Annabelle Jay Daddy Issues in Luminosity: Book Five in the Sun Dragon Series (guest post and excerpt)

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Luminosity (The Sun Dragon #5) by Annabelle Jay
Harmony Ink Press
Cover Artist: Stef Masciandaro

Buy Links: Harmony Ink Press | Amazon

Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words is happy to host Annabelle Jay here today on her tour for Luminosity, the last in The Sun Dragon series.  Welcome, Annabelle.

✒︎

Daddy Issues in Luminosity: Book Five in the Sun Dragon Series

by Annabelle Jay

A lot of young adults have complicated relationships with their parents, especially when one of them has been gone for years. For Luke, a transgender teenager obsessed with astronomy and theories about magical worlds, her complicated relationship gets a whole lot more complicated when she finds out that her absent father is actually an incubus.

Luke’s father attacks at the worst time: during a study session with a girl that Luke has a crush on. Little does Luke know that Egret is half Igreefee, a group of magical people with environmental powers, and that her people have dealt with Incubi like Luke’s father before. After a narrow escape, Egret explains why Luke’s dad is so bent on finding her: Luke is the universe’s last Artist, a person with the ability to draw things into existence. 

As if things couldn’t get any worse, it turns out that incubi want their offspring in order to eat them and gain power. The blood of one’s offspring is the strongest of all, which puts Luke in grave danger. In the scene below, Egret must get her to the infamous Merlin’s house and under his protection without Luke’s father capturing her. However, as Luke is soon to discover, sometimes parental motivations are more complicated than they seem.

***

With a carved wooden stick in one hand and Egret’s bird feathers in the other, I sailed away from the Igreefee camp as suddenly as I’d entered it. Even though I’d only spent a few hours there, the forest dwelling had already begun to feel like home—especially because the Igreefee weren’t afraid to tell me the truth, something my own mother seemed incapable of.

“So… Grace…,” I said to start a conversation after what felt like an hour of silence had passed. “She seems nice.”

You’re a terrible liar. She’s an annoying know-it-all, but you have to admit, she’s hot.

I couldn’t argue with that.

How about you? Egret asked. Did you have a special someone or two back at your old school?

“Never.”

I didn’t mention Lacey; I wasn’t even sure she counted. Lacey had loved me, and she’d told me as much, but the Luke that Lacey loved was not the one I wanted to be. Sure, there had been a few awkward moments between us when dancing at junior prom had led to something more or a spin the bottle game that had gotten out of control, but to me, those didn’t count. I’d felt like an actor in a play, a Romeo kissing his Juliet, but after the curtain closed, I wanted to take off the costume and be myself again.

That’s a shame. Those pretty blue eyes and that long blond hair deserve some appreciation. Wait, you are into girls, aren’t you?

“Quite interested.”

Before she could question me further, a pair of red eyes appeared in the clouds on our right—and then another, and another.

“Incubi are everywhere!” I yelled, as though Egret couldn’t see them with her own eyes. “What should we do?”

Use the staff, she instructed. Just press the engraved circle in the middle and aim.

I found the circle and pressed. A beam of green light flashed like a camera, and then the incubus closest to us flew backward several feet.

Good. We’re only about ten minutes from Merlin’s house, so just keep pressing that button whenever they get close. The sorcerer will have his own protection spell in place.

I did as she commanded. Most of the incubi realized what was going on and retreated, but one incubus in particular kept coming back. Like a wild dog, he bared his white teeth and flew at us, and the staff was the only thing able to hold him back each time. The incubus tried to lunge around the circle of light, and even to swim through its force.

“You don’t think…?”

Your father? Could be, by the way your blood is making him crazy, or perhaps an uncle? I guess I can see the family resemblance. Now hold on!

Egret plunged downward toward a small city on another floating piece of rock and then, by swooping left, adjusted her course to a small pinprick of light on the outskirts.

Almost there.

She strained to move faster and faster, while the incubi threw their bodies down at us like hail by tucking their legs into their torsos. The most persistent incubus somehow got through the light and onto Egret’s wing, and no amount of shaking could release his grip.

Get him off! she yelled, or he’ll stop us from entering Merlin’s house.

I poked the incubus with the staff, then hit him with it. Stubbornly, he clung to a fistful of feathers and pulled, sending us into a barrel roll that turned my stomach. Finally, using the other side of the staff, I aimed directly for his red eyes.

Bingo.

