Saturday, August 5, 2017

Dragon Rebel Blitz, Excerpt & Giveaway!


Dragon Rebel
Ophelia Bell
(Immortal Dragons, #4)
Publication date: August 1st 2017
Genres: Adult, Paranormal, Romance

If Assana looked up the word “nymphomaniac” in the dictionary, she might expect to find her own image in place of the definition, especially after meeting the immortal red dragon, Gavra. The timing couldn’t be worse for her to discover the mate that Fate intended—the one she’d be willing to let go of her tightly bound hold on her deepest sexual desires for—the one who literally drives her mad with lust. Now that she needs her sanity more than anything to regain control of her race’s home from her own insane mother, she’s faced with the inconvenient desire to lose control and be that primal nymph she keeps locked inside.
Thank Gaia for Silas. The handsome young ursa male is blessed with magic that can calm the lust-filled madness threatening to consume Assana’s mind. She needs him more than ever now that she has no choice but to spend her days in close proximity to the dragon she desires more than anything… yet doesn’t dare touch lest she give in to that ancient, primal need all nymphaea are born with.
For red dragon Gavra, he can only put off having the beautiful nymph maiden for so long, or the ursa male who Fate has promised him. Once Assana’s crazy mother is out of the way, nothing will stop Gavra from claiming and marking them both as his.


EXCERPT

“Well that was fun.”
Gavra spun around at the sound of the deep, familiar voice that had so recently been speaking inside his head. His brother stood in the center of his room, his arms crossed and a grim smile on his face.
“Aodh,” he said, unable to mask the utter relief he felt at seeing his white-haired brother whole and in the flesh. He pulled the other man into a fierce embrace that was returned in kind, releasing him when Aodh stiffened.
Gavra looked back in the direction of his brother’s gaze and saw Vrishti standing with an excited look about to breach the barrier into his room.
“No!” Aodh said. “Please stay where you are, love.”
“She wants to see you,” Gavra said. “Surely you won’t deny her a proper greeting.”
Aodh shook his head. “A proper greeting? She’s not ready, brother. Perhaps it’s fine for you and Silas to tangle before you’ve marked him. We can’t risk her reputation while she’s still learning about her kind.” Turning to Vrishti, he said, “After we’ve settled these issues with the Haven, love. I promise you no prison can keep me from you then.”
Vrishti dropped the hand she had been about to push past the barrier and nodded. Her eyes grew glassy and she took a shaky breath. “I’ll be ready for you, I promise,” she said. “I can’t stand to see you trapped like this… I’m sorry. Be safe. Keep him safe…” She directed the last comment to Gavra and Assana, who both nodded.
Gavra gave Assana a perplexed look. “Why didn’t you drift into the room with him?”
Assana carefully avoided his gaze as she hugged Vrishti farewell and watched the other female go, then she glanced at Silas, a look of pure gratitude on her lovely face. The big ursa male moved closer to her, wrapped an arm around her and held her. Gavra’s chest felt leaden at the way the pair looked at each other – like they belonged in each other’s arms. They were kindred elements, both Gaia’s children, and made sense together more than Gavra himself made sense with either of them. The way he and Silas crashed together with such fiery, explosive force felt right to him, but it was not easy, or pretty – it was passionate, volatile, and destructive.
“He calms my primal spirit,” Assana said softly. “I’m afraid to come closer to you because you only make the madness claw at my mind more. I allowed Aodh to take control of his own drift once he promised to go where I asked. I couldn’t be in the same room with you for fear of losing control. I’m sorry, Gavra… I can’t let myself lose control, not when my entire home, my family’s well being is at stake. Please understand.”
He wanted to roar in protest, to breathe flames at the barrier and pull her inside, show her how right it would be to let go and be her true self – the wild nymph he sensed glimmers of beneath the surface whenever their eyes met. The insatiable creature who haunted his dreams, responding to his heat so perfectly.
Aodh’s hand rested on his shoulder and gave him a comforting squeeze.
Gavra swallowed the molten lump in his throat and nodded. Finding his voice, he said, “I want you wild, Assana. The first time I’m inside you, you can be damn sure control will be the last thing on anyone’s minds.”
Silas tightened his hold on Assana protectively, though his aura flared bright red in response to Gavra’s promise. She closed her eyes and took a long, slow breath as though fortifying herself before opening her eyes.
Her hypnotic, whirlpool gaze met his through the barrier. “I want that, too. To share my primal essence with you both, to taste yours when we’re thrice melded and feel your heat deep inside my mind. To feel you etch your mark on my skin. Gaia save me, I would take that now, but I can’t risk losing myself to that need. There is too much at stake. Please understand… I need Silas to keep my own nymphaea madness in check, but I promise you the first time you’re inside me will be the first time my quim is filled by any male’s seed.”
Gavra groaned at the promise, forcing himself to pull his gaze away from her or else risk burning down the entire Sanctuary to get to her.
“It looks like Silas is going to have his hands full sating us both separately then,” he said, staring heatedly at the big ursa male. “Can you handle that?”
Silas gave him a lazy smile. “I welcome it.”

Author Bio:
Ophelia Bell loves a good bad-boy and especially strong women in her stories. Women who aren't apologetic about enjoying sex and bad boys who don't mind being with a woman who's in charge, at least on the surface, because pretty much anything goes in the bedroom.
Ophelia grew up on a rural farm in North Carolina and now lives in Los Angeles with her own tattooed bad-boy husband and four attention-whoring cats.
If you'd like to receive regular updates on Ophelia's publications, freebies, and discounts, please subscribe to her mailing list: http://opheliabell.com/subscribe/ 


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Power Play Blitz, Excerpt & Giveaway!


Power Play
Sophia Henry
(Pilots Hockey #2)
Publication date: February 16th 2016
Genres: New Adult, Romance

In Sophia Henry’s blistering follow-up to Delayed Penalty, hailed as “sexy, fun, and full of angst” by L. P. Dover, a good girl and a hockey hunk face off against expectations—and this match is guaranteed to see plenty of action.
Beneath her innocent facade, Gabriella Bertucci has her reasons to be standoffish with guys. Especially guys like Landon Taylor, a star defenseman on the minor-league Detroit Pilots and the object of a serious crush since he first walked into her family’s market. But when Landon comes through for her in a moment of crisis, Gaby starts to wonder if there might be more to Landon than hard muscles and fast skates.
Landon isn’t afraid of telling Gaby that he’s got it for her bad. The problem is, she seems unwilling to believe it. And though Landon enjoys his reputation as a cool-headed athlete, he hates losing—both on the rink and off. It’s his competitiveness that makes him so damn good at what he does . . . but it also makes him just a little bit complicated.
One minute Gaby’s tempted to give in; the next, she’s getting cold feet. How can she trust a guy who’s destined for bigger and better things to stick around? Then again, when Landon pulls her close with those powerful arms, the only thing that matters is right now.


EXCERPT

Intro: Gaby works at a store that Landon’s family have been patrons at for years, so they’ve known each other on a friendly level. In the second chapter, Landon tries to prove to Gaby that he isn’t a stranger. They have a natural, easy way with each other and great banter. This is a scene with a fun exchange between Gaby and Landon. This snippet comes from end of the scene after Gaby grills Landon with questions—all of which he answers correctly.
From POWER PLAY:
“How did you know that?” I glanced past him. A slight movement outside the door had caught my eye, but no customers walked through.
“Told you we weren’t strangers.”
“You’re creeping me out. Seriously.” I thought I held the championship belt for scary stalker. At least I had a reason: Landon Taylor, my vote for sexiest man alive and hottest hockey player in the AHL. But there was no reason for him remember random facts about me. “I’m not—anything.”
“Or maybe you’re everything.”
“What?” My brain didn’t have the capacity to wrap itself around everything going on right now. My dad had a heart attack. My crush alludes to me being everything—whatever that means. Can’t think. Storage limit maxed out.
“I pay attention when it comes to you, Gaby.”
“But why?” Surreal couldn’t even begin to describe this moment.
“You were my first kiss.” After sprinkling that confusing seed in my head, Landon spun around and walked out. Through the front window, I watched him thread his fingers together behind his head and raise them toward the clouds in a stretch as he disappeared from my line of sight.

