Thursday, May 24, 2018

Avenged By a Highland Laird Excerpt & Giveaway!



Avenged by a Highland Laird
The MacLomain Series
A New Beginning Book 4
Sky Purington       

Genre:  Time Travel Fantasy Romance

Date of Publication:  May 21st, 2018

ASIN: B079Y36LYH

Number of pages:  265
Word Count:  86,000

Cover Artist:  Tara West

Book Description:

Laird Bryce MacLeod will do anything to see Scotland’s history saved. Even if it means chasing down Jessie, a twenty-first century lass who might very well be his enemy. What he discovers when he catches her, however, is someone with deep, dark secrets and unanticipated intentions. Hidden truths so remarkable a whirlwind adventure through time begins.  

First, they find themselves in league with Angus Ă“gMacDomhnaill, Lord of the Isles, a noble Scottish captain rumored in some circles to be a pirate. Danger and intrigue abound as they help the Scots capture three English supply ships and deliver their cargo to the Scottish army. As they do and more mysteries are unveiled, attraction ignites and roars to life.   

Caught in the throes of newfound passion, they finally join King Robert the Bruce and face off with the English once more at the Battle of Byland Moor. Yet there’s another enemy as well. An evil whose sole purpose is meant to test their hearts in a way neither saw coming. An enemy determined to rip Jessie away from Bryce forever. Will the power of love be strong enough in the end? Or will the curse that threatens Scotland be too much to overcome?

Find out in Avenged by a Highland Laird, the epic conclusion of The MacLomain Series: A New Beginning.


Excerpt

She didn’t miss the flash of disappointment in his eyes before he managed a small nod and held out his hand. “Aye then, lass, step around me.”
Jessie clenched her teeth, disappointed that the small bridge they had built was so swiftly knocked down. That he was so quick to dislike her again. But that wasn’t to be worried about right now.
Well aware time was running out, she carefully turned, so she was facing the wall, took his hand, and began moving. Step by step, she made her way along the ledge to the point where they would have to share a space.
She met his pale golden eyes and tried to ignore the flustered way they made her feel. “Are you ready for me to pass?”
“I am,” he lied.
She could tell by his guarded expression he was nowhere near ready. Not because he was a coward but because he was aware of his effect on her. More so, how much he liked it. His wariness had nothing to do with plummeting to their death but allowing her close enough that she could pass. Feeling the heat of her skin.
So a bridge might have been knocked down, but something else was taking its place. She worked to steady her breathing at the quickly escalating attraction between them. Now was most certainly not the time.
Yet she had known this would likely happen, didn’t she? That it would be unavoidable. At least for her. How else could it be considering the secrets she still kept? Secrets she was foolish enough to have thought she could keep from him for his own safety. But then she had very little real-life practice when it came to attraction. Especially the sort she felt being so close to Bryce. He was the real thing and far more then she anticipated.
However, now definitely wasn’t the time for a chat about deep dark secrets that would only upset him further.
They needed to keep moving.
Though tempted to close her eyes so she didn’t drown in those piercing golden orbs of his again, she kept them open and made her move. With her hand braced on the left side of his waist, she began moving along the front of him. She was halfway across and directly in front of him when he touched the side of her waist, lowered his lips close to her ear and whispered, “Dinnae move, lass.”
His words floated through her mind. “There is a stranger standing across the way.”
“I feel him,” she responded as her eyes rose to his. “He doesn’t see us yet.”
Though she thought it was her breath that caught when they’re eyes met, it might have been his. Alarmed by the impact of being this close, she nearly teetered back, but his arm slipped around and pulled her even closer.
Unable to breathe at all now, she didn’t look away. She couldn’t if she wanted to. “Let me go, and I’ll hide us without him knowing.”
Unmistakable heat gathered in his eyes. Heat and desire he warred to contain, but she saw it…then she felt it as his arm tightened. The pale gold flecks in his thickly lashed eyes only grew brighter with curiosity. While she could tell herself that he simply wondered how she would get them out of this, she knew better. His curiosity was entirely focused on the strong chemistry between them.
Despite the waterfall’s intense spray and the fact an enemy could very well be staring at them right now, she was human enough to get caught up in what was happening between them. How it felt to finally be pressed against his long, hard body. 
To finally lay her hands on the physical form of someone she had known for so long.
“No,” she whispered, suddenly frightened as heat swept through her. “Not now. Not yet.” She swallowed hard and shook her head, suddenly lost in memories. No matter how real this might be, she had long trained herself that she couldn’t trust lustful feelings when it came to him. That she should not indulge in them. “Let me go. Please.”

Though her response could simply be that of a woman choosing to reject what flared between them, he seemed to sense there was more to it. His arousal turned to protectiveness as his brow furrowed in determination and his grip tightened ever so slightly. She couldn’t help but wonder if he was inherently responding to her past. To those moments he was so much a part of without ever knowing.

About the Author:

Sky Purington is the bestselling author of nearly forty novels and novellas. A New Englander born and bred who recently moved to Virginia, Sky was raised hearing stories of folklore, myth, and legend. When combined with a love for history, romance, and time-travel, elements from the stories of her youth found release in her books.