 Blurb

As the epic saga of the Sun Dragon series draws to a close, transgender teenager Luke must face her destiny to decide the fate of her world. Not only is Luke a girl born into the wrong body, she is the universe’s last Artist: a person with the ability to draw things into existence. When she comes face-to-face with an incubus who might be her father, she learns it falls to her—along with allies from the wizard’s Council and the dragon clan leaders—to prevent the incubi from destroying the world. If that isn’t enough, she needs to find a way out of a relationship with her girlfriend that she never intended, go after the Igreefee royal she really wants to be with, and decide if the time is right to transition physically into the girl she’s always been inside.

The journey that began with Allanah’s first Sun Dragon is coming to its thrilling conclusion. The dragons, wizards, sorceresses, and birds you’ve come to know and love will reunite for their biggest battle yet—one that will decide their destiny at last.

About the Author

If there’s one thing author Annabelle Jay believes with all her heart, it’s that there is no such thing as too many dragons in a book. As fantasy writer with few other hobbies—does being bribed to run with her partner or dancing awkwardly in the kitchen count?—she spends every day following her imagination wherever it leads her.

A hippie born in the wrong decade, Annabelle has a peace sign tattoo and a penchant for hugging trees. Occasionally she takes breaks from her novels to play with her pets: Jon Snow, the albino rabbit who is constantly trying to escape; Stevie, the crested gecko that climbs glass with the hairs on its toes; and Luigi, the green tree python that lives at the foot of her bed despite her best efforts to talk her partner out of the idea.

During her day job as a professor of English, Annabelle is often assumed to be a fellow student playing a prank on the class—that is, until she hands out the syllabus. When people stop mistaking her for a recent high school graduate, she will probably be very sad.

Author’s Website: www.annabellejay.com

Twitter: @AnnabelleAuthor

Instagram: @AnnabelleAuthor

Publisher’s book page: https://www.harmonyinkpress.com/books/luminosity-by-annabelle-jay-529-b

Goodreads author page: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/14191901.Annabelle_Jay

Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/Annabelle-Jay-376249719245415

A Free Dreamer Review: A Question of Counsel (The Republic #1) by Archer Kay Leah

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Rating: 3.5 stars out of 5

Life hasn’t been easy for Aeley since she arrested her brother, and her role as a political leader leaves her feeling isolated and lonely. Days before her brother’s trial, she meets Lira, a quiet and modest scribe who makes Aeley want more than just a professional relationship. When she attends the trial and leaves with a marriage contract, Aeley doesn’t know what to do. She must choose one of two brothers, marrying into a family she doesn’t know.

Then she discovers that Lira is part of the same family-a sister to Aeley’s suitors and the family’s disgrace. And not at all opposed to an intimate relationship. Except random acts of violence against her people test Aeley’s ability as a leader, and a web of lies and deceit threaten not only her chance at happiness, but her life…

A Question of Counsel is one of my very first F/F books. I’ve never really liked books with female leads, no matter the genre, so I never thought to read a story with a lesbian couple. But my reading tastes have evolved over the years and the blurb sounded so tempting, I just had to give it a shot. And I’m glad I did.

I quite liked Aeley from the beginning. She’s a tough woman and definitely no damsel in distress, but she’s not perfect either. She drinks too much and can be a little grumpy at times. And she’s apparently not very good at flirting and courting women. She made me laugh a lot.

I loved the flirtations and courtship between Aeley and Lira. Loved the sexual tension as well. And the one explicit sex scene we get was absolutely scorching hot.

While I liked both protagonists and the romance between them, the rest of the plot fell a bit short. The beginning starts right in the middle of things and I felt like I missed a prequel or something. I’d hoped there would be more explanations as the plot moves on, but I always felt a little lost. So much happened before the beginning of the book, it just left me with a big fat question mark.

Another issue I had with this book was the world building, or rather the lack thereof. Throughout the book, I was left wondering just what genre this book was trying to be. A sort of historical AU? Fantasy? Or something completely different? It had a historical feel to it, but there’s four Goddesses and homosexual relationships are perfectly normal. It just had me completely puzzled.

So while I enjoyed the romance part of the book, the rest was just confusing. Still, I did quite enjoy the book for the most part and there’s definitely potential for an interesting sequel.

While the cover by Natasha Snow looks pretty cool, it might give the wrong impression. There is no BDSM in this book.  As long as you don’t take the blindfold too literally, it does fit the book, though.

Sales Links:  Less Than Three Press | Amazon

Book details: ebook, 184 pages

Published May 27th 2015 by Less Than Three Pres

A Stella Review: The Seafarer’s Kiss by Julia Ember

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RATING 5 out of 5 stars

Having long-wondered what lives beyond the ice shelf, nineteen-year-old mermaid Ersel learns of the life she wants when she rescues and befriends Ragna, a shield-maiden stranded on the mermen’s glacier. But when Ersel’s childhood friend and suitor catches them together, he gives Ersel a choice: say goodbye to Ragna or face justice at the hands of the glacier’s brutal king.

