“Secrets in the Woods: An Emilia Long Mystery” by J.E. Smythe #Excerpts


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Excerpt 3:

Odessa stood up and looked Emilia in the eye. “You got the stench of city on you.”

“That’s lovely Odessa,” Emilia replied sarcastically.

“What the hell you want?” Odessa asked.

“Henry died last night,” Emilia announced watching the unchanged expression on Odessa’s face.

“What do you want me to do about it?” Odessa asked

“He was your father Odessa; I just thought you would like to know,” Emilia replied.

“Well, now I know. Now leave,” Odessa said.

“Why are you always in such a hurry to get rid of me? Is it because you’re scared I’ll find out the truth?” Emilia asked.

“Ain’t no truth to find little girl,” Odessa responded.

“Yes there is, and I think I’ve figured parts of it out,” Emilia said.

“Oh have you now?” Odessa said.

“Yes, I have,” Emilia leaned in closer to Odessa, “Lizzie was in the woods that night maybe to hang out with her friends, it was the hangout spot. Randel somehow ended up in the woods. I’m pretty sure someone called him and sent him there. Somehow Randel ended up dead, and Lizzie saw it happen. Maybe she took off scared and was hiding or maybe someone was protecting her from what she saw or from whoever did it. But all I know is Lizzie’s alive, at least long enough to give birth to me. My only question for you Odessa is, where’s Lizzie?”

Odessa began to laugh and started walking away from Emilia.

“Laugh all you want Odessa but you know I’m right,” Emilia said walking behind her.

Odessa stopped walking and turned to look at Emilia, “You don’t know nothing little girl. All you got is gossip.”

“I got me Odessa. The fact that I’m standing here proves that Lizzie didn’t die that night,” Emilia said.

“Don’t nothing prove nothing,” Odessa replied in anger.

“What are you so afraid of? Your mother died, Henry’s dead, all that’s left is us Odessa. So what do you think I’m going to do when I find Lizzie? What trouble do you think I’m going to cause? Why are you so afraid of me Odessa?” Emilia fired off questions at Odessa hoping that she would at least answer one of them.

“I ain’t afraid of you little girl. I just want you off my property.” Odessa was clearly un-phased by Emilia’s questions.

Odessa turned around again and walked into the house slamming the door behind her. Emilia looked around and noticed that from the backyard of Odessa’s house was a clear entrance into the woods. It was getting dark, and Emilia thought it best to head back to the bed and breakfast since she had walked to Odessa’s house. But something kept pulling at her to go

Excerpt 4:

“I sort of snuck into the Sheriff’s archived records and there was a box about a boy who died the same date Lizzie went missing,” Emilia explained.

“That can’t be a coincidence,” Chanel said. “What’s his name?”

“Randel Jamison,” Emilia said.

Emilia could hear Chanel typing away again on her keyboard. She waited anxiously to see what Chanel would find out.

“The only article on him is that he was murdered in the woods there in Arbor. There’s not much else,” Chanel said.

“Oh,” Emilia replied sounding disappointed.

“Wait, let me check something else,” Chanel said.

“What?” Emilia asked.

“The FBI database,” Chanel replied.

“Are you crazy?” Emilia asked in a panic. “You know you could get in serious trouble for that, right? And what would a small town’s murder be doing in the FBI database anyway?”

“So, which question do you want me to answer first?” Chanel asked sarcastically. “How about you already know I’m a bit crazy, yes I know I could get in trouble which is why I keep bill money, and it’s in there because apparently it was classified as a hate crime.”

“Wait, what? Seriously?” Emilia asked.

“Yeah. According to this, he appeared to have been beaten and his skull smashed in,” Chanel said.

“Oh my God. Anything about Lizzie?”

“Yeah. According to witnesses, she was in the woods that night too. She could not be found. She was declared dead after weeks of searching for her.”

“So why did they think it was a hate crime?”

“The then Sheriff believed that a group of white boys who were known to be racist were the ones who did it. Guess they couldn’t prove it.”

Excerpt 5:

Emilia turned around quickly only to be blinded by the headlights of what looked like a motorcycle. The engine roared louder and then the motorcycle started to come right towards Emilia at a high speed. Emilia took off running as fast as she could weaving through the trees and bushes, but the motorcycle kept coming. Emilia found a large rock and tried to hide behind it, but the motorcycle jumped right over, turned and started coming again. Emilia grabbed a large branch and waited for the motorcycle to get closer then she took a swing which caused the driver of the motorcycle to swerve on its side. Emilia didn’t wait around to see what happened to the driver she took off running again.

She found herself by the cliff overlooking the river. She slowed down from running to see where she was going. But she had dropped her flashlight and couldn’t see much. Before she could make a move, the motorcycle was back. This time coming much fast and Emilia was trapped between the cliff and the motorcycle. The motorcycle had her cornered, and without thinking, Emilia leaped over the cliff rolling down the cliff and landing on some bushes and rocks a few feet below. She turned her head in pain and looked up to see a hazy figure standing at the top of the cliff. Then the figure was gone and so was the sound of the motorcycle.

Emilia’s whole body was in severe pain, and she could feel something wet dripping from her head. Emilia knew she couldn’t stay where she was. She mustered up enough strength to pull herself back up to the top of the cliff, but she couldn’t go any further. She was just about to lose consciousness when she heard someone yelling her name. She recognized Sheriff Caleb’s voice, but she couldn’t yell back. All she could do was moan, “Help. Help me.”


Secrets in the Woods coverTitle: Secrets in the Woods: An Emilia Long Mystery

Author: J.E. Smythe

Genre: Cozy Mystery

Secrets in the Woods is a gripping tale about Emilia Long- an Investigative Reporter and her quest to find out the circumstances surrounding her mother’s death. Long’s quest begins after reading documents left for her by her adopted mother revealing that she was abandoned as an infant at a Brooklyn hospital. The revelation led Emilia on a suspenseful journey to find her birth mother.

