**FREE ebook 14-17th August w/excerpts** Rapture at Midnight (The Cynn Cruor Bloodline #1) by Isobelle Cate

Isobelle Cate 1 teaser w book cover

11853945_399504693575837_1539506081_nTitle: Rapture at Midnight (The Cynn Cruor Bloodline #1)

Author: Isobelle Cate

Genre: Paranormal romance, fantasy

Date released: August 26th 2013

Released by: Beau Coup LLC

Length: 180 pages

Blurb: Book 1 in The Cynn Cruor Bloodline Series

There is an on-going war between two breeds of immortal warriors who carry human, vampire, and werewolf blood, the Cynn Cruor and the Scatha Cruor. The Cynn Cruor wants to live in harmony with the human race. The Scatha Cruor wants to enslave them. Finn Qualtrough, a Cynn Cruor warrior is on a mission to find Dac Valerian, the leader of the Scatha Cruor responsible for the deaths of many, including his parents. When he pursues three Scatha warriors who can lead him to Dac, he happens upon a woman who awakens a desire within Quinn to claim her as his own.

She is the very essence of his immortal life.

Eirene Spence is an insomniac and a computer genius who loves walking in the park at midnight. She stumbles upon the Scatha Cruor and is almost killed until a handsome stranger rescues her. His touch ignites a hunger inside her that only he can satisfy.

He is her soul.

By some twist of fate, one of Eirene’s clients is Dac Valerian. She is able to tell Finn and the rest of the Cynn Cruor where Dac is hiding. Now Dac wants her dead.

Will Finn be able to keep Eirene alive and at the same time fulfill his mission? Will Eirene’s wish to be part of Finn’s life come true knowing that he is destined for someone else?

*Warning: intended for mature audiences 18+

BUY LINKS: AMAZON UK & AMAZON US

Isobelle Cate teaser bodies and text

Rapture at Midnight

Mainstream excerpt:

The swish of the front glass door broke their connection. Eirene exhaled slowly. She hadn’t realized she’d been holding her breath the whole time. She turned to see who had arrived, her stance defensive as she backed away from Devon’s office door. Four hunks appeared and entered the office one at a time. All of them were as tall as Finn, their jeans riding low on their hips. Their black shirts skimmed and hugged their muscled chests and washboard abs. They were also wearing leather jackets in different styles. The third man to come in had a satchel slung over his shoulder. He strode immediately towards Devon.

Stop! You’re not going anywhere near him.” Eirene placed herself between Devon, Finn and the man with a satchel.

Zac is a doctor,” the man who appeared to be their leader said. “If you don’t allow him near your friend, his injuries will only get worse.”

Eirene briefly hesitated, looking at all of them warily. Finally, she conceded moving to one side to allow the man called Zac to kneel before Devon and start cleaning his wounds.

We were not properly introduced,” the man said, his silver blue eyes crinkling into a smile. “Roarke Hamilton.”

I very much doubt you were really planning on introducing yourself to me before.” Eirene gave an unladylike snort.

There was a sudden fit of chuckled coughing from Roarke’s two other companions.

Graeme Temple.” A man with wavy dark brown hair and eyes that seemed to swirl with grey, brown, and green extended his hand. Eirene hesitated before she gave his hand a quick shake.

And this joker here is Blake Strachan.” Roarke’s mouth lifted to give her a lopsided grin. “Zac McBain is our resident medic. And the man whose life you saved three nights ago is Finn Qualtrough.”

At the mention of her saving Finn’s life, dusky rose heat crested her cheeks at the remembrance of what happened between them. She could feel Finn’s eyes on her, but she refused to look at him. Didn’t he know it was rude to give her that sexy look in front of his friends?

Finn moved closer to her and Eirene snapped her head around to look at him.

And she saved me again tonight, though my ears took a bashing.”

So you’re the female who helped kill the Scatha,” Blake said, slightly awed.

Eirene’s gaze swung to him. “Better them than me.”

Blake chuckled before looking at Finn.

Finn’s lopsided grin was the most devastating smile Eirene had ever seen on a man. His perfectly formed and sensuous mouth was made for kissing, and her mouth tingled at the memory of his lips on hers.

I never got to thank you.”

No need,” she said, her body heating under his gaze.

Finn, we need to know what happened here,” Roarke spoke, breaking the sexual tension between them. “We couldn’t get up here as fast as we could with that shrill bell.”

Finn appeared to reluctantly shift his gaze to Roarke.

Dac was here.”

Eirene was startled by the numerous swear words that fell like rain over her head.

Hold it! My ears are ringing with all of you swearing.” She made the “T” sign with her hands. She still clutched the baton in her right fist. A trickle of trepidation skittered all over her body when she saw their eyes turn to red orange, like the dying rays of the sun. Except for Finn, whose eyes remained a sexy midnight blue.

Roarke looked at her. Soon, the fury in his eyes began to ebb, returning to its silver blue colour. He raked his hand through his hair as he gave her a brief smile.

Sorry,” he said. “We’ve been searching for Dac for a very long time and this has been the closest we have ever gotten to him.”

And how long is a long time?” she asked. Her pulse began to race again because she knew she was treading on deadly ground.

Everyone was quiet. Roarke’s face was devoid of emotion as he continued to stare at her.

Maybe way before I was born?”

Eirene heard Finn’s sharp intake of breath and she became the cynosure of five pairs of eyes. Her heart seemed to thunder towards the centre of her chest. She looked at Finn, then Roarke, then at everyone else. She inhaled deeply before expending her breath.

I remember everything.”

Isobelle Cate teaser text on pic

Rapture at Midnight

Sexcerpt:

Eirene floated down from a pure cloud of bliss. Delicious shivers stroked her body when Finn kissed her forehead, then trailed kisses down her temple, making a beeline to nip at her neck. He was semi-hard inside of her and Eirene could feel another wave of lust teasing her core. She trailed her fingers over his skin and arched her back so her nipples could brush his chest. She heard the low rumble of laughter in Finn’s throat as she began to run her fingertips up and down his back, then slowly caress his tight butt cheeks.

You’re as insatiable as I am.”

Eirene smiled. “I never realized I was ohhh…”

Finn’s right arm encircled her waist while his left arm braced his weight against the step as he pulled out of her. She sighed, her body boneless and sated. She linked her arms around his neck when Finn lifted her and carried her up the stairs. It felt so good being near Finn. She had never felt safer than she did now, in Finn’s arms. She buried her face in his neck, licking and gently sucking his throat. She inhaled his scent of spice and musk and their joint sensual smell. God, his scent was making her want him again.

Finn walked towards her bedroom and to the bathroom.

How?”

I can see even in the dark, remember?”

Finn set her down in the bathroom before turning on the tap for her. Eirene entered the stall, sighing as the warm water gently rained on her back, her legs wobbly after their passionate lovemaking.

You go ahead,” he said. “I’ll get our clothes from downstairs.”

Eirene had other things in mind.

A kiss before you go?” She asked as her eyes seduced him. She stepped back to allow Finn to enter the stall.

Finn swooped to take her mouth in another heart stopping kiss. Fire started to swell in her belly. Eirene molded her body against his, their tongues teasing each other. Her hands splayed over his chest, her palms overly sensitive, enjoying the play of his muscles beneath them. Finn drew a hard breath before crushing her to him. Excitement poured into the apex between her thighs when Finn’s cock swelled against her stomach. His breath was harsh with need as his stubble scrapped against her neck before dipping towards her breasts. Eirene arched her back and gave a rapturous moan when his mouth captured her left nipple, twirling the tight erect bud around his tongue. Her hips nudged against him and she smiled when she heard his low growl.

She laughed softly.

Our clothes,” she whispered.

Can wait,” he muttered against her areola before he gently grazed it with his teeth.

Eirene reveled at the silky feel of his hair as she held his head about her breast. She moaned at the jolts of electricity his tongue ignited, causing her femininity to weep again. She lifted her leg against his hip and reached down between them to slide her hand up and down Finn’s heated shaft. With a growl, Finn lifted her to allow her to place her legs around his waist. The warmth of the shower spray heightened the sensual atmosphere. Finn lifted her and gently backed her against the wall.

Eirene returned every hard kiss, every thrust of Finn’s tongue against hers. She held him tight, urging him to take her, her gasps coming fast from her lips. Finn ended the kiss and looked at her with smoldering hunger. Eirene’s eyes widened, then fell to half-mast when she felt Finn’s hardness slowly sink into her again. She moaned at the pleasurable sensation of her channel readily bathing his shaft with her slick juices.

Eirene, look at me. I want to see your eyes as I take you. I want to know how much you want me.”

Eirene’s eyes widened. His commanding words fed her excitement, and she did as he demanded. She looked at his eyes, turbulent with desire. The gold flecks were back in his midnight blue pupils, looking like tiny rays of the sun against a lunar eclipse. The heat of his hunger caressed her, teased her, and claimed her. She felt as though his heat had tiny tendrils which licked at her skin and teased her hardened nipples. She gasped and hummed when Finn placed his hands underneath her ass to hold her closer, his thrusts bringing her nearer to the precipice. Finn turned on the heat by pumping faster, harder, and deeper. Eirene’s breath caught in her throat. She gripped his shoulders to steady herself. Her eyelids wanted to close at the sheer ecstasy of Finn’s rod thrusting into her. She whimpered, then looked down. Her channel’s lips felt thick and slick as it ate every inch of Finn’s cock, while it appeared and disappeared into her.

Eirene…look at me.”

Author Bio:

11854008_399854550207518_420166309_nIsobelle Cate is a woman who wears different masks.  Mother-writer, wife-professional, scholar-novelist.  Currently living in Manchester, she has been drawn to the little known, the secret stories, about the people and the nations:  the English, the Irish, the Scots, the Welsh, and those who are now part of these nations whatever their origins.  Her vision and passion are fuelled by her interest and background in history and paradoxically, shaped by growing up in a clan steeped in lore, loyalty, and legend. Isobelle is intrigued by forces that simmer beneath the surface of these cultures, the hidden passions, unsaid desires, and yearnings unfulfilled.

Isobelle Cate book cover and excerpt pic

Buy links to other books by Isobelle:

The Cynn Cruors Bloodline Series:

Rapture at Midnight: (Book 1) http://mybook.to/Rapture_at_Midnight

Forever at Midnight (Book 2) http://mybook.to/Forever_at_Midnight

Midnight’s Atonement (Book 3) http://mybook.to/Midnights_Atonement

Midnight’s Fate (Book 4) http://mybook.to/Midnights_Fate

My Haven, My Midnight (Book 5) http://mybook.to/MyHavenMyMidnight

Contemporary Romance

Love in Her Dreams  Amazon US http://amzn.to/1qOEufk Amazon UK http://amzn.to/1cpBLTd

Second Chances Series

Be Mine (Book 1) http://mybook.to/Be_Mine

You and I (Novella – a part of the Windswept Valentine Anthology – Book 2) Amazon US http://amzn.to/1yWptcH Amazon UK http://amzn.to/1A1GacD

Dying to Live http://mybook.to/Dying_to_Live

Historical

Lakam (The Mana Series: Book 1) http://mybook.to/Lakam

 

Follow Isobelle:

Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Isobelle-Cate/e/B00E5OD27K

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7191925.Isobelle_Cate

Twitter: https://twitter.com/Isobelle_Cate

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/AuthorIsobelleCate?ref=hl

 

**Review with excerpts** Wherewolves by John Vamvas & Olga Montes

Wherewolves is a horror thriller, with a hint of paranormal, and was written as a screenplay in 2010 by John Vamvas and Olga Montes. They wrote the novel, edited by award winning Canadian author/poet Shelley A. Leedahl, to get the story out whilst waiting for it to hit the screens!

“SPARKLING DIALOGUE… THE WRITING IS SENSATIONAL.” Emmy and Peabody Award winning writer, William Mastrosimone

WhereWolves Cover - realisticTitle: Wherewolves

Author(s): John Vamvas & Olga Montes

Genre: Horror, paranormal, thriller, mature YA

Date released: February 17th, 2013

Length: 304 pages

Synopsis: Using a fun, explosive style, full of new slang and fresh dialogue, WHEREWOLVES is the story of a group of high school seniors, most “military brats”, who are headed for an army-type survival weekend.

The underdogs, Jeffrey and Doris, do not want to go as they fear for their safety among the disdain and cruelty of the popular students. Sergeant Tim O’Sullivan, their teacher, as well as their dysfunctional parents pressure them into going, but it is an unforgivable act by their peers that propels the pair to go. Likewise, Elie, a student resented because of his Arab roots, is even more determined to prove himself this weekend. In the background, a news report cautions of a wanted couple with alleged super-human strength supposedly brought on by a new drug on the streets.

In the woods, the students hike, hunt, camp, and soon act in unity as the forest brings them closer together. But does it? O’Sullivan leaves them alone for the night. The students bond, chant, tell campfire tales, and quickly lose their fears and inhibitions. HOO-AH! Though sexual tensions are high, it soon turns to violence and everything quickly turns sour.

