Excerpt of the The Pirates of Vampire Island, A Paranormal Romantic Thriller by Phoenix and Lover Boy

EXCERPT:

Angry clouds rolled over the sparkling turquoise sea, transforming it into a lifeless slate grey.

Tucked in a small bay hidden from view, a black-market military sea craft modified for great speed waited silently. Ten men with chalk white skin and dressed in black sat tensed as the idle boat gently rose and fell with the small swells, their glowing red eyes intent on their quarry.

Through his binoculars, their six-foot-three leader studied a sleek cruise liner turning her mammoth bow to line up on the inter-island passage off the coast of Indonesia.

He turned to his crew. They watched as a small smile played across his handsome face, his red eyes shining bright.

He nodded. This was the right target. Once they boarded, the rich bounty they would gain would renew their powers.

The leader said only one word, "Midnight."

Title: The Pirates of Vampire Island, A Paranormal Romantic Thriller
Series: Steamy Voyages, Series #1
Author: Phoenix and Lover Boy
Publisher: Self (Amazon and B&N)
Length: 61,700 words
Genres: Paranormal Romance (Adventure)
Heat Level: Sizzling

AVAILABLE AT:


BLURB:
Pretty Jane O'Doherty always chooses the wrong kind of guys. Her specialty seems to be guys who have serious flaws and who break her heart.

Her last breakup was a year ago and still she can hear his final words, "I'm sorry, Jane. I've found someone else."

A 30-day cruise through the exotic Indonesian Islands with her best friend seems like the perfect distraction to mend her broken heart.

On board, she meets devastatingly gorgeous Nick, who attracts women in droves, including our lovely Jane.

And she meets Peter, who is the cute geek with puppy dog eyes. 

Will either one just lead to another broken heart?

Should she run the other way from them both and just enjoy the cruise?

But before Jane can decide, the ship is attacked by modern day pirates.

Unlike the pirates of old, these guys are vampires and are more interested in human treasure than gold and jewels.

They take over the ship and take twelve women hostage.

And the handsome pirate leader—with eerie chalk-white skin, and red eyes, is looking for a special prize. He wants a woman for his mate and queen . . . 

Jane catches his eye, but she, along with Nick and Peter, manage to escape in a lifeboat and onto the open sea.

They drift for fourteen days before finally finding an island.

But the fates are cruel, and their island turns out to be the home of the pirates and the lair of the Vampire.

The Pirates of Vampire Island is non-stop action . . . filled with adventure, suspense . . . and steamy romance.


I was born in St. Paul, Minnesota, and grew up in California. I came from a long line of Americans who were pioneers and individualists. The family tree is filled with rugged people: rough coal miners, pioneers, and farmers living in log cabins in the early west. I wrote A Whisper from Eden, A Historical Fantasy, but like to write in several genres.

Lover Boy (aka my husband) was born and raised in Anaheim, California and wishes to remain anonymous because he doesn’t want anyone to know he likes to write romance novels. (Let's keep his secret.)

We wrote THE PIRATES OF VAMPIRE ISLAND, A Paranormal Romantic Thriller (Steamy Voyages #1). And we are working the sequel to Steamy Voyages and a dystopian thriller, The Trash Pile People. We live in Hollywood with our ornery tomcat, Snickers.

Twitter: @PhoenixRead
Goodreads: Phoenix Reads
Facebook Page: Fiction by Phoenix
Facebook Profile: Lee Jordan
Pinterest: Lee Jordan
Amazon Author Central: Amazon.com/author/phoenixread
Amazon Reviews by Phoenix Profile Page: http://amzn.to/P8T5QD


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Interview & Giveaway with Ava Archer Payne, author of Out of Her League!

Please help me welcome Ava Archer Payne, author of Out of Her League to Reading with Holly! :)

Holly: Hi Ava! Would you tell us a little bit about yourself?

Ava Archer Payne: Thank you so much for inviting me to visit your blog. I’ve been writing historical romance (under a variety of pseudonyms) for over 15 years, and have been published by several mainstream New York publishing houses. Ava Archer Payne is not my real name, but a combination of family names.

Holly: Do you have anything you would like to say to your readers?

