Tag Archive | vampires

Possessed by a Vampire by Susan Griscom

Possessed by a Vampire by Susan Griscom - TOUR

Title: Possessed by a Vampire
Series: Immortal Hearts of San Francisco Book 4
Author: Susan Griscom
Genre: Paranormal Romance

Possessed by a Vamp front coverThey possess the power to make their dreams come true—but it won’t be easy.

Preston Knight—Elvis to his friends—loves being a vampire. The night he was turned was the first step to him becoming the kind of man he always hoped to be. Now, he’s a rock star. What could be better? But the one thing that would make his world complete is just out of reach. The woman he yearns for has some serious secrets, and despite him knowing that she wants him just as much as he wants her, she won’t let him in.

Lily Gray never asked to be a vampire. The choice was taken from her eons ago, and things never improved. Now, she finds herself peddling drugs on the streets of San Francisco and playing the part of doting wife to a possessive and sadistic vampire with delusions of grandeur. But family means everything to Lily, and she’s willing to sacrifice everything for it…even her one chance at happiness with the sexy-as-sin vampire who sets her heart ablaze.

When one night of passion opens the door for a century of secrets to be revealed, Lily and Preston must fight for not only what they believe in but also what they love.

Amazon | Goodreads

PBAV Teaser 2

 

Excerpt:

      “It’s up to you, Elvis.” Lincoln, the dealer, nodded in my direction and waited. I kept my gaze trained on the center of the table where chips sat in a small pile. I didn’t need to look at my cards again. I knew what I had: an eight and a queen of hearts.
      There were six vampires at the table, counting both Gage and me. Gage had folded right after the deal, and so had one of the other players. I was the last to bet, and sometimes I liked to spice things up a bit, so I matched the bet and sat back.
      Heavy smoke hung in the air like delicate streams of fog, swirling in circled patterns under the light hanging from a long cord above the table. Four other lamps hung on fixtures attached to the otherwise stark, tawny brown walls. Even with all the bulbs, the room seemed dark.
      Maybe it was the darkness of the souls in the room. I wasn’t sure.
      A droning sound buzzed from outside. It was a little annoying, but I managed to drown it out as I nonchalantly watched the faces around the table as the dealer placed the three cards of the flop face-up, revealing a nine of hearts. He slowly separated them, sliding the top card off the nine to reveal a jack of hearts.
      Holy fuck!
      It was raining hearts for some reason, and I held two of them already. I held my breath, waiting to see the third card in the flop. The dealer slid the jack over. Crap, an eight of diamonds.
      Not exactly what I was looking for, but a pair of eights with a queen high wasn’t completely a loss so I decided to hang in there and see if one more heart would show. There were still two cards to go, and a flush was possible.
      I kept my eyes straight, my thoughts blank—or I tried—like I usually did as each card was revealed, always attempting to keep my composure, never deviating from the norm, not wanting to give away my emotions. I was an expert at reading people. Especially in a poker game. A blink of an eye, a slight twitch, a swallow, the slightest movement, anything . . . different could give someone’s hand away. I wanted to reach up and finger my shades that sat on top of my head. Just one little nudge and they’d be sitting comfortably on my face, shielding my eyes. But not only were dark glasses frowned upon in this high-stakes game of Texas Hold ’em, but any movement out of the ordinary might tip someone off about my cards.
      This wasn’t our normal gathering with my brothers at the mansion. This was a high roller, unsanctioned but heavily guarded poker game with some seriously high-powered city officials that I’d bet my right nut were a drug cartel of some sort or another. The two thugs in the monkey suits positioned on either side of the door to the entrance had stood like statues most of the night; the bulge of a holster protruding from under their jackets an obvious clue. At least they were on the outside of the room, but they still remained at the ready if their services were required.
      Gage and I didn’t normally seek out games with such high stakes, but he’d been bored lately, and when he ran into Lincoln—the game’s host—at Club Royal a couple of weeks ago, Lincoln had invited Gage and me to join. Said they’d recently lost two of their regulars and needed a couple of fill-ins.
      When Gage had approached me, I shrugged him off at first, not wanting any part of something that sounded so sketchy. But after he’d pestered me for the entire week, I finally gave in, needing a distraction from the long hours—sometimes days—apart from Lily, the sexy and sweet vampire I’d been trying to get to know better. Except, for the past few months, she was either playing hard to get, or just wasn’t that interested in me. Though I had a difficult time believing the latter of those two options since she continued to meet me whenever she had the time or, in her words, “could get away.” Away from what, I hadn’t been able to find out. Yet.
      Getting thoughts of Lily off my mind was nearly impossible. Her fair, silky-smooth skin; her mesmerizing dark coffee eyes that could hold my gaze for hours on end; the tips of her long, thick locks kissing the cleavage of her breasts where my lips longed to skim. I managed to clear my head just in time, as it was my turn to bet again. I slid my bet forward, raising the pot three thousand for appearance’s sake. In truth, without another heart or a ten, I had squat. I didn’t think the pair of eights would cut it. I had an excellent chance for a straight or a flush if either of the next two cards went my way. Since Gage had already folded, he sat still as a statue beside me, his hands together on the edge of the table. I knew he was busting a gut wondering what I held in my hand.
      There were only four of us left in this hand, and I didn’t want to go home with a loss. Not against these guys. Two of them sat puffing on brown cigarettes, looking rather tough. They were tough, the sort who would drain the blood from a homeless person and leave them to die in the gutter without so much as a “thank you, ma’am.” Particularly, the one at the end with the light brown, wool Stetson on his head. The word dangerous exuded from his pores. He wore that hat pulled low on his brow, shading his eyes just enough to where it was legal but not enough to reveal much about him. A neatly trimmed goatee graced his chin and upper lip. A long ponytail made of cornrow braids hung down his back. He seemed on edge, or maybe it was just an act to throw me off.
      Which he did when he raised another five thousand. That was steep. Not that I didn’t have the money. These days, my bank account overflowed, but it wasn’t that way in the beginning. I hadn’t always been the man I was today, and money hadn’t been abundant back then. The circumstances surrounding my rebirth as a vampire weren’t something I would likely forget, though I’d never spoken about them, not even to Gage. The way I’d been turned hadn’t exactly been conventional vampire behavior and had left an ache in my soul I didn’t understand and an emptiness that I could never satisfy.
      I peeked at my cards and considered the raise. Either the guy had something powerful, or he was bluffing his ass off and had nothing. Since I had the queen of hearts, I knew he couldn’t have a royal flush. But that didn’t rule out a straight or four of a kind. The bald-headed guy next to him folded, as did the next two. Now it was up to me, and six thousand was just about all I had left in chips, so I shoved the entire stack I had into the middle of the table.
      “I’m all in,” I said with feigned confidence.
      After the bet had been matched, the dealer flipped the fourth card.
      A fucking nine of spades.
      Shit.
      I watched out of the corner of my eye as cowboy hat’s mouth curved up on one side, the tip of his fang biting into his lower lip. Could mean he was nervous. Or cocky. Either way, my hand was dead unless a ten or another heart showed up.
      My heart skipped a beat when the fifth card was flipped over. There it was, sparkling as if someone had lit it on fire. I managed to keep my composure as I chilled, though I could have sworn I heard fireworks go off outside.
      The beautiful ten of hearts.

