Showing posts with label PNR. Show all posts
Showing posts with label PNR. Show all posts

Monday, November 20, 2017

Release Day Blitz: Only You



Banned from Heaven. Escaped from Hell. They are UnHallowed.

As the looming battle between the demon hordes and the UnHallowed intensifies, so does Amaya’s feelings for Bane. She wasn’t supposed to fall in love with an UnHallowed, but the attraction is undeniable…as is the danger. Good thing he keeps pushing her away, underestimating her at every turn, which fuels her resolve and strengthens her to do what she must—save the world.

The world be damned. For millennia, Bane’s one purpose was to reclaim his grace and his place in the Celestial Army. Then he met Amaya. Created for one purpose, she is the key to defeating their enemies, but the cost is too great if it places her life in danger. He will do whatever is necessary to protect her, because nothing else matters.

Time is closing in. The balance of power is shifting. Amaya and Bane can either unleash their spiraling passions and fortify their bond, or lead themselves and all the UnHallowed to utter destruction.

About the Series


Only You
by Tmonique Stephens


Series
Unhallowed # 2.0


Genre
Adult
Paranormal Romance
Urban Fantasy


Publisher
Independent


Publication Date
November 20, 2017

  
The UnHallowed Series
    

Giveaway!


CLICK HERE TO ENTER!

About Tmonique Stephens

I wrote my first novel about a reporter and a hockey player after the U.S. hockey team won gold in the 1980 Olympics. I love writing flawed characters who reflect the emotional baggage we all carry. I write complicated stories for complicated people. Paranormal romances and fantasy novels are my favorite genre. I’ll read anything about fairies, demons, or angels, but I also enjoy Stephen King and Preston and Childs.

I’m hooked on Lucifer, The Backlist, The Strain, Vikings, Game of Thrones, The Walking Dead, and BlindSpot. I can’t get enough of these shows!

I was born in St. Thomas USVI, but grew up in The Bronx, New York one mile from Yankee Stadium. I love SyFy, the History channels, and Asian cuisine. But my heart and stomach longs for anything from the Caribbean.

Author Links

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Monday, November 13, 2017

Release Day Blitz: Creep


Title: Creep
Author: Gillian Zane
Genre: Urban Fantasy/Paranormal Romance
Cover Designer: Parajunkee Design
Publisher: Parajunkee Publishing
Hosted by: Lady Amber’s PR
Blurb: Case # 4 of the Karma Incorporated Series.

What goes around comes around...it’s called Karma.

Working for Karma Incorporated might sound like the best job in the world, but there’s one really big catch: you’ve got to die to get it. Cassandra Mercier died at the ripe old age of twenty-one and is now gainfully employed by the Afterlife Corporation as a Karma operative...and she’s been working overtime.

Cassandra is given the task of  playing the psychic medium Castalia Rosso, and she’s on the hunt to give a few pretend ghost hunters a bit of cosmic retribution.

Her targets are two Creeps.

Twins Raul and Roselle, who have made a name for themselves in the ghost hunting community as renowned demon hunters. They’ve gotten so much notoriety that they’ve landed themselves a reality television show. The network insisted that they include a psychic on the show with them, though -- and this is where Castalia Rosso comes in. Joining the twins on an investigation of one of the most haunted houses in the area, Cassie must expose the brother and sister ghost hunting duo, and all their dirty behavior and deal with some real ghosts all while trying to sort out her own tumultuous existence. 

As the case gets more and more complex, so does the world Cassie exists in. Life and death aren’t exactly what they seem when working for the Afterlife Corporation.

Release Party:

adults. Gillian defines herself by the city she was raised in, New Orleans. She’s tried moving away a few times but always comes back. At the age of ten, she decided she would be a writer and has been determined every since. Between that decision and when she actually finished a book that she believed was good enough to publish, she’s served in the military, worked as a bartender, became a cog in the corporate marketing wheel as a person “that makes things pretty” and has since been laid off too many times to count. She currently writes full-time, but still, continues to “make things pretty” by designing book covers and websites for her fellow authors and bloggers. Gillian lives in New Orleans with her husband, her daughter, and an ugly dog.

