Once Upon a Time
By Michelle Ziegler, Amber Morant, K.R. Thompson, Rosa Lee Jude, Kate Bonham, Kellie Honaker, Layne Aust
Publisher Magic Quill Press/444 pages
Eight magical stories based on the original tales you thought you knew…
In this cross-genre collection, you will discover retellings that will reminisce of your childhood, and those that will explore the darker side of the brothers Grimm. Traditional, modern, fantasy, and horror abound in this diverse group of stories sure to please those who love fairytales with a twist!
Finding Bell – Michelle Ziegler
Annabella can’t remember anything before the last six years, and her dreams are telling her something. She just doesn’t know what. Desperate to find the missing pieces in her life, she heads to France, where a castle exists that matches the one in her dreams. Once there, she has to figure out if the mysterious place holds the key to unlocking the past she can’t remember.
Henri, once a powerful Fae prince, is locked within the home he built for a princess who can’t remember him. A rose blooms every hundred years, signifying the chance to break the curse placed on him and his Faerie Court. Something is changing, and the girl he loves has returned—but can he get her to love him again and free them all from the endless cycle?
The Blue Mage – Amber Morant
Elona is one of the luckiest thieves in Tore. However, her eye is now on the treasures hidden within the Citadel of Hours where the Blue Mage resides. Becoming an apprentice is easy, but learning who he truly is becomes a nightmare in itself.
Dragon Kept – K.R. Thompson
Fairy spells are going awry—and for no good reason. Even though Morgana has managed to patch up her own botched spell and turn the toad back into a prince, she’s been given the task of fixing another fairy’s mistake as her punishment. But it won’t be easy. With an entire kingdom turned to stone, a princess forever charmed in sleep, and one unhappy dragon keeping guard—things could get interesting, to say the least.
If the Shoe Fits – Rosa Lee Jude
There’s more to Cinderella’s story than glass slippers and pumpkins. Waking up in a different time, a modern world, Cinder discovers that her storybook life was no fairytale. Is she brave enough to travel back in time and face the evil that threatens her future? This twist on a classic will leave you wondering if other fairytales are really fiction.
From the Depths – Kate Bonham
Carys, the favorite daughter of the King of Atlantia, has always wanted something greater for herself than to marry young and have more mer-children. She wants to be human—to marry the young sailor she’s seen by the docks. When she’s given the opportunity to become human, she jumps at it, hoping to meet her dream man.
Only problem is—humans are not what she has thought all her life. They are greedy, money-hungry monsters. What if the man she’s secretly hoping for, is the one she was destined to marry? What if it’s not always greener on the other side?
Godmother Death – Kellie Honaker
Philip was just an infant when Death became his godmother. As a gift, she presents him with a barrel of cider that bestows miracles to those who drink from it.
But there is a catch—it only works for certain people. When the barrel refuses to work for the only woman he’s ever loved, Philip must deal with the consequences of cheating Death.
The Steel Heart – Layne Aust
Emilio has been driven to madness since the death of his love, Natalia. Stuck in his shop, the heartbroken man tries to recreate the beauty with steel and nails. But the blacksmith is awarded a second chance by a wayward witch who makes him a deal—one that could either reunite the lovers or keep them apart forever.
Hook – K.R. Thompson
Sitting in the dark corners of the print shop, Archie Jameson dreams of adventure, never imagining it will find him.
A twist of fate lands him beneath unfamiliar stars with a small pixie to guide his way. What new adventures lie in Neverland?
Discover the untold story of the man destined to become Captain Hook.
An Assignment: Romance Novel, Book 4
Romantic Comedy / Chick Lit
Gemma Halliday Publishing / 233 pages
When Aubrey Thomas, a phobic travel writer, must choose between jumping to what she considerers certain death from a skydiving static line or sinking even deeper into debt in the unemployment line, she scrambles to find someone—anyone!—who can help her overcome her debilitating fear of heights. Enter John Trelawney, a charming window washer who thinks nothing of dangling by a cable fifty stories up and claims he can cure her. Everything about John makes Aubrey nervous… including the way her heart kicks into overdrive whenever he’s around. But, at the end of her rope, she takes him up on his offer. Can he really help her get over her fear of heights? Or will Aubrey find herself free falling…possibly even in love with him?
