GtPGKogPYT4p61R1biicqBXsUzo" /> Google+ I Smell Sheep: May 2014

Saturday, May 31, 2014

Troll Stereotypes in Modern King City by Selah Janel (Olde School Book Tour)

The laptop glowed mercilessly and the blank document taunted him as the minutes cruelly ticked by. Paddlelump stared, then slowly, begrudgingly typed.

Troll Stereotypes in Modern Kingdom City

Well, that got something on paper, at least. As the minutes stretched on, he frowned and added the next line:

An Essay by Paddlelump Stonemonger

He groaned and let his face fall in his hand. “There’s a reason I never did well in literature in school,” he grumbled. A few more minutes of staring at the screen did nothing but make him breathe out a long, put-upon sigh.

“If ye keep starin’ and groanin’ like ye got indigestion ye ain’t gonna get nothin’s gonna get done.” The voice was croaky and annoying, though its owner was letting him stay at his apartment, so Paddlelump couldn’t complain. His friend and current landlord had his bulk stuffed into a battered easy chair and was pretending to look over last week’s paper.

“I’m no good at things like this. I hate assignments. It’s why I started my own business,” the younger troll sighed and tugged on a shock of lovely red ear hair. Between his round cheeks, pleasant face, large brown eyes, and just the start of tusks, he looked far too young and friendly to amount to much as a troll. As the owner of the biggest bridge business in Kingdom City, however, Paddlelump had come into his own. That phase of life was over, though the self-employment theme was still going strong. It was nice that people were interested in him and his story.

If only putting the story out didn’t mean actually having to write anything.

“What’re ye supposed to be workin’ on? Ye been click clackin’ those keys all day. Ye mean to tell me you ain’t come up with nothin’ yet?” Ippick was far older and far more typical for a troll. Although his bulk was getting out of control, his beady eyes contrasted nicely in his full face, and his tusks were long and menacing. His grey, greasy hair hung down in spindling waves, and his sack shirt and leather pants hiked up to his chest fit with his overall appearance.

“A short piece about troll stereotypes. I don’t know why I was asked for this. You’re better at complaining,” Padd sighed.

“Oh, no. Yer not gonna rope me into doin’ yer dirty work just because you saved me life an’ all. I don’t feel that bad about it,” Ippick shot back, glaring over the edge of the newspaper parchment. “What ‘bout Clyde? Why can’t he help ye?”

“He’s at Trip Trap’s. He had something he had to be working on, as well, and I wouldn’t help him so he’s trying to talk Flora into it.”

“Sounds about right,” the old troll admitted and paused to scratch an itch under one of his chins. “What’s the problem? I’d think you’d have lots to yammer on ‘bout.”

“I dunno, it just feels like it’s not good to think about that kind of thing in these modern times,” the businesstroll admitted. He slid a glance over to his badly-concealed friend, half-hoping that Ippick’s grumpy nature would take the bait and fill in the blanks with his rants.

Behind the paper, it was obvious the older troll was muttering a few choice curses, but interestingly enough, he withheld his opinion. They’re adventures must have had more of an impact on the old fellow’s brain than Paddlelump had thought.

“Eh, yer probably right. Everything’s peachy these days in the city. Just do a piece on that, whydoncha?”

Irritation stomped all over Paddlelump’s better judgment. “How in blazes can you say that?”

“What? I’m jus’ repeatin’ back your lovey dovey opinions on the state of the realm! After all, ye of all creatures showcase the glory of the modern age. Ye had a successful business, ye can waltz around with human friends without bein’ beheaded, yer treated jus’ like anybody else—”

“What in the realm are you talking about?” Paddlelump choked. “Sure, I’ve had success, but I’ve also had to have a goblin lawyer who likes bloodshed go to bat for me to keep it. I’ve had maids hire assassins on me to get my fortune. You think a fool girl would pull that with any other race of employer, short of an ogre or a giant?”

“Can’t blame the state of th’realm on one dumb lass,” Ippick snorted.

The younger troll was on his feet and pacing, not an easy feat in the small apartment. “What about the city, then, trying to tell me I don’t really own my land when it was in my family since before the beginning of Kingdom City?”

“Addlebaum wants what he wants. Who’s t’say he wouldn’t do that to anybody?” Ippick mumbled from behind the sports section.

There was probably some truth to that, but still, he was good and fired up and not buying the platitudes his friend was so strangely offering. “Maybe, but he wouldn’t have gone to such a far extent if it was someone besides a troll. What about all those comments I hear all the time? Sure, most of my patrons liked me, but I heard enough muttered commentary everyday about how they’d probably catch warts or how I’d eat up someone who didn’t pay! I can’t win, Ipp! Either folks think I’m too nice and try to steal from me, or they think I’m going to slice them apart where they stand! I can’t win,” he grumbled and rubbed the base of his tusk stubs to fight the headache coming on. “Why do you think I’m movin’ on?” he pointed out. “There’s nothing left for me here, not when the city obviously thinks I’m a murderer because things happened on my land. Who are they gonna suspect first: a cute little blonde maid, or me?”

“Don’t sell yerself short,” Ippick muttered, not bothering to look up. “I’m sure ye could pull off cute if that’s what ye really wanted.”

“What about things like Trollslayer?” Paddlelump demanded, pointing a long nail at the newsprint that obscured his friend’s face. “That game franchise makes people think that it’s fun and games to kill our kind, that we’re nothing but brainless, witless oafs who can do nothin’ but wield a club! Don’t we have feelings? Don’t we work hard to earn our coin jus’ like everyone else? Sure, we have muscle, but my Mam and Da had brains, didn’t they? What’s next, cramming us into a horror franchise? They might as well start making films called Troll Death and let it all fall where it may!” He was itchy and perturbed. There wasn’t enough room to pace and his right arm was sweating bullets in its leather glove.

“Prolly already in production, knowin’ the film industry. ‘Sides, didn’t yer Da’ make his livin’ bustin’ skulls?” Ippick pointed out.

Fuming, Padd stalked over to the arm chair and glowered down at the parchment his friend used as a mask. “You aren’t even paying attention or you wouldn’t be spouting such claptrap! My da owned his business, thanks! He worked hard and could’ve done anything he wanted. It’s attitudes like that…this….simplification of what a being is, that perpetuates the stupid attitudes that I have to live with every single day, especially now! I’m gonna have to finish this at Trip Trap’s. I can’t even stay here at the minute, what with you blathering such nonsense!”

The younger troll yanked up his laptop, shoved it under his arm, and stormed out the door.