Author Bio:
Award-Winning Author, Sophia Henry, is a proud Detroit native who fell in love with reading, writing and hockey all before she became a teenager. She did not, however, fall in love with snow. So after graduating with an English degree from Central Michigan University, she moved to the warmth of North Carolina for the remainder of her winters.
She spends her days writing books featuring hot, hockey-playing heroes. When she’s not writing, she’s chasing her two high-energy sons, watching her beloved Detroit Red Wings, and rocking out at concerts.
Sophia's writes heartfelt and flirty fiction for readers who love the Mature Young Adult and New Adult genres. Check out her emotional and engaging Pilots Hockey series from Random House Flirt.

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Friday, August 4, 2017

Forbidden Series Tour, Excerpt & Giveaway!


Hidden from humans in Minneapolis/St. Paul, there is a century-old divide between vampires and shifters. All that changes when the youngest generation breaks free from old traditions and changes the very rules they have all lived by.

Forbidden Addiction
Forbidden Series
Book Four
R.L. Kenderson

Genre: Paranormal romance

Date of Publication: 8/1/2017

ISBN: 978-0-9988770-3-7

Number of pages: 270
Word Count: 78,000

Cover Artist: Estrella Cover Art

Book Description:

With a tortured past, she’s a cat-shifter who refuses to get close to anyone. Yet she can’t seem to resist the leader of the vampire protectors.

Phoenix Kaplan has never felt a connection like the one she has with Dante Leonidas. She might service him monthly, allowing him to feed from her blood, but as much as her body tells her differently, she knows it can be nothing more, not with her insecurities and inability to be intimate with a male.

That is, until she realizes the one thing she desires most in the world is something he can give her…and she propositions him to impregnate her.

She’s never wanted anything more than to be a mother, and all she needs is this one thing from Dante.

Although he should refuse, Dante can’t resist the temptation. He’s addicted not only to her blood, but also to the enigma that is purely Phoenix. And he is determined to prove to her that he can give her much more than what she asked for.
She might protect her heart with an impenetrable wall, but he’s willing to do whatever it takes to break down that wall in order to get what he desires most in the world.

Excerpt Forbidden Addiction:
Dante Leonidas raised his head from the map spread out on his desk from where he’d been studying it when he heard the rap at his door.
Phoenix.
Usually, he prepared himself before she arrived, but he’d been so lost in thought that he didn’t notice her scent or her presence, despite her blood in him. He cursed himself for not paying attention, but it didn’t really matter. He’d never be truly equipped to see her.
“Enter,” he called out.
The entrance to his office opened, and Phoenix slipped through before closing the door behind her.
Dante held his breath as the aroma of sunshine flooded the room, but it was too late. Her scent teased his nostrils, and suddenly, his pants were too tight as his cock hardened under his fly. He had to reach down and adjust himself under the desk before the painful position caused him to wince. Males always talked about having big dicks, but honestly, it wasn’t that great. It could really be a pain in the ass sometimes. No pun intended.
“Hey,” the beautiful cat-shifter said as she approached his desk.
She was sans makeup with her long red-and-black hair in a ponytail while she wore her usual outfit of shapeless clothing. Today, it was a sweater and jeans. But, despite her baggy attire, Dante could still make out her curves underneath. It didn’t hurt that he’d seen her without her clothes in the past. Picturing her naked didn’t help his hard-on.
She glanced down at the Minneapolis/St. Paul area map that he’d been reviewing before she entered. “What are you looking at?”
He pointed to the Xs he’d made in red. “I marked all the incidents on the list in hopes that maybe a pattern or something would jump out at me.” Dante threw the pen he held on top of the map as he leaned back in his chair and exhaled his frustration. “So far, it’s been a bust.”
Over the last few months, crimes had been happening to vampire and shifter residences and places of business. It wasn’t like the paranormal community was immune to crime, but the unusual part about it was how they were all coming in pairs. Whatever happened to a vampire-owned place, the same thing would happen to a shifter-owned place. The first incident had been graffiti at a vampire-owned restaurant on the same night a shifter-owned restaurant was hit. It was an obvious message to both vampires and shifters. The latest incidents were fires started at vampire- and shifter-owned homes with an hour of each other. The worst part of the entire situation was that the human police were starting to notice.
Phoenix came around to his side of the desk and leaned over to read the map and his notes. Her baggy pants hung on her hips, but when she bent over, they stretched across her ass, and Dante had to fight not to ogle her. His erection got harder, if that was even possible, and he fought his desire to pull her into his lap, strip off her clothes, and bury himself inside her.
But that would never happen.
Despite the fact that she was there to feed him, they were not in a romantic or sexual relationship. Dante didn’t know all the details about what had happened to Phoenix in her past, but he knew she had been traumatized. So, while he usually had sex with the females he fed from, the only thing he’d be sinking inside her were his fangs. His little head didn’t get it, but his big head did, and he wasn’t going to add to her issues. For now, feeding from her and being her friend was enough. But, damn, this celibacy thing just might kill him.
Maybe, someday, he would tell her how he felt about her, but today wasn’t that day. She wasn’t ready to hear it.
Turning his thoughts back to the task at hand, he asked her, “Have you guys come up with anything?”
She spun around and sat on the edge of the desk, the emerald greens of her eyes filled with vexation. “No. Are you coming to the meeting tomorrow?”
“Yes, we’ll all be there.”
“That’s good.” She nodded her approval. “One of the wolf-shifter sentinels is an officer in the Minneapolis Police Department. Damien told Vance that the sentinel would fill us in on what the humans knew.”
The wolf-shifter alpha was really proving himself to the cat-shifter alpha. Damien wasn’t going to let the newly healed bond between the two subspecies get fractured again, it seemed.
Dante furrowed his brows. “You don’t have any cat-shifters in the police force?”
“Yes, we do, but none of them are sentinels. They give us information, but we don’t share what we know back with them. It’s a good idea, what Damien did, having someone working both angles. I just hope Vance doesn’t make one of us sign up for the police academy.” She made a face of disgust. “At least, I hope it isn’t me.”
Dante chuckled. “Humans aren’t that bad.”
She looked at him like he was crazy. “Humans aren’t that bad? The same species that traditionally comes at your species with a stake through the heart?”
“Pretty sure none of the members of the St. Paul Police Department are carrying stakes.”
“No, just guns.”
He laughed again. “I suppose you have a point.”
“So, does that mean you have vampires on the force? How does that work with the sun thing?”
“Of course we do. They enter the academy before their conversion, and after, they work the night shift.” Dante frowned. “Although I never thought to have one of the Guardians work for us and the police at the same time. It is smart.”
The conversation stalled, and silence fell over the room. Their eyes met, but neither moved.
The knock at the door broke the quietness, and Dante looked at the bare skin on Phoenix’s neck. “Come back later. I’m busy.”
He swiveled his chair to face her and opened his legs. “Come here, Red.”

Forbidden Temptation
Forbidden Series
Book Three
R.L. Kenderson

Genre: Paranormal romance

Date of Publication: 8/18/2015

ISBN: 978-0-9904144-7-6

ASIN: B0100BOE7S

Number of pages: 244

Word Count: 73,500

Book Description:

Since one fateful evening at a nightclub, Kenzie Swanson and Sawyer Lennar have shared an undeniable attraction. They’ve had moments where they couldn’t ignore their desires, succumbing to their needs, and Sawyer has marked Kenzie in a way that no other man can.