When the kids start disappearing one after the other, the remaining begin to unwittingly “act like the natives” carving spears, ready to face whatever is out there. What has gotten into them?

Amid blood-curdling growls and gruesome deaths, the story’s underlying layers are revealed. We see how misconceptions, prejudice, greed, fear, and hatred bring out the worst and best in them.

WHEREWOLVES is a thought-provoking, intense, action-packed ride loaded with plot twists that will keep you guessing:

What is out there? Can it really be werewolves?

“KEPT ME ON THE EDGE OF MY SEAT. GETS YOUR PULSE POUNDING.” Author and award winning investigative journalist, Victor Malarek

AMAZON REVIEWS:

“5 stars. A MUST READ!”

“5 stars. It reminded me a bit of Lord of the Flies versus Silver Bullet but only way cooler.”

“5 stars. Finally! A thriller that is unpredictable. A real page turner that expertly knows how to balance dialogue and description.”

“Chillingly terrifyingThis is one horror novel that will have you thinking long after you’ve finished reading.”

“5 stars. Great keep-you-on-the-edge-of-your-seat writing! Love the depth of the characters.”

REVIEW

The reader is drawn in from the beginning. The first scene is full of fast-paced action and terror as a woman runs for her life, terrified she will get caught and killed by the hairy beasts that are following her through the trees. I love a story that has this much intensity at the start, gripping the reader before they have even begun, and Wherewolves certainly does that!

We are then later introduced to the characters of the class. It is clear early on that Doris and Jeffrey are teased quite a lot by their peers. They are viewed as the class geeks, making them a target for nasty comments and pranks. Their parents and teacher, Sergeant Tim O’Sullivan, make matters even worse for the two as they are pressured into taking part on a survival trip that neither want to go on. This would leave them being surrounded by a whole class of taunters, and who knows how far they’ll go!

Jeffrey and Doris are not the only two to stand out from the rest. Elie is also recognised as different due to his Arabic roots and does receive some racist comments. Some of the main characters take it upon themselves to ensure that Elie doesn’t make it to the trip.  The dialogue, jokes, mockery and bullying are certainly areas that anyone who has experienced High School will empathise with, and the strength of the modern-day dialogue will connect young and new adult readers (I would recommend 15ys+).

Once on their camping trip for their survival weekend the story begins to twist. The plot is unpredictable and doesn’t work out quite the way as expected. Is it a paranormal, or is it a teenage horror? Or both? There is the suspicion of the super-human reaction, brought on by a new drug, that has been mentioned on the news not too far from where the group are camping that may explain what is going on. But then again, amid the hills and trees, who knows what lurks about in the darkness just waiting for it’s next kill! Or, could it be that Elie has been pushed too far and decided to retaliate?

As one by one the class students are being killed the tension escalates to a higher level. The reader will have to keep on reading to find out what is happening, and who or what is being so savage. With so many class students to remember I did get a little lost keeping track of some of them as they disperse and run from these terrible beasts. This would be easier to follow if watching the screenplay and visualising them on stage or on screen.

I also felt that when reading the dialogue between the students early on it was very much like reading a script, albeit with a little more description. As a book this made the reader wait a little too long before the action really began to start up again. However, as a screenplay and watching it on stage I would imagine the atmosphere to be electric. The book may benefit in parts to a little more description and atmosphere building to create a more fluid read and even more tension.

That said, the authors do get their message across very clearly. Whilst there may be dangers out there in the world, we are a danger to ourselves. The way in which we treat each other, hold grudges, taunt and attack is sometimes the biggest beast of them all. Wherewolves shows how a group of people, some of whom can’t stand each other, can pull together during times of trouble in order to survive. And a message to the younger reader in particular is to not mistreat others. You never know who the bigger beast will be eventually, and you may need to pull together to beat an even bigger one!

Wherewolves is a lively story throughout, whether it be from the taunting and jeering between the students, or the action and horror. As it draws to an end you can really see the brilliance as everything comes together, and even areas that haven’t been explained earlier are covered later on. It is well worth the read, and I would imagine it would be fantastic to watch!

A copy of Wherewolves was provided by the author, Olga Montes, in return for a fair and honest review.

Wherewolves is available at Amazon US and Amazon UK.

Reviewed by Caroline Barker

About John Vamvas and Olga Montes:

John Vamvas and Olga Mendes“BANG-ON DIALOGUE. Vamvas and Montes make it look, sound, smell real.” The Edmonton Journal

“IMPRESSIVE TALENT in this writing/producing/acting team”, The Winnipeg Free Press

“Montes and Vamvas continue to demonstrate their skills with SWITCHBLADE-SHARP EARS FOR DIALOGUE and hard, thoroughly believable plot lines.” The Sunday Journal

“A SEXY and EXPLOSIVE style that pulls the patrons forward to the edge of their seats”, The Edmonton” Journal

“RAZOR-SHARP LINES” SEE Magazine

Together for over 20 years, John and Olga started as an acting team but soon began to write their own scripts through lack of finding two-person plays they could travel across North America. They wrote and toured four full-length critically acclaimed plays to packed houses across Canada and the United States, including, Bad Boy, which they performed Off-Off-Broadway at New York’s Creative Place Theatre in the heart of Times Square.

In 2001, they were approached to star in and rewrite the short film, Things Never Said in Playa Perdida, Playa won the audience award at the New York Short Film Festival in 2002 and tied first place at the Festivalisimo festival in Montreal.

WHEREWOLVES was written as a screenplay in 2010. They wrote the novel, edited by award winning Canadian author/poet Shelley A. Leedahl, to get the story out while they wait for it to hit the screens!

John Vamvas headshotABOUT JOHN VAMVAS

John Vamvas grew up in one of Montreal’s (Canada) roughest boroughs. His high school teachers always told him that he’d be in jail or dead by eighteen. Thank God for the Arts. Actor, playwright, screenwriter and now novelist, he has been writing with his writing partner/wife, Olga Montes, for over twenty years. He loves words, especially dialogue, and has a lot of fun coming up with new ways to say the same thing.

Olga Mendes headshotABOUT OLGA MONTES

Mother, preschool French teacher, avid reader, Olga dreamed of being a writer as a child and spent many high school lunch hours working on her writing with her English teacher. She has a college degree in Professional Theatre and a university degree in Spanish and French grammar and literature. She was on her way to becoming a translator for the UN when she heard of an open audition at one of Montreal’s biggest English theatres. She almost didn’t get the role, though, because the director and co-star, John Vamvas, was scared of falling in love with the actress and ruining the play. That was 1992. She and John have been writing and working together on stage, screen, and in life ever since.

LINKS:

Link to cover, author bios and pictures, book excerpt (first two chapters), synopsis, and reviews: www.wherewolvestheblog.com

Amazon link: http://www.amazon.com/WHEREWOLVES-ebook/dp/B00BHIPYQY, http://www.amazon.ca/WHEREWOLVES-ebook/dp/B00BHIPYQY, http://www.amazon.co.uk/WHEREWOLVES-ebook/dp/B00BHIPYQY

Smashwords link: https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/422814

Twitter: @WHEREWOLVESfilm https://twitter.com/WHEREWOLVESfilm

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/WHEREWOLVEStheFilm

Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/17540116-wherewolves

3 EXCERPTS:

EXCERPT 1:

Dilly runs. The deafening beat of her panting isn’t enough to drown out the monstrous growls and trampling that rumble behind her. Though she can’t see well enough to dodge the naked branches slicing into her, the full moon’s rays help her find the path. This way, the young woman tells herself, and takes a left. Now right! Her body veers. She slams her beaten shoulder against the thick trunk of a sugar maple. Ah, fuck! The pain electrifies her cells. Like sticking a finger in a thousand volt socket. She falls to one knee. Don’t you fucking stop! Move! Move! Move! She forces herself up and implores her feet to barrel forward.

There it is! The fallen stump that looks more like a giant claw! She makes a mad dash for it, hurtles over the trunk, lands on all fours, and snaps her head back. She gasps, “Yes!” eyes on the nest-like bundle cradled between the two lower branches of the tall yellow birch before her.

She can hear whatever is out there tearing through the brush.

She leans against the tree’s peeling, gray bark and kicks at the dead leaves on the ground. Come on! she screams in her head. And at last feels the line dig into her ankle. She yanks it back hard. Click.

A thunderous roar!

She throws herself to the ground and in the next instant, a burlap sack swooshes over her.

Slam!

A canine screech rips through the forest.

Dilly jolts, feels the ground, and snatches a heavy rock. She thrashes her head from side to side and strains to hear the danger, but hears only the sack’s long suspended rope creaking as it swings. She gets to her knees. A branch snaps, she spins to pitch the rock— Nothing’s there. “Breathe, girl, breathe,” she reminds herself. And inhales deeply. The prominent scent of balsam firs transports her to the weekend she spent with Brian in a cozy bed and breakfast last May. Her eyes well. Brian … She scans the beech, spruce, and birch tree outlines, caressing her ring—its diamond lost to the forest. We should have never … ahh … She brushes off tears. Be strong, she compels herself. She staggers to a stand and lumbers off.

A harrowing growl booms—her feet are in the air, her face smashes to the ground.

No! Nooooo!” she screams, as she’s dragged across the underbrush.

Pebbles, leaves, and branches cut into her. Her fingernails claw a trail into the earth as she tries to grip at something—anything—that will anchor her long enough to turn over and hurl the rock she still has gripped in her hand. A trio of saplings gashes her chin and she grabs onto them, jerking to a stop.

She fears she’ll be rent in two as she’s tugged savagely. But she doesn’t let go. I’ve got to … She tries to twist—turn my fucking arm … over …

Light shines through from approaching high beams. Distant, but just enough of a distraction. Yes!

She whips the rock.

A painful yowl!

Fuck you!” she bellows as she scrambles to her feet and darts for the auspicious lights. She pushes her way through a thicket of juniper shrubs, waving and hollering—”Hey! Hey!”—and scarcely manages to catch herself. Shafts of light from the oncoming vehicle reveal there is nowhere to go but down. Down a ridiculously steep hill, she discovers.

The charging footsteps close in.

Shit! She glances over her shoulder—Fuck!—and drops to the ground. She gropes the ridge, clasps a sturdy root, and slides over the edge. Splinters stab into her hands. “Ahhhh!” she squeals—Shut up!—and hangs on. She cocks her head east to west. I need … something … else … to grab on … to.

The thicket rattles and cracks.

She winces. No! The rocks beneath her feet crumble. Oh my God, oh my God. Don’t you fucking let go. Her feet dangle. The roots dig deeper into her palms. “Ahhhh!” She presses her mouth into the dirt and feels the earth above vibrate. A pebble bounces off her head.

Beastly snorts and growls turn into sniffing and heavy panting.

She holds her breath. Go away, go away, go away!

The noises above her suddenly fade; all she hears is an eerie, unsettling breeze.

Oh my God! She listens hard. They’re gone. Breathe, she reminds herself again. She inhales and looks down. The slope is too extreme. She needs another path. She waits a long moment—God help me!—takes another mouthful of air, then musters the strength to pull herself up. Please don’t be there. Please don’t be there. Please—Fiery breath steams her forehead, and a snarl swells into a ferocious roar.

Dilly glimpses the blur of black, indigo, royal blue below. And lets go.

EXCERPT 2:

Sir?” Elie asks—wondering, What does he want?

Your slip?”

Sir, I already gave it in, sir.”

O’Sullivan goes through the list in his hand. “Then why don’t I have it?”

Sir, I handed mine in last month, the day after you gave us the form,” Elie says, politely. “You told me to leave it on your desk, sir.”

Well I never got it.”

That’s impossible, Elie thinks, looking over at O’Sullivan’s desk and catching J.J. and Lance locked in on him, bumping fists. “Sir, maybe—”

Sir, maybe Osama here decided to chicken out, sir,” Lance throws in.

What you talking about, Willis?” Jonathan interjects. “Ahmed isn’t afraid of anything.” He bows in prayer. “He’s got Allah on his side.”

Shut up!” Elie says.

Jonathan turns to Lance, “Maybe Omar’s just got something better to do, like pray or 9-11 our asses again?”

You’re such an idiot, you know that?” Elie tells him. “I think you’ve been sacked one too many times.”

What do you know about football, Al-Qaida?” Jonathan says. “In your country, instead of strapping on shoulder pads to play ball you strap on bombs to kill all.”

I know that QB stands for quarterback, but in your case it means queer boy,” Elie retorts.

The class “oohs!”

Jonathan jumps out of his seat. “You shut your a-hole, A-rab.”

Elie stands, and blows Jonathan a kiss. “You like it when they pile up on you, don’t you, QB?”

Jonathan marches up to Elie. “You shut your sand trap, Habibi.”

Elie leans in, “Yeah, or what are you going to do about it?” The class turns deathly silent. He waits for Jonathan’s next move.

Go back to your country.” Jonathan reaches for Elie’s eyebrow—

O’Sullivan takes a step forward, but stops when Elie grabs Jonathan’s wrist.

This is my country, QB.” Elie pushes Jonathan’s wrist away. “And my name isn’t Ahmed or Omar or Al-Qaida. My name is Elie El-Hage. A proud American, born and raised in this country, and I would gladly give my life to protect it … just like my grandfather did, and my father is doing right now.”