Purington loves to hear from readers and can be contacted at Sky@SkyPurington. Interested in keeping up with Sky’s latest news and releases? Either visit Sky’s website, www.SkyPurington.com, subscribe to her quarterly newsletter or sign up for personalized text message alerts. Simply text 'skypurington' (no quotes, one word, all lowercase) to 74121 or visit Sky’s Sign-up Page. Texts will ONLY be sent when there is a new book release. Readers can easily opt out at any time.

Love social networking? Find Sky on Facebook and Twitter.

Website:   www.skypurington.com






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Wednesday, May 23, 2018

Don't Cheat Me Excerpt & Giveaway!


Don’t Cheat Me
Jackie May
(Nora Jacobs #2)
Publication date: May 21st 2018
Genres: Adult, Urban Fantasy

One month after Nora’s violent induction to the dangerous supernatural side of Detroit, she’s finally settling into her new life as the underworld’s token human. All she wants to do is mind her own business, enjoy her new friends, and stay safe. But that’s easier said than done when she’s such an enigma to everyone around her.
Thanks to her unique psychic abilities, she’s garnered a reputation for being mysterious and powerful. When the alpha of a local werewolf pack asks her to help him figure out who is stealing from him, she can’t say no, even though getting involved in pack business could have deadly repercussions.
While tangled up in a heap of werewolf troubles, Nora can’t quite shake her old vampire problem, either. Henry is practically stalking her, Parker is breaking down the walls around her heart, and Nora’s blatant fear of the blood-sucking monsters is a delicious temptation for the natural predators.
Nora’s succubus friend, Cecile, believes throwing her a “coming out” party into underworld society is the best way to solve all of her problems, but Nora disagrees. If the vampires and werewolves don’t kill her, Cecile’s party planning definitely will.
This is book 2 in the Nora Jacobs series and should be read after book 1. It is a slow burn reverse harem series.
EXCERPT:
“Hey, sexy, how about you bring a shot of Angelfire and that pretty little ass over here.”
I pour a shot of the fey alcohol and bring it to the tactless man with a forced smile. As I take the cash he lays out on the counter, he grabs my arm and pulls me close. “You know, I’ve never had a human before—they’re not usually worth my time—but I’d make an exception for you.”
I yank my arm back. “Not interested, thanks.”
I start to walk away, so he quickly downs his shot and asks for another. “What’s the matter? Think you’re too good to bed an underworlder?”
I smirk as I fill his shot glass with another round of the light blue liquid. “Nope. Just too good for cocky assholes.”
I don’t have time to regret running my mouth off before the man has me by the throat and is pulling me across the counter to his seething face. “I’ll show you manners, human. You’re nothing but an insect in my world. A plaything. And now you’ll be mine. I’ll have you begging for death for all eternity.”
His thoughts are scarier than his words. He plans to follow through on his threat. He knows many fey in the winter court that keep human pets. He’s never seen the appeal, but now he wants nothing more than to humiliate me and make me suffer. And maybe he’ll eat me once he’s bored of the torture.
His grip is so strong I can’t breathe, but before I start to see spots in my vision, Wulf and Nick rip me apart from the psychotic winter faerie. Wulf has me behind him, using his body to physically shield me, while Nick has the faerie laid out on the bar by his throat. The man is wailing in pain, and it takes me a moment to figure out it’s because Nick’s buried a dagger in the man’s shoulder, hilt deep. Judging from the screams of pain, the dagger is made of iron, which is poisonous to faeries. “What was that about begging for death for all eternity?” Nick asks. “Is that how you like to play?”
“But she’s human,” the faerie cries, as if that justifies his actions.
Wulf growls at this, and his whole body begins to shake. I place a hand on his shoulder in an attempt to calm him down. I’ve heard that werewolves like physical touch, and a gesture to tell him I’m all right should help with his protective instincts. I’ve never seen a werewolf shift, and I don’t really want to see one now while he’s pissed and I’m trapped behind a bar with him. I want to say something soothing, but honestly, I’m too scared to get any words out. That faerie has a dark, twisted mind.
“She is an employee of this club and Terrance’s only clan,” Nick says.
The fey’s eyes pop wide open. “She’s his clan?”
“His first.” Nick nods. “And he’s especially fond of her. So I would advise you to leave her alone. In fact, I bet you’re a dead man walking once Terrance figures out you’re the asshole who put the bruises around her neck.”
Nick’s eyes do that thing they do when he gets really pissed. The pupils turn into vertical slits. It’s freaky looking. He also emits some kind of power. I can’t really explain it. I don’t know what kind of underworlder Nick is. It’s rude to ask, and he’s never offered the information up. But it’s something totally badass that scares even the nastiest underworlders. Mr. Creepy Fey Man is squirming under his grip, looking like he’s about to piss himself. “I’m sorry,” he whines. “I didn’t know who she was. I’ll leave. Just let me up before Terrance comes.”
“Maybe we should leave him pinned to the bar for a while,” Wulf says, making the fey’s eyes go wide again. “That’ll send the message that Nora is off limits, which might appease Terrance.”
I can’t help the way my mouth falls open. “You’re not serious.”
Wulf gives me a grim look. “This man disrespected Terrance’s staff. That won’t go unpunished—house rules.”
“Terrance will kill him for touching you, unless we punish him first,” Nick adds, backing up Wulf’s claims.
They’re not kidding. They plan to keep this guy staked to the counter the way he is. The underworld runs on a different set of rules. It’s brutal and dangerous. If I want to survive it, I need to learn to stomach the darker side of it and trust those who have my well-being at heart.
“Okay,” I say, since both Wulf and Nick seem to be waiting for my approval. It’s not that hard to agree, considering how evil the man’s thoughts were. “Let’s leave him for a while.”
“Put a sign on him so everyone knows,” Nick says.
Wulf writes a note on a pad that says I touched the human girl. He puts it on the faerie’s chest. “Hold this, and don’t drop it.”
The man grips the message and holds it against his chest where everyone who gets close can read it. But he’s squirming, swearing, sweating, and hollering about the pain. I have no doubt it hurts. Nick has no sympathy for him. “Shut your mouth,” he says, touching the dagger’s hilt and twisting it ever so slightly, causing the faerie to scream in real agony. “This is a tender mercy. Stop whining, or I’ll put this dagger through your heart to shut you up.”
I’m not surprised when the faerie shuts his mouth and keeps his discomfort to mild whimpers from then on. If Nick had looked at me the same way he looked at that guy just now, I’d find a way to forget about the pain, too.