Author Links:
Buy Links: Cheat: http://amzn.to/2yvPFSI
Chapter 5
Now Hiring
“Cassie! Where ya been?” A dripping wet Fallon trotted around the pool toward me.
“A little R and R,” I lied to keep up the charade. I didn’t want to explain the atrocity that had become my life.
“Jelly!” She rolled her eyes. “How’d you get something like that, you’ve been gone forever?” She emphasized the forever in an exaggerated accent.
“I guess I was stressed,” I shrugged.
“You missed all the drama, girl.” Her eyes were as big as saucers, her lips pursed like a fish to emphasize all the crazy. It took everything in me not to roll my eyes.
“Fill me in.” I really didn’t want to know, but it was expected and I didn’t want to hurt Fallon’s feelings.
“Not while you’re wearing that,” she frowned at me. I looked down. I was in a thin shirt that was boxy and not flattering, the only thing under it was a sports bra and cotton panties with leggings. So much for inconspicuous. I looked like I had recently escaped a mental institution. I tapped my bra self-consciously; the two vials of liquid were still there.
To fit in, I manifested a bathing suit, and a tiny purse to hold my vials, then trailed after Fallon as she chatted her way to the pool.
“Persephone is finally gone, we have a new boss. Ohemgee, Cassie, he’s fucking hot, like hot hot, not like nerdy hot Brandon. Like my panties are tingly wet just thinking about him.” She squeezed my arm and I tried not to wince. “He’s not exactly receptive to any of us, though. Kind of scowly, and bossy. He yelled at me a few times.”
“Scowly?” I asked. She rolled her eyes and handed me a beer from the cooler next to the pool.
“Oh, and Trish and Otto are an item, like really an item, moved their shit into one house and stuff, calling themselves Trotto, or maybe Trito, I don’t know, but it’s weird. Em said she heard them fighting and hot new boss guy went over there to break it up. It was a mess.”
“Trish and Otto?” I asked stupidly. I couldn’t place an Otto.
“Yeah, they do make a cute couple,” Fallon sighed and glanced over at Trent who was sun bathing, even though he could tan with a thought. Fallon had been crushing on him for a while. Sensing eyes on him, Trent sat up, took his sunglasses off, and did the cool-guy-chin-jut-greeting thing.
“Hey Cassie! You’re back. Boss said you’d be back today. Well, he said the missing operative would be back today. Never said your name or anything, just that if we see 'the missing operative', to tell her to go to his office immediately because he’s tired of being fucking short-staffed…” Trent said in one breath.
“Yeah, I think I already have a case,” I responded despondently. I guess it made sense, considering I was supposed to be on some kind of weird Afterlife vacation for the last month. I really didn’t want another case though.
“Already, really girl?” Fallon rolled her eyes. “Whatevs, you’ve been off duty for like months. Wish.” I had the urge to tell her all about my off duty status. Maybe that would wipe that frown off her face, but I bit my tongue and kept it to myself.
“Months? It was that long for you guys too?” For some reason I thought it would only be that long for me.
“Yeah, you never came back from your last case. That was like, at least 3 months ago.” Fallon frowned at me. “We thought something happened, or you got promoted without them telling us. That would have sucked. They didn’t tell us shit. But it happens like that sometimes.”
“They said it was only a month or two,” I replied. “That’s what they told me.” Fallon shook her head and Trent looked skeptical. 
“You were on R and R and you didn’t know how long it was? Where did you go? Antarctica?” Trent asked.
“Uh, no, just like a relaxing place in Afterlife.”
“I’ve never heard of an operative doing that.” Trent got up from his chair so he could grab a beer.
“I don’t like to be normal,” I shrugged and Fallon laughed a little harder than the joke required, like she was faking it or didn’t get the joke.
“Don’t worry. No one thinks you’re normal.” She laughed again loudly and I frowned, not sure if I should take it as a compliment or an insult.

Wednesday, November 8, 2017

Review: Magician's Keeper

The Magician's Keeper by Nicola E. Sheridan
Published November 4, 2017 by Escape Publishing
Reviewed by Terri
4 Super-Sized Stars

Synopsis:
A brand new steamy paranormal romance about learning to love all of yourself.

In a world where people judge one another by exacting standards of size and style, being a big girl like Eudora Splat was never going to be easy.