 

Author Bio:

Susan GriscomSusan Griscom writes paranormal and contemporary romance. She’s hooked on sexy romances and is a huge fan of superheroes and bad boys confronted with extraordinary forces of nature, powers, and abilities beyond the norm mixed with steamy romance, of course.

She loves those days when she gets to sit around in her sweat pants, doing nothing but writing emotionally charged stories about love and violence.

She lives in Northern California in wine country and one of her favorite weekend excursions is wine tasting with the love of her life. Together, she and her romantic husband have five great superhero kids and eight mini-superhero grand kids, so far.

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PBAV Series

 

Immortal Hearts of San Francisco 

Tempted by a Vampire

Book 1
(Free)

Captivated by a Vampire

Book 2

Rocked by a Vampire

Book 3

PBAV Teaser 1

 

 

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Books I Read in May ’17

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Playing with Fire

by Clare Meyers & Cris Meyers

51qE0iSS3OL._SY346_An interesting beginning to a new series.

Magic, shapeshifting and crime all blend together to make this enjoyable read by husband and wife team, Cris and Clare Meyers.

Talented thief, Renee and her partner, Stone, join a trio of shapeshifters, Rook, Carlos and Grace, to steal a magical gem, and take revenge against the man who set them up on a previous job.
But in their line of work, nothing is quite what it seems.

Although the book is much more about the planning and the action, I did enjoy getting acquainted with the characters and hope to get to know them better in the next book of the series.

 

Loner Renee Devereaux is a thief with a lot to hide, and trust is a risk she rarely takes. Stone Anders is a mercenary and hitman, but being a hired killer isn’t fitting like it used to. But while they are criminals, they are anything but common. Renee and Stone are Talents, and their supernatural powers give them an edge in a high stakes business where one wrong move could be their last.

It’s always just one job, and everyone scatters—sometimes in less than favorable circumstances. For Renee and Stone, that’s business as usual. But things change.

A chance at revenge draws Renee and Stone into a job they know they shouldn’t take. The job: Steal a dangerous magical artifact before it can be used. Along with the deadline, they’ll have to deal with a loudmouth hacker with problematic connections, a rookie who still believes in ‘right’ and ‘wrong,’ and a professional liar with a cat’s curiosity.

Worse, something just doesn’t feel right.

But this is their job. They have a reputation to maintain, a paycheck to earn, and a score to settle…

***

 

Fly by Night

by Clare Meyers & Cris Meyers

31925656The ‘gang’ from book 1, Playing with Fire, are back. They’ve moved on from the events in Seattle, but they haven’t forgotten, or forgiven.

This, the second book in the series is told from Rooks point of view and is a superb sequel.
Rook never knows when to keep his mouth shut and his thoughts to himself, which makes for some great moments. Half the time I wanted to gag him, the rest of the time I wanted to hug him!

The characters all evolve and grow in their own ways, during the story, and we learn more about them, their past and their relationships.

The plot is well thought out, and this book has more action and suspense than the previous one.

I enjoyed Playing with Fire… I loved Fly by Night!

 

The game has changed.

Rook is a wisecracking hacker, a shapeshifter who prefers the name ‘were-crow,’ and former underling to a Talented crime boss. But as supernatural powers go, he’s no heavy hitter.

After a job blew up in his face, Rook thought the worst thing he’d have to deal with was criminal unemployment. But when he starts losing his mind to mysterious voices, being broke takes a backseat. And once his apartment goes up in smoke, Rook knows he’s in trouble.

Out of his depth and trying to dig his way out of a hole not entirely of his own making, Rook must put his survival—and his sanity—in the hands of people who have their own mysterious reasons for helping him.

With trust in short supply and time ticking down, Rook will need to find a way to make this uneasy alliance work before even more of his life goes up in flames.

