Spooktacular Spotlight on #historicalfantasy: Fighting For Home by @kim_richards

Hello Dear Readers! It’s back to the Bewitching Spooktacular blog posts this week. Author Kim Richards is here today with her historical fantasy and a giveaway. Enjoy!
xo, Celia

Title: Fighting for Home
Series: Descendants of the Amazoi, book 1
Author: Kim Richards
Genre: fantasy/historical fantasy
Publisher: Kim Gilchrist
Release date: July 2020
Print ISBN: 978-1-952564-00-0
ISBN: 978-1-952564-02-4
# or Pages: 241
Word count: 87K
Cover Artist: Dawné Dominique, DusktilDawn Designs

In 300 B.C.—the Greco-Roman Age—tribes of warrior women thrived near the Black Sea. The area is now modern-day Turkey. The Greeks called them Amazoi (meaning Mankiller).

Inspired by their story, Fighting for Home sings the tale of one tribe as they battle to save their way of life. Healing magic is real! Ilenea and Saphira, the wolf sisters, battle close to home with others of their generation. A healer priestess named Essla travels to a temple of Artemis at Anthela with her male slave, bringing a call to arms for the pending war. She meets and falls in love with a Roman General.

Whatever the outcome, this war changes everyone.

Amazon | Kobo | B&N | Amazon

EXCERPT

Thup. Thup. The second archer cried out as two of Xanthi’s arrows buried themselves into his thigh and hip. He let his own arrow fly. Leaves rustled where his arrows disappeared among the tree branches. He fumbled with an arrow, trying to notch it quickly when he heard the rustle again.

The archer looked up as Xanthi leaped from the bushes with her spear in hand. There was no time for him to raise his bow before the bronze point burrowed its way through his leather cuirass, seeking the tender flesh beneath.

At his wretched cry, the shield man to the left took a wild swing with his sword. He caught Xanthi just below the left collarbone. It sliced through her leather jerkin, taking breast flesh with it.

Crying out from the pain, she fell to her knees as blood poured from the gash. One hand pressed against the wound as her other fumbled for her knife.

Xanthi’s man turned his attention from her. He should’ve advanced. Celete used it to her advantage and swung her axe up the inside of his shield. It’s blade cleaved his stomach wide open. His guts spilled out over her hand—hot and sticky. He toppled sideways, landing in the dirt before Xanthi. With a roar befitting any lioness, she clawed at his face for what he did to her.

 

Catherine Stine photo

About Kim Richards

Kim Richards lives in Northern California with her husband and pets. She loves the genres of horror, science fiction, and fantasy. Her hobbies include reading, writing, sewing, LARPing, and listening to music.

Amazon Author Page | Twitter | Facebook | Instagram | GoodReads | Website

Spooktacular Giveaway

Kim Richards giveaway: Amazon Gift Card

Enter the Bewitching Spooktacular Rafflecopter giveaway.

Spotlight on #LGBTQ #Romance: Full Moon in Leo by @brooklynrayauthor

Happy Friday, Dear Readers! Author Brooklyn Ray is here today with their holiday romance, released this month! A little bit of Christmas for us in October. 🙂 The Halloween Spooktacular Tour posts will resume next week with a fresh batch of Halloween fun. Enjoy! xo, Celia

Title: Full Moon in Leo
Author: Brooklyn Ray
Genre: Queer Holiday Romance
Release date: October 1, 2020
ASIN: B08H1P6X2R
ISBN: 9798681122579
# or Pages: 210
Word count: 65K
Cover Artist: BookCoverZone

Small-town magic, two heavy hearts–one unforgettable winter solstice.

Cole Morrison left Jewel’s snow-covered fir trees ten years ago. But after a disastrous family Thanksgiving, Jewel seems like the only place left to go. When a run-in with a gorgeous stranger leaves him with debt to pay, Cole’s escape from his past turns out to be much more than a lonely Christmas vacation.

Jesse Carroway, the local Jewel witch, has been running his family’s successful, small-town Apothecary ever since his grandmother passed away. When Cole stumbles into his shop and accidentally wrecks a good portion of his inventory, Jesse does the only thing he can possibly think of—offers Cole a job and himself some help for the upcoming holiday rush.

Cole’s clumsy with candles and doesn’t trust easily, but soon Jesse gets a peek at the guy behind his bad-boy reputation. As the nights lengthen toward Yule, Jesse wonders if magic is to blame or if Cole might’ve fallen into his life for a reason…