Determined to forge a different fate, Ersel seeks help from Loki. But such deals are never as one expects, and the outcome sees her exiled from the only home and protection she’s known. To save herself from perishing in the barren, underwater wasteland and be reunited with the human she’s come to love, Ersel must try to outsmart the God of Lies.

I fell in love with this book since the first time I saw its cover, too cute and well done to be ignored by a cover whore like me. Then I read the blurb and guess what? The first cartoon I remember from my childhood, which videotape I still save, is The Little Mermaid, that’s why I was so curious to see how a new to me author would turn this fairytale into a FF retelling.

I have to say I loved The Seafarer’s Kiss a lot. I took my time at reading it and each time I put my eyes on a new chapter, I was surprised and satisfied. First of all the characters were awesome, each of them, they were beautifully delined and the growth they went throught was clear and always positive. Ersel in particular was beautifully done, she was fierce and brave, as Ragna was too. And that was the reason why they were a match made in heaven.

Nothing in the plot has been left to the chance, how and why our MCs met, why they needed to be parted, how they were together again, and the lovely happy ending. Mixed with these, a lot of things happened, event after event that took me engaged till the end. I got to know some great characters, like Ersel’s mum, who broke my heart with her huge love for the daughter she is ready to let go, and then Havamal, the ex-bestfriend who betrayed Ersel, and the dreams they made together, to join the guards of the evil king.

The story took place in a well craft world and it surprised me, I wasn’t waiting for so many details, I was able to understand and emphatize with not just Ersel but with Vigdis too, the popular girl. I felt the despair they had in their souls, how both of them, differently, were ready to do everything it was possible to fullfill their dreams. The writing was perfect for a book like this, where I so wanted to be able to see in my mind this magic world and its ihnabitants. It’s an evocative writing, I could picture every word I read, every new character I met. And I fell for all of them.

I don’t want to say more about the plot because I don’t want to spoil your reading, but I was deeply conquered, all the little twists the author gave to me, were little steps to the success The Seafarer’s Kiss was to me. In this book you can find a contemporary story, with some young adult elements and a fairytale with some mythology added. All blended together.

I have to say, I would so love to read the same story told by Ragna, it would be a copletely different story. I think following her in her travellings and mis/adventures would be incredible and truly exciting. I have just to try and convince the author.

The cover art by CB Messer is so fitting, the same scene can be easily find in the story, exactly like this. And it’s cute, and the style and the colors just perfect.

Sales Links:  Interlude Press | Amazon

BOOK DETAILS

Kindle Edition, 224 pages

Published May 4th 2017 by Duet, an imprint of Interlude Press

ASIN B01MUJHWTO

Edition Language English

A Julia Review: The Seafarer’s Kiss by Julia Ember

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Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

Having long wondered what lives beyond the ice shelf, nineteen-year-old mermaid Ersel learns of the life she wants when she rescues and befriends Ragna, a shield-maiden stranded on the merfolk’s fortress. But when Ersel’s childhood friend and suitor catches them together, he gives Ersel a choice: Say goodbye to Ragna or face justice at the hands of the glacier’s brutal king.

Determined to forge a different fate, Ersel seeks help from the divine Loki. But such deals are never straightforward, and the outcome sees her exiled from the only home and protection she’s known. To save herself from perishing in the barren, underwater wasteland and be reunited with the human she’s come to love, Ersel must try to outsmart the God of Lies.

Being an avid reader of the Fantasy genre myself, The Seafarer’s Kiss by Julia Ember had me intrigued as soon as I laid eyes on it. I find mermaids to be one of the most fascinating mythical creatures and yet I can hardly recall any Fantasy novels in which they play more than a supporting role. So, since the protagonist in this one is in fact a mermaid, I was really hoping that the author would grant a closer look into the society, customs and lifestyle of the merfolk. And thankfully I was not disappointed in the least!

The novel features a close-knit community of merfolk living inside a glacier far up in the frozen North with strict societal rules and traditions. As a reader you get to experience their way of life through the eyes of young Ersel from whose first-person perspective the story is told. World and lore building are one of the key aspects of Fantasy writing and I was immediately drawn in by the loving details the author used to describe how the merfolk lived and their society worked. The people of the sea really take the centre stage here and we are handed only small pieces of information on what the lives of humans are like in this world. I also very much enjoyed how the merfolk’s way of life was so closely entwined with the harsh and cold environment they lived in. The author did a good job in depicting the icy landscape and some of its inhabitants (most prominently a pod of beluga whales). A nice touch of magic and Norse mythology is added as well.

