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Thursday, June 30, 2022

Excerpt: Rogue (The Talisman Series Book 6) by Tam DeRudder Jackson + giveaway

Rogue (The Talisman Series Book 6)
by Tam DeRudder Jackson
June 28, 2022
Genre: Paranormal Romance
Baz Cormac never intended to be a rogue, but fate had other ideas.

Being forced to pledge loyalty to the evil Morrigan is its own kind of hell. So when Baz discovers the lie she’s used to keep him and his band of rogues under her power, he concocts a plan to force the goddess’s hand, which drops him in the center of a cosmic tug-o-war. No matter which way he leans, someone is going to lose—and it looks like that someone may be Baz.

A talisman fights her fate…and her fatal attraction.

Delaney Ferrell has spent her life trying to live down her uncle’s choice to turn rogue. As a warrior-talisman hybrid, she’d done her best to serve the warrior community as a protector. But a cryptic letter sends her to an abandoned home where she encounters a lone rogue with fighting skills no rogue should possess. Instead of killing her, he kidnaps her and takes her to his lair. He presents a terrible danger to the community, one she must neutralize.

So why does he have to be so damn charming?

Discovering Delaney is his fated mate throws all of Baz’s plans into chaos. And when the goddesses come calling, Baz has to choose between a rogue’s freedom and a talisman’s love.

Will they have a chance at love, or will they be torn apart?

The sweat on his back began to cool, so he rolled over, taking Delaney with him. She drew lazy circles over his chest then sat up when her searching foot discovered his jeans around his knees. “I guess I should be flattered, huh?” Her laughter ended abruptly when her eyes strayed to his boots. “Seriously, Irish? This is a brand new duvet and you’re trashing it.”

He chuckled. “That sounded suspiciously like something a girlfriend—or a bonded talisman—would say. Like maybe you think we’re sharing things.”

“Don’t get ahead of yourself,” she huffed. “I didn’t see a washer or dryer in here, and I’d rather not sleep under dirty covers.”

With a gentle tug, he coaxed her back down beside him. “I didn’t leave a mess. Promise.”

He couldn’t help the grin that spread across his lips at the way she glared up at him from beneath her brows. “But as I recall from my training, warriors and talismans are supposed to share.”

Beneath his fingertips where he smoothed them down and up her arm, she tensed. “We have several things to work out before we have a conversation about sharing.”

His head flopped back on the mattress, and he stared up at the ceiling. Until he figured out which way his patroness wanted him to jump, Delaney wasn’t going to trust him. And he wanted her to trust him, needed her to trust him. How the hell had she sneaked so far under his skin so fast? Yet if Anu demanded he manifest as a rogue, he had no doubt Delaney would abandon him. Her sense of honor and the guilt she shared with her family over her uncle’s choices would leave her no option. He hugged her closer. No matter what, he was committed to this woman. He wasn’t going to lose her.

**Don't miss the other books in the Talisman Series!**

Talisman (The Talisman Series Book 1)

Warrior (The Talisman Series Book 2)

Prophetess (The Talisman Series Book 3)

Bard (The Talisman Series Book 4)

Druid (The Talisman Series Book 5)

About the Author:
Tam DeRudder Jackson is the author of the paranormal romance Talisman Series and the contemporary romance Balefire Series. Her favorite “room” in her house is her back patio where she dreams up stories of romance and risk. When she’s not writing her latest paranormal or contemporary romance, you can usually find her driving around with the top down in her convertible or carving turns on the slopes of the local ski hill. The mom of two grown sons, Tam likes to travel, attend rock concerts, watch football and soccer, and visit old car shows with her husband. She lives in the mountains of northwest Wyoming where she spends most of her free time trying to read all the books. Her TBR piles are threatening to take over her office, and she’s fine with that.

$20 Amazon
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🎉Surprise party Flash Fiction🎉 with fantasy romance author Lorelei Johnson's characters + giveaway

🎉Surprise party Flash Fiction🎉
with Lorelei Johnson's characters

‘Surprise!’ the room shouts as Jafar entered the throne room, making him cringe. His first response was to reach for his sceptre but Jasmine had made him leave it tucked away, spouting something about having had enough magic for a while. Spoken like a true royal. Although, he supposed he was also a royal now, and no one was about to take his position. Still, he felt naked without it.

He looked around at the happy faces and the ridiculous extravagance of it all; the decorations, the ridiculous amount of food, the dancers keeping the old men far too readily entertained. His eyes finally settle on his wife standing across the room, her eyes holding his, a smug look on her face. Oh, she was going to pay for this later.

‘I thought we agreed no celebrations?’ he said flatly as he reached her side.

‘Come now, darling. I never agreed to any such thing.’

His mind wandered back to the conversation they’d had, where he’d told her absolutely not, leaving no room for argument, and what had she done in response? She’d distracted him with that tongue of hers.

‘You’re a witch,’ he grumbled.

She beamed at up with a breathtaking smile, victory shining in her eyes. Oh yes, she was definitely going to pay for this later. ‘Don’t be so bitter,’ she said, a scolding tone to her voice. ‘Our people are happier than they have ever been and they wanted to celebrate.’

‘But it’s my birthday, shouldn’t I get a say in what I want?’ he asked, leaning in close. He pressed his lips to her neck, sending a shiver through her that made him lick his lips.

As if remembering herself, she swatted him away. ‘Stop it! You can’t do that here,’ she hissed under her breath, her eyes darting around to see if anyone had noticed. They probably had but no one was letting on. Of course they wouldn’t, it would be perfect fodder for gossip later.