10 Random Things about Charity West
- Even though I write YA Romance now, I actually went to college for Mechanical Engineering, which I later changed to Psychology. I guess I was trying to figure out where I fit in the world. It wasn’t until I finished my first novel that I figured it out.
- I have a house full of cats and almost always have a furbaby sitting with me when I’m working. Sometimes, the like to help by lying on the keyboard or the mouse.
- Since I completed my first book in 2008, I have gone through several laptops. I’m on #4 at the moment, which I just bought this past spring. I wear off the letters on the keys within six months, and after a year or two, things start to break on them. My last one only lasted two years.
- I love breakfast food and can eat it any time. I love going to IHOP for either their French toast platter or their country omelet with pancakes on the side.
- I love to drink Starbucks when I’m writing. I’ll either go to Starbucks and get a hot white mocha, or I’ll drink a bottle mocha or a mocha energy drink when I’m at home. I try to keep both stocked in the fridge at all times.
- My favorite YA authors are Chris Cannon and Lisa Brown Roberts.
- I have eclectic taste in music, but I love classic rock. Kansas, Foreigner, The Doors… but when I’m writing, probably my two favorite songs to play are by Tone-Loc.
- My favorite Tim Burton movie is Corpse Bride. I watch it at least once a week, usually when I’m writing.
- I wear a lot of printed tees. Duck Tales, Dark Crystal, Beauty and the Beast, Fraggle Rock, Nightmare Before Christmas…I have a bunch. I get a lot of them from the Disney store at the mall, or I’ll order them online.
- I have cable TV, but I seldom watch it. The kids and my husband like it, but the few times I watch something on TV, it’s usually a DVD/Blu-ray, or I stream Netflix. I even wait for my favorite shows to come out on DVD before I watch them, then I binge watch the entire season.
Evernight Teen Publishing
man in Khaki could cause so much trouble?
bruised, Wren has taken a lot from her father over the years, but when he
throws her out of the house, she sees it as a blessing in disguise. She has no
job, no home, and never finished high school, but what’s all that compared to a
life without abuse? When she starts over in a new town, under a new identity,
she makes it her goal to fly under the radar.
new life. Only, there’s a corrupt deputy intent on stealing Deputy Gray
Frampton’s family fortune, a slight case of aggravated identity fraud, and a
night in the local jail. It’s enough to make any girl’s head spin. Wren
Michaels has to find a way not to spend the next three years in jail, warn Gray
that Deputy Pritchard is after him, and somehow hold onto the
happily-ever-after that is finally within her grasp—assuming Gray wants a felon
as his girlfriend. Who knew falling for a man in khaki could cause so much
cold settled into my bones. I cowered on the floor of my closet, hidden behind
shoes and clothes, as I listened to the slap of flesh against flesh. He’d come
home drunk again, even more so than usual, and he’d barely cleared the door
before landing the first blow. It was cowardly of me to hide. I should stand up
and fight—do something to make him stop. My phone was still clutched in my
hand, and my heart pounded in my chest, the thump-thump loud in my ears.
I knew I should call 9-1-1 and get help for Mom, but I also knew that even if
they arrested him, they’d never keep him. Mom would give the cops some bullshit
excuse as to why he was beating her, or say she fell, and then she’d refuse to
press charges. If I thought things were bad now, they’d be even worse if he
went to jail for the night. We’d lived through that horror once already, and
once was more than enough. No one had to tell me my dad was an abusive asshole
who thrived on being a bully. I’d experienced it firsthand.
mother’s whimpers and then booted steps coming down the hall. Was I going to be
next? The footsteps grew louder, and I heard my bedroom door slam into the
wall. I bit my lip to stifle my cry, hoping he wouldn’t find me. He shuffled
around my room, his boots clomping and scraping the wood floor as he searched
for me. When the closet doors were flung open, I squeezed myself as far into
the corner as I could, but I knew it wouldn’t be enough.