Amazon

EXCERPT

Honeycomb littered the counter.
Jesse sprinkled golden shards into the scrub and closed his eyes, imagining prosperity and hope and truth, the ingredients needed to solidify the spell, cocooning around each piece of salt. The spell shifted. Strengthened. Like a lock, the honeycomb sealed everything in place.
“Will that work?” Cole asked. He crouched next to the reassembled shelf, scratching idly behind Waffles’ ear.
A smile pulled his mouth upright. “Yeah, it’ll work.”
“What happens now?”
“We package everything, tie a pretty bow around the jars, and put them out. Here, I’ll show you how to shelve product. Use the wooden spoons and scoop the salt into the jar. Fill it to…right about”—Jesse tapped the jar an inch below the top—“there.”
Cole followed directions easily. Every movement was slow, deliberate and precise, mirroring Jesse as best he could. Once they’d finished, Jesse showed him how to tie a bow around the lid with thin-cut burlap.
“I’m not great at this,” Cole said through a grimace, fiddling with a sad, droopy bow.
“Don’t think too much.” Jesse batted his hands away and undid the bow, retying it with practiced ease. “If you try to make it perfect it’ll look forced and…” He smoothed out the burlap, tipping his head back and forth as he searched for the right words. “Disingenuous. I mean, that’s pretty solid advice around here. Magic is messy and weird, but it’s honest. It never tries to be something it isn’t. Same with candle making and bath bombs and everything else. Don’t dwell on making your gift wrap look exactly like mine, just do your best to make it pretty.”
“I don’t exactly know how to make things pretty, Jesse.”
Jesse tied a bow, a little crooked, but good enough. He untied it again and handed the burlap to Cole. “Try again.” Cole held the ribbon so tight his hands quivered. Jesse could almost feel it—bones apprehended, too tense and strained to do any good. “Okay, hold on. You’re, like, ridiculously tense.” He heaved a sigh. “Can I try something?”
Cole’s flighty gaze swept to Jesse’s face. “Something?”
Jesse pushed the packaged jars aside and placed the stone bowl on the counter between them. He glanced over one shoulder. Then the other. There. He snatched the water bottle. “Can I see your hands?”
Cole didn’t move at first. His jaw flexed. Caution flared behind his eyes. Jesse waited, nodding from his open palm, dangling over the bowl, to Cole’s, twitching on the counter. His hesitation remained, even as he unbuttoned his cuffs and let Jesse take his hand.
Carefully, Jesse smoothed the leftover salt scrub over Cole’s knuckles, pulled one hand closer and pressed his thumbs to the center of Cole’s palm. Like this, guarded and entirely human, Cole gentled. His shoulders relaxed. Tension drained from his fingertips. Jesse focused on his hands, each one, pushing and kneading while Cole stood entirely too still, attention fixed on him.
The apothecary went quiet. Sometimes pressing trust through skin held more power than smiles or stories. As he worked the salt into Cole’s calloused hands, Jesse realized he probably hadn’t been touched this tenderly in a long, long time.
“Do these mean anything?” Jesse traced the edge of the koi fish tattoo on his left hand. Laced their fingers. Squeezed.
Cole’s throat bobbed when he swallowed. “Apparently they bring good fortune. Figured I could use some of that.”
“And this one?” He took Cole’s other hand, touched the wolf on his forearm, then went back to massaging the base of his fingers.
“I’ve been a lone wolf since I was young.”
“Wolves usually run in packs, right?”
“Usually,” Cole said, voice hushed and low.
Jesse wanted to read his palm. He wanted to map Cole’s past and future, find where his heart line met his destiny, just to test the universe. Is this a coincidence, he wanted to ask. Is there even such thing? He poured water over Cole’s hands and washed the scrub away.
“Better?”
Cole wrung his hands. “Yeah, much better.”
“Try again.”
This time, Cole’s hands moved fluidly, pulling a pretty bow into place. He smiled at the jar. Pride looked good on him. “Did you cast a spell on me?” he asked, grinning.
Jesse’s stomach fluttered. Don’t blush. He aimed his laughter at the ceiling and shook his head. Don’t you dare. “Not yet.” He reached for the keys in the drawer below the cash wrap and twirled them around his finger. “See you tomorrow?”
Cole’s brows twitched and his lips parted, but he cleared his throat and nodded. “Yeah, I’ll see you in the morning.”
Jesse wanted to ask him what he’d planned to say—what he wanted to say. “Goodnight, Cole.”
Cole knelt to pet Waffles before he shrugged on his jacket. He tossed a smile over his shoulder, footsteps crunching through snow on the sidewalk.
Jesse let out a deep breath. He glanced at Waffles, who sat on her haunches, staring back at him.
“Don’t look at me like that,” he whispered, and rolled leftover salt between his fingers.

 

Brooklyn Ray photo

About Brooklyn Ray

Brooklyn Ray (they/them) is a fan of fresh brewed tea, long walks through the woods, and evenings spent reading sexy books. They write Queer Paranormal Romance and Erotica about witches, necromancers, and other magical creatures, and moonlight as a tarot and palm reader in the Pacific Northwest.

Find them on: Instagram & GoodReads

Halloween 2020 Spooktacular Tours: A Warrior’s Kiss & Origins

Hello My Dear Readers!
It’s tour month for my Cupid Dating Agency angels and Tranquilli Bloodline vampires as part of the Bewitching Book Tours Halloween Spooktacular! Visit any of my tour stops this month to enjoy some Halloween-themed posts, and be sure to enter my giveaway for a chance at a $20 Amazon US e-gift card!
xo,
Celia

p.s. Mark your calendars: Come to the live, multi-author Haunted Halloween Spooktacular Facebook Party, sponsored by Bewitching Book Tours, on October 21st, for chitchat and chances at still more giveaways! I’ll be there 10 – 11 AM Pacific / 1 – 2 PM Eastern.

A WARRIOR'S KISS BOOK COVER 3 Halloween posts you may see at tour stops: Carina Tranquilli’s Halloween Cocktail and Snack, and Celia’s Must-See TV Shows or Celia’s Must-See Movies for Halloween.

Tour Book Sales!

Origins  by Celia Breslin book cover
A Warrior's Kiss by Celia Breslin October 2020 tour banner Origins by Celia Breslin October 2020 tour banner

A WARRIOR’S KISS

10/1 Serena Synn
10/2 ilovebooksandstuffblog
10/5 Bewitching Book Tours
10/6 Author Secrets
10/7 A Bewitching Guide to Halloween
10/8 Fangtastic Books
10/9 Paranormalists
10/12 Midnight Musings
10/13 Roxanne’s Realm
10/14 The Creatively Green Write at Home Mom
10/15 Other Worlds of Romance
10/16 Momma Says: To Read or Not to Read
10/19 The Book Junkie Reads
10/20 I Smell Sheep
10/21 Supernatural Central
10/22 Lisa’s World of Books
10/23 Jazzy Book Reviews
10/26 Angel’s Guilty Pleasures
10/27 T’s Stuff
10/28 Sapphyria’s Books
10/29 JB’s Bookworms with Brandy Mulder
10/30 Simply Kelina

ORIGINS

10/1 Serena Synn
10/2 Bewitching Guide to All Things Halloween
10/5 The Creatively Green Write at Home Mom
10/6 Other Worlds of Romance
10/7 Momma Says: To Read or Not to Read
10/8 The Book Junkie Reads
10/9 T’s Stuff
10/12 Supernatural Central
10/13 Lisa’s World of Books
10/14 Midnight Musings
10/15 Fangtastic Books
10/16 Paranormalists
10/19 Roxanne’s Realm
10/23 I Smell Sheep
10/26 Jazzy Book Reviews
10/27 Sapphyria’s Books
10/28 JB’s Bookworms with Brandy Mulder
10/29 Simply Kelina
10/30 Bewitching Book Tours

Spooktacular Giveaway

Multi-author prize pack, including a $20 USD AmazonUS e-gift card from me. 🙂

Enter the 2020 Bewitching Spooktacular Rafflecopter giveaway.

List of prizes in the Bewitching Book Tours Halloween Spooktacular 2020

 

Spooktacular Spotlight on Shifter #PNR: Alpha’s Revenge

Hi Everyone! It’s Halloween month and that means it’s time for Bewitching Book Tour’s yearly Halloween Spooktacular, with Halloween-themed book posts and giveaways galore! I’ll be on tour with my new release, A Warrior’s Kiss and also last fall’s vampire release, Origins. Today, here’s a look at author Catherine Stine’s spooktacular story plus Catherine’s Halloween playlist. Giveaways details below, too. Enjoy! xo, Celia

Title: Alpha’s Revenge
Series: Royal Alpha Wolves Club, #3 (Shared World Series)
Author: Catherine Stine
Genre: Werewolf Shifter Romance
Publisher: Konjur Road Press
Release date: September 3, 2020
ASIN: B08CWVBZM7
ISBN: 978-1-7333901-4-9
# or Pages: 165
Word count: 42K
Cover Artist: Crown Atlantic

A heartbroken furious alpha, a forbidden childhood crush revisited.
Will karmic justice destroy them both?