Oh, yeah?” Jonathan turns and struts to his desk, “On whose side, Mohammed?”

EXCERPT 3:

There’s no such thing as werewolves,” Lance cuts in. “Just a bunch of shit made up to scare people,”

How do you know that for sure?” Zack asks, and pitches a stone into the fire.

“‘Cause I do,” Lance spits back.

Zack stands. “What if I told you that one of us is a werewolf?” He gazes at all of them. “Hmm?”

They eye him, frowning, open-mouthed. Jeffrey can feel his arms prickle.

I wouldn’t believe it,” Lance says, and pulls up his jacket collar.

Neither would I,” Billy Bob concurs, rubbing his knuckles.

Zack takes a step toward Lance. “Let’s just pretend that one of us is,” he says, “for real,” and then continues, in a low whisper. “Would you be able to sleep tonight?”

They all eye one another, wary, and many glances stop on Jeffrey and Doris.

Yeah, I wish, Jeffrey thinks.

What are you talking about? Who, motherfucker?” Lance scans the group. “Who?”

*Promo with excerpts* RSVP From Heaven by Marie Saint-Louis

RSVP from Heaven falls in the nonfiction spiritual genre. Although controversial to some, this is the true story of psychic medium Marie Saint-Louise as she shares guidance with those searching for answers regarding life’s important questions. The stakes are high as Marie battles anxiety, rejection, and skeptics along the way bringing her spiritual gifts to the mainstream.

RSVP from Heaven is filled with memorable scenes from the most remarkable parties and unique social events around!

RSVPfromHeaven-CMYK

Synopsis/Blurb:

This is the true story of psychic medium Marie Saint-Louis as she shares guidance with those searching for answers regarding life’s important questions. Along with powerful healing messages from loved ones that passed away, she shares remarkable details which can only be verified by those who come to her.

Told in a down to earth and often intimate style, RSVP is filled with memorable scenes from the most remarkable parties and unique social events around. You will sit table side during readings at an Arizona casino swap meet and experience front row seats with costumed guests during three nights of dazzling Hollywood Halloween parties. You never will know where Marie will show up next!

The stakes are high as Marie battles anxiety, rejection, and skeptics along the way bringing her spiritual gifts to the mainstream. Her passion is simply to assist those looking for comfort and clarity in their own hectic lives.

Looking to have a meeting with a psychic or a medium? By following Marie’s easy to use tips she’ll show you how to prepare for a more fulfilling experience.

RSVP from Heaven is a fresh new approach in spiritual books that will entertain and captivate readers around the world.

Marie Saint-Louis is a psychic medium who has been embracing her spiritual gifts since childhood. She treasures a “word of mouth” international client list which includes celebrities. Marie resides near Phoenix, Arizona with her two rescued cats, numerous house plants and visiting spirits from the afterlife.

Author Bio:

PictureMarie Saint-Louis is a psychic medium with an international cliental with a growing celebrity list. She has read at parties sponsored by major corporations and frequently appears at events and private parties around the Phoenix area and other cities. 

My story all begins when I provided guidance and connected deceased loved ones for people at a radio station sponsored swap meet located in a casino parking lot. This was a challenge since I

was battling social anxiety, lifelong depression, and rejection.  Just months earlier, I won a large jackpot on a nickel slot machine and decided to bring my spiritual gifts to parties and events. The winnings allowed me to pay the vendor’s fees to get started. I’ve never looked back since”.

She believes that “no event is too small or location too far” for her to share her gift with people looking to connect with deceased loved ones or receive guidance about their lives.

“Since childhood, I’ve talked to those who have passed on and was able to tell people detailed things about their lives that couldn’t be explained. I’ve never read a book, or studied how to be a psychic medium….I was born this way.”

Marie lives in Phoenix, Arizona with her two rescued cats, numerous houseplants, and visiting spirits. Marie is presently writing her second book in the RSVP from Heaven series and other creative projects.

Excerpts:

CHAPTER THREE

LADIES NIGHT AT LIPSTICK LOUNGE

rsvp heaven ex sunflowerMy first client, Sophia, was a dangerously curvy woman in a lemon zest wiggle dress, with a sunflower silk scarf around her neck. She was fully embracing the style of a 40’s pinup girl with a modern twist.

“You’re a psychic? Awesome! A psychic medium even better,” Sophia said, extending her hand and formally introducing herself, her other hand holding a frozen key lime martini.

She brushed the curtain aside and slid into the circular booth. A Jimmy Buffet “vinyl record” purse leaned against her hip.

How can I help you tonight?” I said.

Meeting new clients, even the benevolent ones, still made me tense. My heart pounded and I was sweating anticipating the worse, which for me, was not being able to pass on accurate spiritual messages. My spirit guides must feel they need to give me a “pep talk” now and then.

I want to know about my love life. I was in this relationship. You know, a long term thing. Well, at least I thought it was.”

A question about love tonight, one of my favorites,” I said.

Here’s the kicker, it ended up badly,” she disclosed, “What can you tell me?”

My spirit guides were busy relaying messages as I wrote down each letter, number, and swirl to share with her. I pushed a new notepad across the table, encouraging her to take notes.

You were engaged but I sense the ex-fiancé did not want the breakup,” I nervously smiled, “His mother comes across bossy, overbearing, and pushed to end it with you out of jealously.”

Marie you’re right. Every time we drove over to his mother’s house she was always giving me this smug head to toe look. I never did anything to the woman.”

Sophia stretched out her hand, clenched the glass, and took a sip from her martini. She wiped liquor from the corners of her lips.

Were you aware his mother was dominating? A real momma’s boy who made her son’s decisions?” I asked.

Doesn’t surprise me because Alexander is always going to be her little boy. What can I say, it’s the truth. I feel she wedged herself in-between me and my fiancé.”

EXCERPT FROM: RSVP FROM HEAVEN

CHAPTER SEVEN

HALLOWEEN: HOLLYWOOD STYLE

ch 7 rsvp ex picShe looked ferocious.

Ten airbrushed black jagged stripes on each leg, plus two diagonally on her butt made it twelve. Various shades of orange liquid latex covered a sculpted body and a tousled mane of long wavy golden brown hair hung down past her shoulders. My eyes traveled the length of her back stopping at the stripe encircled tail.

When she turned, an intricately painted tiger’s face smiled back at me. Jagged stripes crossed a white painted chest, traveling down to her navel followed by a barely there, black string bikini.

Finishing off her unbelievable costume was a pair of stilettos covering her feet, resembling feline paws.

She was truly a work of art.

I was given the best seat in the house; an elevated raised area, where arriving joyful costumed guests glided along the red carpet among flashing bulbs as photographer’s cameras captured the excitement.

The attendees were adorned in spectacular costumes apparently created by professionals; Mad Scientist, Circus Ringleader, Warrior Princesses, Knights, and an assortment of sexy storybook characters. Last but not least, recognizable horror figures and superheroes from popular movies.

As I waited for my first client, I reflected on a journey beginning at a swap meet parking lot to reading at three glitzy Hollywood parties. It couldn’t have been accomplished without those opening the door to opportunities and the individuals who pulled up a chair to my card table.

Excerpt from: RSVP from Heaven

*RELEASE DAY PROMO w/Excerpts* To Kill a Priest/To Kill an Assassin (The Priors, parts 1 & 2) by Weston Kincade

Today, Weston Kincade (A Life of Death) releases his fantasy sci-fi serialised compilation in The Priors, Part 1 (To Kill a Priest) and Part 2 (To Kill an Assassin). Part 1 compiles episodes 1-9, while Part 2 hold episodes 10-18. Both books are on my ‘to-read’ list!

Book Blurbs:

The Priors ToKillAPriestPart1totalThe Priors, Part 1: To Kill a Priest

The universe is much larger than people think—with worlds spanning into infinity and human kind evolving into everything from vampires to the unknown. Are you one of these unlucky few?

Madelin is, and the government black-op agency called PASTOR knows it. To free herself from their clandestine clutches, she will have to trust an unknown godfather… the only family she has left after the agency’s murderous tendencies. As she strives to overcome her medically induced amnesia, she and her newfound friends must test the limits of this world and break them. The government has secret plans for her future if she remains… but will the next world be any better?

Buy links:

Amazonhttp://www.amazon.com/Kill-Priest-Part-Episodes-Priors-ebook/dp/B00RIIHUPU/ref=sr_1_2?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1419788161&sr=1-2&keywords=priors+kincade

B&N: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/to-kill-a-priest-weston-kincade/1120923762?ean=2940046463668

The Priors ToKillAPart2totalThe Priors, Part 2: To Kill an Assassin

Mutations abound in far-reaching worlds and some planes are being devastated by war. The PASTOR agency has an agenda to do so much more… including ruling them all.

It is up to Madelin and her evolved friends to not only stop the black-op agency, but free the other victims—including those attempting to kill her. She must discover her own abilities and learn to harness them… or else entire worlds will be overrun.

Even then… it may be too late.

Buy links:

Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Kill-Assassin-Episodes-10-18-Priors-ebook/dp/B00RIIWA1Y/ref=sr_1_1?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1419788161&sr=1-1&keywords=priors+kincade

B&N: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/to-kill-an-assassin-weston-kincade/1120923770?ean=2940046463750

Author Bio:

 

Weston Kincade has helped invest in future writers for years while teaching writing. His short stories have been published in anthologies, and he has completed two books in the serialized coming-of-age horror series A Life of Death, published by Books of the Dead Press in 2013-2014. A new fantasy/sci-fi series titled The Priors is scheduled for release beginning in late 2014, and the third book in the A Life of Death series will follow later in 2015 from Books of the Dead Press.
Weston also edits and operates WAKE Editing (http://www.wakeediting.com) when not spending time with his wife and Maine Coon cat, Hermes, who talks so much he must be a speaker for the gods.

Excerpt 1: 
This first excerpt is straight from the prologue.

Prologue

Questionable Sanity

For the first few seconds of consciousness, Daniel Robertson sat on the edge of his bed, staring at a ghastly image in the full-length mirror. A child stared back through eyeless sockets, its skin seared to a charred remnant of its former self. Even in his waking moments, he saw the same nightmarish memory. It was as though sleep hadn’t found him.

His digital clock glowed red, 5:04 a.m. The nightmares never let him sleep through the night. He groped for the most recent bottle he’d haphazardly tossed aside the night before, but gave up when he spotted it on the floor.

His eyes returned to the wooden stand, but the phantom child was nowhere to be seen. Instead, his own depressed reflection peered back through eyes that spoke of more pain than his age should have allowed. Years spent serving in the Middle East had dried him out, so deep his bones even felt parched. A large X marred his cheek, long-ago healed, but it was a reminder of his inescapable past. Sweat swelled from nowhere and grudgingly streamed down his forty-three-year-old, leathered face. At each wrinkle there was a split-second hesitation.

Fragments of his past flickered through his mind in a jumbled mess. Piecing them together while semi-conscious was like constructing a jigsaw puzzle, but suddenly the sequence of horrific events snapped into place like snapshots from someone else’s travels. Glimpses of unwanted memories returned that even alcohol couldn’t drive away.

“As though I could ever forget,” he muttered, thinking back to the horrifying visage.

The dim glow of a streetlamp streamed through the window and cast tall shadows across the room. His yellow complexion melded with the aged bedsheets like a sickly chameleon. Even in El Paso, a heat wave like this was unusual.

A slight breeze startled the curtains to life, and newspaper clippings fluttered on the wall before resigning to the push pins’ insistence. The sound drew his attention, and he flicked on the nearest table lamp. It did little to illuminate the room, but was enough to see by. The victims stared out at him, their lives amounting to a small blurb. Above their heads, the articles announced, ‘Man Found Dead in Car Explosion,’ and ‘Woman Killed in Foiled Carjacking,’ among others.

He knew them by heart. Each represented a failed attempt to save his ex-employer’s targets. They were all that remained of his recent pursuit for salvation. He sniffed at the stale tobacco odor that permeated the apartment. It was as though the small space could never get clean—a feeling he was quite familiar with.

Lifting himself from the bed, Daniel straightened and listened to the crack of his joints. He stretched his arms and crept over to the open window, his skin masking the muscular build beneath. With each footstep, the floor announced to his neighbors that he was awake. It was a reminder of the innocent lives he put in jeopardy by staying here for two months. Black Force was after him, and they were just as well trained as he. His old mercenary friends wouldn’t take hostages, and they had no qualms with eliminating witnesses.

He needed to move on before he was found, but it was difficult to give up such an ideal location. One reason he chose this dilapidated part of the city was the unfriendliness of the people. His weathered complexion helped him to blend in, and the fact that he spoke not a word of Spanish afforded him his solitude.

Daniel smiled as another faint breeze drifted through the window. Seeing an oncoming car, he stepped out of the moonlight and alongside the curtains. There was no need to broadcast his presence. Watching the sidewalk below, his attention was drawn to an interesting individual.

