A Free Dreamer Review: First Strike ( Dragon War Chronicles #3) by AG Carothers

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Rating: 4 stars out of 5

Previously on Dragon War Chronicles, our heroes recovered and were preparing to take the fight to a still unknown enemy. Meanwhile, startling breeding experiments were revealed.

Three sites are discovered in Russia that could hold all the answers they’ve been looking for. Three strike teams are assembled led by Xander, Kollin, and Tyler. Three simultaneous attacks are combined to make one devastating first strike against their hidden enemies.

What horrors will they discover? What plans will be revealed? Why is a member of the Dragon Council showing up on Danica’s doorstep with ultimatums?

Find out in the next exciting installment of Dragon War Chronicles.

Warning: This book contains explicit sexual contact between consenting adults. There are romantic, BDSM, and purely sexual relations shown that are MM and MF. There is also high sexual tension and alpha male posturing that will make you laugh and roll your eyes along with plenty of snark and definite teasing of dwarf-like dragons.

After the rather disappointing second part of the series, “First Strike” is a definite improvement. This book doesn’t work as a stand-alone and the series must be read in order, otherwise you’ll be completely lost. And it probably doesn’t hurt to read them back to back. I read the second part a few months ago and was actually a little bit lost at times. You really need all the nitty-gritty details here.

“First Strike” was actually quite surprising on many levels. First of all, I thought the “Dragon War Chronicles” would be a trilogy, for some reason. It’s not, there’s definitely more to come. And I’m really happy about that, because I like the universe.

Once again, there’s a lot of explicit and very hot sex. There are some BDSM scenes and at least one scene where both parties are fully shifted into their animal forms. I’ve read countless shapeshifter stories, but outside of fanfiction, this is probably the first time I’ve ever seen a fully shifted sex scene. And it was hot! I’ve always wondered why the shifters seem to be completely asexual once they’re in their animal form, so I was quite happy to finally see this.

We also get to know the characters better. People other than Danica get a bit more on-page time and it was a nice change.

Just like expected, there was a big battle towards the end. The outcome did surprise me and there seems to be more going on than meets the eye. Conspiracies abound!

Overall, “First Strike” was better than the previous book, but not as great as the first part. But I’m still happy there’s more to come and I’m really looking forward to what’s going to happen next.

The cover art by Angsty G is very in-tune with the previous two. I like the lion head, it fits the theme of this story.

Buy Links – Available on Kindle Unlimited

Amazon US

Amazon UK

Book details:

Kindle Edition, First Edition, 230 pages

Expected publication: March 8th 2019

Dragon War Chronicles Series

SYN Consulting

Secrets Revealed

First Strike

Love Urban Fantasy? Join Us for the Release Day for First Strike (Dragon War Chronicles #3) by AG Carothers (author interview,excerpt and giveaway)

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SERIES REVIEW TOUR

This series is about dragons who want nothing more than to live in peace, but refuse to be subjugated. In war there’s also love, and love is blind. Love doesn’t care about gender, race, species (in this case), or sexuality.

 

BOOK 1 of 3

Book Title: SYN Consulting: Dragon War Chronicles Book One

Author: A.G. Carothers

Publisher: A.G. Carothers

Cover Artist: Angsty G

Genre/s: LGBT Urban Fantasy

Heat Rating: 4 flames  

Length:  69 000 words/ 263 pages

Release Date: August 17, 2018

Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words Interviews A.G. Carothers

 

  • What inspired you to write about a female dragon shifter of all the possible supernatural creatures in existence?

I love dragons and had been creating my “what if” world for a while. Danica was born out of frustration mainly. I had started reading romance novels at work and found most female characters to be lacking. I wanted to write a strong female character that I liked and could relate to. Danica isn’t perfect by any means and we’ll see past her careful façade as the series progresses.

  • It’s rare to find women in fiction who ride their own motorcycles. Do you have one too or what made you give Danica her own bike? And why a Ducati?

Oh no. I haven’t ridden in almost 2 decades and I never drove myself.  Ducati makes top of the line racing bikes. Riding is really the closest she can get to flying and because she couldn’t fly that often it’s her outlet.

  • Will the series end after book three or are there any more books planned?

No. Book three is the end of the first arch within the overall arch. I have 9 books planned out so far. I have to see how things play out by then on whether or not there will be more. If not in this series I already have ideas about the post war world.

  • Why did you decide to set the story in the near future and not in the present day?

I needed Danica born during a certain time and I needed her to be an exact age when the series started. So, the year the series starts is a result of that.

  • Do you have a favourite fantasy author or book?

R.A. Salvatore has been my most favorite fantasy author since I was a kid. Since I delved into the world of Indie authors, I have a few favorites there as well. Quil Carter has a fantasy series that takes me back to when I was a kid reading Forgotten Realms and Dragonlance books. I absolutely adore it.

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Blurb

Continue to hide or help save the very kin she’s hidden from?

Welcome to SYN Consulting, the top business strategy consulting firm in Europe, home to a motley crew whose leader has a life changing secret. CEO, Danica Lestrange, is the first female dragon born in the last 800 years. Hidden from the rest of her kin and raised in the human world, she built a life that she would defend until her death.

A devious plan is unearthed while working on a new business deal that could plunge the dragons into another war with the humans. The humans may have forgotten the last dragon-human war, but the dragons have not. Will the war reveal this hidden world to the humans, or will the clans come together to defeat their enemies and maintain their anonymity?

Danica must gather her allies and help the very dragons she’s hidden from her whole life. She can only hope that she’ll be strong enough to protect her chosen family.

This is the first book in a new series about dragons who want nothing more than to live in peace, but refuse to be subjugated. In war there’s also love, and love is blind. Love doesn’t care about gender, race, species (in this case), or sexuality.

Warning: This book contains explicit sexual content between consenting adults. The sexual scenes are MM, MF, and MMF. There are romantic relationships depicted that are MM. There is also a high level of explicit language, snark, kink, and possibly bad puns and fart jokes.

This book does end in a cliffhanger. Secrets Revealed: Dragon War Chronicles Book Two is Available Now!

 

Buy Links – Available on Kindle Unlimited

Amazon US

Amazon UK

 

Excerpt

Matthew finished the last bit of his sandwich as he stood up going over to a wall of glass that overlaid the actual wall. The glass was one large computer interface, much like most of the glass in the building from the table they were eating on to elevator walls, to all the glass panel monitors of various sizes. Matt tapped on the panel bringing up several windows and enlarging them so that everyone could see. He pulled a photo of Kollin Olsen and moved it to the center.

