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Detective Blanchette Mysteries by Marguerite Ashton

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Series:
A Detective Blanchett Mystery
Author: Marguerite Ashton
Genre: Mystery, Thriller

 

Promised Lies

Book 1

51QnCiY8IuLDetective Lily Blanchette has a lot on her plate…

Her sister Celine has recently been murdered and her parents are on the brink of divorce. Now she’s lead on a multiple murder investigation.

Six months after Lily’s sister’s death, the bodies of two young women are discovered. One look at the way the bodies have been posed and Lily knows her sister’s killer is back.

And she’s determined to get him.

When Lily visits the family of victim Tanya O’Neal, she learns the woman had arranged to meet a man going by the handle CtryGeek23 on the social networking site Scatter.

Lily thinks finding the man behind the account is key to solving the case.

But CtryGeek23 is very clever, and Lily has her work cut out for her. As she digs around, clues point her to a local brewery where she discovers the body of another young woman.

The more Lily digs, the more she thinks there is more than one murderer at work, and CtryGeek23 is the mastermind.

But who is he?

And how will they catch him?

As the investigation comes to life, death hits closer to home, and Lily discovers she may not be who she thinks she is at all.

Filled with plot turns, suspense and mystery, Promised Lies will leave you wondering how well anybody knows anyone…

**On sale for .99 cents!**

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Her Final Watch

Book 2

515V1P1PMbL._SY346_Speaking second-hand truths can be deadly …

Detective Lily Blanchette will stop at nothing to solve a murder. Her current case involves the killing of an undercover cop working to bring down the mob for prostitution and drugs.

But Lily’s usual laser-like focus on the case has been disrupted.

Two weeks earlier, she learned she was pregnant by her murderous husband whom she’d killed in self-defense. Unsure whether to keep her baby or place the child of this cruel man up for adoption, Lily keeps the pregnancy a secret from her colleagues.

Under mounting pressure to solve the case, Lily arranges a sit-down with a local mob boss only to find out her suspect is also wanted by them. But before Lily can warn her team, she and her new partner, Jeremiah, are shot at, and another body is found.

When she discovers Jeremiah has a connection with the underworld, she is pulled into a conflict that swirls around the boss’s son who’s hell-bent on revenge.

To add to the complexity of the situation, Lily learns that her victim might still be alive if it wasn’t for opportunistic Assistant District Attorney, Ibee Walters, who has a twisted vision of justice.

As Lily gets closer to finding the killer, she unravels ugly secrets that point to Ibee and Jeremiah – placing Lily’s life and her unborn child in danger.

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Excerpt:

Chapter 1

December 10, 2015 4:13 p.m.

      Detective Ariel Weeks stabbed at the small block of ice until it split into several pieces across the counter. She tossed the jagged cubes into the glass and made her client a drink.
      In less than twenty-four hours, Ariel would no longer have to use the name Jasmine and keep men company to protect her cover. All she needed to do was make it through this last night, and she’d be allowed to be who she was; a mom just doing her job.
      After gathering evidence and recording all the data she had, it would be hard to detach. Towards the end, she’d learned things she’d wished weren’t true, leaving her stomach in tattered knots.
      Back at home, there were two reasons Ariel would never take on another undercover assignment.
      Click.
      Ariel ground her teeth as the door to Cabin D opened and closed. She could feel Mikey Surace, the mob boss’s son, staring at the backless white dress she wore at his request.
      The man who smiled at the sight of blood was standing behind her, breathing heavily.
      She turned and handed Mikey his drink. “Your gin and grapefruit.”
      Mikey took the drink and pulled Ariel down on the bed next to him. His hand, smooth like velvet, traced over her dark brown skin, along the length of her arm and rested on her thigh. “I had a shitty day.” He loosened his tie, removed his gun and put it on the ottoman.
      Ariel stole a glance at the weapon, thinking of ways to grab it before he did. Just in case. “Wanna talk about it?”
      “I had my talk with Pop. He wants me to get married and have kids so I can take over as head of the family soon. He wants our family to be seen as more law-abiding than the other three families.”
      “Nowadays, no one gets married to have a family. Would he accept a long engagement?”
      “No way. My old man still believes in marrying now, ask questions later.” Mikey took a sip of his drink and sat it down on the nightstand table. “My father asked my mother to marry him on her seventeenth birthday.”
      “I’m sure you’ll find a woman who’ll accept you for who you are, who won’t care about the lifestyle you lead, and who knows when not to ask questions about your business.”
      “You always say the right things. Why won’t you let me take care of you?” he asked, planting a kiss on Ariel’s full lips. “This is my third time asking you to be with me.”
      Ariel wanted to wipe off the lingering citrus taste from her mouth but didn’t out of fear. She had already been spotted by one of Surace’s men and couldn’t believe that she was still alive. Probably because Ariel, at any moment, could tell the boss things that the other person was doing, clearing herself from any suspicion and allowing her to keep her cover. Even that wasn’t a guarantee.
      Drops of rain peppered the window facing out at the bare branches of a willow tree. Wind hissed against the cabin.
      Ariel stared into Mikey’s almond-shaped eyes. The olive tint of his skin masked his fiery temper. Things were getting heavy and out of control for a first time U.C. like herself.
      She undid the strap on her stilettos and let them drop to the floor. “Because your ex-girlfriend is in charge of my money and I need every penny. I wanna make my money and maybe one day get out. It’s a dream of mine to stop escorting and waiting tables at the club.”
      “If you get with me, you won’t need money.” Mikey cupped Ariel’s chin and squeezed. “Why do you keep turning me down?”
      “I’m not turning you down.” She pulled out of his grip and rubbed her chin. “I don’t want to ruin my friendship with your ex. She’s my bestie and the only one I can trust in this business.”
      “You don’t trust me?”
      “You’re a dangerous man.”
      “I’m only dangerous to those who cross me.”
      Ariel wanted to ask Mikey if he’d kill her but decided against it. It was best to redirect the conversation and talk about what he enjoyed the most. Him. “What’s it like to kill someone?”
      Mikey pulled Ariel back on the bed and laid on top of her. “When I put my finger on the trigger, it’s like foreplay. With each pull of the trigger, that’s the build-up. Once my target is dead, I’m satisfied. For me, it’s a lot like sex.”
      “Has anyone told you you’re crazy?”
      “Yeah. They never lived to say it again.”