Book 2 of the Criminal Elements urban fantasy series

And don’t miss out on Playing with Fire (Book 1)

***

 

Code Wolf

by C.D. Gorri

34747449 I really enjoyed this new book from C.D. Gorri.

As with her previous books, it’s set in ‘Grazi Kelly’s world’. This one, however, is definitely not YA!

I loved learning more about Randall, and his unexpected love interest, Tulla, along with Tulla’s special son, Danny.
The book is well-written, easy to read and hard to put down. The descriptive writing allows you to join the fleshed out characters on their adventures.

 

“He never thought of himself as a family man, but sometimes things changed… ”

Randall Graves spends most of his time writing lines of code in his air-conditioned office at Macconwood Manor. He’d rather be alone than risk involvement of any kind. Everything was going fine, until his Alpha sends him on a forced vacation.

It’s all good with Randall, as long as there’s WIFI at the small, beachfront, bed and breakfast in Bloody Point, South Carolina. He could work and get some sun at the same time, but he wasn’t counting on Tulla Nirvelli. The beautiful single mother owned and operated the small B &B with her seven-year old son.

Charmed by the small island and the young family, Randall finds himself enjoying his time at the Sea Mist Bed & Breakfast. When trouble starts brewing for Tulla and her son, Randall is ready to jump in, but that means revealing his secret. Will she accept the truth about him?

***

 

The Name of Death

by Joshua Robertson

33636392 I enjoyed this short story from Joshua Robertson.

It was a well-written and entertaining read.
The characters were fairly well fleshed out for such a short tale.

A good introduction to the authors writing and to the world in his novels, which I look forward to reading.

 

Drada Koehn is a fearless, formidable fighter ensnared in a presaged war against the northern humans. When the Speaker foretells their victory upon discovery of the name of death, she sets out to unravel the mysterious prophecy. Now, bound by duty and honor, Drada faces untold horrors with her companions, searching for what may never be found. In a story of unexpected twists, she soon finds that her resolve to see the quest done will be the fortune or doom of her people.

***

 

Dark Legends

32721381 I enjoyed quite a few of the books in this set and will be looking to read other books by some of the authors.

If you like stories with Dragons, Ghosts, Mermaids, Shifters, Vampires, Witches… and much more, you’re bound to find a story in here that you enjoy.

Some of the stories worked well as standalone reads, while others were obviously part of a series.

As a bunch of the books were steamy (one or two more steam than story) this is definitely an adult only box set.

All in all, this collection of books was good value and a great way to find ‘new-to-me’ authors.

 

This Collection is packed with more than 20 full-length Urban Fantasy and Paranormal Romance reads from New York Times, USA Today, and International Bestselling Authors!

Don’t miss this collection of more than twenty unique twists in paranormal romance and urban fantasy, providing over one million words of supernatural suspense that will transport you to new worlds with smoking hot action and heart-throttling adventure!

The DARK LEGENDS boxed set includes: Mermaids, Sirens, Shifters, Vampires, Dragons, Sorcerers, Warriors, Angels, Faeries, Demons, Witches, Psychics, Ghosts, Mythology, Folk Tales, Legends, Dark Magic, Time Travel, and More!

***

 

Gloria and the Unicorn

by Wanda Luthman

34797852 A lovely children’s book with a wonderful message.

The book encourages its readers to be happy and to love themselves.

Gloria looks different from other children, but thanks to Sir Louie, a magical unicorn, she learns to accept that it’s ok to be different.The plot is well thought out, and this book has more action and suspense than the previous one.

 

Adopted by a loving owner of a children’s home, Gloria still has a lot to overcome. She has a droopy cheek on one side of her face. Then, she overhears a terrible secret about her past that she doesn’t want anyone to know. To protect her from bullies, she is kept out of school. But, Gloria wants to learn to read more than anything in the world. She feels she has no one to turn to until a magical unicorn named Sir Louie befriends her. Can he help her learn to love and accept herself? And when Sir Louie suddenly disappears, will Gloria think he has rejected her like everyone else or realize his life is in danger and he may need her help?

***

 

The Blood of the Infected Series

by Antony J Stanton

The Blood of the Infected Banner

Series: The Blood of the Infected
Author: Antony J. Stanton
Genre: post-apocalyptic/thriller/horror

Once Bitten, Twice Die

Book One

OBTD High Contrast 2017The end of the world was just the beginning.

A cure for dementia has disastrously failed. Patients are left crazed, infectious and enraged. The ensuing carnage quickly spreads the disease, and civilisation is decimated.

On London’s outskirts a military base shelters some survivors. The soldiers within must battle against the infected who now roam unchallenged. Tensions are high, relationships fraught, death commonplace.

But if they thought the end of the world was bad enough, their troubles have only just begun…

An ancient menace has long existed in secret alongside humanity – a vampire clan, which has recently encountered the soldiers. Now is their time to emerge from the shadows. First though they have to overcome their own problems. They too have to fight for survival against the infected, and they violently disagree on their approach towards the humans.

Hostilities are rising. It’s only a matter of time now…

Amazon

 

Once Bitten, Twice Live

Book Two

9780993428531When death is the best option, survival is no longer enough…

With a growing realization that their continued existence bestows upon them a debt to humanity, the survivors look to create a cure for the insanity that has brought civilization to its knees. But that only encourages disagreement and infighting, and comes at a heavy price, bringing various shocks and surprises.

Tensions amongst the vampires are escalating, jeopardizing the very existence of the clan itself. A battle for supremacy seems inevitable and their future is in the balance. How far will Farzin go to achieve his aims – domination of the vampires and humans alike? And how terrible will his vengeance be against any who stand in his path? Their interaction with the humans threatens to increase and not necessarily for the benefit of either group.

