Love Fantasy? Check Out the Blog Tour for The King’s Fear (The Brass Machine #2) by Isaac Grisham

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Book Title: The King’s Fear (The Brass Machine #2)

Author: Isaac Grisham

Publisher: Cooper Blue Books, LLC

Cover Artist: Dissect Designs

Genre/s: Fantasy, LGBT Fiction

Trope/s: Good vs. Evil, Magic, Shifter, Bi the Way

Themes: Darkness and Light, Heartbreak of Betrayal, Revenge and Forgiveness

Heat Rating:  3 flames      

Length:  95,000 words/290 pages

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Everything will burn

Blurb

Myobu has waited all his life to find love, and just as he makes a connection, it’s taken from him in an instant. Reeling from the fatal climax of his love story with Prince Kitsune, the magical Yokai must take advantage of his second chance at life, reconciling his past and present while keeping the prince from going down a path of darkness. Together with Kitsune, Myobu is tasked with destroying an evil that threatens the brass machine—and their world.

Meanwhile, Prince Kitsune is lost in the depths of responsibility and the murkiness of grief. His role is at the head of an army, defending against the whims of his deranged father. King Oni’s aggression is mounting, and he will stop at nothing to maintain his power over Kitsunetsuki. 

Overcome with the guilt of killing the man he loved, Kitsune finds direction when he discovers the legendary Sword of Inari—but when the voices within the steel speak to him, they lead him deeper down a path of deceit. In a tale of good versus evil, life and death, Kitsune and Myobu must come together alongside their allies to face unspeakable horrors.

 

Buy Links

Amazon US

Amazon UK

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Excerpt

It was the perfect morning.

Treating himself to a good long stretch, Myobu worked his way up to sitting. With his back against the wooden headboard, he looked down at the pair with whom he had spent the night. Ryn and Nikki owned one of the oldest taverns in Hawte, having belonged to Ryn’s family for generations. Myobu had met them not long after arriving in the capital nearly three sun cycles ago.

Something else had happened as their friendship grew. Late one night after helping close up the tavern, they had spent a few hours drinking by the hearth. Ryn and Nikki spoke of their first encounter and subsequent marriage, purportedly a scandalous affair.

Having lived over a century without ever engaging in sexual activity, Myobu had drunkenly bombarded them with endless questions on the subject. The pair looked at one another, a glimmer of humor and desire in their eyes, and decided to answer his queries physically rather than verbally. Taking him by the hand, they led him upstairs to bed.

Upon closing the bedroom door, the first thing the couple did was peel off their clothing. Myobu had watched in awe as the differences in their skin were revealed. Ryn was a burly man, and there were few areas on his body not covered in hair. Nikki was dark-skinned and appeared free of any blemishes or extraneous hair.

The two had begun tugging at Myobu’s own clothing, which he sluggishly gave up. He wasn’t timid or particularly self-conscious, though he had wondered if the human form he had taken was correct in the details. He possessed all the parts of a man, but he lacked the massive tufts of hair Ryn displayed. He was almost as smooth as Nikki. Concerned they would figure out he wasn’t actually human, he had contemplated adding hair to his body before his shirt could be removed.

In the end, the two hadn’t given a second thought to his nearly hairless form. They stripped him naked, looked at him appreciatively, and began running their hands over his body. The dual sensations of Ryn’s rougher palms and Nikki’s smoother fingertips elicited a gasp from Myobu. Goosebumps broke out over his flesh. It heightened his tactile awareness, dulled his sense of time, and deeply aroused him. He tentatively put a hand on each of their bodies, awkward at first, but easily got into it once he realized his touch elicited the same types of responses from them.

 

About the Author

Isaac Grisham currently lives in a blue county of Illinois with his partner and doggos. By day, he works at a local college. The King’s Fear is his second completed novel and, by night, he is busy assembling the gears of the third and final piece of The Brass Machine.

 

Author Links

Blog/Website

Facebook: @AuthorIsaacGrisham

Twitter: @isaacgrisham 

Instagram: isaac.grisham 

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Love High Fantasy? Check Out the New Release Blitz for Royal Rescue by A. Alex Logan (excerpt and giveaway)

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Title: Royal Rescue

Author: A. Alex Logan

Publisher: NineStar Press

Release Date: April 8, 2019

Heat Level: 1 – No Sex

Pairing: No Romance, Male/Male

Length: 111500

Genre: New Adult Fantasy, LGBT, asexual, high fantasy, dragons, royalty, magic, young adult, gay, family drama, hurt/comfort

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Synopsis

At age eighteen, when they become marriageable, all royal children in the Thousand Kingdoms must either go questing to rescue another royal or be hidden away to await rescue themselves. Some go the traditional route of princes rescuing princesses, but not all princes want to be rescuers…and some would rather rescue other princes.

Then there’s Prince Gerald, who has no interest in getting married at all. When he refuses to choose a role as either rescuer or rescuee, his royal parents choose for him and have him magicked away to a distant tower to await a spouse.

Gerald, however, is having none of it. He recruits his guardian dragon and a would-be rescuer and soon the trio is dashing to all corners of the united kingdoms on a quest to overturn the entire system.

Excerpt

Gerald followed the steward to the study wearing an expression that would have been more appropriate if he were being led to the dungeon. The steward rapped on the door twice before opening it and stepping aside for Gerald. She gave the young man an encouraging wink, but he was too intent on bracing himself for the upcoming confrontation to notice.

He took a deep breath, visibly set his shoulders and stepped through the doorway. The steward closed the door behind him, and Gerald fought back the feeling of being trapped.

“Don’t lurk in the doorway,” an imposing voice scolded. “Come in where I can see you.”

Gerald did as he was told, stopping and giving a shallow bow when the woman came into view. She nodded, acknowledging the courtesy, which caused the sunlight streaming in through the window to catch and reflect off her golden crown.

Gerald resisted the urge to reach up and touch his own circlet—silver—which he too late realized was probably once again askew.

“Well?” the Queen asked. “Have you made your decision?”

Another deep breath, another forceful straightening of his shoulders, and Gerald said, a hint of defiance in his tone, “I have.”

The Queen’s harsh expression broke into a smile. “Oh, Gerald, thank goodness. Your mum and I were about at our wits’ end! There’s barely enough time left to make all the arrangements. So, what will it be? Rescuer or rescuee?”

“Neither.”

The smile melted off the Queen’s face. “Neither! Don’t be ridiculous, Gerald. You said you had made your decision.”

“I have,” he said, crossing his arms in front of his chest. “I’ve decided not to participate.”

“That is not an option,” she said coldly, the warmth in her voice gone the same way as the smile. “As you are well aware.”

“I don’t wish to marry,” Gerald replied, trying to match her tone but not quite managing it. “As you are well aware.”

The Queen waved her hand dismissively. “This is merely the first step. It may take a year or even two for you to rescue—or be rescued by—someone who appeals. Then there’s the courtship, the inter-kingdom negotiations, planning the festivities…why, unless it’s True Love and you two want to rush things, I doubt the wedding will happen before you turn twenty-one.”

“I didn’t say ‘I don’t wish to marry in the next three years’,” Gerald said, forcing himself to keep his voice level even as he balled his hands into fists. “I said, ‘I don’t wish to marry.’ As in, ever.”

But the Queen was no longer listening.

“I really don’t know where we went wrong with you,” she said. “We never had this sort of problem with your older siblings or even your twinling…”

“Don’t call her that,” Gerald snapped. “You know how much I hate that—we’re not twins, we’re not even sort-of twins. We’re half-siblings at best and maybe not even related at all.”

The Queen looked up at the ceiling as if imploring it to give her strength. “Now you’re being deliberately obtuse,” she snapped back. “You know very well that the term ‘twinling’ has been in use for at least a century throughout every single one of the Thousand Kingdoms, and it’s a perfectly apt word. You’re acting like your mum and I made it up to irritate you. You’re acting like a child, Gerald.”

“Isn’t the point of all this that I am a child?” he responded. “Isn’t the entire purpose of this whole charade of rescue and marriage to make me into an adult?”

“It’s hardly a charade. It’s—”

“—a well-respected, long-established tradition to encourage young royals to broaden their horizons, explore more of the Thousand Kingdoms, find love, and forge stronger connections among the Kingdoms, yes, yes, I know,” Gerald interrupted. “I still say it’s a charade. It’s perfectly possible to accomplish all of those goals without forcing every royal into a ridiculous marriage quest the moment they turn eighteen.”

“You seem to be forgetting something very important here, Gerald,” the Queen said calmly.

“What’s that?”

“This isn’t optional.”

“You can’t force me to choose,” Gerald said. “Why can’t you leave me be and let Lila broaden her horizons, explore the Kingdoms, forge alliances, and all that rot? She wants to.”

“You have ten days,” the Queen continued, as if Gerald hadn’t spoken. She turned away without even bothering to dismiss him.

Purchase

NineStar Press | Amazon | Smashwords | Barnes & Noble | Kobo

Meet the Author

Alex Logan is an asexual, agender librarian from New York state. Always an avid reader, Alex has branched out from reading books to writing them. Alex’s other main interest is soccer, which they enjoy watching, playing, and (of course) reading about.

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Check Out the New Release Blitz for Hunter (Roam #2) by Dez Schwartz (excerpt and giveaway)

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Title: Hunter

Series: Roam, Book Two

Author: Dez Schwartz

Publisher: NineStar Press

Release Date: April 8, 2019

Heat Level: 2 – Fade to Black Sex

Pairing: Male/Male

Length: 50800

Genre: Paranormal, LGBT, Vampires, other paranormal beings, sandman, Dream World, magic

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Synopsis

Dr. Grady Hunter has a vampire infestation on his hands in the town of Shady Pines, but he’s been deserted by those best suited to help. After enlisting Chris Reed, a techno-mage, they find the vampires might only be the tip of a deadly iceberg.