The man was different from other street inhabitants headed to work. He casually strode under the streetlamps holding an AK-47, but no one took notice. It was like the armed man was invisible. He passed the taco vendor Daniel frequented, and even Marco failed to greet him. The old food salesman hailed everyone while grilling his morning breakfast burritos, but somehow overlooked this man.

The oddity was barely visible at this distance, but the early risers on the streets should have spotted the gun. His clothes made him stand out like a leopard at a zebra party. Through the sporadic flow of traffic, Daniel watched the man’s russet coat and fedora bob behind passing cars. His checkered golf pants shone under the streetlamps, and he walked with a slight spring in his step. He was like an armed ostrich bobbing down the city street, ready to go hunting.

Could he be with Black Force?

He doubted it, but what if his old employer had hired someone new? It was odd for a mercenary group to hire out to a competitor, but Daniel might have eluded them too many times. Either way he needed answers to his questions, and this guy might be his key. They were questions that had plagued him for years, like, What could he do to stop Black Force or at least get them off his back? He just wanted a chance at redemption before he died. The pain he had caused was unforgettable, especially in his dreams.

His hand unconsciously went to the three scars crisscrossing his large bicep. He ran calloused fingers along the smooth skin. It wasn’t until the last few years that he came to care about others. Up to then, he did what he wanted and what he was told without question. The scars were just a reminder of one of his father’s early lessons on obedience—something his old boss and good-old dad had in common. They didn’t take “no” for an answer.

Losing sight of the man behind a group of chatting women, Daniel was startled into action. He needed answers, and this guy was his best chance. He searched the sidewalk for the bounding pedestrian. Seconds later, the man appeared without having lost a step. Anticipating another disappearance, Daniel gave the street a cursory glance.

Satisfied, he threw a blue button-up over his sweat-stained undershirt. It trailed behind him like a cape as he crossed the room. His hand automatically grabbed his 9 mm off the end table and tucked it into his pants before bringing the door to a close.

Taking the stairs two at a time, he swept through the first-floor foyer and onto the sidewalk. He searched the opposing walkway for the brown fedora. The hat materialized over a taxicab, and the yellow lamplight overhead illuminated its creases like the golden eyes of an animal peering through the shadows.

Daniel bolted across the busy road and narrowly avoided a rusted-out farm truck. The only warning of its approach was a deep, male voice crooning through its open windows “Oh, mi amor,” while a salsa melody plucked along in the background.

At least I won’t be the latest obituary in the Sun Herald, he thought as the guitar melody faded.

He leapt over the last car length of asphalt and rushed up the sidewalk. Sidestepping the barrage of pedestrians, he weaved through more oncoming groups and attempted to gain on the odd man. Daniel pumped his muscled legs harder. He threaded his way through the sporadic traffic while keeping the man in sight. It still surprised him how many people walked to work on this side of town. He felt like a running back for the local Panthers football team, dodging moving targets. Unfortunately, he couldn’t remember a game they had won, and his progress was worthy of the same praise. Somehow, the bobbing fedora was still drifting further away. Daniel broke into a run. Passing men and women gave him sidelong glances. A few locals cursed as he shoved them aside, attempting to close the gap with his prey.

The loud shouts didn’t bother the man in the fedora. He never turned or glanced back. He just continued down the packed street, his dark hat bobbing overtop the crowd. As Daniel closed the distance, the unusual man walked directly into a father and daughter walking hand in hand. The stranger faded into a misty existence and phased through them. Without anyone realizing, the anomaly solidified on the other side and continued as though nothing had happened.

Daniel halted mid-step as his heart skipped a beat. “Whoa, this guy can’t be Black Force,” he muttered. “He’s like their hopped-up, crooked cousin.”

The possibilities tumbled through his mind. Either way, this guy’s looking for trouble.

He was tired of waiting for them to find him. He had to act. “There’s no such thing as coincidence,” he whispered with renewed confidence.

The retired mercenary redoubled his pace and began gaining on the fedora. The old courthouse was around the next bend, and the sidewalk grew more congested. His broad shoulders cowed some people, but others he cast aside like scattered chess pieces. Faces whizzed by in a blur, man… man… woman… man … child, but his attention remained on the armed stranger.

Daniel made his way to the corner, but was unable to reach his prey before the man entered the busy street. Stepping out of the packed sidewalk, the ex-mercenary stopped at the curb edge to watch the man cross. The armed apparition passed through cars undetected, heading for the municipal building. The muzzle of his rapid-fire gun came up as he approached the building front, but still no one reacted.

The veteran’s gaze followed the apparition across as the sun peeked over the mountainous horizon, but his eyes stopped abruptly when the courthouse came into view. Around it was a dimly outlined building, much larger than the courthouse of his reality. It stood overtop the historic building like a spectral shadow. He tilted his head, attempting to find the pinnacle, but its towering peak disappeared into the dawn sky. The building was enormous, like those in larger cities. It was a phantom skyscraper attempting to exist in an already occupied space. Its edges stood out against the stone structure of the courthouse, glistening blue like the threads of shimmering spiderwebs.

He stood motionless, in awe of the sight. Much like the man he had followed, it gave no one else reason for pause. He looked around, but even the fedora in the distance didn’t break its casual stride. A moment later, the man disappeared into the miasmic building.

“How could such a thing exist?”

At the base of one luminescent thread appeared a woman dressed in an outlandish, white-belted kimono. She finished thumbing the wall before turning around. Daniel peered at the block wall, searching for what she had been holding, but nothing was there. He could have sworn something had moved under her hand, but it was gone. Unlike the man in the fedora and the spectral building, her presence didn’t go unnoticed. She stood out in her tattered, oriental gown. The shredded kimono swirled about her with every intention of hiding her graceful curves, but failed utterly.

Her auburn hair shone in the sun’s morning rays, framing a pale face and wild eyes. Over the years, Daniel had come to know the look of fear in others. Judging by her face and the way people avoided her, she was in full flight. His brain went into overdrive as he remembered that people were looking for him. He had made a huge display and left disgruntled pedestrians in his wake. They would have no problem identifying him now.

“Dammit!” he spat. He had to do something… He had to move. And right now, this woman needed his help.

Entering the road, Daniel allowed morality to guide his search for redemption.

Excerpt 2:

This next excerpt is from chapter fifteen when Daniel and Madelin are trapped atop his apartment building by the trained PASTOR agent sent after Madelin. Like her, he’s a product of the agency’s training program, essentially the epitome of what they wanted her to become. Now Daniel and Madelin must escape, die, or submit to the government agency’s desires.

Chapter Fifteen

A Show of Loyalty

Daniel ducked further into the aged chimney’s shadow. Reaching behind him, he reassured himself that Madelin still remained hidden.

“If I can take care of these two, we might have a chance. When I say so, make a break for the roof over there,” Daniel whispered, nodded to the building across from them.

The details of his plan became clear when Madelin looked at the five-foot gap between buildings. Her cool composure fractured at the thought of leaping from one rooftop to the next. The demise of her one tie to a family she no longer remembered flashed before her eyes. Echoes of her godfather’s hate-filled screams ricocheted through her mind. She quivered at the thought. Fear took hold, and her new shoes shuffled backward as though capable of depositing her into the very pores of the bricked chimney. Daniel seized her wrist, and she froze in place. Teetering at the edge of the shadow, his solid hold helped to subdue her panic.

“It’s okay. I’ll help you,” he said, but her reaction made the futility of the plan quite clear. Her head shook back and forth while her eyes remained locked on the small chasm. For a moment Daniel contemplated throwing her across himself, but dismissed the idea after considering the consequence of a simple mistake. His plan crumbled at the thought.

If she isn’t willing, I’ll have to find another way. There has to be something I can do—God, I need a drink.

Driving the thought away, he focused on the problem and searched the rooftop for an answer. Another gunshot reminded him of the immediate threat encroaching on their position. With nothing coming to mind, he shifted his back to the edge of the brick wall. Holding his Glock 19 poised, he chanced a look around the corner. The light-haired agent unloaded another shot at his exposed face, sending flakes of brick and mortar into his eyes. Daniel ducked back behind the brick wall and shook away the remnants, clearing his vision. The sounds of their approaching boots squishing through the tar and the clatter of more on the metal fire escape prompted him to action.

“Well if you want me, then you got me,” Daniel muttered under his breath. Keeping the jutting chimney between him and the two men, he sidestepped a few more inches, still holding Madelin away from the visible sides. “They’re trying to surround us, and more are coming up the stairs. It’ll be checkmate if we don’t act now,” he told Madelin. After a slight pause and a deep, calming breath, he continued. “You stay here.” All of his emotions fled with his decision to act, leaving his voice stern and vacant.

Before the last words left his lips, Daniel released the magazine into his hand, checked the bullets, and hammered it back in with his palm. The clip clicked metallically, signaling the weapon’s thirst for blood. Madelin looked back at him in astonishment as his plan dawned on her.

Daniel ignored the look. Resting his forehead on the cold, metal barrel, he took a few measured breaths then strode around the shattered brick corner. His gun’s muzzle sighted the two men on instinct.

The beast Marlin feared emerged from the shadows with eyes of stone. Rays of sunlight glinted off the barrel. The gun spat once… twice… three times at Shanahan. The agent spun under the gunfire. As a bullet caught his shoulder, he was tossed off the rooftop. Daniel continued his march toward Marlin, shifting targets, leveling the Glock on the commander as his pistol hungered for more. A bullet tore across his shoulder, and Daniel smiled as Marlin grimaced, his foot lodged in the tar. Must have thrown his aim off.

Daniel pulled the trigger, but was blindsided by an agent surging across the rooftop. The impact knocked him off-balance, and the shot went wide.

The man tried to grapple him to the ground. Daniel resisted the onslaught and twisted out of the man’s fingers, forcing his arm behind him. Daniel’s shirt trailed in the wind as he landed on one knee. His metallic friend settled on the older agent’s midsection, ready for another chance at blood.

Marlin’s unwavering black pistol held another death stare from a few yards away. “Let ’im go.”

A calm serenity settled on Daniel’s shoulders, and he pulled the hair trigger before rolling out of reach.

The split-second response of Marlin’s firearm missed Daniel, instead eating through his shirt as it trailed after him. The pistol swept over the rooftop, carrying out the commander’s wishes. The bullets dove into the apartment building, inches away from Daniel’s tumbling figure. Flipping back onto a knee, Daniel’s finger tensed to unleash another lethal shot when a fourth man leapt over the parapet and bulldozed him from behind. The collision hurled him face-first into the tarred roof. Marlin seized the chance, kicked the gun away, and stomped on Daniel’s hand with a boot heel.

Madelin’s sole protector fought back with an elbow to his new assailant’s chin. Breaking loose from the man’s iron grip, Daniel surged into Marlin. The commander’s black pistol quenched its blood thirst, licking at the veteran’s side. Unaware of the pain, his momentum carried him upward. His clenched fist smashed into the commander’s chin with the force of a charging bull. Marlin flew backward, and his knees buckled. Daniel turned to confront the two new aggressors as they regained their footing on the windy rooftop.

His adrenaline soared through the clouds, and he neglected the blood lapping at his soaked undershirt and shoulder. His loose button-up billowed around him as though straining to reach the other men.

Standing unarmed, Daniel tensed and braced for the charge. The soles of his combat boots sank into the inch-thick tar beneath him. He shifted his weight and dug the ball of his foot into the ground as he prepared to pounce. The air was charged as the three men glared at one another. Each waited for a signal, an opportunity to gain the upper hand.

“You ready to die?” asked Daniel viciously.

“You’re the one’s gonna die today,” shouted the larger of the two agents. “Ready to meet your maker?”

“I’ve been ready,” Daniel growled back. “Here’s to spilled blood.”

* * * *

Madelin’s fear flared back to life. Curbing the growing uneasiness in her stomach, she braced herself against the wall. Gunfire buffeted her ears, but it was over before she could summon the courage to emerge from her hiding spot. Fearing the worst, she edged over to the corner and peered out at the isolated rooftop.

The chaos that had erupted milliseconds before slowed to a crawl. The agent that followed them was on the ground, almost attempting to mold itself to the torrid rooftop. Three men stood stock still, perched at the edge of tumultuous air currents.

The calm before the storm ended as swiftly as it began. Daniel bolted toward one man, flecks of tar flying from his shoes. He lowered his head and tore over the rooftop faster than she thought possible in the circumstances. The two PASTOR agents appeared out of their element. One reached for his gun, but wasn’t quick enough. Surprise blossomed on his face as Daniel bounded toward him. The other operative attempted his own charge, but was slow to leave the gate. Each step was delayed by the tar’s insufferable grip. Seeing his error, he reached for his gun as an afterthought.

Daniel’s target was a trim operative without an ounce of fat on him. He had no sooner caressed the handle of his pistol before Daniel tackled him low, pinning the man’s arms to his side. Rising up, Daniel lifted the sandy haired man from the roof. The wounded veteran’s arms slipped lower, encircling the agent’s knees like a wrestler. He grinned at what was to come.