‘If it weren’t improper for our Sultan, I’d throw you over my shoulder and take you from here.’

‘Don’t. I know where this is going and we are going to celebrate your birthday if it kills you,’ Jasmine said, glowering at him.

He let out a sigh. ‘Very well, wife, if that is what you wish.’

He would let her have her fun for now but this was far from over.

by Lorelei Johnson
June 24, 2022
Genre: Fantasy Romance
ISBN: 9798433798182
Number of pages: 201
Word Count: 50,018
Cover Artist: Lorelei Johnson
A headstrong princess, an ambitious sorcerer, and a forbidden love that could ruin them both…

A headstrong princess, an ambitious sorcerer, and a forbidden love that could ruin them both…

When Princess Jasmine returns home after fifteen years, she's determined not to choose any of the suitors her father has lined up for her.

She doesn't need a man to rule her kingdom.

Jafar has fought tooth and nail for everything he has and he never sets his sights on something he can't have.

Until her.

But the princess must marry a prince.

When the mysterious Prince Ali enters the palace stirring a curiosity in the princess, Jafar's jealousy in uncontainable. But when the choice before him is love or power, will he fight for the woman he loves or cling to the power he so desperately craves?

The Magic of the Lamp is the enticing eighth book in the Tantalising Tales Collection. If you like forbidden romance, sizzling tension and happily ever afters, then you’ll love Lorelei Johnson’s seductive twist on this fairy tale.

Each book can be read as a standalone

About the Author:
Lorelei Johnson is an Australian romance author, primarily writing Paranormal Romance and Fantasy Romance. She graduated from Flinders University, where she studied English Literature and Creative Writing before she discovered her degree was useless and she hated studying in an institution. She went into administrative work where she learnt just enough business sense to start publishing her own books.

Lorelei is fuelled by caffeine and sarcasm, priding herself as a true 90's kid. She labels her self-publishing as an antiestablishment, but really she's just a chicken who decided to avoid the gatekeepers altogether and enjoy the freedom to write whatever the heck she likes. Through her writing, she likes to explore the many facets of love and revel in a little magic and a little smut, of course.

Tour Giveaway 
1 paperback copy of The Magic of the Lamp by Lorelei Johnson

Wednesday, June 29, 2022

Exclusive Excerpt: Kestrel's Dance by Misty Massey + giveaway

Kestrel's Dance
by Misty Massey
June 24, 2022
Kestrel, the pirate who can whistle up the wind, returns in book two of the Mad Kestrel Series. Captain Kes will defy the king, gamble with her friends' lives, and run the risk of capture by evil mages to get her hands on the magical knowledge so long denied to her.

Kestrel, the King's Privateer, is preparing to wait out the annual storm season when she receives an unexpected royal order to capture and deliver a rare creature for the king’s menagerie. Before she can weigh anchor, news reaches Kestrel of a long-ago friend in desperate need of help—in the opposite direction of her assigned voyage. In addition, her ship may be haunted by something big, loud, and terrifying.

Before Kestrel can plot a course, she crosses paths with an enigmatic dancer who offers an enticing bargain: sail her home to the Continent, an ocean away, and she'll reveal the mysteries of magic Kestrel has longed all her life to know.

The temptation of answers endangers her crew and might ruin her privateer status. Worse, taking on this passenger could thrust her into the clutches of the ever-watchful Danisoban mages who lie in wait for her to make the perfect mistake.

Every decision is fraught with danger. Each wrong turn may mean her death or the death of her crew. And Captain Kestrel can walk away from none of them.

Book 1

Exclusive Excerpt Four:
Shadd climbed up from the lower deck hatch. His shaggy hair was more disheveled than usual, soot stained his cheeks and his homespun tunic was hanging loose.
“What the hell’s happening?” she bellowed, not waiting for him to come any closer.
“I thought you said a storm’s comin’, but there ain’t no wind nor chop.” He shoved the ends of his tunic into his breeches.
“Gundeck secure?”
“As the Mayor of Pecheta’s strongbox, Captain, aye.”
The sudden moaning was long, and loud, an eerie wail raising gooseflesh on her arms. It shuddered up through the decks and vibrated her very bones. No way this was thunder. At the same instant, the ship’s timbers groaned in wooden agony. The Thanos began shaking. Mildly at first, increasing in intensity until the barrels tied to the mast rattled against the wooden deck. The ship tilted, and Kestrel skipped a few steps, fighting to maintain her balance. Oil splashed out of the lanterns on that side, throwing the deck into heavier shadow. She grabbed onto Shadd’s shirt, trying to keep from tumbling to the deck. Men in the rigging cried out at the unexpected lurch. The ship righted itself, and Kestrel let her quartermaster go.
“Earthquake?” she asked.
“At this depth?” He frowned, clearly puzzled. “Most we’d feel would be a heavier roll.”
“If that’s not it—” she stopped, confused. They stared at each other helplessly.
Deafening clanking exploded over the thunder. The capstan, the huge spool on which the messenger rope was wound, began to spin, slowly at first, then building up speed. It unwound its long rope, the anchor chain to which the rope was attached banging against the hull loud enough to be heard on deck. Two men were standing nearby, watching helplessly as the spokes shot past in a blur. The rope whined dangerously.
Kestrel took the ladder two steps at a time, sprinting across the deck toward the capstan. “Why’s it playing out so fast?” “Don’t know, Captain,” David DeadEye cried. “The bight slipped right off, and around she went.”
“Like a fish with a hook,” yelled Hudee.
Shadd caught up to her, panting. “What’s happenin’?”
“We have to stop the anchor!”