Though trouble is brewing between magic folk and human purists who would see them all destroyed, Dora, a half-giant, tries to eke out a quiet, unnoticed life for herself, but it’s hard to be subtle when you’re over seven feet tall.

Losing her job as a gardener due to human complaints, Dora is recruited as a prison guard, where she’s enlisted to protect the magician Evander “Bear” Gordon from human purist attack. Bear encourages her to embrace her power and celebrate her heritage, introducing her to a world where she can be extraordinary and not just weird. 

But after years of hiding and shying away, can Dora find the strength to grab onto a new life — and hold on to the man she’s falling in love with?


The Magician's KeeperThe Magician's Keeper by Nicola E. Sheridan
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This is a different kind of read for me in that it didn't include the usual group of paranormal beings. I'm also not used to giants playing an intelligent character. They are normally stereotyped as being a little slow or even dumb. So it was fun to read about Dora, a half-giant because she was very real. She had all kinds of emotions and ideas. She was also pretty tough and held her own in every fight she had. She was the one who rode in and saved the day. (I always like when the female characters are tough and kick a$$). The author did a great job creating a fantasy world but mirroring it close enough to real life that it was relatable. The plot wasn't fast-paced, but I actually found that enjoyable. Too many books just bombard the reader with intense action scene after intense action scene, and they forget to develop the story and characters. I think this book made for a great start to what could become a decent series.

Reviewed by Terri of the GothicMoms Review Team

View all my reviews

Monday, October 30, 2017

Sale Blitz: Sonata



SALE!!

Get SONATA at a discount with this
Kindle Countdown Deal!
Starts at $0.99 on 10/30/2017 @ 12pm EST.


When Miranda makes music with Leo, she plays like an angel. But Leo knows they’re playing with fire. There’ll be hell to pay – literally. A dark romance with a supernatural twist: The Omen for the Twilight generation. 
What price would you pay for superlative talent?
Sparks fly when pianist Leo steps in to help Miranda audition for a violin scholarship to the prestigious Harkness Conservatory. He’s intense, patient, gorgeously French, and he plays the piano like a dream. The way they play the Kreutzer Sonata goes beyond anything she’s experienced.
But while 17-year old Miranda is impressing the panel, another candidate goes missing. From that moment, something ungodly seeps into her life. The question is – did the music draw in the forces of darkness? Or was it already there?
Oblivious to the ongoing search for the missing musician, Miranda and Leo travel to a medieval town in France, to perform in a prize-winners’ concert. Their attraction intensifies, even as Leo is revealed to have disturbing, even violent, family connections. Miranda is warned off…but it may already be too late.
Only a secretive, ancient sect can protect Miranda now. How can she accept their help when she can’t quite accept that she’s in danger?

About the Book

Sonata
by Mari Rey
Series
Sonata Series #1
Genre
Teen & YA
Urban Fantasy
Gothic Paranormal Romance
Publisher
Darkwater Books
Publication Date
September 27, 2017
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Available Now On

The Sonata Series

Get Prelude, the Sonata prequel, FREE today! Click on the cover to get yours!
SALE!! Get SONATA at a discount with this Kindle Countdown Deal!
Starts at $0.99 on 10/30/2017 @ 12pm EST.
  

Trailer




About Mari Rey

Mari Rey is a fan of action adventure, dark romance and sci-fi and fantasy thrillers. When not writing screenplays or novels Mari spends way too much time watching TV and adores Once Upon A Time, Game of Thrones and Stargate Universe. If that was all she watched on TV, she’d probably have more time to write, but alas! It’s just the tip of the iceberg. Mari lives in England with a husband, two big kids and a very sweet little cat.
You can get in touch with Mari via her facebook page fb.me/marireyauthor.

Author Links

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This promotion is brought to you by Pure Textuality PR.
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Friday, October 27, 2017

Pre-Order Blitz: Blood Courtesans


Title: Blood Courtesans Box Set
Genre: Adult Paranormal Romance
Publication Date: Jan. 17, 2018
Blurb:
Indulge in a darkly decadent and sinfully sensual world. A world where vampires are real, rich and hungry, a world where Blood Courtesans satisfy all their needs. Come, let fangs slip into your throat and awaken you to a whole new life. A boxed set of BRAND NEW stories in this popular series.