He reached back, grabbing his bottle of water. Swallowing a mouthful, he cleared his throat and started his report. “I finished my preliminary research into KleanTech and Global Gas. You’ll never believe who Kollin Olsen is.” Danica was completely occupied with a large mouthful of her sandwich and gestured for him to continue. “He’s the next alpha to the Norwegian Dragon Clan, son of none other than Hafthór Ormsson, making him Jǫkull Ormsson, The Glacier himself.”

“Fuck!” Danica thought, looking over at Xander, who could hear her thought clearly.

“Fuck is right,” he answered out loud.

Danica took another bite of her sandwich and looked around the table at the family she had created, mulling over that bombshell. Matt, thankfully, let her take her time and waited silently while she came to terms with that disturbing news.

These SLIPs who stood by her, supported her, and loved her were, for the lack of a better word, her pack as motley as they were. They were hers to protect as much as they protected her. She thought about that as she continued to eat. Xander placed a hand on her thigh and squeezed it reassuringly. If she took this job, she risked exposure of what she was. With that, she risked not just her life, but all of their lives.

 

BOOK 2 of 3

Book Title: Secrets Revealed: Dragon War Chronicles Book Two

Author: A.G. Carothers

Publisher: A.G. Carothers

Cover Artist: Angsty G

Genre/s: LGBT Fantasy

Length:   53 000 words/194 pages

Release Date: November 2, 2018

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Blurb

Last time on Dragon War Chronicles, we left our heroes fighting for their lives in the midst of battle…

Kollin races against time to get samples of the weapon used in Canada to their lab in Oslo. Kenshin races to get Danica back home in time to save her, Aiden and Xander. Danica’s allies start to converge in Toulouse in aide and help to prepare for what may come. 

Will Kollin be able to help save Danica, Aiden, and Xander before all is lost? Will Matt be able to track down who’s responsible for a new weapon that threatens them all? What will happen when Danica’s biggest secret is revealed?

Secrets are revealed that will change the future for all dragon and SLIP kind alike. 

Warning: This book contains explicit sexual situations that are MM, MF, and MMMF. There are romantic relationships displayed that are MM and some depictions of loving and consensual BDSM relationships. There are also bad puns, a game of tag with an invisible dragon, and lions, jaguars, and bears. Oh my!

 

Buy Links – Available on Kindle Unlimited

Amazon US

Amazon UK

 

Excerpt

Kenshin relaxed back against the hull of the plane again after ending the call with Kollin.This time yesterday everything was fine. How did things get this fucked up, this quickly? Kenshin closed his eyes, and exhaustion started to seep in. The noise of the cargo plane dimmed inhis mind with each breath he took.

“I remember when I first met her.” JP’s voice cut through his attempt at meditation and Kenshin’s eyes flew open. JP continued, “She looked no older than fifteen. I thought for sure she was using a fake passport to get into La Trésor. She wouldn’t stand down though. She looked up at me, and even though she had an American passport, she spoke in fluent French, which I didn’t expect. But I also didn’t expect her to stand her ground when I tried to get her to move and go home.”

Kenshin was tempted to stop him from telling his story, to shout out that he’s being stupid for talking like that. Telling stories like that is something you do when you’re talking of the dead and DAMN IT! She wasn’t dead yet.

“Cool as a cucumber she looked me in the eye and demanded to speak to the owner. Even the threat of the Gendarmerie didn’t sway her, and she didn’t try to bribe her way in like most would have. That right there was why I finally made the call up to Olivier. And you know what she did when she finally came face to face with him?”

Kenshin turned his head towards JP. The packmates closest to them were all looking at JP completely enraptured by his tale. Kenshin didn’t know what happened, so he was curious.

JP smiled and gave a little laugh at the memory. “She didn’t do what you’d expect someone to do. She didn’t yell or demand he fire me. No, not Dani. She said, and I’ll never forget this. She said, Whatever you’re paying him, double it and put him in charge. She went on to tell him how the other bouncers didn’t look twice at her because they were too busy looking at her tits. She said it just like that too. She didn’t back down then to get what she wanted, and she’s not going to do that now. She’s strong, our Dani. She’s never backed down from a challenge, and she won’t back down from this. We have to have faith because we all know she’d have it in us.”

Claps and cheers went up around Kenshin, and he smiled probably for the first time that morning. JP was right, and Kenshin needed to keep in mind how strong she really was. Listening to him made Kenshin think about his own first time with her. He knew when he saw this arrogant kid stride into his father’s office in Kyoto, dressed the way she normally does that he just might have a way out from under his father. That he could finally be free for the first time in over two-hundred years. And make no mistake at a fraction of his age, she was a kid, and he had just spent the last sixty years helping his father build Nakamura Industries. But there was something about her, and her business proposal to his father was solid, a little crazy, but solid.

The plane quieted down as everyone settled in for the long flight home. Faith. He had faith in her all those years ago and he’d not waiver now. JP was right. Strength, determination, stubbornness. These were the things that made up their dragon. They were the things that would see her to the other side of this in one piece. Kenshin closed his eyes again and sleep finally took him now that his mind was settled.

 

BOOK 3 of 3 – NEW RELEASE

Book Title: First Strike: Dragon War Chronicles Book 3

Author: A.G. Carothers

Publisher: A.G. Carothers

Cover Artist: Angsty G

Genre/s: LGBT Fantasy

Length:  approx. 58 000 words/230 pages

Release Date: March 8, 2019

Add on Goodreads

 

Blurb

Previously on Dragon War Chronicles, our heroes recovered and were preparing to take the fight to a still unknown enemy. Meanwhile, startling breeding experiments were revealed.

Three sites are discovered in Russia that could hold all the answers they’ve been looking for. Three strike teams are assembled led by Xander, Kollin, and Tyler. Three simultaneous attacks are combined to make one devastating first strike against their hidden enemies.

What horrors will they discover? What plans will be revealed? Why is a member of the Dragon Council showing up on Danica’s doorstep with ultimatums?

Find out in the next exciting installment of Dragon War Chronicles.

Warning: This book contains explicit sexual contact between consenting adults. There are romantic, BDSM, and purely sexual relations shown that are MM and MF. There is also high sexual tension and alpha male posturing that will make you laugh and roll your eyes along with plenty of snark and definite teasing of dwarf-like dragons.

 

Buy Links – Available on Kindle Unlimited

Amazon US

Amazon UK

 

Excerpt

Aiden and Lukas were able to leave Danica’s flat right after dinner. She told everyone to go and have fun before she curled up on her couch with Bastien to watch movies. Aiden led Lukas out the office door and down to the river. He’d never been out with his Master like this, and all he wanted was to take a walk holding hands. So, they did.