 

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About the Author:

A1I-1HlW2hL._UX250_When Marguerite Ashton was in her twenties, she took up acting but realized she preferred to work behind the camera, writing crime fiction. A few years later, she married an IT Geek and settled down with her role as wife, mom, and writer. Five kids later, she founded the Crime Writer’s Panel and began working with former law enforcement investigators to create; Criminal Lines Blog, an online library for crime writers who need help with their book research.

She’s a workaholic who hides in her writer’s attic, plotting out her next book and stalking Pinterest for the next avocado recipe.

A member of Sisters in Crime, Marguerite grew up in Colorado, but is now happily living in Wisconsin and playing as much golf as possible.

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Q&A’s with Marguerite Ashton:

Tell us about a favorite character from a book.

One of my favorite characters is Detective Lily Blanchette in Promised Lies. She’s got a lot going on. So, I’d like to think about what a day in Lily’s life would be like if her life weren’t in so much chaos.

My main character Lily is a workaholic like her dad, Collin. She works at a medium-sized police station in rural Wisconsin with her best friend and partner, Morgan. Between chasing leads—the coffee shop and McGinley’s Irish Pub is the local hangout for law enforcement professionals when they need to relax and blow off steam.

At home, she wakes up with her new husband. They are still getting to know each other’s personal spaces in their marriage. If her husband has time in his schedule, he tries to impress his wife with his culinary skills while she focuses on her latest remodeling idea for her Victorian home.

On Lily’s day off, she enjoys time with her dad, which is sometimes hard when their two schedules don’t match up. While enjoying their favorite pastime together, fishing along the banks of the Rock River, their conversation would be:

“Hey Dad, watch your pole you’ve got a nibbler.”

“Nah, the river is running fast near the bottom so it just looks like it. Crank up 2 reels off the bottom and you’ll see.”

“There’s more to the Bagdenol case. That wasn’t a suicide.”

“Lily, this is our time to relax our minds, and put a filet in the skillet for supper tonight.”

“Sometimes it’s hard to relax.”

“I understand. Just remember one thing, always go with your gut instinct. By the way, I agree with you about the Bagdenol case.”

“Thanks.” As Lily adjusted her fishing pole, she felt a firm tug. “Wait, get the net. I think I’ve got one.”

“Reel him in. I want fish tonight, not another meatloaf.”

 

Describe your writing style.

When writing my books, if an idea for another book hits me, I jot it down in one of my many notebooks. When it’s time to go over the notes, I talk it out with my husband. For the law enforcement side, I contact my cop friends to see if I can get away with the story line.

Sometimes I’ll be editing one manuscript, or working on the latest promo and the idea hits, and I write the scene. But it helps me to let it flow, then organize it later.

 

What are you passionate about these days?

The arts and becoming a foster mom for dogs until they find their forever home.

 

Advice they would give new authors?

Being a writer isn’t easy. Our job is to write every day and be prepared to repeat the process of creating a book over and over. My tip to writers is to give it your ALL.

A – Ask questions about yourself and your writing. Make sure that this is something you want to do.

L – Listen to the answers. Sometimes the reply is not what you’d expect or want to hear.

L- Learn from those answers. Then take the appropriate steps to master your art.

 

What is your writing process? For instance, do you do an outline first? Do you do the chapters first?

When writing my books, if an Idea for another book hits me, I jot it down in one of my many notebooks.

When it’s time to go over the notes, I talk it out with my husband. For the law enforcement side, I contact my cop friends to see if I can get away with the story line.

Sometimes I can be editing one manuscript, or working on the latest promo and the idea hits, and I write the scene. But it helps me to let it flow, then organize it later.

 

What kind of research do you do before you begin writing a book?