Warning: This isn't your momma's vampire romance. It's not Twilight or the Shade, either. It's Blood Courtesans: Luxury, fast cars, adventure, whirlwind romance and cold, hard fangs.


Participating Authors:
Michelle Fox
Gwen Knight
Kristen Strassel
Rebecca Rivard
Jennifer James
TL Reeve
Julia Mills Author
Tami Lund Author
Skye Jones
Susan M. Griscom
Rosalie Redd
Ever Coming

Pre-Order Links:

EXCERPT  by Michelle Fox
"So you wanted to be a Blood Courtesan. You thought that would get you what you wanted?" He leaned down, looming over me. "Well, through your own stupidity, you're going to find out if that was a good plan or not."
"I am?" My voice came out in a breathy dog whistle squeak.
"I will take you as mine."
"You will?" This was a whisper, my vocal cords had drawn tight, strangled by fight-or-flight adrenaline.
"In every way." Pyro's eyes held a knowing gleam I didn't understand, and the baritone rumble of his voice throbbed with wickedness.
My body responded with a throb of its own, like a nearby tribe answering a signal. His voice, just his voice had slipped through my skin cells to the vulnerable flesh beneath. That was all it took for him to get to me.
Oh god. Oh god. Oh god.
My stomach hit an iceberg of fear and promptly sank.  The things he could do to me, the things he would do to me...
"This way Theo cannot touch you and I am repaid for the trouble you have caused."  He rested a finger on my cheek and slipped it down to my jaw and then lower, to the hollow of my neck. My pulse tapped out an SOS into his finger, but he didn't notice...or maybe he didn't care.
"Fortunately for you, I am between courtesans right now."
"That's me. So lucky," I half-sobbed. I wanted to be brave, but I had no way out and I knew it. Pyro's offer or death. Those were my choices. No in between.
"No tears, Violet. You brought this on yourself." He gripped my chin and his hard gaze drilled into mine. "But you're pretty. You have a nice blush. And if I'm any judge of women, you're innocent, yes?"
I didn't respond and he gave me a little shake. "Answer me. You're untouched, aren't you?"
"Yes." And when he bit me, he'd know why.
"A crazy little virgin in my bed." He let me go and stepped back, shaking his head. "I would have never thought to ask for someone like you, but now that you're here..." He trailed off.
"What?" The question tumbled from nerveless lips.
"I'm going to enjoy making you scream."
  

Thursday, October 26, 2017

Spotlight: A Mortal Indiscretion







A Mortal Indiscretion             
The Justin and Ambra Series
Book One
Barbra E. Ross    

Genre: Paranormal Romance,
Romantic Suspense, Vampire Romance

Date of Publication: 4/27/16  

ISBN: 978-1530762804
ASIN: B01DFJ3TG4

Number of pages: 632 pages
Word Count: 259981

Cover Artist: ProEbook Covers

Tagline: A sexy vampire. A little deceit. A love worth dying for. What more could you want from a vampire romance?

Book Description: 

A man. A vampire. A love story....

One night changed everything for bachelor Justin Bertolli. A womanizer at heart, never quite ready to settle down, he meets the woman who would change his life forever. Ambra Taylor is that woman, but is she all that Justin bargained for? Told from a male protagonist point of view, A Mortal Indiscretion delivers wholly unique narratives that don’t succumb to the same old recycled concepts. 


Everything unravels in Justin’s world. Although Ambra is a vampire, she is the vulnerable one of the two characters, providing a refreshing twist on standard tales. She is not waiting for her prince to come save her on his white horse. She simply desires love, to feel human love again and will do anything to protect the love of Justin. 



When Justin discovers the truth about who and what she is, will he still love her? Will he still want her? Find out, as their hearts collide in this epic tale of love.



Amazon     Createspace



All Hallow’s Eve 
Barbra E Ross

It only comes but once a year.
Filling your mind with fright and fear.
Some candy corn and popcorn balls.
While the eeriness, creeps through the wall.

A witch’s laugh, a ghostly moan.
Mummy’s hand and skeleton bone.
Vampire fangs, wolves howl.
Thunder cloud, wailing owl.

Midnight brings on the feast.
A zombie’s wander, never cease.
Cemeteries full of helpless souls.
While neighbors fill the candy bowls.