As they came closer to the bridge, Aiden stopped. He pointed to some bushes that were growing against the wall. “This is where I found Bastien. He was such a small pup. His fur was matted, and he was so skinny. I knew right away he was one of us.” Lukas squeezed his hand gently. “It took me forever to coax him out and let me touch him. He was so scared. You know we still don’t know what happened to his pack or where he came from? He says he doesn’t remember, but we think he just really doesn’t want to talk about it.”

Lukas listened to Aiden ramble patiently as always. “You’ve raised him well, Aiden. He’s a fine young praeses. He’s smart and has learned a lot from everyone around him.” Lukas pulled him close and wrapped an arm around his waist.

Aiden wrapped his arms around Lukas’ neck. He was only slightly taller than Aiden, and he was slimmer, but they fit together perfectly. “That first year with Bastien was the hardest. He had nightmares almost every night. Danica would sit with him and read him stories until he fell back asleep. He’d curl up on her lap refusing to shift out of his wolf form.”

“I remember when you brought him for the first time to the pack lands for a run. That was the first time I really saw you. You were so patient with him. We only had a few pups around his age at the time, and he didn’t want to go near them, but you finally got him to play with them. That was the first time I saw you as a wolf too, and you stole my breath away.” Aiden blushed at Lukas’ praise. Lukas leaned down and nipped at Aiden’s ear. “I wanted you so much starting that day. You know you’ve been my pup for almost ten years now?”

Lukas’ deep, low voice sent shivers down Aiden’s spine as he nodded. “Yes, Master.”

“I have many plans for us, now that we don’t have to hide anymore.” One of Lukas’ hands traveled lower and cupped Aiden’s ass. Aiden whimpered softly.

 

About the Author

 

A.G. Carothers is actually a dragon very cleverly disguised as a human. They are a non-binary author of LGBTQIA Romance and Urban Fantasy, who enjoys writing original and entertaining stories. They are very excited to share the worlds they’ve created with you.


A.G. currently lives in Tennessee with their platonic life partner, who is not a dragon. They yearn to live back in Europe and will some day. In their spare time they are addicted to losing themselves in the lovely worlds created by other authors

A.G. is committed to writing the stories they see in their head without restrictions. Love is blind and doesn’t see gender, race, or sexuality.

 

Author Links

Blog/Website

Facebook

Readers Group

Twitter: @ag_carothers

Goodreads

BookBub

Amazon

 

Giveaway

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A MelanieM Review: Magic Fell (The Mages’ Guild Trilogy #1) by Andi Van

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Rating: 4.5 stars out of 5

Past and present are about to collide, and the world will never be the same.

Magic has been missing from the world for a millennium, and it’s needed now more than ever. It falls to young Tasis Kadara to revive the fabled Mages’ Guild of the Dragon’s Claw. But in a culture where arcane power is forbidden and practitioners are executed, Tasis will have to keep his own aptitude for magic secret. With nothing to direct them besides bizarre dreams and a mysterious cat, Tasis and his sister Zaree undertake a quest to discover the hidden island that was once home to the guild.

Kelwin Tiovolk departs his village following his mentor’s suggestion. As an elf wandering into human civilization, he’s in danger simply for being who he is. A brawl at an inn leads him straight into the path of the young man he’s been dreaming about, and he’s compelled to help Tasis and his sister any way he can. Together, the trio might have a chance of accomplishing their mission—or the attempt might kill them.

I walked backwards into this series with a call to review the final story in this trilogy.  One look at that blurb and I was hooked!  You see I have loved high fantasy and dragons since I can remember, reading the books of Anne McCaffrey and her Dragonriders of Pern or Ursula K. LeGuin and her Wizard of Earthsea.  And there were so many more that started me for my craving for high fantasy and elves, and magic, and lands so wondrous that I wanted to live there and never leave.

Well, Andi Van has written another trilogy that I would have adored finding at that age and actually any age.  This YA high fantasy novel is beautifully written, with great world building and characters that continue to show growth and depth as the story moves through the trilogy arc.  It’s also just fast paced enough that you can feel as though you’ve had a chance to “look around” and enjoy the highlights and jewels of each scene and new character while never fretting that the story is lagging about the need to drive to the all important final narrative destination.

In other words, the plot is beautifully balanced between the need for speed/action and the love of story and character.  Both are looked after and flourish here.

I love, love all the characters here.  The three main characters of half elf Tasis Kadara, his sister Zaree Muna, and full elf Kelwin Tiovolk  each get their own assignments in this trilogy of saving the world.  Tasis has the first installment, when the wait of one thousand years is over and he has a role to play.

We are giving the heartbreaking beginning and the devastation that begins the wait.  Then we go forward in time to Tasis and his sister Zaree.  I won’t go into  spoilers here.  But as I said the world building is gorgeous and so well done.  And the author will continue to expand on it as the story and trilogy continues.  The relationship dynamics between brother and sister,  brother and Kelwin, Kelwyn and the siblings are realistic, connectable, and scenes so remarkable in the interactions with each other that I  just thoroughly enjoyed it.

With regard to any romance or sexual relationship?  Not really. This is truly a YA story, a young YA story because the only romance is an acknowledgement of tender feelings between Kelwin and Tallis, and finally a kiss. And a lovely chaste kiss at that.  One to make you laugh and cheer a bit.  But that’s it.

No here the fantasy story about magic, the search for knowledge and something bigger ….that’s the focus and oh, how it works.

Here be Dragons!  Here’s a story not to be missed!  A trilogy in fact.  Two more reviews to come.  I highly recommend this to all ages and lovers of dragons, magic, elves, and all that includes, magical cats included.  How could I forget him?

Cover Artist: AngstyG.  Beautiful cover.  I adore it.

Sales Links: Barnes & NobleHarmony Ink Press | Amazon

Book Details:

ebook, 190 pages
Published May 19th 2016 by Harmony Ink Press
ISBN 1634768817 (ISBN13: 9781634768818)
Edition Language English
Series The Mages’ Guild Trilogy

Magic Fell

Magic Wept

Magic Triumphed

A Alisa Release Day Review: Jacked Cat Jive (The Kai Gracen #3) by Rhys Ford

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Rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars

Stalker Kai Gracen knew his human upbringing would eventually clash with his elfin heritage, but not so soon. Between Ryder, a pain-in-his-neck Sidhe Lord coaxing him to join San Diego’s Southern Rise Court, and picking up bounties for SoCalGov, he has more than enough to deal with. With his loyalties divided between the humans who raised him and the Sidhe Lord he’s befriended and sworn to protect, Kai finds himself standing at a crossroads.