It’s a process…Writing Her Final Watch was tricky. I had to find a way to work Lily’s pregnancy in the story and allow her to work in the field. That’s when I turned to my friends in law enforcement. They helped me understand what my heroine, could and couldn’t do. After I did my research, I put myself in Lily’s shoes and focused on what would be important to her. No matter how much she loved her job, her motherly instincts would kick in. And I think I’ve managed to find a balance between the two.

 

Describe yourself in 5 words or less!

Addicted to avocados.

 

When did you first consider yourself a writer?

For me, there was never that one moment. I had several. A lot of it had to do with my self-doubt as I tried to decide if I was making the right decision. My strong desire to write was something I felt from the inside. For me, I have to write every day. Even if it’s just making notes on another book or working on my blog.

If I miss more than a day, I start to get cranky.

The one thing that keeps me writing is David Baldacci. His story helped remind me that success can come with persistence and continual improvement.

 

How did you come up with the title of your first novel?

Coming up with a title for any of my books is a process. I’ve tried to make it easier, but I haven’t had any luck.

I write down the first words that come to my mind and start crossing out the ones that don’t work for me. If I run out of suggestions, I go to my husband or mentor. It took me three days to come up with Her Final Watch. Promised Lies took a year.

 

Who designed your book covers?

Endeavour Press designed Promised Lies and Her Final Watch. Judy Bullard is the designer for my YA mystery series.

 

Do you see writing as a career?

Yes, I do see writing as a career. It’s very important to me and the challenges that come along with it.

 

If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your latest book?

No, I wouldn’t change anything. In fact, it kept me focused on what to write in my upcoming book, The Parolee.

 

If your book was made into a film, who would you like to play the lead?

Gabrielle Union as Detective Lily Blanchette.

 

Anything specific you want to tell your readers?

I want to thank you for giving Detective Lily Blanchette a chance to invade your personal reading space.

 

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Secrets? by Christer Tholin

SECRETS BANNER

 
Series: Stockholm Sleuth Series
Author: Christer Tholin
Genre: Mystery Crime Thriller

 

Secrets?

Book 2

“Dammit! She’d made a huge mistake. She’d never make it out of here – they were going to kill her.”

ebook_375x600In the crime novella SECRETS?, fledgling private investigator Elin Bohlander takes on what looks like an easy assignment — at first: to determine if her client’s boyfriend is having an affair with another woman. To do this, Elin follows him to a secluded cabin in the woods, where she soon discovers that what’s actually transpiring is stranger than anyone thought. Having ventured too far, she’s stumbled upon a hornet’s nest and put her life at risk. But it’s too late. Can Elin win the unequal fight against a gang of brutal child molesters?

SECRETS? is the second, standalone book from Christer Tholin’s Stockholm Sleuth Series. In the previous novel VANISHED?, Elin and her colleague Lars solve their first case together.
If you like fast-paced action and surprising twists and turns, then you will love Christer Tholin’s sleuth series.

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Excerpt:

      “I was attacked,” she finally gasped.
      “What? Are you hurt?” Elin couldn’t believe it. Maja was extremely well trained—she could perform any self-defense move in her sleep. And what did this have to do with the car?
      “No. They only threatened me.”
      “That’s lucky.” Elin breathed a sigh of relief. At least, Maja was unharmed. “But who threatened you? Now please! Tell me the whole story from the beginning.” Elin gave her a penetrating look. “All right, Maja?”
      Maja blew her nose once more and leaned back. “Yeah, OK. So I was walking out of the studio on my way to the underground. Since it was still so light out, I took the shortcut through the park. There was no one in sight other than that guy who’s been following me for the past few days. He was sitting on a bench in the middle of the park. I was trying to decide whether to turn around. But then I thought, ‘This is my chance to find out what this is all about,’ and I walked right up to him. He immediately stood up, and it was only then that I noticed he was wearing a mask. I wanted to go back right away, but when I turned around, there were three other guys standing before me, all with masks as well. I tried to escape to the right, but these guys already had a knife at my throat, and they were restraining me on all sides. Then they pulled me off the path and down into the bushes, and one of them whispered that I should keep my trap shut. I was sure they were going to rape me, and I was desperately trying to figure out how to break free. But then one of them—a tall guy, definitely over six feet—said that they just wanted to talk to me. I didn’t really believe that, but I waited to see what they would say.”
      Elin stared at her, spellbound.
      “I need something to drink,” Maja said.
      Elin rose and went to the kitchen. She had an uneasy feeling for some reason. Four guys, of all things, and one of them very tall. That was surely no coincidence. But why?
      Elin handed Maja a glass of water. Maja drank eagerly. “And what did they want?” asked Elin.
      “They claimed I’d followed them in my car. And that they didn’t like having someone sneaking around behind them. This would be their first and final warning. If they saw either me or the car nearby again, our next meeting would proceed without a lot of talking. They said they’d make short shrift of me.” Maja had tears in her eyes again, and she let out several sobs. “I had to confirm that I understood. I obviously said yes. After that, one of them hit me in the stomach full force, and I blacked out. When I came to again, the four of them were gone.”
      “God, how awful! I’m so sorry—I’m sure they were the same guys I was observing. I just don’t understand why they reacted so viciously. I’ve already put the whole thing to rest. Honestly, Maja, I didn’t want to pull you in. I’m sure it was me they were after.”
      “Yeah, that much was clear to me by then. But did you go back to the cabin another time? You only told me about two surveillances. And the men didn’t see you at all, did they?”
      “Well, yes, they did. The second time, they stopped briefly next to my—I mean, your car. I ducked right away, but they might have written down or photographed the license plate number. I’m sorry—that was my mistake. The first time, I did better and parked around the corner. I’m sure they didn’t see the car that time. Then the day before yesterday, I was there again for the third and last time because I just couldn’t get the whole business out of my head. I wanted to get through the surveillance quickly, so I drove the car down the dirt road to the fork where it turns off to the cabin. On their way back, they obviously drove by your car, but I was hoping they didn’t see it.”
      Maja sighed. “But they did. Did you find anything out?”
      “No, that’s why I put the whole thing to rest. The assignment is done. I just wanted to make sure one more time that nothing new had come up. But it was the same game as the other times: working together on their computers, four guys in two cars—nothing more.”

