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Tuesday, May 26, 2020

Excerpt: Fury of the Gods (Areios Brothers #3) by Amy Braun + giveaway



Fury of the Gods (Areios Brothers #3)by Amy Braun
May 26th 2020
Genres: Adult, Urban Fantasy
Fate brings consequence.

Separated from his brother by curses and lies, Derek Areios is forced into hiding. With rogue goddesses on his side, he begins his search for the Mind of Cronus. But his plans come to a screeching halt when the Olympians send nightmarish warriors to hunt him. Creatures even the gods themselves fear.

Liam Areios, lost without his brother and trapped in service for the Olympians, continues the hunt for the Mind of Cronus. The remaining gods refuse to trust him—or any human—and Liam begins to see just how mad power has made them. Becoming entangled in the schemes of mortals and immortals, Liam will have to fight or lose everyone he loves.

Deadly monsters, betrayal, and pulse-pounding action fill the pages of the third novel in the AREIOS BROTHERS series.
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EXCERPT:
CHAPTER ONE
DEREK
THINGS GO WRONG.
Sometimes it’s from a small crack that crumbles the foundations. Sometimes it’s just a string of bad luck that ties into a truly horrific end.

Today was definitely the latter.

I lay on my back and blinked rapidly against the rain pounding down on me and pooling in the crater beneath my spine. My left hand throbbed in agony, broken again. I curled my right hand around it and used my magic to heal the bones. I’d had to do that twice already in this fight alone.

I could hear Selena fighting the Crocotta on the hill above me—alone—after it kicked its cloven hooves into my chest and knocked me down a hill.

Getting close to a Crocotta was never a good idea, but I hadn’t been having many of those lately.

And bad habits were easy to fall into.

Get up, Derek, my internal voice demanded. Have an existential crisis later.

Exactly the kind of thing Liam would have said.

After clasping my wounded hand and swiftly healing it, I rolled onto my stomach. Water soaked through my armor. I grimaced as my bruises throbbed. This Crocotta had not wanted to be disturbed but would settle for us being a late-night snack.

Being devoured by a twisted stag/hyena hybrid was not how I intended to end my day. The cursed thing had imitated a man’s cry for help, and I ran into the Crocotta’s trap without thinking.

Now, my fingers clawed up the slope. The toes of my boots sank into the muck. I slipped my way up, clamping my lips shut so as not to swallow more mud and finally dragged myself to the hilltop.

Everything ached as I took a moment to catch my breath. A moment that ended as soon as I heard the Crocotta scream.

Instinct kicked in and I rolled through the mud as fast as I could. The hooves stabbed down inches from my head, splashing my back with muck.

I twisted to my feet and called Ki̱demónas back to me. The spear responded to my telepathic call and struck my hand a split second later. The monster twisted to face me.

The Crocotta was a ruddy brown stag with patchy fur and a knobby spine. It had a shaggy, lion-like mane and cloven hooves. Its beady black eyes glowered at me and my weapon. Saliva dripped from its frightfully wide mouth, filled with a jagged bone ridge instead of teeth.

It growled, a jagged hitching noise, like a hyena trying to cough. It was amazing—and horrifying—that the same animal could mimic a human voice and even call out names perfectly when they chose to hunt.

Which they did often.

It pounced and I Adapted, sidestepping to the left. I jabbed Ki̱demónas into its hind legs. The Crocotta screeched as the steel tip pierced its thick hide. It twisted, yanking Ki̱demónas from my hands, as its front hooves kicked out. I leaned back and watched the split in its hooves pass my chin.

The Crocotta’s rear leg buckled, causing it to stagger on its right side. Selena snuck out from behind the Crocotta and slashed her kukri along its flank once, twice, three times, doing as much damage as she could.

I couldn’t help but grin, my heart reveling at the graceful, effortless, and brutal way Selena moved.

The Crocotta roared and twisted, kicking at her. She nimbly jumped back and lifted her free hand. Flames spooled out from her palm and struck the Crocotta in the face. As it reared back from the intense heat, Selena darted forward and chopped at its foreleg. It howled and leaped again to catch up with her.

I ran straight for its back.

Selena hurled a blast of fire at the Crocotta. It hunched its shoulder and took the blast against its arm rather than its face. It swiped at her with its hoof. The kick missed her, but it bounded through the mud and rammed its head in her stomach. She toppled backward, striking a boulder before her head slammed hard against the stone. The Crocotta opened its sneering, sliced-open mouth, leaping at her slumped, dazed form––

I Adapted my weight a split second before I slammed into the Crocotta. I made myself heavier and swung into the beast like a wrecking ball. It jolted but I hooked my hand onto the stark ridges in its spine. It wasn’t going to dislodge me; I was ready to end this fight.