But finding her is not so easy. Her investigations reveal that her birth mother disappeared months before her birth and that the disappearance was linked to a murder. With the key suspect in her mother’s disappearance locked away in jail on unrelated charges and the townspeople, including the Sheriff, unwilling to help her, Emilia finds herself at a dead end. In an unimaginable twist of fate, Emilia discovers more than she bargained for. Some Secrets are really better left untold.

In addition to her 9 to 5 attorney job, Smythe is also the co-founder of publishing company, Lady Esquire Group, LLC. The Attorney Author describes herself as a half analytic and half creative who was blessed to figure out how to join those halves together.   Her other books include: Through Grandma’s Eyes, Zora’s First Day and a Few Good Friends. When asked about the motivation for writing her latest work, she explained: “I’m a lover of the Cozy Mystery genre but I found that there were not a lot of those books written by African American Authors with African American characters. I just wanted to put a whole new face on such a fun and exciting genre.”

Smythe’s adept writing style in Secrets in the Woods is enticing and captivates readers from the first page. The novel feature a cast of believable characters and numerous twists and turns that will have readers begging for more.

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About the Author

J.E. Smythe is an award-winning author born in Liberia, West Africa, and raised in Providence, Rhode Island, and Gaithersburg, Maryland. J.E. is also an attorney who attended Allen University and received her Law Degree from Massachusetts School of Law. While working as an attorney, J.E. just could not let her passion to write die. She decided to take her legal writing skills and write her debut fiction novel “A Few Good Friends.” J.E. currently lives in Charlotte, North Carolina where she has Co-founded Lady Esquire Group, LLC management, and publishing firm. She is a proud member of Zeta Phi Beta Sorority, Inc.

Facebook.com/jesmythe1
Twitter: @jesmythe1
Instagram: @jesmythe1
www.writeleg.com

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“Seven Sundays to Sweet Inner Serenity” by LeNae Goolsby #Excerpt #Giveaway


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Title: Seven Sundays to Sweet Inner Serenity

Author: LeNae Goolsby

Genre: Nonfiction (Body, Mind & Soul)


EXCERPT

…you beautiful infinite being in a fabulous body, are the designer of your life, the chooser of your destiny. If you feel otherwise, it is only because you have been giving your power away subconsciously, consciously, or more likely, both.

So, here’s a myth-buster for you. Free will, in the Divine/Creator/Life Force/Universe sense of the words, is actually not conditional. You are absolutely free to create the experience of your choice, whether it be gloom, doom, guilt, shame, drama trauma, or all Ode to Eeyore, the master of self-pity.

###

For a long time, I forgot how to daydream. My overactive imagination was replaced with just trying to survive the uncomfortable home life I experienced as a teenager, and then as a single mother at the age of nineteen. During my early twenties, it felt as if those who were positioned to be my biggest support resources, were instead those who attempted the hardest to manipulate, control and oppress me—oftentimes using my daughter as their weapon of choice.

I was simply trying to hold down a job and make the rent. Daydreaming was a luxury I did not believe I could afford back then. The fact of the matter is, however, if I had spent a little more time imagining…


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Seven Sundays to Sweet Inner Serenity provides an experiential journey where mental and emotional vibrations rise and conscious awareness expands. Personal power is reclaimed and peace restored with each chapter and each sweet serenity tip.

 

 

 


~ About the Author ~

LeNae GoolsbyLeNae Goolsby is the Founder/Owner of www.LeNaeGoolsby.com, the host of Empowered Living with LeNae which is syndicated on 50 global networks, as well as the Practice Administrator/Director of New Business Development for www.YourInfiniteHealth.com

In addition to running these successful ventures, LeNae is a wife, mother, artist, writer, an oracle of the pragmatic persuasion, calm cultivator, and energy healer.

LeNae received her certificate from the Duke University Integrative Medicine Center Leadership Development Program in February 2017, and her law degree from Tulane University Law School in 2010. And somewhere between Tulane and Duke she completed her universal law-centric coaching studies and honed her intuitive abilities.

LeNae is also an expert and writer for www.YourTango.com. She is the author of Seven Sundays to Sweet Inner Serenity and is on the cusp of releasing Empowered Medicine – Harnessing the Infinite Laws of the Universe for Optimized Health which she co-wrote with her husband. She is also working on her next book, Seven Sundays to Money Manifesting Mastery.

Links

Website: www.LeNaeGoolsby.com

Where to Purchase: https://books.pronoun.com/seven-sundays-to-sweet-inner-serenity/

***************

~ R A F F L E C O P T E R ~

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“Once Upon a Princess Duet” by Deborah A. Bailey #BookTour


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Once Upon a Princess coverTitle: Once Upon A Princess Duet

Author: Deborah A. Bailey

Genre: Paranormal Romance

The Once Upon A Princess Duet

In these two sexy paranormal romance “fairy tales,” two princesses find that love with a shifter hero is not without complications – but there is always a happily-ever-after. Includes two complete short novellas.

“Heart of Stone”

In the ruins of a country destroyed by a curse. Princess Leesa goes looking for a way to help her people. Desperate to find an item of value to trade for supplies, she trespasses into an abandoned palace.

There, she finds more than she bargained for when she encounters a lonely Gargoyle who offers to provide her with everything she needs, for a price.

If she’s willing to pay it, she may find the love she’s been looking for. Or she may lose it, forever.

“Beauty & the Faun”

Kayla, a poor young woman runs away when her rich uncle and aunt arrange her marriage to a shifter prince from another land. Her uncle needs gold to settle his debts and the king is offering a great reward if he can obtain a willing bride for his son.

But Kayla’s plans to hide in the Great Forest hit a snag when two mischievous fauns find her and deliver her to a very sexy faun shifter who is ready to teach Kayla a thing or two about life and love.

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One evening they sat in the library, two doors down from Leesa’s room. It was the only other room upstairs that wasn’t covered in cobwebs.

“What are you reading?” Leesa asked, as she looked up from the fire. “You’re quiet tonight.”

Willem sighed as he stretched out his long legs. “I’ve been sitting too long. I’m stiff.”

She didn’t understand why he insisted on sitting in the small chair across from the fireplace. “I asked what you were reading.”

“About the constellations. I want to know when The Archer will be overhead,” he said. “It will line up above the palace. By my calculations, it should be the day before the full moon.”