 

Vanished?

Book 1

“He could only hope he’d get out of here in one piece.”

Cover_final_engl_400x600To come to terms with his recent divorce, Martin, an attorney in Berlin, plans a peaceful vacation – two weeks in a Swedish summer house seem to be the solution. It won’t be peaceful, however, and those two weeks will change his life forever. He takes a liking to Liv, a Swedish woman whom he meets in the neighborhood. Unfortunately, they don’t get to have their first date – Liv disappears under mysterious circumstances. Martin begins his search but soon realizes he can’t find Liv in a foreign country by himself. He hires two private investigators, and their discoveries make everything seem even stranger.

The complexities in this suspenseful criminal case lead to a hunt across Sweden. Martin comes close to finding answers, but his search lands him in very real danger, eventually leading to the first deaths. Soon he‘s wondering if he can get Liv and himself out of this situation alive.

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Excerpt:

      They left the house and ran to the driveway. There they heard the sound of an engine rapidly approaching.
      “Damn, somebody’s coming. Quick, into the woods!”
      They rushed behind the house and into the trees, where before them was a narrow path. Martin tried to keep his voice muted: “We’ll cut through the woods to my car. Follow me!”
      He followed the wooded pathway for a short stretch, then veered to the right through the trees. It was muddy and difficult to negotiate; that meant they weren’t going to make headway very quickly. “We have to try not to make any noise.”
      Liv nodded.
      They moved slowly around the house. The vehicle had now arrived; it was the black pickup.
      “Shit.” Martin cursed. Liv held on firmly to his shirtsleeve. “Shouldn’t we try to escape through the woods instead?”
      “Do you know your way around here?”
      “No.” Liv looked around. “How far is it to my summerhouse?”
      “Liv, we’re in Dalarna, really close to your husband’s summerhouse.”
      “What?” Liv opened her eyes wider and pressed her hands to her mouth.
      Martin looked at her: “To my car?”
      She nodded.
      They kept moving cautiously through the woods, able to hear the driver getting out and going up to the house. It couldn’t be much longer until he noticed that Liv’s things were missing; then he would go into the cellar and…
      Gradually they put more distance behind them and approached the driveway. Martin looked back and believed they could now leave their cover without risk. It went faster on the driveway; Martin’s shoulder ached with every step, but now was the time to keep his teeth clenched. Just as he unlocked the car, he heard a sound from the house. The man had come out the door and roared something that Martin didn’t understand. Liv looked at him with horror. As fast as they could, they climbed into the car. Martin started it; unfortunately, he still had to turn it around, and there was very little space to do so. Twice he backed up until he could finally drive off. At that very moment, the engine of the pickup revved behind them. He looked in the rear-view mirror; the truck was already approaching them. He hit the gas. The car reacted and lurched forward with a jerk. Martin drove as fast as he could; Liv was frightened; she held on to the armrest and looked around from back to front.
      “Faster! Please!”
      “I’m trying to.”
      Martin pushed the pedal harder. The main road lay in front of them – he knew he wouldn’t make the curve at that speed. Even so he kept driving at the same velocity; a brief glance revealed the pickup directly behind them. The engine was loud, and the black steel fenders in front of the hood were coming dangerously close. At the intersection to the main road, Martin braked slightly, hoping to make it onto the dirt road without landing in the ditch. Gripping the steering wheel with all his strength, the Audi swung around, and it looked like they would make it. But the pickup had other plans. It didn’t intend to make the curve. The driver swerved slightly to the right and rammed the Audi from the side just as they reached the bend. The Audi’s rear end slung around towards the woods. Liv screamed, both airbags deployed and Martin braked with everything in his power. The car came to a stop diagonally across the road.

 

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About the Author:

ChristerThe author grew up in the North of Germany, Schleswig-Holstein. Today, he lives together with his family in Stockholm, Sweden, where he works as management consultant.