his fingers biting into my skin, as he jerked me out of the closet. I stumbled
and fell to my knees at his feet, bracing myself for what would happen next. My
head was wrenched back, tears stinging in my eyes as he fisted my hair. There
was such hatred in his gaze, such contempt, as if he couldn’t even stand to
look at me. I’d always done everything he’d ever asked, and still it wasn’t
enough. As far as my dad was concerned, I’d ruined his life, and he was going
to make me pay for it until I was able to leave this place behind.
slurred. “Stupid little bitch.”
spill down my face, but I ground my teeth together so I wouldn’t make a sound.
When he knew he was causing me pain, he seemed to enjoy it more, and I wouldn’t
give him the satisfaction. He pulled hard until I was standing upright, my hair
still clutched in his fist, and then he punched me in the stomach. I folded at
the waist, gasping for breath as stars danced in my vision and bile rose in my
kicked out and knocked me to my knees again. “You should be groveling, thanking
me for your life. If it weren’t for me, you wouldn’t even be here, you
abuse he heaped on me day after day, thanking him for all the hurtful names I’d
been called, thanking him for the days I’d had to skip school because I
couldn’t hide the bruises—that was exactly what I wanted to do. One day, he
would get what was coming to him. I didn’t know how or who would do it, but I
knew someday he’d piss off the wrong person and they’d beat his ass until he
cried like a baby. And I hoped like hell I was there to see it. I’d kick back
with some popcorn and enjoy the show. I hated him. Hated him.
look at me?” he demanded. “Well, I’m tired of it. I’m finished with you. My
life was better before your mother got knocked up. Ever since she popped you
out, you’ve been nothing but a financial drain. Not anymore. You have five
minutes to pack your shit and get the fuck out of my house. And if I ever see
you again, I’ll make you wish you were never born.”
day of my life. I should thank him for offering me freedom, even if I had
nowhere to go. Anything was better than staying here. Plenty of people lived on
the streets, so there wasn’t any reason I couldn’t do it, too. It just meant
I’d have to find a way to get my GED sooner rather than later. Dropping out of
high school hadn’t been the best decision in the world, but when Dad had broken
my arm, Mom had thought it would be better than facing questions we couldn’t
heard his bedroom door slam. After grabbing a bag out of my closet, I shoved
several outfits, underthings, and socks into it. I snatched my toothbrush and
hairbrush out of the bathroom and crammed them in there, too. As an
afterthought, I grabbed the travel pouch from under the sink that had shampoo,
soap, and a razor tucked inside. I didn’t know where I would go to shower, or
where I was going to sleep tonight, but I would figure it out. Maybe Mom would
let me come home to bathe while Dad was at work a few times a week. Plus, it
would give me a chance to check on her.
my backpack and purse off the bed. With my keys clutched tight, I walked out of
the only home I’d ever known. Mom didn’t say a word as I passed her, and she
didn’t try to stop me. Maybe she figured I was better off living anywhere but
at home, and she may have been right.
author who has always had her head in the clouds. She had her first crush when
she was four, and it lasted for six years. Then she quickly fell head over
heels for another boy, until she had to move away and leave him behind. Jumping
from one boy to another, she finally found a keeper when she was twenty, and
she’s been married to him ever since.
was sneaking her mother’s Harlequin romances and reading them in secret when
she was supposed to be asleep. Teased throughout middle school and high school
for the bodice ripper covers on the books she openly read in class, she knew
that one day she wanted to write her own happily-ever-afters.
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Who Are the Night Angels? Marianne Tells her Story
In Book of Angels, readers get more insight into who the Night Angels are, from learning about their past lives. After Sera’s Turning, in Strejan’s castle overlooking Lake Roza, Marianne sits with Sera in her room, at the top of a tower in the castle, and recounts her past….