Returning home from his dream travels, Ethan Roam is eager to experiment with his newly discovered powers. But Ethan isn’t the only familiar arrival in Grady’s life. As more reminders of his dark past crop up, Grady and Ethan are swept up in a mystery of cosmic proportions.

Grady must fight to keep an ever-evolving Ethan on his side while being challenged by the ghosts of his past.

Excerpt

The old park in Shady Pines was the stuff of nightmares. Or so it would seem to anyone who happened upon the derelict area after the sun set. In actuality, it was simply a park. Located across from the oldest district in the small Texas city of Shady Pines and near the edge of a small forest encompassing the town, the park was extremely rundown and typically abandoned during the daytime. A snapshot of times past, the neglected playground had standard metal slides and jungle gyms, before modern worries of bruises, broken bones, and burns on hot afternoons. Like most cities, Shady Pines had since created newer and safer places for families to gather. And so, the old park had fallen to ruin but still remained hopeful its ghosts would return to play again.

As it happened, quite a few creatures loved to play there, but they were rarely of the human set. Part of what made the place so eerie was park’s location. Once sunset arrived, a thick fog would roll in from the marshes in the woods and overtake the area. If one were to stand there, as Dr. Grady Hunter was doing now, the murky haze would only rise to roughly one’s waist depending on their height. The moon would hang bright and looming overhead, as it also was now, to cast shadows all around. And a breeze would cause swings to sway, and the paint chipped merry-go-round to spin ever so slightly, as was also happening now. At least, one would hope the movement was due to the breeze. Unless, of course, the person was Dr. Grady Hunter and was hoping for something else.

“Any signs of movement? Blast this fog!” Grady, a semi-former monster hunter and more recently self-appointed alternative healer of supernaturals, whispered into the small microphone on the headset he was wearing. His British accent was always strongest when he was frustrated. The park wasn’t his first choice of venue to lure vampires, but any abandoned buildings or dark alleys would provide them too much of an advantage and surely seem like a setup. They would definitely be suspicious. He supposed they should be suspicious of a man in his late thirties strolling through the old park at night alone but, as the case happened, they appeared to find that behavior completely normal.

“Nada. And don’t worry about the fog. The visuals I’m pulling from my cameras penetrate right through it.” A casually confident, and extremely American in contrast, male voice replied back from the other side of the communication device between sounds of chewing.

“Are you eating right now? We’re working!” Grady admonished, still in a whisper as he slowly strolled through the park with his hand hovering by his waist. He had a number of weapons at the ready beneath his long brown coat in case he was successful in finding what he was looking for.

“Please, I’m the king of multitasking. Besides, it’s past my dinnertime and I can’t refuse a sushi place if I pass one,” the voice responded. Grady could tell the man on the other side, Chris Reed, was smiling. Then, he became urgent. “Ahab, you’ve got a white whale at ten o’clock.”

“That’s not my code name. We don’t have code names. Don’t make things up on the spot. It’s distracting,” Grady griped but whipped around to face whatever was heading his way.

“If we did, though, I think I’d want to be Zaphod,” Chris replied, obviously slurping a drink. “Your target is hovering by the slide. Not the loopy one. The tall straight one. I fell off a slide once when I was a kid. I was pretending to be Indiana Jones. Broke my wrist. Great summer.”

“Your lifelong aspiration to be fictional characters is both charming and annoying. Going silent now,” Grady replied as he stalked slowly in the direction of the slide. He reached inside his jacket for a stake. He saw a figure’s shadow wavering across the top of the fog. It definitely appeared human, which most likely meant it was a vampire. He tried to keep his weapon concealed beneath the haze and pretended he was simply walking in the same direction, unaware of the creature’s presence.

“Whip out the big boy! It’s an ambush from behind!” Chris shouted in his ear. Unable to keep from chuckling, he added, “That didn’t come out how I meant. But seriously, you’re under attack. “

Grady immediately switched to a revolving handheld crossbow, which was loaded with a round of stakes, should a situation such as this ever arise. He spun on his heel in time to see four vampires running full speed in his direction. He shot one down but then had to momentarily turn his attention back to the first vampire, who had taken the opportunity to pounce on him.

Grady wrestled free of his grip and knocked him onto the slide where he toppled over the edge and onto the ground.

“Yeah, pretty much how I broke my wrist,” Chris commented.

“Oh, do shut up!” Grady shouted back in the mic. The outburst caused some mild confusion for the vampires as none of them had been speaking, but it didn’t deter them from continuing their attack.

Two of the vampires lifted Grady and slammed him into the ground on his back, knocking the wind out of him. He felt a cracking pain he didn’t have time to assess, as one of the vampires straddled his chest and went fangs-first for his neck. He managed to pull the revolver up to the creature’s chest and let loose a stake right before he was torn into. He rolled free, still with three vampires to face and precisely three stakes left in his crossbow.

“This is exciting. You’re doing a great job, boss!” Chris complimented.

“Not! Helpful!” Grady panted as he attempted to catch his breath. He didn’t get much of a break as another vampire grabbed him by the shoulder and jerked his arm backward, trying to rip the crossbow from his grasp. Grady shouted in response to the wrenching pain.

“Keep him there!” Chris commanded. “I can get a shot in. He’s right in the line of fire.”

“I’m not the one in control at the moment, thank you!” Grady grieved between gritted teeth as he tried to maintain control of the weapon against the thrashing pull of the vampire. Thankfully, the vampire on the other side of the slide was only now running over to try to help his cohort, and the third had opted to watch the scene rather than participate.

A wild shot seemed to fly in out of nowhere. Grady knew the attack came from one of the cameras they had placed around the park for their mission. Attached to the bottom of each supernatural night vision camera was a small loaded device that would shoot a stake with bullet-like precision when activated. It was one of the many weapons they’d had to develop and utilize in the past few months as the vampire infestation in Shady Pines had progressively gotten worse and Grady found himself without much help in dealing with the problem.

Ethan Roam, his new partner in both work and life—who happened to be a sandman, was still away dream traveling. Benny, weredog and roommate, was living the high life as a spoiled Chihuahua fifty percent of the time, rendering him practically ineffective. Vivian Edwards, a highly skilled witch and his former secretary, refused to speak to him or respond to any of his messages. Ethan’s mother, Karen Roam, and their mutual friend, Dr. Arthur Ellis, were eager to help. However, while they were fine comrades in research, they were useless in the field. Grady had no choice but to call upon an old acquaintance to help with the crisis. Chris Reed, a rogue hunter and techno-mage. Thankfully, Chris was more than capable and equally enthusiastic at the prospect. He enjoyed inventing new ways to destroy and capture supernatural creatures, and he’d decided working with Grady was a fantastic way to demo his creations. Unfortunately, even with Chris’s handiwork and help, they hadn’t made much of a dent in the vampire population, which was rapidly growing and terrorizing the citizens (and other paranormals) who generally enjoyed a night out from time to time.

The shot hit the vampire perfectly, and Grady fell forward onto his knees, free of the monster’s grasp. This, however, caused the crossbow to fly free from the ended struggle and fall into the fog. Grady couldn’t see where the weapon landed and began swearing. Knowing he had only moments, he reached back into his jacket and produced two khukuri knives. He stood quickly, ready to face the vampire who had been standing by watching, but was surprised to find he’d disappeared.

“Bugger! One escaped. Did you see where he went?” Grady asked into the mic as he rounded on the last vampire, already furiously leaping toward him.

“Dammit! No. I’m sorry,” Chris replied. “I had my eye on my shot.”

Grady pulled up the khukuri knives on either side of the vampire’s throat as the creature attempted to attack him. The vampire’s eyes grew wide in surprise, realizing he was about to be beheaded. He met Grady’s gaze in a pleading manner. Grady hated when they did that. It made him think of Dacey Sinnett, the only vampire he’d ever call a friend, and he suddenly felt sick to his stomach. Grady did his best to keep his resolve.

“Tell me who is leading you, or I will end you right now!” Grady demanded, his expression ferociously serious.

“You’ll do it anyway,” the vampire spat back.

Grady shoved his weight forward and slammed him up against the slide, blades tightly gripped around the vampire’s neck.

“Your cooperation may convince me otherwise. Now answer the question!” he commanded again.

“You’re great at playing bad cop, Grady,” Chris interjected in his ear. Once again, he practically heard him grinning. Grady wished he could rip his headset off but right now his hands were full.

“I don’t know his name,” the vampire played along. “He showed up out of nowhere a few months ago. Started making promises and threats; demanding that we help him.”

“Help him with what?” Grady seized the opportunity to gather much-needed information. “And is he a vampire? A human? Something else?”

“He wants us to tear this pathetic town to pieces until we find—” The vampire’s answer was forever halted as he was hit expertly with a stake.

“Dammit! Chris, was that you?” Grady yelled angrily.

“No!” Chris was defensive. Grady stood, with no vampire left to interrogate, and looked around. He saw the source at the same time Chris must have on the cameras.

“Guess he found your crossbow,” Chris sighed limply as the last vampire, the one who had gone missing, ran off into the night after killing their only chance at finding some answers.

Grady kicked the slide in frustration which caused a metallic gong to echo around the now empty park. They weren’t any closer to dealing with the problem or having any real answers.

“Sorry tonight was a bust, man,” Chris consoled.

“Same story, different night,” Grady sighed. He brushed off as much dirt and grass from his jacket and pants as possible and attempted to calm his frustrations.

“Don’t worry, tiger. We’ll get them one of these days.” Chris was already back to his upbeat self. “If it’s any consolation, you looked like a total badass. I have to admit, watching you fight has to be my second favorite thing about this gig.”