Dead leaves float through the air.
While devils dance, and stranger’s stare.
Pumpkin’s glow, red and gold.
My skin crawls in a deathly hold.

Sunrise brings it all to end.
Light and dark, begin to blend.
Demons whither, back to ground.
Evil’s desire gagged and bound.

Back to normal, all is well.
Nightly beasts sent back to hell.
Halloween, tricks and treats.
Make the heart, skip a beat.





About the Author:

Barbra E Ross lives in Michigan. She is a nurse by day and a writer of fiction at night.




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Friday, October 20, 2017

Villain Spotlight: Tarnished Journey






Tarnished Journey
Soul Dance
Book Four
Ann Gimpel

Genre: PNR

Full length paranormal romance with shifters and gypsies and demons–and an HEA.

Book Description:

Long before Germany rounded up Romani and sent them to prison camps, the Netherlands declared them undesirables. Yara’s caravan disbanded when she was fifteen to avoid being driven out of the country. Ten years have passed, and she’s been alone for most of that time hiding in caves and abandoned buildings. It’s been a lonely life, but at least she still has one.

Stewart conceals his true identity for the best of reasons. He’s not actually Romani, even though he’s been a caravan leader for many years. In a bold and desperate move, he joins a small band of shifters and Rom to fight the Reich’s chokehold on Europe. When they’re crossing the border into the Netherlands, vampires attack.

Yara senses Romani near her cave. The stench of vampire comes through loud and clear too, along with shifters. While not nearly as bad as vampires, her people have always steered clear of them. Another type of magic plucks at her. She can’t identify it, but it draws her from her hiding place. That decision tilts her world on its axis when she comes face to face with Stewart’s raw masculinity and savage presence. She could still turn tail and run. If she stays, it doesn’t require magical ability to recognize her life will change forever.