But there is one problem that continues to keep them apart.

As a cat-shifter with a traumatic past, Sawyer hates humans—and Kenzie is all human.

Sawyer’s hatred pushes Kenzie away, and they try to maintain their distance from each other—until they are mistakenly kidnapped and have to act as a couple. When the unforeseen happens, Kenzie can only do so much to deny herself from being intimate with Sawyer.

Given a chance at what might have been, Sawyer and Kenzie are forced to face the forbidden temptation to be with one another.


Amazon      BN      Apple      Kobo      Google Play      Amazon UK


Forbidden Heat
Forbidden Series
Book Two
R.L. Kenderson

Genre: Paranormal romance

Date of Publication: 12/16/2014

ISBN: 978-0-9904144-4-5
ASIN: B00PYRJE7Y

Number of pages: 305
Word Count: 90,500

Book Description:

Payton Llewelyn, daughter to the cat-shifter alpha, wakes up with a throbbing head and a bullet wound to the hip. Recalling the events that led her there, the scent of a shifter permeates her senses—not that of a cat though, but of a wolf.

Damien Lowell, future pack leader of the wolf-shifters, has found himself in an impossible situation. Cat-shifters and wolf-shifters aren’t friends, and what Payton doesn’t know is that his father is behind her attack. He only meant to prevent her from being kidnapped, and he now has the wounded princess of the cat-shifters in his custody.

But when the heat becomes too much to handle, Damien and Payton must choose whether to follow their instincts or question the forbidden.

Amazon      BN      Apple      Kobo      Google Play      Amazon UK

Excerpt  Forbidden Heat:

She tried to open her eyes, but she had a headache, and the daylight hurt her pupils. Then, there were the smells. She wasn’t at home or any other place that was familiar, and the scent of wolf-shifter was strong.
Wolf-shifter. Payton sat up in bed, jarring her side and sending shooting pains through her head.
“Oh,” she moaned as the previous night came back to her.
She’d left the restaurant after dinner with friends. Three humans had come out of nowhere and attacked. She had been injured, and then surprisingly, a wolf-shifter had saved her. It was all very strange.
There shouldn’t have been any wolf-shifters in the Twin Cities, but she supposed a few would slip past their radar every once in a while. Since this one had rescued her, she was shockingly unconcerned. So, that was not what bothered her the most.
Actually, it was the humans. Something about them and that whole situation disturbed her. She’d been in the lit parking lot of a busy restaurant in a good neighborhood. Why had they picked her to rob? Why there? Unfortunately, thinking only made her head hurt worse. She’d worry about it later. She should be more concerned about the present anyway.
She looked around the room, finally noticing her surroundings. Hardwood floors and walls all around showed that it was a cabin of some sort. From her spot on the bed, she looked through the window and could see the cloudy winter sky and an endless sight of bare trees with a small amount of snow coating the branches.
The scent of cedar was strong, but it wasn’t the wood cabin. It was her wolf.
My wolf?
She mentally shook her head. She’d meant, her wolf rescuer. It was obviously his place. She looked at the empty spot next to her with the rumpled sheets and the dent on the pillow. This was obviously his room. Had he slept next to her?
A cupboard slammed in the other room. Sticking her nose in the air, she caught a whiff of food cooking, and her stomach rumbled.
She searched the room for a clock with no luck, and she assumed it was late morning or early afternoon. It was light outside, and days were short in November, so midday was a good guess.
Throwing back the covers, Payton attempted to swing her legs over the side of the bed.
Bad idea.
Pain radiated everywhere. She would need to do this a little slower.
Carefully, she put her right leg on the floor first. She noticed her right leg was bare. She looked down at herself. She could feel she was sans underwear. A man’s flannel shirt was the only thing she wore. She grabbed the collar and brought it to her nose. Although the smell was faint, it was the wolf’s shirt. It had been washed after he’d last worn it, and now, her scent covered it, too.
She pulled up the shirt to look at her throbbing hip. The wound was bandaged and clean from what she could see. Next, she picked up a chunk of her hair, seeing it had also been washed.
He had bathed her, and she wasn’t sure how she felt about that. She appreciated his care, but she knew he’d seen her naked—as if things weren’t already awkward.
She lowered her shirt and moved to place her other foot on the floor. She was working up her motivation to stand when the wolf came to the door, carrying a tray of food.
They both froze.
“Payton?”
Wow. Now, this was a man.

Forbidden Blood
Forbidden Series
Book One
R.L. Kenderson

Genre: Paranormal romance

Date of Publication: 07/01/2014

ISBN: 978-0-9904144-1-4
ASIN: B00LDTYYDQ

Number of pages: 302
Word Count: 96,000

Book Description:

Next in line to lead the vampire species, Princess Naya Kensington has always abided by her royal responsibilities. At the urging of her best friend, Naya breaks the rules and crosses the line when she goes to a human nightclub. Following a chance encounter, Naya alters her life with a singular act forged from lust and blood.

Vaughn Llewelyn has secrets and obligations of his own, but he ignores them when he spots Naya across the nightclub. He wants her in a way he’s never felt before, and although he can’t possibly have more than one night with Naya, he knows no one else will do.

One night of forbidden love creates a bond that will forever change both of their lives…as well as their worlds.

Amazon      BN      Apple      Kobo       Google Play      Amazon UK

Excerpt  Forbidden Blood:

As Naya moved closer, she found a small opening near the corner of the bar. When she reached the counter, it was obvious as to why the space had been empty. Next to her sat a disheveled man perched on a stool. He stank of alcohol and smelled like he was about a week overdue for a shower. He ogled her, making her uncomfortable, but people were swarming the bar around her, so she was unable to put the space she wanted between herself and the dirty drunk.
However, she was sick of people forcing her to do things she didn’t want to do, whether it was consciously or subconsciously on their part. She was going to get a drink, head to the floor, and dance until she started to have fun, even if it killed her. She would not let anyone ruin her plans.
“Hey, baby,” he said as he scooted closer, looking her up and down and almost falling over in the process. Apparently, his intoxicated state wasn’t going to stop him because he next slurred, “You’re hot,” as he swayed into her personal bubble.
She’d had to hold her breath when he spoke since his teeth hadn’t met a toothbrush in some time.
Naya faced forward and ignored him, hoping he would get the hint. While situations like this didn’t happen often, she had learned that silence was sometimes the best policy.
He leaned in closer. “I said, hey, baby.”
This time, she gave him a stern look. “Sir, I am not your baby.” She turned away, praying the straightforward approach would work.
“Wanna come home with me tonight? We can grab a six-pack of beer and fuck.”
She gasped. “No!” Gross.
“What? You don’t like beer?” He laughed at his joke and extended his hand to touch her.
She jerked her arm away and lifted her chin with confidence. “I’m here with someone.”
If only it were true.
He called her bluff. “I don’t see anyone with you. Why are you playing hard to get, dollface?”
She groaned. Why won’t he go away?
She took a small step back, irritated that she had to be the one to leave, when she sensed a presence behind her. Even though she couldn’t see the person, she knew immediately that he was big, male, and powerful. But she wasn’t afraid. In fact, a calm sense of relief came over her, and she instinctively recognized he was the one who had been watching her. The deep feelings he’d first stirred in her now flared to life. Anticipation, excitement, arousal, and exhilaration fused into one. Her head was spinning as her nostrils flared, and the lonely place between her legs blazed to life.
From the mirror behind the bar, she caught a glimpse of a virile male before he slipped his arm around her waist and pulled her flush against him, engulfing her body with his own. He kissed her neck and lingered there as if he had the right.
She tilted her head and let him.