“I was twenty-six years old when I was turned into a vampire. On the edge of old age for those times. Before my Turning, I lived in a village by the sea, in the wild lands of Northern Ireland. My family were Druids. I was married to the gods and no man had ever touched me. We worshiped many gods and practiced human sacrifice. For you, in these days, it’s hard to understand. But for us, it was our life, we didn’t know any different. Everyone had a purpose, to toil or to serve the gods, one or the other. Life was hard, but easier for me than most. Then, the Vikings came to our village and hell descended on earth. A horde of them swept through like devouring insects. They threw my father from the cliffs. My younger sister, they raped and ran her through with a sword. My mother, they crushed her head with an anvil when she tried to protect my sister. They were dragging me by the hair to do the same when a great warrior on a white horse swept down like an angel, his brilliant eyes fixed on me in a stern and noble face.”
Marianne paused in her story, overcome with the memory. Then, she continued. “He lifted me onto his horse. You must understand it was the first time in all my life that a man had ever held me. I fought, clawed, bit and kicked. But he was an unbreakable tower of steel and only held me tighter until, finally I gave up my stuggle. We traveled back across Europe, his warriors torching the land, destroying everything before them. He kept me safe, caring for me. Anything I needed or desired, he gave to me. He became my world and I worshiped him as my new god. He brought me back to Constantinople, to that beautiful city, to his palace. He washed and perfumed me, dressed me in the finest clothes and presented me at the Sultan’s court.”
“You loved him so much!”
“Love?” said Marianne, as if trying to remember what the word meant. “Oh, yes, I loved him. But he didn’t love me. When the Sultan demanded me for his own, my lord gave me up. As a gift. Without a second thought. And then, after I had been taught and trained to obey my new master, the Sultan Turned me.”
“What happened when the Viking died?” I asked. “Did you cry, or was it sweet revenge to watch him grow old and wither away while you stayed young and beautiful?”
A dark fire smoldered in Marianne’s eyes. I dropped my gaze, out of the horror of what I already knew, not wanting to hear what she was going to tell me. “He isn’t dead, Sera. The Viking who saved me and brought me to Mehmet is Fabian Gore.”
I gasped and doubled over in agony. Every evil that existed, every cry of pain, every struggle against the darkness seemed to point back to Gore.
Marianne got up from the bed, walked a few paces, and then turned back to me. “So you see? I have no explanations for you. I now fight against the denizen that once I loved. How can I understand anything of this world, or we creatures that inhabit it?”
Angels Chronicles, 2)
Evernight Teen Publishing
Fantasy, Suspense, Urban Fantasy
mystery of her dad’s death and find out whether or not the Night Angel, Peter, really
loved her. Now, there are bigger issues at stake. After being saved from death
by the Night Angels, Sera returns to Oak Haven to find her brother, Salem, has
been saved by her nemesis, the sinister Los Angeles mayor-to-be, Fabian Gore.
Sera and her brother meet again in their hometown of Oak Haven as powerful
denizens. And as enemies. Someone is channeling power to the Queen, imprisoned
in St. Catherine’s Monastery. If she escapes, the Ancient Ones will rise up
from their sarcophagi beneath churches throughout the world and wreak vengeance
on denizens and humans alike.
the Queen, Sera has no choice but to form an uneasy alliance with Gore.
Meanwhile, Sera’s power and her connection to the Key of Mystery is growing.
Only she can open the Book of Angels. But whoever does that will become
something that Sera never wants to be: the Seventh Angel. How can Sera solve
her own problems when everyone else wants her to solve their problems as
into the air with the two of them, my mind on St. Catherine’s Monastery, and I
found myself hurtling through the Passage, horribly aware of every atom in my
body and the indomitable forces of the universe that were trying to pull me
being, I held myself together, “remembered myself”, and traveled through the
from the sky, surrounded by the immense, desolate beauty of what looked like a
moonscape. Except that the moon shone brighter and bigger than I had ever seen.
Behind me, sand stretched, wave upon wave of it, with not a hint of grass or
trees, while in front rose a sheer cliff, taller than a skyscraper. The
monastery seemed to grow out of the rock, so closely was it pressed against the
walls, landing in the empty courtyard. We entered the sixth century basilica.
