made it easy for her to ignore the kick and remind her that Max was not perfect, though this stupid body seemed to disagree.

“I don’t like dogs.”

“You remember that too?”

She glared at him. She supposed it wouldn’t be appropriate to give him a warning nip. “I don’t remember anything.”

One corner of his mouth quirked up. “You look so offended.”

She wasn’t sure what he meant but she nodded. From his face, offended was a good thing to look like.

“If you change your mind, I saved one of my favorite dog books.” His mouth straightened, and his mood changed. “I wish I could forget I’d read it, so I could read it all over again.”

His eyes darkened, touching a spot within her heart, making her ache for him and want to say something that would warm his eyes and curl up his mouth again.

“Why?” Her voice sounded funny to her own ears, and she couldn’t think of one thing to say that would make him smile. “Why does it make you sad?”

He shook his head and backed up, his face closing. “Just thinking. It was a favorite of my dad’s. I’d better get back to work. I have a lot to do.” He gave a sharp nod and left.

She watched him turn into the hall, the ache still heavy in her chest. Frowning, she sat and returned back to reading Harry. It stopped her from thinking about what had just happened. It stopped her feeling sad because Max was sad. It stopped her from thinking of the kick in the heart because he laughed.

Most of all, it stopped her from thinking how un-catlike she felt when Max was around.

This was not good, not good at all.

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Bio:

I live in southeastern Wisconsin with my husband, two dogs, and the original Belle the cat. I started writing in the 1990’s, selling short stories in the mystery genre to National magazines and two Women Sleuth books. In addition to non-fiction articles, I wrote verses for greeting cards, and I possess a drawer filled with cards for any occasion. I’m co-founder of Write Attitude, an inspirational website for writers. I’ve won RWA writing contests with four different books (including CATTITUDE and her upcoming book, DEAD PEOPLE), and I was an American Title V finalist. You can read about my journey as an independent author on my blog. I also blog at Magical Musings, along with 8 amazing and brilliant writers.

you can find more of Edie at:

Sylvianna by Keryl Raist

Sarah Metz just got to Sylvianna College. She went in search of a biology degree. She found a group of wizards on the run from their past. They remember her. She doesn’t remember them. Over the next year, she’ll help them fight off the creatures trying to kill them, fall back into love with the man who used to be her husband, break the heart of her best friend while doing it, and maybe, if they’re very, very lucky, not remember who she used to be.

Sylvianna is a modern day fantasy with a scorching hot romance and a deeply layered plot. Angels, demons, magic, sword fights, free will, destiny, and true love all weave into a complex tale of the search for redemption.

“Any idea of the local layout here?”

“Nope.  We’ve got to get in, scout it out, and take it down.  This ghost has a reputation for being mean, but I wasn’t able to find anyone who knew of it doing anything other than scaring people.  No physical attacks.”

“Good.  I don’t think there’s a ghost that can scare me anymore.”

“Let’s hope.”  They drove for a few more minutes.  When Chuck slowed down the car, Chris asked, “This the spot?”

“I think so.”  He pulled down a long, overgrown driveway toward a rotting hulk of a building.  The first floor doors and windows had tape over them reading ‘Condemned.’

“I think we’re doing this in the open,” Chris said.

“I’m fine with not going in there.”

“Go find it.  I’ll set up the trap.”  It wasn’t the best location for his sort of magic.  He could feel two tiny, far away ley lines.  The ground, a soft, deep loam, while great for farming, wasn’t great for a mage with an affinity for fire or stone.  He spent a few minutes continuing to look around.  No neighbors.  The closest building was a good four miles away.  The forest was three hundred yards from the house.  The house was mostly old, dry wood.  The first time he did this he had wanted fire.

“Can you do double duty for me?”

“What do you want me to do?”

“There’s not enough local energy here to do this, and we didn’t eat properly ahead of time.  If you think you can keep it in check, I’ll set the house on fire and pull off of that.”

“Give me a few minutes.  I want to get a good feeling for how much energy it’ll take to keep this thing reined in before we add a raging fire to the mix.”

“Okay.  Let me know when you know.  Give me your keys.”