The novel features a varied cast of characters with the mermaid Ersel as its main protagonist. She does not want to lead the life dictated to her by the community’s traditions and laws but is too scared and timid to openly oppose them at first. A focus of the story lies on her personal development as she is repeatedly faced with new experiences and difficult decisions that impact her own future as well as others’.  The most profound of said experiences being when she meets Ragna, a fierce young human woman bent on survival and revenge. Ragna acts in many ways as a mirror for Ersel: They both have dreams and goals they want to achieve but unlike her Ragna has the courage and will to actively work towards and fight for them. At the same time Ersel comes to Ragna’s aid and becomes the friend and support the human girl desperately needs. The relationship that starts to blossom from this encounter was a delight to witness and I found myself rooting for them to succeed in their ambitions as well as their growing feelings for each other. Their story is one of self-discovery, compassion, determination and sacrifices.

Other types of relationships are explored as well, especially the one between Ersel and her childhood friend Havamal with whom she used to share a strong bond before he decided on a different path in life than the one they had once dreamed of together. And then there is of course Ersel’s deal with the infamous trickster god himself who, while being a divine entity, displays some rather human-like traits as well. I also quite enjoyed the magical aspects of this part of the story. 

Since this is a Young Adult novel the sex scenes are not described in detail but they are still teased enough to let the imagination run wild.

I had a great time reading this novel and enjoyed learning about the fascinating world the author had created. The characters, their motivations and interactions were very engaging as well. I will definitely be keeping an eye out for more from this author. 

The intricate cover design by CB Messer is what drew me to this novel in the first place. It is probably one of the most beautiful book covers I have ever seen. The art and colour choices are truly lovely. It immediately invokes a sense of ancient legends and fairy tales.

Sales Links

 Interlude Press | Amazon |Barnes & Noble   | Target | iTunes |  Google Books 

Smashwords | Book Depository  | Indiebound

Book Details:

ebook, 224 pages

Published May 4, 2017

by Interlude Press (Duet Books, a YA Imprint of Interlude Press)

ISBN: 978-1-945053-34-4

Edition Language: English

A Julia Review: Realm of Passion (Sexy Snax #114) by Courtney Breazile

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Rating: 1.5 out of 5 stars

Irresistible magic in a tempting body.

Callie’s body is the perfect hiding place for the magic of the fairy realm. Malia is the perfect guard for her body against the demons determined to have the magic for themselves. Malia can’t resist the magic—it calls to her—and Callie’s body is as close as she can get to it. Surprised to find the body so welcoming, Malia refuses to give it up once she has it.

What can I say about Realm of Passion by Courtney Breazile? First of all, I have never read anything that felt so rushed before – be it short story, novella or novel. The storyline has enough content that you could and should fill at least twice as many pages with it. It is basically a plot worthy of an entire novel pushed into the format of a novella. Scenes that feel like they should be important for character and plot development are only given a quick mention consisting of no more than a couple of sentences. The lore is hastily explained and very standard for a fantasy story. Even though the end takes place in a completely different realm than ours, there is only just the faintest trace of world building and we learn hardly anything about the fairy realm or its inhabitants.

The characters are of course majorly suffering from the hasty writing as well. We get to learn next to nothing but the most superficial information about their personalities, relationships and motivations. They cannot respond to events with the proper amount of emotions or opinions since there is almost no time before jumping to the next scene. In the beginning, for example, Callie loses a patient on the operating table, goes to puke in the bathroom and is already contemplating on treating herself to dinner two paragraphs later – seemingly without any repercussions of just watching a woman die under her hands a few hours earlier! The reader is not nearly given enough time and exposition to become involved with the characters and their actions in any shape or form. Therefore, the characters feel empty and impersonal. The person, who is supposed to be the main villain, receives probably one and a half pages of appearance time in the end and the two supporting characters are apparently killed but it is only mentioned briefly afterwards and no one seems to care anyway.

The worst example for this lack of proper character development is Callie, the main protagonist, whose feelings and decisions make almost no sense whatsoever. She lives a normal life until she finds out that magic is real and demons are coming to hunt her down because she carries magic within her that is needed to save the fairy realm. Oh, and she can now shoot beams of light from her hands that incinerate people. Basically, within a chapter of learning all of this and being kidnapped, she can only seem to think of one thing: hot sex with her fairy kidnapper who, of course, also immediately lusts after Callie in return! The sex scenes are described in greater detail than any other more plot-relevant scenes. That said, while the first sex scene might still be semi-entertaining, the ones that follow are mainly just the same over and over again. When the two protagonists profess their love for each other, you cannot help but cringe and shake your head, since they have barely gotten to know each other at this point nor spent more than maybe two days in each other’s company.