“What constellation is called The Archer?”

“A pattern of stars that look like a woman aiming an arrow. She’s sending them into her lover’s heart.”

“Why would she do that?” Leesa drew her legs up. Even though she’d arranged herself on one of the furs, the stone floor was cold and unyielding. Maybe she should’ve sat on the divan next to Willem, but she’d wanted to be closer to the fire.

“It’s an arrow of love.” He adjusted the oversized, leather-bound book on his lap. “Not to kill but to bind.”

That made no sense to her at all. “You use arrows to attack.” Leesa turned back to the fire. “I don’t think that archer likes her lover very much.”

“Love can be painful, Princess. It is an exquisite pain.” Willem closed the volume and stood up. “I hope my calculations are correct.”

 “What are you calculating? Why is it important?”

“I will tell you later,” he said.

Leesa continued to stare into the red and gold flames. To her relief, she hadn’t seen any other visions since that first day.

Behind her, she heard Willem’s heavy footsteps, then a groan of pain. When she turned, he was bracing himself against the wooden bookcase with one hand, the other was behind his back.

“What is it?” she asked, as she came to her feet. “Are you hurt?”

Another groan, then he waved her away. “I’m just stiff. I need the sunlight to rejuvenate my muscles. I’ve been neglecting my usual post.”

“But we spend the day outdoors. Isn’t that enough?” she asked.

“It helps me, Princess. Don’t be concerned.” Willem straightened up. “Would you like to go riding tomorrow?”

“With you?”

“No, just you. Miral needs to run, don’t you think?” He gently lowered himself into the chair. “There’s a path by the gardens. You won’t be seen if anyone rides by the main road.”

Her thoughts went to the man in the carriage. The footman had seen her. She hadn’t told Willem about that, but maybe it was best not to reveal it now. It’s not like she’d been recognized.


~ Author Bio ~

Deborah A. BaileyDeborah A Bailey’s Science Fiction & Paranormal Romance stories include suspense, a bit of mystery and a lot of romantic heat.

She’s the author of the “Hathor Legacy” Science Fiction Romance series and several shapeshifter Paranormal Romance novels.  Her short stories have won awards from the Philadelphia Writers’ Conference and have been published in US1 Magazine and the Sun. They’re included in her short story collection, “Electric Dreams: Seven Futuristic Tales.”

In addition to her fiction work, she’s published three non-fiction books including, “Think Like an Entrepreneur: Transforming Your Career and Taking Charge of Your Life.”

Website: http://www.BrightStreetBooks.com

http://www.twitter.com/AuthorDeborahB

http://www.facebook.com/AuthorDeborahAB

http://amazon.com/author/deborahannbailey

http://www.instagram.com/db2233

https://www.bookbub.com/authors/deborah-a-bailey

The Once Upon a Princess Duet
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Once Upon A Princess: Heart of Stone (individual novella – also available in KU)

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Once Upon A Princess Duet: Beauty and the Faun (individual novella – also available in KU)

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Win a $25 amazon gift card during the tour.

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“Killers, Traitors & Runaways (Outcasts of the World II)” by Lucas Aubrey Paynter #Excerpt


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From Chapter 3 – New Destinations

The one condition Leria set was that they keep to public spaces, and to her surprise the man readily agreed. He maintained a polite distance as she navigated the late-night shoppers of the sleepless city and found a recess beneath the dull glow of a billboard monitor, removed enough to speak in comfort but close enough to scream for help. As she opened her mouth, Leria heard a train pass in the distance, and shuddered momentarily.

“Are you alright?” he asked.

She shook it off. “How do you know my name?”

“Leria Rujet, SIN ID number one-two-three-four-five,” he replied. “How did you manage to get such a number, by the way?”

“Probably just registered after whoever got number one-two-three-four-four.” Her tone made it clear she wasn’t eager to make small talk.

“It wasn’t difficult to find you there,” he went on. “Registered on Annora. Prosthetic arm, the result of early adaptive surgery.” He glanced down below her skirt. “File didn’t mention anything about the leg though.”

“It’s recent.” She tugged instinctively at her skirt’s hem. “And who are you? It would save me some trouble in looking it up when I get home.”

“Crescen DuMear,” he replied. “You won’t find anything concerning me on the net. I’m something of a recruiter.”

“For what?” Leria couldn’t contain her laughter. “No one wants skins for anything, not even halfsies like me.”

“I represent a foreign interest,” he replied simply. Leria didn’t follow his meaning—foreign was itself a foreign concept, and had been for centuries. Breth operated under a self-interested global governance, so interconnected that concepts of culture had long ago blurred. “Officially, we haven’t yet begun operations here. Breth’s people are complacent, comfortable. They haven’t been challenged, let alone sorted.”

The whole thing sounded shady, and Leria decided to get down to business. “You offered me a chance at a better life. What exactly did that mean?”

“You get to do the right thing, and prove yourself exceptional. Do it, and I can take you some place far from here, where Leria Rujet is accepted for who she is and doesn’t need special identification because she wasn’t interested in following the crowd.”

“So you’re offering, what, some sort of utopia?”

“Never trust that word,” Crescen replied with amusement. “It’s not a real thing, not yet. If it were, you would be as happy here as everyone around you, and we wouldn’t be having this conversation.”


KTR coverTitle: Killers, Traitors & Runaways (Outcasts of the World II)

Author: Lucas Aubrey Paynter

Genre: Cosmic Fantasy

As reality nears its final days, worlds fall to ruin. A benevolent god is shackled, and when freed, will create a new one … allowing only the pure of heart. A company of seven have united on a bloody quest to stop him, but have little hope of emerging victorious.

The outcasts are adrift—they have a mission but no means to fulfill it. Airia Rousow, the fallen goddess who set them on their path, is gone. Guardian Poe, her intended successor, believes deification will absolve him of his sins and his remorse alike. And Zella Renivar, daughter of the Living God, is still hunted by her father’s agents, drawing danger on them all.

Trapped in this storm, Flynn is able to find and open the ways between worlds, but cannot discern which path is the right one. Since losing the trust of his closest friend, the temptation to fall back on his former, deceitful ways grows with every crisis he faces.