Ava Archer Payne: Thank you for reading my books! I’ve been an avid reader all my life, and there’s something wonderful about getting lost in a story and connecting with characters who seem to jump off the page and come to life. I try to put that special magic in everything I write, and I hope I succeed.

Holly: What genres do you normally write in?

Ava Archer Payne: I normally write traditional historical romance, but with the advent of ebooks, I’m trying something new. I’m writing ‘hot historicals’ and loving it! These are steamy, lush reads, featuring a sexy hero, feisty heroine, zippy dialogue, and intelligent plotting. They’re truly a cross between erotic romance and historical romance, combining the best-loved elements of both!

Holly: Can you tell us a little bit about your book, Out of Her League?

Ava Archer Payne: Out of Her League is set in Victorian England, one of my favorite time periods to write about. I love playing with the exquisite manners of the day. What does our heroine do when she finds herself completely in lust with an utterly unsuitable man? That creates such lovely sexual tension.

Holly: What kind of hero is James Lancaster?

Ava Archer Payne: James was one of London’s most notorious rakes. He grew up privileged, pampered, devil-may-care. A man blessed not only with good looks and wealth, but devastating charm. His life is forever changed, however, when he is wounded in the Crimean War and must come to terms with his new physical limitations.

Holly: As an author and essentially the “creator” of your hero, did you find yourself attached to him in a personal way?

Ava Archer Payne: I did, indeed. James is an Alpha hero who Fate has chosen to take down a notch. I love watching him struggle as he falls head-over-heels for Katherine Riley (his nurse) and grow from a shallow charmer to a man of true substance. 

Holly: If you could sum up your new release with three words, what would they be?

Ava Archer Payne: Steaming hot historical!

Holly: Can we expect more novels from you in 2012?

Ava Archer Payne: Yes. Please look for The Wedding Bed, another hot historical set in Victorian England. Due out in October / November 2012.

Holly: Are you reading anything interesting at the moment? If so, what is it?

Ava Archer Payne: I just discovered Jacquie D’Alessandro. She writes traditional historical romance—great steamy sex, witty dialogue, and a hea. Perfect for me!

Thanks so much for letting me visit your fabulous blog. Happy reading to all!

EXCERPT:


Thunder rumbled and the rain that had been threatening all morning began to pour down in earnest. Kate watched the heavy droplets strike the glass panes, softening and blurring the outside world. She tried to focus on the storm, but that proved impossible. Every fiber of her being was attuned to the overwhelming presence of man beside her. His scent, his height, the broadness of his shoulders, the rich timbre of his voice. Alone with James in the large room, she felt enveloped in a cocoon of strained intimacy, caught in a current that swept her inexorably toward him.

“Something wrong?” His voice was a low murmur in her ear.

“You need drapery,” she blurted inanely, just to have something to say to break the tension that hung between them.

“True.” He cocked his head to one side, considering the room. “I was thinking of scarlet.”

“Scarlet?” she choked out, feeling heat rush to her cheeks. “Surely that’s an odd color to suggest.”

“Is it?” He studied her with a playful smile. “But it’s such a passionate color, don’t you think? Brazen, bold, irresistible. In fact, now that I’ve considered scarlet, I can’t seem to get the color out of my mind. These past few nights, it’s all I could think of as I was falling asleep.”

She squared her shoulders and brought up her chin. Even leaning as he was on his crutches, he was still a full head taller than her. “If you’re referring to what I think you’re referring to, a gentleman wouldn’t refer to it.”

His lips quirked. “That’s a lot of referring. Are you certain I’m not simply inferring?”

“You’re interfering, certainly.”

“Must be infuriating.”

He was teasing her, and she was determined to resist him. Resist his smile. Resist the twinkle in his deep blue eyes. Resist the urge to lift her hand and push back the chestnut curl that fell so appealingly over his forehead.

 “A gentleman wouldn’t mention what he saw.”

“True. A gentleman wouldn’t. Therein lies the problem. The glimpse I had of your breasts in that scarlet corset was the loveliest thing I’ve seen since my return to London. Hell, that’s not accurate. The loveliest thing I’ve seen in years.” He watched her for a moment in silence, then reached out and softly stroked her jaw. “It’s not my intention to embarrass you.”

“What are you intending?”

“Damned if I know.”

“This certainly isn’t proper.”

“Damned if I care.”