The only reason I gave this novel 1.5 stars is because at least the basic idea for the plot and characters seemed interesting enough which makes it just all the sadder that the material was treated this way. This felt like it should have been the plot outline for a story rather than the actual finished book.

I did like the cover art by Posh Gosh with its comic-like style. However, a pretty cover cannot redeem a story lacking so severely in execution.

Sales Links:   Pride Publishing | Amazon

Book Details:

ebook, 47 pages

Published April 9, 2012

by Pride Publishing

ISBN: 978-0-85715-938-0

Edition Language: English

In the Fantasy Spotlight: Unbidden Dragon by Louisa Kelly (excerpt and Giveaway)

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lk_unbiddendragon

Title: Unbidden Dragon
Author: Louisa Kelley
Publisher: Loose-Id LLC
Cover Artist: Syneca Featherstone
Release Date: May 24 2016
Heat Level: 3- 4
Pairing: F/F
Length: approximately 50,000 words
Genre/Tags: Paranormal Romance, Lesbian Fantasy Romance, Urban Fantasy

Goodreads Links

Book/Buy Links

Publisher Site: http://www.loose-id.com/unbidden-dragon.html?___SID=U

Amazon US: https://amzn.com/B01G48P2AY

All Romance eBooks: https://www.allromanceebooks.com/product-unbiddendragon-2048832-149.html

Book Blurb

Two Dragons:
Maeven is on a mission. One big and bold enough for her coming-of-age quest called the Fieri, and important enough to gain her a trip off Dracan, the secret, hidden sanctuary of the dragon shape-shifters.
Success in her once-in-a-lifetime challenge means everything – respect, honor, and the bestowal of her full magical powers. Not to mention doing something vital for the survival of her species.
She’s given strict rules of behavior while living in earth society. Rule number one: keep her true nature hidden. Rule number two: no emotional involvement with humans, despite the age-old, near irresistible attraction between the two races.
Then Maeven meets plucky, devious, adorable Frankie living in Portland, Oregon. Who, as it turns out, accidentally, shockingly, shape-shifted – the night before. Ah. So much for the rules.
Frankie is frustrated with her oddly larcenous life not going anywhere in particular. One fateful weekend, she camps alone in the mountains to gain fresh perspective – with a little help from a baggie of something special. That afternoon, in a crazed, furious confrontation with hunters, Frankie shape-shifts into a dragon. And discovers a race of magical beings who insist she’s one of them, too. Especially the shining, gorgeous, red-head – who promises to teach her so much.

Excerpt

Maeven shut the door, turned, and regarded her. A clench of something tightened Frankie’s stomach. Maeven exuded a dangerous sensuality that both promised and threatened, fueling Frankie’s sense that Maeven carried the greater danger.
She eyed the door. How fast would she have to move, to keep Maeven from catching her? And where were these thoughts coming from?
“Would you like more tea?”
Frankie glanced down at her empty mug. “No, thanks.” The silence lengthened, and she concentrated on the sounds of the wood hissing and burning and tried to avoid Maeven’s questioning face. And not stare at her lush lower lip and slashes of dark eyebrows arching over green eyes.
Oh hell.
Maeven sat next to her and gave her hand an unexpected squeeze where Frankie clenched it on the table. “What do you remember? Anything?”
Her fingers twitched, enclosed in the surprising heat of Maeven’s skin. Warmth sank into her cold hand, yet after a few seconds, she slid her hand away. Too soon to trust. Even if the woman looked like the goddess Athena. With red hair.
The sense that she needed to get out, to run, flee danger, continued to prickle. She eyed the door again. Ingrained habits of distrust, learned from painful lessons of betrayal, rose to nearly choke her. She shook her head in an effort to dispel her foggy, post-high state.