From the languid, sexy heat of New Orleans, all the way to the icy Canadian Wilderness, supernatural creatures live shadow lives amongst mortals. But what if one of the most powerful and regal of beings—wolf shifters—found their packs disappearing through longstanding battles and vicious payback?

The Royal Alpha Wolves Club, a worldwide, ancient organization formed to keep order and secrets safe among werewolf packs is faced with this very dilemma. So, when the club leader gives the dire order for all royals to find a mate and produce an heir within a year it’s in the wolf shifters’ best interest. Wayland, though, is not on board.

Meet Wayland Leblanc—legendary royal alpha, hell-bent on revenge for his murdered mate. When the edict comes down from the leader in his new territory that all royals mate and produce an heir within the year or lose royal status, Wayland hits the road. He’s not ready. Instead, he charges up to Canada in his mini-camper, to wreak revenge on Thorn, the Tundra shifter who killed his mate Sabine and their unborn babe. He conscripts an army of coyote shifters in his revenge plot, and stuffs down his lingering heartache by partying with neighboring witches.

What he doesn’t plan for is falling hard for Stormy, Thorn’s mysterious sister. But pursuing a star-crossed Juliet to his Romeo just might cost Wayland and Stormy their lives.

4 books. 4 authors. 4 alphas. 1 shared world.

Amazon

EXCERPT

“Who are you?” It was dawning on him. Could it be his old Tundra playmate, Stormy? They hadn’t seen each other for years. It was rumored that Thorn had kept her so protected it was like she was locked in his ivory tower prison. Holy damn, if it was Stormy, he should have nothing to do with her. She was Thorn’s little sister. Could he still be confused? He’d just been hit so hard that maybe his brain had gone freaking haywire. “Where’s Ransom?”

“He’s alive but you messed him up good. Why are you coming around, so angry, gunning for a fight? You look so familiar, but… ” She ran a cooling cloth over Wayland’s swollen eye. She smelled of forest phlox and river moss—of the Canadian tundra in summer. He struggled to get up again and realized she’d tied his arms, torso and ankles down with thick vines. He didn’t believe in hurting a woman. But his rage bubbled dangerously close to the surface. If he stayed like this too much longer, and she leaned closer to him as she cleaned his wounds he might not be able to stop from snapping his head up and biting her.

“Why the hell did you tie me up?” he snarled.

“For your own safety and for mine. You seemed unhinged. Who are you anyway? You look so familiar.”

“Wayland. I used to live around here.”

“Wayland!” She stopped cleaning his swollen eye and stared down at him. “Wayland Leblanc.”

“Yeah, a damn Leblanc. The Tundras, led by your vicious brother slaughtered us a year ago in case you need reminding. Bunch of fucking savages,” he growled.

“I know who you are. Your father killed my father.”

“So, you are Stormy, Thorn’s sister,” he muttered. The very man I’m hunting down.

 

Halloweenish playlist by Catherine Stine, Enjoy!

Catherine Stine photo

About Catherine Stine

Catherine Stine is a USA Today bestselling author of historical fantasy, paranormal romance and sci-fi thrillers. Witch of the Wild Beasts won a second prize spot in the ‘19 RWA Sheila Contest. Other novels have earned Indie Notable awards and New York Public Library Best Books for Teens. She lives in Manhattan, grew up in Philadelphia and is known to roam the Catskills. Before writing novels, she was a painter and children’s fabric designer. She’s a visual author when it comes to scenes, and she sees writing as painting with words. She loves edgy thrills, perhaps because her dad read Edgar Allen Poe tales to her as a child. Catherine loves spending time with her beagle Benny, writing about supernatural creatures, gardening on her deck, traveling and meeting readers at book fests.

Website | Twitter | Facebook | Instagram | Bookbub | GoodReads | Amazon Author Page | Newsletter

Spooktacular Giveaway

Catherine Stine’s giveaway: A signed copy of Alpha’s Revenge (USA only)

Enter the Bewitching Spooktacular Rafflecopter giveaway.

For #Halloween: Pumpkins & Party Themes by @RoxanneRhoads

Hi Everyone!
The California wild fires and Covid19 continue to keep us indoors over here in San Francisco, but I’m determined to celebrate Halloween month! So…I have some fun treats for you this month: book spotlights and tours with giveaways! First up, here’s a look at Roxanne Rhoads’s DIY design book for fabulous home Halloween decorations. Enjoy!
xo,
Celia

Pumpkins and Party Themes, 50 DIY Designs to Bring Your Halloween Extravaganza to Life by Roxanne Rhoads book cover
Title: Pumpkins and Party Themes
Paperback: 176 pages
Publisher: Skyhorse
Date of Publication: August 25, 2020
ISBN-10: 1510751165
ISBN-13: 978-1510751163

Bring your Halloween party theme to life with these quick tips and tricks!

Pumpkins and Party Themes features ten unique party themes with five do-it-yourself pumpkin designs for each theme. The pumpkin projects have a variety of decorating ideas that include carving, painting, and mixed media craftiness and easy-to-follow steps on each creation. Author Roxanne Rhoads also includes quick ideas on how to bring the theme to life through décor, costumes, and activities. These fun party themes range from gothic elegance to Edgar Allan Poe, under the sea, let’s get literary, and more!

With beautiful full-color images to illustrate the tools needed, steps to follow, and final products, this book makes for the perfect gift for Halloween enthusiasts and party hosts alike!

Amazon | IndieBound | B&N | Kobo | Chapters | Simon & Schuster | Google Books | Target | Books A Million

Dr. Frankenstein’s Laboratory

Roxanne Rhoads

About Roxanne Rhoads

Roxanne Rhoads is an author, book publicist, mixed media crafter, and lover of all things spooky.

Her books include the Amazon Bestseller Haunted Flint and Pumpkins and Party Themes : 50 DIY Designs to Bring Your Halloween Extravaganza to Life.

She is the owner of Bewitching Book Tours, a virtual book tour and social media marketing company. She operates a Halloween blog- A Bewitching Guide to Halloween and sells handcrafted jewelry, art, and home decor through her Etsy store The Bewitching Cauldron.

When not reading or writing, Roxanne loves to craft, plan Halloween adventures, and search for unique vintage finds.