Ippick waited a few minutes to make sure his friend wouldn’t come back, then lowered the paper. Behind it, a battered old paperback labeled Manipulating Friends and Enemies for Their Own Good (but Especially Yours) sat on his lap. While he wasn’t much of a reader, he’d discovered the tome holding up his coffee table when they’d started to pack up for their next big venture. If it was a choice between packing up the apartment or having Paddlelump do it while he claimed he had some necessary things to see to, well, the answer was obvious. Those essay assignments couldn’t have come at a better time. He regarded the book curiously in his large hands and let his tongue flick out and turn a few pages. “Who woulda thought the bloody thing actually worked, an’ for the youth’s own good, at that? Stinkin’ amazin’,” he chortled. “Clyde ain’t the only one that can get his way with his stupid brain.” He’d have to put it in his suitcase later on, but first, a nap was in order.

Olde School (The Kingdom City Chronicles Book One)
Kingdom City has moved into the modern era. Run by a lord mayor and city council (though still under the influence of the High King of The Land), it proudly embraces a blend of progress and tradition. Trolls, ogres, and other Folk walk the streets with humans, but are more likely to be entrepreneurs than cause trouble. Princesses still want to be rescued, but they now frequent online dating services to encourage lords, royals, and politicians to win their favor. The old stories are around, but everyone knows they’re just fodder for the next movie franchise. Everyone knows there’s no such thing as magic. It's all old superstition and harmless tradition.

Bookish, timid, and more likely to carry a laptop than a weapon, Paddlelump Stonemonger is quickly coming to wish he'd never put a toll bridge over Crescent Ravine. While his success has brought him lots of gold, it's also brought him unwanted attention from the Lord Mayor. Adding to his frustration, Padd’s oldest friends give him a hard time when his new maid seems inept at best and conniving at worst. When a shepherd warns Paddlelump of strange noises coming from Thadd Forest, he doesn't think much of it. Unfortunately for him, the history of his land goes back further than anyone can imagine. Before long he'll realize that he should have paid attention to the old tales and carried a club.

Darkness threatens to overwhelm not only Paddlelump, but the entire realm. With a little luck, a strange bird, a feisty waitress, and some sturdy friends, maybe, just maybe, Padd will survive to eat another meal at Trip Trap's diner. It's enough to make the troll want to crawl under his bridge, if he can manage to keep it out of the clutches of greedy politicians.

Amazon Links

About the Author:
Selah Janel has been blessed with a giant imagination and a love of story since she was little and convinced that fairies lived in the nearby state park or vampires hid in the abandoned barns outside of town. Learning to read and being encouraged by those around her only made things worse. Her work ranges from e-books to traditional print, and she prefers to write every genre at once rather than choose just one. The stories “Holly and Ivy”, “The Other Man”, and “Mooner” are available online through Mocha Memoirs Press. Her work has also been included in The MacGuffin, The Realm Beyond, Stories for Children Magazine, The Big Bad: an Anthology of Evil, Thunder on the Battlefield: Sorcery, The Grotesquerie, and the short story collection Lost in the Shadows, co-written with S.H. Roddey. She likes her music to rock, her vampires lethal, her fairies to play mind games, and her princesses to have adventures and hold their own.

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Friday, May 30, 2014

Alexandra Ivy's HUNT THE DARKNESS Blog Hop + giveaway

Guardians of Eternity, #11

Publication Date: June 3, 2014
Publisher: Zebra
Genre: Paranormal
The vampire, Roke, is raw, sensual, always in control. Yet somehow he's allowed the unthinkable to happen: a nymph-like witch named Sally has used her magic to trick Roke into mating with her. The pair will remain bound for eternity unless Sally breaks the spell. The trouble is, she has no idea how. . .

Mating with Roke was an accident; at least that's what Sally keeps telling herself. She's on the hunt for her demon father, whose identity holds the key to releasing the spell. The search won't be easy with Roke shadowing Sally's every move. As they mate with a ferocity that leaves them both aching for more, Sally isn't sure if her world is more dangerous without Roke—or with him. . .


FULL STORY - Extra Guardian of Eternity 
By Alexandra Ivy
Magnus strolled into Styx’s vast library, his long, dark blond hair pulled into a queue at his neck and his dark eyes hard with impatience. As always, he was dressed in jeans and a T-shirt that was stretched to the limit over his massive chest. The vampire was one of Styx’s elite guard, the Ravens. Which meant he was a well-trained warrior, a lethal predator, and he had the social skills of a spitting viper. Actually, that was an insult to the viper.

Equally indifferent to the latest fashions, Styx, the current King of Vampires, was dressed in leather pants, a black shirt and heavy shit-kickers. He had dark hair that was pulled into a braid that fell past his knees, and an amulet was hung around his massive neck. But while Styx was pure predator, he did have a loving mate to help smooth away the rough edges. Magnus, on the other hand, remained a gruff, solitary creature who avoided company whenever possible.

Which was why his mood was tilting from foul to downright shitty after rushing to the opulent house on the outskirts of Chicago to find Styx was calming sipping brandy as if he didn’t have a care in the world.

What the hell? Magnus was willing to pledge his loyalty to his king, but this was his evening off and he’d been planning to spend the night at the shooting range. He wasn’t happy to receive an urgent text only to arrive and discover there was nothing to kill. He’d even brought his favorite sword.

“Your text said it was an emergency,” Magnus growled, glancing around the library in a vain hope of some nasty creature lurking among the towering shelves of books. Nothing could be seen beyond the ridiculous froufrou furnishings and massive desk that was set next to the fireplace.

“It is.” Styx set aside his glass, his lean face unreadable. “I had an unexpected visitor sneak into my house just before sunset. Unfortunately for her, my alarm system includes a powerful spell that trapped her the second she managed to enter through a basement window.”

An intruder? The evening is looking up.

Magnus tapped the hilt of his sword that was strapped around his waist. “Do you want me to kill the trespasser?”

Styx shrugged. “I suppose that will be up to you.”

Up to him? Magnus arched his brows. There was a trespasser into Styx’s royal residence and the king was giving Magnus the choice what was going to happen to the intruder? The Anasso didn’t run a democracy. Hell, he was the definition of an anal control-freak. Which mean there had to be a reason he was giving up even a small portion of his authority.

“Why me?” Magnus demanded.

“Because she claimed that she’s an old friend of yours and that she’s here to return one of your possessions.”

Magnus scowled. “She?”

A wicked smile curved the king’s lips. “Very definitely a she.”

“It’s a trick.”

Styx arched a brow. “How can you be so sure?”

“I don’t have friends.”


Magnus arched a brow. “Bullshit?”

