Love Shifters and Romance? Check out Ta Weezo’s Blues by Layla Dorine (excerpt and giveaway)

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Title: Ta Weezo’s Blues

Author: Layla Dorine

Publisher: NineStar Press

Release Date: December 24, 2018

Heat Level: 3 – Some Sex

Pairing: Male/Male

Length: 24800

Genre: Paranormal, college, professor, student, shapeshifter, teacher’s pet, poet, author, ferret shifter

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Synopsis

Sabre never had any intentions of becoming the teacher’s pet. In fact, most of his school years have been spent trying to avoid attention. The scar that mars his cheek has made him wary of strangers, their questions and prying eyes leave him feeling exposed in ways he’s uncomfortable with. Accustomed to blending in, he lurks around the shadows in the back of classrooms, turning in exemplary work but rarely taking part in discussions.

Professor Locklear’s Native lit class is different though. Sabre’s interest in the subject matter, coupled with a dedicated scholar’s need to turn in the best work possible, leads him to seek out a more advanced reading list, much to the delight of Professor Locklear. When he comes across Sabre reading material beyond even the advanced list, Professor Locklear invites on a fieldtrip to a nearby village. Along the way he learns more than just the knowledge contained in the books. He learns about trust and discovers that there are others out there just like him— shapeshifters.

What he believed was an individual anomaly turns out to be something beyond legend and lore, a whole different culture he’d never known existed. The only way he can move forward is to let his shields down long enough to trust the man whose conversations he’s come to enjoy, but to do that, he’ll have to stop distancing himself from everyone.

Excerpt

Ta Weezo’s Blues
Layla Dorine © 2018
All Rights Reserved

The hallway smelled of old dust and coconut curry, setting Sabre’s stomach growling as he trudged the last few feet to Professor Locklear’s door. Instinctively, he pulled his hood low, casting a shadow over his eyes, and with practiced ease, he swept his hair forward. It would have to do. Sucking in a deep breath, he counted to five before letting it out slowly, then licked his lips, and knocked on the door.

“Come in!”

The voice was slightly muffled by the wood that Sabre partially shoved open, only enough to poke his head in about halfway.

“Excuse me, professor, do you have a minute?”

Sabre kept his head angled, watching Professor Locklear out of the corner of his eye. Several moments passed before his professor stopped writing and placed the pen beside his notebook, raised his head, adjusted his glasses, checked the clock, and then brushed a stray strand of hair back from where it had fallen over one eye.

“I have a few, so you might as well come in. No sense hovering half in and half out of the doorway.”

Sabre shuffled forward, carefully keeping his eyes lowered as much as possible.

“So, what can I help you with? Are you in one of my classes?”

“Yes sir, I’m in your ten o’clock Introduction to Native Literature class.”

“Ahh, you must be the one who sits in the corner by the emergency exit, where it’s nice and dark. I have to admit, when you first chose that spot, I assumed you were looking for a place to nap, but you’ve since proved me wrong. Whenever I look your way, you’re focused intently on me or the power point.”

“Yes, sir. I enjoy the material and some of the discussions are pretty fascinating.”

“Really? In that case, why is it that you’ve never taken part in any of them?”

Shuffling from one foot to the other, Sabre carefully contemplated the question before responding. “I try to let my papers speak for me. I’m bad at public discourse. I get tongue-tied and trip over words or end up being so hesitant that people talk over me. When I’m writing, I can organize my thoughts and present a more complete analysis of what I’ve read.”

“Sounds as if you are extremely self-aware. Not a common trait these days, I’m afraid. Still, if you feel you have something to add to a conversation, then I hope you won’t refrain from doing so, er… I’m sorry. You’ll have to help me out with your name.”

“It’s Sabre.”

“Ahh, yes, one of the more unique ones this year. You’re right; your papers are remarkably organized, well thought out and quite complex in their reasoning. I must admit, you’ve had me rereading a few things I haven’t gone through in years just to understand why you’ve presented some of your comparisons in the manner in which you’ve organized them.”

Sabre grinned, a surge of pride rushing through him. “Thank you. That’s actually why I stopped by. I was wondering if you had any books you could recommend, similar to the required material for the course. I’ve finished reading everything on the syllabus, plus the referred texts I came across when I was researching; killed a couple piles of sticky notes and pens in the process, too, so now I’m hoping for more.”

The professor’s eyes went wide and he steepled his hands on the desktop calendar, tapping his fingertips together as he slowly scrutinized Sabre, making him shuffle more and tug at his hoodie to ensure it shadowed his face.

“Try as you might, I don’t think you’re going to change colors and blend into the woodwork. If you do, I think I’d have to take a half day off and schedule an immediate exam with my optometrist,” Professor Locklear remarked with a chuckle. “You can grab a seat, you know. I’m not a fire-breathing dragon about to roast you for stepping into my lair, though I wish I could singe a student or two when I catch them snoring.”

Sabre chuckled softly but didn’t come any closer.