Chuck tossed Chris the keys to the car.  Chris pulled the car away from the house, almost to the street.  When he walked back, Chuck was waiting for him.  “I can do both.  It’s not too much of a big deal.  Mostly just an obnoxious teenager with more power than any teenager should have.”

“Great.”

“Want me to light it for you?”

“Nah.  I got this.  Get far enough back not to get burned.  Once I’ve got the circle set, chase it to me.”

“Sure.”

Setting the trap was easier this time.  He nodded at Chuck.  Soon a sulky looking ghost stared at him.  He set the trap spinning and called down the fire.  He hadn’t done it in a long time, but it was one of his favorite tricks.  He let the power gather in his hands, felt the lovely, warm glow of flames fill his mind, and shot it at the house.  In a minute there was smoke.  A minute after that they could see the flames spreading.  He grinned and got to work, pulling energy off the fire and feeding it into the ghost.

In a matter of minutes he was sweating, and the ghost cast a shadow while the condemned building behind them roared with flames.  He loved this kind of magic.  It was clean and beautiful.  In the end there would be nothing but light, cool ashes.

The ghost seemed intent on watching the house burn.  It wasn’t even paying attention to what Chris was doing to it.  The flames roared, and the ghost became opaque.  Chris felt it get past the point he had gotten the last one to.

He kept feeding it energy from the fire.  His focus wavered for a few seconds when the house collapsed in on itself, but Chuck kept the fire away from them.

One last burst of magic flowed into the ghost while the newly fallen timbers cracked and popped as the fire found new fuel.  It looked solid to him.  He found a stick and poked it.

“Hey,” the ghost said as it noticed him for the first time.  Chris grinned at it.  Its eyes went wide.  It knew that grin didn’t bode well for it.

It was solid.  Now what to do with it? He let his mind go blank and slid into the trancelike state he needed to really know what was in front of him.  It had human anatomy again.  Beautiful.  He gracefully drew a little more energy off of the burning house and carefully pulsed it into the brain of the ghost.  One little burst here.  One there.  Another just to make sure the job was really done.  It shrieked and collapsed.

You can find Sylvianna at:

http://www.amazon.com/Sylvianna-ebook/dp/B004H1T98C/
http://www.smashwords.com/books/view/34284
http://search.barnesandnoble.com/Sylvianna/Keryl-Raist/e/2940011982194/?itm=1&USRI=sylvianna

Keryl Raist is a part-time writer, part-time blogger, part-time book reviewer, and full-time mom. When not balancing babies with books, she likes to sleep. She lives in Charleston, SC, with two little boys; the “Number One, All-Star, Son-In-Law Of The Year Champion” (according to a discerning panel of her mom and mom’s best friends); and a remarkably unflusterable cat.

Check out Keryl’s blog at www.topublishornotto.blogspot.com

Charli by Elizabeth Reyes

Elizabeth Reyes is a Indie romance writer. Her debut YA romance Novel Forever Mine The first in the Moreno Brothers series is available now on Amazon US Amazon UK & B&N The Nook. The second in the series “Always Been Mine” will be available very soon.
Today she is sharing an excerpt of current WIP a Paranormal Romance Charli(Working Title).Premise of the story:

Seventeen-year old Charlotte (Charli) has been sent to live with her estranged, but wealthy bachelor uncle in Los Angles after her father is sent to a mental institution. This is her first morning in her new room at her uncles and she recalls the dream she had the night before, triggering a eerie memory from her childhood. Enjoy and don’t forget to comment. =)

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I must’ve been more tired than I thought because I didn’t even remember falling asleep and even when I woke the next morning I was still so tired. It was unusual for me to remember my dreams but last nights dream was so vivid. It was almost as if I’d been awake but I couldn’t have been.In my dream I was sound asleep when I heard the annoying barking of a dog. I tried to ignore it but when I heard other dogs joining in and the barking getting really panicky it reminded me of something. A memory so vivid I remember everything down to the finest detail.

When I was a little girl about six years old, my grandparents dropped me off at a friend’s house, a couple they’d known for years. I was told my father was ill and they were taking him to the doctors. I spent the entire day there. It was a bit unusual because if my dad needed a sitter there was always a closer friend that could help out but that day none of them were available.