“There isn’t one Raven who wouldn’t put down their life for you,” Styx informed him, moving so he could clap Magnus on one broad shoulder. “And Darcy has adopted you as if you’re some motherless chick.” The Anasso gave a shake of his head. “She’s been driving me insane with suggestions of potential females that might meet your insanely high expectations.”

Magnus tried to deny the renegade warmth that filled his heart. It was true that since he’d become one of Styx’s personal warriors, he’d become a part of something that was very close to a family. And Darcy, Styx’s mate, had been a pleasant shock. The kind-hearted pureblooded Were had refused to be put off by Magnus’s gruff manner. Instead, she’d made it her personal mission to try and find him a suitable female who could properly train him.

He’d tried to tell her it was an impossible task. He’d found his mate centuries ago, only to have her betray and abandon him when...

Magnus abruptly stiffened, struck by a sudden suspicion.

Holy shit.

“Tell me about the intruder.”

Styx slowly smiled, making no effort to disguise his rampant curiosity.

It was no doubt that need to poke his nose into Magnus’s private business that’d kept the intruder from being killed on the spot. Sometimes the Anasso could be worse than a mother hen.

“She claims to be a fire sprite,” he at last drawled.

Even prepared Magnus felt as if he’d just been hit by a cement truck. “Impossible,” he breathed, shock and an emotion he wasn’t prepared to acknowledge, jolting through him.

“My thought exactly.” Styx shrugged. “I thought they were extinct.”

“No. There was a small tribe that survived the efforts of the previous Anasso to hunt them into extinction,” he said, not bothering to explain that he’d learned about them in a seedy bar in Morocco nearly a century ago. “Where is she?”

“So you do know her. Do you intend to share the spicy details?” Styx slowly smiled, only to heave a resigned sigh when he met Magnus’s stoic gaze. “Fine. She’s in the dungeons.”

With three long strides, Magnus was at the door to the library. “I want some privacy when I question her,” he demanded, too caught in his furious disbelief to consider the fact he was tossing out orders as if Styx was a fledgling and not the King of all Vampires. “Turn off the cameras.”


Magnus reluctantly halted and glanced over his shoulder. “What?”

“Do you intend to kiss her or kill her?”

His lips twisted into a humorless smile. “The two don’t have to be mutually exclusive.”

Fia was stretched on the narrow cot when she caught a familiar scent. Magnus. Keeping her eyes shut she sucked in a deep breath, savoring the icy aroma of leather, steel, and thundering power. Holy hell. The smell intoxicated her. It’d always had. From the second the tall, golden haired vampire with eyes as black as sin had walked into the demon bar.

Sliding off the cot, she rose to her feet and headed toward the iron bars that were swiftly stealing her powers. Joy exploded through her as she caught sight of her former lover moving toward her with the liquid grace of a predator. It’d been nearly a century since she’d seen him, but she’d memorized every chiseled line of his fiercely male face and the sculpted perfection of his massive body.

She felt ridiculously nervous, she acknowledged, her hand lifting to push back her thick tangle of crimson curls that fell to her waist before she was smoothing the white spandex pants and matching top that clung to her slender body. It wasn’t that she feared Magnus. Or even the Anasso.

But her entire future happiness depended on her not screwing up the next few minutes.

Yeah. Nothing like a little pressure...

“Fia.” Her name sounded more like a curse as Magnus suddenly stood in front of her cell, studying her as if she were something he’d scraped off the bottom of his boot.

Fia kept her spine rigid and her chin angled to a militant angle even as her heart clenched with regret. She’d expected his anger, even his disgust, but that didn’t ease the pain at the sight of his cold eyes and the beautiful male face that looked as if it’d been carved out of granite.

“Hello, Magnus.” Her voice was thankfully steady. Good. This was difficult enough without Magnus knowing her emotions were a hot, tangled mess. “Are you going to stand there glaring at me or are you going to let me out?”

He stepped forward, his hands grasping the iron bars as he glared down at her. “Styx takes a very dim view of trespassers, little sprite,” he drawled. “It could be years before he decides you’ve been suitably punished.”

She narrowed her eyes the precise shade of garnets. “If that’s a joke it’s not funny.”

He folded his arms over his broad chest. “You know me well enough to know that I never joke.”

Well, that was true enough. Magnus was many things. Strong, loyal, and indecently sexy, but could never be called light-hearted. Hell, just earning a smile from him felt like an epic victory.

“I wasn’t trespassing. I was only trying to return something that belongs to you,” she said.

He curled back his lips to reveal his large fangs, his icy power wrapping around her...not to hurt, but in a blatant warning.

“You’re only making it worse, Fia,” he growled. “Now you’re not only an intruder, but you’re a thief. You might never get out of this cell.”

Despite her grim determination to maintain her composure, Fia found herself reaching for the gold chain that was looped around her neck, giving it a tug to pull out the small amulet that had been tucked beneath her stretchy top. With one jerk, she broke the chain, allowing the tiny charm to fall into her palm.

Her quick temper had always been her downfall.

“You know what...screw you.” She threw the amulet through the bars, directly into the pale, arrogant face. She wrapped her arms protectively around her waist, as if that could halt the pain of rejection that was thundering through her. Damn him. He was supposed to...what? Offer her instant forgiveness? To know that she would never deliberately hurt him? Okay, it was unfair, but that was exactly what she wanted. “Take this and go.”

He snatched the amulet an inch before it connected with his nose, his brows snapping together as he opened his hand and studied the small charm that rested in his palm.


“Why what?”

He slowly lifted his head, his eyes dark with an emotion that was impossible to decipher. “Why try to sneak in the most heavily guarded lair in the world?” he at last demanded. “Why not just knock on the front door?”

She shrugged. “I was going to leave this in your private rooms and disappear before you knew I was here.”

Not surprisingly he instantly knew she was lying. Magnus hadn’t been chosen as a Raven by Styx because he was stupid.

“Bullshit,” he growled.

Her chin tilted another inch higher. “Excuse me?”

His icy power wrapped around her, the dark gaze studying her pale face. She clenched her teeth. Once he’d looked at her with a blatant male fascination that made her heart pound and her knees weak. The kind of look a male gave a female when he’d decided that she was the answer to all his prayers.

Now...not so much.

“If you just wanted to return my amulet then you could have sent it to me,” he pointed out in a cold voice of reason. “Or left it outside the gates with a note.”

Both reasonable choices. She wished now that she’d chosen one of them.

Ridiculously she’d thought she could actually make him listen to her. As if the past century could be erased and he would ignore the fact that she’d simply disappeared after he’d asked her to be his mate.

Magnus wrapped his fingers around the amulet that was still warm from Fia’s skin. He’d had it made by a silversmith when he’d risen as a vampire to mark his new beginning. It’d disappeared along with Fia mere hours after he’d pledged his heart and soul to her.