The Crocotta wrenched its head left and right, but my magically added weight kept me from rag-dolling against its body. I centered that weight while pressing my back against its rough hide. I jabbed Ki̱demónas into its ear, pushing deep. The Crocotta howled and thrashed, nearly throwing me off. I held on but my grip slipped from the spear. I cursed and filled my free hand with aether. Maybe I’d have luck with the second, more dangerous element.

I swung my aether-filled hand up toward the Crocotta’s face. My palm brushed its bony fangs, leaving a trail of black, corrosive smoke along its snout. The dark magic crawled up its face, the smoky edges digging in like hooks. It howled in agony, twisting guilt into my heart, but I couldn’t let it live. With our friends vanished, Selena and I were each other’s only backup.

The Crocotta roared again, its face now engulfed by the thick black smoke. I sent a command to Ki̱demónas. Burn.

The spear, still embedded in the Crocotta’s ear canal, exploded to life. My flames brushed harmlessly against me. With my free hand, I closed my fingers against the Crocotta’s throat and summoned aether––

My left hand, the one I was using to hold onto the monster, exploded with pain. Invisible glass shards splintered through my flesh. I hissed and let go reflexively. My right hand scrambled to get another hold on its spine, just as the Crocotta kicked me in the side. Pain exploded through my hip and ribs. Something cracked uncomfortably.

Clapping a hand to my side to at least set the rib, I sent another quick thought to Ki̱demónas. The spear tore from the creature’s ear and flipped end over end. Seven feet of bronze and steel stabbed through the monster’s leg. I reached for Ki̱demónas again and watched as the Crocotta closed its ridged, bone-filled mouth over my arm.

Ridged bone crunched down on my elbow, crushing the joint and breaking skin. Blood gushed from the wound. A little more pressure, a little more tearing, and the arm was coming off.

I didn’t think about what I was doing. I slipped my broken left hand up and set it inside the Crocotta’s mouth. I pushed a block of aether into its throat and hardened it in place, cutting off its air. Every push of magic sent waves of pain onto my shattered fingers, but I couldn’t lose my arm.

My left hand turned slippery from saliva and blood. The creature widened its jaws, freeing my right arm. I commanded Ki̱demónas and whip quick, it flipped from my hand and smashed through the Crocotta’s skull, puncturing deep. The monster’s coal-colored eyes rolled into the back of its head. I jumped away from the Crocotta as it collapsed.

I tucked my broken hand into my chest, trying not to think about the jagged pain within it as I looked at the monster. It had fallen on its side, its one undamaged eye glazed and lifeless, and its body entirely still. Even the rain seemed lighter now.

We survived, remained mostly unharmed, and were absolutely filthy. A winning outcome, all things considered.

Selena stumbled through the long grass toward me, one hand pressed against her skull. I covered my left hand with my right––wincing at the pull of raw cuts at the fold of my arm––and healed it again.

“Are you all right?”

“Yeah,” she muttered, wincing when she moved her hand. There didn’t seem to be any blood or swelling, which I was grateful for. She looked more angry than pained. Her eyes turned to me, noting the blood on my arm. “Gods.”

“Looks worse than it feels,” I half-lied.

She hurried over to me and pressed her fingers to my arm just below the wound. It stung, but my arm swiftly filled with soothing, healing magic.

“Thanks. Didn’t expect a Crocotta to be here.” Though to be fair, we’d wandered into the wilds of Yosemite National Park. Artemis’s region. A huge risk for anyone, given how many creatures roamed free in that verdant territory, but more so for me, since Artemis likely wanted me dead for a crime I hadn’t––

My hand splintered again. I hissed.

Finished with my arm, Selena wrapped her fingers around my hand and healed it again. Her eyes flitted to the creature.

I tilted forward slightly to peer into her face, seeing the shadows on it. Her ponytail, soaked and caked in mud, rested heavily against her back. Her pale face glistened under the coat of rainwater, and her silver-blue eyes were just as stormy as the clouds above us. She’d dropped her kukris somewhere and didn’t seem to care about the smears of mud and grime on her neck, chin, and leather combat uniform.