Meanwhile the wrathful infected grow ever hungrier…

When every day is a struggle to stay alive, survival of the fittest is never guaranteed.

Amazon

 

Twice Bitten, Twice Die

Book Three

TBTD front-hiWhen there’s no one left to hear you scream…

Deaths amongst the survivors are occurring at an unsustainable rate. Numbers are rapidly dwindling. Morale is plummeting. Soon they will be beyond salvation, yet their real task has only just begun. But will anyone remain alive to complete it? Nothing could have prepared the soldiers for what lies ahead. If they thought life was brutal already, they had absolutely no idea…

The vampires are in disarray. Their relationships are becoming blurred, confused and violent. A titanic clash between soldiers and vampires seems imminent but no one’s survival is assured.

In a world where life is unpredictable, the threat from the infected suddenly becomes even more unexpected and menacing. Hostilities are inevitable. Only one thing is certain: there will be blood!

Amazon

 

 

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Author Bio:

AntonyStanton was born in London in 1970. Even as a child he always dreamed of becoming a published author, and he started to write a book. But, having watched the film ‘Top Gun,’ he was swayed into a becoming a military pilot. After no more than a glancing blow of a career in the British Royal Air Force he decided that his long term future lay elsewhere and he became a commercial pilot and remains thus to this day. Hence much of this trilogy was written all around the world, generally at unsociable times when jet-lag meant that normal people were asleep.

During a holiday with three friends, a bet was made amongst them. Each had a task to fulfil within the year – Stanton’s was to write a book. A little late, but five years on and his challenge has been completed. Three times.

His period spent in the RAF helped him write the military survival aspects of this book, and a kidnapping incident in Kazakhstan (*see guest post) and shooting in Ghana, amongst other ‘adventures’, provided him with a dark well of experience to draw from. Life is, after all, one big adventure. A combination of the aforementioned, along with his love of the darker sides of literature, and the results are this novel and the next two in the trilogy.

And all it took was the impetus of a friendly challenge to spur him on to his creative dream… He still lives in South London and is very much looking forward to watching his friend fulfilling his part of the challenge: demonstrating his (not-so) newly acquired break-dancing skills, surely a sight to behold

Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads | Amazon

 

Guest Post:

There is an incident that happened to me a few years ago, that I thought might be of interest. I love travel and have been fortunate to visit over 100 countries. You get to meet all kinds of fascinating people and as often as not it is the people who either make or break a trip.

I found the people of Kazakhstan to be incredibly warm and friendly on the whole – that is, when they are not trying to kidnap you. They are hospitable and open their arms and their houses readily to foreigners and strangers in a way that puts us in the West to shame. This part of the world really is the kind of place where intrigue and exploits abound. Anyone with the slightest inkling for adventure can find it without searching too hard. However, there is also this darker side that exists in their society; the ever-present undercurrent of corruption and bribery and, in my case, kidnapping.


It wasn’t my writing that took me to Kazakhstan back in 1999. It was my primary job as a commercial airline pilot for British Airways. We had a training contract to teach the Kazakhstanis to fly the Boeing 757, a most interesting experience in itself. When my work finished, I went travelling for a while, and that was when I had my little ‘adventure’. A lot happened. Even before I was abducted I had already had a fascinating time most worthy of narrating. I will write of that in another article as you really should know how all this began. But for now, I must tell you of the kidnapping itself, so I will jump right into the midst of the whirlwind.


I awoke at the border. The vodka was still heavy on my breath but I was sober enough to realise that I was the last person on the bus, and that it was now night-time. Alas, I was not sharp enough to understand the significance of this. I really had drunk a lot. Not my fault. The bus driver was shooing me off his bus, so I collected my day-sack and climbed down.


As the bus pulled away I realised that the border, which was rather inconveniently situated in the middle of nowhere, was well and truly closed. However, there was a car waiting. In Kazakhstan there were not many proper, bonafide taxis. If one wanted to go somewhere one hailed private cars as they went by. Someone would swerve to a halt with the screech of dodgy brakes and one could barter with the man. Well, here was a car that was ready and waiting for me. Perfect. And this one had, not one man, but two.


Soon I found myself on my way. I had told the driver and his friend that I wanted to cross the border from Kazakhstan, and go to Tashkent, the capital of Uzbekistan. ‘Dah, dah,’ they had assured me. I settled back into the seat but immediately something seemed wrong. Nothing definite, just an uneasy feeling. After a short while I leaned forwards.


“Tashkent?” I asked, making sure they knew where I wanted to go.


“Dah, dah,” they again said.


I left it for a minute or so, but it was clear that Tashkent was across the border and we were heading away from the border. Away from Tashkent. Away from any signs of other people and into the bleak and barren countryside.


It is amazing how sobering fear can be. Instantly I was alert. The lurch in my stomach was not due to the alcohol but to the sudden realisation of how my stupidity had actually put me in a VERY dangerous position. I repeated my request to be taken to Tashkent. Again, they tried to convince me that all was okay. But all was most definitely not okay. And if I did not do something soon, then quite possibly all would not ever be okay for me again. I leaned forward and demanded that they stop. They did not speak English but they understood well enough. And they ignored me. I was shocked at how fast the day had gone from one amazing and joyous experience to a complete nightmare.