To her utter astonishment, Kate wasn’t entirely certain she cared, either. She’d played the part of dutiful daughter, dutiful sister, and dutiful nurse her entire life. Now, at the age of three and twenty, she was coming to the realization that the role didn’t entirely suit her. She’d lived her life as though crammed into a pair of shoes that had been pinching and cramping her for years. Here was an opportunity to try something scandalous and new. An invitation to see what she’d been missing, if only she had the courage to reach for it.

She moistened her lips, tipped back her head, and closed her eyes.

For a fraction of a second time stood still. Kate was overwhelmed by the horrifying certainty she’d misread his intentions. Then James’s lips brushed hers. The pressure on her mouth was light and gentle, allowing her the opportunity to change her mind, to slip away if she wanted to. So, a gentleman after all. The gesture, touching as it was, was wasted.

Kate stepped closer.



Title: Out of Her League
Author: Ava Archer Payne
Publisher: AAP Hot HistoricalsLength: 40,000 words
Genres: Erotic Historical Romance
Heat Level: Sizzling

AVAILABLE AT:

BLURB:
Captain James Lancaster, formerly one of London’s most notorious rakes, returns to England a broken man after a brutal tour in the Crimea. He is wounded in body and spirit, his badly injured leg leaving him unable to walk without crutches.

Nurse Katherine Riley has spent her entire life caring for others, but lately she finds herself longing for more. On a whim she indulges in a secret cache of provocative lingerie—just a little something to make her feel beautiful beneath her drab gowns, even if no one else can see it.

When James glimpses the erotic beauty hidden beneath Kate’s prim and proper fa├žade, he introduces her to a sensual array of forbidden delights. Healing takes on an entirely new meaning. As Kate nurses James to a full recovery, their liaison opens her eyes to an enticing new world. How will she ever return to the staid life she once knew?  
  

Q&A WITH AVA ARCHER PAYNE:

Q:  What exactly is a ‘Hot Historical’?
A:  A ‘Hot Historical’ is a classic historical romance—only shorter and steamier! Hot Historicals are perfect for fans of traditional romance who occasionally like to spice things up. One of my readers calls them a secret indulgence ;)
Q:  Many of your novels are set in Victorian England. What attracts you to that time period?
A:  I love playing with the exquisite manners of the day. What does our heroine do when she finds herself completely in lust with an utterly unsuitable man? That creates such lovely sexual tension.
Q:  How long have you been writing romance?
A:  I’ve been writing historical romance for 15 years under a variety of pseudonyms. I’ve been published by several mainstream houses, but with the advent of ebooks, I’m able to place my work directly in the hands of readers. What a fabulous privilege for an author!

Author Email - AvaArcherPayne@gmail.com


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Interview with W. Lynn Chantale, author of Lust & Bound!


Please help me welcome author W. Lynn Chantale to Reading with Holly! :)

Holly: Hi Lynn! Would you tell us a little bit about yourself?

W. Lynn Chantale: I grew up in the city where it was safe enough for a couple of 12-13 year olds to ride the bus to the mall and spend the entire day there. Maybe that’s why I don’t like the mall anymore, spent way too many Saturdays hanging out in Claire’s. I love silver jewelry, diamonds and chocolatee. Not necessarily in that order though. :-) My two most favorite colors in the world are midnight blue and pink. I hate to cook, love to bake and have very little patience.

Holly: Your life is an action/suspense novel; you’re stuck on a ship and it’s about to blow. If it was just you, you would jump overboard and get away fast, but there are a few people that were being held captive on the ship too. What do you do?

W. Lynn Chantale: Well I’d disarm the bomb, toss the bad guys overboard and rescue the hostages.

Holly: When did you realize that you would like to write and publish a book?

W. Lynn Chantale: I may have realized that in high school and began crafting characters I could relate to.

Holly: Can you tell us a little bit about your book Lust and Bound?

W. Lynn Chantale: Lust and Bound is about a woman searching for excitement in the bedroom.

Holly: Which came first for you, the characters or the plot?

W. Lynn Chantale: The characters, Trisha and Zach, came first and then the plot.

Holly: You’re out demon hunting (because you’re that kind of awesome) and you come across one about to kill a young couple. He has not seen you yet; what is your first course of action?