We walked from the vestibule into the ornate nave and down the aisle, toward
the sanctuary. I gazed in awe at the ancient artifacts and the icons shining
with gold. Hundreds of lamps hung from the high ceiling like glittering
galaxies, bathing the vast room in an eerie light. Out of the shadows the
figure of the Abbot appeared, wearing a long gray robe and a cylindrical,
flat-topped hat. His long black hair was tied in a knot at the nape of his
head, a frizzy beard spreading out from his face like tangled wire. His large,
hooked nose resembled a bird’s beak and his dark eyes burned uncannily from
wordlessly led us through a dark and narrow arched doorway into a small,
circular, windowless chamber, padding silently on bare feet. The chamber was
empty except for one plain wooden table. On the table sat the black lacquered
Life Box, looking just as insignificant as the Object Holder had when I had
first seen it and fought over it with Salem. This box, though, was about twice
the size of the one that had held the key. And, whereas the Object Holder had a
gold lock and tiny gold key to open it, the Life Box had no lock and no visible
way to open it.
impressive Bedouin warriors. Each had one hand resting on a curved scimitar and
the other holding the hilt of a knife tucked into a belt. Their faces were
lined and weather-beaten and expressionless, as if carved from the rocks of the
mountain. The desert surrounding the monastery was home to many Bedouin. They
were devout Muslims with a long history of guarding the monastery. They had
made a vow to guard the Life Box with their lives.
stand at ease.
unison, “Assalamu alaikum.” It meant, “peace be upon you.”
responded, “Alaikum assalamu.” This meant, “upon you be
these days, I had no idea how I knew to say that, but I did.
for us to gather around the box.
hasn’t spoken in thirty years,” said Peter.
realized it vibrated and hummed in an almost undetectable manner. Only when I
remained completely still and stared fixedly did I notice it.
just today, it gained in force,” said one of the Bedouin.
jumped slightly, shuddered, and jumped again before falling back into its
continual vibration. It hummed a little louder now.
became aware that the key around my neck was growing heavier and beginning to
hummed louder. As it did, it rose into the air and hovered about two feet above
the table. The vibrating and humming grew so loud I thought the box might split
yelled in pain. I tried to tear it off, but it was stuck to my chest and my
hand burned when I touched it. I felt the Queen’s presence, reaching out to me.
It was pure evil and I felt attracted to it. I wanted to bow down and worship
the Queen, give her the key. I became brutally aware of her perfections and my
own failings. I loved the Queen! I despised and hated myself! Horrible thoughts
rose in my mind, the impulse to do horrible things.
or something worse, I didn’t know.
others. “She’s grabbing at me. Take me away. Please!”
and whipped out their daggers, but there was nothing they could do except stand
there, at the ready. Blanca and Peter had drawn their swords, too. They’d
placed themselves as a shield between me and the box. The Abbot ran in front of
us all and pushed Blanca and Peter back.
himself as if against a great wind, and raised his hands to heaven in prayer.
pull me out of the chamber. I don’t think I could have moved before the Abbot
faced the box. As soon as we were back in the nave, I collapsed onto the
ground, gasping great gulps of air, thankful to find the heat of the key
subsiding. With a great cry, I tried to take it off, but it was stuck.
Completely stuck now. To my skin.
sweat. I looked down at myself in horror. What had I become? What nightmare had
I entered? I pushed back my hair and swallowed, my throat dry and constricted.
I had to get control of myself. I breathed in and out deeply.
She’ll get out. Maybe soon. And I was ready to help her!” I shuddered.
still inside,” said Blanca.
my fate, as I had already seen it in my Turning, and it was clearer than ever.