About the Author:
R.L. Kenderson is two best friends writing under one name.

Renae has always loved reading, and in third grade, she wrote her first poem where she learned she might have a knack for this writing thing. Lara remembers sneaking her grandmother’s Harlequin novels when she was probably too young to be reading them, and since then, she knew she wanted to write her own.

When they met in college, they bonded over their love of reading and the TV show Charmed. What really spiced up their friendship was when Lara introduced Renae to romance novels. When they discovered their first vampire romance, they knew there would always be a special place in their hearts for paranormal romance. After being unable to find certain storylines and characteristics they wanted to read about in the hundreds of books they consumed, they decided to write their own.

They both live in the Minneapolis/St. Paul area where they’re a sonographer/stay-at-home mom/wife and pharmacist/mother by day and a sexy author by night. They always love hearing from their readers.








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Stolen Ink Blitz

Stolen Ink

 Book Blitz~ Stolen Ink Author: Holly Evans Genre: Fantasy Date: 4th of August Hosted by: Ultimate Fantasy Book Tours

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Blurb: I’m Dacian, a tattoo magician. Life was pretty good. All I had to worry about was finding a pretty guy to fall into bed with at the end of the week. Then everything started to fall apart around me. Maybe I cursed the gods one too many times? Whatever happened, I now have two major problems. Number one – I’m an ink magician, the thing of myths. A lot of very powerful people would love to get their hands on me, and I have no intention of letting that happen. Number two – A tattoo thief came to my city, and the magical community has decided that I’m the guy to stop them. Somehow, I have to catch the thief without letting my secret out of the bag, and that’s even harder than it sounds.

Buy Links: Amazon.com ~ https://www.amazon.com/Stolen-Ink-Born-Book-ebook/dp/B01MTMZBKL

Author Bio: 
Holly Evans is an urban fantasy author with an unhealthy fascination with blades, a deep love of hellhounds, and would love one day to wake up as a fae. When she isn't wrangling rogue characters and trying to tame her muse, she's researching shiny new ninja moves. During her spare time she fights crime and rights wrongs on the streets of County Kerry.

Visit her at:

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Thursday, August 3, 2017

Love Across the Universe Tour & Excerpts!

Love Across the Universe

Genre: Science Fiction Romance

Publisher: Stars and Stone Books

Date of Publication: August 1 2017

ISBN-10: 0-9977081-8-2
ISBN-13: 978-0-9977081-8-9
ASIN: B071JSHCGC

12 Stories of Science Fiction Romance Set on Intergalactic Shore 

#spacebeachlove
Summer love is summer love, no matter the planet. Climb aboard your spacecraft or time machine and travel across time and space with these thirteen tales of love on beaches in the future and among the stars.
Includes stories by USA Today Bestselling Author Traci Douglass, Cara McKinnon, Rhonda Jackson Joseph, A.E. Hayes, Sheri Queen, M.T. DeSantis, L.J. Longo, K.W. Taylor, Mary Rogers, Elsa M. Carruthers, Emmerite Sundberg, Serena Jayne, and Oriana Maret.
Amazon      Goodreads      Stars and Stones

Red Sand
Sheri Queen

Book Description:

If she can only save one thing, which will it be—the red beaches of Mars or a love she can’t imagine living without?

Bria has just been fired from her job as an ecologist at Trans Life Corp, the global leader in virtual reality living, and she’s devastated that her life’s work has ended with nothing more than a pink chip severance package. She’s been deemed obsolete in a world where every aspect of life has been automated, and even relationships are carried out in virtual environments. Then Bria’s sister, Samira, enters her in a singles sweepstakes to an exclusive Mars resort to force Bria to have a little fun for once, and Bria is one of the lucky winners.

Thayne is the owner of the exclusive Mars resort and has set his sights on expanding to a remote area on the other side of the planet. He is looking for the right person to lead his new venture when he comes across Bria. She’s exactly what he needs. His success is driven by his gift for acquiring rare talent, and he always gets what he wants—until now.

Bria refuses Thayne’s job offer. She’s not interested in helping destroy another ecosystem for corporate greed, and she’s definitely not interested in any kind of romantic entanglement—virtual or real. Yet despite her better judgment, she’s drawn to his zest for life and his creative nature. But finding a way to keep their clashing values from destroying their chance at love proves harder than Bria could have thought possible.



Excerpt Red Sand:

The strength of water pushing against sand captivated Bria. If only she had such power, she could change the world—or at least her little part of it.
But this was just a miniature version of the real thing. She flipped the rectangular, glass-enclosed frame over to watch the liquid bump the tiny particles into different shapes. Reds, browns, and tans jostled one another until the sand settled into wavy mounds at the base of the container. Bubbles rose to the top and burst. Bria turned the device again and again, repeating the process, absorbed with how different the formations appeared with each rotation. Life was like this crude imitation of a sandy beach, always changing when getting pushed around by a greater force.
Here she sat in her repurposed home on Boxcar Alley with no job, no more research, and no future at Trans Life Corp.
Earth was screwed. She knew it. Trans Life knew it.
Did the board members care that nature and all her beauty had been overrun by technology? Not a bit. They were already working on expanding to other planets.
To her shame, she had to admit her role in the virtual living that was taking root and growing weed-like over the planet. She had utilized all she’d learned as an ecologist and worked with other experts to engineer its equivalent in the realm of virtual habitats. She was as much to blame as Trans Life Corp for how the world had been altered into a state of disconnect from what was real—what you could truly feel, taste, and smell.
What she couldn’t have foreseen was the rapidity with which people embraced artificial environments, especially the Love Triangle, where all your pleasurable sensory needs could be met with the help of a CompuBot—available with or without interacting with another online user.

About the Author:

Sheri Queen received her MFA in Writing Popular Fiction from Seton Hill University. She grew up in the Hudson Valley region of New York—an area she loves to depict as a backdrop for her stories—and enjoys traveling to new places where she is constantly discovering inspirations for her writing. She especially loves visiting old graveyards.








A Dream to Build a Kiss On
Traci Douglass

Book Description:

A Dreamworld Short Novella

Can passion bloom between a bookish botanist and an analytical android?
Adam has served as a devoted assistant since the day he was created twenty-six years ago. His ordered world centers on logic and logistics, until a strong solar flare causes a glitch in his synthe-soul circuits and his normal routines are thrown into chaos. In a flash, his universe is filled with wild, dark desires that until now Adam has only imagined.

Jillian Lewis has spent her entire career in search of the rare, elusive Shadow Moondrop Orchid. She’s forsaken any semblance of a normal life in pursuit of her goal and now has the ultimate prize within her reach. By securing a coveted invitation to the fabled Dreamworld Resort, she has just three days in which to locate and record her once-a-century flower before it disappears again.

With the clock ticking, will they surrender to the unpredictability of love or will their chance at forever disappear like stardust on the summer wind?