“Tashkent, Tashkent, okay,” they said, but this was not okay and I was not okay. They were driving me further from the border, further from any semblance of civilisation and further from safety. I looked all around, and realised that I had only one option…


On these unkempt, remote gravel roads the car had slowed to take a bend. Now was my chance. Now was my only chance. Without considering the danger, I opened the door and dived out. I do not remember how quickly we were travelling, but it can’t have been very fast as I did not seem to injure myself – or maybe that was the vodka’s protective embrace. The car screeched and complained to a halt some twenty yards away. Still close, but far enough for me to be able to affect my escape. The men were shouting at me, ‘Tashkent, Tashkent, no problem.’ Only I knew that there most definitely was a problem. And now here I was, in the middle of no-man’s land, nobody else in sight in the enfolding darkness, and my options very limited.


They were clearly as surprised by my actions as I was. I guess nobody had escaped from them in such a drastic manner before. I now had to decide. I could run back to the border, and by the time they turned the car I could probably be long gone and it would be easy to hide. If they chased me on foot I was confident I could outpace them. But either way I would be without my rucksack that I had foolishly put in the car boot. Not ideal.


Alternatively, I could dash back to the car and try to open the boot and grab my rucksack before they grabbed hold of me, but that would almost certainly end in a fight. Not good.


Or I could get back in and, fingers crossed, all would be ok. I tend to have a very positive attitude to life in general. Things just seem to work out, at least that’s how it seems in my naivety. So, I dusted myself off and chose option three.


‘Tashkent? Well why didn’t you say my good man?’ Having just dived out of a moving car I have no idea what they must have been thinking as I climbed back in. Lunatic!


For the rest of the journey I was completely awake and aware of my surroundings, keenly watching where we were going, looking out for signs of civilisation or habitation (none), noting the route, and mentally preparing myself for action. They no longer tried to convince me we were heading for Tashkent. The charade was over. Finally, we arrived at a lone farmhouse where there were two more kind-hearted men, ready to assist me with my luggage, just like a first rate, international hotel. ‘Why thank you sir, so kind. Please take my bag. Oh, and my wallet too? Be my guest…’


They escorted me into the abandoned building. I noted there were no other houses around. Inside there was no furniture or decoration to speak of. Clearly it was long-since abandoned. Just a table in a rear room, a bare light-bulb swinging, and a single chair into which I was ‘ushered’. Images of the film ‘Midnight Express’ flooded my mind. I realised if I lived to see sunrise I would be extremely lucky. They took my rucksack and ripped it open it, tipping its contents onto the cold floor like spilled intestines. I started to complain but the largest of them raised a threatening fist. I saw no weapons but who’s to know whether they had knives or not. And besides, there were four of them, after all.


They spoke no English, but I understood there was some kind of hierarchy, as though they were in the military or the police. I also understood that the best thing was to comply. Comply with their every request. Comply, right up until that moment when I thought I was about to die. And then I would fight for my life. When it was clear that I was in mortal danger then I would have nothing more to lose.


They all stood over me as I sat. I reasoned, if I acted suddenly I could probably strike one or two before they would have a chance to react. I started to plan what I would do, who I would attack first, where I would hit them as I sprang into action. If I was lucky and decisive, maybe that would swing things in my favour. Maybe I would avoid death. Maybe I could facilitate an escape. But this really was a very, VERY last resort. Until then, comply.


They went through my rucksack fairly thoroughly and found my money, which they took. Obviously. They ignored my camera, passport and sunglasses which surprised me. It was only money they wanted. However, they did not search me, so they did not find the money belt I wore. I started to think they were nervous and unprofessional. I was not sure if that made them less dangerous or more.


Time passed, and they started to argue amongst themselves. I will never know what they were discussing, but the scowls, gesticulations and glances in my direction made me think they were arguing about me. And specifically, what to do with me. Do they kill me and dump my body? Or do they let me go and risk being identified? I knew that the border here was real bandit country. I knew that my chances were not exactly great. I was preparing myself for action. If it was going to happen, then surely it would be soon. I had to be ready. Complete surprise, just like my exiting their car like James Bond (or perhaps more Jonny English), was my only chance, and a slight one at that.


I had heard of the Stockholm Syndrome – where feelings of trust or affection develop in a victim towards their captor. I wondered if I could use this to my advantage, by developing some sort of positive relationship with them. To make them see me as a person, and ultimately to set me free. I hung my head and tried to look downcast, to prompt feelings of sympathy. I sighed deeply and wrung my hands in despair, and it seemed to work, with one or two of them at least. They were all smoking, so I asked for a cigarette. One of the more apparently empathic men gave me one. It felt like a condemned man’s last cigarette in a black and white film. I looked around my grim surroundings taking it all in. The bare floorboards, the peeling wallpaper, the damp stains on the ceiling, all the while drawing on my last cigarette. This shared cigarette gave us all something in common, some form of bond; I hoped. It was the oddest experience for me. I felt detached from myself, as though I was watching a movie from above. I was curious to see how it would end. Would the luckless traveller escape? Would he be set free? Or would this be his gruesome end?


The arguing amongst them continued, for a while. Fists were shaken and voices raised. The one who seemed to be in charge was still angry, but the two empathic ones definitely seemed to be fighting my corner. Or so I hoped. Finally, they handed me my rucksack, and $20, (which they then changed to $10). To me this meant life. They were not going to kill me. I felt indescribably elated. I had a rush of warmth – maybe some of that Stockholm Syndrome flooding in. I figured the money must be to pay a taxi to take me away from them. At this, the feeling of the night changed for me. If I was not going to die then this had gone from being the worst (and last) night of my life, to possibly the most fascinating adventure. I had $10 and a pack of cards in my backpack. Suddenly there were possibilities.