These are heroes not of virtue, but of circumstance—and it will fall on Flynn to keep them all together.

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~ Author Bio ~

Lucas Aubrey PaynterLucas Aubrey Paynter hails from the mythical land of Burbank, California, where there are most likely no other writers at all.

Back in 2014, he published Outcasts of the Worlds, and he’s now releasing its follow-up, Killers, Traitors, & Runaways.

A fan of gray-area storytelling and often a devil’s advocate, Lucas enjoys consuming stories from a variety of mediums, believing there’s no limit to what form a good narrative can take.

~ Links ~

Website

 Facebook Author Page

Outcasts of the Worlds

Twitter

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“Branded Trilogy: Sacred Legacy” by Kat Flannery #Excerpt #Giveaway


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Branded Trilogy

Author: Kat Flannery

Genre: Historical / Western / Paranormal Romance

Sizzling ROMANCE, the WILD WEST, and a dash of PARANORMAL make the BRANDED TRILOGY bundle a heart-pounding and satisfying read…

 

SACRED LEGACY

Tsura is a Chuvani, and with that comes great power…

Sacred Legacy coverDesperate to escape the memories that haunt her, Tsura Harris returns to Jamestown, the very place her mother forbade her to go. A gifted Chuvani, Tsura has sworn off all magick, thus making her vulnerable to the Renoldi clan, who wish to kill her and take the pendant that is the key to her power.

Red Wolf is hell-bent on living his life on the sea until he runs into Tsura on the docks. His pride wounded from her rejection years before, he hoped to never see her again. But when the evil Corsair, Romulus Black, demands to know where she is, Red Wolf must protect her, as is his duty.

But is duty and honor his only reason, or does Red Wolf still carry a flame of love in his heart? And will Tsura finally discover her destiny?

EXCERPT

CHAPTER ONE

Jamestown, Virginia, July 1740

 Tsura Harris lifted the hem of her green skirt and stepped up onto the wooden plank. She clutched her reticule in her right hand and reached for the rope with her left. The planked bridge swayed as the boat rocked against the seas. She stared at the water below. White-capped waves crashed along the ship’s hull, rocking the boat. She inhaled, forced her chin up, and took another step. She walked the short distance to the boardwalk, releasing the breath she’d held when her boot touched land. She planted both feet upon the wooden dock and set her shoulders, but the reminder of why she was here intensified the weight upon her chest. Despair was her shadow, and it was with her today.

“Sister!”

Her brother’s deep, masculine shout came from above.

She shaded her eyes from the hot afternoon sun and peered up at him. His stature always shocked her. Micah Walker was six foot with broad shoulders and strong arms, a spitting image of their father, Kade. His white shirt gaped open to show the tanned skin beneath, a sign of too many days out on the water. Long blond hair waved in the breeze. Her handsome brother had his pick of the ladies, but still hadn’t settled down. It was a shame. She knew he wanted children and a wife of his own, but his heart belonged to the sea and time would lend him those favors only when he was ready.

“You must wait,” he called and raced past his men carrying crates of goods onto the wharf.

She placed her bag onto the wooden walk and clasped her gloved hands together.

He reached her, his cheeks glowing and dark eyes lit with mischief. Before she could discourage him, he picked her up and swung her around. Her boots kicked the bag, knocking it over, as his strong arms held her tight.

Micah had always been affectionate. He never shied away from holding her hand, kissing her cheek, or teasing her like a brother would. He’d come to her side when she needed him the most. When her life had fallen apart, and she couldn’t see past her own misery to pick herself up. He had carried her, and she loved him for it.

“You cannot go off without wishing me well.” He smiled down at her.

“If you would simply release me, I’d be able to make it so,” she retorted. He was the only one, aside from her mother and father, who she allowed to touch her.

“Very well, nit.” He set her in front of him. The nickname he used for her was one of endearment and came from her pestering him as a child.

“Thank you.” She smoothed her skirt before bringing her eyes to meet his.

“You do not need to do this.”

She glanced away unable to stare at him any longer.

“Come sail with me.”

She shook her head. The urge to leave caused her legs to shake. She couldn’t be around him any longer. His cheerful disposition haunted her and made her think of things she’d rather forget.

“I know you don’t want to speak of this, but—”

“No, Micah.”

“Tsura, you need to forgive—”

“Forgiveness is not within my heart.”

“It surely is.”

She shook her head, careful not to release the many pins holding her thick corkscrew curls in a loose chignon.

“It is in all of us.”

She glared at her brother.

“Do not speak to me of forgiveness, brother. My heart is cold to it.”

His dark eyes watered, and she knew her words had hurt him, but she didn’t care. It was better this way—it was easier.

“Will you not reconsider?”

“No.”

“Please stay. I will protect you.”

Protection was not what she needed. She could care less if she died. It’d be a relief from the constant pain she felt each day.

“I should’ve taken you to mother and father.”

“Do not speak to them of my presence here.”

“They will understand.”

“Not one word.”

Micah sighed. “As you wish.”

“I must go.” Anger pressed on her spine, and she straightened.

His shoulders dropped.

“Be safe. Trust no one.”

She nodded.


~ Author Bio ~

Kat Flannery’s love of history shows in her novels. She is an avid reader of historical, suspense, paranormal, and romance. She has her Certificate in Freelance and Business Writing.

A member of many writing groups, Kat enjoys promoting other authors on her blog. Kat loves to teach writing classes and give back to other aspiring authors. She volunteers her time at the local library facilitating their writing group. She’s been published in numerous periodicals throughout her career

Her debut novel CHASING CLOVERS has been an Amazon Top 100 Paid bestseller twice. LAKOTA HONOR, BLOOD CURSE, and SACRED LEGACY (Branded Trilogy) are Kat’s three award-winning novels and HAZARDOUS UNIONS is Kat’s first novella. Kat is currently hard at work on her next series, THE MONTGOMERY SISTERS.