After a long day of playing with their twin daughters, I must’ve knocked out because the next thing I remember was waking up in my grandpa’s arms as he carried me out to the car. My head rested on his shoulder and I heard hushed voices as he walked. It was late and someone had thrown a blanket over me. The barking is what woke me. The same as in my dream, first one dog then others joined. I heard my grandpa’s friend try to hush his own dog by the side of the house.

I was finally in my grandpa’s truck. He buckled me in and put the blanket over me. He was parked on the street and he walked around the back of the truck to his side. That’s when I saw her. A very tall woman wearing what looked like a long dark raincoat coat with a hood. She stood in the middle of the street, absolutely still. The hood somewhat shrouded her face. But I could see the red lips and few strands of long dark hair that straggled out from under her hood.

The fact that she was standing perfectly still in the middle of street at night time wasn’t the oddest thing about the scene. It was the dogs. I’ll never forget the dogs. There were six of them. And they all sat just as still as she was in front her, in perfect lines of two. The image of Santa’s reindeer had come to my mind. I didn’t know much about dogs but they were huge. What struck me most was that as much as the neighborhood dogs were going crazy barking, her dogs sat there calmly, looking straight ahead, completely unaffected by the noise the other dogs made.

My Grandpa got in the truck and tried starting it up. Even though she was standing just a few yards away he hadn’t noticed her. The old truck hacked as he turned the key in the ignition. I was used to it taking a few tries. The whole time I couldn’t’ take my eyes off the woman and her dogs. Then she moved. It was so slight if my eyes hadn’t been fixated on her I would’ve missed it. Her head moved up a bit but just enough to unveil a pair of big dark beautiful eyes. They were penetrating but in a such good way. She was …magnificent. Instantly I felt my breath taken away. And then just as suddenly I was locked in her gaze. Her eyes somehow got bigger, darker. I couldn’t look away, move, or even speak. I’m not sure if I even breathed for those few moments.

Everything went absolute silent. And then I heard her voice. I don’t know how. Her lips didn’t move, she was still yards away and the doors and windows of the truck were closed but I heard it as clear as if she were sitting right there next to me.

It is almost time, little one.” Her voice matched her face. It was like silk, it was music, it was… intoxicating. It felt so good in my ear, I smiled.

The next thing I remember I woke up in my bed in my grandparent’s house. In the small room I shared with my dad. Only that morning I was alone. When I asked my grandpa about the woman with the dogs he had no idea what I was talking about.

I found out years later, the day I’d spent at there friends was first of several interventions my family had, had for my drug addicted father. Of course at the time I didn’t even realize my dad had a problem. All I knew is he was…different. He did things and said things sometimes that didn’t make any sense. But he’d been that way as long as I could remember so it didn’t seem odd to a six-year-old.

As the years passed he got worse.

I shook my head refusing to dwell on those memories. Instead my thoughts went back last nights dream. In the dream the barking woke me and so I sat up in my bed. I waited to see if the barking would stop but it only got louder. I stood and walked to the window and there she was in the middle of the long driveway. My memories had kept her exactly as when I’d seen here so many years ago. The dark coat, the dogs, the red lips. I could see now the dogs were Great Danes. No wonder they’d seemed so big to me as a child. I waited almost holding my breath for her to move to look at me like she had that one night.

Then she did. Again her movement was so slight, and her eyes came into view. They were just as enchanting as they’d been the first time only this time there was something different. I didn’t know what it was but it worried me. Somehow I could sense that she was anxious, frightened. I felt her fear run through me and I shivered.

Our eyes locked and I was paralyzed were I stood. But it didn’t scare me. I welcomed it. Everything went silent and her voice flowed in my ears like a beautiful song.

It is time.”That’s when I woke up. In my bed under my blankets just as I had lied down the night before and I knew I’d been dreaming. But I was so tired.

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Thanks for reading!
For more on Elizabeth and her writing and to read sample chapters of her novel Forever Mine visit her blog The Beginnings .