“Oh, really? And what’s the first?” Grady smirked. Chris didn’t let anyone feel down for too long.

“The inevitable moments where I get to save your ass, of course,” Chris chimed.

“Prat.” Grady rolled his eyes but smiled anyway as he headed back through the park toward his old Jaguar.

“Twat,” Chris responded without missing a beat. Grady chuckled. If nothing else, at least having Chris around kept up morale.

“Go ahead and take the rest of the night off,” Grady said, getting into his vehicle. He glanced back at the park once more, in case he missed something, but the area remained quiet and empty. “I suppose Benny already went home?”

“Yeah, he left a while back. He said watching would make him nervous. And to be honest, I’m not much of a fan of small yapping dogs,” Chris replied. Grady heard him shutting off various equipment in the background.

“All right. See you tomorrow, then.” Grady turned off the headset and tossed the device into the passenger seat. He leaned back into the headrest and closed his eyes, inhaling deeply and slowly letting his breath back out.

“Find. What could they possibly want to find so badly in Shady Pines?” Grady asked himself aloud as he recalled what the vampire tried to tell him. The pit of his stomach tightened and his heart grew heavy because he had a pretty good idea of what, or whom, that might be.

He brought the car to life and drove straight home, feeling the need to be at Ethan’s sleeping side.

Purchase

NineStar Press | Amazon | Smashwords | Barnes & Noble | Kobo

Meet the Author

Vampire apologist and lifelong enthusiast of classic gothic horror, cryptids, and the occult; Dez Schwartz writes Dreampunk & Paranormal LGBTQ Fiction with a spellbinding balance of darkness and humor. When she’s not busy writing, she can most likely be found with a latte in hand, perusing antique shops for oddities and peculiar vintage books or wrangling her demonic (but adorable) cats.

Website | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | Pinterest

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Check Out the New Book Release for The Soulstealers by Jacqueline Rohrbach (excerpt and giveaway)

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Title: The Soulstealers

Author: Jacqueline Rohrbach

Publisher: NineStar Press

Release Date: April 1, 2019

Heat Level: 1 – No Sex

Pairing: Female/Female

Length: 90100

Genre: Fantasy YA, LGBT, Magic, soldiers, power struggle, spirits, Penumbra, slow burn

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Synopsis

Arnaka Skytree grew up believing she was chosen to bring new magic to the world. As the heir to the cult of druids responsible for keeping their floating palace habitable for the wealthy aristocracy, she’s expected to wield her power as those before her did: by culling the souls of peasant women.

But when Arnaka learns more about the source of her magic, and that her best friend’s soul will be harvested, she embarks on a journey to end the barbarous practice and to restore a long-forgotten harmonious system of magic practiced by the original druids. Along the way, she discovers she’s not the only girl chosen to restore balance to their world—many others have powerful magic inside, and with them, she will tear the floating palace from the sky so everyone can live in the sun—out of the shadow of the eclipse.

Excerpt

Soulstealers
Jacqueline Rohrbach © 2019
All Rights Reserved

Chapter 1
The Choosing

Flowers bloomed around Arnaka Skytree. Tiger lilies tickled her feet while orchids pried open one eye. Rose, the pricklier of the three, stuck her with one of its thorns. She puffed some air up in its direction, fluttering petals and her bangs. Late for her Choosing, Arnaka forced the insistent garden out of her mind, to focus on the currents of air traveling around her, picking out the magic radiating from the flowers the way her older brother picked out soldiers to die for him—delicately, decidedly.

Strong magic ran in her family. The ritual she had to go to was nothing but a mere formality. She would be a druid like all the other women in her family before her, down to the original matriarch—Arnaka the Creator—whose name she shouldered. She was bound to it the way her magic was bound to living things. Soon, it would be the last tattoo burned by magical fire into her skin.

Squeezing her eyes shut, she pressed her finger deep into the sifted dirt around her, begging the world to swallow her whole. The flowers, sensing her sadness, bowed their heads, but they couldn’t give her what she wanted. Destiny’s feet were too heavy for soft petals.

“Lady Arnaka? Are you here?”

Nara, one of her maids, stumbled into the conservatory. Arnaka felt the young woman’s life force before she opened her eyes to watch the bony girl blunder over the flowers, which recoiled from her steps, lifting their leafy underparts to avoid a trampling. Arnaka gave Nara’s approach a small, fond smile.

When she finally saw Arnaka, Nara jumped as if surprised. Her brown eyes widened, giving her the appearance of a deer about to be speared. “Lady Arnaka. Your mother wants you in the hall for the ceremony.”

“I know.”

“She sent me here to get you.”

“I assumed.”

“Lady Arnaka…” the poor girl prompted her.

Arnaka sighed. Nara, who was brought here as a servant and lived on the daily whims of her captors, had no choice but to play her role in today’s events. She wasn’t trying to drag Arnaka to the ceremony out of spite, avarice, or revenge. Doing her job without getting hurt was her only goal.

Pity softened Arnaka’s voice. “Of course. Tell Mother I’ll be right there.”

Nara hopped from one foot to the other. Voice barely above a whisper, she said, “I’m supposed to escort you, Lady Arnaka.”

Arnaka lifted her head and glowered at the servant, hoping the severe expression might be enough to send her on her way. Having company on the long trek toward the hall forced Arnaka to be strong. Really, all she wanted to do was run, hide, vanish.

You promised, she reminded herself. You promised you’d go through with this, and that you’d keep it from happening to anyone else.

With a wince, the servant tried again. “My lady, please. Your mother. She’ll—”

“Very well. Come on,” Arnaka interjected before Nara completed the statement with “punish me.” Hearing about her mother’s temper coupled with her propensity to harshly correct servants for slight failures would only twist Arnaka’s already knotted emotions.

“Thank you, Lady Arnaka.”

Said as if she had a choice. “You’re welcome.”

Banter wasn’t something Arnaka lavished on the silly, sweet girl. The walk down the hall was silent. Nara didn’t seem to mind the quiet, or notice. Newly employed, she occupied a world where magic was still magical. The diamond archways casting rainbows to the reflective surface beneath their feet dazzled. Gold shone. Ruby and sapphire mosaics sparked her brown eyes to flame. Tiredly, Arnaka grabbed the gawking servant, who tripped over her own feet as she ogled the spectacle, by the upper arm to drag her inside the transport.

“Ceremonial hall.”

In moments, they arrived. In front of them, the entire court gathered. Thousands of nobles, maybe more, in their best attire.

Her mother broke from the crowd and rushed over. “Arnaka, my daughter. You are radiant today.”

Both of them had black skin that always seemed moonlit and black hair that grew in thick waves. Her mother’s was always swept up into elaborate twists. Arnaka cut hers rebelliously short, letting her curly bangs cover her golden eyes, the pride of her family line. Look into your future mirror, the elder druids always liked to say, you are the spitting image of your mother.

Although her mother was undeniably beautiful with her high cheekbones and angular features, Arnaka’s pleasure in hearing about their resemblance waned. She didn’t want to be kin to a monster.

The swirl of Mother’s elaborate gown extended a foot or two in each direction. Mercurial as the woman herself, its folds, bows, frills, and ruffles shifted on whim in color and in style until she settled on a deep royal purple with a long ivory lace train that fluttered in the air like a cobweb in the breeze.

“Wasteful as always, Mother.” Arnaka pointed to the dress, to which she still made minor adjustments. Meanwhile, the living gathered around her looked wary. Druid magic required life, willing or not. “Glad you settled on something before the whole assembly was depleted.”

A few of the nobles glanced at their feet and cleared their throats but did not comment on the awkward exchange. Her brother puffed his chest. “Sister,” he bellowed, not unlike a braying goat. “We have waited for this moment your whole life.”

Lacking the refinement of magic, Escan’s features looked blunt and staggered as though whoever carved him had jittered uncontrollably during the process. Only his eyes, the color of golden flame that was his family’s legacy, rendered him attractive. Every girl wanted babies with ladder-climbing genes and nothing said advancement quite like the bloodline of old aristocracy. Otherwise, her brother lacked figurative magic as well as literal. He was doing his best to steal the moment despite it.

Arnaka looked at the assembly of aristocrats before her. Like her mother, they wanted all the religion with none of the sacrifice religion required. Servants were there to pay the life price for their magic. In a pinch, merchants would do. Who better to understand there was a cost to doing business? This was probably the first time in centuries any of them felt the intrusive pull of magic’s touch at their own doorstep.

Resigned to what was to be, Arnaka raised her voice to carry across the room. “I am here to bring new magic.”

Applause broke out. Arnaka winced away from it, hating the fact they clapped for her, for the evil thing they were about to do. You promised her, Arnaka had to remind herself again. You looked her in the eye and said you’d go through with this, then you’d keep it from happening to anyone else.

She’d been so focused on remembering her vow that she forgot the ceremony. The pain from the burning as her final tattoo, a small circle on her forehead, seared her skin surprised her. More than any of the other tattoos branded into her arms and back, it hurt with pain beyond the smell of her own flesh, beyond the residual throb of the wound. It foretold what was to come after.

As the smoke around her cleared, a young woman a few years older than her was escorted forward. Unnamed at birth, she existed to be Arnaka’s spirit sister until she became a soul familiar, forever bound to serve as an instant source of magic. But Arnaka knew her name, a deep secret between them that she’d sworn to keep. She held onto it even as the knife plunged into the young woman’s throat. She thought it when the soul heeled at her side—Hannah. Again when she went to bed with the thing looming over her shoulder—Hannah. Only once more after that.

Purchase

NineStar Press | Amazon | Smashwords | Barnes & Noble | Kobo

Meet the Author

Jacqueline Rohrbach is a 36-year-old creative writer living in windy central Washington. When she isn’t writing strange books about bloodsucking magical werewolves, she’s baking sweets, or walking her two dogs, Nibbler and Mulder. She also loves cheesy ghost shows, especially when the hosts call out the ghost out like he wants to brawl with it in a bar. You know, “Come out here, you coward! You like to haunt little kids. Haunt me!” Jackee laughs at this EVERY time.