Author Store     Amazon     BN      Google Play     iBooks     Kobo


Guest Post: VILLAIN SPOTLIGHT

Thanks so much for inviting me back to your blog, Gothic Mom. Hope all is well with you. Tarnished Journey, last of the Soul Dance books features many villains. Perhaps the most loveable is Manandan, son of Llyr and a sea god in his own right. Rather than an interview, here’s a clip from Chapter Eleven. It shines a light into Manandan’s character, his entitlement mentality, and his particular world view.
*********
…“Tell him what?” Yara broke in. “How the hell do you say no to a god? Besides, I didn’t exactly tell him yes. I asked a question, and he disappeared. Granted, I didn’t try to call him back. It would have been absurdly selfish of me to put myself before all the other people on this ship.”
“So ye werena smitten, lass?” Stewart arched a brow.
She smiled. “Sometimes you sound unbelievably archaic. Nay,” she aped his brogue, “I wasna smitten. Merely practical. Besides, I figured my mother wouldn’t force me into something I didn’t want. Once we were safe in Scotland, I would have addressed this.”
“’Twas a gamble. The gods may squabble like rats over a rotting corpse, but they stand together against any outsider, which is exactly what they’d consider ye to be.”
The deck pitched violently beneath them, and he scrambled for balance. “Come on. Manandan’s temper appears to be deteriorating.”
“It wasn’t his strong suit when he was in my cabin. Let me go first.”
“Nay.” Stewart gripped the handrails and hauled himself one deck up with Yara right behind him. They needed a plan, and he didn’t have one. Manandan had always been quick to anger, and he didn’t like to lose.
The deck canted hard to port; Cadr and Gregor were scrambling to get the canvas down. Vreis stood at the helm. Lines of strain carved deep into his face as he fought the wheel.
Manandan was turned away from them, facing out to sea with his hands raised. Power arced from his fingers, burning blue-white against the darkness where sea and sky merged into each other. It should still be daytime, but you couldn’t prove it by the inky darkness surrounding the ship. Water raced over the rails, retreating as it rejoined the sea.
Yara started forward, but Stewart gripped her upper arm, and then slid his hand down until their fingers laced together. The god knew they were there. No need to say anything.
Stewart rocked from foot to foot to stay upright. Perhaps the god would give him something to work with if he waited. Patience had never been one of Manandan’s virtues. In this instance, that might work in their favor.
Manandan spun. Anger shot from his black eyes. Dark hair swirled around him, falling to the middle of his back. He’d always preferred robes to trousers, and today’s was the color of old claret, sashed in deep blue.
He pointed a long-nailed index finger at Yara. “Faithless whore. I offered you a great honor, and ye throw it in my face by rutting with yon Druid. What? Ye couldna wait until I had the time to take you to my bed?”
The god marched toward them, his arm still extended. “We had a deal. A bargain. Granted, ’twas not sealed with your blood, but ye’re Rhiannon’s daughter. I assumed ye’d be an honorable wench. Not a faithless slut.”
Stewart stepped between them. “That is enough. Ye insult the woman who shall be my wife.”
A muted squawk emerged from Yara, but she didn’t follow it up by telling him he’d just presumed a whole lot without asking her.
“Wife, eh? Appears she’s a wee bit surprised by your proposal.”
“If I’m surprised, it’s because I can see you,” Yara spoke up, her voice surprisingly steady. “In my cabin, you were nothing but a disembodied voice.”
“So?” Manandan stared at her. “Surely ye’ve seen Rhiannon in all her forms.”
“In truth, I’ve never seen her at all. Not that I remember, anyway. She fostered me in a gypsy caravan when I was just a babe.”
“Details.” He waved a dismissive hand and more seawater sluiced over the deck, swirling about his feet. “We had an agreement. Will ye maintain your end, or would ye prefer to leave this flimsy piece of wood masquerading as a boat to the whims of the sea?”
“I see many more options than that,” Stewart cut in smoothly. “Ye surprised the lass when ye materialized below decks. She was flustered and dinna wish to put her own needs above those of the rest of us traveling with her.”
Manandan nodded knowingly. “Indeed. All good and salient reasons for her to leave with me now. I’ll instruct the sea to see you safely across to Scotland as I promised.”
“Did you talk with my mother? With Rhiannon?” Yara asked.
“When would I have had a chance to do that?” he countered. “I’ve been here, holding the storm at bay.” He tossed his head. “Keeping my end of the bargain.”
Stewart clacked his jaws together and jumped in with both feet. “Ye just contradicted yourself.”
Manandan transferred his unnerving black eyes to Stewart. “I should kill you for that impertinence.”
“Hear me out, then decide.” Stewart squared his shoulders. “First, ye said ye could instruct the sea to guide us safely across, implying ye dinna have to be here overseeing things. Next, ye announced ye’d been holding the storm at bay. Ye canna have it both ways. Either your presence is essential. Or ’tis not.”
“Your point, Druid?” Manandan skinned his lips back from his teeth, looking annoyed.
At least he hasna called down lightning to smote me. Yet.
“My point was this.” Stewart plunged ahead. If he stopped to organize what came out of his mouth, his courage might fail. “Ye dinna believe aught stood betwixt ye and yon lass, so ye werena in any rush to leave. Your behind-the-scenes motive was to make certain the ship made port with her aboard. Now that ye recognize I have a claim where she’s concerned, ye’re anxious to spirit her away regardless of whether the ship founders.”
“I would hear from her whether she sees herself as yours.” The sea god shoved past Stewart and stood nose to nose with Yara. “I take what I want, lass, but ye agreed to—”
“I asked a question,” she broke in. “I never said yes to anything. You left too soon.”
Stewart winced. She’d interrupted a god, and that wouldn’t end well.
“We had an understanding,” Manandan shouted. “Ye asked what I wanted when I turned down your offer of gold. Since my request was well within your ability to acquiesce, of course I left.”
“I asked a question,” Yara persisted. “You never used the words mistress or marry or have sex with. From where I’m sitting, your meaning was vague. For all I knew, you were planning to shanghai me to be your housekeeper.”
Stewart bit back an inane desire to laugh. Clearly not cowed by the god, Yara was brave and resourceful, countering his opinions with reason. Stewart wanted to hug her, but there wasn’t much point in making Manandan even angrier.
“Housekeeper?” His voice rose. “Housekeeper? I’m a god, woman. Magic accomplishes such tasks.”
Yara shrugged. “Since I wasn’t raised by Rhiannon, all I understand is life in Romani caravans—or by myself after the Dutch government made it a crime to be a gypsy.” She crossed her arms beneath her breasts and stood as straight as she could manage on the pitching deck.
A crafty look crossed Manandan’s craggy features. “Ye’ve had little enough of ease in your life, lassie. I could make up for the hard times. Ye’d never want for aught.”
“It takes more than that to make someone happy. I may be Rhiannon’s child, but until less than a day ago, I viewed myself as human.”
“I know what women like. Come with me. I have a lovely corner room in mind just for you. It looks down on gardens such as ye’ve never laid eyes on afore. Flowers grow that bloom only in the Otherworld. Ye’d have servants to tend to your every need.”