Amazon Author Page | A Bewitching Guide to Halloween | Etsy Store | Author Website | Book Blog | Bewitching Book Tours | Facebook | Facebook Author Page | Facebook Bewitching Guide to Halloween | Facebook Bewitching Cauldron | Twitter | Instagram | Pinterest
 

 

Spotlight on #UrbanFantasy: Morrigan’s Blood by @Laura_Bickle

Hi Everyone! Laura Bickle is back on the blog this week, with an urban fantasy story for you. Gorgeous book cover, am I right? Please enjoy the excerpt Laura provided and be sure to enter her book tour giveaway. Details below. Happy reading!
xo, Celia

Title: Morigan’s Blood
Author: Laura Bickle
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Release Date: September 25, 2020
ASIN: B08B9TJ4V9
# of pages: 188
Word count:57K
Cover Artist: Danielle Fine

Garnet has the blood of the legendary Morrigan – and legions of vampires and witches will go to war to possess that power.

Garnet has the blood of the legendary Morrigan – and legions of vampires and witches will go to war to possess that power.

As a trauma surgeon, Garnet Conners has seen more than her fair share of blood. But when one of her patients walks off the operating table and disappears into the night, she finds herself caught in a war between legions of vampires and witches in her city.

Garnet has dreamed of bloody battlefields for years – and a mysterious lover who controls a kingdom. In her waking life, Garnet is shocked to meet that man in a club. Merrel knows her from another life, a life in which she was the legendary Morrigan, goddess of death and war.

Garnet rejects the notion of magical incarnations altogether. But she falls in with Sorin, a handsome warlock who’s determined to protect the former bootlegger city of Riverpointe from a secret society of vampires. Haunted by crows and faced with undeniable proof of magic, Garnet scrambles to protect her career and loved ones from magical violence.

Abducted by vampires who seek to turn her into a vampire against her will, can Garnet seize the power of the legendary Morrigan to forge her own path in her embattled city? Or will she be forced to serve as a fearsome weapon in a deadly nocturnal war?

Amazon

EXCERPT

“What have you got for me tonight, folks?” I asked.

I backed through the doors of the operating theater, butt-first, gloved hands lifted before me to keep them clean. I took small steps, mindful not to lose traction. Those thin booties were slick, and I’d fallen on my ass on more than one occasion when I made sudden moves. Tonight, I was determined to get through surgery in an upright position and not have to scrub in twice.

One of the nurses read from notes on a computer terminal. “This guy was found in the parking lot of a closed bowling alley. Speculation is that he took a trip or two through the pin setting machine and got badly torn up.”

“Well, that’s a first.” I turned toward the operating room table. The light was so bright that hardly any shadows were cast in the room. They focused on the unholy mess on the middle of my table.

This. I’m supposed to fix this.

A man lay, unconscious, on the table. His chest was torn open, flaps of skin oozing onto wads of gauze and a paper sheet. His face was a mass of blood, now being daubed at with sponges. The anesthesiologist had found his mouth to thread a tube down, and someone had managed to get an IV started in one of his scraped-up arms.

My nose wrinkled under my mask. “What do the X-rays show? How deep does the damage go? Did he get a CT?”

A nurse clicked on a flatscreen monitor that displayed a carousel of CT images. I squinted at them, muttering dark oaths.

“Radiologist says it looks like a lacerated pancreas, punctured lung, and two rib fractures,” the nurse said. The image switched to the head, and he said: “Also the bonus of a fractured orbital bone.”

I stared at the CTs. “Let’s start with that lung. We leave the pancreas, and call plastic surgery on that orbital bone. This guy’s going to need all the king’s horses and all the king’s men to put him back together again.”

“Will do.”

I gazed down at the poor suffering bastard. I liked seeing the imaging, but I preferred to get a good visual with my own eyes on my patients. Sometimes X-rays and CTs didn’t tell me everything I needed to know about what to start sewing where. Something about seeing where the blood moved and pooled in an injured person gave me an idea of where to begin. The blood always led me to where I needed to direct my attention. Where it spurted required my immediate expertise. Where it clotted or moved lazily, I could wait a bit. When blood drained out of a limb and had left it white, I needed to add more. I noted with approval that he was already receiving a transfusion. As long as blood was moving, there was a chance for him.

I frowned at his chest and touched the edges of the rends in his flesh with gloved fingers. Those were ragged and would have to be cut clean before I sewed him back up. I could see the edge of one of those protruding ribs, sticking up like a finger. I glanced over his limbs, counting the usual four. Hey, it pays to count. Count twice, cut once. I mentally cataloged bruises and scrapes, nothing that needed my immediate attention, though I flagged the palms of his hands to get a few stitches from the surgical resident. Looked like defensive wounds, like the guy had tried to fight the pin machine, but lost.

My eyes moved up to his face. One blackened eye was swollen shut. My fingers and gaze wandered over his scalp, checking for major wounds, when I spied a laceration at his throat.

I gently probed it with gloved hands. Some kind of puncture…the machine must have caught him near a seeping vein. It had nearly dried up, smelling rusty and not like the bright, coppery blood of his more critical wounds. It could still take a few extra stitches.

I stared down at the unfortunate guy’s oozing chest. Peeling back a flap of skin, I felt around for the collapsed lung. My finger quickly squished around and found the hole, and I extended my free hand for a scalpel. Time to get this party started…

…when the patient sat bolt upright on the table. His good eye was open, rolling.

I yanked my hands back and yelped at the anesthesiologist, “Curt, what the actual hell?”

The OR erupted in a flurry of activity. The anesthesiologist arrived at the patient’s side with a syringe, while nurses tried to push the patient back down.

But he was flailing, windmilling with his arms like a pro wrestler in the ring. The IV ripped out of his arm, and the line slashed back at the anesthesiologist, whipping across his face. The patient reached up and ripped the tube out of his throat. His foot caught an instrument tray, sending scalpels flying. His blood line yanked away, spewing crimson all over the floor.

I held my hands out, using my most calming voice. Not that I had a particularly calming voice; I was a surgeon. We don’t talk to patients. But I tried: “You’re safe. I’m your doctor, Dr. Conners. If you just lie back, we’ll make you comfortable and—”

The guy shrieked and launched himself off the table. The paper sheet tangled around his legs, and he grasped it around his waist as he put his shoulder down and aimed for the door. His shoulder hit me in the arm, and I slipped on my booties, landing on my ass on the tile floor. The patient launched through the swinging doors and disappeared down the hall.

I swore and ripped my booties off my sneakered feet. I clambered to my feet and punched the intercom at the door with my elbow. “Security, code orange at OR 6.” I couldn’t say: I’ve got a runner taking off down the hall. Please send somebody to stop him, because anyone listening to that would freak the hell out, and I would get a talking-to from HR.