She’s also a hopeless World of Warcraft addict. In her heyday, she was a top parsing disc priest. She became a paladin to fight Deathwing, she went back to a priest to cuddle pandas, and then she went to a shaman because I guess she thought it would be fun to spend an entire expansion underpowered and frustrated. Boomchicken for Legion! Follow Jacqueline on Twitter.

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A Free Dreamer Release Day Review: Lust and Other Drugs (Mytho #1) by TJ Nichols

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Rating: 5 stars out of 5

Police officer Jordan and dragon shifter Edra might have to work together, but they don’t trust each other—even if sparks do fly between them.

If anyone finds out Jordan’s a mytho sympathizer, it could kill his career. No one can know that he frequents the satyr dens and uses the drug Bliss. A dead satyr might not get much attention, but two dead humans who appeared to overdose on Bliss? That shouldn’t even be possible.

And it might not be an accident.

Edra, Mythological Services Liaison, has been covering up mytho crimes to protect the community’s reputation. With a mayoral election looming, the last thing his people need is a scandal like this one.

To get a murderer off the streets, Jordan and Edra will be spending a lot of time together, and it won’t be easy to keep up with their deceptions. Or keep resisting each other.

While I love Fantasy, I’m usually not big on crime/mystery novels, so I was a bit unsure whether I wanted to read “Lust And Other Drugs” or not. In the end, it was the cover that convinced me to give this a try. And I’m so glad it did, because this book was absolutely brilliant!

As I said above, I’m not a big Mystery reader, so I can’t really judge the quality of the crime solving part of the novel. I can only say that I enjoyed it and was glad it didn’t take up a huge part of the book. It’s essential to the plot, but it’s just one essential part among others.

The romance is a very slow burn. There’s an instant spark between our MCs, but they don’t tumble into bed or into a relationship right away. It takes time and it’s not easy. While relationships between a mytho and a human might not be forbidden, it is most definitely taboo. And very bad for Jordan’s career in an anti-mytho police force. And Edra has good reasons to be wary of humans in general, especially the human police. I really enjoyed the slow dance of attraction and the UST was so scorching hot.

The Fantasy part was actually really interesting. While a lot of the elements aren’t exactly new (dragons, collapsing worlds, magic,…), the author managed to give it a very unique twist. For once, the end of the world isn’t caused by evil magic, but by a mundane human experiment gone wrong. And it’s not the end of the human world, but the end of another realm. All our fairy tales and myths are based on the mythos, that used to visit our human world. The world building was very well done and made perfect sense to me.

I loved the politics, the way the world reacted to the sudden appearance of mythological creatures and how the daily life works now, 10 years later. Again, it all made sense. Humans are always wary of anything that’s “different” and after such a huge upheaval, it only follows that humans want to go back to what’s “normal”. They become more intolerant and humans that don’t fit in are also viewed with hostility.

Jordan was rather surprising. He loves wearing lingerie and likes to put on eyeliner and lipstick every now and then. I’m usually not really into femme MCs, but the way the author described the feeling of the silk against skin was incredibly sensual. And the way Edra reacted was just hot as hell.

Overall, I really, really loved “Lust And Other Drugs”. The ending is a very open HFN and it’s obvious there’s more to come. The love story doesn’t really have a satisfying result and the crime isn’t fully solved either. But it didn’t end on a cliffhanger. I’m really looking forward to the next book in the series. I want to know what happens next!

The cover by Tiferet Design most definitely did it’s job. It’s what caught my attention in the first place and what ultimately made me decide to read the book. I think it looks really great and totally fits the story.

Sales Links:  Dreamspinner Press | Amazon

Book details:

ebook, 1st edition, 203 pages
Expected publication: April 2nd 2019 by Dreamspinner Press
ISBN1 39781644051887
Edition Language English

Series Mytho #1

New Release Blitz for Half Life by Gregory L. Norris (excerpt and giveaway)

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Title: Half-Life

Author: Gregory L. Norris

Publisher: NineStar Press

Release Date: January 21, 2019

Heat Level: 3 – Some Sex

Pairing: Male/Male

Length: 14300

Genre: Paranormal, LGBT, witches, zombies, gay, magic

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Synopsis

Whitney Abbott travels to the seaside Maine town of Window to begin a new life in his uncle’s home. Robert Abbott is well-to-do and owns several high-end restaurants. Whitney will start at the bottom and work his way up at the flagship. But from the moment Whitney exits his car in the drive of the big, brooding house, he senses the sinister atmosphere surrounding his relations.

His cousin November, princess of the estate, feigns joy at having Whitney in town. And November’s handsome athlete boyfriend, Griffin, is an enigma. Soon after his arrival, Griffin warns Whitney to leave. With nowhere to go—and certain that his attraction to Griffin goes both ways—Whitney is drawn into November’s malevolent plans. Plans that will pit Whitney against dark supernatural forces in order to save both his and Griffin’s lives.

Excerpt

Half-Life
Gregory L. Norris © 2019
All Rights Reserved

I hit the switch. The familiar cold, white glare from the overhead lights rained across the kitchen, prep station, and the industrial dishwasher, scenes of so many long shifts and leg cramps. The light did little to remove the greater darkness that hung over the back of my uncle’s restaurant. The gloom swirling outside had followed me into Abbott’s Table, one of your finer dining establishments along this part of Maine’s Rocky Headlands. Rain pelted the oblong window above the prep-station sink, where I’d cleaned and breaded untold thousands of shrimp. The ghostly aroma of garlic, lobster, and grilled meat hung over the place. Cloying, with an edge of lemon cleaner.

“Hello?” I called.

My heart hammered against my ribcage. I imagined my balls shriveling up against the root of my dick. An icy finger stroked my spine.

“Anyone here? It’s me, Whitney.”

Identifying myself made the creeping sensation even worse. The darkness had pursued me, constantly there at the periphery hiding in shadowy corners. Here in my uncle’s flagship restaurant after hours, the unwanted attention from sinister powers was more tangible, more intimate. I choked down a heavy swallow to find my mouth had gone completely dry.

“Griffin, it’s me. I saw your truck in the lot,” I said, aware of how my lips risked a smile at the mention of his name. Griffin. My heart raced for different reasons after that. “Griff?”

I checked the kitchen—empty. Willing my legs forward, I pushed past the rightward pair of swivel doors, hearing the awful voice of the restaurant’s manager, Marc with a c—Always keep to the right, that’s how it’s done at Abbott’s Table. The dining room sat dark and empty, chairs stacked upside down over tabletops, the floors swept, mopped, and shiny under the green glow of the exit lights.

I checked the bar and both of the public heads, finding the same result: no Griffin. My pulse continued its mad speed. Danger juice soured in my bloodstream. His truck in the far corner of the Abbott’s Table parking lot could have meant a hundred different things on any other night—Griffin out having fun with some of his hockey league buddies, late fun, guy stuff. I knew he wasn’t with the Ice Queen. No, after what had happened and the kiss that followed, Griffin wouldn’t have gone back to confront my cousin, November Abbott.

That kiss…

For a wonderful instant, the storm cloud dissolved, and I was in my car again, his big hand cupping my cheek, his mouth crushed over mine, claiming me as his and offering me all he had to give in return. I remembered the warm scent of pinesap, of Griffin’s magnificent body, the swell of his erection pressing against me as we kissed, and the certainty that what we both felt, while undeniably physical, went past simple attraction. Dare I again think it? Love.

I loved Griffin, and he loved me.

The rain pounding the world outside the restaurant’s windows unleashed eerie silver dapples across the dining room. I stood pondering, waiting for a sound, a sign. When none came, I turned and hastened back in the direction of the kitchen exit.

“Whitney…”

I dug in my sneaker treads on the rubber mat set between the kitchen and rear door, at first thinking I’d hallucinated Griffin’s voice. But then I faced the direction of the sound and found myself staring at the one corner of the restaurant I hadn’t thought to search: the walk-in refrigerator and freezer.

Reaching the big stainless-steel door seemed to take longer than the actual few seconds. I tugged on the latch. The door resisted, as though someone was pulling at the same time from the other side. The inner voice that had told me a week earlier to turn around, to not travel north to the town of Window, Maine, was back, urging me to get out. Just leave. Run!

I drew in a breath, smelling the rain, the kitchen’s funk, and the trace of clean, athletic sweat from the T-shirt I wore—Griffin’s sweat, and Griffin’s shirt, borrowed on an afternoon that now felt part of another decade. I pulled harder. The door released. A gust of cold, foggy air billowed out.

The front part of the walk-in was already lit up from inside, even though the light switch was off. I pushed through the long plastic strips of the freezer curtain and into the wide space that housed expensive cuts of tomahawk steaks, bins of heirloom tomatoes and other fresh produce from the local farmer’s market, and, I discovered, one sacrificial altar.

I froze, my eyes recording details—the waxy candles, three, burning around the body on the folding table, the sprigs of Datura stramonium Devil’s Snare flowers draped around the nude man’s corpse laid out in a funeral pose. I recognized the patch of hairy, athletic lower leg, upon which a winged lion had been inked.

“Griffin,” I gasped.

A breeze that hadn’t been there the previous second whispered through the walk-in, stirring the leaves of bunches of basil, parsley, and other fresh herbs. My paralysis broke. I moved beside the table, my eyes wide, not blinking. Griffin, naked, his hands folded over his midriff. Even as I reached my trembling fingers toward his and the voice in my head screamed for me to run—run from the restaurant, from Window, Maine, and, above all else, from Griffin—my eyes recorded the pallor of his skin. Griffin’s flesh was gray in the flickering candlelight.