Visit Kat at: www.katflannerybooks.com

Find her on Facebook: Kat Flannery, author

Follow her on Twitter: @KatFlannery1

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/5284914.Kat_Flannery

 

~ Links ~

Branded TrilogyUniversal Link: https://getbook.at/BrandedTrilogy

Amazon.ca: https://www.amazon.ca/dp/B0759WXWN7

Amazon.com: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B0759WXWN7

Amazon.co.ukhttps://www.amazon.co.uk/Branded-Trilogy-Kat-Flannery-ebook/dp/B0759WXWN7


Enter Kat Flannery’s giveaway for a chance to win a great prize!

Prizes include 3 eBooks of FERN, book 1 in the Montgomery Sisters, 3 eBooks of HAZARDOUS UNIONS and a $25 Amazon gift card.

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“Caressed by the Edge of Darkness (Rulers of Darkness #5)” by Amanda J. Greene #Excerpt2 #Giveaway 18+


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Edge of Darkness coverTitle: Caressed by the Edge of Darkness (Rulers of Darkness #5)

Author: Amanda J. Greene

Genre: Paranormal Romance

Hardened by centuries of torture, former blood slave, Gabriel Erhard, is driven by an insatiable need to destroy his enemies. Violence darkens his battered soul, leaving no place for mercy in his world. Gabriel’s only desire is vengeance—until he finds her.
Seized by vampires, bound as a slave, and placed on the auction block, Jordan Culver is instantly entranced by the dangerous male who claims her. Jordan’s new captor vows to set her free, but his haunted gaze burns with savage desire and his wicked kiss makes her crave his touch and…complete surrender.
While Gabriel battles his enemies, he will break every sacred law to achieve his ultimate goal—uniting the Outcast Society and creating a new vampire Clan. But the distracting human with mesmerizing violet eyes jeopardizes his plans. With very soft whisper she evokes his tormented memories, testing his sanity and challenging his every boundary. Can Jordan help him overcome the miseries of his past and find a future with her?

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~ Author Bio ~

Amanda J. Greene creates paranormal romance for ravenous readers. She lives in Southern California, where she enjoys escaping the rewarding but hectic world of writing by spending time in the sun and sand with her military husband and their two dogs.

Links

Website: www.amandajgreene.blogspot.com
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/AmandaJGreeneAuthor/
Twitter: @AmandaJGreene1 https://twitter.com/amandajgreene1
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/4503428.Amanda_J_Greene
Instagram: AmandaJ.Greene https://www.instagram.com/amandaj.greene/
Amazon Author Page: https://www.amazon.com/Amanda-J.-Greene/e/B0052W8H8S

Book Excerpt

Excerpt 2:

“I’ll leave you to your bath.”

Gabriel shifted and began to stand when Jordan’s hands settled atop his shoulders. His body became immobile, his limbs heavy as boulders. He couldn’t pull way even if he’d wanted to and he knew he should want to break free of her hold.

He leaned into her touch.

“Please, wait. One more question.”

He sighed, trying to appear exasperated. “What is it?”

“Did you know I was going to be at the auction house?”

He reluctantly provided the truth and muttered a curse when she smiled. Her violet eyes brightened and Gabriel’s thoughts turned hazy.

“You infiltrated your enemy’s camp to rescue me.” Her breathless whisper sent shock waves through his system, igniting his blood and stiffening his cock. Damn it.

“Thank you.”

Gabriel gave her a quick nod in response and began to rise, but Jordan’s arms wound around his neck and she tugged his head down. Their lips met. Automatically, Gabriel’s tensed. The pressure of her lips was gentle and innocent at first, but this wasn’t like the chaste kiss they shared on the plane. Jordan thrust her tongue into his mouth and…god damn, she was delicious, like fresh berries. He should pull away. He should make her stop. End this now, he told himself. But her kiss was electrifying. He was enraptured.

More. Just a little more.

“Yes,” she sighed. Had he spoken aloud?

Her fingers dug into his shoulders and she raised herself out of the water. His breath slammed from his chest when Jordan pressed her wet body against him. Soft, full breasts crushed against his solid pectorals.

Gabriel’s hands fisted at his sides. He couldn’t touch her. Shouldn’t touch her. He’d lose control. He’d pull her from the tub, pin her to the floor and drive his cock into her. Oh, fuck.

Jordan deepened the kiss, dancing her tongue along his. Demanding more, she began to rub against him. Her stiffened nipples abraded him despite his shirt.

He should stop this. Jordan was: mortal, injured, and weak.

She moaned and he felt the vibration all the way down to his hardened shaft.

Oh, fuck.

Gabriel took command of the kiss, twining their tongues together again and again. Licking. Sucking. He’d kiss her until she could only gasp his name, delirious from pleasure.

Her fingers tunneled through his hair, tugging. “Mmm. More.”

God, her voice, her lips, her taste—drugging. Maddening.

“P-Please,” she gasped, mindless.

Gabriel’s control shattered. More. Yes, he’d give her more. His woman didn’t need to beg. Gabriel released his fists, his fingers greedy for the feel of her silken hair, to feel the weight of her breasts in his palms and to explore the velvet heat between her thighs.

His ears twitched, was that a knock on the bedroom door?

“My king!” Gannon called.

Gabriel wrenched away from her. Panting, he shot to his feet. Anger incinerated his lust, but it did nothing to stop his gaze from roaming over her. Jordan’s skin was flushed, glowing. Her pouting, alluring lips were swollen. She gazed up at him, her eyes hooded, their violet depths darkened with desire.

He spun around before his eyes dropped to her exposed breasts. He ran shaking hands through his hair. “You shouldn’t have done that,” he rasped, his voice rougher than he’d like. God, the little mortal had him trembling in his boots.

“My king!”

He snapped, “Fuck, Gannon, I’ll be right there.” Keeping his gaze averted, Gabriel grabbed a towel and thrust it at Jordan. “Here. Dry off.”

She mumbled a thank you and stood. Gabriel crossed to the counter and snatched the robe. He handed it to her and ground his teeth as he silently waited for her to secure the oversized garment around her waist.