“It’s not here,” she finally muttered. “All of this, crossing paths with a Crocotta that nearly concussed me and almost maimed you, and it’s not godsdamned here.”

It being the Helm of Darkness—the last of the three Trinity Weapons we had been tasked to find by the Olympians. There were still two more Cronus Shards to find, but we figured that finding the Helm took priority. Recovering the last key to Tartarus was the best way to ensure that the mad Titan himself, Cronus, couldn’t escape his prison.

Not that we needed to look anymore, to be honest. I was on the outs with the Olympians. They believed I murdered two of their own: Poseidon and Apollo. Sneaking into Artemis’s territory had been a huge risk—if we were caught, she would have my head on a spike.

Never mind that my forefather had lied to her—possibly even mentioned I was the Bringer of Shadow and Fire, the leader of an army bent on destroying the world when the Titans were released.

Olympians only saw things their way. Half their legends were born from their stubbornness and pettiness. The myths had been true.

But I couldn’t say these things out loud. I could barely think them, because Ares had hexed me. Every time I tried to speak the truth, my left hand would break.

At first, it didn’t seem like a debilitating curse. Painful? Absolutely. I’d had more than a few broken bones in my twenty-five years of life, so I was accustomed to pain and could use magic to heal.

But the hex was changing. My hand would break on its own at completely random times, and that sharp explosion of pain would drastically hinder me in combat. I was ambidextrous, but the pain caused a split second of distraction and hesitation. A split second meant the difference between surviving and maiming. The hex was becoming slow poison putting mine and Selena’s lives in danger.

And I wasn’t the only one who’d been cursed.

Selena had endured a two-thousand-year-old curse because she did not want to bed Apollo. At the time, Selena had been known as Cassandra, Princess of Troy. Not only were her visions doomed to never be believed, but he cursed her with immortality. Everything she Saw became muddled and skewed. It led us into situations like these, where she was certain she had Seen the Helm’s hiding spot, only to be greeted by a hungry Crocotta instead.

Selena blamed herself for the position we found ourselves in, but I never had. How could I, after the choices I had made?

“We’ll find it,” I promised her. We had to, because what else were we going to do? We couldn’t get our friends back, and there was no way to exonerate me, even if I had an extremely powerful Farseer and two goddesses on my side. Zeus’ decrees were law and he would never admit to making a mistake.

Selena’s gaze stayed on my hand, our intertwined fingers. My broken bones were long since healed. I wondered at her thoughts. Before I could ask, she sighed.

“We should go.”

I didn’t argue with her. Since learning about her past and how Athena tricked and betrayed her, Selena had become closed off. It didn’t help that her friends––and mine––were missing. We trusted and cared for each other, but I told her the truth about my feelings. Namely, that I loved her.

We hadn’t spoken about it, and neither of us seemed keen to. We talked as friends, and we didn’t touch unless we had to. When we needed healing or brushed against each other quickly turning around a corridor. I wouldn’t push for anything, either. Finding a way to clear my name and help my captive friends mattered more than finding a girlfriend.

But my memory so often betrayed me, and I thought about those moments back when things had been normal and Selena lived with Liam and me. We’d watched movies until she fell asleep against my chest. She’d curled her fingers around my arms or chest when I stood in the way of something she wanted to reach. She grinned as we sparred, eyes bright with challenge and ambition.

She kissed me to save my life.

I wanted to go back to those things, to feel her comfortable against me, curling my arms around her so we could be closer. I wanted to use my height to tease her until I could kiss her frustration away. I wanted to make her laugh and kiss her for the sake of it, not just because I was charmed or dying.

One day, we’d have to face this question. And if she wanted to remain friends, I would step back.

Right now, I just missed normality. Things were different now between us, distant and unsure, but I could no sooner change my feelings than I could tell the Olympians that Ares was manipulating them.

“Yeah,” I conceded, glancing at my blood- and mud-soaked body. “I’m ready for a shower.”

Selena just nodded and followed me as we trod through the forest, saying little.

It had been this way for three months, both of us silent and moving straight forward, trying not to think about the four people missing from our lives.

The nervous transporter. The wealthy and flirtatious heir to Zeus. The ex-con-turned-sea-goddess. The sharp-witted, loyal little brother.

We hadn’t heard anything about them, making these past three months agonizing. Even my blood bond with Liam remained silent. I only heard updates through Athena’s spies in the Zeus region.

They were alive. But they were with the Council of Clouds.

If anything, they were in more danger than we were.