My hand covered his. A chill raced up my fingertips. He was icy to the touch. No, impossible—hours before, in that other era, he’d held me, kissed me. And I had seen proof of our tomorrow together even as the storm clouds raced over our heads. Griffin had pledged his love and promised to return.

I glanced at Griffin’s big jock feet—still sexy despite their grayness, up his legs, past his junk, and all the way to his eyes, clamped shut. I gripped his hands, the fingers interlaced in prayer, and squeezed.

“Griffin!”

The dead man’s eyes shot open. Gone was their beyond-blue color—what I’d come to think of as twin sapphire gemstones. What focused upon me now was a pair of predator’s eyes with a wolf’s silver sharpness. The hands beneath my fingers abandoned their illusion of prayer and seized hold of my arm. I shrieked, attempting to pull away. Right before the corpse’s legs swung out and the altar collapsed, toppling candles, I saw Griffin’s mouth open. He licked his lips. His teeth chattered. The dead man salivated hungrily.

And then his weight spilled on top of me, and he was snapping at my throat.

Purchase

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Meet the Author

Raised on a healthy diet of creature double features and classic SF television, Gregory L. Norris is a full-time professional writer, with work appearing in numerous short story anthologies, national magazines, novels, the occasional TV episode, and, so far, one produced feature film (Brutal Colors, which debuted on Amazon Prime January 2016). A former feature writer and columnist at Sci Fi, the official magazine of the Sci Fi Channel (before all those ridiculous Ys invaded), he once worked as a screenwriter on two episodes of Paramount’s modern classic, Star Trek: Voyager. Two of his paranormal novels (written under my rom-de-plume, Jo Atkinson) were published by Home Shopping Network as part of their “Escape With Romance” line — the first time HSN has offered novels to their global customer base. He judged the 2012 Lambda Awards in the SF/F/H category. Three times now, his stories have notched Honorable Mentions in Ellen Datlow’s Best-of books. In May 2016, he traveled to Hollywood to accept HM in the Roswell Awards in Short SF Writing.His story “Drowning” appears in the Italian anthology THE BEAUTY OF DEATH 2, alongside tales by none other than Peter Straub and Clive Barker. Follow his literary adventures at http://www.gregorylnorris.blogspot.com.

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New Book Release Blitz for A Dance of Water and Air ( Elemental Magicae #1) by Antonia Aquilante (excerpt and giveaway)

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Title: A Dance of Water and Air

Series: Elemental Magicae, Book One

Author: Antonia Aquilante

Publisher: NineStar Press, LLC

Release Date: October 1, 2018

Heat Level: 3 – Some Sex

Pairing: Male/Male

Length: 83600

Genre: Fantasy, Romance, fantasy, trans, magic, elements, court intrigue, arranged marriage, friends to lovers

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Synopsis

Edmund is heir to the throne of Thalassa and a wielder of Water magic. Devoted to his kingdom and his duty to it, Edmund can do nothing but acquiesce to an arranged marriage with the queen of a neighboring kingdom. The marriage and the child it is required to produce will seal an alliance between Thalassa and Aither that is vital to Thalassa’s safety, and far more important than Edmund’s personal misgivings.

Arden is the younger brother of Aither’s queen and a wielder of Air magic. Raised in the politics of the court to support his sister’s rule, he understands the alliance is important to Aither, even as he worries about his sister marrying someone she’s never met. When Edmund arrives in Aither to prepare for the wedding, Arden is tasked with helping him settle in at court. As they spend more time together, Edmund and Arden develop a close friendship, then stronger feelings, but with Edmund’s wedding approaching, they must hide their feelings, even from themselves.

When someone tries to assassinate the queen, Edmund is blamed, and Arden rescues him before he can be executed for a crime he didn’t commit. To prevent a war between their kingdoms and protect them from a dangerous enemy, Edmund and Arden will have to discover who wants to pit Aither and Thalassa against each other and mend relations between the two kingdoms as they evade those searching for them—all while finding a way to be together.

Excerpt

The Dance of Water and Air
Antonia Aquilante © 2018
All Rights Reserved

Chapter One
Edmund swam, long limbs slicing through the clear, warm water. His mind quieted in the repetitive motion, in the weightlessness and the comfort of being surrounded by his Element. Everything washed away, leaving him calm and relaxed, the only time he ever was lately.

If only he could stay there.

He imagined it for a moment. Spending his life swimming and sailing. All his time in the soothing embrace of the water, or at the shore or bank, feeling Water’s power, learning to use its magic. It was a lovely dream. A lovely, impossible dream. With that thought, tension—the tension his morning swim had briefly dispelled—came flooding back. He stopped swimming and flipped onto his back, closing his eyes and taking a deep breath before letting it out in a long sigh.

The sigh had barely left him when he heard the scrape of a shoe against stone. He bit back another sigh and flipped over again to straighten and tread water in the center of the large pool. His secretary stood on the tiled terrace. Peregrine knew better than anyone that this time was Edmund’s and wouldn’t disturb him unless it was urgent. Disaster or grave injury were top of the list.

“Good morning.”

“Good morning, Highness.” Peregrine would never call him by name when someone else might hear, and Edmund would never try to convince him otherwise. Edmund was far too aware of the dictates of his own position. And far too grateful to have found a friend in Peregrine to quibble overly about how they had to behave in public. “I apologize for disturbing you, sir, but the king has called for you.”

A summons from Father certainly counted as a valid reason to disturb him, especially with the rising tensions between Thalassa and their neighbor, Tycen. It seemed Edmund would be cutting his swim short this morning. He struck out for the terrace where Peregrine waited, swimming with steady but unhurried strokes. He wouldn’t dawdle, but if there had been reason to rush, Peregrine would have said.

Soon enough, he reached the terrace and pulled himself up to sit on the edge. Peregrine handed him a towel. He wiped his face first and stood to strip off his soaking wet swim pants and dry the rest of him. Peregrine wouldn’t care about Edmund’s nudity, and he didn’t worry that someone else would come upon them. The pool he chose for his swims wasn’t the largest of the many on the palace grounds, but it was the most private. The terrace they stood on was the only one that connected to the palace, and it was shaded from view. The rest of the area was screened with trees and shrubbery. The smaller terraces on the side opposite them were even more secluded. He’d spent much time in the pool, which was fed by the same underground spring as the rest of the palace waterways, and on the terraces over the years.

Once Edmund was dry, Peregrine handed him the robe he’d left hanging over the back of a chair when he’d arrived. He’d also left a book there—he’d been far too optimistic about his time when he came down here, apparently. He thanked Peregrine and shrugged into the blue-green silk. It was new, something he hadn’t really needed, but he liked the color against his brown skin and the feel of the smooth, cool silk.

“Any idea what my father needs?” Edmund stepped into his sandals and picked up his book from the table.

“None.”

He raised his eyebrow at Peregrine in surprise. Edmund could always rely on Peregrine for more information than seemed possible about everyone from the maids to the king. He’d long since gotten over any misgivings about Peregrine’s seeming omniscience and begun to rely on it. For Peregrine not to have an inkling of what was brewing… Odd. And slightly disturbing.

“I guess we’ll find out.”

Not immediately, of course. A summons through official channels called for more formality. Edmund couldn’t appear in the king’s presence in nothing but a thin robe and sandals. Peregrine kept pace as Edmund walked to his rooms, informing him of other court news and gossip that he might find interesting or useful as they walked.

Edmund’s rooms were a floor up from the garden pool. A guard stationed near the door jumped to open it for Edmund as he approached. He nodded but didn’t slow as he sailed through the door, Peregrine at his heels. His sandals made soft tapping sounds on the green and white tile of the entryway. His sitting room opened up in front of him, curtains fluttering in the breeze blowing in off the ocean below. He had no time to relax there or even to eat the breakfast that was sure to be laid out in the dining room. Instead, he turned left, taking the short hallway leading to his bedchamber, dressing room, and bathing room.

He went directly to the bathing room. Wide windows let in sunlight over the large tub, empty because he usually bathed after breakfast. There was no time to fill it, let alone soak. He settled for rinsing the salt from his skin with water from the basin and briskly rubbed a towel over his shoulder-length hair. Having it drip all over his clothing while he met with Father just wouldn’t do. When he’d squeezed as much of the water from it as he could, he left the towel and went to the dressing room.

Peregrine was there, laying out clothes.

“That isn’t your job,” Edmund said.

“I’m aware.”

“I can select my own clothing.”

“I’m aware of that as well. Put them on anyway.”

Edmund laughed and did as he was told. Peregrine was only saving him time and knew what would be appropriate for him to wear, considering the meeting with Father and the day ahead. He pulled on undergarments and slim gray pants and dropped a sleeveless white shirt over his head. Peregrine held out a dark teal jacket for him, helping him shrug into the embroidered silk. Edmund murmured his thanks and fastened the jacket over his chest, fingers working quickly over the row of little silver buttons. When he was finished, he stepped into shoes and fastened the silver and aquamarine drop earrings Peregrine had just pulled from their box into his ears. It was the only jewelry Peregrine had chosen, and as he looked in the mirror, Edmund had to admit he was probably right in that. The clothing didn’t need more.

“Thank you,” Edmund said.

“My pleasure, Edmund.”

“Perhaps I should have you dress me every day. You have an eye for it. Much better than anyone else. Do you think you’d prefer it to being my secretary?”

Peregrine sent a stern frown at Edmund. “Funny.”

It was, for any number of reasons. Only one being that Peregrine was frighteningly efficient in his present position and far too good at it to do anything else. In fact, he was far too skilled to be anything except a royal secretary, and it was Edmund’s good fortune to have him.

“Shall we?” Peregrine didn’t mention that Edmund shouldn’t keep Father waiting, but he didn’t have to.