Author Bio:
Jackie May is a pseudonym for a husband and wife writing team. Josh and Kelly live in Phoenix, Arizona with their four children and their cat, Mr. Darcy. Jackie May is their only daughter. (And she keeps asking for her cut of the profits since we’re using her name.)



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Tuesday, May 22, 2018

Hard Love Excerpt & Giveaway!


Hard Love
Shana Vanterpool
(Guns & Ink #2)
Published by: Swoon Romance
Publication date: May 22nd 2018
Genres: Contemporary, New Adult, Romance

When two people in pain collide, there is something intoxicating about drowning in the chaos of hard love.
Brando Hawkins is a detective with the Denver Police Department. The world should be his to take. He’s a dedicated officer with a promising career. But Brando’s got secrets. Dark, ruthless secrets. At twenty-six, he’s burned-out, and the sight of another body, one more unhappy ending, might just do him in.
Catherine Abbott is a woman who wars with her demons and guards her heart. Immersed in a world where people ink their lives on their skin, Catherine trusts only that which she can see. And, as a rape survivor, she finds comfort in control.
But Brando’s demons start to tangle with hers. They’re dangerous, like hers. But they’re beautiful too.
A spray of bullets brings them together, and the pain of their pasts collide with the lure of their futures. Cat wants to mend his heart and his wounds, but Brando’s secrets lay tucked away in a vault so tightly sealed, she can’t get through.
Everything around them is covered in the confusion of love and the burn of revenge, but no one ever said love was easy.
Hard Love is the next standalone installment in the Guns & Ink series by Shana Vanterpool, a world of tattoos, love, and redemption from Swoon Romance.
SNEAK A PEEK AT BOOK 1 – MAD LOVE:
Life had a way of expunging your expectations.
But it also had a way of rebuilding them.
I met a hero the day I walked into Klayton’s tattoo shop, broken and terrified. My heart was tattered, and my mental state was a plain of rubble in my skull. He wasn’t your typical hero. But atypical was exactly what I needed. I needed strength to combat my weaknesses. I needed love to fight my terror. And I needed someone to look at me like I was whole, when I feared I never would be again.
I sometimes wished we could have a do-over. That I could walk into his tattoo shop smiling, clean, and glowing. But that would only erase the brutal, beautiful truth of us. I didn’t walk into his tattoo shop smiling, I wasn’t clean, and I was severely damaged.
But Klayton loved me anyway. Even when I was empty, even when I was broken.
Even when I was mad.

Author Bio:
When I walk into a book store I feel at home. When I smell the pages of a brand new book things make sense. When I read I am who I always wanted to be. I read to escape and I write so others can as well. My family, my actress dog Bella, coffee, and a steamy love story are a few of my most precious things.




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Monday, May 21, 2018

Born of Air Excerpt



Born of Air

Dragon Soul Series

Book Four

Sean Michael

Genre: Erotic Romance, M/M, Fantasy

Publisher: Carina Press

Date of Publication: 06/04/2018

ISBN: 9781488024368
ASIN: B07B519L19

Number of pages: 315
Word Count: 143,970

Book Description:

Meet the Beteferoce brothers: five dragon shifters, each with a strong elemental power. And each with a fierce desire to find his soul mate…

He said he was flying on a silver dragon. He called me “Markus-meine.” Who would know all that? Who? And how?

SWAT cop and dragon shifter Mark Beteferoce had—and lost—a soul mate. He’s finally at the point where he can get through the days without thinking about what used to be…until he tastes Quincy O’Brien’s doughnuts and takes him home to play.

Quincy O’Brien is a gifted baker, but at night he dreams of soaring through the sky on dragonback and being topped by the perfect Dom. Mark satisfies the kinky urges Quincy has only explored in his subconscious, pushing his limits and caring for him afterward.