About the Author:
Misty Massey is the author of Mad Kestrel, a rollicking adventure of magic on the high seas, Kestrel’s Voyages, a collection of short stories featuring those rambunctious pirates, and the upcoming Kestrel’s Dance. She is a co-editor of The Weird Wild West and Lawless Lands: Tales of the Weird Frontier, and was a founding member of Magical Words. Her short fiction has appeared in many anthologies and she’s working on a series of Shadow Council novellas for Falstaff Press featuring the famous gunslinger Doc Holliday. When she’s not writing, Misty studies and performs Middle Eastern dance and will, on occasion, surprise everyone with a batch of home-baked snickerdoodles. She’s a sucker for good sushi, African coffee, SC Gamecock football, and the darkest rum she can find. You can keep up with what Misty’s doing at, Facebook and Twitter.​


Tuesday, June 28, 2022

Book Review: Double Vision: (Vista De Lirio Mysteries Book 1) by Elizabeth Hunter

Double Vision: (Vista De Lirio Mysteries Book 1)
by Elizabeth Hunter
April 19, 2022
Pages: 316
Desert sunshine casts the darkest shadows.

Successful realtor Julia Brooks moves to the quirky neighborhood of Vista de Lirio in the California desert and meets a riotous cast of eccentric characters. But her semi-retirement is spoiled when she finds the body of the neighborhood lothario dead in the kitchen of her brand new listing. Even more complicated? She also meets his ghost.

Double Vision is all new paranormal women’s fiction and the first book in the Vista de Lirio Mysteries from USA Today Bestseller, Elizabeth Hunter, author of the Glimmer Lake series, the Elemental Mysteries, and the Irin Chronicles.

As Hunter dives into a new supernatural world in Palm Springs she once again has brought a series that middle-aged women can relate to and appreciate. Julia Brooks is a 51-year-old woman who had a small brush with death that pushed her to semi-retire and move to Palm Springs. She is living in the guest house of her ex-husband and business partner as well as his husband, kids and pets which provides all kinds of humor, strangeness, and fun. On one of her first nights with them she attends their monthly Sunday night dinner parties which is more party than it sounds where she encounters an eccentric bunch of people including some ghosts. As part of her semi-retirement, she has one listing in Vista de Lirio, and when she goes to check it out, she receives the shock of a life time.

Hunter develops believable, relatable and lovable characters in this fun series that will keep you guessing and laughing.

Getting 5 sheep 

Denise B

About the Author:
Elizabeth Hunter is a contemporary fantasy, paranormal romance, and contemporary romance writer. She is a graduate of the University of Houston Honors College and a former English teacher. She once substitute taught a kindergarten class, but decided that middle school was far less frightening. Thankfully, people now pay her to write books and eighth-graders everywhere rejoice.

She currently lives in Central California with her son, two dogs, many plants, and a sadly dwindling fish tank. She is the author of the Elemental Mysteries and Elemental World series, the Cambio Springs series, the Irin Chronicles, and other works of fiction.

Exclusive Excerpt: Harmony of Fire (Alice & Owen Book 1) by Brian Feehan

Harmony of Fire (Alice & Owen Book 1)
by Brian Feehan
June 28, 2022
The riveting first novel in a brand-new paranormal romance series by debut author Brian Feehan, son of legendary #1 New York Times bestselling author Christine Feehan.
The We—beings who existed long before humans ever did, filled with powerful magic—walk among us. Owen and Alice are both etherealists—rare humans born with magic who are targets for those We that wish to take it from them. At nine years old and against her will, Alice’s soul was tied to one such powerful and evil We. She escaped and was trained to be a weapon so she might one day break the bond and safely return home. Everything is going to plan…until she meets Owen.
Owen is a musician who is trying to outrun his past while keeping those around him safe in an increasingly dangerous world. Owen keeps them on the move until a band of hunters crosses their path. Owen must go home—a place he swore he’d never return to—and seek protection from the We who could destroy them. And then he meets Alice. Only through finding each other do either Alice or Owen have a chance of survival.

HARMONY OF FIRE – Exclusive Excerpt
“Alice, listen to me.” Father Patrick abandoned his search of the street and turned around in the driver’s seat to look back at her. “You and I can go into that house right now, your parent’s home. We can simply scoop them up and then disappear.”

Never taking her right eye away from the scope, Alice’s left eye focused on him. Father Patrick had been in his mid-thirties when he served Grace Cathedral, not more than a few miles from where they were now. He held scars on all ten of his fingers from the day that had changed both of their lives forever. And for sixteen years, despite being a pacifist, Father Patrick had never abandoned her. They had traveled most of the world together, so when he spoke, she felt the weight in the question like a building coming down over her heart.

“We have the skills, and the contacts, to take you and your family out of this country. We walk in there, convince your mother, your father, and little sister to get in this car, right now, and we go. You can have your family back. You don’t have to kill Kerogen. The relic you wear keeps the bond covered, and the rest is simply outsmarting him. As you said, he doesn’t have friends to help find you, and the world is a vast space. We can do it. You can have your mother and father back today, now. Right now.”

Alice stared at the good Father as every muscle and cell in her body shouted out with pain and ice. It hurt. Hurt more than the pain she had come to live with. It hurt in a way that crushed her soul into small pieces.

“Oh, Alice, it's ok. We can do this.” Father Patrick said as he opened the center console, pulling out a fresh white tissue. “Here, you’re crying.” He reached as far back as he could.