When a friend begs Kai to rescue a small group of elfin refugees fleeing the Dusk Court, he’s pulled into a dangerous mission with Ryder through San Diego’s understreets and the wilderness beyond. Things go from bad to downright treacherous when Kerrick, Ryder’s cousin, insists on joining them, staking a claim on Southern Rise and Kai.

Burdened by his painful past, Kai must stand with Ryder against Kerrick while facing down the very Court he fears and loathes. Dying while on a run is expected for a Stalker, but Kai wonders if embracing his elfin blood also means losing his heart, soul, and humanity along the way.

Urban fantasy is my favorite genre and I’ve found it’s difficult to find a true UF with a m/m romance subplot.  As a result I was really excited when I read the first Kai Gracen book all those years ago.  I was over the moon when the author released the second book in the series and had high hopes for this newest installment.  The author sticks to a traditional UF plotline with a romance weaved throughout.  This newest book is my favorite one so far.
The blurb does a good job explaining the overall plot.  Kai, Ryder and Ryder’s cousin head down to Mexico to rescue some elfin refugees and along the way they run into all kinds of trouble.  There are underground tunnels and caves filled with monsters, black dogs, fires, stabbings, betrayals and new friends.  The entire thing was a wild ride from beginning to end.  Each of these books is fast paced and filled with twists and turns.  They’d make fantastic action movies.
One of my favorite things about this series is the world building and the area it is set in.  If you are familiar with the San Diego, Ca area you will recognize a bunch of things and their very creative twists in this new landscape.  I also find an extra joy when I know the area a book is set in well.  Even more so when the author knows it well too.
The best part of this book for me though was the relationship development.  The UST between Kai and Ryder has been jumping off the pages since they met in the first book.  This thing between them is a very slow burn but Ryder steps it up a notch here.  He knows Kai has a bunch of complicated issues and his acceptance and patience lead to some very tender moments.  Ryder brought his romance A game here and I admit I was a bit swoony in places.  His gestures may not seem big in a traditional romance, but for Kai they were perfect.  I loved Ryder even more by the end of this one.
The story ends with a bang.  I flipped to the last page and immediately thought “I need the next book NOW!”.  If you are a fan of this series I highly recommend this.  You need to read it as soon as it comes out.  If you have not read this series before you could follow this plot. You would enjoy the mission they’re on but you would be missing out on the emotional impact of the relationship. I recommend that you start with book one.
Cover:  The cover was done by Chris Mc Grath.  I like the cover and think it fits well with the first two in the series.

Sales Links:  DSP Publications | Amazon

Book Details:

Kindle Edition, 253 pages
Expected publication: March 5th 2019 by DSP Publications
ASIN B07L8LZSLK
Edition Language English
Series Kai Gracen #3

Mad Lizard Bites(.05)

Black Dog Blues

Mad Lizard Mambo

Jacked Cat Jive

Andi Van on Writing, Dragons, and their new release Magic Triumphed (The Mages’ Guild Trilogy #3) (author guest post)

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Magic Triumphed (The Mages’ Guild Trilogy #3)  by Andi Van

Harmony Ink Press
Cover Artist: Tiferet Design

Sales Links:  Harmony Ink Press | Amazon | Dreamspinner Press

Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words is happy to host Andi  Van here today to talk about writing, and dragons and their new release Magic Triumphed, Welcome, Andi.

 

 

“Write me a story with a dragon.”

You never think that a single sentence could change things so drastically. Or at least I don’t. But in 2007, when I decided to participate in this thing I’d heard of called NaNoWriMo, that’s exactly what my grandmother told me when I called her to tell her I had no idea what kind of story to write.

So I wrote her a story with a dragon. That was in 2007, mind you, and the original iteration of Tasis’ story was only one book long and badly written in places. Especially the ending. The ending was horrible. But I was lucky enough to have a chance to fix that, to expand my fictional world into an entire universe.

It’s been almost twelve years, and  I never thought I’d be so incredibly sad about having a book released, because Magic Triumphed being released into the world means it’s over. Done. The thing I poured my heart into as a tribute to my late grandmother is complete, and it’s kind of like losing a piece of my soul.

(When I said this to my mother, her immediate reaction was to ask me when I’m writing the fourth book. I pointed out that a trilogy is only three books long, and her response was “That didn’t stop Douglas Adams.” I mean, she has a point, but…)

It’s been a labor of love, for sure. I wrote Magic Wept and Magic Triumphed back-to-back, without a break. I lost Koi, my much-loved feline companion and deleter of chapters (via sitting on my keyboard), in the middle of the process due to old age. My roommate was pretty sure she was going to have to take me to the hospital before I ended up dead from lack of sleep (I’m not even joking about that, sadly). The characters weren’t cooperating. I had to have deadlines extended. And I had to write something near the end (don’t worry, no spoilers) that pretty much destroyed me, even if I knew how it was going to turn out. On the final day, I was up until 5 in the morning, with another author friend keeping me company until I hit send on my submission email. (Then I promptly fell into bed and stayed there for a week.)

We all know how I am by now, though. There’s a baby who can do magic he shouldn’t be able to do, and we have to know why he can do that, right? He should be getting his own story, shouldn’t he? Plus I’ve already been talking with friends about doing some crossover stories. So chances are, this isn’t the last you’ll be seeing of The Mages’ Guild.

But hey… I wrote a story with a dragon for you. I hope you like it.

You can follow along with the blog tour at http://andivan.com/magic-triumphed-blog-tour. Since the dragons are what started this whole mess (both in reality and in the story), it’s the dragons I’ll be talking about for most of the tour. Keep your eyes peeled for a random giveaway or two!

 

 

 

Blurb:

Zaree Muna would follow her brother Tasis anywhere, but she never imagined that path to lead where it has. After Tasis and his familiar fall under a magical sleep from which no one can wake them, she and her party prepare to face the mad king of Archai without him. They don’t expect the journey to lead to the Maker herself, who predicts three deaths will occur as the battle to save their world from Archai and a jealous god nears. Two of those deaths will be loved ones, and if things go wrong, the third death could spell the end of everything.

But no one ever accused Zaree of being a coward, and as she and the others go into battle to save what Tasis has rebuilt, she is ready to laugh in the face of death. The thousand-year wait is over, and none of them will accept anything less than triumph.

***  Excerpt

Vashk was waiting for them when they made their way into the cavernous dock, and Zaree, with Yldost riding on her shoulder, couldn’t help but wonder just how much the water dragon knew. She respected and trusted him, certainly, but she didn’t kid herself. He was hiding something from them. Multiple somethings, likely, and all of them important.

Yldost leaped from her shoulder and would have landed on the ground in a small heap if Zaree hadn’t caught them. Clearly the dragon wasn’t used to not having all of their feathers in place. Instead, Zaree very gently set Yldost on their brother’s snout, which was likely the place Yldost had been aiming for in the first place. They gave Zaree a grateful chirrup before turning their attention to their sibling. “Vashk. Seri na.”