Fighting monsters was one thing. Fighting gods…?

It would take a miracle to win. And the Olympians rarely traded in miracles. 

About the Author:
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Amy is a Canadian urban fantasy and horror author. Her work revolves around monsters, magic, mythology, and mayhem. She started writing in her early teens, and never stopped. She loves building unique worlds filled with fun characters and intense action.

When she isn’t writing, she’s reading, watching movies, taking photos, gaming, struggling with chocoholism and ice cream addiction, and diving headfirst into danger in Dungeons & Dragons campaigns.



GIVEAWAY
Blitz-wide giveaway (US only)
a signed paperback of Fury of the Gods, a collection of post cards, bookmarks, and a small printed color map

Monday, May 25, 2020

Cover Reveal: Forgotten Magic (Crimson Cove, #1) by Eden Butler

Forgotten Magic (Crimson Cove, #1)
by Eden Butler
June 28th 2020
Genres: Adult, Paranormal, Romance
Bane Illes never smiled.
He never spoke.

But each day, that brooding wizard gave Janiver Benoit a glance.

And when she could not take another quiet stare, or the warmth that look sent over her skin, she took from Bane something he’d never give freely—one lingering, soul knocking kiss.

Ten years later, someone has stolen the one thing that keeps magic hidden from the mortals in Crimson Cove and only Janiver can recover it. But returning to her hometown means she’ll have to face the past and all the secrets she left buried there, including the one person she promised herself she’d never see again. The dangerous wizard that might make leaving Crimson Cove the last thing she wants to do.

*FORGOTTEN MAGIC was previously independently released as CRIMSON COVE. However, Eden has since sold the rights to City Owl Press and the book has been replotted, rewritten, and kicks off the new Crimson Coves trilogy which follows witch Janiver Benoit and her siblings as they try to unravel the well-hidden secrets that have destroyed their family.

About the Author:
Eden Butler is a writer of contemporary, fantasy and romantic suspense novels and the nine-times great-granddaughter of an honest-to-God English pirate. This could explain her affinity for rule breaking and rum.

When she's not writing or wondering about her possibly Jack Sparrowesque ancestor, Eden patiently waits for her Hogwarts letter, reads, and spends too much time in her garden perfecting her green thumb while waiting for the next New Orleans Saints Superbowl win.

She is currently living under teenage rule alongside her husband in southeast Louisiana.

Please send help.

Book Review: The Whimsy Witch Who Wasn't (Tales of Xest Book 1) by Donna Augustine


by Donna Augustine
May 4, 2020
374 pages
When they kidnapped me to Xest, they thought I was a nobody, another lowly whimsy witch to work in their factory. They couldn't have been more wrong.

Everybody has bad days, stories of horror and woe. Unless they have the wind calling their name and ghosts telling them they have bad debts, I don’t have time to listen. I’m too busy with the hot guy who yelled at me because of some stupid feather, and the strange people jumping through puddles and kidnapping me to Xest.

If you don’t know where Xest is, join the club. They say it’s somewhere north of North, and east of East. It sure doesn’t look like any place I’ve ever seen.

So yeah, top that day and maybe I’ll hear you out. Right now though, I’ve got to go help the hot guy keep the darkness at bay over by the Unsettled Lands, while trying to not blow things up. It’s the only way I’ll ever get back to Salem.

The Whimsy Witch Who Wasn’t takes Tippi, a sweet soul with a beige life, and transplants her, against her will, to the land of Xest. What is Xest? Well it’s different from the rest! A land outside the norm with witches and warlocks and Tippi finds herself serving time. As she negotiates Xest and the magic within, she learns to trust herself and grow out of her beige life and into her innate powers.

Donna Augustine is a world-class world builder, one of the things I look forward to the most when she rolls out a new series is knowing what a wild ride I’m about to embark on - and the Whimsy With Who Wasn’t was no exception. Tippi is so very likable except when you want to just shake some sense into her. She is a hero in the making, what a wonderful story and so well told.

5 Sheep






Jo Dawson

About the Author:
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Donna Augustine was an odd child, had a brief moment of conformity in early adulthood and then decided to embrace her craziness as the years rolled by. It's her inner crazy that she credits with coming up with the ideas for her books. One part hypochondriac, a few dashes of paranoia, topped with a sliver of uptight and delivered with a relaxed flair, she kicked the proverbial box down the yellow brick road a couple years ago to embrace her true self.