At the time he’d told himself it was yet another example of just how unworthy she’d been of his love.

She’d not only stolen his heart, but his property. In his dark broodings he’d imagined her laughing as she’d returned to her family of grifters to reveal she’d managed to completely fool the besotted vampire. It was an image that had haunted him for the past century.

Which was why he’d charged down to the dungeons, fully intent on...his breath hissed between his aching fangs. Bloody hell. He didn’t know what he was going to do, but the second he’d caught sight of the familiar oval face with the large garnet eyes and the tumble of fiery curls he’d been nearly overwhelmed by the explosion of emotions. Lust, love, and a treacherous joy. This female might have betrayed him, but she was still the woman he’d chosen as his mate. Which meant that he still wanted her with a desperation that made his entire body tremble with need.

And worse, he couldn’t shake the suspicion that Fia had a specific purpose in allowing herself to be caught by Styx.

A purpose that involved him.

“I wanted to make sure you got it,” she muttered, her thick fringe of lashes lowering to hide her eyes.

A sure sign she was lying. “That’s not it,” he growled, narrowing his eyes. “You wanted to be caught.”

Her expression remained militant, but she took a revealing step backward at his accusation.

“That’s so typical of you,” she muttered. “Arrogant ass.”

His lips twisted. “You don’t know anything about me. Not anymore.”

“I...” Fia halted, as if it was suddenly difficult to speak, an unexpected tear gliding down her cheek. “Yeah, maybe I don’t.”

Shit. Pain sliced through Magnus’s heart. Shoving the amulet in his pocket, he grabbed the bars of the cell. “Fia.”

She tilted her head so her heavy tangle of curls would hide her face. “This was a mistake,” she muttered. “Please just go away, Magnus.”

Magnus’s hands gripped the iron bars until they began to bend. This cell was designed to hold a fey, not to resist the power of an angry vampire.

“Not until you tell me why you’re here.”

“Because I wanted to see you.” She jerked her head up to glare at him in an agonized frustration. “Are you satisfied?”

Satisfied? His body felt as if it was going up in flames, the past hundred years being scoured away by the avalanche of emotions that seared through him.

“Not nearly.” With one fierce yank he had the cell door off its hinges and was tossing it aside. Styx wasn’t going to be pleased with the damage to his dungeon, but at the moment Magnus didn’t give a shit about anything but getting his hands on the pretty fire sprite who’d claimed his soul.

“But I intend to be.”

Her eyes widened as he stalked into the cell, instinctively backing away. Not out of fear. No. He could already smell the sweet spice of her arousal.

“Wait,” she breathed, her hair dancing on a breeze created by her inner magic. “What are you doing?”

"This.” He reached to wrap her slender body in his arms, pulling her hard against his chest as he lowered his head to bury his face against the tender curve of her neck.

“Magnus.” Her hands landed on his chest, but even as he prepared himself to be pushed away she was instead arching against him in ready capitulation.

Something raw and broken deep inside him eased as her fiery heat wrapped around him.


Fia lost track of how long they stood in the cell clinging to one another.

Not that she was complaining.

She’d counted down every year, every day, every hour until she could be free to seek out this vampire. Now that she was pressed against his hard body she felt as if she was waking from a hideous nightmare.

“Where have you been?” he demanded, his fangs scraping her throat as his hands lowered to cup her ass.

She shivered, deliberately brushing against the thickening length of his arousal. Right now all she wanted was to strip off his clothes and kiss him from the top of his golden head to the tips of his toes. God almighty. She’d missed him. The sound of his voice. The pleasure of his touch. The comfort of knowing he would be at her side when she turned her head...

Unfortunately, they had too much between them to solve it with sex.

No matter how freaking fantastic that sex might be.

“Working off my indenture,” she slowly admitted.

“Indenture?” His head jerked up as he studied her with a scowl. “What the hell are you talking about?”

She swallowed a sigh. This wasn’t going to be an easy conversation. Not when Magnus already hated her family.

“My family managed to become indebted to a mountain troll—”

“You mean Isali became indebted,” Magnus snapped, knowing her older brother too well.

Isali was lazy, self-indulgent, and morally corrupt. But he was one of less than a hundred male fire sprites left after the purge, which meant that he was treated like a God.

She nodded. “Yes.”

“The idiot,” Magnus muttered. “What did his debt have to do with you?”

She wrinkled her nose, trying to forget that last, painful argument with her family. It still made her heart ache with the sense of betrayal.

“My father decided the family had more need of Isali’s talents as a breeder, since I refused to do my duty and produce children,” she said. As the mate of a vampire she wouldn’t be able to pro-create. Something desperately needed by the fire sprites who were on the brink of extinction. “So I was elected to take his place with the troll.”

The remaining bars on her cell exploded outward as Magnus’s fury blasted through the air.

“That son of a bitch.” He abruptly released her, as if afraid he might accidently hurt her. “I should have killed the bastard the night I caught him trying to cheat me at cards.”

Fia reached up to frame his face in her hands. The last thing she wanted was to have Magnus charging off in search of revenge. Not after she’d sacrificed so much to keep him safe.

“Instead you lured me into the private rooms and had your wicked way with me,” she said, her voice filled with a husky promise.

As she hoped, Magnus was instantly distracted, his hands grabbing her hips to jerk her hard against his straining cock.

“I didn’t lure you,” he denied, his stark features softening, as if remembering the night she’d walked into the crowded bar. At the time he’d been busy choking her worthless brother after he’d been idiotic enough to try and use a marked deck when he was playing cards with a vampire. Instantly Magnus had dropped Isali on the floor, then, knocking several drunken fey out of his path, he moved to stand directly in front of her.

“No, you tossed me over your shoulder and hauled me away.”

He lowered his head until their noses were touching. “You were mine.”

Her lips parted, but before she could say a word, he was kissing her with a sheer hunger that sent shockwaves of pleasure through her trembling body.

Magnus struggled against the thundering need to lay Fia on the nearby cot and lose himself in her enticing heat. He’d been alone for so long, his bed cold and empty.

But first he had to make sure that this was no fleeting hookup. Or worse, some nefarious plot by her wretched family.

If she left him again it would destroy him.

End of story.

“To be yours is what I wanted more than life itself,” she assured him in soft tones.

His hands compulsively moved up the slender curve of her waist. “What? A few nights of fun with the besotted vampire?”

Her hands threaded through his hair, her pale face hardening with determination. “No, to be yours.”

“If that were true then you wouldn’t have left.”

She gave a soft gasp as his hands moved to cup the soft swell of her breasts, his fangs scraping down the side of her throat.