“I’m not sure,” Frankie said. “Only flashes here and there.” She swallowed against the sudden taste of bile in her throat, and a wave of nausea hit her, potent reminders of the drug use from yesterday. The baggie of mushrooms she’d been warned not to consume all at once. Which she did, of course. Why, why did she continue to make such stupid choices?
The lingering effects of her trip probably contributed to how weird she felt. Or not. Arghh. Why was she such an idiot? Her decision-making abilities were coming undone.
She really did need to get out of here, get home, and recover her senses. How to manage that seemed impossible. She dropped her head into the flat of her arms crossed on the table. “I am so fucked.”
“I’m sorry.” Maeven’s voice floated somewhere above her, faint, like an angel’s. “I know this must be confusing.”
Frankie jerked at the touch of Maeven’s hand on her shoulder and shot to her feet. Her head wouldn’t clear. Maeven seemed both angel and devil in the space of seconds. The sense of wanting to go sharpened. She couldn’t shake the feeling they didn’t want her to leave, for reasons they weren’t admitting. Maeven watched her so closely she seemed to see everything, know what Frankie wasn’t saying.
Paranoia filled her. She didn’t care if she slept in the woods overnight. She wanted out. Space. These people scared her, and she pushed away the fact that they also aroused her as unimportant to the plan of action.
“Yeah,” Frankie said, hating the tremble in her voice. “I feel pretty weird. I’m just not quite…sure what happened, but thanks so much for the clothes and tea and stuff.”
“Of course, it’s the least we can do,” Maeven said. She leaned back and ran her fingers through her hair in a nervous gesture. Frankie watched, fascinated despite herself. The light caught and shimmered on the various shades in Maeven’s hair. A strand along her cheek shone like a rose in the soft cabin light.
Stop that, Frankie chastised herself. No distractions. Her decision solidified. Go, at the first opportunity. Run, hide… She fought her anxiety. Where would she go? And in the dark?
No matter. Her jaw clenched. She’d been a champion long-distance runner in high school, and she’d stayed in shape. But could she outrun the totally buff goddess?

SHADOWS CLIMBED THE rough wood walls of the cabin. The flickering candles cast a soft glow as day faded into evening, bathing the room in golden tones. Maeven looked down and realized her blue aura was mingling with the candlelight. She quickly doused the shine. Pesky shape-shifter light. Hardest thing to hide from humans. And impossible to explain. She flashed a look at Frankie, hoping to see more blue light, but Frankie’s pale face seemed even more taut and white.
Frankie avoided her eyes and radiated a palpable sense of unease. Made it hard to breathe, hard to keep a clear head, on multiple levels. Her predator’s instincts salivated; the hunting instinct activated with the enticement of Frankie’s anxiety. Maeven struggled not to react.
Frankie cleared her throat. “Okay if I use the bathroom?”
“Sure, of course. Through that door by the bed.” Maeven pointed in the direction of the bath, then tapped her fingers on the table while she waited. Fieri. Yes. The path coursed in her blood; a sense of rightness sent adrenaline racing through her body. Finally. Her doubts fell away. The course was set, even if she was full of unanswered questions. Taranis and Alwen had not forgotten her. How could she forget them? Listen, listen, listen…
Good. Yes! her sister-self cried, tuned as always to the nuances of Maeven’s thoughts. Want her. Go. Now!
Her sister meant fly with Frankie. The thought caused her heart to pound. “Fly?” she asked inwardly. “So I’m right?”
No coincidences. The Draca believed life unfolded according to the plans of Taranis and Alwen, gods of Draca, the divine beings who loved their shape-shifting children above all else. Her Fieri continued as planned, shaped by the ones who ruled her magical world. Trust. Did she?
Her sister-self beat an excited rhythm in her head. “Kisskiss,” she said. The sly other half of her never missed a twinge of lust. She gave her sister a mental kick.
“Stop it.” No lusting after the potential main objective. Frankie had found her way here despite layers of magical protections. Therefore, Frankie must possess Draca blood. It was the logical conclusion.