From the start, their connection was more than sexual. It’s known; it’s familiar somehow. And it’s slowly driving Mark insane. What shouldn’t be possible most certainly is, and the bond between himself and Quincy runs deeper than either of them could ever have realized.

Amazon     BN

Excerpt:

“We’re ready. Go ahead and open for the day.” Quincy slid the last tray of doughnuts into the case as his sister headed for the door, the smell of sugar thick on the air.
The Aerie Bakery had been in business for four gen¬erations and it felt good every morning, seeing the little line of people waiting for breakfast and coffee. Quincy felt that this was what he’d been born to do. Kneading dough and feeding people came as naturally as breath¬ing.
“Opening now,” Barb warned him so he was braced for the first flood of customers. There was a line today, as there was most mornings. The next hour was busy. Many of the customers were regulars he and Barb knew well enough to ask about the latest regarding work or family and friends. Maybe the chatter slowed the line down, but only marginally and they more than made up for it with repeat customers who really felt like they were valued, which they were. After the first hour, he and Barb got a wee bit of a break, enough time for them to take a breather and bring out the second round of trays.
“I think we’ll be sold out by eleven, Quince.”
He nodded to Barb. “I think you’re right.” That worked for him. He’d been working since three a.m. to get things ready for the morning rush.
A couple of cops came in, SWAT by the looks of their uniforms. One of them, Tom, was a regular who came in for two dozen doughnuts almost every day. Not to be stereotyping or anything, but the Halifax cops did love his doughnuts.
“I tell you, Mark, you need to get laid,” Tom said, making his friend roll his eyes.
“That’s your answer to everything.” Mark was huge: big, broad shoulders and a deep voice that Quincy swore he felt in his belly.
Yummy.
There was no way this guy had a problem getting laid.
He gave them a smile. “It’s not a bad answer. Hey, Tom.”
“Hey, Quincy. It’s not a bad answer at all. It’s a great answer.” Tom chuckled and turned to his friend. “Mark, this is Quincy—the baker of the most amazing dough¬nuts in town. Quincy, this is Mark, he’s on the team.”
Mark nodded to him. “Good to meet you. We do re¬ally like your doughnuts. They don’t last long when¬ever Tom brings them in.” Eyes the color of a stormy sky took him in.
“I love to hear that. You want two dozen assorted?”
“We do. And I’d like a half dozen of the square ones with raisins in a separate box, please.”
Tom smirked. “Mark’s addicted.”
“I am not. I just know what I like.” Mark was look¬ing right at Quincy as he said it.
“That’s a great quality in a man.”


About the Author:

Often referred to as "Space Cowboy" and "Gangsta of Love" while still striving for the moniker of "Maurice," Sean Michael spends his days surfing, smutting, organizing his immense gourd collection and fantasizing about one day retiring on a small secluded island peopled entirely by horseshoe crabs. While collecting vast amounts of vintage gay pulp novels and mood rings, Sean whiles away the hours between dropping the f-bomb and persuing the kama sutra by channeling the long lost spirit of John Wayne and singing along with the soundtrack to "Chicago."

A long-time writer of complicated haiku, currently Sean is attempting to learn the advanced arts of plate spinning and soap carving sex toys.

Barring any of that? He'll stick with writing his stories, thanks, and rubbing pretty bodies together to see if they spark.





Saturday, May 19, 2018

Blessing of Luna Excerpt & giveaway!


Blessing of Luna
Blaise Ramsay
(Wolf gods #1)
Publication date: April 20th 2018
Genres: Adult, Paranormal, Romance