Excerpt A Dream to Build a Kiss On:

2069 – Remote tropical island in the Atlantic Ocean

Adam desired Jillian Lewis, and not just for her beautiful brain.
The desire, of course, was completely unexpected and entirely new, especially for an analytical android such as himself. Add in the fact he’d never actually seen the visiting botanist face to face, let alone heard her voice, and it was all a bit disconcerting. Until this point, they’d only communicated through electronic messages and then only ever about her upcoming stay at the exclusive Dreamworld Resort where he resided or her plants or science in general.
But still, her words intrigued him.
She spoke passionately of her specimens, the exotic flowers she’d nurtured to maturity from rare and ancient seeds. She also freely shared her knowledge of said specimens with him, answering all his endless questions without ever once becoming annoyed or bored as many of the resort’s other guests sometimes did.
“Happy twenty-sixth birthday, my friend,” Reziel Shaytan said, clapping Adam on the shoulder as he walked into his office. “Have you decided what you’d like for your gift?”
“Gift, sir?” Adam asked. “Technically, this isn’t my birthday since I was not conceived in a human womb, nor did I undergo the delivery process.”
Rez gave him a look, taking a seat in the black leather executive’s chair behind his massive desk. He was Adam’s creator and owner of the resort. “What shall we call it then? Your anniversary of existence?”
Adam considered the question a moment. “Yes. I think that would be appropriate, sir.”
“Fine.” He shook his head. “Abnormally strong solar flares are expected this weekend. Have you taken the necessary precautions?”
“Yes, sir.” Adam had been created to be as human as possible. His operating software, Synthe-soul, endowed him with both keen intuition and the ability to process emotions. And yes, those processes were sometimes prone to glitches—especially during times of low charge or erroneous electrical storms—but overall, his humanity grew stronger each day. “I doubled my charge time last night and I’ve scheduled my system updates for early this afternoon, to avoid any interference.”
“Good.” Rez sat back and scrubbed a hand over his face, the strain of recent events evident in the faint lines around his eyes and the tightness of his lips. Adam did his best to protect his master, but there was only so much one android could do when the man’s very existence was forbidden. Half djinn, half angel, Rez had been cursed to walk the earth alone—at least until Doctor Harold Thomas had tumbled into his life, quite literally, and their two souls had become one. Soul mates. Adam had read about such bonds, but hadn’t experienced that swift rush of acute longing for another being since his activation. He had all the right components for human physical intimacy—even a healthy regenerating supply of nanocyte sperm to create his own hybrid children someday—but he’d yet to meet a person with whom he wanted to share such a deep emotional connection.
“Adam, please also double check with our pilot in Miami to make sure the guests arrive well before the flare occurs,” Rez said. “I don’t want another debacle like the last time.”
The “last time” had been a newlywed couple on their honeymoon. Their flight had taken off as usual from the airport, heading due south toward the uncharted island where Dreamworld was located, when their aircraft had gotten caught in a time warp flux and the poor unsuspecting couple had ended up in ancient Byzantium. It had taken weeks, and all Rez’s immense powers, to get them back to the present unharmed. Luckily, legends about the Bermuda Triangle had helped Adam cover his friend’s magical tracks.
“Texting the pilot now, sir.” He typed the message in his mind then used his internal circuits to connect wirelessly with the pilot’s com unit. “And shall I check on the orchid specimen as well?”
“Orchid? That’s right. The botanist is coming today.”
“Yes, sir.” Adam glanced at his computer again, Doctor Lewis’s latest email still up on his screen. “May I ask you something, sir?”
“Go ahead.” Rez sounded distracted as he sorted through his messages for the upcoming weekend arrivals.
“Explain human intimacy.”
He stopped and stared at Adam. “Excuse me?”
“In all my years of existence, I’ve yet to experience true human connection and intimacy.” Adam frowned. “Not the physical components of the act. I’m well versed in all the necessary techniques through my regular software updates. But the emotional aspects are a bit more challenging. I wish to learn more so that one day, if I encounter my soul mate, I will know what is happening and can respond accordingly.”
“Ah, I see.” Gaze narrowed, Rez walked around his desk to stand before Adam, his tailored navy suit in direct contrast with the easy tropical luxury of the office’s interior design. “I’m sorry, my friend, but that is knowledge even I can’t conjure. True connection and intimacy between two people must grow organically.” He crossed his arms and lowered his head. “Besides, with the flare and our other guests, we don’t have much time. I’ll need your help to guide the botanist to her orchid on the other side of the island. And I need you to assess if she might be right for our other project.”
That project included a new addition to the permanent staff on the island—a native species conservationist. Available positions were rare at Dreamworld, and while Adam appreciated Rez hiring another person to help share his workload, he would miss his hours amongst the island’s forests, nurturing their growth and choosing compatible new additions for the already rich ecosystem.
Disappointment sparked through his circuits, though he did his best to hide it by adjusting his wire-rimmed spectacles. “Of course, sir. Whatever you need.”
“Thank you, Adam. Perhaps next weekend, when things aren’t so crazy, we can discuss your gift again.”
“Fine, sir. Shall I contact the botanist with her final boarding information?”
“Yes, please.” Rez straightened, his expression thoughtful as he headed for the office door. “Let her know everything will be ready when she arrives.” He stopped at the threshold and turned back, his smile kind. “And don’t worry about making that soul-deep connection, my friend. When the time is right, it will happen. Perhaps when you least expect it.”

About the Author:

Traci is a USA Today Bestselling Author of Contemporary and Paranormal Romance. Her stories feature sizzling heroes full of dark humor, quick wits and major attitudes and heroines who are smart, tenacious, and always give as good as they get. She holds an MFA in Writing Popular Fiction from Seton Hill University and she loves animals, chocolate, coffee, hot British actors, and sarcasm—not necessarily in that order.











Fluid
Emmerite Sundberg

Book Description:

Iyonne has despaired of ever finding the right woman for her. But when she crash-lands on a seemingly uninhabited planet, she finds her. Sissiasandra has been alone for so long, the last of her kind. She believes that she will never again know love. Until Iyonne walks onto her beach. The two fall in love instantly, but there is one big hurdle to their happy ending. Iyonne cannot live in the ocean, and Sissiasandra cannot leave the sea to walk on land. Will they overcome their separation or are they doomed to live alone forever?


About the Author:

Sundberg is the friend of dragons and mother of chinchillas. She spends her time pairing people with good books. She lives in Pennsylvania with her two bunnies and five chinchillas.


Twitter: @writerchilla


You Only Love Once
Serena Jayne

Book Description:

Carpe diem the hell out of love.

In the year 2222, venturing outdoors is dangerous. Exposure to the searing ultraviolet rays of the sun could turn anyone into a crispy critter. The ocean is a toxic stew of chemicals and home to a horror show of mutant monsters. When a three-eyed creature skulks out of the sea to nibble on Leo, his beautiful neighbor comes to the rescue.

Since the tragic accident that resulted in Ivy’s cybernetic limb, she’s embraced the mantra “you only live once,” but her dangerous plans might be more a death wish than a desire to carpe diem the hell out of life.

Can Leo convince Ivy that nothing makes a person feel more alive than taking a chance on love?


About the Author:

Serena Jayne loves experimenting with different genres and mythologies. Anti-heroes and quirky characters are her favorites to write. While her first love is paranormal fiction, the mundane world provides plenty of plot bunnies. She studies Writing Popular Fiction at Seton Hill University and is a member of Romance Writers of America.




Twitter: @SJ_Writer

Breakfast on Pluto
Mary Rogers

Book Description:

A chance encounter with a man she could love causes Princess Kerrinda of Kerberos to make a choice – do what her people expect and need, or follow her heart.  Prince Belloch may not be the one she chooses, but what happens if he is?