The agent struck at Daniel’s face with a freed hand, but the veteran’s grin was immovable. Shifting his weight, he spun in place like a top. Gravity pulled the agent’s torso away, and his knees bent under the centrifugal pressure, lowering him into the wind like an airplane propeller.

As Madelin watched in anticipation, the hulking man standing between them leveled his gun on Daniel’s head. Without thinking, she launched herself out of the shadows. After crossing half the distance, she leapt into the air, and her feet slammed into the man’s back just as he pulled the trigger. The impact hurled him forward, arms flailing and face exposed as the shot flew wide.

Seeing his chance, Daniel sent his captive into horizontal flight, propelling him into the unsteady operative like a trebuchet hurling a boulder. The momentum of the collision powered both agents over the ledge. A series of metallic crashes echoed from the alleyway as the more fortunate of the two landed on the shaky stairwell. The sudden shock forced the top flights to collapse and trap him in place. The one unlucky enough to have missed the jutting stairwell screamed in horror, flailing his arms as though he might find salvation. Seconds later, a heavy thump granted him eternal silence.

Daniel flipped back around, ready for more, but found Marlin still lying unconscious. Seeing no further threat, the throbbing pulse of adrenaline drained from his ears. Madelin stood up from the scorching, black tar and wiped her hands free of clinging globs. Daniel turned to her with an air of compassion, thankful that she had come away unharmed.

“Thank you, Daniel.” Her voice was sincere, and she spoke with a kindness he had never known.

He was about to reply when a shooting pain rippled through his stomach. Daniel fell to his knees and clutched his side. A wet substance oozed through his fingers. Memory of the viper bite from the commander’s gun flashed through his mind. His hand came away coated in red. A dull ache in his shoulder also pained him, but it wasn’t his primary concern.

There’s too much blood, thought the veteran. He placed his hand back over the wound. How much time do I have?

Madelin watched in dismay, helpless as a baby lamb. A whispered, “My God!” escaped her lips as she knelt next to him. She placed a hand over his in an attempt to stall the bleeding. “We’ll get help. I promise.”

Her words were like a soothing balm, but the peace was short lived. Voices echoed across the rooftop from the main stairwell. Pounding blows rang out as they discovered the locked door. Summoning his courage, Daniel pushed aside the pain and rose to his feet. He waved Madelin away and prepared himself for another onslaught.

I can’t believe I made it through that last meeting, he thought. But it ain’t over. There’s more to do and still time enough to salvage something of my life.

“It’s okay… I’ll be okay.” Daniel lied, taking a few ragged breaths. “Hurry. We’ve gotta get out of here.”

Glancing down the fire escape, they watched the PASTOR agent attempting to extricate himself from the crumpled mass of metal. His efforts looked futile. The other agent lay sprawled at the bottom of the alleyway, unmoving.

Daniel ran through a list of escape plans, counting each one with a finger as circumstances ruled them out one after another. Within seconds, each finger on his free hand was extended, and he could think of nothing else. Accepting the final verdict and the sentence that had been passed, he pointed a blood-soaked hand at the shadowed chimney.

“Get over there. I’ll take care of this.” His voice was firm and distant.

She obeyed without complaint, which Daniel appreciated, but he couldn’t shut out the worry welling up in her eyes. He knew the disappointment and fear she would feel after this was over.

I wish I could stop it, keep her from feeling abandoned. It isn’t her fault. She didn’t choose for this to happen. Those bastards just keep coming, and they ain’t after me. I know Black Force ops when I see them. What the hell is with these guys? he wondered. Why do they want her so bad?

Silence answered his questions.

I hope I can last long enough to take some of them with me, he thought, grinding his teeth. Maybe she’ll have a chance if I whittle down their numbers.

He could feel his blood draining onto his shirt. He applied more pressure and felt the flow diminish. His mind whirled with fatigue… but something plagued him. I shouldn’t even be standin’. Thank God for small miracles. I wasn’t able to do as much as I’d hoped, but maybe this’ll be enough.

 

As the world around him changed, the memory forced him back into one of many nighttime horrors. The doorway to a small mud hut was blockaded with clothes and wood scavenged by mercenaries.

Did I help pile those against the door? The answer that echoed through his mind shamed him further.

He tried to stop his hand from pushing the torch into the thatch roof, but the past couldn’t be altered. He shoved the flaming branch deeper, and it illuminated the children within. They stared at him from the dancing shadows, the whites of their eyes pleading for him to stop. The smell of dust and sewage interwove itself with the burning stench of the house, flooding his nostrils as the flames grew. The voices of children, mothers, the elderly, and all that were left in the village, cried out in terror. Their sounds mingled with the now roaring flames.

How many did they stuff into that small cottage?

He had no idea. He hadn’t counted at the time, but with each memory it seemed that more eyes stared out at him. He felt as though all the innocents of the world were burning for the sins of those like him. The nauseating odor of cooking flesh swept through Daniel, cutting off his air and threatening to strangle him.

 

Opening his eyes, the rooftop reeled around Daniel’s waterlogged gaze. The sights and sounds of the PASTOR agents breaking down the door reminded him of the job he had to do. Taking a few deep breaths, Daniel urged his legs to work and forced himself over to the unconscious commander. Once there, his knees thudded to the ground. Daniel leaned down and picked up his metallic 9 mm, the closest thing he ever had to a friend, and stashed it under his belt. He ignored the warmth from the smoking barrel that seeped through his clothes. Sliding closer to the grey-haired operative he’d knocked unconscious, he pried the black pistol from his hand and contemplated ending the man’s tyranny that very moment. The gun wavered, its barrel mere inches from the man’s tar-splotched hair.

I can’t do that. He’s defenseless. If anything would condemn me this late in the game, it’s outright murder. He’ll be out long enough for Madelin to get away anyhow, he reassured himself. Conscience urged him to store the gun next to his own. His hand grudgingly followed its orders.

He pushed himself up off his knees. A wave of nausea and dizziness attempted to submerge his consciousness. Fighting the onslaught, the soldier attained his balance just in time. The door across the rooftop buckled as Daniel steadied himself, assuming the calm and composed focus of battle.

* * * *

Madelin paced over to the chimney once again. Watching Daniel waver in the wind like a fragile antenna while the other operatives battered down the door was heartrending. There had to be something she could do, but only one thing came to mind. It was something she had very little control over.

What if I can’t do it again? The self-doubt ate at her as she watched Daniel prepare to confront the devils. I have to try. If I don’t, he’ll die.

Madelin stepped up to the brick chimney and summoned the memory of her lost friend. Altran’s words echoed through the distortion once again. “Focus… Concentrate and you’ll see it. You can do what most can’t.” His words whispered through her thoughts, so real that Madelin had to remind herself that he was gone. A tear welled up at the thought of him before streaking down her tar-stained face.

Madelin did as he instructed as she stared at the darkened wall, whispering the words time and again as she searched for the dark rosebud. Each crack called to her, but she sought a place far from here. Rough edges appeared as she scanned the rows of bricks.

Eventually, a fine line emerged, curving up into the dagger-like tip of a petal. Centering her attention, the mysterious blossom took shape and began to peel itself from the wall. As it rose from the silent bricks, a tainted life infused it with glossy blackness. The few rays of light pouring around the smokestack reflected off the delicate petals.

Madelin concentrated harder, and other petals took shape, the bud opening itself to her. She was entranced by its dark beauty. As the lustrous, black stem stretched out from the brick partition, needle-sharp thorns surfaced. Looking closer, she noticed that the stem was composed of numerous fine lines. Each stripe glistened wetly in its own separate color, but was overshadowed by the dark nature of the rose. Madelin followed individual lines up the stem, intrigued and horrified by the visible pulse within each one. They were like veins, and the worlds held within their boundaries were the life’s blood of the rose.

Madelin’s desire spoke from within, and one vein began pulsing more than the others. Its crimson essence oozed from one petal’s tip. The vein throbbed faster, matching the rhythm of her heart, and the thick droplets fell to mix with the black tar below.

Madelin grasped the delicate petal and peeled it away from the flower. The blossom didn’t resist, but separated from the stem like ripping paper. The tear continued beyond the stem, slicing the bricks apart like a knife through butter. Once the opening was large enough, she let go of the rose petal. It fluttered to the ground and disappeared. The blossom glinted once more in the shadowed light before dying and falling to the floor itself. It too disappeared.

Madelin’s gaze shifted back to the rift as a slight breeze caught the edge. It rippled in the wind, and through the movement, she saw a murky, red film separating the two worlds. Beyond that, a dwindling sun highlighted the treetops of a large forest.

Then the rooftop door burst open, bringing this world back into startling focus. A barrage of gunfire lit up her world from the other side of the brick wall. Madelin leaped around the chimney in time to see bullets whiz past her protector, some thudding into the roof at his feet. Spurts of tar flew around him as he returned fire. It was as though his guardian angel had chosen this time to step into the fray. He stood tall in the dimming light, unmoving.

This won’t last, she thought as he drew the other weapon and unleashed the fury of both hand cannons. At least the size of the doorway is holding some at bay.

His legs were planted for support, but she knew his time was limited. The stain on his shirt grew to encompass his pant leg, and his head drooped with the exertion.

“Daniel,” she called out to him, but was drowned out by the roar of gunfire. “Daniel!” she screamed. Her voice cracked with the strain.

Daniel turned his head and spied Madelin waving him over. He continued the rapid fire, but forced his legs into motion. With each footfall, excruciating pain broke through his isolated calm. With the final step, two more pistols boomed in tandem. The first dug into Daniel’s muscled calf, and he stumbled into Madelin’s arms. The second missed his forehead by a hair.

Madelin caught the brute of a man as he stumbled into her. His tense, muscled body landed in her hands, and his feet tried to hold himself up out of stubborn futility. He clutched his guns in a death grip, and his fingers continued working the triggers, firing the last shots into the rooftop below. The click of hammers finding empty chambers accompanied her words as he gave in and slumped into her arms.

“I’ve got you, Daniel. I’ve got you,” she whispered.

The petite woman folded her arms around her protector and hefted him to the portal. His shallow breaths caressed her neck.

Thank goodness for small favors, she thought.

Clutching Daniel to her, she lifted him awkwardly over the rift’s threshold and through the crimson haze.

*Promo w/Excerpts* In Your Sights (Sydney Triptych #1)

inyoursights elizabeth krall-600wTitle: In Your Sights (Sydney Triptych #1)

Author: Elizabeth Krall

Genre: Romantic suspense/thriller

Released: December 10th, 2014

Length: 280 pages

BLURB:

Caroline Bready is being watched. Someone has posted a photograph of her on a mysterious website.

Still struggling to rebuild her life after the unsolved death of her husband, Caroline tells herself that the photo is unimportant. She drifts into an affair with a colleague; the relationship begins casually, but quickly becomes intense and disturbing.

After Caroline discovers the first victim of a serial rapist who has begun to attack women in Sydney, another photograph appears. Are the online images a threat, or simply coincidence?

Against a backdrop of deception and lies, Caroline finds herself drawn to an enigmatic stranger. Is he protecting her, or does he mean her harm?

If Caroline cannot distinguish friend from foe, it could cost her life.

BOOK LINKS

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/23785077-in-your-sights

http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00QV6S4K0

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Your-Sights-Sydney-Triptych-Book-ebook/dp/B00QV6S4K0/

http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/in-your-sights-elizabeth-krall/1120923611?ean=2940046461879

http://store.kobobooks.com/en-US/ebook/in-your-sights

REVIEW QUOTES

“Elizabeth Krall skillfully crafts a tale of growing foreboding and outright fear.”

– Readers+Writers Journal

“With superb writing, vivid descriptions, and meaty characters, Krall pulls the reader into the story and does not let go until the words “the end” appear.”

– Gut Reaction Reviews

“The twists and turns in this fast paced and marvelous thriller are well written and the characters are unique, from the main ones to the secondary and villain. My favorite is the actual hero, which you only get to know if you read it!”

– Georgianna, The Reading Café

AUTHOR BIOGRAPHY

ElizabethKrall-200x200Elizabeth Krall is the author of the suspense/thriller “In Your Sights“, the contemporary romance novels “Too Close” and “Ship to Shore”, and an occasional series of short stories themed around holidays, called “Holiday Romances”.

Most of Elizabeth’s career was spent as an editor, but now she works as a print and digital graphic designer. An unexpected side-effect of leaving editing was the resurgence of an interest in writing.

Elizabeth grew up in Canada and lived in London, England, for many years. She has now settled in Sydney, Australia. Her interests include travel, tall ship sailing, photography and blogging.

elizabethkrall.weebly.com

elizabethkrallphotos.wordpress.com

elizabethkrallwriter.wordpress.com

twitter.com/Elizabeth_Krall

inyoursights elizabeth krall-600w

EXCERPT ONE: PUNISHMENT

Caroline stood at the turning to the short corridor that led to Reece’s office. She reached down to straighten her skirt, and up to straighten her hair. It was idiotic, she knew that. He had seen her in every state of undress by now, disheveled from sex or sleep, with no makeup or with mascara smeared under her eyes, but nonetheless she wanted to look good if she knew she would see him. His door was ajar, and she stepped forward to where he could notice her. Reece was working, though, all of his attention on his computer, and did not look up until she knocked.