Lonely. That’s how it felt when Damien Pierce returned to Big Timber, Montana. It had been his childhood home until the day he was hit by a speeding car only to learn he wasn’t badly hurt. The experience landed him the label of the town freakshow.
Following the death of his foster mom, Damien soon disconnected from the world around him. That was at least, until he met her. She looked human but something about made her appear otherworldly to him. He knew he shouldn’t but he wanted her. He would do anything to get to know her. To have her.
Jillian Styles was immortal. Cursed by a dark god never to find rest. A shifter capable of taking the form of a beautiful wolf. She had searched for her lover’s reincarnated soul for centuries only to find he was nowhere to be found. When she meets Damien, her world is turned upside down. She falls in love with him instantly and begins to pursue him.
However, Damien soon learns the darker part of Jill’s world. He finds himself on the hit list of the same vampire Lord responsible for killing Jill’s lover and reigniting the flames of an old war. His daughter desires Damien and vows to have him at any cost.
With the help of Alexander Kain, the mysterious wolf shifting soldier, Damien will learn what he thought he knew was only tip of the paranormal iceberg. He soon finds himself in the eyes of a vindictive and rage-filled dark god.
If you like hot lycanthrope guys, overly possessive vampire chicks, vindictive gods, strong female leads and some hot sex scenes, this book is for you.
EXCERPT:
Realization hit Damien as to who he was staring down. The same dark god that had challenged him stood in Lilith’s form. Damien’s heart inside his chest burned as he thought about Kain and all he’d done for him. Jill. Dad…Rob…Gabriel…Holt…Chelsea.
“Looks like it’s just you and me, Damien. You can surrender and die in peace or you can fight and die anyway. Your choice.”
Save him. Luna’s voice inside of Damien’s mind drew his attention. Save him. I beg of you. Please.
Damien’s body became surrounded with a radiant light so bright it forced Lilith step back. Her wing covered her face. He braced himself on his front legs, roaring at the monster in front of him responsible for taking so much.
The light became so intense not even the lycans could stare at it.
When it finally faded, Damien stood in his true lycan form. His white fur blew in the wind like mist at the tip of his stiffened ears to the end of his tail. The dark markings of his wolf form only seen on the tips of his ears, feet and tail. The fur on the back of his neck was thicker, almost resembling a mane.
“By the gods, he looks like…” Lune stood in awe.
“Tenebris.” Gabriel’s finished, his voice nothing but a whisper.
Stoker used the opportunity to sneak off, nursing the wound on his arm inflicted by Gabriel when he shifted into his full lycan form.
The vampires hissed at the light rising from the east, trying to flee towards the waning night. They had fallen right into Damien’s plan and were intercepted. Howls and snarls joined dying screams as the vampires were overwhelmed.
“What trickery is this?!” Lilith’s fangs spat as she tried to speak.
Damien ignored her, seeing the fear in her eyes as he made his way over to Kain on the ground.
The alpha was so weak he couldn’t retain his shifted form.
“Kain.” Damien’s voice was a comfortable echo. Warm and reassuring. “Alex. Can you hear me?”
Kain opened his eyes, slightly jumping. “Tenebris?”
Damien shook his head. “No. It’s me.”
“Damien. How?”
Damien took Kain’s jacket he was always wearing around his waist and covered his friend with it. “Stay here. Don’t move and don’t die.”
He stood back up and went to face Lilith. The lycans in his way stepped aside, their heads bowed. “This ends here, Lilith. You won’t hurt anyone else.”

Author Bio:
FyreSyde Publishing owner and founder Blaise Ramsay worked over fifteen years in the graphic design industry, with some experience in indie gaming. Recently she shifted her attention to the world of literature with her debut paranormal romance series, Wolf gods. The debut title, Blessing of Luna is set to release in 2018. She currently lives in North Texas with her two children, her husband and pets. A UTD graduate with a Bachelor's in History with an intention on teaching, Blaise decided that the world of teaching just wasn't for her. A stay at home mother of two, business owner and self-publisher, Blaise loves to meet new people and encourage others to follow their dreams through weekly posts to her instagram, twitter, facebook and blog.
Feel free to contact Blaise for an author interview, guest blog opportunities and book reviews. Visit our affiliates' page for a chance to see how you can get a hold on some of the books we have reviewed.

GIVEAWAY!

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Friday, May 18, 2018

Blackout Cover Reveal & Crossbreed Audible Excerpts!


The highly anticipated next installment in the Crossbreed Series is coming soon!! Check out the cover and blurb!



Blackout
(Crossbreed Series, Bk #5)
by Dannika Dark


Burb:

The fate of millions rests on Keystone when they embark on their most important assignment of all…

After what was supposed to be a simple job, Raven and Christian uncover a sinister plot against the higher authority, and the stakes are as high as the body count. The assassins are merciless, with anyone who stands in their way becoming collateral damage. Meanwhile, Raven is still struggling to make sense of her feelings for Christian following a memory wipe.

During a blackout, the city erupts into chaos. With Breed on the brink of war, Keystone has only twenty-four hours to complete a secret mission. Raven seeks help from the most unlikely of places, but at what cost? 

It’s a race against time to save lives in this explosive installment of the Crossbreed series.



Available for pre-order at



Release Date:
August 14, 2018














Keystone
(Crossbreed Series Book 1)


Grab your copy at  






Ravenheart
(Crossbreed Series, Bk #2)


Available purchase at 

Kindle | Amazon (Paperback) | Audible | iTunes | Nook | B&N | Kobo | Tantor




Deathtrap
(Crossbreed Series, Bk #3)


Available for purchase at

Kindle | Amazon (Paperback) | Audible | iTunes | Nook | B&N | Kobo | Tantor



Gaslight
(Crossbreed Series, Bk #4)


Available for purchase at 






About the Author


Dannika Dark is the USA Today Bestselling Author of Urban Fantasy Romance and Paranormal Romance books. Her books have sold more than 2 million copies worldwide, and she is a 2016 Audie Awards finalist. In addition to writing about supernatural worlds, Dannika is passionate about graphic design and creates all her own covers and series art. When not writing in her cave, she enjoys indie music, reading, Netflix, heaps of chocolate, and unleashing her dark side. 





You can find Dannika at 

To receive exclusive content and be the first to know about upcoming releases, please sign up to her newsletter. 






Presented By


The Goddess's Choice Excerpt


Book One of The Kronicles of Korthlundia
Epic Fantasy
Date Published: April 2017
Publisher: Bewitching Fables Press

 photo add-to-goodreads-button_zpsc7b3c634.png


In a world where the corrupt church hides the truth about magic, the fate of the joined kingdom falls on the shoulders of two young people from opposite ends of the social hierarchy.