“Yes. Catch me up on any changes to my schedule as we walk.”

Peregrine did so, barely consulting his notebook. Edmund listened carefully as they left his rooms and strode through the palace corridors. His own wing, reserved for the rooms of the royal children, was quiet as it was only occupied by him and Kerenza. His sister would still be abed—she preferred to rise late when she had the opportunity—and he had no appointments that might bring anyone to his office until later in the day. When they passed out of the wing, the entrance marked by a three-tiered fountain decorated in mosaics of blue and green tiles, the corridors became more populated. But everyone gave way for the prince and his secretary, bowing as Edmund passed them.

Father’s office was near the council chambers and other administrative offices in the main block of the palace. He worked sometimes in the small private library attached to his rooms, but all his official meetings took place here. If Edmund had any doubt that today’s summons was serious and formal, it would have been dispelled by the location of the meeting.

Peregrine knocked when they arrived, and a moment later, the door was opened by Father’s secretary, who bowed and stepped aside. Edmund bowed slightly as soon as he entered the room, then walked closer to Father’s desk. Peregrine remained back near the closed door. Father looked up from the papers he was examining to study Edmund with a keen eye. Edmund was sure Father was cataloging every detail of his appearance from his attire to his still damp hair.

Father was dressed formally, as Edmund would expect. His jacket was green, heavily embroidered in gold and white, the color vivid against his dark skin. The circlet of his rank sat on his head amid black curls now streaked with gray. Edmund had not worn his own circlet, deeming it unnecessary for the day he had planned; he hoped he wouldn’t regret that decision. The set of Father’s features caused Edmund’s stomach to churn unpleasantly.

“You called for me, Father?”

“Yes. Come sit down. I need to speak with you.” The seriousness of his tone did nothing to alleviate Edmund’s sudden concern.

Edmund took the chair across from Father’s desk, hoping he properly concealed his anxiety. He’d been trained all his life to mask every emotion, so he’d best be able to. He looked at Father and waited for him to speak.

“As you know, we’ve been pursuing an alliance with Aither,” Father said.

And, of course, Edmund did know, though he hadn’t been involved in the negotiations. Aither sat at their western border. Theirs was generally a friendly border to begin with, trade flowing freely between the two countries, but Father and his council had hoped that the looming threat of Tycen’s aggression might worry Aither’s young queen as much as it had them and would tempt her into an alliance. Edmund hadn’t been informed about the state of the negotiations in some time. Had they gone horribly wrong?

“We’ve come to an agreement with Queen Hollis.”

“You—” Edmund stopped. He’d been so sure Father was going to say just the opposite that he couldn’t believe what he’d heard. “That’s wonderful, Father. Did the final agreement go as you’d hoped?”

“We got what we needed from it.”

“Good.” And yet the relief Edmund should’ve been feeling didn’t come. Father didn’t look as if he’d just concluded a successful negotiation, didn’t look as if he was pleased by the outcome. Or…no, not as if he was displeased, but too serious. “Is something wrong?”

“Not at all. However, the promises of increased trade and mutual protection were not enough on their own to secure the alliance we needed.”

Edmund wasn’t surprised, though he hadn’t been privy to the particulars of what Father wanted, aside from Aither standing with them should Tycen press their aggression. “What did they ask for?”

“Queen Hollis and her advisors required more assurance of our compliance, and truth be told, I wasn’t upset to have more of theirs. They’re Air wielders, so they’re different from us, but Water and Air are compatible. Even if I would have preferred an alliance with no deeper entanglements.”

“Father?” A rush of cold spread through Edmund’s veins.

“You and Queen Hollis will wed with the expectation of a child being born within two years. The alliance will be secured by blood and all the stronger for it.”

Purchase

NineStar Press, LLC | Amazon | Smashwords | Barnes & Noble | Kobo

Meet the Author

Antonia Aquilante has been making up stories for as long as she can remember, and at the age of twelve, decided she would be a writer when she grew up. After many years and a few career detours, she has returned to that original plan. Her stories have changed over the years, but one thing has remained consistent—they all end in happily ever after.

She has a fondness for travel (and a long list of places she wants to visit and revisit), taking photos, family history, fabulous shoes, baking treats (which she shares with friends and family), and of course, reading. She usually has at least two books started at once and never goes anywhere without her Kindle. Though she is a convert to e-books, she still loves paper books the best, and there are a couple thousand of them residing in her home with her.

Born and raised in New Jersey, Antonia is living there again after years in Washington, DC and North Carolina for school and work. She enjoys being back in the Garden State but admits to being tempted every so often to run away from home and live in Italy.

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New Book Release Blitz for Death Days by Lia Cooper (excerpt and giveaway)

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Title: Death Days

Author: Lia Cooper

Publisher: NineStar Press

Release Date: August 6, 2018

Heat Level: 3 – Some Sex

Pairing: Male/Male

Length: 70000

Genre: Paranormal, college, teaching, magic, dark, slow burn, age gap, vampires, shifters

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Synopsis

By day, Professor Nicholas Littman works as an itinerant professor at a small college in the Pacific Northwest. He teaches seminars on mythology and the intersections of folklore and magic in the ancient world. By night, he’s the local necromancer, a rare magical talent that has left him alienated from other practitioners.

All Nick wants from life is to be left alone to run his magical experiments and teach kids the historical context of magic without anyone being the wiser. Unfortunately, his family is sworn to sit on the council of the Order of the Green Book—a group of magicians dating back to the Crusades—and they aren’t willing to take Nick’s no for an answer.

As though that wasn’t bad enough, a coven of Night Women has arrived in town, warning Nick that there are wolves at his door he had better take care of. But what can one necromancer do when every natural and supernatural card seems stacked against him?

Excerpt

Death Days
Lia Cooper © 2018
All Rights Reserved

One: The Professor
“Today we’re talking about the elision that occurs between Thoth worship in pre-Ptolemaic Egypt and early Greece. Let’s break into four groups for seminar,” Professor Nicolas Littman said, eyeing the half-empty teaching theater. He divided the room with a sweep of his arm and glanced at the clock on the back wall.

“We’ll meet back here in thirty minutes to discuss your thoughts as a group. And I want every small group to come up with a question to pose to the rest of us.”

He felt gratified at the way they began shuffling together into little clusters without further prompting.

“One of you should go use the lounge outside,” he said, waving absently at the small group at the very back of the room.

He didn’t care if they took the direction or not. He trusted in every student’s desire to escape the four walls of the classroom given a millimeter of freedom. All that mattered was that he now had thirty minutes of his own time in which to play hooky.

Nick grabbed a book and the vape out of his bag, and slipped out of the left-hand exit.

Why someone in the administration had decided to give him a corner theater for this class was beyond him. Four credits on Hermetic Mythologies and Cosmologies was hardly in demand. Especially when it was offered as a four-and-a-half-hour option on Saturdays. But if it meant they got a spacious room and the otherwise empty SEM II C building to themselves, he shouldn’t complain. His students could spread out to their hearts’ content, leaving him to steal outside to smoke without anyone around to gripe at him.

“Not even a proper smoke,” he muttered, flicking the round silver device on, warming the metal under his hand.

Nick sat on the concrete with his back to the building’s cement exterior and his knees bent, pressed the tip of the vape between his lips, and held down the button for a long, comforting drag. He closed his eyes to the bright sun and tipped his head back against the wall. Vapor streamed out of his pursed lips in a thick, fragrant cloud and pooled in the air above his head.

“Hiding from the students again?” an amused voice asked from above.

“I’m not hiding,” Nick grumbled.

A thin body lowered itself down onto the ground next to him, all long spidery limbs that folded with the kind of soft careless agility Nick hadn’t felt in a decade or two.

He looked over at his—teaching assistant wasn’t the word. Technically, Josiah didn’t work for him at all. He was just an independent contract student working on an eight-credit history project, but he let Nick use him like a TA so that’s how he always thought of him.

“What do you call this?” Josiah asked, knocking their shoulders together.

“Seminaring.”

Josiah’s face crumpled up with amusement. His flexible mouth stretched into a laugh while his shoulders shook. Nick held out the vape on offer and waited for Josiah to notice.

“Is it peppermint?” he asked.

Nick nodded.

“No thanks.”

“I’m not buying cake or whatever it is you like.”

“Are you trying to say there’s something wrong with cake?” Josiah returned Nick’s stony look with a nonplussed expression.

“It’s unna—”

“First of all: I don’t remember tobacco ever coming in ‘peppermint flavor’ before, and second: everything you do is unnatural, so that’s not a valid argument coming from you, Professor Littman.”

Nick grimaced. “Don’t call me that.”

“Nick.”

He sighed and took another long drag off his vape, waiting for the nicotine to soothe the flutter in his heart that Josiah’s words had kicked up. Nothing he did was natural. The kid had no idea just how right he was. Nick glanced down at his empty hand, automatically checking his nails for pesky traces of dirt, but there was nothing unusual to see. He’d scrubbed up hard the night before. Done a thorough job not to leave any of those unnatural traces that might have given Josiah a better-formed picture of what his professor and academic adviser got up to in his free time.

Shit, even in his head, he sounded like a pervert.

“You’re wrong. Some things I do are perfectly natural.”

“Like what?”

Nick gave the young man a slow look. “You have a very active imagination, Mr. Wexler.”

“The imagination is a hungry organ, seeking perpetual nourishment. I like to think that it’s not so much I’ve got an active imagination, but rather a well-fed one.”

“That you feed on thoughts of me?” Nick smiled, playing the comment off as a joke even though it left something low and hot in his body to sit up with interest. A curl of amused interest that quivered at the thought of a bright young man captivated by thoughts of him, even if they were merely frustrated or prurient or the passing whim of childish fancy, as he suspected was the case.