“Caroline! This is a surprise.” Reece leaned back from his screen, and smiled. “What brings you to no man’s land?”

“You volunteered to take part in our trial of the new internet browser, remember? I’m here to install it. It won’t take long, but I can come back if this is a bad time,” she said.

He put his hands against the edge of the desk and pushed his chair back. “Not at all. I could use a break. It’s all yours.”

His office was private, but it was not very large. He sat beside the window, with his back to a wall, facing the door. As she stepped behind the desk, he was hemmed in.

“Sorry.” Caroline took a step back. “Did you want to get out?”

“Not at all. I will sit here and watch a nerd at work.”

She pulled a face at him. “That doesn’t sound very interesting. Or flattering!”

Reece chuckled. “If it were any other nerd, I would have manufactured a desire for tea and escaped. Is that flattering enough for you?”

“Yes.” She angled the keyboard and mouse toward her, and bent over the desk. “You were quiet last night. I didn’t wake up at all when you left.”

“Just call me the stealth lover.”

Caroline felt his right hand touch the inside of her left knee, and as his fingers began to slide up her leg she took a hasty step to the side. “Reece!”

“Caroline?” He looked at her with polite inquiry.

“You can’t do that!”

“Of course I can.”

“Not here, I mean.” The computer claimed her attention with a beep. She gave Reece a look of warning, and began to type.

“Why not here?” His hand was back, the thumb circling on the soft skin at the dimple of her knee. “You like it. That’s all that matters.”

Oh, she did like it. Desire fluttered inside her like a trapped bird. His fingers eased higher, and she said nothing. She couldn’t. Her breaths came fast and shallow. She closed her eyes.

“You are not wearing nylons,” he observed. Then, with a note of disapproval, he said, “But you are wearing panties.”

One finger tweaked the lace edging, and Caroline’s eyes flew open. She looked directly into another pair of eyes, big brown eyes in the laughing face of a pretty, curly-haired woman. Reece’s wife stared at her from the large photo that stood in a frame beside the computer monitor.

Caroline jumped back as though Reece’s fingers had burned her. His touch lingered on her skin, lines and whorls of heat.

He held a hand out to her. “Come back here.” The telltale bulge of his arousal was clear.

She shook her head. “It would be wrong!”

Impatience flickered across his face. “Why?”

“Someone could see us!”

“Not if you close the door.”

She looked at the open door, and shook her head again.

“Hypocrite,” he said in a scornful voice. “You don’t think it’s wrong at all, you just don’t want to get caught. Get out.”

“Reece…”

He straightened up. “Close the door behind you.”

She took blind steps toward the door, and he spoke again.

“Or stay. But either way, close the door.”

She took another step, and reached for the doorknob. She would leave, she would march out of here, and someone else could install his browser.

The door closed behind her. Caroline leaned against it, her palms flat against its cool surface, and looked across the small office into Reece’s knowing eyes.

“You want me, don’t you?”

She nodded, mute with shame. Why could she not have walked away? Why did that demon he had awoken strip her of control over her own body?

“You need me.”

Another nod.

“You can’t walk out of here until you’ve had me inside you. Hard and hot.”

The demon stirred to his words.

“When you behave like this, you deserve to be punished,” Reece said.

He crooked his finger, and she was drawn across the room as surely as if she had been tied to a rope.

With one arm, he swept keyboard and mouse and photo to the other end of the desk. “Bend over. Lower.”

His hand on her back pressed her to the desk. Her breath fogged its gleaming wood and her breasts squashed against its unyielding surface. She felt the touch of cool air on the back of her thighs as he flipped up her skirt, and then on her bottom as he stripped off her panties.

Reece traced two fingers along the curve of one buttock, down along the crease where it joined her thigh. She shivered with anticipation and bit back a moan. His legs roughly pushed her knees apart.

“Now, Caroline, you will take your punishment.”

inyoursights elizabeth krall-600w

EXCERPT TWO: LONG BEFORE DARK

Caroline sat on the edge of a stone wall that marked a grave, and smiled. It was an idyllic spot. Such calm, such restfulness. Such quiet! Only the whisper of wind in dry grass, and the rustle of palm fronds. Even the birds had fallen silent.

The sun had set and daylight was fading. The brevity of twilight in Sydney still surprised her, and already the colors were almost gone. She knew that she should leave, because if someone did lock those gates at the top, she would have to walk all the way down to the bottom, to where the old footpath entered the cemetery along the cliff edge, and then walk all the way back up on the other side of the wall.

“Be sure you’re out of there long before dark. Stay in sight of other people at all times.”

Alarm flared inside her as she remembered the inspector’s words.

What did she think she was doing, dawdling in this deserted cemetery as night fell? Far worse things could happen to her than a long walk home. Despite her intentions, she glanced at the bowls club, and she shuddered, remembering the sight of Jayna as she stood below the bright lights in the parking lot.

Metal scraped on stone with a sharp rasp.

A surge of adrenaline and fear sent Caroline spinning around.

What is it? Where? Who?

Her eyes darted from one headstone to another, past crosses and columns, to the shape of a man. She turned to run but caught her shoe on a loose brick, and she stumbled into a rough stone grave marker. She righted herself and looked back at the man: he had not moved.

It wasn’t a man. It was a statue of an angel.

But something had made that noise. She had not imagined it. Someone was nearby.

“Who’s there?” Caroline called, and heard the high thread of fear in her voice. “Who are you? Come out!”

Silence. The growl of a car on a distant street, and the bark of a dog, but no voice replied.

Fear wrapped itself around her. He could be anywhere! Behind any of these stone figures and walls and vaults. She whirled, but saw nothing. The heavy camera swung on its strap around her neck and she steadied it with one hand.

Camera!

Caroline held the camera in front of her like a shield and pressed the shutter button, taking shot after shot in every direction. The strong flash illuminated crosses and statues, angels and columns, and the man walking toward her not 10 feet away.

She shrieked.

“Easy there, darlin’,” he said in a soothing voice. Both hands were held out, and he shone his flashlight onto his face. “Relax. I’m a warden here. Look.” He pointed to the badge on the breast pocket of his shirt. “You get caught out here in the dark?”

Relief made her knees tremble, and Caroline leaned one hand against the vault beside her. The sun-warmed marble felt comforting. “Yes.”

The sound of his chuckle was so reassuring, so safe, that she thought she might cry from the sheer release of emotion.

“It happens sometimes. People get caught up in the sunset, and next thing they know they’re all alone in the middle of a big dark cemetery with heaps of dead folks. They imagine they see all manner of ghosts and goblins!”

“I don’t believe in ghosts. I know I heard something,” she protested, as she fell into step beside him. “Like metal on stone.”

“Oh luv, this entire cemetery is falling apart! Mind your step on these paving stones now,” he said, flashing the light at the broken path ahead. “You likely heard a stretch of rusty old fence fall.”

“Maybe,” Caroline said. No longer surrounded by the looming stone shapes, she was not sure what she had heard.

He guided her to the same gates through which she had entered, and wished her a pleasant evening.

It did not take Caroline long to walk home, and by the time she let herself into the apartment she had decided that the warden was right. Many of the graves had very low stone walls topped with ornate metal fences that had rusted over the decades. A number of fallen fences lay scattered on the ground. She had simply heard one grate against stone as it fell.

She made herself a cup of tea and carried it to the living room, where she pushed back the glass door to allow the warm air to enter. She slid the camera’s memory card into a slot on the computer.

To her surprise, the photographs were not bad. The currawong, in fact, was very good, with focus so perfect she could see individual feathers and the orange gleam of its eye. The sight of a lorikeet hanging upside down to get at something in the palm tree brought a smile to her lips.

She cringed at the first frantic, flash-illuminated shot, everything in stark whites and blacks. She tapped the arrow on the keyboard, wanting to whiz through them as quickly as possible, to not be reminded of those minutes of silly terror in the dark. Vault, tap; cross, tap; weeping angel, tap; angel with outspread wings, tap; man’s face, tap; broken pillar–

A man’s face?

Goose bumps rose on her skin as if summer had become winter, and the tea in her mouth tasted sour. She tapped back. A large pointed headstone rose in the foreground, glaring white in the full force of the flash. Receding into the dark were the gray shapes of crosses and statues. And like a ghost disappearing into the night behind the gravestone was the face of a man.

inyoursights elizabeth krall-600w

EXCERPT THREE: A GOOD DECOY

He walked toward the college and wondered if he were making a mistake. Had she seen him on Thursday? Worse, had she photographed him in her frenzy of fear in the cemetery? Or had he been far enough away not to be captured in the flash? He would find out soon enough, if she turned up. Or perhaps not: she found it difficult enough to look at him at the best of times, so how could he tell if she were avoiding him?

If she had gone to the police, he could be in trouble. He told himself that he was a fool, that two hours of looking at her in a classroom were not worth the risk. Yes, he had taken precautions, but would they be enough?

His steps faltered when he saw her. She had turned up.

Caroline was sitting on the same bench where he had seen her and Nola before class three weeks ago, but now she was alone. The spreading plane tree threw broken shadows over the bench. The trees were imports from England, planted decades ago. They always reminded him of marching on parade through London, of the ringing thump of his squadron’s boot heels hitting the pavement in unison.

He slowed, to stretch out these moments when he could look at her, straight at her in the light of day, drinking her in. Her face was in profile and her neck was bent as she handled something in her lap. The breeze ruffled the skirt of the flowered summer dress she wore, and her legs were tucked under the seat, crossed demurely at the ankles.

His heart ached at the sight of her. Despite what he had seen in the dark outside her apartment building a week ago, despite the naked need in her eyes as she had looked at that man, he loved her. She was so beautiful. So beautiful, and so unattainable.

She looked up as he neared, saw him, and smiled.

His first thought was that someone she knew must be behind him, Nola perhaps. But no, she looked right at him.

“Hello,” she said.

Then her eyes flickered, ever so slightly, and he knew.

The men appeared from behind and beside him, police in uniform and in plain clothes.

“You are under arrest for stalking. You are not obliged to say or do anything, but anything you say or do may be used as evidence against you.”

Instinct and training stiffened his body, and he tensed. Hands tightened around his arms. He relaxed, and nodded to them. He would cooperate.

They ushered him to the police van he had not noticed parked at the curb, as he had not noticed the loitering men and had not noticed Nola, running now from the college building to take Caroline in her arms.

He had been right, that morning on the cliff top. She did make a good decoy.

*Promo with excerpts* Out of the Shadows and into the Darkness by Senta Holland

Out of the Shadows and into the Darkness’ by Senta Holland is a literary erotic novel published by HarperCollins UK.

It was a bestseller in the UK in 2013.

Adult Content/18yrs+

Out of the Shadows and into the Darkness

Blurb: A deeply felt and superbly written BDSM love story, Senta Holland’s ‘Out of the Shadows’ explores the beautiful darkness in seven bedrooms. You’ve been enthralled by ‘The Bride Stripped Bare’ and ‘The Secret Diary of a Submissive’, now prepare to devour ‘Out of the Shadows’.

Senta, a thirty something Londoner, travels around the planet looking for the man who can match her. The one she finds is her ‘Nai’, a high society American in Asia. Senta’s story is both complicated and made more exciting by the fact that it unfolds in the dark world of BDSM, a world that can be hostile to single, independent females. Highly erotic, deeply romantic and insightful this book shows the BDSM experience from the inside out, as reality, not just fantasy.

This is above all an intelligent, insightful and deeply sensitive love story that will take you to places beyond your wildest dreams and open up the most secret aspects of your erotic identity. It will make you lust, think, feel and cry. Senta’s message to her readers is passionate and clear: Never give up looking for your true sexuality.

Real romantic BDSM with all the thrills (and more…) of fantasy, plus a real life size relationship and a positive message to women: ‘you can go for your sexual dreams’.

Links

Amazon UK

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Out-of-the-Shadows-ebook/dp/B009UKRIBA/

Amazon US

http://www.amazon.com/Out-of-the-Shadows-ebook/dp/B009UKRIBA/

Goodreads

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/17559152-out-of-the-shadows-and-into-the-darkness

Out of the Shadows and into the Darkness

Review Quotes

“Senta Holland, one of the new wave of erotic writers from heavyweight publisher HarperCollins…”

– Marie Claire Magazine, UK

“If you have an open mind and you are ready for a wild adventure, I definitely recommend that you read this. If you wanted a glimpse on how it feels and what it’s like to be living the lifestyle this is a masterpiece written for you.”

– Gelytayz, BookishTemptations

“The book has been described as an ‘eye opener’ by readers who mistakenly read it as ‘Romance’. It is only because of the absurd division into ‘literature’ and ‘genre’ that books like OOTS are not on the main shelf in the bookshop.”

– Ashley Lister, How To Write Erotic Fiction

“Written in a fast-flowing staccato voice, this book delivers on all counts. A fresh and intimate picture of a quest for, and enjoyment of, BDSM as a sexuality. From jungles to urban landscapes, it challenges our capacity to fantasize and imagine and has us melting with delight.”