Devil Moon by Dana Taylor

Devil Moon: A Mystic Romance By Dana Taylor, $2.99 at Amazon & Smashwords

The set up: Devil Moon: A Mystic Romance is a comedy set in the Ozarks. Maddie is the uptight high school assistant principal.  Phil is the new high school football coach. This scene is toward the end of the book. Maddie has been warned off Phil by his ex-wife who has threatened to take Phil’s daughter out of his life unless Maddie gives him up. (Maddie occasionally gets advice from her dead Grandmother.)

Setting:  Maddie’s kitchen

Maddie sat up straight. She’d been wishing the interminable breakfast would simply end. And now he appeared on the verge of proposing marriage.

She put a hand on his arm. “Don’t say it, Phil.”

“Now you don’t even know what I’m going to say. See, we’re good for each other.” He covered her hand and looked at her with the innocence of a puppy. “I love you. I’ve known it for a good little while. You make me happy and I think we’d make a great team. We need each other. We’re right together. Oh, hell, Maddie, either shoot me and put me out of my misery or marry me.” He released a deep breath. “There, I said it. I think we should get married. What do you say?”

He looked so happy, she wanted to throw up. Her voice came out hoarse. “I can’t marry you, Phil. It just wouldn’t work.”

An expression of shocked pain flashed across his face before it quickly changed to anger. “Oh, I get it. It’s one thing to have a roll in the sheets with the football jock, but you wouldn’t want to marry him.”

“No, no, it’s not like that.”

“Then what is it? Explain it to me.”

Oh God, she wasn’t ready for this. She hadn’t rehearsed a speech. She crossed her legs and tried to assume an elegant air. “Well, you’re from one world and I’m from another and I don’t think we’re compatible. You’re much too messy. I wouldn’t want to be picking up your socks and picking out your clothes.” Oh yes she would, she really would.

Phil stood up. “Okay, sweetheart, you’re too good for me. I get it. An alcoholic, has-been football player isn’t your idea of husband material. Well, let me tell you something, babe. You’re passing up a good deal.”

She knew that. She knew he was the best thing that had ever come along in her whole life. “It wouldn’t be a suitable match, that’s all. I think you have many fine qualities, but you’re just not my type. I hope we can be friends, for the baby’s sake.”

He grabbed her chin and forced her to look in his face. “This is so much bullshit. You came onto me the other night like it was for keeps. You didn’t say it, but I could feel it in your body, see it on your face. You love me, goddamn it! You look me straight in the eye and deny it. Say it. Say ‘Phil, I don’t love you.’ I don’t think you can.”

Maddie swallowed and dug deep down to a well of strength she didn’t know she possessed. She had to make the lie seem true. In a calm and measured voice she said, “Phil…I…don’t… love you.”

He released her as if he’d been burned, turned on his heel and rushed for the door. She flinched at the slam and closed her eyes. Taking a breath, she opened them again and surveyed the incredible mess he’d made making one small meal.

Standing before the sink was the see-through figure of Grammy Harris. “Pitiful, simply pitiful. You’ve set the Harris womenfolk back ’bout a hundred years.”

 

About The Author

Dana Taylor has had articles published in the Ladies Home Journal and various Christian magazines, hosted her Internet radio show, Definitely Dana! at HealthyLife.net and won several awards in the Romance Writers of America, including Best First Book from the Desert Quill Awards. Her published works include Ain’t Love Grand?, Shiny Green Shoes and Princess Robin.

Devil Moon at Amazon

Devil Moon at Smashwords

Legacy by LC Cooper

Linguini Casserole Minicooper, Jr in the flesh

LC Cooper was born “Linguini Casserole Minicooper, Jr” on July 3, 1976 in the back of her parents’ RV during a stop to use the bathroom in Yeehaw Junction, Florida.

Her mother, Carla, and father, Carl, both granola-munching tree-hugging disco-hippies were stuck in the transitional musical wasteland of the mid-70s, With lousy role models polluting the political and cultural landscapes, Carl and Carla followed the craze of giving offspring absolutely ridiculous names. Since “Dweezil” and “Moon Unit” were already taken, Carla decided on the name “Linguini Casserole” for the meal she had right before her baby girl was born.