It hurt to move, even as Alice set down the lethal weapon and gathered her will. One hand wiped away the tears that had slid down to her chin. Then she reached forward and took the tissue from his weathered, scarred hand. The white cloth smashed in between hers and his.

“I can’t. I can’t do it. Father, they had a service and buried me, and you know it. Right now, they aren’t in danger. But if I take them. If I change their life like my life has been changed, then all three of us will be hunted forever. Because, if I stop going after Kerogen, I know beyond a doubt, Kerogen will come after me. He will never stop because he owns me.” Alice’s left hand touched her collar bone and slid across the faint crisscrossed lines that lay there. “Kerogen has a plan once my power stops growing. He will need everything I have to give if he wants his soul to break into heaven, and we both know it. He won't ever stop or let me go.”

Alice held his gaze. The depth of his blue eyes held the weight of the earth.

Can’t you see, they buried me years ago, they had to let me go and start over. You’re asking me to go in there and break them just as he broke me. I can’t offer them anything but pain.

“Alice, you can have it all. A simple life in a fishing village, or live on a mountain top. You could meet a man and start your own family.” Father Patrick stopped talking as Alice let go, the white tissue still in his hand, taking on a symbol of surrender she could never accept.

“I’m broken, Father. Kerogen broke me on that day when we sang together; he tied our souls in a way I can’t escape. I don’t get to have a family, a husband and partner I call my own. I’ll never be a princess with a normal life. I don’t even understand what that would look like anymore. I just need to fix what he did to me. Break the bond and send his ass to hell. Just look around. I don’t belong in this place. There is no little white cottage for me. No ivory tower, no picket fence. Father, you did your best to save my soul, but I’m broken, and I won't stop until Kerogen is dead.”

Excerpted from Harmony of Fire by Brian Feehan Copyright © 2022 by Brian Feehan. Excerpted by permission of Berkley. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.

About the Author:
Brian Feehan lives in his mind, creating vibrant characters who tend to talk very loudly and far too often. When real life comes knocking, it is likely to be the love of his life, Michelle, or their son Dylan. Together, they live on the northern coast of California, which is quite different from any other part of California.

Brian is fascinated by both the written word and learning new subjects. He is always up for a laugh, a game, or a drink with friends and family. He is also the son of #1 New York Times bestselling author Christine Feehan, who started his training to become an author before he was old enough to walk.

Monday, June 27, 2022

Excerpt: Her Dark Reflection (The Dark Reflection #1) by Hailey Jade + giveaway

Welcome to my stop for this gorgeous dark fairy tale retelling by Hailey Jade called Her Dark Reflection! Read on for more info and a chance to win a great giveaway!

Her Dark Reflection (The Dark Reflection #1)
by Hailey Jade
June 15, 2022
Genre: Dark Fantasy/ Dark Romance/ Fairytale Retelling
Midnight Tide Publishing
“They called me the Whore Queen. Some even called me the Evil Queen.
But they could call me whatever they wanted. I was still queen.”

Rhiandra Tiercelin hungers for power and her charm has always been her sharpest weapon in hunting it. So when a brutal attack leaves her physically scarred, desperation drives her to make a deal with Draven, a magic-wielding stranger who is inexplicably compelling and definitely dangerous. She knows she can’t trust him, but he when he offers to make her a queen, the temptation is too enticing to resist.

Armed with a glamoured face and an enchanted apple, Rhiandra is determined to scheme her way into a crown, even if it means risking the deadly punishment for unsanctioned magic use. But Draven is playing a bigger game, and she is just one piece on the board.

Can she keep her wits about her long enough to uncover his secrets, or will he lure her down a path she will come to regret?

Her Dark Reflection is the first book in a new dark romantic fantasy series perfect for fans of Raven Kennedy, Jennifer Armentrout and Sarah A. Parker. If you like cunning, ambitious heroines, morally ambiguous men and romance that toes the line between love and hate, then you’ll love Hailey Jade’s dark reimagining of Snow White and the Seven Dwarves.
Add to Goodreads

Chapter One
The Winking Nymph was always flooded with patrons after the Burnings.

The atmosphere wasn’t the same as it would be on a busy night at a regular tavern; the dim lighting fed rather than banished the shadows, encouraging them closer, leaving pockets of space where patrons could lurk without being recognized. Men – and the occasional woman – drank, sometimes in groups, but for the most part they didn’t engage themselves with singing bawdy songs or telling dirty jokes. Perhaps the place was debauched enough on its own and so they didn’t feel the need.

Women drifted in and out of the shadows, flirting with the light as it caught on their spangled wrists and ankles and throats, and at the front of the room a beautiful redheaded girl sang with a voice as sweet as sun-warmed strawberries. It was going to be a big tipping night; the city was beginning to bulge with visitors attending the treaty celebrations, and the moon cycle holiday had beckoned them all to the streets, thrilled by the morning’s violence and drunk on bloodlust.

I was eager to get out on the floor, but Madam had saddled me with initiation duties, so I was instead lingering in a corner by the bar, doing breathing exercises with the novice.

Aalin’s perfume was thick, a ghastly confection of jasmine, violets and something sugary that made my head ache. I could pick a new girl a mile away – they wore thick makeup obscuring their faces, chains and sparkles everywhere one could hang a jewel, and gowns in gaudy colors that revealed more than they concealed. They thought they were channeling desirability, but in reality, all the decoration was just a screen to hide their nerves behind.

I was long past those sorts of naïve assumptions. I’d worked at the Winking Nymph long enough to know that calculated vulnerability earns more than donning the generic armor of maisera. Aalin wasn’t ready to hear that, though. That night she just needed to feel like she belonged, and all that perfume was a part of the uniform.