“I had no choice,” she muttered, arching her back in silent invitation. “The debt had to be paid.”

He nipped her shoulder, careful not to draw blood. When he finally completed their mating it wasn’t going to be in a filthy dungeon with a dozen vampires within hearing distance.

“You could have told your father to go to hell and stayed with me,” he pointed out, his hand molding the luscious perfection that fit perfectly in his palm.

She gave a low moan, her hands tugging impatiently at his hair. He obviously wasn’t the only one who was anxious for some alone time.

“Not without putting you in danger.”

He stiffened at her low words, slowly lifting his head. “What the hell are you talking about?”

“My father threatened to use his powers against you if I didn’t give into his demands.”

Magnus gave a low growl, the temperature in the cell dropping by several degrees. Was she implying that he was too weak to protect himself, or her?

“You think I feared your father?”

Her expression tightened with exasperation. “No, which is precisely why I had to do something. You dismissed him as a harmless sprite, but he was capable of placing a spell on you that could have turned you to ash before you even knew you were in danger.”

He hesitated. He’d heard that male fire sprites had the power to destroy vampires, but he’d always assumed it was a myth.

“Your father?”

“Why do you think the previous Anasso tried to hunt us into extinction?”

Magnus grimaced. “He was certifiably insane.”

“True.” She shuddered, no doubt recalling the centuries they’d been forced into hiding to avoid the one-time King of Vampires. “But he knew that there were a few of my people who were powerful enough to be a threat.”

“So your father blackmailed you into leaving?”

She gave a small nod. “Yes. I couldn’t risk having you hurt.”

Bloody hell. His heart twisted with regret. All this time he’d been cursing her as a bitch who’d betrayed him. When she’d sacrificed everything to keep him safe.

It was going to be a long time before he forgave himself. And the gods knew, he never intended to forgive her worthless family.

“Why did you steal my amulet?” he softly asked.

“Because it allowed me to maintain a connection to you even when we were separated,” she explained. “I could sense you, no matter how far apart we were separated. I had to be certain that my father kept his promise.”

“Goddammit, Fia,” he snarled in frustration, unable to bear the knowledge that she’d needed him and he had failed her. It ate like acid on his soul. “One word and I would have come for you. Anywhere. Anytime.”

“I know.” A wistful sadness darkened her eyes. “That’s why I didn’t contact you.”

His hands lifted to lightly trace the delicate lines of her face, a deep dread twisting his stomach. “The troll...”

“No.” Her tone was as unyielding as steel. “That’s the past. All I care about now is the future.”

Magnus wavered, quivering with the need to press for information. Not to hurt her, but to know everything about the troll he intended to kill before the week was over. At last, he forced himself to squash his furious need for vengeance.

That could wait. For now, he simply wished to rejoice in finally having her back where she belonged.

His fingers tucked her curls gently behind her ears, as his gaze savored the pale beauty of her face.

“Why did you sneak into the lair?” he demanded. “You could have called me and explained what happened.”

“Would you have talked to me or would you have hung up the minute you heard my voice?” she asked, her lips twisting as he grimaced. “Exactly. The same thing would have happened if I’d knocked on the front door. I had to do something to get you to listen to me.”

She was right. She had to do something dramatic to get past his bitter defenses.

He hoped she was prepared for the consequences of her spectacular success.

Out of patience, Magnus scooped her in his arms and headed out of the cell. He wasn’t sure he could wait until they were safely tucked in the privacy of his lair, but Styx had a dozen guestrooms. He intended to find the closest one.

“That’s the last risk you will be taking, my little sprite,” he informed her, even knowing that this independent female would always do precisely as she wanted.

The garnet eyes flickered with the fire that burned deep inside her, a wicked smile curving her lips. “Ah,” she purred in thick tones. “That’s the arrogant vampire I remember.”

“I failed to protect you before, but never again,” he swore. “From this day forward you’re never going to be out of my sight again.”

About the Author:
Website / Facebook / Twitter /Goodreads
Alexandra Ivy is the New York Times bestselling author of the Guardians of Eternity series, the Immortal Rogues series and the Sentinels.

Alexandra graduated from Truman University with a degree in theatre before deciding she preferred to bring her characters to life on paper rather than stage. She currently lives in Missouri with her extraordinarily patient husband and teenage sons

Thursday, May 29, 2014

Meet Patricia Rasey author of Hawk (Sons of Sangue #2) Book Tour + giveaway

Author Fun Facts:

1. I am a huge movie buff. I love to watch movies and my favorite are chick flicks. Those little romantic comedies with HEA endings. My husband says I always have a silly little grin on my face at the end of them. One of my favs: What’s Your Number?

2. I love to camp. My husband and I have a camper and every weekend throughout the summer, we go to the campgrounds to kick back and relax, do a little boating, sit around the camp fire. I love the slow pace of life when we camp. It’s a great stress relief.

3. My favorite food to eat out is Chinese. My husband doesn’t like it. So anytime I want to got to a Chinese Restaurant, it has to be a girls’ day out.

4. I love coffee, but I usually stick to decaffeinated. One of my favorite places to go is Starbucks. I love their Caramel Macchiato. But I’m not too choosey … I love just about anything with coffee. As well as being a fan of unsweetened tea for me. I hate pop (soda—I’m from Ohio J ) and never drink it.

5. I love music and seeing live concerts. I have been to many live shows. Anything from Bon Jovi, Poison, Jackal, Aerosmith, Guns n Roses, Slash, to the J Geils band, which was my first concert. I also love country and have seen Tim McGraw, Kenny Chesney, Toby Keith, Cross Canadian Ragweed, Taylor Swift and more … looking forward to Luke Bryan, Brantley Gilbert and Jake Owens this summer. But one of my favs was David Garrett this past spring in Chicago. His music saw me through the writing of Hawk, so it was fitting to see him live when I completed the book.

Hawk (Sons of Sangue #2)
by Patricia A. Rasey
Kaleb “Hawk” Tepes, as president of the Sons of Sangue and descendant of Vlad III, needs to keep his head focused on club business. Trouble is someone wants to divest him of it for a crime he committed against his vampire predecessors. He can’t afford distractions, especially those that come in the form of a five-foot-two sprite named Suzi, who once belonged to his nephew. In a moment of weakness, he makes a snap decision that can only spell trouble. Now faced with the one person who wants him dead, Kaleb must make the ultimate sacrifice or chance losing the only woman he truly desired forever.