Excerpt Breakfast on Pluto :

            Bell was drawn from his thousandth bored musing about the view, or why he had windows here at all at the end of the known ‘Way.   There was precious little to see but pitch blackness and one or two stars that took squinting to even make out.  
“Humans like them, they feel closed in without them.”  His father had always maintained this was true and so he had windows, for whatever that view was worth in the blackness surrounding the Hydra moon.  
What piqued his attention was a woman, a vision, coming down the stairs so quickly as to almost be running. He watched as every few steps she cast her eyes behind her, him worrying she would fall down the steps still in front of her.  Then there was her face.  That, too, kept his attention.  
“Beautiful.”  That was what she was.  He had uttered the single word out loud, despite it being a thought.  He sometimes forgot; his every word was heard, his every action witnessed.
“Pardon me, did you say something, your...?”  Nivens was always wondering what he could do better.  All his staff was. Undeniably a perk, but also a pain. He cut him off.
“I did.”  He didn’t turn his head though, he kept his watch.  To his relief, she made it down without mishap.  She frowned, and slowed her step. Satisfied with that she saw or didn’t, he watched as she physically changed.  Her face, now peaceful, had a small smile.  He would love to know what that was about.  She was hiding from something or someone, but it didn’t look imminent.  Life threatening.  As she moved on gracefully, he guessed she had concluded she was ‘safe’ for a time.  
As she got closer he noticed her eyes.  She was scanning for something.  She settled her gaze on the doors to the hotel.  Her mask of serenity momentarily broken, storm clouds broke in those eyes, upset taking over, then what he thought might be longing. She wanted, what? To go out? To leave? She turned instead and followed the corridor to the far lobby.   
“It seems we have a damsel in distress, Nivens.”  
Should he come to her aid? Perhaps. Bell would judge that later.  
“That woman there, the one with the long inky hair.  Do we know her?”
Nivens, never comfortable taking his eyes off his charge, stepped in front of him.  After checking in all directions, he motioned for another guard.  Jeene’a, until now, was unobtrusively seated in the small bar area.  He rose, and quietly moved to them, replacing Nivens. When he did, Nivens gave his attention to the woman in question. Bell sighed.
“We do not.” Nivens moved back to him.  “Would we like to?”
“Yes.  Very much, but it appears the lady has trouble.”
Nivens’ eyes rounded, and his hand went to his weapon; it was an automatic reflex.  Bell moved forward; staying his hand.
“Not for me, Nivens.  Her trouble is her own, and as I don’t know her, I don’t have any idea what it is.”
“Would you like us to find out?”
He shouldn’t bother. Soon, nothing much would matter. He had one day left, what harm could come of this?
“Yes.  But use discretion.  Find out what you can about her.  She’s obviously staying here, find out where, if she is with others, and what is known about her and them.”
“Your wish.”  Nivens bowed, spoke briefly to Jeene’a, and went to do his master’s bidding.
Bell shook his head almost imperceptibly.  Getting what he wanted was easy.  Getting who he wanted?  He didn’t have that option.   
Maybe one more… small “indiscretion” - as his father liked to call them - was in his cards.  Another privilege he would soon give up.   
Bell moved to the bar, sat down, and ordered a Fixthi’an.  The publican bowed to him and made his favorite morning pick-me-up.  Sitting, drinking slowly, he thought about the woman on the stairs. She was lovely. Despite the interest she generated, he couldn’t very well have an indiscretion if he was indiscreet.  If she knew who he was. What he was.
“Jeene’a, there is a matter I wish to speak to you all about.  Gather everyone, will you?”
One hour later, it was done.  


About the Author:

Mary Rogers is a Brooklyn native now living in Southern California with her husband, her kids, and too many rescue animals. Completely addicted to romance - she decided to write it. She is inspired by her swoon-worthy hubby, her children, her spoiled pets, and the best friends in the universe. They teach her daily the meaning of love. She also appreciates the wine.  



Tristan’s Tryst
A.E. Hayes

Book Description:

One mysterious being. Two lovers who find her. Can this threesome handle the heat of this scorching summer?

Tristan works for the American government, but rarely speaks about his job. Why? Because his job involves intergalactic travel. Despite the fact that the year is 2041 and human beings are now capable to travel at faster-than-light speeds, Tristan’s projects are often kept secret – hidden even from his girlfriend, Cassandra.

When Tristan reveals to Cassandra that they are going to take a special trip to Delmar, a planet located in a different solar system that is mostly comprised of beaches and oceans, Cassandra is ecstatic. The planet was recently discovered by Tristan and his team, and so far, very few people have used it as a vacation spot.

Cassandra and Tristan pack their bags and safely travel to Delmar, finding themselves surrounded by beautiful beaches with white sand, sparkling turquoise waters, and a strange line of trees lining the perimeter of the particular beach they have chosen to visit.

During some intense foreplay on the deserted beach, Cassandra and Tristan are startled to hear movement coming from the trees behind them. When they stop to look, they see a beautiful female emerge. She tells them that her name is Lynx, and that she is an inhabitant of the planet. Tristan is baffled, as he was unaware that the planet allowed for immigration and human habitation. And when Lynx expresses her fondness for Tristan’s body and Cassandra’s golden “star eyes,” Tristan and Cassandra find themselves attracted to her. But should they give in to this strange, beautiful inhabitant of Delmar? And if they do – what might possibly happen to them?


About the Author:

A.E. Hayes is a published author who has been writing since the age of four. She has been featured under various pseudonyms in myriad novels, anthologies, poetry collections, music magazines, and newspapers. Her memoir, “Shattered: Memoirs of an Amnesiac,” is set to be released on September 12th, 2017.

She is currently finishing her 6th fiction novel, “On Common Ground,” writing for the upcoming sci-fi romance anthology “Love Across the Universe,” (which will be released August 1st, 2017), as well as writing a paranormal sci-fi story for the upcoming graphic novel “The Eynes Anthology.”

She studied English and Writing at Hood College, where she earned her B.A., and later studied Fiction Writing at The Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore. A.E. resides in Maryland with her husband and son, and when she isn’t writing or singing (or doing both at the same time), she spends her time drinking far too much coffee, logging miles by pacing around the living room floor in order to make her Fitbit happy, studying the violin, pretending to be a Cylon, and plotting ideas for several new projects (which usually happens during her living room pacing time).



Twitter: @AE_Hayes



Breathless
L. J. Longo

Book Description:

A soldier and a café manager find themselves trapped beneath the surface of a resort by the deadly beasts native to the planet. As they fight to survive, they discover danger is a potent aphrodisiac.

As part of a hidden military outfit protecting rich civilians as they vacation on the resort planet Pangaea, Nathan Oyola planned to keep secrets, fight aliens, and maybe tan under the rays of an artificial sun.  What he did not expect was to fall for his so-called boss, the manager of the café located directly above the aliens’ nest. When the native wildlife starts behaving more aggressive and strange than usual, how will Nathan keep them secret and keep his new-found love safe.

All B+ut You
Elsa M. Carruthers

Genre: Science Fiction Romance

Publisher: Stars and Stone Books

Date of Publication: 1 August 2017

ISBN-10: 0-9977081-8-2
ISBN-13: 978-0-9977081-8-9
ASIN: B071JSHCGC

Book Description:

In a world where looks are so important that Genetic Modification is standard procedure, how will those without Genetic Modification cope, let alone find love?


Excerpt All B+ut You :

Jen was a medical researcher until her status as a B+ blood type made her ineligible for genetic modification and indirectly cost her a lucrative position. Soon, like all of the other un-modifieds, she finds herself living and working in B-Town. She passes her time trading books with her neighbors until they start coming for minor medical advice and help. It’s not a glamorous life, but she is content until she runs into Marsha, mysterious Gen-Mod who appears to be on the run. 

About the Author:

Elsa is a speculative fiction writer, academic, and poet. She lives in California with her family. In 2011, she earned her MFA in Creative Writing and English from Seton Hill University. Since graduating, Elsa's work has been published in several anthologies, magazines, and e-zines.

Elsa is an active member of HWA, RWA, SFPA, IAFA, and the Poetry Foundation. She regularly attends writing conventions and loves meeting new people!

The Pirates and the Pacifist
Cara McKinnon

Book Description:

Kai doesn’t believe in violence. Sam and Dek believe the ends justify the means. Will passion be enough to bridge the gap between the pacifist sent to broker galactic peace and the space pirates hired to keep him away at all costs?