‘They’re just men,’ I soothed as she chewed on her lip and smoothed her dress over and over again. ‘And they’re mostly drunk men. They want to be pleased. And they’ll be excited to see a new girl.’ I tucked a lock of wiry hair back into her updo.

‘I don’t think I know how to be sexy,’ she admitted in a small voice. ‘I thought I did, but now that I’m standing here…’

Continue reading...
About the Author

Website-AmazonHailey Jade has tried to quit writing, but alas, the characters who live in her head will not stop yammering. She’s hoping that building them ink-and-paper homes will make them pipe down long enough for her to get some sleep. She likes creating fantasy worlds populated by complicated, morally-grey characters who try to resist their attraction to other complicated, morally-grey characters, but who inevitably fall in love, because everyone needs a Happily Ever After.

Hailey has completed a Bachelor of Arts and a Master of Teaching at Flinders University, and spends her daylight hours trying to convince reluctant teenagers to love books. She lives in regional South Australia with her partner, bouncy baby boy, and feline overlord.

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@haileyjadeauthor @rrbooktours @midnighttidepublishing #rrbooktours #herdarkreflection #darkfantasy #darkromance #darkfairytale #fairytaleretelling

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Sunday, June 26, 2022

Excerpt: Rogue (Talisman, #6) by Tam DeRudder Jackson + giveaway

Rogue (Talisman, #6)
by Tam DeRudder Jackson
June 28th 2022
Genres: Adult, Paranormal, Romance
Baz Cormac never intended to be a rogue, but fate had other ideas.

Being forced to pledge loyalty to the evil Morrigan is its own kind of hell. So when Baz discovers the lie she’s used to keep him and his band of rogues under her power, he concocts a plan to force the goddess’s hand, which drops him in the center of a cosmic tug-o-war. No matter which way he leans, someone is going to lose—and it looks like that someone may be Baz.

A talisman fights her fate…and her fatal attraction.

Delaney Ferrell has spent her life trying to live down her uncle’s choice to turn rogue. As a warrior-talisman hybrid, she’d done her best to serve the warrior community as a protector. But a cryptic letter sends her to an abandoned home where she encounters a lone rogue with fighting skills no rogue should possess. Instead of killing her, he kidnaps her and takes her to his lair. He presents a terrible danger to the community, one she must neutralize.

So why does he have to be so damn charming?

Discovering Delaney is his fated mate throws all of Baz’s plans into chaos. And when the goddesses come calling, Baz has to choose between a rogue’s freedom and a talisman’s love.

Will they have a chance at love, or will they be torn apart?

Book 1

The low rumble of a pickup pulling into the house next door brought Baz out of the barn to investigate. He’d managed to convince Rory and Jaime to take a little vacation to Vegas, hit a couple of strip clubs and casinos he knew rogues liked to frequent, and see about adding some new recruits to their little band. They could consider their trip a working vacation.

In the month they’d been away, he’d put his construction skills to work with his supernatural speed and stamina. With the exception of leveling the gravel on the floor of the barn, he’d finished his project in record time. Or perhaps in the nick of time if someone was looking to move in next door. He’d kept a close eye on Ian McCloud’s place, but until today, he hadn’t seen any activity there. Not a family member, not a realtor, not a curious someone looking to take advantage of an empty house.

He made several forays over to McCloud’s in the dead of night, looking to see what it was about the man that had the goddess’s interest. As a fighter, Ian McCloud was unremarkable from other warriors Baz had met on the battlefield. He knew the man was a widower with a small child, and that wasn’t all that attention-grabbing either. So why had the goddess keyed on him? Nothing Baz found in or around McCloud’s house had given him a clue.

The truck’s engine revved once before the driver shut it off. Simultaneously with the slamming of the truck’s door, the hair all over his body stood at attention, like a shock of static electricity zinged over him. Whoever was visiting McCloud’s house on this soft twilight evening was a member of the warrior community. Baz summoned his claymore to his hand and soundlessly made his way around the back of the neighboring property to investigate.

Whoever was visiting knew the place well. A beauty of a three-quarter-ton crew-cab pickup with a gleaming forest green paint job was parked on the tarmac in front of the double door of the garage behind the house. Through the glass of the outer back door, he could see the heavy oak inner door was wide open. The visitor was someone who wasn’t worried about being caught inside.

He debated cornering the warrior inside the house, but decided to wait from his place of concealment in the trees bordering the backyard. Though he’d been inside the house himself on more than one occasion, chances were whoever was there knew the place better than he did. Safer to wait and see who and what the person was and determine the level of threat. That the visitor was a threat he had no doubt. The hairs on his forearms and the back of his neck had remained standing ever since he’d heard the man cut the engine to his truck.

The truck was a beauty. His eyes strayed to the back door, and he wondered how much time he had to check it out. Taking a chance, he sheathed his sword in its scabbard on his back and vaulted through time and space to land on the driver’s side. He ran his hand along the paint of the fender and appreciated the tread on the tires. Though the truck was immaculately clean, whoever owned it used it to work—or play. He squatted low and checked out the suspension, confirming his suspicions that the truck was someone’s toy.

A quick glance inside the cab had him doing a double-take. He chuckled to himself. As close as the driver’s seat was pulled to the steering wheel, it was obvious the warrior who owned this rig was trying to make up for something he lacked. Baz adjusted his own package, and grinned. At six feet three with a wingspan to match, he could easily outmaneuver a warrior who had some distance to make up to reach six feet.