Suzi Stevens has tried hard to put her past behind her and move forward. The one man she yearns for over all others, believes her to be nothing but cold-hearted. Hearing that someone has tried to behead him, she shelves past prejudices and rushes to his side, needing to see for herself that he’s all right. What she doesn’t count on is Hawk’s demand to take her as his personal blood donor. Now forced to endure his company, she fears losing her heart for all eternity to the one person who has the power to crush her.

“Well?” She drew his gaze upward. “Let’s get this the hell over with.”

“You have somewhere else you need to be, piccolo diavolo?”

“Maybe I do. But it sure in the hell does not include standing here having a tête-à-tête with you.”

And the quicker she got him taking his fill, the sooner she could stop thinking of him in the horizontal with her straddling his lean hips. What the hell were those love handle things anyway that rode just above his jean line? Lord, those made her want to follow the muscle line with her tongue straight to his… Enough! At this rate, she’d never make it out of here unscathed.

Remember why you hate him.

Kaleb set the two wineglasses on a round table, uncorked the bottle and then poured them each a glass, before handing her one.

Suzi quickly shook her head. Too much wine and she’d be promising Kaleb her tomorrows. “None for me. I’m not here to fraternize. Take what you came here for and I’ll be on my way. Don’t make this harder than it has to be, Hawk.”

“It’s Kaleb to you.”

“You will always be Hawk to me.”

She caught a glimpse of his extended fangs as he took a swallow of the deep red wine then licked the remnants from his lips. His prominent brow only enhanced his dangerous look. And he called her little devil? He looked like the beast himself as his obsidian gaze seemed to swallow her whole.

“It’s all the same, piccolo diavolo. But when I’m fucking you, I’d prefer you to call me by my given name.”

“Well, then … no worries there, Hawk.” Suzi winked at him, then walked over to the end table and grabbed the other glass of wine, downing the contents in one swallow. If she were to endure his company, then she might as well do it with good wine. Tilting her head to the side, she asked, “Shall we?”

“You are one cold-hearted bitch.”

“It takes a cold heart to know one.”

About the Author:
A daydreamer at heart, suspense author, Patricia A. Rasey, resides in her native town in Northwest Ohio with her husband, Mark and her lovable Cavalier King Charles Spaniel Todd. She has two adult sons she is extremely proud of and are actively making their own paths in life. At the age of twenty-nine, her boys both tucked away in school all day, she decided to put her creative writing studies to use. A graduate of Long Ridge Writer's School, Patricia has seen publication of some her short stories in magazines as well as several of her novels.

Ms. Rasey is a three-time recipient of the Word Weaving Award for Literary Excellence and a three-time winner of the prestigious RIO Award Of Excellence. She is also a three-time EPPIE finalist and was a 2001 nominee for Romantic Times Magazine's Best Electronic Book. Additionally, Twilight Obsessions and Twilight Visions, two anthologies she was a part of, was nominated for the PEARL, the Paranormal Excellence Award in Romantic Literature, in the Best Anthology category. Her short story, In The Mind of Darkness won the P&E 2002 Horror short story category.

When not behind her computer, you can find Patricia working, reading, watching movies or MMA. She is currently a third degree Black Belt in American Freestyle Karate.

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Interview: Alex de Campi - comic book horror writer

From gore and sex to My Little Pony, writer Alex de Campi can do it all! Gef and I talked with her about her Dark Horse hit Grindhouse: Doors Open at Midnight along with some future projects. 

Gef: I'm no expert on comics, but it seems a press like Dark Horse is willing to feature subject matter that DC and Marvel might be too timid for, but when it comes to Grindhouse and your vision for the series, even they were a little blanched at first. How much convincing was needed to let you and the artists you've worked with on the series thus far pour a bucket of gasoline over the exploitation genres and light the match?

Alex: Marvel might be too timid for it, but DC's Free Comic Book Day comic had some female character's screaming face cut off and stapled to the chest of another character soooo yeah, DC would probably be down with it. In fact, one of the reasons I wrote Grindhouse was I was so tired at the ham-fisted co-opting of exploitation tropes into mainstream superhero comics as a way of making them seem more “real” and “relevant”. I wanted exploitation to be fun again, and not always about horribly mutilating an innocent female character. I mean, any fule kno, you only mutilate the sluts or the evil ones. (I kid. Partly.)
But yes. That is the secret origins of Grindhouse. Bring sex and gore back to something I can enjoy! More sex! More exciting gore! Not horribly offensive to women / all from a white male gaze! Make it gleefully schlocky and fun again!

Gef: With each two-issue story, Grindhouse apparently has a checklist of genres it is tearing through. Was there one in particular that you couldn't wait to dive into? Is there one in particular you hope to highlight in the future?
Alex: I had way more fun than I was expecting to with the summer camp slasher, Flesh Feast of the Devil Doll. It's like some unholy melange of Incubus, Sixteen Candles, and The Dirty Dozen. There's a reason why the summer camp slasher is the high plateau of horror genres. I mean, they were all a ton of fun. The kiss at the end of Prison Ship Antares (and the shower scene at the beginning) are two moments I just love. Page 1, Panel 3 of Bee Vixens.. yeah, that was fun. That whole page was fun.
In terms of genres I can't wait to do? The space sexploitation story (Barbarella, etc). The blaxploitation story (Coffy, Cleopatra Jones). A straight up giallo/paranoia-slasher. My Christmas Annual story, which I need to finish!

Gef: Nearly every story in the series has its fair share of humor to go along with the horror, except for Bride of Blood. Is that a case where any hint of levity would have diminished the emotional impact you were aiming for?
Alex: I have many things to say about rape as a device in comics. But my short answer here is I wanted the rape to be lengthy and physically uncomfortable/unenjoyable for the reader. This isn't a shortcut to character actualisation. This isn't a lazy footnote to tag a male character as “the baddie”. This isn't so the male character can scream “noooo” in silhouette over the broken and mutilated body of PoC / teenage / gay / female (circle as appropriate) team member and then go on a vengeance spree.
And, c'mon, there were a couple good lines and a good twist-scare at the end. No chuckle? No chuckle.
Part of me ultimately wondered if the story being medieval was too distancing. What if she were a young freshman who got gang-raped at college? Would that have been more uncomfortable for people? Because that book, the point of it (like all the good rape revenge films) was to make you uncomfortable.

Gef: How many fingers do I need to cross in order for "Swamp Tramp" to become a real thing?
Alex: Oh, we definitely want that to happen. It was on the list for Grindhouse Season Two, which is still in negotiation. I love Luca Pizzari's work and have wanted to do a project with him for some time.