Already for ages he has been a great fan of crime stories and therefore, had the desire to write his own crime story with the characters acting in Sweden. This crime-fiction is available under the title “Vanished?”.

The crime novel starts at a slower pace – like Martin’s holidays, but the tension goes up more and more. It comes to a number of surprising turns giving new impulses to the story. Apart from that, the lovely country Sweden is described with the view of a foreigner.

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Beyond the Vale by Kerry Alan Denney

Beyond the Vale

Title: Beyond the Vale
Author: Kerry Alan Denney
Genre: fantasy / adventure
Publisher: Burning Willow Press, LLC
Publication Date: December 23, 2017

 
Beyond the Vale front coverThere’s no rest for the weary in the afterlife: We all must earn our passage to the next world . . . or pay the ultimate price.

Logan Leonard comes to his senses with his memory full of holes, and a half-familiar woman asks him if he remembers how and why he died. She tells him he must earn his passage to the next level, leads him through doorways to impossible places with surreal landscapes and bizarre inhabitants, and sends him into pictures that are portals to his past. Logan meets his spirit guide in the form of a friendly dog, finds and then loses the woman of his dreams, and battles a madman who has enslaved the entire populace of the afterlife world.

Then menacing shadows come to claim Logan, and suddenly the stakes are his own immortal soul—and the souls of everyone he loves. All he has to do to earn his passage is rescue the woman of his dreams, defeat the shadows and their master, and correct the mistakes he made that ruined his life. If he fails, everyone will burn.

Because the punishment for failure is a one-way ticket to Hell.

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Excerpt:

      The shadows grew more distinct as the torches dimmed. He did his best to ignore them, but he suspected he would always see them, forevermore in the corners of his eyes, like a door that, once opened, could never be closed again.
      Maybe they were a part of everything around us, always waiting to welcome us into desolation. The ghostly guides to reckless abandon and ultimate surrender, the blissful letting go of responsibility and accountability.
      “Forget that,” he mumbled into the darkness as the oldest torch sputtered. He cleared his throat and spoke up, as if the shadows were his audience and he was an actor in a play. “I may have cobwebs in my central processing unit, but this old boy doesn’t throw in the towel that easy, bitches. So come on. Give it your best shot.”
      Another torch sputtered, and he wondered how long he’d been sitting on the edge of the cot. He remembered Ashley warning him that darkness would be more frightening than it had ever been before, and stifled a shudder.
      He was certain that, as with Kelly, Ashley had not lied to him once, and never would, whatever her warped perception of truth may be. Neither would Jessica, or Bob—wherever he was—or Ringo, if he had a voice to try it.
      If Ashley was right, a deeper darkness was about to descend upon him.
      He watched as the third of the four torches fluttered with lighter blue flames around its bottom edges, striving to keep the fire burning as the last of its life was expelled.
      He chuckled, realizing how simple it all was. All he had to do was turn off the world, spare the children, win the girl, stop the madness, slay the dragon, earn his passage, and find his way back home.
      “Piece of cake,” he muttered as the fourth torch flickered. Darkness was almost his to claim now, equally ready to claim him. It crept upon him with a vengeance, echoing Ashley’s certainty.
      
Death is not dying, my friend, Bob had said. And dying is not death.
      
Laugh in your next last breath, Jessica had told him. It’ll make dying a second time easier.
      
Do you realize now that every moment is precious? George had asked, and added, Just remember that shadows hide in the light too.
      “Shadows in the light,” Logan said as the last torch sputtered. He gave in to the voices, determined to defeat them, and looked down at the planks under his feet.
      The darkness was all his now, and he was a part of it. Ready to kick its ass again.
      Except for one tiny, minor thing.
Without the torchlight, a familiar pale blue luminescence pulsed from below. It seeped through the cracks between the floorboards. He’d seen it before, recognized it for what it was. He sucked in a sharp breath and started laughing again.
      “Kane, you son of a bitch,” he sputtered like the light of the last torch giving out. “You knew all along, planned it this way.”
      Whoever had built this old-fashioned town had founded it upon a quatrocyte deposit, unaware of the doom they’d pronounced upon its citizenry.
      Trying to hold his breath was pointless, and he breathed in the omnipresent gas of madness.

 

Praise for Beyond the Vale:

“Pure, uncut genius. Mind-blowing literature from the wicked mind of a master.”

– L. Bachman, award-winning author of The Blasphemer series

“Kerry Alan Denney twists time and reality to bring us a compelling story of regret, forgiveness, and redemption. Rarely have I seen this type of depth offered in such a fast-paced, action-packed book. Throw in a healthy sprinkling of Denney’s wit and some shadow creatures and spirit guides, and you have the perfect ingredients for a tale that will satisfy even the greatest of literary appetites. Eat up!”

– Mark Reefe, author of The Road to Jericho and El Sendero

“Every time I begin a Kerry Alan Denney book, I’m reminded that I’m entering the mind of a master of his craft. Beyond the Vale takes the reader on an odyssey almost as epic as Homer.”