She can be reached by a carrier pigeon, set free in a south by north direction, where she resides in Neverland with her two Siberian cats. Cats who, by the way, aren't as hypoallergenic as she believed they'd be.

For the conventional minded, and those of you without a pigeon on hand, she can be reached at donna@donnaaugustine.com. She responds to most emails within three dusk periods.

P.S. For those of you looking for the discarded box, it was sitting beside the road for a while but has since disappeared completely.

PNR Author M.L.Mastran's Supernatural Fantasy Football Team + giveaway

Hi everyone, M.L here and its good to be back! I remember last year when I was promoting book one, I had gone over my influences and how I came to write Albion Moon. So please check it out in the archives if you haven’t read it. This year I’m going to talk a bit about Bloodlines, book two, and then I want to do something fun! 

Okay so first thing is first. Bloodlines is the second book in the Albion Moon Chronicles and follows Evaline and company on a continuing journey. For those of you who haven’t read book one, I'll try not to give away too much but here it is. Book one was a lot of world-building and setting the stage for what the series would bring for Evaline. It’s told from her point of view and how she deals with what comes at her. 

She deals with death, love, loss, and fear and is able to stand up to it all. Bloodlines is much more boots on the ground so to speak. It’s a book about confrontation and revelation. There are some heart-pounding moments; there is heartbreak and there is light at the end of a long tunnel for Evaline but not without a fight. 

 So, one exciting thing in this book is Mason’s backstory. I had several fans of the first book ask about the Cowan’s backstory as I only hinted at it in conversations with Mason and Evaline. I wanted readers to get interested but I also wanted them to see what happened through Evaline’s eyes. I simply couldn’t do that in book one because she was human for most of the book. In book two however, although she is still adjusting to her new life and family with Mason, Evaline has gotten a few perks with her new life. One of which is to be able to tie into the memories of the rest of the family. So, its Evaline who shows us what happened and how the Cowan’s came to be. So, there are several instances of time jumping within the first few chapters. When Evaline shows us what happened, it’s important that readers are able to experience that but in the safety of wherever they are reading…and yes, I said safety. Just a tip, don’t read it in the middle of the woods, alone…(wink, wink :). 

The Cowan’s story is heartbreaking to say the least and we also see the resilience they are capable of, just as Evaline does. We also come to understand why they see things a certain way, such as why none of them will date or how God is seen. Just a quick point on that. Personally, I am a very spiritual person, not to be confused with religious. The Cowan’s see themselves as cursed, which there is a reason for that as you will see in Bloodlines. I put myself in Evaline’s head, and how she would question that. Evaline was raised Catholic so it was an interesting point that the question of ‘are we good or evil’ was even raised in the family at all. I’ll leave you to read that for yourselves.

Okay so onto the fun stuff! In honor of my enjoyment of watching football and the Cowan’s love for backyard, ‘full contact’, I might add, football with werewolves, I have come up with a supernatural fantasy football team!! I will use different characters from books, TV and movies and why😊 Let’s begin!!


Introducing my starting Line-up!!
Photo by Dave Adamson on Unsplash
Quarterback: Isaac Cowan (236 years): hailing originally from Lancaster Pennsylvania, Isaac is over 300 lbs. of muscle and can take a hit like no other if you can get him. Players should be aware if you do catch him, he is known to change to full bipedal werewolf particularly when cornered. (From Albion Moon)

Running back: Legolas Green leaf (3000 years?): hails from the woodland realm in Middle Earth. Very fast and has the tendency to run with his bow and arrow. So, orcs in the audience please be careful! (from Lord of the Rings)

Running back: Edward Cullen (102 years): originally from Chicago where he was turned, Edward and his family now drift ever so many years to stay away from society. Edward is renowned for being extremely fast so his skills on the football field are quite a sight. (from Twilight)

Wide Receiver: Hermes (over several millennia): known as the God of trade, wealth, luck, fertility, animal husbandry, sleep, language, thieves, and of course travel. He hails on Mount Olympus and is known for running and flying at excessive speeds. His skills are unmatched on the field. (from Greek Mythology/Percy Jackson)

Wide Receiver: Selene (over 2000 years old): was a death dealer for the powerful vampire coven in Hungary and is absolutely lethal. Selene is known for her speed and skills with guns and knives. Extremely fast but has a tendency to argue with Isaac A LOT. (from underworld movie series)

Tight End: Conan the Barbarian (age unknown): Known for his brute strength, Conan is a master with the sword but has been known to take out bad guys with his hands. (from Robert E. Howard book series)