Seri na,” Vashk replied, his clear voice rolling through the grotto.

Diisen var?”

“If you would speak a language we could understand, it would be appreciated,” Zaree said, catching Jorget’s nod from the corner of her eye.

Seri na is a greeting between family members,” Vashk told her.

“There isn’t really a translation for it, but it signifies family ties as well as affection. You would use it when greeting Tasis, but not when greeting Sireti.”

Zaree tilted her head slightly to one side without thinking about it, and groaned inwardly when she realized what she’d done. She’d been spending far too much time with Yldost if she was picking up their mannerisms. “I wouldn’t use it with Sireti even though he’s blood family?”

“You dislike him,” Yldost piped up. “Seri na is for loved ones. And blood does not make families.”

About the Author


Andi Van is a foul-mouthed troublemaker who lives near San Diego with a baseball bat that’s forever being used for things other than baseball, and a fondness for rum and caffeine (though not necessarily together).

Andi is fluent in three languages (English, sarcasm, and profanity), and takes pride in a highly developed—if somewhat bizarre—sense of humor.

Social media info:
Twitter: https://twitter.com/DefiantAndi
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A Chaos Moondrawn Review: Lord Seabolt (Four Families #2) by Megan Derr

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 Rating: 4 stars out of 5

I think this could be read on its own without missing anything, but the emotional impact would be greater if Finder Tolan was read first. This takes place eighteen years later. Goss is now twenty. His father Tolan is now Master Mage for the Crown. His other father Shaw has retired and teaches basic magic classes. Lords Sealore and Moonrise now have a son named Kerra, whom Goss has an ill advised crush on. Some traumatic event happened three years ago that derailed Goss’ future. His master dismissed him after the incident, so he is no longer an apprentice Binder. He is widely disliked and bullied. Tae Min is a foreign Prince visiting the kingdom for three months for academic lectures, to secure trade, and to arrange marriage contracts for his relatives. The best thing that could happen to Goss, with his infamous origins, powerful noble guardians, and this past event hanging over his head, is for an outsider to see the real him. This is told from Goss’s POV, so the reader’s sympathies will lie with him.

This is a fun short story with a fast romance where everyone gets what’s coming to them. It doesn’t have the detail of the author’s longer works, so I feel like many things could have been added to make this utterly amazing. I felt that way about Finder Tolan as well. But, that’s not fair because that’s not what this is; this is a fairytale you read on a rainy day to cheer you up when you don’t have time to read a novel. It has angst, love, sex, and the villains get their comeuppance. I still want to know what the motto of Seabolt is, so I can only hope there will be another story.

I can’t see where it says who did the cover art. It looks a little modern to me, but shows Goss likely at the Seabolt Palace.

 

Sales Links:  Less Than Three Press | Amazon

Book Details:

Kindle Edition, 65 pages
Published January 23rd 2019 by Less Than Three Press, LLC
ASIN B07L7J1SVZ
Edition Language English
Series Four Families #2

A Free Dreamer Review: Treasure (The Lost Gods #1) by Megan Derr

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Rating: 4 stars out of 5

Nine gods ruled the world, until the ultimate betrayal resulted in their destruction. Now, the world is dying and only by restoring the Lost Gods can it be saved.

Nine hundred years ago, the Dragons of the Three Storms, gods of chaos, tried to destroy their land of Kundou. Only by rising up and slaying the Dragons and stealing their power was Kundou saved. Now, that power resides in the royal family and grants them the right to rule.

But that power comes at a terrible price, and Prince Nankyokukai is determined that he will be the last to pay it—even if it means surrendering his chance with the man he has waited for his entire life.

I can’t believe it took me seven entire years till I finally got around to reading “Treasure”. I don’t know why I didn’t read it sooner, but it was worth the wait.

Okay, I have a thing for dragons and mermaids and gods and pretty much everything this book had on offer. But it’s so rare to find all these things combined in one single book. Needless to say, I was utterly thrilled to find all of it rolled into one, with an interesting love story on top.

The world building was well done and not something I’ve come across before. There are several names that are actually Japanese or Russian words. But since I don’t speak either of those languages, the meaning escaped me. I’m honestly not entirely sure what to think of real languages in a completely made up world, that has absolutely nothing to do with our own. Even though I’m an atheist in RL, I’m absolutely fascinated by Fantasy religions. And “Treasure” certainly didn’t disappoint in that regard. Religion is actually pretty important part of this universe and I quite enjoyed the concept.

The romance is also vital to the story. We actually have two couples in this book. I think that was a bit ambitious and the second kind of fell by the wayside. I rooted for Kin and Kyo and thought they were absolutely lovely together. But I felt like they were the main couple of the book and kind of expected a second book about the other couple. Their romance just didn’t feel as fully realized.

The plot was full of action and I really didn’t expect the way it ended. That was one hell of a plot twist, that I definitely didn’t see coming!

As much as I enjoyed the book as a whole, it really could have used a slightly more thorough spellcheck. Several times, Kin and Kyo got mixed up and it really pissed me off. If you can’t keep your MCs apart, then maybe you shouldn’t give them such similar names! Mixing them up is a major no-go and I was actually tempted to rage quit just because of that.

The cover by Leburdendesigns is very pretty. The map is quite fitting, the MCs spend most of the book travelling.

Sales Links:  Less Than Three Press | Amazon

Book details:

ebook, 250 pages
Published January 25th 2012 by Less Than Three Press (first published 2012)
ISBN 139781936202997
Edition Language English
SeriesThe Lost Gods #1

A MelanieM Pre-release Review: Jacked Cat Jive (The Kai Gracen #3) by Rhys Ford

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Rating: 5 stars out of 5

Stalker Kai Gracen knew his human upbringing would eventually clash with his elfin heritage, but not so soon. Between Ryder, a pain-in-his-neck Sidhe Lord coaxing him to join San Diego’s Southern Rise Court, and picking up bounties for SoCalGov, he has more than enough to deal with. With his loyalties divided between the humans who raised him and the Sidhe Lord he’s befriended and sworn to protect, Kai finds himself standing at a crossroads.

When a friend begs Kai to rescue a small group of elfin refugees fleeing the Dusk Court, he’s pulled into a dangerous mission with Ryder through San Diego’s understreets and the wilderness beyond. Things go from bad to downright treacherous when Kerrick, Ryder’s cousin, insists on joining them, staking a claim on Southern Rise and Kai.