I straight-armed the door and took off after the guy. I had no idea how the hell this man was still walking around. Those injuries should have flattened him, and he’d been anesthetized. I had graduated med school with Curt a few years ago, and knew him not to be a careless anesthesiologist who played on his phone in the OR.

The patient skidded down the hallway, landing at a dead end, where a window overlooked the parking lot. The sun had just set, and the sky was the violet color of a fresh bruise. I approached him slowly, like I was herding a feral cat. I tugged my mask down to try and give him a human face to look at.

“Hey, it’s okay. It’s gonna be okay,” I murmured soothingly. I wanted to keep him here until security arrived. If he got even further loose and hurt himself, that would be one obnoxiously long incident report. And an even more involved surgery after that.

“No, no,” he said, shaking his head. “It’s not gonna be okay. The bloodsuckers found me…and the Lusine couldn’t protect me.”

“I don’t know who that is,” I said, thinking that the guy had probably run afoul of some loan sharks. Maybe the mob? “But you’re safe here. We can protect you.”

“No,” he gasped, his face twisted in agony. “No one can protect me. And no one can protect Emily.”

He turned toward the window, backed up a few steps.

“No, wait…” I could see what he was trying to do, and I was helpless to stop it.

He rushed the window, aiming for it with his shoulder. All the latches on the hospital windows on patient floors were welded shut, but this wasn’t an area where conscious patients had access, and the window was not secured against suicide attempts. The glass buckled under his shoulder, the window crumpled away, and he pitched through in a hail of glass into the falling darkness.

I rushed to the window and stared down at the parking lot in horror. Three stories down, the patient sprawled on the parking lot blacktop, flattened like a bug under a shoe.

Curt had come up behind me. “Oh, my god, Garnet…did he…”

“He jumped,” I said, my heart in my mouth. I turned and ran to the stairwell, barking at him. “Get a gurney and the ER team.”

I burst into the stairwell, taking the steps two at a time. As I rounded the third curve, my path was blocked by a tall, dark-haired man in a brown velvet blazer and jeans. He was the type of guy that I might have liked to meet in my off-time—he had a kind of scholarly intensity in his hazel gaze and a bit of roguishness in the stubble that covered his sharp jaw.

“Stand aside,” I blurted. “Emergency!” As if my bloody gloves and surgical gown weren’t warning enough.

But he blocked my path, one hand on either stair rail, his long arms spanning the length of the stairwell. “That man is dangerous,” he growled softly.

“That man is under my care,” I announced, lifting my chin. I walked into the man, figuring that he would give way to my outstretched bloody gloves. Like a normal person would.

. But he didn’t. My sticky gloves nearly mashed into the velvet of his jacket, and he didn’t flinch. This close, he smelled like old books and moss.

“You can’t go down there,” he said. His voice was soft, but insistent.

My eyes narrowed. “You don’t get to tell me where to go,” I chirped petulantly. I ducked under his arm, darting out of his reach, and barreled down the steps the remaining way to ground level.

I rushed out into the parking lot and stopped short.

“What the actual hell—”

The patient peeled himself off the ground and crawled to his feet. He reminded me of a half-dead insect when he did so, shaking and rickety and dripping blood.

That’s impossible, I thought. There was no way that a human being could do that. I took two steps toward him…

…and a dozen people flitted out of the darkness, from the shadows beneath cars and behind shrubs. The overhead parking lot lights, haloed by moths, illuminated their long shadows on the pavement.

I breathed a sigh of relief. The squad was here and would get him stable, get him back to my OR.

But…my brow wrinkled. That wasn’t the squad. Nobody was in uniform. They converged on him as he turned, screaming.

“Stop!” I shouted.

Heads turned toward me. Their faces were moon-pale and glistening in the lamplight.

The man in the velvet jacket grabbed my arm, dragging me back. “You want no part of this.”

“Don’t tell me what I want,” I growled. I stomped on his instep and twisted my arm to break his grip at the weakest part, the thumb. I whirled and ran toward the fracas.

The shadowy people had plucked my patient off the pavement, clotting around him.

I yelled at them, the way I might yell at pigeons in the park who were eating my dropped French fries.

Overhead, the parking lot lights shattered, one by one, in a series of pops. Someone had a gun. I flinched back, shielding my face from flying shards of plastic with my hands, as I was suddenly plunged into darkness. I heard fighting, yelling, as if a gang war had broken out in front of me, roiling in the dark where no one could see.

Or at least, as dark as things could get in Riverpointe. Riverpointe was a decently sized city, and ambient light filtered back quickly from the freeway, headlights on the access road to the hospital, and the hospital’s helipad above.

As my vision adjusted, I realized I was alone. The people who were trying to abduct my patient, my patient…even that fascinating-smelling velvet guy…all were gone.

Ambulance lights flashed at the end of the parking lot, approaching me. Behind me, I heard the hammering of footsteps on the stairwell. Security spilled out behind me, along with a few cops who’d been hanging out in the nurse’s lounge. The EMTs pulled up to the curb, and there were all of a sudden a couple dozen people churning in a uniformed cloud around me.

“Where’d the guy go?” a security guard asked me.

A moth that had once orbited the parking lot lights flitted down and smacked my face. I batted at it, grimacing.

“I don’t know,” I whispered, stunned. “He was just…taken.”

The moth landed on the ground on its back, wiggling.

With bloody fingers, I picked it up and placed it gently in a nearby shrub. Lights, voices, and radios crackled around me. Questions rose and fell, directed at me in a tide of inquiries I couldn’t answer. But I stared at the bloody moth, stained by my touch, as it sought a safe place among the churning shadows and light.

 

About Laura Bickle

Laura Bickle headshot Laura Bickle grew up in rural Ohio, reading entirely too many comic books out loud to her favorite Wonder Woman doll. She now dreams up stories about the monsters under the stairs and sometimes reads them to her cats. Her books have earned starred reviews from Publishers Weekly and Kirkus. Laura’s work has also been included in the ALA’s Amelia Bloomer Project 2013 reading list and the State Library of Ohio’s Choose to Read Ohio reading list for 2015-2016. The latest updates on her work can be found at authorlaurabickle.com.