Kicker: Clark Kent, aka Superman (age unknown): occasionally known as the defender of Earth, Clark’s abilities are also pretty impressive. He is known to have once kicked a football so hard it never came down. (from DC comics)

Flex: Buffy Summers (19 years): Don’t let her size or age fool you. Buffy is known to have taken out more than 300 vampires in just a few years. Slayers are known for being very resilient and hard to kill. They are quick on their feet and heal fast when wounded. She doesn’t get along with Selene too well but they do alright as long as they are apart. (from Buffy the Vampire Slayer show series)


Bench
Peter Parker, aka Spiderman (18 years): Known for his speed both on land and in between buildings, Peter hails from Queens in New York. (from Marvel comics)

AJ Cowan (236 years): Also known for his strength, AJ is Isaac’s younger brother. He doesn’t say much but can pack a punch when he needs to. He is known to have gone after Selene when she tried to kill Isaac by accident at a locker room meeting. (from Albion Moon series)

Paige Matthews, aka Halliwell (23 years): Is our lone witch on the team and is known for being an integral strategist for the team. Her white-lighter abilities come in handy on the field, but she has been fined several times for calling the ball to her when she is already in the endzone. (from Original Charmed show series)

Athena (over several Millenia): Known as the Goddess associated with wisdom, handicraft, and warfare. She is regarded specifically for her strategic skill in warfare so along with Paige, the team’s on field strategy is unmatched. (from Greek Mythology/Percy Jackson)

Bruce Banner, aka The Hulk (age unknown): Is known for his strength and speed when in Hulk form. Is known to ‘take out’ several players at once and tends to serve as the team’s secret weapon. He does have a temper and has been fined several times for throwing the ref’s across the field when a call doesn’t go his way. Peter is usually the one to calm him down. (from Marvel comics)

Blade (30+years): is our half-breed. Half-vampire and half-human, Blade inherited strengths from both species. Although he sees his human half as a handicap, he also views himself as a human protector. He doesn’t have the best attitude and often gets into arguments with Buffy on the best way to dispatch vampires. He really doesn’t like Selene or Edward. (from Marvel comics and film series)

Jimmy Bennet: is related to Isaac and AJ through Evaline, their sister in law. He is Evaline’s dead brother, so he is our only dead player but still does quite well on the field. Before his untimely death, Jimmy was captain of his high school and college football teams, so he knows the game quite well. His ability to appear and disappear at will makes him a great addition to the roster. (from Albion Moon)


Bloodlines (Albion Moon Chronicles Book Two)
by M.L.Mastran
March 13, 2020 
Genre: Paranormal Thriller
ISBN: 978-1-0878-5801-2
ISBN: 978-1-0878-6379-5
Number of pages: 200
Word Count: 70, 528
Cover Artist: Michelle Nelson, Graphic & Interactive Design
The Fight was only the beginning, now its war!

Evaline and Mason expand their family as an old threat hides in the shadows. As we dive deeper into the backstory of the MaCowans, we see how it’s all connected to Evaline’s story.

When the old danger finally resurfaces, it forces Evaline and company to new shores. Armed with a plan, they soon find out it’s not as simple as they thought. New revelations about family secrets emerge only to send Evaline into a tailspin.

As they finally confront the danger, the family must contend with the prospect that they may not survive unless an unknown ally steps in. Meanwhile, just as the old threat is dealt with, a new, more menacing danger sets its sights on Dunsmuir.

Excerpt:
She got her keys out of her jacket pocket then exited the home onto the porch. Before going down the steps, she stopped. A shiver coursed through her body; the same feeling as when one was being watched. She peered down the street and saw nothing amiss. Same thing for across and the other side.

Her gut swirled, telling her to turn around. The tree across the street looked different, but she couldn’t quite figure out why. Its leaves and branches stirred in an unnatural way, seeming to dance on their own against the breeze. Every hair on her body stood up at once. The deep silence bothered her—no crickets chirped, nor owls hooted, and there was no sway of the trees or tall grass; the night was calm. She decided to get the book then go inside. After unlocking the car with her key fob, she opened the car door, stretching her arm over and into the back seat.

“Where are you?” she mumbled.

She didn’t see it moving all around, whatever it was. Given the surrounding movement, undoubtedly it wasn’t just one. The tree trunks seemed to come alive as the tall grass across the street shifted. Silent like shadows, they moved, staying just enough out of sight. Kristy found the book underneath the front seat.