One day I would face the Queen.
when she was so easily able to deceive and confuse me?
chamber. “The Abbot wants you to know he is now sure someone is channeling
power to the Queen, but he cannot see who.”
only tell you what the Abbot believes.”
further believes that you must discover who is doing this. You must stop them
or she will escape.”
out of the sanctuary and into the vestibule. “She and her sons will kill me and
take the key.”
door open with her foot. “We might as well be protecting a pile of trash! If it
weren’t for the key around your neck, I’d kill you myself!”
didn’t bother me. “You can call me what you want, I don’t care. But you better
listen because she will escape and we won’t be able to stop
her. We need to figure out what to do instead of arguing all the time.”
back to the castle and tell the others.”
and we stood for a moment, surveying the courtyard, the full moon casting eerie
shadows across the ground. I looked more carefully and saw that some of the
shadows moved like living things.
and I did the same. A gathering storms of wispy black tendrils snaked across
the sky, mirroring the moving shadows on the ground.
“Seventy-two demons were captured by King Solomon and then released by mistake.
Up there you see maybe twenty of them.”
joined us in the courtyard.
before,” said one of the Bedouin.
“I hate wind demons.”
him. We hurried across the courtyard, which was now filled with a howling wind,
the shadows of the wind demons slithering back and forth across the stones like
snakes. A group of monks appeared, running in the opposite direction, heading
for the church.
Bedouin above the din.
had just escaped the clutches of the Queen and now I had to contend with wind
demons? Was there no end to the problems I had to face in one day?
that stood across from the church. Standing on its own, opposite the gigantic
bell tower, was the minaret and we entered and climbed swiftly up the stairs.
It was from this highest point that the muezzin sang across the desert, calling
the followers of Islam to prayer, five times a day. We climbed out onto the
little platform that ran around the top of the minaret, and from here, I felt
the full force of the gale. The shadows screamed and I could see cavernous,
greedy mouths appear and disappear as they whipped around the tower, creating a
whirlpool of darkness. Only when I looked straight up could I see clear sky and
stars. But that opening was growing narrower by the minute. All around was
completely empty of light, as if the very sky itself had been sucked into a
giant black hole of whirling mouths and tails, into which we, too, would be
sucked if we tried to fly upward.
swords and I did the same.
must fly straight up. They don’t dare come too close to the minaret.”
we should hurry.
didn’t seem like the time to argue.
Jump onto my back. Once we’ve achieved the Passage, we’ll be safe. Until then,
you must hold your breath—don’t breathe, understand? If you do, the shadows
will enter and steal your soul.”
Bedouin brandished their swords at the swirling darkness. It seemed to abate a
bit, and Peter and Blanca seized that moment to leap into the air. I breathed
in deeply and held onto my breath.
the shadows, the terrible wind trying to push us back down, a screaming noise
like a thousand pigs being gutted. Flying straight upward, the two Night Angels
fought the demons with their swords, slicing into the tendrils that tried to
I felt an icy tendril touch my leg. I almost opened my mouth to scream. As it
was, I let go of Peter with one arm and tried to reach down to bat at the
tendril. I felt myself slipping halfway down his back and scrambled to pull
myself back up again.
tried to kick with my foot to shake it off, while struggling to get a better
hold on Peter. I was growing weaker. I had to take a breath. My chest was
and we were through. I pushed away from Peter with relief, feeling the now
familiar force of my molecules trying to split apart and me holding them
together, as we rocketed through space and time, landing within seconds in the
little garden of the castle.
Hunt aka KH Mezek is
the author and/or illustrator of nineteen children’s books and numerous essays
and short stories. ‘Reflections from Istanbul,’ an excerpt from her childhood
memoir, won the 2015 New Millennium Writings Nonfiction Award. She is the
co-founder of InsideOUT Writers, a creative writing program for incarcerated
youth in Los Angeles, and the founder of the MY WORLD PROJECT, connecting
youth in remote areas around the world through art and writing. She is a 2nd degree
black belt in Tang Soo Do, a first degree brown belt in Eskrima, and a boxing
and kick-boxing trainer. As a child, she and her family escaped out of Egypt
right before the 6 Day War, lived in a 17th century castle in
Switzerland and smuggled Bibles into communist countries, to name a few of her
adventures. As an adult, she continued her adventures, living between London
and a village in Yugoslavia. Key of Mystery and Book of Angels, volumes
one and two in the NIGHT ANGELS CHRONICLES, are published with
Top 10 Favorite Authors (and why)
M Pepper Langlinais: Really, guys? You’re going to ask me to pick favorites?