More information about Laura’s work can be found at:
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Spotlight on #Fantasy: Below Dark Waters by Katie Zaber

Hi Everyone! The smoky San Francisco skies have cleared this week and my windows are wide open as I breathe some sorely missed fresh air and prep this blog post. I have a fantasy read for you today from author Katie Zaber. Be sure to enter her tour giveaway, too. Details below. Enjoy!
xo, Celia

Below Dark Waters by Katie Zaber Tour Graphic

Below Dark Waters by Katie Zaber book cover

Title: Below Dark Waters
Number: 2
Series: Dalya Series
Author: Katie Zaber
Genre: Fantasy
Release date: 9/17/20
ISBN: 9781005138066
ASIN: B08GTX3MFP
Word count: 85,997
Cover Artist: Agata Bukovero

A wayward princess, a lethal woman, and a madam trained in espionage—all strangers to each other, but their fates are entwined. Each choice they make will impact the world of Dalya greater than any man’s decision.

Princess Megan, who never had a reason to assume she was anything but human, has been on the run, protected by her friends. With each step toward the city of Delmont, she hopes they will have time to regroup before setting sail to the Ka’Pamau Islands, their final destination. Instead, her bad luck shadows her and chaos continues to ensue everywhere she goes—including a new part of the world that most air breathers have yet to explore. Confronted with another royal family and a smitten prince whose advances turn cold, she faces another life-altering decision with ramifications she can’t possibly begin to guess at.

Back on land, Lilly reveals more of her secrets, her story, and her goals. Monumental changes and challenges are headed her way as she embraces her new role in life.

On the sea, Aunt Carmia is stirring up trouble while continuing her hunt for the treasure she most desires. She experiences upheavals, but she is always prepared for the unknown.

As their stories unfold, they remain unaware how fate connects them in the world of Dalya.

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EXCERPT

– Megan –

There’s no point in me lying in bed all night. It’s not like I’m trapped in a Dalya dome. At least there’s a bar for me to sit at while I can’t sleep. Moving as quietly as possible, I change and sneak out of the room. Kilyn is fast asleep and Mana is either asleep or is pretending to be. The hallway is still. There are no voices coming from the other rooms, so I’m going to assume everyone else is asleep.
Downstairs, Meeka sits at a table, chatting with another white-haired man. Two other tables are occupied, but there are at least ten empty tables to choose from. By the fireplace, a low fire crackles and I decide that a seat by the fire is not what I want. It looks inviting but reminds me of too many dark things. I shudder and take a seat on a stool at the driftwood bar. There’s one other man at the far end of the bar, cloaked in shadow, not bothering to look up from his drink as I sit down.
Heda comes from the back of the kitchen with a mug in her hands. She takes a sip before setting it down on the counter. “Can’t sleep, dear?”
“No. Can’t remember when I did,” I say. “Got anything to help with that?”
She gives me a sly smile. “I think I can help.”
Heda slides bottles out from under the counter and starts pouring them into a glass. Most of them are clear, except two. She adds a drop of amber and green liquid. I can’t say if it’s alcohol or not. Last, she takes out a glass jar and takes out a pinch of ground orange powder.
I’m not sure if I should drink this otherworldly concoction.
“Here you go. You’ll sleep till sunrise and feel refreshed, guaranteed.”
I stare down at the eight-ounce glass of mystery. “What’s in it?”
“A bit of everything, plus a little something extra. I make it for Meeka when he can’t sleep.”
“Are you normally this busy at night?” I ask.
“Sometimes. Sometimes busier. The regulars are here, plus an unfamiliar face or two.” She scans the room, glancing over at the two I suspect are new.
The one man her eyes stop on has long, scraggly black hair past his chin and an unkempt beard. He is wearing a hat that reminds me of a witch; it even has a pointy top and wide brim. With his back to us, he faces the fireplace with his shoulders hunched. The other man is the one at the other end of the bar. Neither looks talkative. Good. I’m not in the mood for a conversation either.
The door swings open. A scowling human woman stands in the threshold wearing a brown buttoned-down blouse and pants tucked into calf-high boots. At her hip is a dagger, on her back is a quiver secured tightly to a harness, in her hand an unstrung shortbow. Strands of messy brown hair unravel from a semicontained braid that I’d guess hasn’t been paid attention to in at least a week. Her clothes also reveal that she hasn’t changed them, and the smell confirms she hasn’t bathed. She searches the bar and lands on me.
She dashes across the tavern and my heart pounds. This is it. My father sent her to kill me. I made it easier for her by coming down here all by myself. I have no clue if Mana can sense what’s happening or if I’m too far away from him. I’m not sure if he cares right now.
However, she steps past me and gawks at Heda, who is already mixing another drink. In the few seconds that passed, I didn’t realize that I had held my breath. I let out a lengthy sigh of relief and inhale fresh air that tastes slightly sweeter than before. Relief will do that, especially when moments ago, death seemed so imminent. To help calm myself, I decide to take a sip of the strange drink Heda made me. Surprisingly, it has a peach sangria flavor, like a fruity, potent wine, with maybe a shot or two of something stronger. I could get used to having a drink of this at night, if it helps me get some sleep.
Heda leans across the bar, passing the traveler a drink. “Rough journey?” she asks. “Where are you going?”
“Nowhere fast,” the woman replies. Her scowl melts away as she cracks open a smile and laughs full-heartedly, throwing her head back.

– Carmia –

I watch groups of gulls fly back out to sea among the masts, warbling above the crew. They float adrift on the breeze. Their wings don’t pound against the unforeseen air but glide on invisible currents, as my ship does on the waves. Smart birds know when to flap, when to spend their resources, and how to manipulate the world to make their journey easier. They can glide for hours without movement. I crave their knowledge.
To know when to use my strength and when to be weak. When to be bold or meek. When to strike or anticipate.
The birds know. We are so stupid. Driven by destructive emotional impulses and not natural instinct. Once you calm the voices, quiet the bitter arguments feuding from within, becoming deaf to all the voices internal and external, all that’s left is a sensation. A feeling. A truth buried deep inside. A spoken language no one can utter aloud. A forgotten language. One so primal, it is impossible to speak or interpret in any other capacity besides a sense. Born with us, but slowly forgotten when we learn to utter our first words. Almost as if when we learn the spoken tongue, we forfeit our instinctual one.
What makes us so different from the birds? How did our minds become cluttered with pointless information that nags us to change our minds or relinquish a thought?
Gods, I want to be a bird. Free my mind and body of stupidity. Let me base my life on instinct, not sentiment.