W. Lynn Chantale: The element of surprise in on my side, so just about anything I do is going to throw him off his game. Toss a rock in one direction and attack from the other side. Hopefully the couple will be smart enough to get out the way.

Holly: Where can we purchase Lust and Bound?

W. Lynn Chantale: Lust and Bound can be purchased from
Evernight
Amazon
All Romance Ebooks

Holly: Can we expect more novels from you in 2012?

W. Lynn Chantale: Of course. Street Safe and Love’s Deadly Touch will be out soon from Evernight Publishing. Stealing Christmas in November from Wild Rose Press and under my secondary pen name of C. L. Williams. Micah’s Blessing and His Loving Christmas will make their debut this year as well.

Holly: Are you working on anything at the moment?

W. Lynn Chantale: Yes, I am. A short wrestling series. The characters are a lot of fun.

Holly: Are you reading anything interesting at the moment? If so, what is it?

W. Lynn Chantale: I’m reading Whip Me Real Good by Kassanna

Holly: Can you tell us a little about your first publishing experience?

W. Lynn Chantale: My first time through was wonderful. I had a fantastic editor who didn’t mind the gazillion questions I asked him. He told me what to expect at each point in the process and set the bar pretty high for what I in an editor. So far I have not been disappointed on this publishing journey.

Holly: Do you think you may ever go into another genre?

W. Lynn Chantale: Yes. My first love is mysteries and thrillers. A few of the romances have suspense elements and somehow I wandered into a little urban fantasy with a splash of horror. I write the story my characters dictate.

Holly: Do you have anything you would like to say to your readers?

W. Lynn Chantale: Thank you so much for all your support.

Holly: How much of you or people you know do you think make it into the characters in your novel(s)?

W. Lynn Chantale: There’s a little bit in every novel. I try really hard to not use my hubby as the example for the hero, but that type of alpha male appeals to me. :-) 

Random Quickies!


Holly: Witches or Zombies?

W. Lynn Chantale: Witches. Hate Zombies

Holly: Pepsi or Coke?

W. Lynn Chantale: Coke

Holly: Favorite genre to read?

W. Lynn Chantale: Mystery/Thriller

Holly: Favorite book to movie?

W. Lynn Chantale: Holes

Holly: TV Shows or Movies?

W. Lynn Chantale: Leverage, Doctor Who, Burn Notice

Holly: Thanks so much for allowing me to share a little of myself with your fans and readers. I look forward to hearing from you.

Download my free Author App to your Android or Apple IOS device.

Excerpt:


Zach fumbled the plastic card in the metal slot. When the mechanism whirred and clicked, he twisted the knob, but paused. “I have one rule.” His gaze never left her face.
Trisha met his hungry stare, her lips parting. “What’s that?”
“I don’t share.”
A thrill rippled through her body at the possessive note in his deep, rasping voice.
“Me either.”
“You can still walk away.”
 Walk away? Was he nuts? She’d waited months for this moment, for freedom. Still, as his eyes raked over her body, waiting for her decision, a tiny seed of doubt wiggled in the back of her mind. She squared her shoulders. Nope. She wasn’t going home until she knew what made her eyes roll to the back of her head and she wanted him to show her.
“I’m not...”
He shouldered open the door and dragged her to him. The cool kiss of the textured wall greeted her bare shoulders as his mouth, hot and demanding, found hers. She sighed against his lips, jerking his shirt free from his waistband. He cupped her breast, his thumb stroking her nipple. Fire danced through her veins, pooled low. Her heart skipped a beat when he yanked the chiffon from her shoulders, ripping the sheer fabric.
Lifting his head, he flashed a quick smile, his mist-gray eyes shining with heat and mischief. “I hope you weren’t too attached to this dress.”
She didn’t care how he got her clothes off, just as long as he got them off. Her pulse raced and her breath quickened when the thin silk of her slip followed the fate of her dress. Trisha slid her hands beneath his shirt, his skin warm and smooth beneath her palms.
“Now what am I supposed to wear home?”
Zach grabbed her wrists, shackling them in one large hand and raising her arms above her head. She gasped as her breasts thrust upwards, straining for attention. “We’ll worry about that later.” He dipped his head, capturing one taut peak in his mouth.
She arched against him as desire further hardened her nipples and set her blood to simmering. His fingers brushed the curve of her hip, before drifting lower, tracing the sensitive skin below her garter belt.
“You’re a bit naughty, Trish,” he whispered against her mouth.
Her answering chuckle melted into a moan when his fingers stroked her damp pussy. His eyes widened when his hand met no barrier.
“Very naughty indeed,” he murmured. He leaned away, cool air skittering across her heated flesh. “I’ve waited so long for this.”
“Too long,” she agreed.
Pivoting, he grabbed her hand and led her into the bedroom. The king-size bed dominated the room and sat in front of the mirrored doors to the closet. Artificial candlelight flickered around the room, casting muted shadows against the wallpaper while the soft scent of jasmine wafted through the air.
 Warm fuzzies squeezed her heart. Despite being a day early he had surprised her. She stepped forward, her nylon-clad feet skimming against something cool and satiny. Rose petals trailed from the door to the bed. She perched on the edge of the bed, too overwhelmed to speak.
When she focused on him, he watched her with a hooded expression.
“It seems like you’ve thought about this, haven’t you?”
He tucked a curl behind her ear. “I get one chance to make a lasting impression.”
“Thank you.”
His eyes widened when she shoved him back on the bed and straddled his legs. The bulge grew and hardened beneath her thigh. She worked at loosening his tie. Once unknotted, she tossed it aside and focused on the buttons. With each button released from its mooring she revealed more of his amazing body. She pushed the shirt aside to trace the large, colorful dragon/koi tattoo that began on his left pec and wrapped around his bicep to disappear onto his back. Anticipation coiled in her belly. Oh how she wanted to find out how far his tattoo went.
“You’ve tortured me enough tonight and I think it’s time you paid up,” she murmured against his lips. She skimmed light, teasing kisses from his mouth to his jaw.
A startled gasp escaped her lips when he shifted and blanketed her body with his. He captured her wrists in one large hand and held them above her head.
“One day, very soon, I’m going have you tied and helpless beneath me.”
She sucked in a breath, holding his gaze, unwilling to admit how much she wanted the same thing.
He traced the swell of her breasts just above the neckline of her corset. “But there is one image of you I can’t seem to get out of my head.” He touched his lips to hers in a long, drugging kiss that left her craving more. “Are you game?”
“I’m yours for the weekend.”
He chuckled, a smoldering look scorching her body. She responded to that look. “Oh, I like how that sounds.”
Heat crept into her cheeks as she realized what she’d said. “I—uh, yeah.”
He nipped at her neck, even as he settled deeper into the vee of her thighs. The heavy bulge of his erection rubbed against her core. Instinctively she raised her hips in greeting.
“I want to watch you, beautiful,” he murmured against her lips.
She stiffened. “Watch me what?”
He rolled off her and helped her to sitting. “I want to watch you climax, before I send you over the edge again.”




Lust & Bound
W. Lynn Chantale



Recent divorcee, Trisha wants to explore the wilder side of sex. When her every fantasy is fulfilled by her long time Zach,  she realizes one night won't be enough. Only one thing stands in the way, a vengeful ex-husband.






W. Lynn Chantale resides in southeastern Michigan. Writing has been a passion for as long as she can remembered. Given an ultimatum of either getting published or giving up writing. W. Lynn chose to get published and has never looked back.

Married to her high school sweetheart and romantic heartthrob, they’ve been together for the last twenty years. She has a mad affinity for milk chocolate, preferably Dove chocolate truffles or the caramel-filled squares (Godiva is acceptable), and plays the bass guitar when the Muse begs for a bit of distraction.

She’s a multi-published author as well as a member of Romance Writers of America as well Greater Detroit Romance Writers of America, Passionate Ink and Kiss of Death groups.

Interview & Giveaway with Meg Whitlock, author of The Dark Man’s Son!

Please help me welcome author Meg Whitlock to Reading with Holly! :)

Holly: Hi Meg! Would you tell us a little bit about yourself?

Meg Whitlock: Thanks for having me! I work retail as my “day job,” which totally wastes my Art History degree. :) I loved college and had about 10 different majors before I finally picked one. I’m curious about nearly everything, and I love to read, play with my cats, go to the movies, and hang out with my friends.

Holly: Can you tell us a little bit about your book The Dark Man’s Son?