Kaikoa met Sameer and Dek—leaders of a crew of sometimes space pirates—when they abducted Kai and kept him from attending an important peace summit. But when the pirates’ payment never appeared and a gunship showed up instead, Kai, Sam, and Dek found themselves on the same side of a galactic conflict–and tumbling headlong into a reckless passion.

Now they are searching for the truth about who hired the pirates to keep Kai from the summit—and whether the enemy wants one side to win, or simply chaos in the galaxy. But when the allies find the ones who double-crossed them on a terraformed resort moon, will Dek and Sam follow their new lover’s pacifist wishes, or will the pirate code of an eye for an eye tear their fragile threesome apart?


Excerpt The Pirates and the Pacifist :
Kaikoa pressed his toes into the metal floor of the small cabin where he’d been kept captive for the last two ship-cycles. He only knew the length of his imprisonment because his jailors left the wall screen on. They wanted him to be able to keep track of time passing—his voiceprint wasn’t authorized to change the programming or turn it off. Thanks to the screen, he knew that in one more cycle he would miss the meeting that had brought him from his quiet backwater planet of Moanalani—haven for his people after the rising sea levels on old Earth swamped their islands—to the central planets of the Trrbantu Cluster.
He hadn’t seen his sibling Nai’a since before the pirates had boarded their small transport ship and removed them to this larger vessel. Nai’a had been up in the cockpit, doing whatever they did to pilot the ship, while he’d been down in the galley making a meal.
Nai’a had probably fought for their ship like one of the ancient demons of the depths. Kai had been knocked unconscious by some kind of stunner almost immediately. Not that he was ashamed by his failure to defend the ship. He’d been called to speak at a peace conference, after all, not a battle strategy session.
The wall screen helpfully displayed the latest news about the conference, which had predictably devolved into posturing, name-calling, and chest-beating, at least on the part of the media anchors. Kai had hopes that the actual delegates—who’d been forbidden from giving interviews to the press until afterward—were keeping their composure better.
He should have been there already, and his absence would put several important pieces of the treaty his faction had proposed in jeopardy. He and Nai’a had hoped that by taking their small, independent transport, they would avoid exactly the situation they’d landed in.
The door of the cabin opened, and three large humanoids entered. Two were actually human—a male and female—and the third was a splice.
If anyone should have wanted Kai to make it to the peace conference, it should have been a splice. If things fell apart, all of the mixed human-and-alien beings would be at risk.
But this one might not know that. Someone else did—someone who didn’t want Kai to succeed, and had hired these pirates to keep him away from the summit. The question was—was it a member of the league who wanted the insurgents eradicated, or a member of the human faction who actually thought they could win?


About the Author:

Cara McKinnon is the author of the Fay of Skye fantasy romance series. She is addicted to adding magic to other genres and creating fantasy hybrids. She earned her MFA in Writing Popular Fiction at Seton Hill University, where she found her writing tribe. She lives on the East Coast of the US with her husband, two kids, and an oversized lapdog named Jake.








The Princess of Sands
M.T. DeSantis

Book Description:

The solar panel that powers the Sand Palace Hotel on planet Andala is failing. The hotel’s tyrannical owner will go to any length to secure a new panel, including arranging a marriage for his only daughter, Eliara Desanthar. Unable to reconcile marrying to benefit her father, Eliara sneaks aboard a ship in the castle’s landing bay, ready to make her escape.

But this ship is no ordinary vessel. It carries Prince Randroth of Belmret, who is on a diplomatic mission to Andala. When Eliara accidentally tries to hide in the prince’s chambers, Randroth vows to protect the terrified but beautiful girl, even if it means destroying relations between the two planets.

Unaware Randroth is her betrothed, Eliara returns with him to Belmret, where fun-in-the-sun, deep passion, and trapping revelations await.

And the truth might not set them free.


Excerpt The Princess of Sands :

The door of Randroth’s chamber slid open with a nearly silent hiss. “About time,” Idgmet said in his nasal voice and shuffled inside. He wore a one-piece bright lavender jumpsuit, complete with silver trim. Belmret fashion had done some odd things over the years, but this was the strangest. Idgmet fixed Randroth with a quizzical stare. “I hope you are not wearing that to meet your bride-to-be?”
Randroth tugged on the simple black trousers and adjusted the blue tunic he wore, a match for Andala’s oceans. He’d chosen the outfit purposefully to appeal to Desanthar—blue for Andala’s oceans, black because it would let the blue stand out. He would only get one chance to make a good impression. This was not the time for Idgmet’s idea of style.
“In fact, I am,” Randroth said.
Idgmet made a noise in the back of his throat, either distaste or disdain. A line appeared between his perfectly trimmed silver-painted eyebrows for only a second before the squire schooled his features. “Very well. I didn’t come to discuss your clothing, much as the topic needs addressing. Your father wishes me to remind you how crucial the securing of this union is.”
“Does he?” Randroth couldn’t keep the derision from his voice. This marriage had come suddenly and without warning or reason, at least none Randroth could detect. Belmret was not poor and, thus, in no need of a financial alliance with the riches of Desanthar’s tourism business. For all his money, Desanthar was not royalty, and so the wedding was not for political gain. In short, there was absolutely no reason why Randroth had to wed now, and to a girl he’d never met. “And did my father happen to explain to you why it is so important? He left out those details when discussing it with the son who is to be wed.”
“You know how much Belmret’s safety and future mean to your father.” Idgmet delivered his rote response in a flat tone. The underlying meaning was clearer than Belmret’s lavender oceans. There was still no reason for the union, or at least no reason Randroth’s father would disclose.
“I do.” Randroth folded his arms. The shirt pulled a bit at his shoulders. He’d filled out some since last wearing it. “But safety with not even an implied threat is not a reason to force marriage upon your child.”
“All due respect, Your Highness.” Idgmet held up the pointer finger of his left hand. His silver nail polish exactly matched the trim of his suit and his eyebrows. “I do not have time to argue about this. We must disembark.”
Randroth blew out a breath. There was no winning. He would leave the ship, meet Desanthar’s daughter, and wed in three days. “Very well.”
Idgmet spun on one heel. When he reached the door, it opened. He shuffled through, leaving Randroth to sulk in a most unprincely manner. All his life, Randroth thought he’d marry for love, like the princes and knights in the book of fairy tales he kept beside his bed. Whenever royal life got to be too much, he had read one of the old tales as a reminder of how his life could be. He should have known reality could never resemble fanciful stories in books, especially in matters of love. It wasn’t fair.
But then, what in his life was fair? He was a prince. Royalty did what needed to be done. Randroth straightened, squaring his shoulders and closing his eyes to collect himself. He drew in a deep breath and let it go slowly. If he must wed Lemswurth Desanthar’s daughter for some undisclosed reason, he would do it, sands be his witness.
The chamber door hissed open.
Randroth expelled the last of his breath in a huff. And if he had to put up with Idgmet’s impatience, he would do his best not to strangle the squire. “I said I would be right there.” He opened his eyes.
Idgmet wasn’t in the doorway. It was a girl. Her blonde hair fell in a mess of waves to her waist, and a faint pink colored her cheeks.
A tugging sensation pulled at Randroth’s heart. She looked like someone in trouble. He stood. “Are you all right?”
The girl jerked. Her head snapped up and around. She blinked wide green eyes at him, and the pink in her cheeks drained to a terrified white. She lurched backwards.
“Wait!” Randroth rushed to the door and captured her delicate wrist between his fingers. She trembled under his touch. Or had she already been trembling? “How did you get on this ship?”
The girl opened and closed her mouth. “I…” She swallowed with an audible gulp. “I need to get off the planet. My father…can you help me?”
The tug now tried to yank Randroth’s heart in two. One end pummeled him with duty and responsibility. He was supposed to stay on Andala and meet Desanthar’s daughter. In the other direction, there was still no reason for the marriage. The truth crumbled Randroth’s sense of duty. Forget trouble, this girl had the look of a caged animal. She ran, maybe for her life. He couldn’t leave her to fend for herself.
“Of course I can,” Randroth said.
Relief fell over the girl’s face like a curtain. “Thank you. Thank you so much.”
A chill ran through Randroth at the gratitude in her voice. An iron determination followed. Whoever this girl’s father was, Randroth would do anything in his power to protect her. He pulled her into the room until the door slid closed. “What is your name?”
“Eliara,” the girl said.
“A lovely name,” Randroth said. It fit her well. He bowed his head. “I am Prince Randroth of Belmret, at your humble service.”
Eliara’s emerald eyes widened. “Prince?” She lurched into a bow. “Forgive me, Your Highness. I—”
“It is nothing.” He tipped her chin up with one finger. A current like electricity seemed to spark where his skin met hers. The current spiraled into a desire to pull her closer, feel her delicate body against his. “Please,” his voice rasped with the desire coursing through his blood, “call me Randroth.”