– Lilly –

I walk these city tunnels every day. It keeps me sane, besides healthy. Sometimes, I even run. I haven’t left Uamh, or Capo’s Secret, in decades. The last time I was above ground, not including my job, was well over thirty years ago. I long for the opportunity to run through the fields of flowers that flourish outside the town’s walls. But the woman who I portray to the citizens of Capo doesn’t do such things. Lilly would never frolic through the meadow and pick wildflowers to weave into her hair. She wouldn’t dance in the river, splashing the cool water over her naked body, and then let the sun’s heat dry the water off her skin. No, she wouldn’t behave in such childish ways.
Nirva would. She would run free in the woods barefoot. Feel Dalya breathe life back into her soul. Nirva would climb the tallest tree and gaze upon the town below, pretending she was a bird, soaring high above the forest. She’d hunt alongside the nunda and sleep in their den, her body and soul free to swim with the fish and river bears in the morning, and flutter on the breeze with the glow bugs at night.
Not now. No, she is locked up for safekeeping. There will be a time and place to bring Nirva back to the light of day. Until then, she must continue to be patient. Our job isn’t done. It’s only begun.

 

About Katie Zaber

author photo

Katie Zaber knows the best way to decide who is cooking dinner is with a Nerf gun fight in the living room. Her boyfriend is an exceptional cook. When she isn’t baking, going to wine tastings, or reading, she’s busy planning her next trip to Six Flags Great Adventure or Long Beach Island, New Jersey. As a child, her mother would read stories about Atlantis and other fictional places that she dreamed of exploring, fueling her love of history, adventure, and fantasy. After spending her days working in a coffee shop, she moved up the ladder getting an office job where she unfortunately was involved in a filing accident. Unable to move, bored out of her mind, and desperate for entertainment, she turned to her imagination and began writing. These days, she finds herself captivated by her many projects and enjoys quiet nights at home.

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Spotlight on #Dystopian #Fiction: Knight In Paper Armor by Nicholas Conley

Hi Everyone,
The West Coast wildfires continue to keep us indoors, and I’m staying busy with indoor exercise, exploring paleo recipes (I’ll share some soon!), editing work, developing my next Cupid series story, and blog posts for you. 🙂 This week we have a piece of dystopian fiction for you, from author Nicholas Conley, released today. Enjoy!
xoxo, Celia

Knight in Paper Armor by Nicholas Conley, Book Blitz Sept. 15, 2020

 
Knight in Paper Armor by Nicholas Conley cover

Title: Knight in Paper Armor
Author: Nicholas Conley
Genre: Dystopian
Publisher: Red Adept Publishing
ASIN: B08CLSSX8Z
Release date: September 15, 2020
Word count: About 113,000

Billy Jakobek has always been different. Born with strange and powerful psychic abilities, he has grown up in the laboratories of Thorne Century, a ruthless megacorporation that economically, socially, and politically dominates American society.

Every day, Billy absorbs the emotional energies, dreams, and traumas of everyone he meets—from his grandmother’s memories of the Holocaust, to the terror his sheer existence inflicts upon his captors—and he yearns to break free, so he can use his powers to help others.

Natalia Gonzalez, a rebellious artist and daughter of Guatemalan immigrants, lives in Heaven’s Hole, an industrial town built inside a meteor crater, where the poverty-stricken population struggles to survive the nightmarish working conditions of the local Thorne Century factory. Natalia takes care of her ailing mother, her grandmother, and her two younger brothers, and while she dreams of escape, she knows she cannot leave her family behind.

When Billy is transferred to Heaven’s Hole, his chance encounter with Natalia sends shockwaves rippling across the blighted landscape. The two outsiders are pitted against the all-powerful monopoly, while Billy experiences visions of an otherworldly figure known as the Shape, which prophesizes an apocalyptic future that could decimate the world they know.

Amazon

Knight in Paper Armor Excerpt

“So,” Roseanna said, “according to my superiors, young Billy came to the attention of Thorne Century due to his long medical history.” She opened her folder and riffled through. “Dozens of child therapists, doctors, prescriptions, treatments… wide range of disease symptoms and ailments as well as wild mood swings but no evidence of any physical illness or precise mental disorder. The word psychosomatic is bleeding from these papers. I don’t buy it.” Roseanna leaned forward. “I think it all fits a certain pattern.”

“The doctors don’t understand.” Tzeitel bit her lip, paused, then spoke again. “Neither do his parents, though I love them. No. They merely say that he imagines things. Hallucinations, they claim.” She glanced at her frail grandson still shivering in the humidity. “I disagree. He often gets sick, but the sickness comes not from him.”

“Can you explain?” I think she gets it.

“As a baby, he constantly changed personalities, like this”—Tzeitel snapped her fingers—“depending on who held him. Smiling or shrieking, it flipped constantly, and whenever he cried, all of us cried with him for no reason. Not like a normal baby. His brother was not like this, either.”

“I see.”

“It was not so extreme when he got older. But when others are sick…” She knotted her fingers. “He goes to them, touches the place it hurts, and the pain goes away. It goes inside him, instead, until it fades. Very strange.” She frowned. “When people are sad? He walks into a room, makes himself smile—poof, no one is sad anymore, except he becomes sad. Sometimes, I catch him sneaking out across town to help people who are troubled.” She eyed him. “I don’t like it when he does that, though it is very nice of him.”

“He senses things?”

“Doctor, my grandson has a gift. Yes, he senses things. He feels things. He does things to people… things that, perhaps, the world is not ready for.”

Despite the heat, Roseanna felt chills. “I believe you.”

 

Nicholas Conley head shot

About Nicholas Conley

Nicholas Conley is an award-winning Jewish American author, journalist, playwright, and coffee vigilante. His books, such as Knight in Paper Armor, Pale Highway, Intraterrestrial, and Clay Tongue: A Novelette, merge science fiction narratives with hard-hitting examinations of social issues. Originally from California, he now lives in New Hampshire.

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Spotlight on #ContemporaryRomance: Jax, Knight Attack Series, by MLJ Quigg

Hi Everyone,
As we hunker down in our house due to Covid19, a massive heatwave, and the bad, bad AQI from the CA wildfires, I’m sitting in front of a fan and next to an air purifier, drinking a megaton of ice water and scheduling much book fun for the blog. First up for September, we have a contemporary romance series from MLJ Quigg. Enjoy!
xoxo, Celia

Jax, Knight Series by MLJ Quigg, Book tour August 31 through September 7

 
Jax by MLJ Quigg Book cover

Title: Jax
Series: Knight Series
Number: Book One
Author: MLJ Quigg
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Release date: 2nd September 2020
# or Pages: 206
Word count: 56K
Cover Artist: MLJ Quigg

Rock royalty.

That’s what people call me.

But all it took was a single phone call to bring me to my knees.

Five years later, my life has changed irrevocably forever.

Though someone lurks in the shadows threatening to tear all that I love apart.

An obsession of the worst kind.

Can I keep the woman I love safe?