Maeven glanced at the closed bathroom door. It had been at least ten minutes. No sounds of water running or toilet flushing. Uneasy, Maeven stood up. “Frankie? You doing okay in there?”
No answer.
“Frankie?” she said louder and knocked on the door. When silence continued, she turned the knob. Locked. She rattled it. “Frankie?” Maeven thrust her hip against the wood a few times with no result. “Oh, blast it to the ninth hell,” she muttered and, with a fierce grip, tore the handle off and, with easy Draca strength, crashed through the pine door.
The window swung wide open, curtains blowing in the cold breeze. “No!” She rushed over and stared into the surrounding yard. Even with the moon, it was so dark Frankie could easily be hiding close by. Why, why was she running?
Maeven raced through the house, her sister-self agitated with excitement. “Chase!” she cried. An irresistible challenge to a Draca.
“Find her,” she said. “Find Frankie.” Predator instincts kicked in; her eyesight changed and cleared; the ability to see in the dark took over. She sniffed the air and caught the scent.
“Fly?” Maeven’s shoulder blades ached where her sister-self strained at the constriction of flesh.
“No, not yet. Run. Fast!” Maeven’s command to her sister-self ignited her into action.
She took off, inhaling the earthy, delicious traces of Frankie’s scent as she raced to catch her. Through the darkened, dense forest of spruce and pine, she dodged fallen logs and trampled through bushes of thorny blackberries, ignoring a hundred spiky digs. In the distance the sounds of Frankie’s panicked breathing carried on an obliging breeze. Maeven ran like a deer, the moonlight guiding the way, with light feet that bounded over any obstacles, nothing slowing her pace. Frankie’s gasps grew closer.
“Frankie! Stop…please! I just want to talk to you.”
“I’m fine,” Frankie yelled. “Leave me alone. I’ll find my own way out!”
Maeven picked up her speed. There—less than ten feet in front of her. Frankie threw a frightened glance over her shoulder, and then her foot hit a stump and she went flying, arms splayed just as Maeven dived to tackle her.
They went down in an explosion of grunts and shrieks. With a nimble twist, Maeven landed on top, spread-eagled over Frankie. She pinned her wrists to the ground and held firm while Frankie bucked and kicked.
“Get the hell off me! What the— Umpff…” Her last words were muffled as Maeven cupped her hand over Frankie’s mouth.
“Frankie,” Maeven said, yanking back on her emotions like taming a tightrope snapping in the wind, “I only want to talk. Please. For God’s sakes, I’m trying to help you.” She lifted her weight up a little but stayed put, knees on either side of Frankie’s hips, and tried not to notice the riot of sensation caused by the soft, shapely body under hers. Her sister-self’s excited cries increased in volume until Maeven could hardly think.
Frankie glared at her and went still.
“Okay?” Maeven asked and raised her hand from Frankie’s mouth while keeping a grip on her wrists. Ignoring her sister-self keening “mineminemine” was impossible. They had chased, they had caught, and her sister demanded reward.
“Fine,” Frankie spit out. “Now get the fuck off.”
Yet Maeven didn’t move, and Frankie remained still and unresisting. Puffs of white breath circled in the growing cold, and she knew they had to get going. Frankie’s eyes gleamed in a shaft of moonlight with anger…and something else. As if caught in a dream spell, she hesitated, unable to take her eyes off Frankie’s lips.
Her Dracan instincts threatened lusty takeover, and Maeven whimpered with conflicted need. The moon had risen to full height in a black sky, and the forest was flooded with brilliant lunar light. Magic. The sanctuary overflowed with aroused shape-shifter sensuality.
Words didn’t have to be necessary for Maeven to find the answers she sought. There were other ways. No. Get up now. Really. She tried to make her muscles move, and nothing happened. Blast it!
She heard Frankie’s indrawn breath like an invitation. Coherent thought fled. She leaned down and pressed her lips to the outline of Frankie’s mouth. For a few seconds, Frankie’s lips softened, opened, and then a small, hard fist shot out and punched Maeven’s cheek. Shocked, she slid off, reeling, into the cold mud and leaves.

Author Bio

Romance and science fiction took firm hold of Louisa Kelley’s imagination at age nine, when she read the books Little Women, by Louisa May Alcott, and the Narnia series, by C.S. Lewis. She is convinced that the genre paranormal romance, which developed years later, came into existence purely for her benefit. After all, it’s what’s been in her heart all these years.
She resides in Portland, Oregon where, in a strangely perfect combination of rainy winters and urban skyline, her writing inspiration abounds. Meet the sexy world that’s been evolving in her fevered brain…She’d love you to join her in some over-the-top erotic adventures with the Draca; dragon shape-shifters of a very different kind.
Member of Romance Writers of America
Member of Rose City Romance Writers

Author Links

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/LouisaKelley.Author
Website: http://www.louisakelley.com/
Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/3860948.Louisa_Kelley

Giveaway

Rafflecopter Prize: $10 Amazon Gift Card
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Greek Mythology Comes to Life with MINOTAUR by J.A. Rock (guest post and giveaway)

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MINOTAUR by J.A. Rock

Published by Riptide Publishing
Cover Art by  Imaliea

Buy it at Riptide Publishing

Hi! I’m J.A. Rock, and I’m touring the internet with my new release, MINOTAUR, a queer fantasy/horror reimagining of the legend of Theseus and the Minotaur. And there’s a giveaway involved! I’m giving one reader a chance to win Lost in a Jigsaw, the puzzle that nearly destroyed my sanity a few years ago (but provided hours of fun, I swear), as well as a $15 Riptide voucher.


Thanks so much to Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words for having me here today, and to everyone following the tour.  Here’s today’s look at MINOTAUR.