What if I could entice them to play poker and I was able to gamble all of my money back…? How cool would that be! What an ending to my initially unfortunate incident. I had visions of myself and my captors-turned poker friends, sitting in the smoke filled room, perhaps sharing a tot of whiskey while I hustled them and shared jokes through the international language of alcohol. But they weren’t for playing, alas. Undeterred, I thought that I really should have a photo of the event. Nobody’s gonna believe this has happened otherwise, I thought. They said no. Unsurprisingly. But wait – I wasn’t deterred. Like those books one sees written by ex-SAS soldiers with photos of troops with blacked out eyes to preserve their identities, I tried to mime to them that they could cover their eyes. Imagine, a photo of me posing with my captors, beaming at the camera with pockets stuffed full of my poker earnings, arms on their shoulders as they cover their faces. This time the leader thumped his fist on the table when he almost shouted at me. Ok, time to stop treating it like a game. Time to get away. And live.


A car finally arrived. I was ushered outside, and my captors bade me an ‘emotional’ farewell. This car had only one driver – I checked carefully this time. He whisked me away from the house, into the night. I looked back but they were quickly lost in the darkness. After all, there aren’t exactly any streetlights in that part of the world. He drove me back to the border, to the Uzbekistani side. I was alive. I was free. I was euphoric.


The driver, a grizzled and rough man who stank of cigarettes, probably in his fifties, then turned around to face me. He held out his hand, demanding money. Adrenaline had been coursing through my body for several hours now and I was still fairly pumped for action. This was just too much for me. It really was taking the mickey. They had had quite enough from me, thanks. Now I was sober and it was one against one, mano a mano. I swore at him in no uncertain terms. Despite our lack of a common tongue, he most definitely got my meaning. It would have been hard to misinterpret me. I got out and think I may even have slammed the door. This time however, I remembered my rucksack. I had been kidnapped for a few hours. It was now early morning. I was tired, cold and thirsty, and stuck at the border. What now? I may have been free, but unbeknownst to me my ordeal was far from over…


For some reason there were three other cars at the border. They seemed to have nothing to do with the kidnappers although I still have no clue what they were doing there at that time. I approached them and asked for a cigarette (they were smoking – obviously). One spoke a little English so I explained my situation to him and asked for help. Kindly he agreed to take me to Tashkent. When they’re not abducting you and threatening your life, they really are very decent people. I checked into the Sheraton, absolutely amazed that I was not dead and feeling extremely happy with life. I went straight to the bar – still open – and had the best beer of my life, whilst telling the barmaid, ‘I’ve just been kidnapped, don’t you know!’


The fact that I was now in Uzbekistan without actually crossing the border and without having my passport checked, did not register as important. Not yet, anyway!

 

 

Books I Read in April ’17

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Flash Point

by C.L. Schneider

34390986An amazing start to a new series by C.L. Schneider.

I loved the multi-dimensional characters, the humans, the dragons and the half human/half dragon like Dahlia. Dahlia is a strong and complex female character, and completely believable.

The plot was original and well thought out. The story is fast-paced, easy to read and kept me on the edge of my seat from start to finish.

I’m looking forward to reading the next book in this outstanding series.

 

Slated for execution, shapeshifting assassin, Dahlia Nite, flees her world to hide in the human realm. As payment for the shelter they unknowingly provide, Dahlia dedicates herself to protecting humans from what truly lives in the shadows. Moving from town to town, she hunts the creatures that threaten an unsuspecting human race; burying the truth that could destroy them all.

But the shadows are shifting. The lies are adding up. And when Sentinel City is threatened by a series of bizarre brutal murders, light is shed on what should never be seen. The secrets that have kept humanity in the dark for centuries are in danger of being exposed.

Wrestling with a lifetime of her own deceptions, Dahlia investigates the killings while simultaneously working to conceal their circumstances. But with each new murder, the little bit of peace she has found in this world begins to crumble. Each new clue leads her to the one place she thought to never go again. Home.

Flash Point is the first book in The Nite Fire Series.

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Crimson Moon

by Sherri A. Wingler

34322812This superb start to a new series is a fun, and easy to read, book.

It’s loosely based on the Red Riding Hood fairytale, but so much better.

Sherri A. Wingler brought her characters to life and I joined Red, Grey and Wolf on their journey to ‘grandma’s house’.

The booked grabbed me on the first page and held on to me right to the end. Now I can’t wait to read the next book and find out what happens next to Red, Grey and Wolf.

 

In the old days, people whispered about the wolf, said he came only at night, and only by the light of the full moon. They locked their doors and huddled close to their fires, safe in the knowledge they could prepare for his coming. The truth is, no one is safe, because the wolf walks in the skin of the man. Always.

Harlow Hayes is a runaway, thief, and failed Southern belle. Forced to grow up fast after what her mama delicately referred to as, ‘the incident,’ she learns the hard way not all strangers are kind, real monsters hide in plain sight, and family can be found in the most unexpected places.
Harlow Hayes is about to meet the Wolf.

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The Gallows Novels Box Sets (1-3 & 4-6)

by Sharon Stevenson

Twins, Shaun and Sarah are as different as chalk and cheese, but both are demon trackers.
Shaun is more of a loner and doesn’t like his job, while Sarah jumps in with both feet and gets the job done, while still finding time for her friends. The story is told from their points of view which, in my opinion, gives more of an insight into their individual characters.

Demons, vampires, werewolves, witches and fairies… this series has them all!

The books are fast-paced, easy to read, and enjoyable. I originally bought book 1, but having read that, bought the box set 1-3 followed soon after by the second box set (books 4-6).