She got out of the car then scanned nearby her. Nothing. Kristy hurriedly closed the car door and turned toward the porch. She peeked over her shoulder. An involuntary gasp escaped her. Shadows darted toward her. She got to the steps and froze. Her eyes widened, and her heart pounded in her chest. The pit of her stomach churned. Not shadows, animals. She could now hear the low growls from the animals around her. But what were they?

She blinked and, just like that, a man stood in front of her. He wasn’t wearing any clothes and had a gleam shimmering in his eyes.

She wanted to scream, but the man caught her attention.

“Uh uh uh,” he said as he put his finger to his lips and then in one breathe, he whispered, “Shhhhhhh.”

His fingernail was long and black with a slight curve at the tip. The man grinned, with glowing eyes and wild should-length hair, but he had a trimmed beard. A voice inside her head was screaming to run as she frantically looked for an escape. Her adrenaline pumped as she saw a chance to get away and tried to take it but before she could do anything, something grabbed her from behind and clenched her tight, it was difficult to breathe. The man neared and stopped, only inches away.

In a harsh, low tone, he said, “If you struggle, it will take less than a second for him to squeeze the life out of you. Don’t.”

About the Author:
Nothing captures the attention of M.L. Mastran more than writing a good story with amazing characters and a history arc that made the history books. This is the Albion Moon Chronicles in every sense.

On the flip side, M.L. can also journey to another world completely and pull the same elements with fantasy and make the reader yearn for more. Her uncanny ability to blend genres makes her unique to the literary world and an absolute reading joy. From the first moment you open the page, curiosity will pull you in and keep you engrossed in the story as you take the voyage with the characters to different places and times; to experience the events as they unfold.

Whether being told from a one character perspective or several points of view, her stories will unfold in your mind like a movie playing in your head. This is what pushes M.L to write her stories. It’s the thrill of the read and the drive to carry readers away that will make this trip to the literary world of imagination all the sweeter.

M. L. was born in Scranton Pennsylvania but was raised in Youngstown, Ohio, which is also where she currently resides with her husband and son. Since a young age, she has always had a passion for storytelling. Anything that was of interest to her she could find a story with however, it was her stories of experiences such as walking in an old cemetery, to riding a roller coaster to walking the lonely isles of an old junk yard that seemed the most precious.

M. L. has an undergraduate degree in Communication but also majored in History, which is what her Master’s Degree is in as well. She also started on her PHD in History. This love of history is very evident in most of M. L.’s stories. While studying for both degrees, she wrote numerous works for the academic audience. Many of which were presented and published for both student and professional audiences, but at home she would continue to dabble with her love of fiction. It was the challenge of creating a new world and characters that would make for some great stories. In fact, she found out very quickly, strong characters drive the story and make it worth the journey.
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Sunday, May 24, 2020

Excerpt: Original Sin (The Order of the Vampires Book 1) by Lydia Michaels + giveaways


Original Sin (The Order of the Vampires Book 1)
by Lydia Michaels
May 12, 2020
642 pages
Genre: Paranormal Romance

Adam Hartzler has always been an honorable immortal, but the fine line between right and wrong begins to blur when he is called to his true mate. If he does not find and claim her soon, he will lose his soul and humanity, transforming into a vile predator controlled by insatiable bloodlust, sentenced to a demonic and tortured eternity as a vampire.

Adam sets out on a quest to hunt his mate and claim her before it is too late. His salvation relies on his destined mate’s surrender, but when she refuses to cooperate, Adam must set aside his morals and do what is needed to survive. Time’s slipping away with his control, and his territorial instincts refuse to let her go.

Annalise Snow awakens on a primitive farm removed from modern civilization and in fear of her life. Her captor is determined to keep her prisoner and believes he is somehow entitled to her future. But she will not surrender easily. When Adam asks for the ultimate sacrifice, she must decide if he lives or dies.

Passion and emotion collide in an explosive meeting of destined souls, but love is never a guarantee, especially when eternity begins with betrayal.


When I signed up to receive this book for review, I should have looked closer at the page count. It's over 600 pages, so you'll have to dedicate a lot of time in this one. Sadly, I made it about half way through and lost interest. But this may also be due to work demands and home life, who knows. All I do know is that I could never find a good grip on this one and I wanted to!

A story about vampires? YES!!!!! Plus it's a first book in this series which made me initially so damn excited. 