About the Author:

M.T. DeSantis currently resides in a small city on the U.S. eastern seaboard. When not writing, she can be found practicing yoga, attempting to answer trivia questions at restaurants, or plotting her next adventure.






Renewal
Oriana Maret

Book Description:

She’ll brave the arms of destruction to shed the arms that betrayed.
When Kestrel discovers Mercer is alive and well, she embarks on a dangerous journey to escape the pain of his jilt. When Mercer turns the tables, Kestrel discovers the true meaning of betrayal, and the ultimate cost of love.




Excerpt Renewal:

The antique film credits roll, and Kestrel strips the ocular screen from her brow. She stuffs the device into the bin at her knees and taps the evac release. Never violate your own rules. No romance means no romance because it’s rot. The silver screen disappears with a whoosh deeper into the guts of Galaxy Delivers, Inc. The next time she volunteers as previewer for Galaxy’s annual ancient films revel she’ll select a sci-fi meat grinder like The Whirling Vortex. Her vision blurs with tears. Not some thrashing B-list not happily-ever-after space-love pile of…

“Rot,” she whispers.

The film won’t get a thumb’s up from her. The leading lady dies of Veneda Syndrome. The star expires moments before medical staff can wrap molecular stabilizers around her body that’s eaten up by rogue cell necrosis. Nothing romantic about that. Even less inspiring is her lover’s desertion.

The room seems to shrink. Kestrel’s cubicle is wedged into a precise row of ten cubicles in a room of ten rows by ten. It’s in the ground floor of the Galaxy Delivers, Inc. spire that juts one hundred stories into planet Jaster’s ocher skies. The spire’s weight pins Kestrel to her roller chair. She sips antiseptic air in shallow breaths.

Unlike her co-operators’ empty gray desktops, hers is littered with antique novelties.

All gifts from him.

Mercer.

A calendar of curling paper the color of jaundiced skin leans against the back partition. It was his first gift. “To celebrate our first month together,” he’d said.

Kestrel runs a finger over the tarnished silver spoon he gave her at the close of month two. “For the lady who appreciates history.”

She lifts the ocean blue candle and inhales its sweet scent. “To match your eyes.” He’d kissed her, and that night she’d lost herself in Mercer Eridanus’s orbit. Even now her lips tingle.

With trembling fingers, she strokes the wire rim glasses that rest like a paperweight on top of the spacer license Mercer helped her earn. He’d called her a white-knuckle flier.

“My knuckles aren’t white.”

“No,” he’d said. “Mine are.”

The license isn’t worth sand these days because of Tabara Gold’s desquamation. A sister planet that sheds chunks of its surface the size of mountains tends to discourage transportation and trade.

Kestrel uncurls her left hand.

She hasn’t worn it in a year—the swirling platinum strands of precious metal that clasp a brilliant cut diamond as its prize. Her gaze strays to the paper calendar’s single digit number. Mercer proposed marriage one year ago today.

And disappeared.

She’s memorized his note: Dear Kes—it could never work. I’m jumping a hyper-shot freighter out of Tabara Gold. The universe calls, babe. I’m sorry.

A good thing she doesn’t have Veneda Syndrome.

His note is twenty-two words. Where in twenty-two words is the essence of a man who combs antique slums on two planets to locate an artifact to celebrate each month of romance? He isn’t a man who ditches responsibilities and hyper-shots away. But he did leave.

And now he’s back.

The gossip grills who document Adalon City’s social scene breathlessly welcomed him home. Apparently, Mercer’sshadow is enough to send females aged two to one-hundred-seventeen into vapes. Men want Mercer for cards, bar jaunts, investment advice, jet races…

Three days have passed since she’s learned he breathes Adalon’s air. Three days.

The answer is that he regretted his proposal because she never fit Adalon’s scene—that whirling show of parties, fizzy drinks, and false laughter. When did he ever, ever take her about? His silence proves she should move on with her life. He is.

She stuffs the ring into a pocket.

Love absorbs and expands beyond its capacity, but when it dries up it’s stiff and useless. If not for the sister planet’s annoying skin peel, she’d blast through Adalon City’s ochre skies, break clean of Jaster’s gravitational pull, and run and run and never stop.

Instead, she’s here.

Operators’ voices hum as color-coded deliveries pour in at a rate of two every fifteen-point-three seconds. The operators sort the bids and roll them up onto the giant boards that march around the room. Competitor operators in fifteen buildings around Adalon City vie for the bids. In a city of millions, there’s money in messages and packages. Galaxy delivers.

Kes taps her temple, and her implant flickers behind her eyes. Pain streaks up her shin.

“Ouch!”

Bending double, she spies a pair of boots the size of freighters on a guy in the row opposite. She kicks. Never met him, so who cares?

“Hey!” The gray partition muffles his voice. “Watch it.”

“You watch it,” she snaps. “Keep your space boats to yourself.”

“Thrashing-A, Kes.” The voice of the operator next to her climbs an octave. “You got a thrashing blue to bid!”

Heads pop up. Blue…ah, blue…sighs off every tongue.

Kestrel launches to her feet. A job coded red is bound for Jaster’s far side; pink is for local delivery. Blue—beautiful, brilliant, and rare blue—is OWDR: off-world delivery required, baby. While she’s been gathering linen—or is the saying wool?—the blue flitted through her queue.

Blip! It disappears.

The blue’s been snagged by number 100: the top of the spire; Theodosia Galaxy, CEO of Galaxy Delivers, Inc.

Adalon’s delivery industry is no place for swimmers afraid of sharks. The gossip grills report Ms. Galaxy’s balls live in one tower, her body in another. Until Tabara Gold’s demasquation ends, the sister planet puts a choke-hold on Jaster’s economy. No doubt Ms. Galaxy will cut the other companies’ jugulars to win the off-world job and a fat commission.

Kestrel snatches her spacer license. The universe propels her down the perfect rows and fifty steps to the lift. She slides in, taps the round button marked 100, and the reflective gold doors glide shut. She’s a big-eyed, tight-jawed slash of pale skin in loose clothing drenched in shadows.

There’s only one way to clear the dust of this past year’s desert experience. Theodosia Galaxy will win the bid to deliver the package, and Kestrel will fly the mother-thrashing thing down the throat of a whirling vortex if it means putting space, and lots of it, between her and Mercer.

About the Author:

Oriana Maret is a science fiction writer whose careers include the military, corporate sales and management in cancer genetic diagnostics, and nonprofit brand management. She'll earn an M.F.A. in Writing Popular Fiction from Seton Hill University in 2018.



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