Crown Princess Samantha’s life begins to fall apart when she starts seeing strange colors around her potential suitors. She fears that she’s going insane--or worse that she’s defying the Goddess’s will. Robrek is a lowly farm boy with incredible magical powers. He has been biding his time waiting to get revenge on those who call him a demon.

Thrown together by chance, they must overcome their differences to fight their common enemy Duke Argblutal, who, with dark magic, is slowly poisoning the king’s mind and turning him against his own daughter. Time is running out for those chosen by the Goddess to prevent the power mad duke from usurping the throne and plunging the joined kingdoms into civil war.



Other Books in The Kronicles of Korthlundia Series:





The Kronicles of Korthlundia: Book II
Publisher: Bewitching Fables Press

A match made by the goddess is threatened by an Ancient Evil.

As Samantha and Robrek prepare for their marriage and coronation, they are met with opposition on all sides. Not all believe that the peasant sorcerer is worthy to be king, and the young couple must perform delicate political maneuvers to prevent the joined kingdoms from breaking apart.

As the church splits over opposition to their union, an unseen force is poised to release an ancient evil that was last defeated a thousand years ago. When the Soul Stone is broken free of its bonds, all life in its path succumbs to its power. How much will the new royal couple have to sacrifice to free the joined kingdoms of its evil?






The Kronicles of Korthlundia, Book 3
Publisher: Bewitching Fables Press

The Ghost is going to hell. Not even the goddess can forgive his sins: assassin, oath-breaker, traitor (an affair with the queen earned him that title). No one can ever learn the princess is his daughter. To keep this secret, he flees to the land that turned him from a simple stable groom into an infamous killer.

His mission now? To find evildoers and take them to hell with him. But when an impulsive act of heroism saddles him with a damsel who refuses to be distressed, her resilience forces him to questions why he really ran from his daughter.




Excerpt



Chapter 2



The Princess Samantha sat at her dressing table and glowered at her reflection as her maids dressed her hair. She detested balls and loathed the hundreds of suitors who flocked around her: “I have never seen a lovelier flower, Your Highness!” or “Your eyes rival the brilliance of the stars, Your Highness!” If I hear that one again, I’ll vomit. It wouldn’t be quite so bad if even one of them meant it. Sometimes she wished . . . She pushed the thought away. As the heir to the throne, she couldn’t expect romance. 

“Let us be painting your face tonight, Your Highness!” Ardra begged. Samantha’s maid was as small and slight as the princess herself and had hair so blonde it was almost white. The princess smiled at the quaintness of her speech. Although both Ardra and Malvina had been in Murtaghan for over ten years, they still hadn’t lost the peculiarities of their western Lundian accents.

“Yes, Your Highness,” Malvina chimed in. “Lady Shela’s maids said just yesterday we couldn’t possibly be knowing our business ’cause you never be wearing paint.” Malvina, more of a typical Korthlundian woman, was tall and broad and not nearly as pretty as Ardra.

“Lady Shela,” Samantha snorted in disgust. Shela wore so much paint she resembled some ghastly sea creature. Samantha knew she wasn’t pretty, but she was fond of the freckles that speckled her nose and thought the emerald green brilliance of her gown set off her white skin and auburn hair beautifully. Besides being appallingly uncomfortable, paint would absolutely spoil the effect. The princess gestured toward the huge portrait that covered one wall of her bedchamber. “Do you think Danu wore paint?”

Malvina shrugged. “The Princess Danu was said to be a powerful sorceress, Your Highness. She probably didn’t need to wear paint to attract men.”

Samantha laughed bitterly, as she thought of the army of men waiting below. “I wish not wearing paint was all it took to scare them off. They say Danu never married, and see how happy she is.”

Samantha yearned for Danu’s freedom. The long-dead princess was laughing as she galloped across the fields with her auburn hair flying out behind her in the wind. The stars on the forehead and chest of her horse shone against its gorgeous coat. Samantha loved this painting, which was just as well because it was bolted to the wall and couldn’t be removed without tearing her chambers apart. She’d decorated the rest of her bedroom to match. Tapestries of horses covered the walls. Her dressing table, armoire, and large four-poster bed had horses carved into the woodwork. A quilt, embroidered with horses and stars, was spread over the bed. The mantle over her fireplace sported figurines of horses in gold, silver, jade, crystal, and precious stones. Every new ambassador added to her collection.

 “Your Highness, you’ll be having to marry one of them eventually,” Ardra persisted. “The king won’t be letting you hold out forever. You are seventeen, after all. Your mother was only thirteen when she married the king.”

“You needn’t remind me, Ardra.” Samantha picked up her silver-backed brush from the dressing table, a gift from the Neasarian ambassador that was inlaid with an amber Horsetad; diamonds marked the stars at its forehead and chest. She fingered it lovingly. “Do you think it’s true Danu rode a Horsetad?”

“So the bards sing of her,” Ardra said.