Without a word, he turned back to her, scooped her up and carried her from the bathroom to the bed. He set her down and quickly backed away, not trusting himself. He was tempted to join her, to reclaim her lips, to bury his cock and fangs deep in her, to show her just how dishonorable he was. He’d told her he was no knight, no savior. And too powerful.  Mortals are off limits.

“You shouldn’t have done that,” he repeated, flashing his fangs.

Jordan straightened her shoulders and met his hard gaze with challenge. “Why?”

“I’m a beast, Jordan. A vampire.”

She swallowed hard, but didn’t glance away. “I know.”

“You shouldn’t test my control.”

“You could’ve stopped me.” Her lips curled with a seductive smile that set fire to his blood. “But we both know you enjoyed it.”

Damn, she was bold.

*****

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“Branded Trilogy: Blood Curse” by Kat Flannery #Excerpt #Giveaway


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Branded Trilogy

Author: Kat Flannery

Genre: Historical / Western / Paranormal Romance

Sizzling ROMANCE, the WILD WEST, and a dash of PARANORMAL make the BRANDED TRILOGY bundle a heart-pounding and satisfying read…

 

BLOOD CURSE

Blood CurseFour years after the Blood Curse, Pril of the Peddlers vows to protect her child against the evil men who hunt her. With her clan unaware of the branded girl among them, Pril has to keep the identity of her daughter a secret. When her child is kidnapped, she is forced to ask Merchant runner, Kade Walker, for his help.

Kade Walker needs to find the gypsy child. Blackmailed and pushed beyond his own moral code, he is determined to do whatever it takes. When he comes across the Peddler clan, he is sure the girl is there, however, all hope is lost when the gypsies capture him. Time is running out—until Pril makes him an offer he cannot refuse.

Amidst greed, lust, revenge, and love, Pril will need to trust Kade. But as the evil nears and doubt creeps in, will she discover that the enemy has been standing next to her all along?

EXCERPT

“Upon mine death for the blood ye have shed, every daughter born to ye shall die before it draws breath, to which ye will know pain and worse, I cast unto ye mine blood curse.”  ~ Vadoma

PROLOGUE

The moon hurled shades of green and grey across the starless black sky. Waves rolled up onto the docks rocking the boats tied there. The water pooled around his booted feet as he walked briskly along the wooden boards. The air reeked of fish and sea, and he tucked his chin into the raggedy coat inhaling the stale garment. One hand in the pocket fingered a piece of rope while the other pulled open the door to The Cat House, a brothel on the docks.

Men of all kinds sat at the tables. Smoke, laughter and mugs clinked together. He ignored them all to take a seat at the table in the corner.

“Can you guarantee this to be done?”

“Of course.”

“You must kill him and bring the child to me.”

“Consider it done.”

He shook his head. “You must make sure he no longer breathes.”

“Indeed.”

“Do not be fooled. He is tough and knows his way around a sword.”

“I am not concerned.”

He nodded and slid a brown package tied with twine across the table to the broad-shouldered man on the other side.

Long slender fingers reached out and picked up the package.

“A name?”

“Kade Walker.”

 CHAPTER ONE

Appalachian Mountains, Virginia 1723

 Pril Peddler lifted the green shawl from her trunk and wrapped it around her bare arms. The change in seasons brought a damp chill to the morning air, and the heavy woolen wrap kept her warm. She peeked at the small face huddled under the blankets at the back of the wagon. The charm above the child swayed on the string Pril had hung it from. A dull ache hummed in her chest when she thought of the horrific loss her clan had been dealt.

The evil was near, and she’d need to work another spell to keep them safe. Late for counsel with her brother, Galius, she kissed the soft cheek of her daughter before heading to the door.

Hand up, she shaded her eyes from the bright sun as she stepped from the back of the vardo. She pulled the heavy burlap curtain down to close the opening and walked toward Galius.

“Your steps are light this morning, Sister. One would think you did not want to be heard,” Galius said as he stirred the coffee beans inside the metal pot.

Tension twisted her gut. He was right; she did not want this counsel. She did not know what to say. She let the flicker of merriment in her brother’s eyes wash over her relaxing the muscles in her shoulders.

“My step is the same.” She poked him with her finger trying to ease her own nerves and his as well.

His lips lifted as if to smile, and she held her breath. It’d been weeks since he smiled. Pril’s heart ached, and her lips trembled.

He held up the bubbling pot. “Would you like a cup?”

She inhaled the aroma of strong coffee beans and nodded taking a seat on a wooden stump by the fire.

He handed her a cup and sat down across from her.

The wood crackled, and sparks jumped from the heat onto the ground in front of her. She tipped her chin concentrating on what to say next. Ever since the murder of her niece, she’d not been able to hold a conversation with either of her brothers without offering apologies. This morning was no different. She could not look Galius in the eyes and see the anguish and sorrow within them.

The Monroes had come again.

They’d never be safe.

She blinked away the tears hovering against her thick lashes. Tsura was asleep in her wagon, while another was lost to them forever. The door of her brother’s wagon creaked open and Milosh’s wife, Magda, stepped out. Black circles settled around her sunken eyes, and Pril felt the stab in her chest once more. Long brown hair fell untied down the woman’s back. The black clothes she’d put on weeks ago hung on her body unchanged and wrinkled from sleep. Milosh came from behind their wagon, a jar of honey in his hand. Pril stood when Galius’ large hand grabbed her wrist.

“They are not wanting to see you today, Sister.”

She heard the regret in his voice, swallowed past the guilt in her own throat and nodded. Milosh hadn’t spoken a single word to her since the death of his child. He blamed her, and it was clear so did Magda.

“I…I’m so sorry, Galius.”

He didn’t reply right away, and without seeing it, she knew he had wiped the tears from his eyes. “Alexandra’s death is not your fault.”

The words were spoken because they needed to be. Gypsies stayed together no matter what. They were family. There was no truth to his words, and Pril knew it.

“Are you going after them?” she asked.

“I hold no power, no spells flow from my lips. I am strong, yes, but they are stronger.” He stared at her, his eyes pleading. “We need the pendant.”

Guilt thickened her tongue; the gritty residue clung to her lips and tasted bitter.