Meg Whitlock: It’s a dark urban fantasy, but a bit different than other books in the genre. The main character is Jason, a regular guy who finds himself caught up in extraordinary events. He meets Alex, who tells him she’s a Guardian—one of two beings created near the beginning of time to fight for mortal-kind’s soul.

Holly: Which came first for you, the characters or the plot?

Meg Whitlock: Characters, absolutely. It took me a while to figure out what to do with them!

Holly: Where can we purchase The Dark Man’s Son?

Meg Whitlock: It’s on Amazon, B&N, iBooks, Smashwords, and Kobo.

Holly: Can we expect more novels from you in 2012?

Meg Whitlock: Hopefully! I’m working on the sequel to The Dark Man’s Son now.

Holly: Your life is a romantic comedy; what humors but very embarrassing thing happens on your first date/when you meet the love of your life?

Meg Whitlock: We just happen to have the same last name, and he proposes to me so we don’t have to buy new towels. I don’t have monogramed towels, but I just bought new stationary. Ok, that’s sorta dumb.  :) But it’s cute in my head!

Holly: Is there a genre that you love to read, and would like to write, but just can not?

Meg Whitlock: Mystery. I’m good at creating the first bit, the fun suspenseful bit, but I’m terrible at solving the mystery. I end up creating these ridiculous plots that go on forever and ever because I can’t figure out the ending!

Holly: Do you have anything you would like to say to your readers?

Meg Whitlock: I just hope everyone who reads the book takes something away from it. It makes them laugh or cry or otherwise feel something.

Holly: Have you ever read a book that made you so mad, sad, happy, and excited and so many other emotions that even though you loved it your might not ever read it again? If so, what book?

Meg Whitlock: A Storm of Swords by George RR Martin nearly killed me. I threw it across the room, and I’ve never done that with a book before. I did pick it back up and finish reading it and I actually have read it again…but, damn, it kills me!!

Random Quickies!


Holly: When do you prefer to read?

Meg Whitlock: Before bed, or on one of those long, lazy days.

Holly: Supernatural or Psych? (TV Shows)

Meg Whitlock: Supernatural. I’ve actually never watched Psych, so it’s a slightly loaded question.  :)  Supernatural is one of my favorite shows.

Holly: Pepsi or Coke?

Meg Whitlock: Coke. Don’t tell me there’s no difference!

Holly: Favorite book?

Meg Whitlock: Either The Hero and the Crown by Robin McKinley or American Gods by Neil Gaiman.

Holly: Favorite movie?

Meg Whitlock: The English Patient, or maybe Last of the Mohicans


Title: The Dark Man's Son (Guardian Chronicles, Part 1)
Author: Meg Whitlock
Publisher: Self
Length: Approx. 385 pages
Genres: Historical Paranormal/Fantasy Fiction

AVAILABLE AT:

BLURB:
She claimed the muggers were demons, but of course Jason didn’t believe her. At first.

When a mysterious woman appears in a dirty alley to rescue Jason Latimer from a pair of muggers, he tries to write her off as a garden variety lunatic. But he can’t shake the memory of her intense green eyes that seemed to flash gold, or the glowing sword she’d worn on her hip.

She calls herself Alex (no last name) like she’d made it up on the spot, and she offers Jason her protection. From what, she can’t or won’t say. He refuses, and that night he dreams of a dark man with the same offer. His black eyes flash blood and garnet, and he smells of burning things. Jason refuses him, too.

A chance meeting brings Alex and Jason together again, and she tells him of the Guardians: two immortal beings created near the beginning of time with the express purpose of fighting for mortal-kind’s soul. She is Light, and the man from Jason’s dream is Dark. Jason must choose, because Lucifer, for reasons purely his own, has unleashed the armies of Hell to hunt Jason down.

But there are things about Jason that not even he knows, and he’ll face hard truths and bitter choices as he struggles to find his place in a world redefined. Will he rise to the challenge, or, when the time comes, will he falter?

From Renaissance Florence to the French Revolution, from World War II to the modern streets of New Orleans, The Dark Man’s Son is a riveting journey filled with unforgettable characters, wry humor, dark twists, and a touch of romance.