“Sometimes,” Josiah admitted, looking away.

The two of them sat in companionable silence until the phone in Nick’s pocket hiccupped its alarm to let him know that the requisite thirty-minute small group had passed, and he had to return again to face the lethargy of his classroom.

“Did you need something?” he asked, using the wall to push himself to his feet, and slipped the vape back into his pocket.

Josiah pulled out a sheaf of printouts from his backpack and held them up for Nick to take. “Two new chapters. I wanted to get your thoughts on them before I continue. It took a—the narrative took a direction we haven’t discussed before.”

“All right. I’ll see what I can do.”

“Thanks.”

“Do you want to come in?”

“Nah, I’ve got to meet Jen. Talk to you next week?”

Nick nodded.

Above them, the sky had dimmed as sure as if someone had taken a dimmer switch to the sun. Dark clouds cast a clear, watery gray light over campus, the edges of the quad hemmed in on all sides by towering dark trees that only helped to feed into the illusion of night creeping over them. The air smelled as though it were about to rain, bitterly cold and damp.

“Do you think it’s going to snow?” Josiah asked, climbing to his feet.

Nick shook his head. “Not a chance.”

He filed back into the teaching theater behind the stragglers. Sixty minutes for discussion and in-class readings, and then he’d be free for the rest of the weekend. Nick perched his feet on the edge of his desk, saw the streaks of mud clinging to his shoes, and dropped them again. He cleared his throat and looked out at the crowd for the first person to meet his eyes.

“Ah, Amelia, why don’t you start us off with a brief summary of what your group discussed.”

He folded his arms over his chest and listened with half an ear while his focus strayed repeatedly to the darkening sky and the promise of rain.

Purchase

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Meet the Author

Lia Cooper is a twenty-something native of the Pacific Northwest, voracious reader, pop-culture addict, and writer. She cultivated an early interest in writing through fandom and completed writing her first full length novel with the help of NaNoWriMo.

In the years since, she’s dabbled in catering, barista-ing, and working as a pastry chef before finally returning full time to the thing she loves most: storytelling.

When she’s not glued to Scrivener, Lia enjoys playing video games with friends and reviewing books for her booktube channel.

Website | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | YouTube

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A MelanieM Review: Magic or Die (Inner Demons #1) by JP Jackson

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Rating: 5 stars out of 5

James Martin is a teacher, a powerful Psychic, and an alcoholic. He used to work for the Center for Magical Research and Development, a facility that houses people who can’t control their supernatural abilities, but left after one of his students was killed, turning to vodka to soothe his emotional pain. The problem is he still has one year left on his contract.

When James returns to the CMRD to fulfill the rest of his contract, he finds himself confronting the demons of his past and attempting to protect his new class from a possible death sentence, because if they don’t pass their final exams, they’ll be euthanized.

James also discovers that his class isn’t bringing in enough sponsors, the agencies and world governments who supply grants and ultimately purchase graduates of the CMRD, and that means no profit for the facility. James and his students face impossible odds—measure up to the facility’s unreachable standards or escape.

When I start reading a novel by a new author, I always try to approach that first chapter with a fresh outlook and happy  expectation that perhaps I’ve found a new writer to add to my TBR pile.  Sometimes it happens and sometimes not.  On the rare occasion I find an author that goes immediately on my auto buy list.  Welcome, JP Jackson to that list.

Magic or Die by JP Jackson is the first in their Inner Demons series and oh my, what a killer of a story and way to launch a series!  Immediately, Jackson gives us a main character in trouble.  James is a sodden drunk living in squalor.  He’s also a powerful Psychic.  One forced to be a teacher to other  young psychics at a Magical Research and Development facility.

The character of James is so well constructed. A drunk using alcohol unsuccessfully to stop the memories of the past from haunting him.  Or are they really just memories?  James is complex, and will show great growth over the course of the book.  And in a way great failure.  He’s amazing and the reader will commit to him utterly.

But James will come to teach a group of young Psychics.  Some wild, vulnerable, compelling, and the reader will come to ,well, if not love them, then, become inordinately fond of them.  We want them to succeed.  All will feel alive, horrifically, hauntingly, alive.

There are multiple stories being told here.  The author does a admirable job of keeping each one appearing throughout the entire story so you are always aware of the many threads flowing through it.  And their importance to the characters and overall arc.

There is one concerning Jame’s missing sister which is a stunner, one about the Covens and one of the pupils Jame’s will teach, more about the facility itself…all these intriguing narrative balls that the author keeps juggling to high suspense and our great entertainment and  sometimes horror.

Yes, I care about each and every one of these people/beings and need to know more.    Especially after that ending.

I used to absolutely hate cliffhangers.  That would  really guarantee a story a lower rating.  But over the years, that slowly changed until I can see my  way past that.  So  yes, this has a cliffhanger.  One that raised many, many questions for me that I hope are  answered in the next story.

Because everything leading up to that ending?  Just incredible!  The characters, the writing and plot!  So I can imagine the author knows exactly where he is going next here.  I want to be there too.

Pick up Magic or Die (Inner Demons #1) by JP Jackson and see why I cringed, cried, laughed, and loved everything about this story.  Then we can wait together until the next one is released!

Cover art is just perfect for the story and tone.  Love it.

Sales Links:

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Book Details:

ebook, 313 pages
Published July 2nd 2018 by NineStar Press
ISBN139781948608992
Edition LanguageEnglish
URLhttps://ninestarpress.com/product/magic-or-die/
SeriesInner Demons #1

Geoffrey Knight on Writing Action/Adventure Series and his new release ‘The Temple of Time (Fathoms Five #5)’ (guest post, excerpt and giveaway)

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 Temple of Time Tour Banner

TEMPLE OF TIME

FATHOMS FIVE SERIES, BOOK 5

GEOFFREY KNIGHT

GAY ACTION & ADVENTURE

RELEASE DATE: 06.17.18

TempleOfTime_FINAL_cvr 

 

COVER DESIGN:  Adrian Nicholas

AMAZON US: https://amzn.to/2ISL6pG

AMAZON UK: https://amzn.to/2tUSNqU

Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words is happy to host Geoffrey Knight here today, on tour with his latest novel The Temple of Time.  Welcome, Geoffrey.

♦︎

Pack Your Passport, It’s Time for Adventure!

by Geoffrey Knight

Hi there, and thanks so much for having me! I’m so excited to be here talking about my new Fathom’s Five book – The Temple of Time.

For anybody who isn’t familiar with Fathom’s Five, it’s my series of gay adventure novels featuring five hunky treasure-hunters who journey across the globe in search of ancient relics and the clues to solve some of the greatest mysteries of all time. To give you an idea, the first book in the series – The Cross of Sins – was aptly described by one reader as ‘Gay raiders of the lost da Vinci code’. That just about sums things up.

By way of introduction, our five Fathom’s heroes are Jake Stone, a New York adventurer and treasure hunter  who has problems learning how to care about anyone but himself; Dr Eden Santiago, the clever and courageous Brazilian biologist and physician; Shane Houston, the Texas cowboy who has a knack for maps and cartography and a love for animals; Luca da Roma, the Italian fashion model and art history expert whose skills uncover the secrets hidden in works of art; and Will Hunter, the college quarterback and ancient history major who knows his way around a pyramid just as well as he knows his way around a bedroom.

Combined, they have all the skills they need to solve some of the greatest mysteries of all time.

Of course, to write an adventure series like Fathom’s Five, there are certain boxes I needed to tick:

  • Hot gay heroes ready to outsmart, outwit and outrun trouble? Check.
  • Insanely over-the-top chase scenes and action sequences? Check.
  • Bad guys oozing with villainy? Check.
  • Far-flung exotic locations full of peril and intrigue? Double check.

In fact, that last point is where I have the most fun with my Fathom’s Five books.

Coming up with the locations for each story is my favourite part of writing an adventure tale. Where will I send my boys next? What will they find there? What kind of action scene can I set in that place?

And so, to give you a little taste of what I mean – but without giving any spoilers away – I thought I’d list my 10 favorite exotic locations (in order of books in the series) that I’ve chosen for some of my Fathom’s Five adventures.

ANKARA, TURKEY

The Book – The Cross of Sins: Fathom’s Five Book One

The Scene – While chasing down a villain who tries to kill him, cowboy cartographer Shane Houston realizes he needs a mode of transport fast or he’ll lose his target. With no car, he grabs the first thing he can find – a camel – to race through the Turkish capital of Ankara creating chaos in the streets.

VENICE, ITALY

The Book – The Cross of Sins: Fathom’s Five Book One

The Scene – Trapped in an underground chamber right beside the Grand Canal, the Fathom’s Five boys must figure out a way to escape. But the clock is ticking, for the chamber wall has a crack in it and soon a trickle of water from the canal turns into a gush, flooding the chamber with our heroes trapped inside.

SIBERIA, RUSSIA

The Book – The Riddle of the Sands: Fathom’s Five Book Two

The Scene – I kick start the second Fathom’s Five adventure with a visit to the remote Laptev Strait Prison, a fictional jail that houses the most dangerous and psychotic criminals in the world. Unfortunately for Shane, the Professor, and British reporter Daniel West, a dramatic prison break frees the prisoners and puts all their lives in peril.

CAIRO, EGYPT

The Book – The Riddle of the Sands: Fathom’s Five Book Two

The Scene – While trying to find a legendary lost pyramid, our hunky heroes find themselves in a forbidden steamy bath house in Cairo where they’re about to get more than they bargained for, in particular Jake Stone whose masseuse has murderous intentions.

DUBAI, UNITED ARAB EMIRATES

The Book – The Curse of the Dragon God: Fathom’s Five Book Three

The Scene – In order to get closer to a man who has vital information needed to solve the mystery, Jake must enter a deadly dune buggy race over the sand dunes of the Dubai desert where losing is not an option.