The talisman had been in their family for generations, blessed by each new Chuvani. Vadoma had promised her the pendant before she died, but Pril never saw it, and there had been no time to search for the jewel when they fled.

“Without the pendant we cannot break the curse. We cannot protect our people.”

She knew this. They all knew this, but no one had a clue as to where the talisman was. She’d tried to call an image forward, to make a finding spell, but nothing worked.

“We have lost one of our own. Our clan is frightened. They have lost faith. We cannot fight the Monroes. We have neither the numbers nor the skill.” He took a long drink of his coffee. “And neither do you.”

She glanced at him.

“I know you, Sister. You’re planning to take Tsura.”

Pril sighed. She did not know what else to do. The Monroes were coming for her child. Alexandra had died because of that. Milosh and Magda hated her.

“Running is not going to change anything.”

“It will save lives. It will…help Milosh and Magda to heal.”

“No, it will not. Running will get you and Tsura killed and that is all.”

“How can you look at me when you know what I’ve brought to our family, when you know that this is all because of me?”

Galius blew out a long breath that moved his thick beard from his lips. She watched through tear filled eyes as his bottom lip quivered.

“Vadoma put this burden on you. For that, we do not judge.”

Their sister had died a vile death. She’d betrayed their clan and had hung while being burned. Pril ached for her sister’s guidance and counsel. She yearned to know that what she was doing was right.

“We had a plan, and up until Alexandra’s death it worked. We will rethink and come up with something better—stronger.”

The plan was simple. Dress the girls as boys, and the Monroes wouldn’t find them. But someone had figured out Alexandra was a girl. Someone had told the Monroes. They came for her, stealing the precious child in the middle of the night. The morning two weeks before, as the clan frantically searched for her, a harrowing scream Pril would never forget echoed across the land. Milosh found his daughter’s body by the river, her neck broken.

She raised a shaky hand to her mouth so she wouldn’t let out the sob she held against her lips.

“I have enough for one more protection spell.” She lied; her forehead ached because of it.

He glanced at her, his eyes showing no emotion. “You will concoct another.”

“I cannot.”

He frowned.

“The spell has the oil Vadoma blessed. Without it, Tsura is at the mercy of the Monroes and so are we.”

Galius pumped his large hands into tight fists. “Surly you can think of another?”

“I cannot. Vadoma placed the blood curse. It is only with the blessed oil that I am able to create the spell to keep danger away. The oil is almost gone.”

He worked his jaw. “That gypsy whore—

She held up her hand to stop him from blaspheming their sister. It wasn’t right. It brought evil to curse your own, and Pril would have none of it.

“Our sister had her reasons. Leave it be.”

“Reasons? She betrayed us. Left us with a curse we cannot break and wealthy plantation owners hunting our very hides—killing our children!”

She hung her head unable to look at him. What could she say? He was right. Her very niece had died but thirteen days ago.

“Where is the book?”

Throat tight and dry, she refused to meet his gaze. The book held her mother’s spells. Only she knew where it was, and unlike the pendant, she’d not lose it.

“I have it safely tucked away.”

“Is there no spell for what we need?”

“The child is not of my blood. I cannot protect her or the others like she can.”

Tsura was Vadoma’s child, but Pril raised the girl as her own.

“And she is gone.”

“Has been nigh on four years.”

Galius’ face softened. He placed his hand on her shoulder. “I need to speak with Milosh. We may have to move again, once he’s healed.” He gave her a light squeeze and walked away.

Pril watched through hooded lids as Galius moved toward Milosh. The two shook hands and embraced. She longed to be enfolded in Milosh’s arms, forgiven of all her transgressions.

She wiped at the tear on her cheek. He’d not consider it, for he despised her. Magda placed her head on her husband’s shoulder. Their love was strong, and she prayed it would get them through their grief.

She brought the cup to her lips and sipped the now cold coffee. Memories of a time when life was simpler brushed her mind. There were no worries. No threat of the Monroes hanging over them. They were free. Now, they never stayed in one town longer than a month. The Peddlers wandered the land, searching for a safe haven where they could raise their children.

The rustle from the other wagons brought her head up, and she watched as the rest of the clan rose for the day. Sisters Sabella and Sorina exited their vardo and smiled at her from across the yard. The two girls joined them a few years ago when the Monroes had attacked their family, burning the wagons and killing most of them. Both unwed and beautiful, they were very good at creating new balms and potions to sell at the markets. Sorina enjoyed living with the clan, and she loved to visit with the others, while Sabella never spoke and preferred to remain alone.

She lifted her hand and waved. She liked the sisters and had shared dinner with them many times.

Her brothers knew the truth about Pril’s child, and had made a pact to never speak a word of it to anyone. She, on the other hand, was finding it difficult not to tell the others. Each time they hid the children, packed in the middle of the night, or took turns guarding the camp she felt the stab of guilt twist in her heart.

“Mama?”

Pril turned, mug still in hand, and gazed at her daughter. Black corkscrew curls fell around her plump cheeks and clung to her pink lips. She wondered what her hair would look like grown out, and knew if the Monroes did not stop their relentless hunt, she’d never see the day.

There were days when Pril herself forgot, only ever seeing her child in long pants, cotton shirt and a cap. But in the evenings when the moon was bright, she cherished the mother-and-daughter moments they had in their wagon. Pril told her daughter made up fairytales of Kings and Queens. She’d allow Tsura to play with her dolls and try on the lovely dresses Pril had secretly made for her.

She held out her hand, and watched as Tsura ran to her. At four she didn’t understand how to use her gifts, which sometimes resulted in accidents. But it wasn’t the mishaps that had her worried. It was the mixture of good and evil within the girl that she feared.

“Oh, my sweet. What has you up and out of the vardo already?”

Tsura’s green eyes locked with hers. “I had a bad dream.”

Pril straightened. Dreams were the way her people saw future, or past. Tsura had them often. She took the girl’s hand and led her back to their wagon. She smiled at those they passed on the way. Her shoulders straight, she remained the same not to draw anyone near. Once inside the wagon, she closed the flap, and waited a few minutes before she sat on the bed beside her daughter.

“What did you see?” she asked.