A sound near the back door sobered him up quick. He scanned the area for cover, sighting no bushes or flower beds or other hiding places near the house. Before he could visualize himself back to his hiding place at the back of the yard, a woman stepped through the door and pushed a key into the lock. With a flick of her wrist, she tested the handle and nodded. And stilled.

Time moved in slow motion as Baz catalogued the woman’s features. Long waves of chestnut-colored hair flowed over her shoulders to the middle of her back. Her orange T-shirt showed off toned shoulders and arms and a nipped-in waist where it was tucked into her jeans. Her jeans covered the sweetest ass he’d ever seen, rounded and perfect. Athletic. His hands itched to touch her. The dark navy wash of her jeans made her legs appear endless, and he wondered how they would feel wrapped around him. Before he could appreciate more of her, he caught the flash of a claymore as she summoned it to her hand the second before she faced him.

“Who are you, and what are you doing here?”

He’d expected a scream. Instead, the woman’s soft alto washed over him, momentarily disarming him. That and the intensity of dark chocolate eyes in a perfect heart-shaped face. The last of the sun’s rays slanted off her sword, bringing him back to himself. This gorgeous woman was a warrior, a serious threat.

“I could ask you the same question.”

About the Author:
Tam DeRudder Jackson is the author of the paranormal romance Talisman Series and the contemporary romance Balefire Series. Her favorite “room” in her house is her back patio where she dreams up stories of romance and risk. When she’s not writing her latest paranormal or contemporary romance, you can usually find her driving around with the top down in her convertible or carving turns on the slopes of the local ski hill. The mom of two grown sons, Tam likes to travel, attend rock concerts, watch football and soccer, and visit old car shows with her husband. She lives in the mountains of northwest Wyoming where she spends most of her free time trying to read all the books. Her TBR piles are threatening to take over her office, and she’s fine with that.

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Friday, June 24, 2022

Book Review: Black Wings, Gray Skies (Black Hat Bureau - Book 4) by Hailey Edwards

by Hailey Edwards
April 16, 2022
Pages: 259
Black Hat Bureau, Book 3
Monsters with a taste for children are nothing new, but fairy tales never mentioned this nightmarish predator. Rue has her hands full tracking the creature hunting the streets of Charleston, but a call from home divides her attention—and her loyalties.

A stranger has come to Hollis Apothecary, asking questions that prickle the hairs on her nape, but she can’t abandon the victims based only on a bad feeling. The pit in her stomach only grows when the stranger takes a hostage and makes his demands. He wants to talk to Rue, face to face. Or else. What he has to say will change her life, and her perception of her past, forever.

One thing that can be said about Rue is that her life is never boring. Something supernatural is taking kids in Charleston and Rue’s team is called in to hunt the creature killing kids and put it down. Rue takes the safety of all of her team both with Black Hat and at open very seriously and her attention is split when she gets a call from the shop that stranger has been asking questions and looking for her.

Rue has a hard time accepting help and feels that it’s her mission in life to take responsibility for those in need, especially Colby. While in Charleston hunting monsters something strange starts happening, and Rue is determined to get to the bottom of it because safety for her family comes first. The more time Rue and Asa spend together the harder it is to hide the fact that she is in love with him and no matter how hard she tries to run from it she just can’t. The rag tag team of Rue, Asa, Clay and Colby warms my heart and I look forward to seeing where this group ends up when it’s all said and done.

Review: Black Hat, White Witch (Black Hat Bureau - Book 1)
Review: Black Arts, White Craft (Black Hat Bureau - Book 2)
Review: Black Truth, White Lies (Black Hat Bureau - Book 3)

Getting 5 sheep

Denise B
About the Author:
I was one year old when the movie The Dark Crystal hit theaters. I was five when Labyrinth was released. Other favorites of mine include The Last Unicorn, The Hobbit, Flight of Dragons, and Nausicaa. Those are the movies and cartoons that shaped my childhood. I watched them until my parents begged me to stop, and then I waited until they left the room before I hit play one last time.

The movies, the stories, were pure fantasy. I didn’t realize as a small child that those worlds were impossible to visit. I just assumed I hadn’t found my way in yet. I wanted to pet a unicorn. Heck, I wanted to ride one. I wanted a chance to snatch a dragon’s scale and learn what magic it held. I wanted my own sword, which resulted in my parents installing a lock on the silverware drawer. Something about thou shalt not skewer thy baby brother…

I also had a huge crush on Jareth, the Goblin King from Labyrinth. My parents discouraged this obsession as well. Something about thou shalt not bargain away thy baby brother in exchange for a hot boyfriend…

I know what you’re thinking—my parents never let me have any fun. Okay, and that maybe I had an unhealthy fascination with all the ways I could rid myself of my annoying little brother.

But the truth is, those movies kick-started my imagination, and my love of all things fantasy. So it’s strange to think, looking back, that I fell into reading crime and mystery instead of fantasy or paranormal novels. It wasn’t until a few years ago that I stumbled across Darkfever by Karen Moning and became hooked on urban fantasy. From there, I rediscovered my love for the fantasy genre and all its enticing new subgenres.

I gobbled up paranormal romances—J.R. Ward’s Black Dagger Brotherhood, Kresley Cole’s Immortals After Dark, and Gena Showalter’s Lords of the Underworld. I devoured all flavors of urban fantasy from Jim Butcher’s Dresden Files to Patricia Briggs’s Mercy Thompson series.