Carla, thinking she was about to fart out gas from the greasy Italian food, grunted, and out popped little “Linguini Casserole.” Carl, disappointed he didn’t get a son, insisted on the suffix, “Jr.” Cleaned up and out, the happy little trio trotted off in their RV for the beaches of Florida’s east coast. Though it was only seconds before Yeehaw Junction faded out of sight in the rear-view mirror, that magical crossroad would remain a fond memory for everyone – everyone with the exception of little “Linguini Casserole Minicooper, Jr.”

Growing up in the sprawling oasis of Satellite Beach, Florida certainly had its challenges. Not much of a beach-bunny, Linguini Casserole did a lot of running. She had no choice, the kids in the neighborhood, also bored out of their skulls, passed the days away by teasing and chasing Linguini Casserole. She hit the “Terrible Twos” pretty hard. Most folks believed that the quirky behaviors were normal, but she seemed overly determined to beat the holy-living snot out of her parents whenever possible.

By the age of 3, she was called “LC”, which was part of the lawsuit’s settlement against her parents. They also had to stop building mud replicas of “Devil’s Tower” in the family’s living room. They also quit scaring “LC” with late-night attempts to signal the home planet with their booming Wurlitzer organ and flashlights.

LC learned to channel her aggression and anger by earning a black belt in Taekwondo and by writing for the local newspaper. In this manner, anyone she couldn’t catch and beat the crap out of for teasing her would get reamed in one of the columns she wrote. At the tender age of 14, LC became the youngest staff writer ever for Central Florida’s “Today” newspaper. To this day, it remains unclear whether or not LC earned the promotion and subsequent relocation to Orlando or her parents paid off the newspaper’s senior editor. Rumor had it that Carl and Carla could no longer take the physical trauma of being LC’s “sparring partners” in her quest for Taekwondo mastery. Regardless, the day after LC’s promotion to the “Today” paper, Carl and Carla disappeared – sold their home in Satellite Beach, and changed their names. The last LC heard, her parents were sharing a cabin in a forest with some nutbag named Ted Kaczynski.

LC took this opportunity to evolve yet another aspect of her life. At 6′ 2″ tall, LC felt that her last name, “Minicooper, Jr,” didn’t fit her. This last bastion of teasing disappeared when, on her 20th birthday, LC formally changed her name to “Cooper” – dropping both “Mini” and “Jr” from her last name. To celebrate, LC thumbed a ride back to Satellite Beach, FL, and performed a strip tease in front of all the uptight and snotty wives preparing the Patrick Air Force Base’s Officer’s Club for its annual ball. Court records show she believed she was auditioning for a part.

Soon thereafter, LC married her parole officer, Billy Bubba Finkelstein on May 19, 1997. Accustomed to ridicule, but not at all interested in enduring it again, LC chose to retain the last name of “Cooper.” Newlyweds LC and B.B. (as Billy Bubba is affectionately known) enjoyed the next couple of years traveling the world while getting to know each other. Not realizing they would set the trend years before Hollywood’s celebs got on board, LC and B.B. came up with a unique approach to gathering souvenirs as they trotted the globe. They adopted a child from each country they visited. The Finkelstein-Cooper family grew by leaps and bounds virtually overnight. They lost track, but after about 30 or so countries and kids, LC got another itch – one not cured with yet another shot or cream.

Because it promised its graduates really cool and exciting careers in burger-flipping and door-greeting, LC settled her family in Murfreesboro, Tennessee to earn related degrees in journalism and recording-industry management from Middle Tennessee State University (MTSU). True to its reputation, the degrees from MTSU proved economically worthless enough to propel LC into unfulfilling and unrewarding jobs in retail and restaurant “management.”

Undaunted by this low point in her life, LC proved her resilience and used the few hours each week she had for sleep to earn a Masters Degree in Education from Tennessee State University (TSU). It only took 4 years of teaching “English as a Second Language” in Arizona’s public schools to piss her off enough to turn her attention back to her first love. Older, wiser, and weary of the daily challenge of surviving the thrill of hand-to-hand combat in public schools, LC dusted off her Webster’s Dictionary and Thesaurus, rolled up the sleeves of her favorite muscle T-shirt, and cranked out her first novel.