– James Master, author of The Book of Roland

Author Bio:

Kerry Alan Denney aka The Reality Bender_jpegColleagues and readers have dubbed Kerry Alan Denney, The Reality Bender.

The multiple award-winning author of the post-apocalyptic/ urban fantasy A Mighty Rolling Thunder, the paranormal thrillers Marionettes, Soulsnatcher, and Dreamweavers, and the post-apocalyptic sci-fi/ horror thriller Jagannath, as well as numerous published short stories, Denney blends elements of the supernatural, paranormal, sci-fi, fantasy, and horror in his work: speculative fiction at its wildest and craziest. With joy, malicious glee, and a touch of madness, he writes reality-bending thrillers—even when the voices don’t compel him to.

He lives in Stone Mountain, Georgia with Holly Jolly, his 11-year-old Golden retriever and veteran professional Therapy Dog, where he’s currently writing his next thriller . . . and deciding who to kill in it.

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Taken By The Huntsman by Mistral Dawn

taken by the huntsman

 

“Hey Everyone!! 🙂

TakenbytheHuntsman AmazonI’ve got exciting news for you, today!  Taken By The Huntsman is on sale for only 99 cents from December 20th through the 26th! It’s been a couple of years since I dropped the price that low, and I don’t know when I’ll do it again. So, if you don’t already have a copy, now’s the time to click on the link below and grab one! 🙂

If you already have a copy, but know a friend who might enjoy an adult fairy tale, why not give them a copy? After all, ebooks make fantastic stocking-stuffers! Need a last minute gift for someone you forgot to shop for and don’t want to brave the crowds in the stores? Here you go! And it will be in your inbox in minutes. Did you get someone a new Kindle as a gift? Well, don’t give it to them empty! Here’s an inexpensive way to give them their first taste of Kindle reading.

Also, the whole series is available through Kindle Unlimited, so if you’re a member you can read it for free! Happy Holidays!!”

~Mistral     

 

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Excerpt from Taken By The Huntsman:

Jumping to his feet, he caused his Anamchara to back up a step. The look in his eyes was dangerous, and she was suddenly unsure of herself. He stalked towards her with all the liquid grace of the predator that he was, and she retreated until she found herself backed against a wall.

She looked up into his face and saw that his green eyes were glowing. Leaning towards her, he put his hands on the wall on both sides of her, caging her within his embrace. Unaccountably, she found herself getting aroused and was horrified. How could she be turned on at such a time?

Cadeyrn scented Cassie’s growing desire and a snarl trickled from between his lips. He opened his mouth to better catch the scent, and Cassie saw that his canines seemed to have lengthened. She gasped.

The Erlking lowered his face to her neck and inhaled deeply. Cassie ducked her head. Her heart was beating a mile a minute, but she felt an answering throb for each pulse from between her legs. Moisture gathered as her arousal grew, and she rubbed her thighs together. Her breath caught as she raised her hands and put them against his chest. She didn’t push him away, but she kept them there as a barrier.

He skimmed his lips up the side of her throat, teasing her with the tips of his fangs. Breathing into her ear, he whispered, “This is what I mean when I say you enjoy being chased. You are excited to be pursued and aroused by being trapped. Do you dare deny this, when the scent of your desire hangs so heavily on you?”

Cassie shuddered as Cadeyrn nipped her earlobe and caressed it with his tongue. Gasping, she felt her knees wobble. When she tried to swallow, her mouth was too dry.

 

The Author:

Mistral Dawn is a thirty-something gal who has lived on both coasts of the US, but somehow never in the middle. She currently resides in the Southeast US with her kitty cats (please spay or neuter! :-)).

She has written three full-length novels in the Spellbound Hearts series, Taken By The Huntsman, Bound By The Summer Prince, and Captivated By The Winter King, as well as Intrigue In The Summer Court, a novella in the Spellbound Hearts series.

To receive updates on her latest published work, please follow her on Amazon.

If you’d like more frequent updates, you can get her latest musings and excerpts from her work on her blog, Mistral Dawn’s Musings.

Mistral would love to hear from you through her Facebook page or Twitter

Spellbound Hearts

Monsterland by Michael Okon

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Title: Monsterland
Author: Michael Okon
Genre: Horror (Monsters)

 
cover8Welcome to Monsterland—the scariest place on Earth.

Wyatt Baldwin’s senior year is not going well. His parents divorce, then his dad mysteriously dies. He’s not exactly comfortable with his new stepfather, Carter White, either. An ongoing debate with his best friends Melvin and Howard Drucker over which monster is superior has gotten stale. He’d much rather spend his days with beautiful and popular Jade. However, she’s dating the brash high-school quarterback Nolan, and Wyatt thinks he doesn’t stand a chance.

But everything changes when Wyatt and his friends are invited to attend the grand opening of Monsterland, a groundbreaking theme park where guests can interact with vampires in Vampire Village, be chased by werewolves on the River Run, and walk among the dead in Zombieville.

With real werewolves, vampires and zombies as the main attractions, what could possibly go wrong?