So, I can't give an honest review since I wasn't able to give it a full read. I recommend checking out what other folks are saying and see if it would be a good fit! I certainly hope it is! 

Katie D





Lifting a towel from the basket in the corner, he shut his eyes and inhaled, pressing the fabric to his nose. His body instantly hardened, his instincts driving him to her bed where she slept soundly.

She lay in the center of the bed, dwarfed by the large mattress. Her limbs twisted in the white sheet. Waves of copper and gold splayed across the pillow. So still. So delicate. So … his.

Satisfied with God’s selection, he studied his prize. His salvation. His future. His beautiful Annalise.

Hooking a finger into the sheet, he slowly drew the blanket toward the foot of the bed. A simple undershirt, covering little more than her breasts, gave a transparent picture of her curves.

Narrow ribs tapered into a tiny waist he’d be able to span with his hands. Her hips flared, as a healthy woman’s should. His head cocked as the sheet fell to the side, exposing her legs. A wisp of material, too small to be considered a garment, covered her sex.

“What evil is this?”

He inhaled deeply, wondering at the strange covering. Females of the order wore handmade undergarments, loosely fitting with ties. The men wore nothing under their clothes. But this…

Lowering to the bed, he sat gingerly beside her hip and studied her. The overwhelming need to touch her, mark her, stole through him hard and fast, leaving all other instincts second.

He wanted to feed from her vein as his body throbbed inside of hers, filling her with his seed. He wanted to possess every part of her—mind, body, and soul.

“Beautiful, Annalise,” he whispered.

Unlocking his fists, he traced the back of his finger along the soft white expanse of her thigh. Goosebumps prickled her flesh, and a small moan escaped her throat.

“You will know my touch and feel it often.”

Drawing slow whirls over her hip, his fingertip treaded lightly across the elastic of her minimal undergarment. Her skin showed like ivory in the moonlight. Silver pools of blue painted her pale skin. She was a masterpiece. Hard points formed under her shirt as he dragged his exploring finger up her arm. He ached to trace his touch over the turgid tip but refrained.

A soft moan slipped past her plump lips and her legs shifted, her hips burrowing into the mattress. Could she sense his desire?

His need to touch and possess her left him shaken. Withdrawing his caress, his gaze traveled over her torso. Each breath expanded her ribs and lifted her breasts. His inspection climbed the narrow column of her throat and stilled at her fluttering pulse.

Arousal slammed into him. A bone deep hunger ached inside of him, begging him to claim her. His tongue traced under his fangs as he leaned closer, breathing in her delicate fragrance, feeding off the scent of such a vulnerable offering. So small. So fragile. So in need of a mate. His jaw widened—

He sprang off the bed, startled by the powerful trance she held over him. It was as if she had him under some sort of spell.

Forking a hand through his hair, he paced silently. He wanted her now, consequences be damned. How long would he have to wait? Would it really matter? Their futures were decided. Why not now?

Battling with his conscience, he crouched at the foot of the bed, his greedy stare traveling up her legs. His thumb dragged along the inside of her ankle, gliding upward to her knee and pulling her legs apart. Her scent intensified.

Closing his eyes, he breathed her in. This was his mate, his one and only, his ainsicht.

The beat of her heart seemed to complement his, like the tease and retreat of the ocean waves beating back the banks of the shore. The rush of blood pumping through her veins rattled his concentration. It sung to him, a siren’s call that compelled an answer.

His skin burned like the tongues of a fire, licking at his insides, his burning desires heating his blood to volcanic degrees. He needed to leave. Now.

Taut as a bow, he forced himself away from the bed for her protection. Never had he fought such temptation. Carnal images assaulted him. Her body clinging to his, flesh gliding over flesh. Nails digging into muscle. Fangs piercing skin.

His cock throbbed, pleading that he take her and claim what was rightfully his. Heart hammering against his ribs, he staggered back from the bed. His control was slipping. If he touched her now, he’d break her.

Book Trailer


About the Author:
Lydia Michaels is the award winning author of over 35 romance novels. She is an iBooks Bestsellers and her work has been featured in USA Today. She is the two-time winner of the Author of the Year Award from Happenings Media [2018 & 2019]. In 2015 she won The Best Author Award from The Courier Times. She is a five time nominee for the prestigious RONE Award. Her books are intellectual, emotional, haunting, always centered around love.

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Follow the tour HERE for special content and two giveaways! 
Giveaway #1
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Signed Copy of Original Sin

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