 

Book 1
19-year-old twin demon trackers Shaun and Sarah Gallows are used to running into trouble – mostly the kind with fangs – but while Sarah embraces her powers to their fullest extent, trusting her instincts implicitly, Shaun distances himself from his abilities and can do little more than despair at his sister’s reckless nature and idly back her up.

When they come across 17-year-old Melissa Carling, a demon tracker who’s been torturing innocent super-naturals, they know they have to stop her. Sarah is desperate to punish Melissa for what she’s been doing but Shaun’s instant attraction to the girl points to a soul-mate bond stronger than anything he’s ever had to fight before…

Book 2
Twin demon trackers Shaun & Sarah Gallows are getting used to dealing with supernatural threats…

Six months after Sarah’s reckless choice, she is struggling to deal with what she has done and trying to find a way to break free from the demon bond she has made. She finds out the vampire lied about his maker and she’s faced with more difficult decisions.

Clueless to what his sister is going through, Shaun has been spending time in White Oaks on the pretence of training with his parents. He’s determined to find out who Elle’s working for, and he’s thinking about asking her out, maybe.

A new threat surfaces in White Oaks and the twins have to neutralise it before things get out of hand, and before the Council find out. It would just be another day’s work, if Shaun wasn’t being accused of murder and Sarah wasn’t being driven to distraction by her demon…

Book 3
Shaun & Sarah Gallows are demon trackers, hunting down and dispatching supernatural threats by order of their Council.

A few months past their twentieth birthday, Shaun takes Elle to Shadows Grove to check out the site of the brutal murder he’s become obsessed with. The ill advised trip starts unlocking his own past and the mystery of his destiny begins to unravel.

Sarah realises she needs to train Ray to keep him safe. When her mother finds out she took him on a job, she gives Sarah an ultimatum that forces her rethink their relationship.

Book 4
Twin demon trackers Shaun and Sarah Gallows are used to dealing with supernatural threats but what happens when that threat comes from within?

The twins are in the middle of a murder case when Shaun is captured by werewolves. Suddenly his future as a tracker is in question. Faced with the choice of remaining as he is and continuing to serve both the Council and the Seelie Court, or becoming a werewolf powerful enough to be an Alpha and gaining a life with a mate he is already attracted to, Shaun is conflicted. His werewolf curse was corrupted after he was ravaged in battle and now a witch has removed the corruption. He has days before his first shift takes all choice away from him and he becomes wolf. Can he make his decision in time, or will it be taken out of his hands?

Meanwhile Ben has come back into Sarah’s life and is attempting to prove he has changed. She isn’t sure if she can trust him but when it comes right down to it she may have no choice. When she is marked for death she must find a way to defeat a demon and avoid being dragged to hell without the use of her physical fighting skills. Her demon bond might be the key to her survival, but can she trust War to look after her best interests when he could have her to himself in hell?

Book 5
Twin demon trackers Sarah and Shaun Gallows are used to taking out supernatural threats…

Sarah is determined to take on powerful vampire Red Carling, even if she has to work with his crazy daughter Melissa to get the job done. Together they set off to seek out the witch who made him, heading into White Oak’s one and only vampire brothel.

Shaun spends time with Teri to find out what his purpose is as the Seelie Knight. He lets slip that Roman is missing and the pressure is then on to find the Darklands fairy, heightening when Teri demands her necklace back in an attempt to find her ex-boyfriend herself. To top off his growing list of problems, his sister expects him to work with Ben to take out Red Carling’s vampires.

When Flicky accidentally summons a demon while trying to help Sarah’s best friend Dev, her confidence is shattered and her nerves shot. The twins need her magic for the big fight but she’s not so sure she’s up to the task.

Sarah knows it isn’t going to be easy but she also knows they all need to work together to get through this. It’s time for the most powerful vampire in town to eat stake.

Book 6
Shaun is suspicious that something mysterious is going on in Ravenstow and as he gets closer to uncovering the identity of the tracker who wiped Sarah’s memory, his destiny also becomes clearer.

Sarah is struggling with Ray’s extended absence. Spending all her spare time with Dev and exhausting all avenues to track her missing fiancé, she begins to let him go, angry that he hasn’t contacted her or explained himself.

Meanwhile Ray is enduring the torture of being joined with a demon to become the man he believes Sarah needs him to be. He is determined to make it through his change, but will Sarah still be waiting for him when he makes it back to her?

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Vampire Destiny by Ariel Marie

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Four passion laced stories of strong vampires meeting their destiny head on. Be prepared to see what destiny has in store for them in this erotically charged paranormal romance box set.

Summer’s Destiny

The hunters came in the middle of the night. Killing every vampire in sight. Their screams still haunted her. Summer Rayne was one of the lucky vampires to escape the massacre. She did what every other vampire had been doing for the past decade— she ran. She ran as fast and far away as she could, not knowing that destiny would lead her to her future.

Emely’s Destiny

Two years had passed since her capture. Life as a lab rat, subjected to inhumane experiments was not how Emely Winter imagined she would spend the rest of her days. She prayed for the day that she would be free, but was beginning to lose all hope. Never in a million years, would she have believed that her rescuer would be the infamous Norrix Buchner, king’s guard and champion for vampires everywhere.

Ilena’s Destiny

After finally making it to the royal mansion, as a refugee, Ilena Otoño finally felt safe. She was amongst her people and given a purpose in life as a royal nurse. Destiny had more in store for the vampiress that included her most important assignment that came in the form of the injured royal guard, Remus Vorigan.