– CoffeeCakeandKink, London

“This book is written in a poetic and beautiful manner, you could almost smell the air, feel the heat, and really, I got so caught in the story that sometimes I had to stop and pull away from the story because it literally sucked me in. M. Holland wrote a fantastic book, one of a kind, so different from what I expected but so much better than so many others out there.”

– Patricia Melo, Lost in a Moment”

“I’ve never read anything as adventurous, both sexually and narratively before.” Janny’s Books, Vanity Book Case

“Fifty Shades of Grey may have passed me by, but Out of the Shadows proved to be a deeply engaging glimpse into the world of a woman struggling to find her true self inside and outside the bedroom.”

– Dan Menhinnitt, London

Out of the Shadows and into the Darkness

Author Biography Senta Holland

Senta Holland lives and loves in the shadows, in a world of BDSM from the inside out. Her passion has to be lived in secret. If the shadows don’t lift, you will never meet her and the only way to get to know Senta is through her book. Open the pages, and she will lead you deep inside her beloved darkness. But maybe you have met Senta already. Maybe you hear her soft voice in your dreams, maybe she is sitting right next to you on the Underground. And maybe you, yourself, are Senta in the shadows.

Out of the Shadows and into the Darkness

Excerpts

Excerpt 1: Deeper into the Darkness

Darkness had fallen utterly, above the city of ancient kings.

High up in the tower, my Nai was waiting for me.

He had insisted on that journey, on taking me from Bangkok, the city of the present, further up the slow night river to this other, older, more mysterious place, entangled in time and passionate longing for a life of promise after death.

So I came out in my little dress and my steel-heeled shoes and I stood and was looked at.

Was looked at for a long time, while his body changed and his look changed and he started to smile like the snake king.

‘You look like a wicked slut,’ he said.

I smiled. My body shivered.

He rushed towards me and lifted me up, I was carried high in his arms and he threw me on the bed. I thought just for a moment but I’m too heavy for him, but he will drop me, I will crash through his arms. I will sink down and down through the pillows through the bed through the floorboards through the concrete in the basement into the earth itself. But not.

With one hand he held me down, the other he pushed under my dress until he found the top of my knickers. ‘Ah,’ he said with satisfaction, ‘here they are.’

He held me even more firmly and then he pulled my knickers down over my bottom. They knotted in front and got entangled with my pubic hairs so I tried to push myself up again but he forced me down until my head was almost smothered by the pillows. He ripped the knickers along my legs until they hung halfway between my ass and my knees and then he gave me a good slap. Hard slap. Right in the middle of my ass. The upturned face, the top of the hill, the smooth curve just as big as the imprint of his hand.

You really get to know a Dom by the way he beats you. Beating styles are just as individual as fucking or kissing or as a unique accent when you speak.

I love love love love to feel his hand on the crest of my ass. Just resting there. His fingers, his palm, his thumb. I could draw an outline for the blind school. I lie on my face, on my stomach, naked, vulnerable, turned towards him, so tender, so white, so smooth. He holds me down and I can feel his power. The tiny hairs on my back and thighs stand up in slow shared electricity. I know he is going to spank me.

Suddenly I get nervous. I slurp the air in little puppy breaths. I want to run away in my sheets and knickers.

People say you can’t feel what your senses don’t tell you, so if you can’t see or hear or taste or smell there is no way of getting information, but I don’t know. I felt his hand hovering above my ass. I could feel how he was thinking, waiting, watching me. I waited, too. I waited and the waiting filled the space between us.

His delight and excitement was all his own, just like his voice that changed and sunk down almost an octave deeper into his chest when he got to this point in the session. It was as if he became part of something greater than himself, but still uniquely him. He had a very special way of responding to my responses, with sometimes a little time delay as he adjusted to an unexpected reaction. He loved those moments.

He later said that Doms were the ‘uber subs’, watching and listening for the submissives’ signals all the time, the moans the shouts the little squeaks of delight, the big screams of pain and ecstasy, the faintest echo of terror so they can stop if we need it before we even know.

How the colour of her skin changes. How she is warm or cold.

How she breathes.

Right now I breathe hardly at all.

I can’t see him, I can’t hear him, I can’t feel his touch, but my whole being is tuned into him. Sometimes I wish this part would last forever. Sometimes I dream of lying there, suspended, for a very long time, not knowing what will come. Knowing what will come.

He arouses my passion, he serves my passion. He expresses his passion on me. On my body. On my soul by driving me so, so forcefully, so harshly, so relentlessly into surrender.

Now I can take his passion into me. My body is there for only one purpose: to receive his beating. I enter a plateau of pain and passion. I am surrendering to the violent shaking of my body. My body becomes his. His to use, his to beat, his to own and transform.

The inside of my vagina is humming. My lips are aching to be touched. The strokes on my ass wake up all the connecting channels between my sexual organs.

I want, I want, I want, I want, so much to be fucked. Right now. Now, now, now, under the beating. Simultaneously. Beaten and fucked. Fucked and beaten. I want a hard penis in my vagina, I want it to be rammed in and I want to be taken as hard inside as I am beaten.

My screams change to deeper moans, I can hear the change myself, I’m not controlling it, it just comes out of my body, out of my voice, out of my mouth. I’m not controlling my voice, my master controls it. My master controls me. He plays my whole body like a big drum.

I feel submission rush through my skin from head to foot. To lie here, dress pushed up, knickers pulled down, on my face, on my stomach, to be pushed into the corner of the bed, to be held down by my Dom. To be spanked. To be beaten. I am getting a beating from my Nai. He dominates me.

He works on me, he works for me, he is the master and the magician’s assistant, he sends me where he himself cannot go.

I am so free. I am flying through the night, high above death. Finally, the wild savage physical sensations match the wildness of my inner life.

I am just my wildly vibrating, hugely stimulated, beaten, flying, surrendered body.

 Out of the Shadows and into the Darkness

Excerpt 2: Power exchange

I am looking at him.

No, he is looking at me. And I am taking it in, the way he looks at me.

There is promise and thrill in this exchange. And a lot of love and trust. I am strong, I am free, I am wild. Just as he, in everything.

And I am here by my own choice.

I take in his energy. I let it go down into my very core.

He can see exactly what is happening. I hold the moment. I am in control. He humbly waits for my decision.

I choose to surrender.

Slowly, the balance of power between us shifts.

I give myself to him. He takes my power from me.

This is a complex, sophisticated process.

And it is wonderfully erotic and deeply fulfilling and dizzyingly wild. And it can happen without a word, without touch. Breath by breath.

I submit. I submit to his domination.

That is what I want. That is what he wants.

I am his submissive. Maybe for a lifetime, maybe just for now.

The tension between us is generating its own charge.

Submission to him arouses me. This is my true sexuality. Not my social role, not at all, but my sexuality.

Like many sexual orientations, it needs the right match to thrive.

Looking at each other, we have found it.

I am naked.

He is fully dressed.

He reaches out towards me.

He could do so many things to me, right now.

My submission calls for them. My vagina is opening her soft red mouth.

I want to yield and I want him to meet my softness with ruthless force.

I long to be subjected. In my way.

He touches my hair. Follows the long strands down over my shoulder and to the tip of my breasts. I am still.

My hands are bound behind my back.

Safely, in soft wide leather cuffs.

Securely, I cannot undo them, not that I want to or have ever tried, and I am powerless before my lover.

My dominant, my Dom.

He touches me, any way he wants.

I hold still. He gives, I receive. And I am in his power.

I don’t know what he is going to do next. And he doesn’t say.

That is another kind of power.

He tells me to go down on my knees.

My vagina gives a satisfied little tug.

My mind plays with the infinities of erotic subjugation.

I sigh.

I kneel on the floor, naked. He stands over me, still fully dressed.

‘Look at me,’ he says and slaps me softly in the face. A very light touch, almost a caress but not quite. I understand it perfectly. I should have looked at him without being told. This is part of his discipline. The understanding between us is part of the power exchange. We are very tuned into each other.

I look up at him.

My perspective has changed. I am much lower down now. This is my new and rightful place. At his feet.

I am getting dizzy. I am getting closer to the place of powerlessness, to the place of total yielding.

He slides his hand over my hair again but this time he grabs it, hard. All the nerve endings on my head start to scream. I have goose bumps all over my skin. He is making his domination physical.

I look into his eyes the whole time, although mine are filling with tears. He smiles. My subjection has been forced out into the open.

When he is satisfied, for now, he lets go of my hair and I kneel, hands bound behind my back, head dizzy in more than one way.

My master’s hands wander to his own body.

I am getting very moist. I think I know what is going to happen.

‘Watch,’ he says.

I do.

Slowly, very very slowly, my master is taking off his belt.

The sound as he undoes the clasp is humiliatingly, exhilaratingly familiar. I couldn’t stop looking if I tried.

He draws the belt out. Long, wide, well-worn leather. He slowly runs his hand along its length. I’m going to give up breathing.

He takes a step towards me until he stands so close that his crotch is pressed to my mouth.

I don’t know what he is going to do. Whatever it is, I will submit.

He is my master.

‘Down,’ he says quietly.

I understand. I obey.

I bend forward and lower my head until my face touches the floor, right next to his shoes. My bound hands sink into my back and come to rest on my shoulders.

Power has been exchanged.

He is the owner of my body and my soul.

He will do with me what he wants.

He may use his belt, on my naked, pale round ass, exposed and presented to him. He may turn round and take me from behind. He may play with the deep band of female arousal that goes from my ass to my clitoris, until I forget my name and even that I used to be a simple human.

Oh – what is this, exactly? Is there a name?

People call it BDSM. Yes it’s a Californian committee term.

I call it my sexuality.

My true sexuality, hidden under transparent veils.

Out of the Shadows and into the Darkness

Excerpt 3: The curious backpack

The backpack was old. A little torn at the top, where you had to draw a string together to keep it closed, and with rough edges that showed a pinkish colour underneath the black skin.

It was the backpack he carried on the night when I first met him. When he had looked so much like a man who had remained behind from former times.

He told me later: ‘I was very surprised, on the first night, when you said you would have sex with me’.

‘But,’ I said, ‘but you had your backpack.’

‘Oh yes,’ he said, ‘always keep the doors open.’

It was a lot to carry just for an open door.

And then there were the freshly cut bamboo sticks. He had cut them that day in his garden.

All the objects in the pack had been put carefully together. They were both a snapshot through the layers of that moment in his life and a collection from his whole history in BDSM.

There were soft scarves, some with a whip or a flogger wrapped inside them, there were laundry clips and suction tubes, there was a heavy collar and a furry blindfold. There was a strong little paddle.

And – he had an old well-used belt. Yes he did! I shivered with excitement and recognition when I first saw it.

It was wide, and thick, and softened with usage.

He saw how I looked at it.

In that moment we passed an invisible threshold.

It was a moment of extraordinary electricity, miles of film footage of possible scenarios raced past our eyes. Then we connected again, very directly, in this moment.

He picked the belt up and held it in front of me.

I was lying on the bed in the retro-colonial room, looking up at him, half curious, half seductive.

When he showed me the belt, I slipped off the edge of the bed so that I knelt and presented my bottom.

I was already naked.

He was still dressed.

I looked up at the belt, mesmerised with all the possibilities and meaning. I felt his hand on my head, pushing me towards it. He was a little rougher now, just a little.

I submitted and followed him until my face touched the worn leather.

Then I stuck my tongue out and licked it. I licked it from the end where it was already disintegrating a little, slow wide strokes with my tongue towards the buckle. I trembled with adoration and submission. He caught me by my hair, pulling my head up slowly and powerfully so that I had to lick the entire length of his belt.

Even through my own shivers I could feel him shake, too, his whole body shook as he held me and held up the belt for me to lick and then kiss.

It was a moment of great luminosity, come to shine into our shadow lives.

I started to cry and pushed my face into the sheets, still shaking.

Then I felt the cool leather slide onto my back, curling up like a snake. My Nai arranged its coils into perfect positions while my skin yearned for its touch.

‘Hold still,’ he said.

As if I could have done anything else!!

He stood and looked at me, for a long time. I carried his belt on my naked back, the instrument of my future pain and humiliation. Strongly desired, by him and by me.

I held my own breath and only heard his. I, a warm living woman, was the image from his dreams.

It took a long time, in that first session, before I was allowed to feel his belt.

First, as he always would in the future, he told me I would get spanked by his bare hand. A lover’s hand. He slipped the belt off my back, he wanted me naked and vulnerable all over my body.

I pushed my ass in the air, quiet, quiet, quivering in quiet. This waiting and submission was so sweet.

All the sensors in my skin expanded. It made me exquisitely sensitive. For what was to come.

Even then, he caught me off guard. He didn’t like me to be prepared. He enjoyed that last little edge, where I wasn’t able to give my spanking to him, where he overwhelmed me with it.

He was a true connoisseur of spanking.

Maybe he also waited because he knew he was on the threshold of showing himself, as he really was. The first stroke was incontrovertible proof of his unacceptable and savage desires. Maybe he was assaulted by doubt and fear.

Just like me.