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Excerpt:

What were the interlopers doing here? Billy thought furiously. This was their territory. The humans didn’t belong in the swamp. The moon continued its trip to the heavens, the familiar agony beginning in his chest. Billy fought the demons churning within his body, feeling the pain of metamorphosis. He curled inward, hunching his shoulders, the curse of his nature making his spine pull until his tendons and muscles tore from their human positions to transform into something wicked. A howl erupted from his throat, followed by another, and then another. Grabbing handfuls of dirt, he tried to fight the awful change, but, as the sun dipped to its fiery death, the moon took control of his life, and the unnatural force tore through his unwilling body. Reason fled; his heart raced. Falling on his hands and knees, he let loose a keening cry as his face elongated, his body changing into a canine, fangs filling his mouth. He raced in a circle in a demented dance, knowing his fellow pack members did the same thing. Slowing, he regulated his labored breathing, forcing the icy calmness he needed to keep some semblance of reason. He peered through the dense brush. Lights from the search party bobbed in the distance. The odor, the stench of humanity, filled the clearing.

He turned, digging furiously on the ground, throwing dirt on the flames, hiding their existence. It was no good. Discovery would ruin everything. No one could live with their kind. Humans brought disease, humans brought anger, humans brought hatred. They were there; he could smell them, see their clumsy bodies invading his home. “They’ve found us,” he growled in the special language they used. “Run!” he barked as he turned to his pack, watching his friends’ naked skin transform until it was covered with the same silvered fur. They cried out in unison at the pain, howling with the injustice, and then ran in fear from the interlopers threatening their habitat.

 

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Author Bio:

AuthorPhoto_MonsterlandMichael Okon is the award-winning and best-selling author & screenwriter formerly known as Michael Phillip Cash. His originally self-published book Monsterland was picked up in a two-book publishing deal by WordFire Press. Michael is happily married and writes full-time on the North Shore of Long Island with his two screaming monsters in the background.

For more information, details and updates, visit:

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Email Michael at MichaelOkonBooks@gmail.com

 

Hinder by Kristin Ping

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Title: Hinder
Series: Guardian of Monsters #1
Author: Kristin Ping
Publication date: May 15th 2018
Genres: Fantasy, New Adult, Paranormal

 
36066333Ethan Sutcliff seems like a normal seventeen-year-old—at least that’s what he’s trying to portray. In a secret society run by the Supernaturals, Ethan is what witches call a Bender. Benders are Witches’ Guardians, who are able to control a witches’ ability, bend it, or move it away from harming humans. In Ethan’s case, he is able to bend the Earth element. But at the age of fifteen, he lost all connection to it, and the reasons behind it could only mean one of two things: His Wielder is either dead, or hiding out somewhere.

Alex Burgendorf has been living in her aunt’s locket for the past sixteen years with her mother—a Fire Wielder, and her father—a Water Wielder. For sixteen years, her parents vowed to protect her, and they have, as she is the last Earth wielding witch. However, time is running out. Alex must find her Bender, or the fate of the Supernaturals might be at stake.

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Excerpt:

Before Sentinels it was just earth Wielders. That was how powerful they were and Ethan was the lucky boy that was going to be part of that. He was going to become the next earth Wielder’s protector in every way possible.

Tears formed in Ethan’s eyes, but he refused to let them roll down his cheek. He tried so hard to live up to his element, to be strong and special.

Sad that the boy didn’t know how strong or special he already was. Maybe it was my fault as a father, as a parent.

I wanted to tell Natalie that she should stop making him feel so terrible. He was just exploring. But what good would that do? We would just end up fighting again. I was so tired of our fights. Shoulders slumped, I turned to go inside. That was when I heard the roar of engines.

The hair on my arms and neck stood straight. Adrenaline poured into my blood like jet fuel and my heartbeat skyrocketed as I turned to see Natalie running toward me across the yard, jerking little Ethan along by the hand.

“Get rid of them. Now.” She shouldered past me into the house.

No one had seen what Ethan had done, right? No, it wasn’t possible. Was it?

Three black Jeeps and a silver one careened into the driveway, spitting gravel behind their shiny black tires. I leaped off the steps but then composed myself. With great effort, I slowed to a sedate walk. I had to try to make this farmhouse seem like any other sleepy home on this continent—even though it was far from it.

Who are these people? What are they doing here?

They weren’t Necrocretors. Necrocretors didn’t use Jeeps or SUVs to make their entrances. Whoever they were, they were driving fast. Too fast.

As they pulled closer, the sun glinted off the tinted windows and blinded me. Then when they turned an angle, I saw it. It was the outline of a barrel.

I dove for the willow. Bullets shredded bark above my head. Splinters and sawdust flew everywhere.

My back was firmly against the tree, safe from the bullets, or so I hoped. Thank goodness he grew a fully mature tree, I marveled. Otherwise I’d be dead.

I recited words that hadn’t touched my tongue in years. I carried them in my skin on my tattoo, across my chest, close to my heart. A phrase scribbled in Latin that I’ve learned at a very young age: Estque vel me vel.