Nicia’s Destiny

Nicia Springson was a councilwoman who fought passionately for her people during the king’s absence. She did not take too kindly to the king re-appearing after a decade-long absence. Zeke Galanis was sent to bring the councilwoman to the king. Would he be able to convince her to hear the king out and work together for the future of all vampires?

Amazon | Goodreads

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Rising Tide by Claudette Melanson

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Rising Tide will sink its fangs into you, keeping you awake into the wee hours of the night

2015 Readers’ Favorite Gold Medal Winner for YA Mystery

2015 RONE Award Finalist for YA Paranormal

2015 New Apple Top Medalist for Young Adult Ebook

Chosen as one of 400 for the second round of the Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award for 2014!!!

Could Maura’s life get any worse? …turns out it most certainly can.

Claudette MelansonIsolated and sheltered by her lonely mother, Maura’s never been able to make friends. She seems to drive her classmates away—except for the odd times they pay enough attention to torture her—but she doesn’t understand why. Maura considers herself to be a freak of nature, with her unusually pale skin and an aversion to the sun that renders her violently nauseous. Her belief is only worsened by the fact that almost everyone around her keeps their distance.

Even her own father deserted her before she was born, leaving Maura alone with her emotionally distant mother, Caelyn. Even though Maura is desperate for answers about her unknown parent, Caelyn remains heartbroken and her daughter can’t bring herself to reopen her mother’s wounds. Or is there a more sinister reason Caelyn refuses to utter a word about her long-lost love?

When a cruel prank nearly claims Maura’s life, one of her classmates, Ron, rushes to her rescue. Darkly handsome & mysteriously accepting, Ron doesn’t seem to want to stay away, but Maura is reluctant to get too close, since her mother has announced she’s moving the two of them to Vancouver…nearly 3,000 miles away from their hometown of Indiana, Pennsylvania.

If life wasn’t already challenging enough, Maura begins to experience bizarre, physical changes her mother seems hell bent on ignoring, compelling Maura to fear for her own life. Vicious nightmares, blood cravings, failing health and the heart-shattering loss of Ron—as well as the discovery of a tangled web of her own mother’s lies—become obstacles in Maura’s desperate quest for the unfathomable truth she was never prepared to uncover.

Rising Tide is PERMA FREE

Amazon | iBooks | Kobo | B&N | Smashwords |  GooglePlay

 


The Author:

16807461_743151169199840_5473379693628347019_nClaudette Melanson writes & edits in Kitchener, Ontario with her four bun babies: Tegan, Pepper, Butters & Beckett. She graduated from Indiana University of Pennsylvania with a BA in English, BS in English Education and an MA in Literature. Harboring a deep admiration of vampires since the age of five left her with the desire to eventually become one, and now fuels the creation of her favorite paranormal characters. She hopes to one day work full time as an author, since there are many, many stories playing out inside her head.

In her very scant spare time, she enjoys watching Japanese Anime and reading vampire stories…along with other genres of great fiction, as well as riding every roller coaster she encounters in both her hometown and away at signings. An advocate for good health and ketogenic eating, her favorite foods are bulletproof coffee, cashew-flour crust pizza and treats made with xylitol and almond, coconut or cashew flours.

Future dreams include a cabin boasting a roaring fire, isolated inside a snow-filled wood in the Yukon—the perfect writing spot—and the completion of dozens of future novels and stories. A Rabbit Rescue fanatic and loving bunmom, she also hopes to help rescues all over the world save many innocent lives.

Her first novel, Rising Tide was the winner of the Gold Medal for YA Mystery in the 2015 Readers’ Favorite Competition and the solo Medalist for the New Apple Summer eBook competition in the YA category for 2015. Her second, Undertow, took Honorable Mention, for YA Horror the same year for Readers’ Favorite and Honorable Mention for YA General in the same competition for 2016. Undertow was also the solo Medalist winner for New Apple’s Summer Ebook competition for 2016 in the category of YA Horror. Her first children’s book, Butters Comes Home, was a finalist in the 2016 Readers’ Favorite competion for the Children’s Book General category.

Website | Facebook | Twitter | Google+ | BookBub | Pinterest

Nicu by Ariel Marie

The Dark Shadows #5

 
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16710287_1737697886545088_335205403_oNicu Olaru, the heir to the vampire king was not a vampire to cross. Even while seething in the dungeon of the necromancers, he plotted how he would kill Sodan, their king. But first, he had to escape his prison cell. He just had to wait for the Dark Shadows to come for him. His brothers would not forsake him. They would come for him, but somehow the first person who stumbled upon him was an innocent with large brown eyes…

Samara Shamus had never experienced such a rush of power before. One look at the menacing figure locked away in the cell and she knew that he was a force to be reckoned with. The word danger dripped from every facet of his body, but for some reason, he was the only one that she could trust. Her entire future changed the night she met her first vampire.

The Dark Shadows were fighting a war to save their race. But how could Nicu focus when he had more at stake to lose than just his race?

Warning: This book contains material for those 18 years and older.

Amazon

 
The Author:

Ariel Marie is an author who loves the paranormal, action and hot steamy romance. She combines all three in each and every one of her stories. For as long as she can remember, she has loved vampires, shifters and every creature you can think of. This even rolls over into her favorite movies! She loves a good action packed thriller! Throw a touch of the supernatural world in it and she’s hooked!

She grew up in Cleveland, Ohio where she currently resides with her husband and three beautiful children.

Want to know more about her and her books? Stalk her below!

Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | Google+ | Goodreads | Amazon | Bookbub

 
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