“I guess not. Well, I must say your question caught me a bit off guard. It’s not one I’m used to, at least not from someone who wasn’t required to take my class. Are you considering adding Native Studies as a minor? You are a junior, correct?”

“No, sir. I’m a senior.”

“Ahh, okay. So are you looking for something specific?”

“Well, I, umm, really enjoyed Reservation Blues, so I found the other Sherman Alexie books and read them too. I loved the myths and legends book you assigned, and Fools Crow and Love Medicine were extremely fascinating. I read House Made of Dawn twice, not because I didn’t understand it the first time, but because it resonated with me, and I was compelled to reread it. I didn’t dislike any of the assigned reading if that helps at all?”

A long, low whistle emanated from the professor, who cocked an eyebrow at him, clearly impressed at all the reading Sabre had already done in just the first five weeks of the semester.

“It does, though there was no reason to finish the course load in a few weeks’ time; wouldn’t want you to burn yourself out.”

“It was easy, though. I always work ahead. My work-study job is in the library, shelving books and working at the research center desk, answering phone calls and emails. I usually have a ton of downtime and write most of my papers there. Plus, I’m carrying a light course load, four classes, since that’s all I need for graduation.”

“Well then, let me see what I can do to find you something.”

Rummaging around on his desk, Professor Locklear began moving neat stacks of paper until he finally found something of interest. Sabre watched as he perused the list before finally holding it out for him to take.

“Try these; it’s the reading list for my Native Literature 103 class, since I’m pretty sure between your papers and what you just told me, you’ve read most of the books for the 102. See if any of these interest you, and if you have any questions or would care to discuss them, please feel free to come back, or you can stop in my Native Lit discussion group. We meet in the atrium every Wednesday night at eight. Who knows? Perhaps you’ll be inspired to participate.”

“Thanks, I’ll umm… I’ll think about it,” Sabre said, still staring at the proffered paper. Reaching it meant he’d have to move closer, into the brighter lights above Professor Locklear’s desk. Biting his lip, Sabre took the three steps to the desk hesitantly, keeping his eyes on the paper and not the man.

“Are you okay? Is something wrong?”

The concern in his voice was what made Sabre raise his head, and the moment he realized what he’d done, he ducked it again, took the paper, and backed away until he felt the door at his back. Twisting around, he fumbled for the doorknob.

“Wait.”

Pausing, Sabre gripped the knob, never turning back.

“If you’re hiding in the shadows because of that scar, please know it isn’t necessary.”

Sabre touched his cheek, stroking his fingertips along the rough edges of the raised, puckered skin as the memory of moonlight striking glass from a busted bottle flashed through his mind. Almost instantly, his breathing picked up, and his chest felt tight as the first stirrings of panic surged through him.

“I’ve got to go,” Sabre muttered, nearly smacking himself in the face with the door as he wrenched it open. “Thanks, professor.”

“You’re welcome, but…”

Sabre took off before he heard the rest, sprinting up the curry-scented hall, the stench making him gag. Bursting through the outer door, the fall air hit him like a gut punch, carrying with it the scent of dying leaves. He gagged, bile rising in his throat. Skidding to a halt beside a bush, he vomited, grateful nothing but acid remained in his stomach. By the time he finished, he’d broken out in a cold sweat and felt gross and tired, wanting nothing more than to get back to his dorm room and take a long, hot, shower and climb into bed with a movie.

Glancing at the slightly crumpled list he gripped in his fist, Sabre sighed before smoothing it against his thigh, folding it carefully, and tucking it into the pocket of his hoodie. Shoulders slumped, he turned and trudged back toward his dorm, grateful the day was at an end. All in all, it had been both a success and a disaster. Next time, he’d just email his request, he decided, as a cold wind made him shiver and debate what the hell he’d been thinking, going to see his professor in person.

“Stupid,” he muttered as his short walk came to an end at his dorm.

For a so-called genius, he sure could be an idiot sometimes.

Purchase

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

Meet the Author

Layla Dorine lives among the sprawling prairies of Midwestern America, in a house with more cats than people. She loves hiking, fishing, swimming, martial arts, camping out, photography, cooking, and dabbling with several artistic mediums. In addition, she loves to travel and visit museums, historic, and haunted places.

Layla got hooked on writing as a child, starting with poetry and then branching out, and she hasn’t stopped writing since. Hard times, troubled times, the lives of her characters are never easy, but then what life is? The story is in the struggle, the journey, the triumphs and the falls. She writes about artists, musicians, loners, drifters, dreamers, hippies, bikers, truckers, hunters and all the other folks that she’s met and fallen in love with over the years. Sometimes she writes urban romance and sometimes its aliens crash landing near a roadside bar. When she isn’t writing, or wandering somewhere outdoors, she can often be found curled up with a good book and a kitty on her lap.