Malvina made an impatient noise in her throat. “And they also be singing she turned suitors into toads with her kiss! You don’t really believe such nonsense, do you, Your Highness? Nobody can tame a Horsetad.”

“No, I suppose not,” the princess sighed wistfully, then smiled at the toads that hopped around the feet of Danu’s horse. How I wish my kiss could do that!

Finally, her maids were finished weaving the jewels through her hair and had attached the simple gold circlet of the heir. Samantha tried to take a deep breath, but was prevented by the tightness of her corset. “That’s it. This is the last time I wear a corset. Have my dresses altered to fit without one. And don’t lecture me about fashion. I’d rather be able to breathe.”

Before her maids could protest that without a corset she was almost as flat as a boy, she left the room. She passed through her reception room, which was decorated in a similar style to her bedroom and contained more ambassadorial gifts. Pausing in front of her favorite tapestry—a white mare at the edge of the forest, helping her newborn foal stand, she wished she were heading for the stables instead of the ballroom. She forced her face into a court smile and left her chambers.

Her two bodyguards bowed and fell in behind her. The princess couldn’t remember a time when she hadn’t been followed by two heavily armed men. She’d grown so used to them she often forgot they were there.





A full crowd tonight, of course. While the possibility of wearing a crown still exists, not even a deadly plague would keep the hordes away.

Behind the dais at the top of the ballroom was the king’s standard—a brilliant yellow sun on a field of red. Next to it was a smaller standard in her own colors—the head of a white horse on a field of emerald green. The walls were lined with the standards of all the noble houses of Korthlundia; most sported images of ferocious beasts or weapons of war. If I’m supposed to be maintaining the peace, why do I have to dance in a room that celebrates war? Her father claimed they couldn’t redecorate the ballroom without the risk of offending one or more of the Korthlundian noble houses. But Samantha doubted she’d like balls any better no matter how the room was decorated.

As she moved through the crowd, the courtiers parted and bowed. All the men attempted to catch her eye, and the smiles of the women failed to mask their jealousy.

As she mounted the dais where her father and members of the royal council awaited, King Solar beamed at her. His long white hair and beard flowed around his head, giving him the appearance of the wise old man from the bards’ tales. She bowed to him, and he quickly extended his hand, raised her, and gave her a kiss on the cheek. Despite his insistence that she marry, her father did love her. The princess knew she should consider herself lucky. Most royal children had no choice in a spouse, but her father had left her free to choose among the men of appropriate rank. But as she looked over the sea of hungry male eyes, the thought of marrying any of them nauseated her. If only marrying them didn’t mean I had to bed them.

Beside the king, Uncle Caedmon smiled at her. Caedmon, Duke of Tuath and Boirche, was her mother’s uncle and had been her father’s chancellor since she was two years old. He had very bushy eyebrows that gave the impression he was always looking down on people. But he was one of the few members of her father’s council she liked, and he was the only one who exhibited no designs on the throne. His only son had married before she was born.

Immediately after the king announced the opening of the ball, Argblutal, the Duke of Handgriff, stepped forward to claim the first dance. No one else ever dared ask her until the duke had had his turn. Like every Korthlundian man, Argblutal was tall, broad-shouldered, and blue-eyed. Many of the girls found him handsome, but she wasn’t sure why. He was nearly twice her age. He was dressed in a surcoat of black leather with long black velvet sleeves, trimmed in gold and crimson braiding. He had several thick gold chains around his neck. From the largest of these hung a pendant of a panther, the symbol of his house. In defiance of court fashion, he wore his blond beard and hair cropped short. He and Duke Sheen were her closest living relatives on her father’s side, not that they were very close—third cousins or something. Both had thought to inherit the throne until her birth gave Solar a direct heir.

Argblutal bowed. “May I have the first dance, Your Highness?”

“I’d be honored, Your Grace.” Father would throw a fit if I refused. She smiled her fakest smile and accepted his hand.

As the dance began, the duke bowed low over her hand, sliming it with a kiss. “Your Highness, you are the brightest star in a shining crowd tonight.” It’s only the first dance, and I get the star thing already. Is there some book they all read? Fifty-two Compliments for Ladies. The duke danced stiffly, as if he disapproved of frivolity. “Your dress, it’s Saloynan silk, is it not, Your Highness?”

“No, it’s Neasarian. I find the weave so much finer. Don’t you?” The silk did feel delightful against her skin, but she found talk of fashion and fabric tedious. She’d never understood the other girls’ obsession with it, just as she never understood why they giggled so much. 

“So I have heard, Your Highness, but it’s very difficult to come by. The Neasarians are more interested in trading spices than silk.”

This was true, but equally boring, so she smiled and made some inane comment. When the dance finally ended, Argblutal slimed her hand again. “Perhaps we can share another dance before the evening’s end, Your Highness.” Surreptitiously wiping her hand on her gown, Samantha merely smiled. Only if all seven of the hells freeze over.

The next suitor in line was Lord Devyn, Duke Sheen’s oldest son. Devyn was only a couple of years older than the princess, but he looked younger. His chin was covered with only the lightest and most delicate of fuzz. The princess thought he’d look better if he shaved. But, of course, he couldn’t do that; only the clergy shaved. “May I . . . may I have this dance, Y-y-your Highness?”