And as the object of those savage desires he chose me, me of all women. I was there, to receive his beating.

I was witness to his need.

Then he gave me my first hard slap, across both cheeks with his open palm. It pushed a little shout out of my throat. He gave me the next one deep on my sitting bone and I yelped, and then I laughed and we were no longer afraid.

It turned into a long-drawn-out, hard, wild, fast, and increasingly painful spanking. My Nai spanked me harder with his hand than many other men with implements. And, even that first time, he was so tuned in to my body, my voice, the slightest changes in my being and responded to them easily and fiercely.

But all that time while he gave me his hand, hard on my ass and my ass turning hot and sore under his strokes, he placed the belt so that we could both see it, in front of my eyes on a white pillow.

When I shouted out loudly, when I struggled and jerked with the impact of his open palm, he pushed me down on the bed and held me there and said, just said in his dark slow voice, a voice that had emerged only with his first blow: ‘Look at the belt.’

Out of the Shadows and into the Darkness

Excerpt 4: I was a BDSM hermit

I was a BDSM hermit.

Sometimes, most times, I could live with it.

I said to myself: yes, I want to be a Submissive to a Dominant in real life.

But I couldn’t be.

I said to myself: yes, but I’d like to have my own opera house too.

Some dreams are only possible for a fortunate few, a very, very fortunate few.

So then I was lying in my bed, awash with longing.

So much longing it spilled out in tears.

I saw my shadow on the wall and it was all I had.

I did have lovers.

Of course, throughout my long life before I found my Nai, of course I had lovers.

But they were not the lovers I saw in my deepest dreams.

I had sex, but I did not live my true sexuality.I

What was it like, in the long, long years before I found a way to meet my Doms? (Yes, I did meet them, on my journey, even before I met my Nai.)

Before I even thought of having the courage of trying to devise a way to go and find them?

Telling a man

Lying in his arms, holding him tight and wishing he would hold me tighter, feeling his hand on my naked skin.

My body there, and my mind was dreaming and longing.

I sighed and shivered, but not from my lover’s touch.

Outside I was with him, inside I was with him too, but with a different version of him. Him as the Dom.

Inside myself, I tried to magnify his tentative stroking of my back so that I could imagine a spanking. When he put his hand between my legs I longed for him to be more forceful. I wanted him to take me completely and shake my whole body. I wanted to look into his eyes and see the joy and triumph of domination.

Instead I was alone, trying to amplify faint signals on my skin into the huge waves and towering storms that are my true home.

I often felt like a hollow doll.

Then sometimes, though less and less often as I learned from experience, I would tell him.

How to tell? So difficult. Particularly when what I wanted was still only a desire, a reality inside, the inner life of the doll, stuffed full to bursting but divided from the air by her porcelain shell.

Now it is easier, now I can start by telling a story from my life. I can hint lightly. I can watch out for signs with so much more knowledge.

I can also not have sex with vanilla men. At all.

But then?

When I was very young I sort of knew you weren’t supposed to be into BDSM. But at the same time I was so joyfully aware of the full range of my sexuality that it was hard to take that seriously.

I liked to welcome a penis in my vagina. I equally liked to welcome a hard hand on my ass, and a rope forcing my wrists together.

The men I dated then were very young too.

Maybe that was the reason.

Maybe it just was the times. People just emerging from the deadly shadows of enforced respectability.

But every single time I brought the subject up, stammering, blushing, fearful and hopeful, I got the same reaction.

I was rebuffed, rejected and despised.

The nice boy looked at me and told me I was disgusting, I was sick, I had a mental illness.

I was a pervert. He was not. He was normal.

I stood there like a witch found out. In my white shift of condemnation. I was lucky I wasn’t burned.

Only thrown out and quarantined from his healthy life. I don’t know what he told others.

There were a few of him until I shut up. For many, many years.

Before I travelled round the world.

Before I found myself, high above the dark red city of ancient kings, forced naked through the liquid glass by my master, by my Nai.

Out of the Shadows and into the Darkness

*RELEASE DAY LAUNCH with Excerpt & Giveaway* Glitch (Corporate Hitman Vol. 1) by Olivia Linden & Leteisha Newton

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GLITCH
by LeTeisha Newton, Olivia Linden
Corporate Hitman Vol. 1
Publication Date: 24 November 2014
Genres: Romance, Suspense
Purchase from Amazon

Glitch Cover

Synopsis:

Liam Gallagher was one of the most notorious hackers in the cyber world. Known for his high profile hacks and superior cleanup skills. Until he got pinched, and hit with a forty-eight month sentence for a crime the feds still can’t quite figure out.

Taking Pierce Eaglemohr’s offer to work for Hawk Global Industries, in exchange for his hacker skills, was a no-brainer. His only other option was to stay in jail, with the threat of not making it out alive.

There was only one condition. No past, no memories.

With no real friends or family tying him down, he takes the deal and assumes a new identity working as the head of IT for one of the fastest growing corporations in the defense industry.But he wasn’t the only one.Part of a trio of ex-cons, Glitch’s tasks increased in level of danger and risk until he was just as lethal with a keyboard as he was with a gun. Together, his partners in crime formed a bond so tight that it helped to make up for the family and friends they left behind. The work was easy, the money was good, and they were out of jail so life was good.

When a simple hack job turned wrong ends with him face to face with a tech savvy beauty from his past, he realizes for the first time how much he gave up. And how little Eagle values his work or his life. When Glitch learns that the very man who gave him a new start is the one who is threatening to take it all away, he devises a plan for the trio to retire into obscurity.

Now, he leads the Hitman crew on their task of breaking out of the nasty web of corruption that Eagle has ensnared them in. Things are going to get pretty nasty along the way, even a little sexy, but it’s all in a day’s work for a Corporate Hitman.

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About the Authors

Olivia LindenOlivia Linden

Olivia Linden, a native New Yorker, was raised between Queens and San Antonio, TX. Currently living in Florida with her 10 year-old son, she decided it was time to follow her dreams of becoming a full time author. Her creative itch began when her elementary school principal posted one of her stories in the halls of her school. She was only seven at the time, but old enough to understand how integral writing would be to her future. From that moment on, reading and writing became her two greatest passions.

Olivia is a newbie to the industry, but she hasn’t stopped writing since she found her literary voice all those years ago. Jaded Hearts, her first published novel, mixes her big personality, with a sexy yet humorous tone. It is her philosophy that laughter is essential to making it through even the toughest situations.

LeTeisha Newton is the author of a plethora of novels ranging from hot Interracial Erotica, Paranormal biters, Fantasy, and Urban Fantasy genres. She’s known for her extensive knowledge of shifter cultures, even outside of the generic werewolves and vampires, crazy world-building, and making shapeshifters feel like they are living right next door.That has led to her being dubbed the Shifter Queen. Some of her series include the best-selling Claimed and Taken Series.

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EXCERPT #1

So you think I’ve been looking for you like some lovesick woman with stars in her eyes? Is that what you think of me?”

Shit, she was pissed.

“That’s not what I think of you, but I just wanted to…” he tried to explain but Araceli stopped him with a sharp poke to his chest.

“The only thing I expect from you is your honesty,” she said as she poked him again. “I didn’t come here for some sort of fairytale ending. I came here to find the only man that I have ever connected with in my life. I know what the fuck I need and want. So as long as you’re a man of your word we should be fine,” she finished, attempting to poke him again, but Glitch grabbed her wrist before she did.

Her feisty rant was probably meant to set him straight, but all it did was make him unbelievably aroused. His chest heaved slightly as the intensity of his desire for her made its rounds through his body. The ache in his groin, the hardening of his cock, the urge in his hands to touch her, and the need to taste her with his mouth.

“You know what I do need?” Her voice lowered to a sultry, edgy purr, and she flicked her little pink tongue across her bottom lip as they continued to gaze into each other’s eyes.

“Tell me,” he demanded, his voice hoarse from lust. “Tell me what you need.”

“Take my clothes off. The only thing I need right now is to feel you inside me. That’s one thing that I have expected.” Her voice was full of need as she leaned her body closer to his.

“Fuck your clothes,” Glitch growled as he pulled her roughly against him. She gasped lightly in surprise of his sudden action but sighed deeply when his lips brushed the sensitive flesh of her neck. Firm as steel, his erection taunted her as his hips flexed into her. His fingers dug into her flesh as he bunched her skirt up around her thighs, and she began to understand his meaning. Araceli was glad she decided to dress up for their dinner, forgoing the sweats that were her normal hacker attire. Even though, something told her he would have just ripped them away with the intensity in which he handled her.

“Kiss me,” he commanded.

EXCERPT #2

From the driver’s seat, Glitch strained to see what was happening in the rearview mirror while trying to keep his eye on traffic. His tension was growing by the minute, and something about the little exchange between their mark and Scratch had set him off. There was something about that voice, and the fact that he only knew one woman who liked to call men nut sack lickers.

The loud blaring horn of a garbage truck snapped him back to attention as he swerved to keep from crashing with the truck head on.

Jesus Christ,” Scratch bellowed from the back of the van. “Yo! You need to get a fucking grip,” he continued to bark at Glitch.

“Get her name,” Glitch demanded, ignoring Scratch’s outburst.

“You just watch the fucking road and let me do my job,” Scratch retorted.

“Just ask her fucking name!” Glitch was wired from the anxiety and excitement pumping through his veins. His instincts were never wrong, and right now they were telling him exactly who the woman with the stellar computer skills and potty mouth was. He just wanted confirmation.

Scratch and Jack exchanged confused glances at Glitch’s outburst.

“You heard him, Doll. Tell the nice man your name,” Scratch ordered. He would wait until later to deal with whatever was up Glitch’s ass. He glared at the woman expectantly. Waiting for her to curse him again or refuse, but her entire expression changed when she heard Glitch’s voice. As if she’d seen a ghost.

“Hex,” she whispered. Her face now anxious as she chewed her bottom lip.

“What?” Both Scratch and Glitch asked at the same time.

“She said Hex,” Jack added. He was now eyeing her with thinly veiled suspicion.

Glitch felt his blood run cold. He knew it. The way the hacker had mirrored his own program against him. The way they taunted him, only running their rogue program after business hours.  Hex was the only hacker who had ever challenged him like that. She was also the only woman who ever held his interest. Made him feel things that he thought he was immune to.

When he got locked up, there was no way he could contact her without getting her involved in his mess. Any contact would have led the cops straight to her, and Glitch wouldn’t have that. He’d rather man up and take the fall to protect her. But when Eagle brokered his deal to freedom, one of the consequences was to sever all ties to his past. That meant no going back, so he never contacted her again. He felt it was safer that way, for both of them.

Now, here she was. Tied up and terrified as Scratch and Jack looked like they are about to nullify her life expectancy. They had no idea who she was or what she meant to him. But he knew, and a flood of memories assaulted him as if to make sure. The way she laughed at all his corny jokes. The funny faces she would make when she taunted him about his work. The many nights they spent chatting via webcam until her eyes were heavy with sleep. The longing he had for her had never gone away. And now she was here.

“Wait,” Glitch called out. Making a quick right turn, he pulled into the parking lot of a hardware store. The van wouldn’t stick out like a sore thumb here. Cutting the engine, Glitch took a deep breath before handing the keys to an already high-strung Jack, giving him something else to do besides focusing on how he could inflict bodily harm to Hex.

“What the hell are you doing?” Jack’s razor sharp tone sliced through the thick air in the van. Scratch was trying to keep an eye on their mark, but kept glancing between Glitch and Jack as the tension mounted between them.

“Yo, Glitch. What are you doing, man?” Scratch’s voice was wary. He knew that whatever was going on wasn’t part of the plan, and that was never a good thing. Especially coming from Glitch, who was the most sensible and emotionally tempered one out of the three. While all three shared a bond, Scratch and Glitch had grown really tight. He knew something was going on with Glitch, and his friend hadn’t told him.

“Just let me get back there and I’ll explain. Jack, you drive.” Glitch didn’t want to waste any more time bickering with Jack. That would get too ugly.

With a glare that let Glitch know that he better not fuck things up, Jack snatched the keys and they switched places.

Glitch couldn’t believe his eyes. It was really her, and she was more beautiful than he remembered. Her dark curly hair was now restrained into a bun, but the fire dancing in her eyes was still there. Everything about her called to him. The long eyelashes that framed her cat like slits. The deep tan skin. Same sultry voice.

Their eyes connected and he saw the fear shining in hers, but also a glimmer of something else. Something that said maybe he wasn’t the only one harboring their past as a special place in his heart. As much as he hated to admit it, he had feelings for Hex back then, and he still did.

“This better be good,” Scratch mumbled as Glitch took a seat next to him. Glitch just nodded, and turned his full attention to Hex. Breaking their stare-down, he spoke first.

“You want to explain to me what you were doing?” He’d wanted to say something smooth, to let her know that he would make sure she was safe. That he was happy to see her, but he couldn’t with Scratch watching his every move. Since he didn’t know her angle yet, there was no use in making promises.

“I told you I would always find you,” she responds.

Wrong answer. Terrible answer.

Buy Links:

Amazon US – http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00Q1KGYGC