Really, it wasn’t until after I read Darkfever that I got that tickle in the back of my mind that maybe I could write a book. All those years of reading crime and mystery, and the thought had never occurred to me. But after glutting on fantasy and paranormal romance, I began having ideas for my own worlds and characters. It was so unexpected I didn’t know what to do.

So I sat down. And I started writing.

Six years later, here I am. I still write fantasy and paranormal stories. I still read them too.

I have been told my tastes are limited, but there I must disagree. My tastes are specific, yes, I will admit that. But no other genre has as much variety as fantasy. No other genres encompass witches, vampires, wizards, demons, werewolves, angels, gods and goddesses, creatures of myth and folklore, humans, mermaids, mermen, and every other creature you ever promised your little brother lurked under his bed.

Not that I ever told him monsters were waiting for him to use the bathroom so they could grab him and drag him into their underground lair, because that would be wrong. What? Okay, so maybe I hinted at monsters. A little. And okay, one time I hid under his bed and grabbed his ankles then giggled like a loon while he screamed.

I couldn’t sit down for a week after Mom caught me.

I feel I should add here that my parents had no sense of humor. But I’m happy to report they have much improved since I hit my thirties and stopped tormenting my brother…for the most part. I think giving them a granddaughter probably helped too.

I’m sure you can guess what my daughter’s favorite genre is. Yep. Fantasy.

I guess some things really do run in the family.

And I wouldn’t have it any other way.

A Portrait of Death (The Versipellis Mysteries Book 1) by Rhen Garland + giveaway

Review coming in a few days. The reviewer loves this story!

A Portrait of Death (The Versipellis Mysteries Book 1)
by Rhen Garland
July 12, 2021
Genre: Historical Supernatural Mystery
A Victorian house party, a supernatural mystery, and two very special investigators.


Immortal detectives Elliott Caine and Abernathy Thorne have spent centuries searching through time for the reincarnations of their murdered wives. As their quest continues, they use their many lifetimes of knowledge to solve Gothic mysteries that can be unsettling, and sometimes terrifying.

Never before have they been faced with a case like this.

The great and the good are gathered for the social event of the season, but the evening comes to a horrifying halt when the mutilated remains of two men are discovered artistically displayed in the portrait gallery. As Caine and Thorne begin their investigations, they uncover more than the usual murderous web of intrigue, espionage, and treason.

An ancient evil is stalking ever closer, intent on finding that which they seek.

Where does the mysterious agent Versipellis fit into the case? And who is the shadowy figure watching Caine and Thorne with such interest?

Find out who, when, why, what, and how in this very Victorian murder mystery; the first instalment in a new Gaslamp fantasy series that drips with elements of Gothic mystery, historical urban fantasy, and rather a lot of blood as we follow the exploits of immortal Victorian detectives Elliott Caine and Abernathy Thorne in the latter stages of the Victorian world.

"As soon as you start reading, it gets you hooked, and you just can't put it down."

"Wonderful twists and turns in the story line kept me wanting to read what happened next."

"A great debut novel from an author with an amazing imagination." - Katylou 1966

Book One: A Portrait of Death ~ Excerpts
New York
Tuesday 10th September, 1889
The horse drawn hansom cab slowly made its way along the city crescent, the cab’s curtained windows the passenger’s only protection from the worst of the New York weather.

The fog’s oily thickness dulling all sound of the vehicle’s traces as its icy fingers plucked at the exposed neck of the shivering cabby.

There was a sharp thump from inside the cab as the fare indicated their desire to stop. The cab slowed to a halt and a dark figure wrapped in an Ulster, and carrying a Gladstone bag alighted and paid the driver. As the cabby touched his hat and left, their fare paused to look up at the small, well-lit

airship passing overhead, the fog muffling the amplified message about the efficacious properties of Wolverstone’s Miracle Liver Pills. The figure pulled their black felt hat down over their eyes and turned their attention to one house in particular before quietly making their way down the narrow alley that ran to the back of the building; there were many things they had to arrange for the evening ahead, it simply wouldn’t do to have the lady of the house know they were there just yet!


Without effort, they lifted their victim and went through the door, closing and barring it behind them. Beyond the door lay a tiny courtyard, leading to three small rooms and the stairs to the second floor.

They would miss this place. It had served them well for many years, but now it was time to bring their carefully crafted plans to fruition. Entering the left-hand room, the figure paused in front of a large, ornate iron-bound chest,

covered with carvings of Ouroboros; snakes eating their own tails…the symbol of eternity. Lifting the lid with one powerful arm, the figure carefully placed the corpse into the lead-lined cavity. Taking a deep breath, the killer caressed

the dead face: stroking the curve of the jaw, the shape of the nose and ears, smoothing the hair…

Then the killer rose and began to smooth their own face in the same manner. Slowly, almost imperceptibly, their face was replaced by that of their victim.

The killer groaned as their body adjusted to the height and weight of the corpse in the chest, their spine cracking and shortening as they changed to resemble the object of their many months of study.

The transformation complete, the figure stood in the centre of the little room. Their clothes, now far too big for their new form, slipped to the floor as they looked in the polished brass mirror to judge their final appearance. An exact replica of the shell in the chest looked back. The physical change was always swift, but the memories of their victim would take a little longer to appear in their mind.

They were now perfectly placed for their plans to succeed!

Very little could stop them now—except, perhaps, him!


Lord and Lady Scott-Brewer sat in the library, partaking of one of their favourite pastimes; namely the character assassination of anyone they perceived as their social inferior. On this occasion it was of course Lady

Ellerbeck who bore the brunt of the onslaught, although “that jumped-up opium-pusher Draycott” came a pretty close second.