Winning critical acclaim for her first action/adventure story, the harrowing tale of Chippy the Sunflower Farmer, LC Cooper’s second novel secured her notoriety, but no fortune. LC refocused her energy on producing her second novel, Legacy. Already a bestseller in Monrovia, Legacy is poised to launch LC Cooper into the untried waters of movie production. Recently, Quail Egg Entertainment purchased an option for Legacy‘s screen rights.

Legacy’s description reads:

“What happens to a middle-aged restoration mechanic when he stumbles upon an insidious secret left hidden within the shadows of an evolutionary nightmare? Legacy, a fast-paced adventure novel of 67,000 words, is the tale of one man’s quest to realign the natural course of history.

Collin Roggero’s passion for restoring World War II aircraft soars when he discovers all the parts of a pristine German jet fighter in a long-forgotten section of a National Air and Space Museum warehouse. Gripped by a consuming curiosity, he further unearths the discarded elements of a 50-year-old conspiracy. A series of seemingly-unrelated coincidences, bizarre dreams, and sinister experiences in the Painted Desert of Arizona and Nova Scotia draw him to the enigmatic genetics firm, EvoCo. Events rooted in the final frantic days of World War II follow a carefully orchestrated plan that culminates with the 2005 landing of the Cassini-Huygens probe onto Saturn’s mysterious moon, Titan. Collin is determined to put natural evolution back on track before a past evil becomes humanity’s future.”

LC Cooper closes with, “Legacy is the evolution of my creative experiences. I thread together holes in the facts of World War II and space exploration with recent advances in genetic engineering. With this backdrop, Legacy delivers intrigue and a profound double-cross while preserving faith in destiny.”

Legacy, an excerpt:

“It is an ME-262!” shouted Collin happily as he recognized the nacelle of one of its two jet engines. Something else caught Collin’s eye, a distraction that told him that the ransacking wasn’t the work of an ordinary GI or thief interested in war memorabilia.

Toward the back of the crate, a canister, a tube of sorts, about six-feet long, lay neatly on its side, waist-high, atop two small crates. Collin, now more than curious, moved into the large crate to inspect further the canister. “It’s not a drop tank,” Collin said, puzzled at the fact that this tube didn’t have a twin; another tube like it that would have evenly distributed the content weight underneath the jet’s wings. And it didn’t have the usual tear-drop shape expected for something strapped to a plane’s exterior. It wasn’t a bomb either as there were no tail fins, a fuse, or rounded edges to minimize wind resistance.

From these clues and his vast knowledge of WWII machinery and supplies, Collin did reason that this was constructed to transport something, but not on the jet. Similarly, the construction seemed solid – like it wasn’t meant to be opened.

“Maybe it’s a compressed gas tank of some kind,” he thought. Collin couldn’t find hinges, a lock, or a handle that would identify how the cylinder opened. A cap was welded onto each end, so they weren’t screwed on. Otherwise, the only other physical feature was two welds running the length of the cylinder – on opposite sides from each other.

Rolling it over for further inspection, Collin heard a rattle coming from within the cylinder. “It’s hollow…and now apparently empty. As I thought it would be,” sighed Collin, smugly. The thief had somehow removed whatever had been inside this cylinder. Lightly shaking and slowly rolling it further, he could tell that the cylinder had some structure within it because the rattling would stop or change direction at certain times as Collin moved it.

With a final roll, Collin found what appeared to be a marking – some kind of stamped or etched identification label. As he bent down to study the marking further, he placed his hands on the cylinder and leaned over it. A soft spot in the metal under his left thumb gave way and Collin heard a distinctive click. The soft spot was camouflage – purposely designed to hide a recessed button.

“Why would someone go to so much trouble?” Collin wondered. “Whatever it is was meant to be hidden from all but the person who did open it. This guy knew exactly what he was looking for and how to open the cylinder, but…” Collin paused, “…he didn’t know exactly what the container looked like, or he wouldn’t have torn all these interior crates apart.”