Or will everything burn to ash…

Amazon

Excerpt

“For curiosity’s sake, how did you get my number?”
“I got your number by pushing random numbers on my cell, and it rang. Thanks for answering and being so good about it. A family meeting sounds like a good idea. What’s your name?”
“My name is Layla. What’s yours?”
“Jaxson, but everyone calls me Jax.”
God, that voice, it was like butter. So seductive and smooth. Deep and gravelly but had that sexy rasp to it that musicians usually have. I could imagine the man behind the voice, and that made me tingle between my legs. Fuck! I needed to get laid if his voice alone was turning me on.
“What do you do, Jax?”
“I’m in a band.”
Okay, that was cool.
I wondered what Jax did in the band. Did he play the guitar? Play the drums. Or was he a singer? With that voice, my guess? He was a singer. How famous was he? Who knew.
“That’s amazing, Jax. What’s the band’s name?”
“Knight Attack.”
Hooolllyyy. Shit.
No fucking way.
This had to be a joke.
Knight Attack was massive.
They were the biggest breakout band in Australia, and they had only recently gone worldwide with great success. I used to listen to them in Australia, well, I still listened to them. Everyone knew back home that I was a massive fan of the group. This had to be a practical joke. My guess? My brother was behind it. Bobby would do anything to get me back home.
“Fuck off! No way! You are not Jax from Knight Attack. Who is this, really? Did my brother put you up to this? I bet it was Bobby. Tell that meddling brother of mine I am not falling for it, and I’ll come home when I’m good and ready. Jax from Knight Attack? Ha-ha, really, I wasn’t born yesterday,” I ranted.
Yeah, I was on a roll. My mum and brother, Bobby, had been hounding me to stop sulking and come back home. Like I wanted to be in a small country town in the middle of Australia where everyone knew everyone and what you ate for breakfast, especially after what had happened to me. The biggest humiliation of my life so far. No, thanks.
Jax interrupted my internal dialogue as he said, “Okay, I’ll prove it. Tomorrow morning, we are on Good Morning America at ten. I’ll say your name and dedicate a song to you. If you’re watching and believe me, ring me back on the number you now have on your phone. I gotta go, though. We’re about to go on.” Then he hung up.
He. Hung. Up.
What the fuck just happened?

 

About MLJ Quigg

Australian author MLJ Quigg lives in NSW, Australia, with her husband, three adult children, and six cats. Yes, you heard that right, six.

Growing up in a huge family of eight kids was always noisy and didn’t give her enough alone time to unwind. Books have always given her an outlet from the craziness that is her life. Nothing is better than curling up with a good story to take her mind off her surroundings.As a new author, she hopes you enjoy her stories and helps you get out of your world and into hers for a few hours.

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New Release in #ParanormalRomance: A Warrior’s Kiss by @CeliaBreslin

Hello my Dear Readers!

I hope this post finds you safe and healthy. As my family continues to shelter-in-place due to Covid and now the devastating Northern California fires, I’m busy writing a few stories for a new series: The CUPID Dating Agency. Author Candace LaVille created the shared world for this multi-author series. All books are separate, unique, standalone reads using their own version of “The Cupid Dating Agency”.

The backstory goes like this: A big war between Heaven and Hell happened, Lucifer lost and no longer runs Hell, humans know about angels/demons, and angels/demons/humans now co-exist and often get matched for potential partnerships (business and/or personal) by the Cupid Dating Agency. I’ve set my quartet of stories in the California wine country, where I have the cupids busy making love matches such as the one between Zeke and Nicky in “A Warrior’s Kiss”.

After you check out the details and excerpt from “A Warrior’s Kiss”, join me in celebrating my new release: follow the link to FreshFiction to enter my Summer Sunset contest and giveaway!

xo,
Celia
A WARRIOR'S KISS BOOK COVER
Title: A Warrior’s Kiss
Series: The Cupid Dating Agency
Author: Celia Breslin
Genre: Adult, high-heat paranormal romance
ASIN: B08FFCWNF2
ISBN: 9781393477938
Word count/pages: 28K / 116pp
Cover Artist: Brantwijn Serrah
Release date: August, 2020
Special Release Price: $.99 (USD)

She’s chasing her dream. He’s after her heart.

French teacher turned entrepreneur, Nicolette Durand has one goal in mind when she leaves the big city, and it has nothing to do with men. Nicky doesn’t care how many dating edicts the cupids send her, she’s simply too busy. Then a hunk of surly angel crashes into her life.

Elite celestial warrior Ezekiel is less than delighted when the Almighty assigns him to Earth to help the cupids. Now he runs a gastropub with speed dating events. But Zeke may have to rethink his surly position on the gig after he meets the kind and curvy biz owner next door.

Nicky is sure she has no time for a relationship, not even with a gorgeous hunk of heaven, but Zeke is determined to convince her otherwise. Too bad hellbeasties intent on destruction and mayhem might stand in their way…

Join The Team

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Excerpt

Zeke and Nicky’s First Meet…

“Think he’s dead?” The whispered question quieted his internal whining.

Nice voice. Soft and smooth, like velvet. Feminine. Clearly, he wasn’t alone.

“He sure looks dead.” A second woman replied, louder and with a chuckle.

He suppressed a scowl and kept his eyes closed. She thinks this is funny?

Bodies shifted behind whatever his head had cracked into, edging closer to either side of him.
“There’s no blood, though,” she of the velvet voice murmured. “Shouldn’t there be blood? […].”

Ah, their business neighbor. She came to a halt near his head, her body heat and peaches-and-honey scent saturating his senses. He should open his peepers and say something, see if the female looked as good as she sounded and smelled.

Shit. Where had that reaction come from? He had no room in his life for a woman, especially not a mortal woman.

“Maybe we should check for a pulse,” the one Peaches had called Maya suggested.
“I’m not touching his body.”

Fast reply from Peaches. Jesus, did he look so horrible? And double Jesus, why did her opinion matter? He must have hit his head harder than he imagined.

“C’mon, girlfriend. It’s a big, beautiful body. How can you not want to get your hands on it?”

Listen to your girlfriend, Peaches. No. Wait. Belay that order.

“Really, M? One-track mind much?”

He tensed to haul his ass upward, but a soft, gentle hand landed on his shoulder, feather light, then slid down his bare arm, kicking up a riot of electric sensation along his skin. He should move, but damn if he didn’t want to see what she would do next. Or touch next.

Warm fingers palpated his inner wrist, right over his madly beating pulse. Racing for her? A human female he hadn’t even laid eyes on? Shit. […]

Eyes shooting wide, he sat up.

Celia’s Summer Sunset Contest & Giveaway

For a chance to win one (1) $15 Amazon.com US e-gift card, visit my Summer Sunset Contest page –> over at Fresh Fiction.

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