Gef: I imagine scheduling is one of the big determining factors when you have a series that features multiple artists. How trying was it find the right artist for the right story? With the prospect of future Grindhouse stories, do you have an artist wishlist in your hip pocket for specific stories?
Alex: One of the good things about two-issue stories is the brevity opens you up to a much larger pool of artists. Many artists who could have never done a 6-issue book, could fit in two issues with a long deadline. I finished all the scripts by March 2013, and the first issue didn't come out until October.
I had a pretty easy time finding artists for the Grindhouse stories, and I'm immensely pleased with how each one of them delivered.
As far as Season Two, yes, I have artists I very much want to approach for certain stories. Some I've already had brief chats with.

Gef: Along with writing comics, you're also squeezing in time to write your first novel. How much of a gear shift is it when focusing on a different medium?
Alex: It's a huge shift. Comics, I don't revise that much. I think over the story for a couple months, sketch out some notes/breakdowns, then I sit down and write an issue in a week or less. The novel, holy cats, no. I get these awful, jumbled, leaden words down just to beat a path through the emptiness and I hate myself for how clumsy the phrasing is. I know in my heart that when I type the last sentence of the novel's first draft, then the real work begins.

Sharon: What is the nerdiest thing you own?
Alex: Hm. I don't own that much nerdy stuff. I also don't own that much nice stuff, and half my life has been in boxes for almost a decade now due to poverty / living in tiny apartments / general life turmoil. But! You know the bug-typewriter in the film NAKED LUNCH? I have touched it. It is in a good friend's home.

Sharon: Does it feel weird to write a My Little Pony Story and then turn around and chop off penises in Grindhouse? <G> Have you ever wanted to have Pinky Pie go into beast mode and eviscerate someone?
Alex: I had totally wrapped the Grindhouse scripts about six months before I wrote Pony, so there was a clear delineation in my mind. Also, I have to say, horror and comedy share a lot of similar pacing tricks.

Pinkie Pie using Twilight as a magic machine gun in the season finale of Season One was... one of my all-time favourite Pony moments.

: How many languages do you know? Which is your first?
Alex: American is my first language. I'm fluent also in English. I can stumble along in French and Spanish, and I used to know a fair amount of Italian. I can curse in Cantonese and Tagalog. 

Sharon: If you could own any piece of art in the world what would it be?
Alex: There was a huge, wall-sized Basquiat painting up at auction in London just before I moved to the US. I wanted that with the fire of a thousand suns. And, of course, the modernist urban mansion to display it in. 

Sharon: What can we be on the lookout for you in the second half of 2014?
Alex: I am not quite going to achieve my goal of having a book out every month of 2014...June is my letdown. (Though my supernatural thriller webcominc, Valentine, still updates every Wednesday at Thrillbent and it's free! Go check it out). In July, my Lady Zorro mini from Dynamite comes out – a four-issue swashbuckling extravaganza where hot, shirtless men are saved; indigenous peoples are badass and awesome; bad people are cleaved in the head with axes, and Lady Zorro doesn't fall out of her bra ONCE. Wonderbra has nothing on the 1820s, people.

In November, my next project with Dark Horse debuts in Dark Horse Presents #4: a supernatual horror series with Jerry “The Greatest Artist Ever (And Also Nicest Dude)” Ordway (seriously his pages make me cry, they are so good). It's called Semiautomagic, but I tend to refer to it as The Alice Creed Stories. If you liked Hellblazer? Well, this is nothing like Hellblazer, but you might like it too.

Check out Valentine over at Thrillbent. It is an amazing way to read a comic.

About the Author:
Alex de Campi loves explosions and obscure film noir. She hates writing bios. She writes the comics SMOKE/ASHES and GRINDHOUSE for Dark Horse. She has directed a bunch of music videos for indie bands famous and not so famous. Rumours that she was the product of a secret Mi6 programme to create a race of genetically modified super-agents are, alas, entirely without foundation. The rumours that she snuck across the Russian border and spent many louche years in Hong Kong are completely true.

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Book trailer contest for THE MAGICIAN'S LAND by Lev Grossman + giveaway

This summer, Viking is thrilled to release THE MAGICIAN’S LAND, the spectacular conclusion to Lev Grossman’s New York Times bestselling Magicians trilogy (On-sale: August 5, 2014; 978-0-670-01567-2; $27.95).

The trilogy opened with The Magicians which Junot Díaz called, “Stirring, complex, adventurous…[a] superb coming of age fantasy.” NPR called the sequel The Magician King “a spellbinding stereograph, a literary adventure novel that is also about privilege, power and the limits of being human.” Legions of fans now await THE MAGICIAN’S LAND, a novel full of the subversive brilliance that has put Grossman at the forefront of modern fantasy, which will bring the Magicians trilogy to a shattering, triumphant conclusion.

Familiar faces return alongside new characters in THE MAGICIAN’S LAND. After being booted unceremoniously from Fillory, Quentin Coldwater returns to his alma mater, Brakebills Preparatory College of Magic, to stake out a new life as a teacher. But the past catches up to him, and before long, he and the brilliant student Plum must set out on a black market adventure, taking him to old haunts, like Antarctica, and to buried secrets and old friends he thought were lost forever. Quentin discovers a spell that could create a magical utopia, a new Fillory—but casting it would set in motion a chain of events that will bring Earth and Fillory crashing together. To save them, he must risk sacrificing everything.

THE MAGICIAN’S LAND is a tale of love and redemption—the story of a boy becoming a man, an apprentice becoming a master, and a broken land finally becoming whole. Old readers will devour the rich and riveting final book, and the completed arc will welcome newcomers who can binge-read the series in full. You can learn more about Lev Grossman on his website and follow him on Twitter @leverus.

Would You Like to Be in a Trailer for The Magician’s Land With a Bunch of Famous Writers?

From Lev's website:
Here’s the idea: I’m going to put together a video of the first few paragraphs of The Magician’s Land being read aloud. But I’m not going to read them. You’re going to read them.
All details can be found here.
Hurry there are only a few days left to enter!

Giveaway for I Smell Sheep followers
Viking is giving one winner The Magician's Kit!

The Magician’s Kit contains:
-An excerpt booklet containing Chapter 1 of THE MAGICIAN’S LAND
-Clock-face buttons in 3 different designs
-A set of 4 postcards featuring Magicians fan art by Christopher Shy


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Sheep Book Review: Shield of Winter (Psy-Changeling #13) by Nalini Singh + Giveaway

Shield of Winter (Psy-Changeling #13)
By: Nalini Singh
Hardcover, 448 pages
Released: June 3rd 2014
by Berkley Hardcover

Assassin. Soldier. Arrow. That is who Vasic is, who he will always be. His soul drenched in blood, his conscience heavy with the weight of all he’s done, he exists in the shadows, far from the hope his people can almost touch—if only they do not first drown in the murderous insanity of a lethal contagion. To stop the wave of death, Vasic must complete the simplest and most difficult mission of his life.