Burdened by his painful past, Kai must stand with Ryder against Kerrick while facing down the very Court he fears and loathes. Dying while on a run is expected for a Stalker, but Kai wonders if embracing his elfin blood also means losing his heart, soul, and humanity along the way.

In a series that by turns has been dark, gritty, wondrous, and wild in the previous stories, Jacked Cat Jive has me gobsmacked with it’s , dare I say it, jacked up gloriously layered plot,  the multiple story threads running and twisting and turning each pulling your attention this way and that, while the author carefully weaves a vivid complicated tapestry that will pull them all back together into a stunning whole.

It’s a stunning series, grounded in a warped universe where dragons fly over cracked highways, elven palaces grow themselves, and the peace between humans and non is tentative at best in a world where neither quite understands the new laws of nature and reality can buckle along with the ground.

If someone would ask me what are my favorite elements, I couldn’t tell them, because there are far too many.  From the world building to the characters and the weirdly complicated, often twisted relationships.  This is a harsh landscape, not only of land but of the mind and soul.  And Rhys Ford gives us the same tortured, determined, and incredibly real beings that now inhabit it.

Kai Gracen has undergone many changes since , the first story in the series, Black Dog Blues.  He’s grown, learned more about his past, accepted responsibilities ,j and given much thought as to what his genetic pool makes him as a person.  It’s a journey of self that continues, along with his relationship with Ryder, the High Lord of the Southern Rise Court (Mad Lizard Mambo (Kai Gracen #2).  Talk about your slow burn!  They haven’t even kissed yet!  And it’s book three!

This story is so crammed full of high adventure, suspense, breathtaking hijinks and political manipulations of all sorts along with the just ol pull at your heart emotions that this author never forgets is needed as the heart that holds it all together.  It’s the perfect combination of them all and I couldn’t stop reading once I started, I think I ended somewhere around 3 am.

We are introduced to new characters even as we brace to let old ones go. Ford breaks our hearts even as she prepares us for further attachments and excitement to come.  Really this is my favorite story in the series yet.  And that is saying something.  Because this series is already full of favorites.

The writing is tight and flows like a fast moving river.  The characters are both real and fantastical, flawed and incredibly moving.   And the universe building, which continues to evolve, is absolutely stunning.

If you love urban fantasy, here is a series for you.  But they are not standalone stories but should be read in the order they are written.    Already I’m primed for the next in the series.  I can’t wait to see what’s in store for Kai, Ryder, and everyone they care for.

I highly recommend this and all the stories listed below.  Stay tuned

Cover Artist: Chris McGrath. I like the cover, Bright, colorful although not quite as edgy nor my idea of Kai.

Sales Links:  DSP Publications | Amazon

Book Details:

Kindle Edition, 253 pages
Expected publication: March 5th 2019 by DSP Publications
ASIN B07L8LZSLK
Edition Language English
Series Kai Gracen #3

Mad Lizard Bites(.05)

Black Dog Blues

Mad Lizard Mambo

Jacked Cat Jive

Artist Spotlight: Reese Dante. Book Cover and Artist Month Continues. This Week at Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words

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Cover Art by Reese Dante

Book Cover and Artist Month Continues

Artist Spotlight: Reese Dante

When people ask me to name favorite cover artists, Reese Dante’s name pops immediately into my mind.  Over countless stories, from Amy Lane to Mary Calmes to T.J. Klune to C.S. Poe and so many other authors, there has been one stunning cover after another.  These book covers offer an amazing arrange of tone, coloration, composition, and even style depending upon the needs of the author and novel.  But they never fail to pull you in, hold your eye, make you linger over the artwork, and then want to read the story within.

These covers are gorgeous, compelling, and often magic.

Reese Dante’s designs can run from singular images to complicated forms and everything in between.  From explosions of color to subtle hued covers in greys and whites, both carrying an impact.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I couldn’t wait to hear Reese’s answers to our questions.  So on to our interview.

Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words Interviews Artist Reese Dante!

Thank you so much for the invite!

How long does it takes to put together a cover draft and whether or not they make multiple drafts to show authors/publishers?

That varies with each assignment. Image hunting is extremely time consuming, especially when character modifications are required. But once I have the images selected for a project and know all the character changes needed/requested, I move rather quickly through the design process. Start to finish (including finding the right pics to work with) can take anywhere between a few hours to a full week or more. Again, it all depends on the project.

How much of your covers are original art and how much do you rely on using content purchased elsewhere?

Most of my work involves photo manipulation. I would say about 80-90% of my covers use licensed stock material as a starting point. There are times when I can’t find a resource I need or I’m just too stubborn and want to incorporate something specific. In those instances, I digitally paint what’s needed (such as a tattoo design element, a piece of missing clothes, etc).

How much input comes from the author and/or storyline?

That varies with each assignment and client. With publishers, there are house styles to consider and some are more restrictive than others regarding the level of input to incorporate. For my non-publisher work, all assignments begin with a spec completed by the author. The responses address a mix of questions about their story (characters, tone, time period, design preferences, etc). Some authors start the process knowing exactly what they want while others give me total creative freedom. Even with that creative freedom, the idea is sparked from something the author noted in a response. And ultimately, the tone and theme in their story determines the colors and style I use to finish off a design.

How did you get to become a cover artist?

Years ago, one of my friends needed a cover for a poetry book and asked me to design the cover. When he published his second poetry book, he asked me to design the cover for that one as well. I enjoyed the process and it was a welcome escape from my corporate office job. Some time later, another author friend asked me to design a cover for his first book, and I agreed. After he published his story, word started spreading and I received requests from other authors. One cover led to another and so on.

What mediums do you use?

I would be lost without Photoshop and my Wacom tablet. I also use a mix of software for my vector and illustration work. And when push comes to shove, I revert to my older drawing days and sketch something out with pencil then scan it in.

Do you have a favorite cover you have done?

That’s like asking me to pick my favorite child. 🙂 In truth, there are too many and for different reasons (the author, the story, elements of the piece, or the overall experience). Some designs have challenged me to try new techniques and illustrate something original. While others provided a creative outlet to help me cope while dealing with something personal in life. I have many favorites, whether the author knows it or not.

Do you have a favorite cover artist yourself?

There are tons of cover artists who create beautiful covers and some are truly gifted in what they can do with their creativity. I have favorite artists for different reasons and specialties. It’s impossible to pick one. Some have a gift for using vivid colors, digital drawings that leap off the page, and some can make something so simple look absolutely breathtaking.

Did you look at book covers or were influenced by book covers as a child?

As a book cover designer, I do look at other covers in order to determine market trends for the various genres.