BEIJING, CHINA

The Book – The Curse of the Dragon God: Fathom’s Five Book Three

The Scene – Trapped in a seedy gay strip joint called Beijing Betty’s, Shane is drugged and thrust upon the stage, forced to dance and strip his way to freedom if he has any chance of solving the Curse of the Dragon God.

MAURITIUS, INDIAN OCEAN

The Book – The Tomb of Heaven: Fathom’s Five Book Four

The Scene – In the underwater lab of a crazy scientist, Jake, Shane and Daniel find themselves in a flooded section of the facility surrounded by man-eating sharks. Sharks… why did it have to be sharks!

KARACHI, PAKISTAN

The Book – The Tomb of Heaven: Fathom’s Five Book Four

The Scene – Pursued by hooded villains, Jake, Shane and Daniel end up in a bizarre chase in a crowded Pakistani bazaar that sees them make a getaway in a tiny car that barely fits their bulky bods.

LONDON, ENGLAND

The Book – The Temple of Time: Fathom’s Five Book Five

The Scene – The opening scene of The Temple of Time is a flashback that features a young Professor Fathom and explains how he lost his sight while being pursued through the streets of London to one of the city’s most famous landmarks.

THE MATTERHORN, SWISS ALPS

The Book – The Temple of Time: Fathom’s Five Book Five

The Scene – Desperate to outrun a merciless mercenary on the snowy slopes of the Matterhorn, Luca, Sister Margarita and the Professor’s housekeeper – the beloved German cook Elsa – must think outside the square and use a rather unconventional getaway vehicle when it comes to escaping the mountain alive.

So… feel like packing your passport for some globe-trotting action? Then perhaps a Fathom’s Five book is your ticket to adventure. I hope you have some fun, but be warned, the books are very sequential. To get the most out of the series, please read them in order to fully experience the world of Fathom’s Five… there are a lot of little subplots along the way that pay off later in the series.

Happy reading!

BLURB

There is a civilization that vanished without trace. There is a lost temple that can change time as we know it. There is a fragile fraternity that protects the most important secret in human history. And there is one man who will destroy everything and anyone to know the truth—his name is Caro Sholtez.

In his possession are the four pieces of the most powerful mythical clock in the world, and the only person who can stop him from finding the Temple that can unlock Time itself is Professor Fathom.

And so it seems to Caro Sholtez that distractions, kidnappings, killings are necessary to disperse the Professor’s men to keep them from stopping him from finding the one thing he wants—the power to control the passage of Time.

From the markets of Marrakesh to the pot parlors of Amsterdam, from the landmarks of London and Prague to the very cradle of Mayan civilization, join hunky New York adventurer Jake Stone, Brazilian biologist Eden Santiago, Texas cowboy Shane Houston, Italian art expert Luca da Roma, and Californian college quarterback Will Hunter on their greatest adventure yet.

**Please note: This is the fifth book in the Fathom’s Five adventure series. It is recommended to read the series in order to fully appreciate the sequence of events.

 The Temple of Time Teaser 1

The Temple of Time Teaser 2

 EXCERPT

Big Zettie walked toward the dining table with a large tray of tea. Her hands were shaking so much from the news that the cups clattered loudly. Will helped her ease the tray down before returning to his nervous pacing.

Everyone had gathered around the table.

Elsa sat beside Luca, rubbing his back as a mother would care for a distressed child.

Daniel sat beside Shane, squeezing his hand for reassurance.

Jake stood in the doorway, side-stepping from one foot to the other as though ready to make a move as soon as the Professor gave the green light.

At the head of the dining table sat the Professor with Eden by his side.

In front of them were three opened envelopes, and beside each of these was a short letter.

Eden read them aloud one by one for the Professor.

“This was the message left at Will’s house,” Eden said by way of explanation.

“I expected to see Felix,” Will interrupted, his anxiety evident by his quivering voice. “He’s always there, always telling me to slow down… or finish my homework… or eat my goddamn vegetables. The house was so quiet and empty. It was so fucking empty without him.”

Jake grabbed Will’s shoulder and hugged him tight.

The Professor nodded for Eden to continue. “Please read me what it says.”

Eden took a breath and delivered the message. “Dear Master Hunter, if you ever wish to see your faithful Felix Fraser alive again, you’ll solve this riddle… Voiceless I howl, toothless I bite. Cities will crumble in the wake of my might.”

Silence filled the room. “What the hell does that mean?” Jake said, his brain refusing to function and the fuse of his temper quickly burning to its frayed end.

“Patience, Jake,” said the Professor, himself trying to remain calm and composed. “He wants to rattle us. He wants to cloud any sense of clarity we might have with anger and fear. Our emotions are our weakness right now.” He turned to Eden. “Please, Eden. Continue.”

Eden picked up the second letter. “This was the letter left for Shane.”

“That goddamn asshole Claudius Welles handed it to me while I watched the home my father built burn to the ground,” uttered Shane through gritted teeth. “That stupid coward saved himself rather than try to save my mother.”

Daniel clutched Shane’s hand tight. “We’ll get through this. We’ll find your Mom and we’ll all get through this together.”

The Professor said nothing to Daniel’s comment. He could already see how this was playing out. Caro Sholtez was indeed about to divide and conquer in a somewhat ruthless and spectacular fashion.

“Eden, please read on,” the Professor said.

Eden held the second message in his hands. “Dear Mr. Houston, if you ever wish to see your beloved mother alive again, you’ll answer this riddle… Angry I run, cold I am still. But when I am hot, the air I will fill.”

“I think I see where this is going,” said Daniel, his mind clearly ticking over.

“I’ve no doubt you’re correct, Daniel,” said the Professor. “Eden, would you mind reading the final riddle?”

Eden picked up the third letter, the one addressed to Luca.

Luca said nothing. He had replayed the words over and over again in his head so many times he didn’t need to hear it again. He turned away.

“Dear Signor da Roma,” Eden read aloud. “If you ever wish to see your cherished Bride of Christ again, you’ll answer this riddle… My colors I change, by day and by night. My fury is dark, but my silence is bright.”

A sniff escaped Luca. He lifted his face to reveal his glazed eyes and numb expression. After a moment, he uttered quietly, “Sky.”

“What did you say?” asked Jake, unable to hear Luca’s mumbled words from his place in the doorway.

“The answer to the riddle is ‘sky’,” Luca replied in a monotone voice. “I’ve read it so many times, I’ve thought of every possible answer, and the only one that makes perfect sense is the sky. The sky changes color every hour of the day. Yellow at dawn, pink at dusk, blue at noon, black at midnight. When there’s a storm it’s dark and angry, but on a calm, quiet day, the sky is clear and bright.”

Daniel, the puzzle-solver of the group, stood nodding. “He’s right. All the answers are part of nature. Voiceless I howl, toothless I bite. Cities will crumble in the wake of my might. That’s the wind. The answer to Will’s riddle is the wind.”

“It howls and bites and tears buildings to shreds in a tornado,” agreed Will, some hope finally returning to his voice.

“And as for Shane’s riddle, that answer is water,” said Daniel. “Angry I run, cold I am still. But when I am hot, the air I will fill.”

Shane nodded, understanding the references now. “Raging rivers run. Ice is still. And boiling water…”

“Rises into the air as steam,” finished Jake. “But what does it all mean? Sky, wind, water… the answers just leave us with more questions and no clues what to do with them.”

“The clue is in Caro himself,” the Professor said. He turned his head toward Jake and Will and gestured for them to stop pacing and join the others at the table. “Please, gentlemen, take a seat. It’s important I tell you everything there is to know about Caro Sholtez. Or at least everything I know about him.”

“If it leads to Felix and the others,” said Will, quickly pulling up a chair, “then hit us with everything you’ve got, Professor.”

“There is a Temple somewhere in the Mexican jungle known as the Temple of Time. Nobody knows where it is, at least nobody left alive today. The last known sighting of it was by a man named Hernando Cortez in the late sixteenth century. Cortez was a thief who stowed aboard a ship in the Spanish Armada, posing as a Conquistador. He was after gold and silver and bragged that he had plundered a lost temple in what is now known as the Lacandon Jungle in Mexico. Unfortunately for Cortez his bragging was short-lived. The natives soon realized what he had done and quickly captured him, sacrificing him to their gods for his crime. But legend has it Cortez found more than simply gold and silver… according to the stories, he found—and stole—the four pieces of the clock inside the Temple of Time. The natives were furious. They put safeguards in place to stop anyone else from finding the Temple, but the damage had already been done. The pieces of the clock were gone, and Cortez… well… he had no idea how close he came to finding the greatest discovery in human history. You see, according to legend, the Temple holds the key to unlock time itself.”

“What do you mean, unlock time?” asked Daniel.

“I’m referring to the ability to control time. Bend it. Contort it. Travel through it,” said the Professor. “It is a place of untold power.”

“Travel through time?” Shane asked. “Are you serious?”

“I’m deadly serious. And so is Caro. Finding the Temple has been his entire life’s obsession. He has murdered his way across continents to fulfill his quest.”

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Geoffrey Knight is the author of more than 30 gay fiction novels, novellas and short stories, ranging in genre from gay adventure, gay romance, gay suspense and gay comedies. He is the recipient of two Rainbow Awards including Best Mystery Winner and Best Overall Gay Fiction Runner-up. His work has been featured in several anthologies including Best Gay Erotica 2013, and he appeared as Guest of Honor at the inaugural Rainbow Con in Florida, 2014.

Geoffrey has worked in advertising, politics and journalism, but nothing is as fun as telling stories. He lives with his partner, their baby daughter, two dogs and two cats in a rambling old house in North Queensland, Australia, where the paint is fraying and life is good.

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