Intrigued way beyond casual curiosity, against his conservative nature, Collin proceeded with inspecting the cylinder – now looking for an opening. Both the welds running down opposite sides of the cylinder turned out to be fake. One of them contained a hinge; the other on the opposite side covered the seam where the two metal plates joined. Gently applying pressure to the middle of this second “weld” produced another click and the side of the cylinder sprung open – startling Collin. Flailing his arms like a windmill, he tumbled back against the opposite side of the crate among a loud crash of falling metal parts and small boxes.

His heart racing, Collin stood up and cautiously approached the propped-open cylinder; treating it as he would a coiled and sleeping snake. He peered in to see that the cylinder contained three chambers; a large one at each end and the third centered within the cylinder. A glance was all that was necessary to determine that the cylinder was empty.

Disappointed, he reached out to slam down the container’s lid, but it countered by springing open again. Frustrated with the insolent tube’s unwillingness to close, Collin gave up this treasure hunt to see if he could learn the purpose behind such an intricate and purposely deceptive container.

Collin wanted to take a better look at the markings he saw earlier on the outside of the cylinder’s lid. Leaning on the lid to keep it down, Collin put on his reading glasses and the characters “HA234” leapt into focus.

“There it is again,” Collin said, noting a strange rattling sound whenever he shifted or moved the cylinder. “What is causing that sound?” As he rotated the cylinder slightly to look inside once more, out rolled a Canadian coin.

Read more about Legacy and other books by LC Cooper at:

https://www.smashwords.com/profile/view/LCCooper

Legacy is available at these retailers:


Amazon.com (both Kindle Edition and Paperback)

Apple:

Barnes & Noble

Borders.com (Australia)

Kobo

Smashwords

Sony

Always by Jodi Langston

This is an excerpt from Always by Jodi Langston, a romantic suspense available on Amazon Kindle for $.99!

“Movie people,” Bob grunted. He handed Alex a long handled steel fork. “Help yourself.” He motioned to the table filled with goodies. “Hot dogs are in the cooler.” Even though she wasn’t hungry she couldn’t resist the idea of a hot dog cooked over an open flame. The more burned the better. She stuffed the burned piece of mystery meat in a bun and ran a thin line of ketchup along the top. Now only if it was stuffed with cheese and wrapped in bacon it’d be perfect. The fire sizzled when Bob put another log on top. The wet wood made the fire’s sparks shoot upward like hundreds of frantic fireflies dancing in the evening sky. Alex loaded chocolate onto the graham crackers and waited for her marshmallow to catch fire. She blew it out and squished it in between the chocolate, waiting impatiently for it to melt and cool enough to eat. She took a big bite and the chocolate oozed in between her fingers; giggling like a happy child she licked the chocolate from her hand.

“They sure are messy,” Bob said, biting off the end of a hot dog. “I ate so many I made myself sick.”

Alex trembled when a deep booming voice said. “I could help you with that if you like.” A part of her knew he was there even before he spoke. He was an irresistible force that she was powerless to resist. Even beside the roaring heat of the fire the dangerous feel of his presence sent chills up her spine. “Do you want to show me how to do this? I’ve never had one before.”

She looked perplexed and sad, unable to fathom a child that had never eaten a S’more. He saw the sadness in her eyes and shrugged. “What can I say? While other kids were camping, I was making money.” He was surprised someone who’d experienced so much pain could feel sympathy for him over such a little thing.

“Sure,” Alex murmured.

Her heart went out to the man who stood before her, for all the things he’d missed in a normal childhood. He had given that up, along with his privacy, for the sake of fortune and fame. She wondered if he’d make the same choice again; from what she knew of the man that would be a “yes.”

Thane blew furiously on his flaming marshmallow. “Quick,” Alex said, holding out the graham cracker and chocolate. She smashed the concoction together and handed it to Thane. “Give it a couple seconds for the chocolate to get melty.”