The Legend of the Minotaur

There are many versions of the legend of Theseus and the Minotaur. The basic story is that King Minos of Crete’s wife, Queen Pasiphae, was cursed by Poseidon to fall in love with a bull. She slept with the bull and gave birth to a monster that was half-man, half-bull, which King Minos then had shut up in a labyrinth so complicated, no one could get out of it alive.

Every year, seven Athenian men and seven Athenian women were sent to the labyrinth as tributes to keep the Minotaur satisfied. Theseus eventually decided to go into the labyrinth as one of the tributes and kill the Minotaur. To ensure he could find his way out, Princess Ariadne, Minos’s daughter, gave Theseus a ball of thread, so that he could tie one end to the labyrinth’s door and follow the thread back to the entrance.

I didn’t actually know the legend of Theseus and the Minotaur terribly well when I started Minotaur. My mom had a book of Greek myths she read to me from when I was a kid, and I liked the story of the labyrinth because I was obsessed with mazes. Loving mazes is a thing. I reacquainted myself with the legend by reading it over a couple of times before I started writing, but I wasn’t looking to do a blow-by-blow retelling of the myth. Nor was I looking to do anything specific and agenda-driven, like “a feminist retelling of the Minotaur story.”

What I did want to do was explore themes of heroism, sacrifice, self-discovery, and what makes a monster. Minotaur takes place in an unspecified time based very loosely on the 1930s, and centers on an angry orphan, Thera, whose fascination with a legendary beast comes in part from the wickedness she perceives in herself. Years before Thera was born, a young woman gave birth to a baby she couldn’t care for, and the baby grew into the Minotaur, a half-woman, half-bull who terrorized the town of Rock Hill before she was trapped in a labyrinth. Now the town feeds her tributes in the form of orphans and criminals in order to keep her satisfied in her prison.

There are characters in Minotaur who have counterparts in the legend—though Thera is almost an anti-Theseus, drawn to the labyrinth for selfish reasons, and frustrated by society’s willingness to deem grand acts “heroic” while failing to recognize more subtle, honest displays of loyalty and courage as anything other than recklessness and stupidity.

What I love about the original myth is the way you just kind of have to roll with it. Pasiphae was cursed to fall in love with a bull? Okay, why not. The king had Daedalus build a massive labyrinth to contain the Minotaur? Sure. Myths are stories where so much seems to be going on below the surface, and yet they’ve been reduced to easily digestible two or three paragraph tales.

I didn’t care so much about being true to the legend as I did about showing what might lie under the surface in a story like Theseus’s, or Thera’s. Minotaur is not a tale about a monster and a hero, but rather about the way the two coexist in all of us.

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Giveaway

Thanks for being part of the tour! To celebrate this release, I’m giving one commenter Lost in a Jigsaw, the award winning maze puzzle—all the pieces fit together, so the only way to know if you’ve put it together correctly is to solve the maze. If this sounds too much like torture, rest assured that you also get a $15 Riptide voucher. All you have to do is leave a comment on this post with a way to contact you.  Please leave your email address so we can get in touch with you if chosen. On October 26th, I’ll draw a winner from all eligible comments. Contest is not limited to US entries. If you’d like,follow the whole tour—the more comments you leave, the more chances you have to win!

Blurb

Minotaur_600x900GreekKnow this: I am not a warrior. I am a disease.

When I was six, my parents died.

When I was sixteen, I was locked away in Rock Point Girls’ Home. Nobody wants to deal with a liar. An addict. A thief.

Nobody except Alle. She is pure, and she’s my friend in spite of all the rotten things I am. 

There was once another girl like me—long ago. A cast-off daughter. A lying little beast who left a red stain across the land with her terrible magic. She’s imprisoned now in a maze high up on the cliffs. They say she’s half woman, half bull. They say she dines on human tributes and guards a vast treasure. They say she was born wicked.

But I know her better than the history books or stories do. She and I dream together. Our destinies are twisted up like vines.

Except I’m not going to turn out wicked like she is. I can save myself by destroying her. I’m going to break out of this place, and I’m going to enter the labyrinth and take her heart.

And once I’m redeemed, maybe Alle will love me.

http://www.riptidepublishing.com/titles/minotaur

About The Author

J.A. Rock is the author of queer romance and suspense novels, including By His Rules, Take the Long Way Home, and, with Lisa Henry, The Good Boy and When All the World Sleeps. She holds an MFA in creative writing from the University of Alabama and a BA in theater from Case Western Reserve University. J.A. also writes queer fiction and essays under the name Jill Smith. Raised in Ohio and West Virginia, she now lives in Chicago with her dog, Professor Anne Studebaker.