Its meaning was simple: It is either them or me.

If someone had to die, it wasn’t going to be me.

I took out the Zippo in my back pocket, closed my eyes, and used my diaphragmatic breathing exercises to calm my heart.

More gunshots sizzled overhead. Bits of the porch railing and the willow bar exploded. The air filled with the scent of sulfur and singed wood.

I took a deep breath.

Then I flicked the flint.

 
Author Bio:

KristinKristin resides in South Africa with her husband, two beautiful girls and two bulldogs that tries to eat her house.
She has been writing for the past eight years and her first debut novel, Hinder: A Bender’s novel will be published 2018 by Fire Quill Publishing.

When she isn’t writing, she is spending her time with her family, or trying to teach her two bulldogs to not eat her house.

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Artesans of Albia by Cas Peace

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 Series: Artesans of Albia
Author: Cas Peace
Genre: Fantasy

Taran Elijah’s quest for knowledge uncovers a plot that threatens the world…

boxset coverDesperate to learn how to control his innate Artesan powers, Taran embarks on a foolhardy plan to acquire the teaching he craves. The military backlash his action unleashes forces Albia’s High King to send Major Sullyan as an envoy to the Fifth Realm. But a dark and treacherous power is moving through the realms and all will feel its influence.

Captured and tortured by the power-hungry Lord Rykan, Sullyan is trapped in Andaryon. Aided by the unlikeliest sources, the major formulates a plan to defeat Rykan and end his quest for the throne. But Sullyan’s strength is fading fast and time is running out. The only thing that can save her is Rykan’s mysterious Staff, which lies buried in the ruins of Taran’s cellar.

Sullyan’s lover, Robin Tamsen, sets out to recover the artefact, but the enemy is two steps ahead of him. If Robin fails to secure the Staff, Sullyan’s life, the Artesan craft, and the very existence of their world is under threat.

~ Amazon ~

Excerpt from King’s Envoy:

Taran’s metasenses pricked him and he instantly woke, leaping to his feet and snatching his sword. He stopped short, biting back a curse, as he registered the confident stance of the young man standing before him. And he had every reason to be confident, Taran realized, with armed hunters at his back. His failure to sense them sooner made Taran scowl. Apprehensively, he waited for the man to speak.

“You’re trespassing, Albian.”


The man’s arrogant manner and rich clothing confirmed Taran’s immediate suspicions—he was an Andaryan noble. Taran’s sleep-muddled mind struggled to frame a reply but he wasn’t given the leisure.


“The penalty for trespass is death.”


Taran stared, knowing he was trapped. The huntsmen stood with bows unnocked but he knew how swiftly they could draw and shoot should he make a threatening move. And though the ugly giant birds they had were hooded and leashed, they could be loosed in an instant if he tried to run. His only chance lay in the bargain he hoped to make. He opened his mouth to answer but was again interrupted.


“However, I came out this day for sport. What do you say to a duel, Albian, to determine your fate? If you win, you’re free to leave. If you lose, you submit to my will.”


The noble’s pale, slit-pupiled eyes were avid and he fingered the hilt of his sword as he spoke. The motion drew Taran’s gaze. Events were moving a little fast for him despite this seemingly favorable turn. He had not expected things to work out like this—according to his father’s notes, he should be the one making the challenge—but in the end, did it matter? And what choice did he have? The noble had him at a severe disadvantage and would be within his rights should he decide to kill Taran out of hand. Even if he wasn’t, there was nothing Taran could do about it. No one would protect him if he could not protect himself.


He gathered his courage and faced the noble. He looked a little younger than Taran’s twenty-eight years but Taran had faith in his own skills. He was taller than the noble and he was agile and fit, there was no reason to believe he would not win. And the noble was an Artesan, Taran could sense it. He didn’t know what rank but that wasn’t immediately important. His father’s notes indicated that Taran only had to force a draw to win the right to the noble’s aid. If he turned out to be incapable of teaching Taran himself, his duty would require him to find someone who could.


“I accept,” he said, trying to keep the nervousness from his voice. The younger man grinned and Taran frowned. Those slit-pupiled eyes, unique to the Andaryan race, made his facial expressions unfamiliar. Taran would have to be very careful when reading his moves in the duel.

 

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AuthorPhoto2016Cas lives in the lovely county of Hampshire, southern UK, where she was born. On leaving school she trained for two years before qualifying as horse-riding instructor. During this time she also learned to carriage-drive. She spent thirteen years in the British Civil Service before moving to Rome, Italy, where she and her husband, Dave, lived for three years. They enjoy returning whenever they can. Cas supports many animal charities and owns two rescue dogs. She has a large collection of cacti and loves gardening. She is also a folk singer/songwriter and is currently writing and recording nine folk-style songs to accompany each of her fantasy books. You can listen to and download all the songs from her website

See the video of her performing live at the King’s Envoy book launch

Find out more at her website

 ~ Blog ~  Facebook – Cas ~ Facebook – Artesans of Albia ~
~ TwitterReverbnationAmazon ~

 
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