For if the Psy race is to survive, the empaths must wake…

Having rebuilt her life after medical “treatment” that violated her mind and sought to stifle her abilities, Ivy should have run from the black-clad Arrow with eyes of winter frost. But Ivy Jane has never done what she should. Now, she'll fight for her people, and for this Arrow who stands as her living shield, yet believes he is beyond redemption. But as the world turns to screaming crimson, even Ivy’s fierce will may not be enough to save Vasic from the cold darkness.

Fans of this amazing series will love the latest edition in the colorfully dynamic word, created by the talented Singh. Shield of Winter does a nice job of carrying over the alpha Arrows we fell in love with, from previous stories, and catching back up with Kaleb *fans self*, the sexiest psy on the net! 

I've enjoyed every minute of this series thus far. Such a stunning world of wonder and epic emotional barriers are breached. It's fantastic and heartbreaking all at the same time. Nalini is not one to shy away from the death and destruction. But from the ashes rise her characters, almost as if calling forth the Phoenix and off they soar from the pages! 

I adore the Arrows. I love reading about their strict world of silence. Which, I would be either beaten or killed after a day in this world. Silent I am not! These cold men have no emotions on the surface but are churning fire burning underneath. They are hot, bold and in charge! LOVE it! 

While I understand the need to pair one of these stoic dudes with someone softer around the edges, I didn't really fall in love with Ivy. As a character she was fine, with her own depth and back story, but she never moved me in the way I like my leading lady to. Maybe a tad too soft for my tastes? 

That said, you would be fool to pass this series up. It's continued growth and plot changes are transitioned with ease. Keeping the series fresh, sexy, and real has helped suck me in for the wild ride! 

I may not understand all the workings of the Psy Net, the latest batch of telepaths were hard to understand as per how they fit into fixing the net, but overall that's just an issue with me not getting it. (Story of my life!)

Grab this copy and join in the fun! 

Getting 4 and 1/2 Sheep 

About the author:
I've been writing as long as I can remember and all of my stories always held a thread of romance (even when I was writing about a prince who could shoot lasers out of his eyes). I love creating unique characters, love giving them happy endings and I even love the voices in my head. There's no other job I would rather be doing. In September 2002, when I got the call that Silhouette Desire wanted to buy my first book, Desert Warrior, it was a dream come true. I hope to continue living the dream until I keel over of old age on my keyboard.

I was born in Fiji and raised in New Zealand. I also spent three years living and working in Japan, during which time I took the chance to travel around Asia. I’m back in New Zealand now, but I’m always plotting new trips. If you’d like to see some of my travel snapshots, have a look at the Travel Diary page (updated every month).

So far, I've worked as a lawyer, a librarian, a candy factory general hand, a bank temp and an English teacher and not necessarily in that order. Some might call that inconsistency but I call it grist for the writer's mill.

1 Paperback copy of any 12 previous books in this series, winners choice 
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Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Book Review: The Twelve Kingdoms: The Mark of the Tala(The Twelve Kingdoms #1) by Jeffe Kennedy

The Twelve Kingdoms: The Mark of the Tala(The Twelve Kingdoms #1)
by Jeffe Kennedy

Paperback, 352 pages
Expected publication: May 27th 2014

by Kensington

Queen Of The Unknown

The tales tell of three sisters, daughters of the high king. The eldest, a valiant warrior-woman, heir to the kingdom. The youngest, the sweet beauty with her Prince Charming. No one says much about the middle princess, Andromeda. Andi, the other one.

Andi doesn't mind being invisible. She enjoys the company of her horse more than court, and she has a way of blending into the shadows. Until the day she meets a strange man riding, who keeps company with wolves and ravens, who rules a land of shapeshifters and demons. A country she'd thought was no more than legend--until he claims her as its queen.

In a moment everything changes: Her father, the wise king, becomes a warlord, suspicious and strategic. Whispers call her dead mother a traitor and a witch. Andi doesn't know if her own instincts can be trusted, as visions appear to her and her body begins to rebel.

For Andi, the time to learn her true nature has come.

The Twelve Kingdoms: The Mark of the Tala by Jeffe Kennedy might be a family just like yours but set in a land of Kingdoms. There is the beautiful and spoiled younger sister, Princess Amelia, who is adored by all. The strong and accomplished older sister, Princess Ursula, who is daddy’s favorite and, Princess Andromeda, the forgotten middle child, who often stayed in the shadows forgotten and unseen by most. Until the day she meets a stranger who sees more than any before him. 

Now Princess Andromeda needs to make a choice. Does she stay with a father turned tyrant or does she travel into the unknown and find out more about herself and the mother she lost? As you follow Princess Andromeda through her decision making process, there were times when I felt frustrated. I liked Andromeda as a character, but her inaction throughout the beginning of the book dragged the story out. In addition, her tyrannical father's actions should have made some of Andromeda’s choices pretty easy, at least as far as I was concerned. 

King Rayfe, on the other hand, was entertaining. When we reached the part of the story where he was involved, the pace picked up. Through most of the book, I wasn’t quite sure whether Rayfe was the enemy or not, and I enjoyed that. He was always shrouded by a little mystery. Of course, you discover the answers to many of your questions by the end, but there were still some areas where you are left in the dark. I’m not sure if this was on purpose or not. You never really know when you are dealing with a series. My concern for the future installments of this story is that I felt Andromeda was the most interesting of the sisters, so I’m not sure where that leaves us. If it takes us back to Rayfe’s kingdom, I’d be willing to give it a chance.

3.75 Sheep hanging out in Rayfe's pasture

Lisa A.

About the Author:
Jeffe Kennedy is an award-winning author with awriting career that spans decades. Her works include non-fiction, poetry, short fiction, and novels. She has been a Ucross Foundation Fellow, received the Wyoming Arts Council Fellowship for Poetry, and was awarded a Frank Nelson Doubleday Memorial Award. Her essays have appeared in many publications, including Redbook.

Her most recent works include a number of fiction series: the fantasy romance novels of A Covenant of Thorns; the contemporary BDSM novellas of theFacets of Passion, and an erotic contemporary serial novel, Master of the Opera, which released beginning January 2, 2014. A fourth series, the fantasy trilogy The Twelve Kingdoms, will hit the shelves starting in May 2014 and a fifth, the highly anticipated erotic romance trilogy, Falling Under, will release starting in July.

She lives in Santa Fe, New Mexico, with two Maine coon cats, plentiful free-range lizards and a very handsome Doctor of Oriental Medicine.