Lady Scott-Brewer was bemoaning the loss of three pounds and ten shillings to “that wretched American gel”, regardless of the fact that Lady Ellerbeck had actually been born in Surrey. While she complained, her husband fiddled

with his amethyst cufflinks and looked at the door that led to the Great Hall, trying to work out where the entrance to the servants’ quarters might be.

Lady Scott-Brewer, through some sixth sense brought on by many years of dealing with her husband’s little peccadilloes, snapped sharply, “None of your nonsense tonight, Barty!”

Lord Scott-Brewer visibly jumped. “My dear Rowan, I don’t know what—”

“Don’t lie to me, Barty, I know you!”

Her husband, catching the hard gleam in her eye, turned his gaze on the floor. “I’m sorry, my dear, I – I can’t explain why—”

“I know why,” Lady Scott-Brewer snapped bitterly. “The familial habits of a lifetime!”

She stood up and her corsetry creaked alarmingly as she towered over her thin little husband. He jumped to his feet, looking at her with something approaching terror. “My dear, are you all right?”

Lady Rowan sniffed with displeasure. “I am retiring to our suite.”

Lord Scott-Brewer looked flustered. “But my dear, the supper! It would be unpardonable to retire now!”

Lady Scott-Brewer glared at her husband of nearly thirty years with a look which combined dislike, distaste, and disgust. Many people in their inner circle would have dismissed it as her usual expression when observing her

husband. “I find the offerings of this weekend both dull and unappealing! Why Lady Marmis invited us to endure hideous modern caterwauling is beyond me. Opera at a weekend house party!” Her strident voice made her husband

cringe but she ignored him. Indeed, she continued robustly in the same vein. “I will not tolerate the alleged musicality of that person Sibelius, nor the pagan mewling of that modern creature, Giselle! Kindly inform anyone who asks that I am retiring for the evening.”

With this complete denunciation of the weekend’s entertainment, Lady Scott-Brewer swept to the door. As she reached the threshold, she turned and again addressed her husband. “And you know how I feel about alcohol, Barty. Not one drop!” With this final thrust, Lady Scott-Brewer and her formidable bust glided from the room.

As her husband sat alone at the green baize table, he was reminded that he and his wife were not been the only people in the library. Two tables of guests had eavesdropped from a distance, and had decided almost as one that it would be seemly to retire to the saloon to await the supper gong.

As the eight lords, ladies, clerical personages, and assorted others rose from their seats and made their way out of the library, they did not look at Lord Scott-Brewer. It would not have done to acknowledge his presence after

observing such a public set-to with his wife.

As the day guests disappeared, Lord Scott-Brewer sat in thought, staring at his short, stubby fingers. After a few moments had passed and all sound of his fellow-guests had faded, he lifted his head. Anyone who knew him would have been shocked at the change. The timid, henpecked little husband had disappeared, replaced by a sly, cunning man.

He got to his feet and walked towards the bar. With a mutinous expression, he picked up a tumbler and poured a generous double from a cut-glass crystal decanter. Replacing the stopper, he lifted the lid of the ice bucket and used the sharp ice pick to tap off some slivers of ice for his drink. He swallowed a large mouthful of whisky, and as he looked down at the large silver tray with its matching ice bucket and glittering ice pick, a thought slithered snakelike into his mind. Putting down his drink, a smile twisted his face as he lifted the ornate, vicious implement and turned it in his hands to catch the light.


About the Author
Rhen Garland is the author of the The Versipellis mysteries - a series of Gaslamp Fantasies set in the late Victorian, early Edwardian era that follow the adventures of immortal detectives Elliott Caine and Abernathy Thorne as they search through time for the reincarnations of their murdered wives...and solve a few murders along the way.

I live in Somerset, England, with my book illustrating, folk-singing husband, approximately 5000 books, an equal number of ancient movies, and a large collection of passive-aggressive Tomtes. My achievements are more from the school of life, rather than that of College or University. My early years choice of reading material was rather suspect for my age. The first Agatha Christie I ever read was "By the Pricking of my Thumbs" when I was nine years old; a child of that age reading and enjoying a murder mystery about a child killer explains a great deal about the type of novel I write today.

When I was diagnosed with CFS at the age of thirty, I realised that I could either go mad staring at four walls all day, or I could try to apply what little parts of my brain still worked and have a bash at writing a murder mystery set in the 1920's...things didn't quite turn out the way I'd planned!

I thought when I finally started writing that my books would be genteel "cosy" type murder mysteries set in the Golden Era (I love the 1920's and 30's for the style, music, and automobiles), with someone being politely bumped off at the Vicar's tea party and the corpse then apologising for disrupting proceedings. Instead, the late Victorian era came thundering over the horizon armed with some fantastical and macabre plotlines and a complete refusal to accept the word "no"; it planted itself in my stories, my characters, and my life, and would not budge.

I watch far too many old school murder mystery films, TV series, and 1980s action movies for it to be considered healthy. No one will play movie quizzes with me anymore...further evidence of a misspent youth!

I love the countryside, Prosecco, tea, the cocktail hour (the pinnacle of the civilised world!), and the works of Dame Ngaio Marsh, Dame Gladys Mitchell, John Dickson Carr/Carter Dickson, Dame Agatha Christie, Sir Terry Pratchett, Simon R Green, and David and Leigh Eddings.

My books are Victorian in era, messy in their murders, creepy in their otherness, and will make you double check the windows are all locked before you go to bed. What's not to like about mysteries with a touch of Grand Guignol?

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