Stewart both saw and felt compulsion weave itself with the sea god’s offer. He fisted his hands, wanting to drive them through Manandan’s handsome face.
A closed-off look etched into Yara’s features, and she tilted her chin at a defiant angle. “Sorry. God or no, I’m not for sale.”
“I tried to do this nicely,” Manandan snarled. “Let’s see if a year or two in the dungeons doesna improve your attitude. I can afford to wait ye out.” The sea crashed over a railing and formed a glittering nimbus circling him and Yara. Brightness grew around the two, edging upward.
Stewart pulled power like a madman. He had to intervene before the god’s spell reached its zenith. When that happened, he’d disappear and take Yara with him.
“Let us help.” Jamal and Elliott closed on either side of him, weaving their shifter magic with his. It was a more potent blend than Stewart would have guessed. Power flared around them in a mixture of blues, greens, and browns, and the scents of their combined power gave him hope all wasn’t lost.
“Yara! Break free while ye still can,” Stewart exhorted.
Rather than answer, she extended her arms. Lightning bolts crackled from her fingertips. The wind turned her flame-colored hair into a twisting mass that took one bird form after the next.
Was it conscious? Either she was channeling her mother, or Rhiannon was on her way. Stewart upped his link with the two shifters and focused more power to break through the pulsing maelstrom of seawater surrounding Manandan and Yara. Even if Rhiannon were racing to her daughter’s side, she might arrive too late.
As if drawn by the avian tableau playing itself out in Yara’s long hair, Meara flew between the god and Yara, cawing fiercely. Stewart felt like cheering, but his spell required all his attention. Surely, the god couldn’t stand against all of them.
He doesna have to. All he needs to do is create enough of a power vacuum to spirit himself and Yara out of here.
Aye, and once he’s gone, we shall feel the full brunt of his resentment.
No help for that last. Once Yara was safely beyond the god’s reach, Stewart wanted him well and truly gone. He’d faced rough seas before, and he could do it again. The boat was solidly built. It would see them safe to port—with an assist from everyone’s combined magic.
He hoped.
I have yet to lose a ship. This willna be the first.
Manandan shot a blast of blue-tinged power at the vulture shifter, but she evaded him easily with a tilt of her extended wings. Yara took advantage of the momentary break in the god’s attention to fashion an opening in the pulsing water. Once she slithered through, she dropped back until a few feet separated her from Manandan.
He roared his displeasure. A vortex crafted from seawater swished outward from where he stood, enveloping Yara. She fought against it, power spewing from her as she tried to break the god’s grip.
Meara went on full attack mode, flying right at the god with her beak angled to take out one of his eyes. Just when she got close, she smacked up against something Stewart couldn’t see.
Must be the god’s warding. Shit! How would they drill through that? He was holding his spell around Yara and defending himself without expending much visible effort at all.
Stewart focused his magic, combined with Jamal’s and Elliott’s, at various points in the cyclone around Yara, but couldn’t penetrate it. “I need more,” he cried. “Give me more.”
“There isn’t any more,” Elliott said, his tone grim as death. “We need to be smart about this. Water is the most potent of the elements, and it’s his strong point. The rest of us use earth and air.”
“Fire comes to my call,” Jamal panted, “but it’s less than useless against water.”
“We have to do something.” Stewart shouted to make himself heard above the howling wind and pounding sea.
Oblivious to the rest of them, Meara flew around Manandan’s head, getting in blows from her beak from time to time. How she determined where rents were in the god’s warding was beyond Stewart since the shielding around the god all looked the same to him.
At least Meara’s diversion kept the god’s net around Yara from reaching full velocity. Stewart stripped warding from himself and plunged toward Yara. Where the sea touched him, it burned so hot he imagined skin sloughing from his bones, but he kept going until he stood within the circle of water by Yara’s side.
“That was stupid,” she screeched, her face contorted into a rictus. “Now you’re trapped right along with me.”
Her lack of faith in him stung, but he pushed it aside. “I hold Jamal’s and Elliott’s magic in addition to my own. Join yours to the mix. Together, we can blast through the enchantment. Ye must believe we can do this, lass.”
Hope flared in her eyes, turning them deep violet, and the unique feel of her magic augured into him. He didn’t hesitate, just braided it with what lived within him, working as fast as he could.
The sea pushed against them now with the same hungry icy-heat that had burned him when he blasted through its barrier. “Earth trumps water,” he shouted. “Channel as much as ye can.”
“It’s my strongest element.” A feral expression made her look like something out of legends, otherworldly and fierce enough to bend fate to her will.
“On my count of three.” Stewart didn’t bother with telepathy. Meara was still keeping Manandan busy, and if this worked, things would happen fast.
“One. Two. Three.”
Magic scoured its way through him; he welcomed its cleansing path. Extreme power always did this, made him feel like he came within a hairsbreadth of dying and being reborn as something pure and innocent, yet ancient and wise at the same time.
The circle of seawater burst around them, turning into nothing more than foam racing across the tilting deck.
Stewart didn’t hesitate. He wrapped his arms around Yara and dragged her backward until they were behind Jamal and Elliott.
Manandan focused a gimlet gaze their way. “Ye think to stymie me with cheap parlor tricks? My sea will make certain this ship founders. I’m done with good deeds. And with faithless sluts who doona appreciate me.” He raised both arms over his head and began to chant in Gaelic.
Meara pecked his outstretched hands until blood flowed, but the god ignored her.
Magic with a different feel spilled around them, enveloping them in a multihued ball of light. Wind still howled and waves still roared, but the ship righted itself, no longer fighting the restless sea.
“What the hell is happening now?” Yara sputtered.
Stewart tightened his grip on her. “I might be mistaken, lass, but I believe your mother is about to make an appearance.”
Yara tried to evade his grasp. The air around her developed a reddish tinge as anger exploded from her. “I hate this,” she yelled. “I’m more than a goddamned pawn on a game board. You hear that, Mother?” She shook her fist skyward. “Take your fucking help and choke on it. I may have needed you once, but I don’t anymore.”
Shock ricocheted through Stewart. He opened his mouth to chide Yara for her disrespect, but silvery laughter cut through the howl of wind and the slap of waves.
A gateway pulsing with violet light formed next to Manandan, and Rhiannon stepped through. Long red hair, twin to her daughter’s, flowed to her feet. She was wrapped in lengths of silver and gold brocade, and an owl sat on each shoulder. A copper torc circled her throat, and rings with violet gemstones adorned the index fingers of both hands.
She turned her golden eyes on Yara. “Well met, daughter. ’Twould be a sad day, indeed, if ye suffered for want of a mother ye never knew.”