Jason Latimer was a logical man. He lived in a concrete world with concrete parameters. The sun rose in the east, set in the west, and in between the two (on either side) demons did not walk. Crazy ninja chicks did not show up with swords (but wait: he must’ve imagined the sword after all, because he hadn’t seen it again after that first shaky glimpse) and wild stories to rescue you from muggers. Muggers, to address that point, did not have strange, distorted faces and voices that sucked all the air from the room.

Jason splashed cold water on his face and scrubbed at his cheeks with long-fingered hands. He stared at himself in the bathroom mirror. A stranger stared back at him through familiar midnight blue eyes. Dark stubble dusted his jaw. His nose was badly swollen. He made a note to get his unruly hair cut; when it started to go curly at the back and sides it was time.

Deciding he’d put the inevitable off long enough, he grabbed his nose and pushed it back in place with a painful click. He let out a long stream of obscenities as he applied the bandage, and, still cursing, pressed a bag of frozen peas (his grandfather, apparently, believed in being prepared: the freezer had been full of them) against his face.

He worked around the bag to pat his skin dry with one of his grandfather’s thick towels. His belly rumbled, but he ignored it: Thai suddenly didn’t sound as appetizing as it had hours ago, before he’d left his grandfather’s ridiculous Baroque nightmare of a brownstone and stumbled out onto the street and into an actual nightmare.

That wasn’t fair, Jason thought with a shake of his head. The old man’s place wasn’t that bad. It was just…ornate. And kinda creepy. If there was a single surface free of a grinning gargoyle or an extra, overwrought curlicue, Jason hadn’t been able to find it. Even the towels were over the top.

Jason absently rubbed the tattoo on his upper arm as he considered the bedroom he’d claimed for the duration of his stay here. It was the least histrionic of the brownstone’s six, but it was still way too much for Jason’s taste. The master suite had been out of the question: he wasn’t sure how his grandfather had been able to sleep a wink in there. It would’ve given Bram Stoker the willies.

He frowned and shook his head again. All these musings on his deceased grandfather’s choice of decor were really just avoidance. The last thing he wanted to think about was the weird mugging and the even weirder woman who’d come to his rescue…a rescue he hadn’t needed, he still stubbornly insisted.

With an impatient, oft-repeated gesture, he brushed a lock of black hair off his forehead and tried to clear his mind with a few deep, careful breaths. His swollen nose made it painful. He discarded the peas, centered himself, and began the soothing motions of his nightly Tai Chi routine.

He gave it up as no good after only ten minutes. He couldn’t hold the forms; he couldn’t get his breathing right; and his mind simply refused to focus. With a grumbled curse, he stripped out of his workout clothes and tugged on the shorts and t-shirt he wore as pajamas. He grabbed his laptop and the peas off the table and climbed up into the high bed. It was time for some serious Googling, he thought.

First things first: what could the vast reaches of the internet tell him about Guardians, and what exactly did they have to do with Jameson O’Connor, his mysterious and recently-deceased grandfather?

REVIEWS:

Night Owl Reviews: http://bit.ly/M9J5Su
Lady Caella: http://bit.ly/MaWnSi
Close Encounters w/ the Night Kind: http://bit.ly/LNtmOs
Rabid Reads: http://bit.ly/OG8W7W
Laurie’s Paranormal Thoughts and Reviews: http://bit.ly/KPT52m
Cathy Speight on Famous Five Plus: http://bit.ly/OUUO7p
Karen Bryant-Doering on FFP: http://bit.ly/NHcIx3
TeAmNeRd ReViEwS: http://bit.ly/MjXYBI


Meg Whitlock has been writing nearly all her life, and she’s glad she finally got over her laziness and wrote the book she’s been dreaming about for years. She graduated from Queens University of Charlotte with a BA in Comparative Arts with an Art History specialization and an Ancient History minor…which is a mouthful no matter how you say it. She has four cats (including an invisible one), a car named Babar, and a vivid imagination.

In 2001 her one-act play, “The Shoebox,” was produced by Catawba College in Salisbury, NC and presented at the American College Theatre Festival. She was honored by Art:21 and the Mint Museum of Art for her essay “Kara Walker: Using Stereotypes to Provoke Thought,” and she’s won awards for both her fiction and non-fiction writing.



Enter below via the Rafflecopter to win! :)

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Link to full tour schedule.

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