As the dance began, Lord Devyn turned a dozen shades of red. “Y-y-your Highness looks just like a-a-a flower tonight.” It was obvious he didn’t want to dance any more than she did, but Duke Sheen was bent on controlling Korthlundia through his son. She’d heard the duke had threatened Devyn with the lash to force him to court her. Devyn was only comfortable among his paints and canvases. Besides, he was in love with Count Morfran’s daughter, Lady Aislinn. She wished just once some man would look at her the way she’d seen Devyn look at Aislinn.

Samantha noticed blue under his fingernails. “And how is your latest creation coming? Working in blues, I see.”

Devyn gaped. “I’m doing a seascape, Your Highness, but how could you know?” When she glanced at his fingers, he curled his fingernails into his fists. “Your Highness, how could I have been so neglectful? My father will kill me.” Devyn was a nice boy, but she wished his father would leave him to his art and his lover.

After Devyn, the princess worked her way through her father’s council—Count Kayne, Duke Torin, Count Weylin, Baron Arawn’s son, Baron Teague, and a host of other nobles of varying degrees of importance. Nola, Count of Meillid, looked on wistfully. The count was nearly as round as he was tall, and it was rumored he’d do away with his wife if he thought he stood a chance of capturing the princess’s hand. He had a five-year-old son, and Samantha thought it a wonder Nola didn’t send the toddler to court her.

After the majority of the king’s council had had their turn, ambassadors and foreign envoys began to present themselves. She knew each one was eager to negotiate the most important treaty between their two countries—one that would give them power over the Korthlundian throne. The princess enjoyed the variety of their appearance, but at heart, they seemed little different than the Korthlundian nobles. The vast majority were nearly twice her age, and the talk of stars and flowers sounded little different in a Mintarian accent than in a Korthlundian one. However, the princess smiled when Phomello, the son of the Neasarian ambassador, took her hand. As with all Neasarians, everything from his hair to his skin to his eyes was a deep rich ebony. It was he who’d given her the silver brush and the silk for her gown, and she’d seen him several times in the stables. He seemed to share her love of horses, but the best thing about him was that he could barely speak Korthlundian, so he couldn’t bombard her with mindless chatter.

* * *

The king went to bed at midnight, but Samantha was forced to stay and dance with suitor after suitor.

“Might I dance with the stars of heaven tonight?” Count Pandaran, the only member of her father’s council with whom she hadn’t yet danced, asked. He always danced with her late in the balls; maybe he felt he was saving the best for last. He wore a surcoat of bright turquoise, edged with yards and yards of delicate lace. His hair and beard hung in long, blond ringlets. When the princess took his hand, she cringed at the smoothness of his palms. The damned fool doesn’t even know how to wield a sword. The hands of most of the men at court were like hers—rough and calloused from weapons training. Knowing she would rule after him, her father had always treated her more like a son than a daughter. Despite what other members of the court might think of it, he had insisted she receive weapons training since she was strong enough to hold a sword.

As they whirled around the ballroom floor, a soft glow of rotten orange erupted around Pandaran. A steaming heat seeped from the orange and poured over her, coating her body with a slime so thick a dozen baths wouldn’t cleanse her. The princess nearly cried out in despair. Not the colors again! I thought I’d gotten rid of them! It had been several months since she’d spent all night kneeling at the altar in the palace chapel, praying for the goddess’s help. She’d felt the goddess’s peace and thought the terrifying colors gone forever. But again she’d been wrong. When she’d first seen the colors, she’d gone in disguise to the Temple of the Mother’s Love. It was the only time she’d ever given her bodyguards the slip. She’d told a priest about the colors. He’d insisted she was under the influences of the denizens of darkness and that her soul was in great peril and performed an exorcism. It hadn’t worked. Nothing had. Maybe it’s not demons; maybe I’m insane.

The princess was so upset after her dance that she fled the room without giving an explanation. She ignored the questions from her bodyguards and her maids, but she was shaking by the time Ardra and Malvina had finished undressing her and taking down her hair. When she was finally alone, she curled up into a ball on her bed. The colors had to mean something, but after the exorcism had failed, she’d never dared tell anyone else about them. Tonight she again prayed to the goddess for help. At last, she fell into a troubled sleep, her dreams full of people who glowed as brightly as the jeweled horses on her mantelpiece.


About the Author


Jamie Marchant began writing stories about the man from Mars when she was six, and she never remembers wanting to be anything other than a writer. Everyone told her she needed a backup plan, so she pursued a Ph.D. in American literature, which she received in 1998. She started teaching writing and literature at Auburn University. One day in the midst of writing a piece of literary criticism, she realized she’d put her true passion on the backburner and neglected her muse. The literary article went in the trash, and she began the book that was to become The Goddess’s Choice, which was published in April 2012. She claims she writes about the fantastic . . . and the tortured soul. Her poor characters have hard lives. She lives in Auburn, Alabama, with her husband and four cats, which (or so she’s been told) officially makes her a cat lady. She still teaches writing and literature at Auburn University. She is the mother of a grown son.


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