About the Author:

Ann Gimpel is a mountaineer at heart. Recently retired from a long career as a psychologist, she remembers many hours at her desk where her body may have been stuck inside four walls, but her soul was planning yet one more trip to the backcountry. Around the turn of the last century (that would be 2000, not 1900!), she managed to finagle moving to the Eastern Sierra, a mecca for those in love with the mountains. It was during long backcountry treks that Ann’s writing evolved. Unlike some who see the backcountry as an excuse to drag friends and relatives along, Ann prefers solitude. Stories always ran around in her head on those journeys, sometimes as a hedge against abject terror when challenging conditions made her fear for her life, sometimes for company. Eventually, she returned from a trip and sat down at the computer. Three months later, a five hundred page novel emerged. Oh, it wasn’t very good, but it was a beginning. And, she learned a lot between writing that novel and its sequel.

Around that time, a friend of hers suggested she try her hand at short stories. It didn’t take long before that first story found its way into print and they’ve been accepted pretty regularly since then. One of Ann’s passions has always been ecology, so her tales often have a green twist.

In addition to writing, Ann enjoys wilderness photography. She lugs pounds of camera equipment in her backpack to distant locales every year. A standing joke is that over ten percent of her pack weight is camera gear which means someone else has to carry the food! That someone is her husband. They’ve shared a life together for a very long time. Children, grandchildren and three wolf hybrids round out their family.

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