As a child, I spent more time watching movies than I did reading books. 🙂 I was obsessed with movie posters while growing up. When I was a teenager, I reached out to two store owners who received promo items for movies they were selling or renting at the time. When they cycled through movie posters and promos, rather than throw them out, they would give them to the nagging teenager (*me*). My bedroom walls were wallpapered by movie posters—even the ceiling (I did mention I was obsessed). So I can easily say movie posters are a huge influence on my work.

What do you find most rewarding as a Book Cover Artist?

So many things. I get to do what I love and I’m forever grateful. The creative freedom feeds my soul and the author squee is priceless. There’s nothing more exciting than an author telling me I’ve nailed their character or story on the design.

If you could ask yourself a question, what would it be?

Do you realize how much you obsess with details?

What or how do you see the role of the Book Cover?

Unless you’re an auto-buy author for the reader, the book cover is a critical marketing piece. The cover is the first encounter a reader has with any story when book shopping. Its job is to entice the reader to stop and take a closer look at the book.

How has the eBook format changed that , if any?

Book covers are still important when book shopping. With the dominance of eBook formats, book covers now need to show well as B&W images and at thumbnail size, more so than a printed paperback on a bookshelf.

What trends do you see in Book Covers in the industry? Past, present, and future? {for example the rise of the naked half male torso, model overuse ,generic covers ,etc.)

Trends cycle (and sometimes recycle) and vary by genre. Whether it’s a cropped face or naked torso, there’s a recent push toward single model covers.

How do you feel about them?

I don’t have an issue with single model covers (or any trend) if it fits the character and/or story.

Thanks for taking the time to stop by. And thank you for all the amazing comments, gifs, and messages over the years. ❤

For more of Reese Dante’s artist, don’t forget to check out her website and the portfolio.  You will recognize many of your favorite stories and covers there!  I’ve only given you all a tiny sampling here.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

For more about Reese Dante, visit

Reese Dante | Book Cover Artist & Designer

 

 

Original drawing by the artist

About the Artist

Art has always been a part of my life.

Ever since I can remember, I’ve loved art. There wasn’t a safe piece of paper in my home. I doodled everywhere and everything…papers, magazines, envelopes, brother’s homework. Then I started sketching people. I’d go through a magazine and rip out ads, preferably in color, then try to redraw them in a pencil sketch. I’d obsess until I thought it was just as strong as the color photo.

I’m a perfectionist and enjoy a challenge.

I’ve drawn and designed for years, but my first professional logo was used in 1991 for a community development and my first (published) book cover design appeared in 2005. I hold both a BBA with a specialization in Marketing and an MBA. After working for a national corporation in a marketing position for 15½ years handling all creative aspects of the company, I realized it just wasn’t enough…something was missing. The day-to-day slowly overpowered the creative elements of the job until there was nothing left but management tasks and responsibilities. I realized I enjoyed art a little too much to let it go. I started actively designing book cover art in December 2009 to fuel my creative need. People began asking about my covers and availability (thank you – I am forever grateful). I am now a full-time book cover artist and designer, using my marketing background to create art that grabs the reader’s attention. And I’ve never been happier.

My only regret…not having started this sooner.

As a teenager, my walls were covered by movie posters.  Maybe it’s subliminal after staring at movie posters for so many years.  I don’t know, but I do love a good story, especially those told in a picture.

Reese Dante
Book Cover Art & Design
rdante@reesedante.com
reesedante.com

Twitter: @ReeseDante
Facebook

I hope everyone enjoyed this week’s spotlight with Reese Dante. Next week Paul Richmond will be visiting with us. It has been a joy getting to know her further.  Please check out more of her artwork and stories at her website listed above.

Cover Artist Giveaway:

Please don’t forget to leave comments or questions for our artists to be entered into our Book Cover Artist Giveaway, a Gift Certificate for $10 the person chosen.  Please leave a email address where you can be reached.  Open until St. Patrick’s Day.
Now for this week’s reviews and tours.  Happy Reading and Listening!
We have more Artist Spotlights Scheduled. The schedule to date (with links in case you missed one):
February 09:  Aisha Akeju
February 10:   Garrett Leigh
February 17:   Meredith Russell
February 24:  Reese Dante
March  3           Paul Richmond
Until next week, happy reading and listening!  Here is our schedule at the blog this week.  Enjoy!

This Week at Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words

Sunday, February 24:

  • Artist Spotlight: Reese Dante. Book Cover and Artist Month Continues.
  • This Week at Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words
  • Ties of Destiny by Caitlin Taylor Blog Tour
  • An Alisa Review : Letting Go (The Knights Club Series#2) by CJ Baty

Monday, February 25:

  •  PROMO Empire of Light by Alex Harrow
  • BLITZ Severed by Shona Husk
  • Blog Tour Post for A New Life by Mel Gough
  • An Alisa Review: Fire and Ink by KL Noone
  • A VVivacious Review Snowed In: Nen and Anani by Nell Iris
  • A Barb the Zany Old Lady Audio Review: Magic Runs Deep by Alex Whitehall  and Adam R Watson (Narrator)
  • A Chaos Moondrawn Review: The Case of the Arms Dealers (Kanaan & Tilney #1) by Jenna Rose and Katey Hawthorne

Tuesday, February 26:

  • Release Blitz – Brigham Vaughn – The Ghosts Between Us
  • Release Blitz – Anna Martin – Helix
  • ECHOES by LA Ashton Promotion
  • DSP POMO Cooper West on Mixed Signals
  • A VVivacious Release Day Review: Helix by Anna Martin
  • A MelanieM PRErelease Review: Jacked Cat Jive (The Kai Gracen #3) by Rhys Ford
  • A Free Dreamer Review: Treasure by Megan Derr

Wednesday, February 27:

  • Release Blitz – Touch Of A Yellow Sun – V.L. Locey
  •  PROMO Emory Schneider
  • Cover Reveal – A.L. Lester – Shadows On The Border
  • An Alisa Release Day Review: Skin and Bone (Digging Up Bones #2) by TA Moore
  • A MelanieM Review: Echoes by LA Ashton
  • A Chaos Moondrawn Review: Concatenation (Lost in Translation #1) by Catherine Lievens
  • A Barb the Zany Old Lady Review: Milo by Lily Morton

Thursday, February 28:

  • Release Blitz, and Blog Tour – The Rising by Morgan Brice
  • Cover Reveal – Murder At Oakschott Hall – Jim Austen
  • COVER REVEAL Becoming D’Vaire by Jessamyn Kingley
  • An Alisa Review Temporary Dad (Bad Valentine #4) by Dev Bentham
  • An Alisa Review:All He Needs (My Truth #1) by Ann Grech
  • A Free Dreamer Review: Empire of Light(Voyance #1) by Alex Harrow

Friday, March 1:

  • In the Spotlight Tour and Giveaway: Demon on the Down-Low by EJ Russell
  • Release Blitz – DJ Jamison – Rapid Response
  • AUDIOBOOK REVIEW TOUR – Dance For You by Colette Davison
  • A Free Dreamer Review: Ostakis by Angelica Primm
  • A Chaos Moondrawn Review Lord Seabolt (Four Families #2)by Megan Derr
  • A MelanieM Review A Miracle for Markie by Lynn Lorenz

Saturday, March 2:

  •  Release Blitz and Review Tour – Brigham Vaughn – The Ghosts Between Us
  • Redeem by Christina Lee Release Blitz
  • A Stella Review – The Ghosts Between Us(The West Hills #1) by Brigham Vaughn
  • A MelanieM Review:That Feeling When (#lovehim #1) by S.M. James

Blog Tour for Ties of Destiny (Curse of the Crown #1) by Caitlin Taylor (excerpt and giveaway)

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Ties of Destiny Tour BannerTIES OF DESTINY

CURSE OF THE CROWN, BOOK 1

CAITLIN TAYLOR

GAY FANTASY/ROMANCE

RELEASE DATE: 10.26.18

Ties of destiny (1)


Cover designer: Dee Aditya/https://decorousanarchystudios.wordpress.com/

BLURB

When forces both inside and outside the palace walls threaten the life of Crown Prince Akoni, he finds himself in need of a guard. Someone who will protect not only him, but also his secrets – and he may have found the perfect man for the task.

Being a soldier is Jeffery’s life. He won’t be defined by his past, but fights for the present, not some future he will never see. Yet, his mandatory reassignment to the palace as Prince Akoni’s personal guard forces him to set aside his plans. His role places Jeffery in the presence of nobles whom he despises, and Prince Akoni is worse than most.

Can two men learn to trust each other, or will the secrets they carry bring about their own demise? Will having Jeffery close to him help Prince Akoni to become King – or cause more deaths? They need to depend on each other, for the sake of the future, because if they cannot, the past will only repeat itself and neither of them will survive.

If you like fantastical adventures, a blending of magic, sword fighting and technology then you will love this intriguing first installment by Caitlin Taylor.

UBL: https://www.books2read.com/u/bWz2Jz

Amazon US: https://tinyurl.com/y75vputs

Promo graphic (1)

Promo graphic(2)

Promo graphic (3)

EXCERPT

Jeffrey clenched his fists, digging his nails into his palms so hard he would not be surprised to draw blood. He tried to take a deep breath, to calm himself, but his heart beat so fast, and his mind was a hazy mass of memories. A flash of a boy being hit and falling backwards, a soldier dragging him away to await his flogging. The panther tore his leash and pounced. “You’re cruel and vicious, taking your anger out on others who cannot defend themselves against you. You’re mendacious and pernicious, careless who in your path may suffer from your actions. You were born a prince, given privileges beyond reason, and all you do is squander and abuse it.”

“That’s quite enough.” The prince sat back in his chair, his gaze leaving Jeffrey to stare at his palm. He flexed his hand as if testing its movement for the first time.

Jeffrey wheezed hard, his outburst not easing his tension in the least, instead fanning it, like wind did a flame. How could the prince remain so calm? “Do you not even care a small bit about the people around you? About the pain you inflict?”

The prince rose, closing the distance between them. Jeffrey stood unflinching. He could smell the prince now, a dark and musky scent. An unwelcome spark shuddered down Jeffrey’s back. There were only inches between their faces when the prince spoke.

“Pernicious and mendacious. Those are some big words for a solider. Do you even know what they mean?”

Jeffrey’s gaze was momentarily drawn to a pair of pink lips, full and curved. He glowered but remained quiet. They were so close, he could see the prince’s eyelashes, long and curved, framing deep-blue eyes, as closed off as the rest of the prince. Yet, Jeffrey could see depth in them, a depth he knew from another. The desire sparking inside him was utterly unwelcome, and his anger flared all the more.

“You’ve been wanting to say all that to me since you first met me. Haven’t you?” The prince’s gaze bore into Jeffrey’s, almost as if searching for something. It dropped lower. A pink tongue came out to wet dry lips. His gaze lifted when he continued, “Is there more? I bet there is.”

“You callous—”

The prince cut Jeffrey off by wrapping his hand around Jeffrey’s throat. He did not press hard—yet. Jeffrey’s skin prickled where the prince’s hand lay.

“Enough.” The prince spoke quietly, his gaze drawn to his hand where it touched Jeffrey. He cocked his head to the side and frowned. Their eyes locked again. “What are you?” he asked, gentle, curious.

Jeffrey scoffed. “To you? Another toy to play with it seems.”

“Another toy? I never had one…”

The prince worried his lip, and Jeffrey found his gaze drawn to the sight.

“Play with you? I would enjoy that, but not the way you think.”

“Do you take anything seriously?” Jeffrey kept himself still. It would be easy to shake the prince’s hold, but to do so would constitute an attack on royalty. Even in his current state, he knew better; he could not cross that line. He must not.

The prince smiled wryly. “I take a great deal of things seriously. You think I don’t care, that I sit around in my castle playing games. You’re a soldier, you couldn’t possibly understand the battles I fight every day. They may not be with swords, but they are no less lethal.”

“Battles.” Jeffrey laughed. “You’ve no idea what a battle even is. You’re not even able to fight with a real sword.”

The prince’s frown deepened. “What makes you think that?”

“You practise with the marshal, and every time you leave him you’re in pain. You can hardly walk. I bet you’re covered in bruises.”

“You’re observant. This week was the first in many years that I’ve not been able to defend against him. Thanks to you.”

“Me? I wasn’t even there!” Jeffrey sneered.

“But you are. I feel you all the time…” The prince trailed off, his gaze once more returning to his hand wrapped around Jeffrey’s throat. He let his thumb move over Jeffrey’s skin.
Caitlin Taylor Logo

Caitlin Taylor is the author of the Curse of the Crown series.

She lives in the west of Ireland – that is, until the rain stops being a good enough excuse to stay indoors with a good book and mug of hot cocoa! She has lived in Germany as well as Canada, loves travelling and exploring foreign places and meeting people from different cultures and backgrounds.

Reading has always been a beautiful escape for her and she has been creating fantastical worlds in her head for as long as she can remember. Ties of Destiny is her debut novel.

With a focus on LGBT and specifically m/m romances, expect fantastical worlds to get lost in with a side of sexy men, (probably kinky) sex, sword fighting, magic and more…



Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/AuthorCJTaylor/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/AuthorCJTaylor

Website: https://caitlintaylorbooks.com/

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