“Is “melty” even a word?” He asked, eyeing the mess as the chocolate began oozing out the side. Thane took a big bite and the chocolate dribbled down his chin. He chewed, smiling like a happy child, wondering what other things he’d missed. Alex pointed to his chin and Thane rubbed his finger across it and licked the gooey chocolate provocatively. Alex rolled her eyes and handed him a napkin. She suddenly felt flushed, unsure if it was the heat from the fire or from the amazing hulk of a man standing next to her. There was a primal sensual appeal to him. He was the epitome of testosterone overload. When she was near him, her emotions ran from terror, to desire, to despair.

“How about a burned hot dog?” she asked.

Thane leaned in close and said, “I’ll try anything once, how about you?”

“Thanks, but I’ve had enough,” she replied. That was a lie. As much as she wanted to run from him, she wanted to run to him, to be enveloped by powerful arms. To lay her head on the broad chest and get lost in the feelings she’d been denying herself for too long.

Threading his hot dog on the long steel fork; he raised an eyebrow and said, “I wasn’t talking about hot dogs.”

Alex let out a long audible sigh. “I know.”

……………………………………….

Jodi Langston is a Minnesota native with a passion for the written word and the outdoors. She can be found camera in hand photographing local wildflowers and wildlife. She’s spent a lifetime writing prose and poetry. Jodi specializes in the romantic suspense and mystery genres, creating exciting characters who find themselves in dangerous situations. Always, is her first release with numerous novels to follow. A percentage of her book sales will be donated to Diabetes research in an effort to find a cure for this devastating disease.

For more information on this and her other titles, please visit Jodi’s blog at http://jodilangston.blogspot.com/

Eternal Gift by Ashlynn Monroe

This is an excerpt from Eternal Gift by Ashlynn Monroe, a short paranormal erotica available on Smashwords for only $.99.

Angelica meets a mysterious man at her office Christmas Party, a man who wants to taste her in every way possible. When an accident takes everyone she loves away and leaves her on the brink of death, she receives the darkest of Christmas gifts.

“We’re losing her. Clear.” Distantly I hear the words. A man spoke. He was right. I’m dying. With a last pained sigh, I feel myself drifting into a comma.

Four Hours Earlier

A full week remains until Christmas, yet the annual company Christmas Party is in full swing. Camera flashes remind me everything I do has the potential to haunt me on Monday. I’m jubilant it does feel like Christmas. We received our bonus checks tonight and mine is already burning a hole in my pocket. I can’t wait to go to the bank so I can put a down payment on a new car. Mine died, costing more than it’s worth to repair. Sick of bumming rides, I’ll be glad to get back behind the wheel.

“Oh my God, Max do you see what she’s wearing?” I can’t stop the giggle as I speak softly. I’d hit my limit of alcohol, hours ago. I normally don’t let myself get drunk, but tonight I am. The light-headed feeling of euphoria is making me much snider than I’d normally be. I point at Ginger Snaps. That’s not her real name, but it’s what we call the slutty, unnatural red head. The woman had stolen more boyfriends than I’d be able to count on my fingers and toes.Thoughtlessly she’d recently stolen Tony’s boyfriend. Tony dated him for three years; he’d even given her a ring. Ginger Snaps had already thrown the horn dog aside. Too bad the damage was done, the relationship was over. Tony’s heart was broken and Finn wasn’t getting a second chance. He’d groveled, but Tony already knew he was capable of cheating. Once a cheater, always a cheater, Finn was out of her life forever. My heart broke for her. There wasn’t anything I could do to help. Except to listen and sympathize with how wronged she’d been. Ginger Snap seemed drunk too. She was wearing the most awful shiny silver dress.

“That dress makes her look fat.” Lakeisha giggled after she spoke, which caused me to giggle again. Lakeisha sounded drunk. She’s supposed to be my driver. I’m a little bit nervous that she’s been drinking, but I’m so much drunker, the worry is fleeting as Tony hands me another shot. I’ve no idea what I’m drinking. Honestly, I don’t care. It’s fun. I’m out with my best friends. I, Angelica Tomas, have decided to give myself permission to enjoy a good time. Letting my hair down felt long overdue, I’m in no hurry to sober up.

…………………………………………………………………………….
For more information on this and her other titles, please visit Ashlynn’s website at http://ashlynnmonroe.com
And have a Happy New Year!!

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