“Blood, Mama. Lots of blood.”

She squeezed the blanket on the bed to stop her hands from shaking. “Whose blood?”

The child shook her head, black curls bounced up and down. “I do not know.”

Pril pulled her daughter close and kissed the top of her head. Tsura went very still, and her tiny body grew hot. She sat back and gently placed Tsura away from her. Past lessons had taught her well.

“Sweetheart, are you okay?”

Beads of sweat formed at Tsura’s hairline to drip down her forehead and cheeks.

She was careful not to touch her and placed a hand beside her daughter’s instead. The heat from the girl’s flesh warmed her hand, and the wagon grew hot.

“Tsura, look at mama.”

Green eyes that showed a red rim around the color stared up at her, and Pril wished she could do more to help her child. When Tsura got like this, Pril knew she couldn’t control what her body was doing. She wanted nothing more than to help her daughter learn how to use her gifts, but with Vadoma gone she would have to learn alongside Tsura.

“Mama?”

She smiled watching as the redness left Tsura’s cheeks, and she reached out to sweep back the wet curls hanging in the girl’s eyes.

“I’m sorry.” Tsura hung her head.

She pulled the girl into a tight hug, her body still hot, but Pril didn’t care. “You are learning,” she said.

She felt the nod against her chest and squeezed her tighter. Thankful once more that she was safe. “What were your thoughts?”

“I was angry.”

“How come?”

Green eyes peered through black lashes. “Because Alexandra’s gone.”

She ran her finger along her daughter’s round cheek. She pushed aside the guilt pressing against her soul. “We are all very sad.”

“I’ve seen the man who stole her.”

Pril waited until her heart resumed its normal pace and asked, “You saw him?”

She nodded.

“What did he look like?”

“He was a negro.”

That was odd. The Monroes always sent a well-dressed aristocrat to do their dirty work. Were they enlisting the help of their plantation workers now? That would explain why none of the Peddlers spotted the well-dressed killer. The Monroes had sent a slave.

“But, mama?”

“Yes, dearest?”

“The man did not kill her. He tried, but he could not do it.”

“How did Alexandra die?”

“I do not know.”

Pril pulled her close. If Alexandra hadn’t been killed by the slave, then who had taken her life?

“And mama?” Tsura whispered. “They killed him.”

 

Pril ran her palms down the front of her skirt as uneasiness settled deep in her stomach and turned the soup she’d eaten for dinner. The Monroes were near once more. She’d not done the protection spell over them all, the one she’d said countless times before to protect Tsura and the others from harm. She used the oil on Tsura, thinking she’d concoct a different spell for the others—but she’d forgotten, and now Alexandra was gone.

She hung her head. How could I have been so foolish? I am the reason my niece lies within the cold ground. There was nothing she could do to stop the desolation as it crawled up her spine and curved her back. Life was precious—even more so when it was a young one. It was any wonder Milosh blamed her so. The shame covered her and blurred her sight as tears washed her cheeks. She’d been selfish when she should have rationed the oil and cast the spell—strengthened the charms.

She pulled the jars from the shelf. Rosemary, bark, and the remnants of the oil her sister had blessed. The jar was empty, except for the thin layer that clung to the glass walls.

Pril did not receive the gifts her sister had. Vadoma had been the firstborn daughter to Imelda, the enchantress. Their mother had been very strong in her magick, aiding those in need with potions and spells. Pril held no such power. Her only gift the counting of the spells. She could not move things, throw a beam, or have seeing dreams. She was useless.

She blew out a breath and stared at the last of the oil. There was enough to strengthen the charm, but not cast a full protection spell. She’d known this when she used the oil for Tsura a month ago. But now that her niece was gone, the act of what she’d done came down upon her, weighing on her heavily. She leaned into the counter and pressed her fingers to her temple massaging the strained blood vessels.

She took the jar and stepped outside into the darkness. The clan asleep for the night, she went to Mortimer, her Ox, tied behind the vardo.

“Hello, my friend.” She stroked his rough fur. “I need but one drop this time.”

The ox turned his head toward her and bowed.

She smiled.

“Good boy.”

Quickly, she slid the needle along his neck enough to produce one drop of blood. She held the jar next to Mortimer’s neck watching as the blood ran into the glass mug and mixed with the oil. She dipped her finger into the mixture and ran it along the scratch.

“For the gift thou hast given, receive mine with love.” She watched as the wound healed.

Inside the vardo, she stoked the fire in the small cook stove and placed an empty pot on the burner. She pinched the rosemary, a symbol of Vadoma, and dropped it into the jar of oil to swirl with the spice. She watched as it mixed together with the oil and blood. Next she took the bark from the forest and dropped it into the pot. The bark sparked. She poured the mixture of oil, blood and rosemary into the pot listening as it bubbled and hissed.

“Protect mine child from the evil that hunts. Keep her spirit hidden to their wants.”

The liquid evaporated into a cloud of smoke, and she watched as it drifted over the child to settle on top of her sleeping form.

 


~ Author Bio ~

Kat Flannery’s love of history shows in her novels. She is an avid reader of historical, suspense, paranormal, and romance. She has her Certificate in Freelance and Business Writing.

A member of many writing groups, Kat enjoys promoting other authors on her blog. Kat loves to teach writing classes and give back to other aspiring authors. She volunteers her time at the local library facilitating their writing group. She’s been published in numerous periodicals throughout her career

Her debut novel CHASING CLOVERS has been an Amazon Top 100 Paid bestseller twice. LAKOTA HONOR, BLOOD CURSE, and SACRED LEGACY (Branded Trilogy) are Kat’s three award-winning novels and HAZARDOUS UNIONS is Kat’s first novella. Kat is currently hard at work on her next series, THE MONTGOMERY SISTERS.

Visit Kat at: www.katflannerybooks.com

Find her on Facebook: Kat Flannery, author

Follow her on Twitter: @KatFlannery1

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/5284914.Kat_Flannery

 

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Prizes include 3 eBooks of FERN, book 1 in the Montgomery Sisters, 3 eBooks of HAZARDOUS UNIONS and a $25 Amazon gift card.

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