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A MelanieM Review: Death by Dragon by Madeleine Ribbon

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Rating: 4.5 stars out of 5

Death by Dragon coverSince his mother died, the victim of an attack by a powerful vampire, Rafael “Fell” Harwick, has been living, no hiding, in his cabin deep in the woods.  A half incubus and witch, Fell is considered a hybrid that other supernaturals avoid, either because of his incubus half or the fact that he’s a witch.  Fell only goes into town when he needs to feed and that is infrequent because Fell hates feeling like a whore who needs the sex act to exist. Fell also doesn’t want to draw attention to himself and his location.  Then a trio of shifters is pursued by humans to his doorstep and his world changes forever.

Humans aren’t supposed to know about supernaturals yet three shifters are being shot at and grievously wounded by a group of human hunters.  Someone has broken the Silence and there will be hell to pay from the Immortal Council and their Keepers of Silence who enforce their laws.  Despite Fell’s determination to remain hidden and apart, he goes to the aid of the shifters and uses his magic to help them.

Now revealed, Fell is pulled into a supernatural resistance group trying to bring down the very vampire who killed his mother and who wants him in his power.   But acceptance is hard to come by as one of the shifters hates incubus and the other is a emotional mess. And even their leader doesn’t trust Fell because he’s a witch.  Despite everything Fell is determined to go on…until one last piece of knowledge is revealed.  One of the people Fell is helping will also be the one that kills him.  What’s a half incubus and witch to do?

Death by Dragon by Madeleine Ribbon is the third book I have read by this author and it’s the best yet!  Ribbon’s world building is marvelous and sets the foundation for the numerous clashes and supernatural relationships to come.  Supernaturals and  Immortals exist along side an unaware human population, divided by stringent laws that make it very clear that humans are not to know that the others exist.  Those who break the “Silence” as the law is called, are hunted down by the Keepers of Silence, something to be avoided at all costs.  Yet someone has broken or is bending the law as much as possible in order to obtain as much power and gain as he can.  Already the tension is high between all the characters within the story.  They can be found on all sides of the magical partition and even often straddle the boundaries laid out between various supernatural factions and families.

Caught in the middle while doing his best to remain invisible is Fell Harwick.  Isolated by his circumstances and orphaned by violence and need, Fell is that character whose vulnerability and appeal immediately draws in the readers.  We fear for the precarious situation he finds himself in and love his strength and determination that spills out even when fear and pain overwhelms him.  Fell is a marvelously endearing character and I loved him and hated what was to come.  And there is a ton of bad stuff ahead. As Fell is also part seer he knows (although the readers keep hoping not) that he will be unable to avoid the path already laid out for him.    Ribbon takes this slight, angst filled young man and turns him into someone truly heroic by the end of the story by way of  ordeals he endures and the travail that follow.

Just as there are layers upon layers to Fell’s character, the same hold true for the two shifters he saves, Jett and Theodore, members of the local resistance group.  Opposite from each other in every way, from physique to emotional stability, they even differ on how they interact and accept Fell  and Fell’s true nature.  Truth be told I never liked Theodore much, understood him yes, liked him no.  But Jett?  There’s a character I adored, even when I wanted to throttle him for his stubbornness and rigidity.  Ribbon has a whole slew of characters here to act as support for her plot and main characters, some are fully fleshed out, others disappear and you won’t miss them.   But those characters that stick in your head, like Corran does, are ones that you will want more of at the end of the story.

Madeleine Ribbon keeps building various Venn diagrams within her layered plot, groups set apart by their nature, groups set apart by their political aspirations and schemes for power, groups set apart by family and groups set apart by relationships. Then Ribbon builds in stress, horror,  pain, and suspense where each overlaps the other(s).  There will be murder most foul, and even scenes that border on torture. Love, longing, and hot sexy scenes as well to offset the horror that arrives on its heels. Yes, my stomach did a flip flop or three in various places in this  novel.  I’m betting yours will too.  Why?  Because these beings become real and the readers, myself included, will find themselves full invested in each characters current circumstance (usually beyond precarious) and in agony over their futures, including if they are to have any at all.  That Fell knows who will kill him is one of the overriding threads that will have you in tears.  Her descriptions and vivid imagery will haunt you  long after the story is done.  Trust me on this.

Only the ending left me wanting more.  More of the Keepers and more of what comes next for the characters involved.  It felt a little unfinished and I’m hoping that’s because the author has more in store for us and this universe that’s so captivating and addictive.

Not familiar with Madeleine Ribbon?  Death by Dragons is a wonderful place to begin your acquaintance.  Love romance and shifters?  Here is a terrific story for you!  And yes, here be Dragons, dark, fierce and utterly memorable.  I highly recommend this story to all.  Grab it up and start reading today.

Cover artist:Syneca Featherstone.  Not a fan of this cover.  There were so many wonderful elements to draw on and this is the one she choose?  Uh, no.

Sales Links:  Loose Id      All Romance (ARe)     Amazon     Buy It Here

Book Details:

Kindle Edition, 283 pages
Published February 16th 2015 by Loose Id LLC
ASINB00TQ89CXI
edition languageEnglish