Okay, I’m not going to rank them. But I will pick some favorite authors and why I like them. In no particular order:
- Richard Adams. He wrote Watership Down, which I read in sixth grade. It had a huge influence on me, simply captivated me. My friends asked me what it was about and maybe that was the moment that I learned to tell a story, or at least learned to pitch one. My friends started calling me Hazel-Rah (after the chief rabbit in the book—yes, Watership Down is about rabbits on a journey to find a new warren), and then they began choosing rabbit names too. It was a great experience of literature bringing people together.
- Neil Gaiman. Someone gave me some copies of Sandman while I was an undergrad. I was never a comic book person, but that changed my view of ways stories could be told. I still really want to do a graphic novel some day, if I can find an illustrator.
- Anne Rice. Yes, she can get flowery with her descriptions, but I re-read Interview with the Vampire every couple years. Lestat may be showy, but Louis is still my favorite.
- Ben Aaronovitch. His Peter Grant series is just so much fun. When I told my 10-year-old son about it, he said, “Oh, it’s Harry Potter for grown-ups.” Yeah, that’s about right.
- Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. Without his writing the original Sherlock Holmes stories, I wouldn’t have a career.
- William Shakespeare. I’ve been in a Shakespeare troupe, and I’ve taught Shakespeare’s plays to kids, and I still just love his work. Once you get past the language (which isn’t a problem for me, but I had to show the kids how to read it), the stories are incredible. And really, the language is clever and lovely once you get the hang of it.
- Jane Austen. Speaking of clever language. She’s so smart and funny and I can read her over and over.
- Kate Morton. Her books have a definite formula to them, but I still find myself entranced and unable to put them down.
- Tana French. The Dublin Murder Squad books are a neat interlocking chain of stories. In the Woods is still my favorite, but they’re all great.
- Agatha Christie. I discovered Hercule Poiroit as a pre-teen and still just love to pick up one of those books when I want a quick, fun read.
Cee has a hopeless crush on her best friend Marcus. Unfortunately for her, he’s
gay. In the wake of Marcus’s older brother leaving home to join the Aerie,
Marcus has become increasingly distant. When Cee discovers she has a
troublesome dragon named Livian living inside her things grow even more
removed, but the more Cee becomes attached to Livian, the more she questions
the decision. Should she change her natural self for the crush who will never
love her anyway?
arms extended, her nails formed into claws, and her feet became suddenly very
heavy. The bony spires erupted from her shoulders, and Cee was compelled to
double over to allow the wings to grow.
instinct was to do just that. She wondered what she looked like, caught a
glimpse of red scales, and realized her eyesight had become sharper. All the
details of the trees around her impressed themselves upon her brain: the cracks
and flakes in the bark, the saw-tooth edges of the leaves, and every little spot
and insect thereupon.
with the middle of the trees. She looked down and saw her friends pushing
themselves even harder against the trunks, making way for Cee’s—or Livian’s,
she supposed—tail as it snaked by.
Livian impatiently. But we don’t have time for showing off just now.
gathering speed that put the force of the helicopter’s artificial wind to
shame. Cee realized she had no control over what was happening. It was all
Livian, and she was housed inside him, somehow, along for the ride.
through the treetops and being free of gravity. Cee would have liked to spend
more time experiencing it, but there was the helicopter, like a massive black
bug, and Livian went right for it.
Pepper Langlinais is an award-winning screenwriter, produced playwright, and
author. Her latest novel CHANGERS: MANIFESTING DESTINY, first in a new YA
fantasy trilogy, is now available from Evernight Teen.
Publishing and a Bachelor of Science in Radio-Television-Film. She has a love
of Shakespeare, having both performed and taught his work, and has also
interned on Hollywood film sets. M worked for Houghton Mifflin and Pearson
before deciding to devote her full time to writing (and occasionally
parenting). She lives in Livermore, California with her family, cat, and
hamster. Find out more about her and her books at PepperWords.com.
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feels like half a man since losing his leg in Afghanistan. After
returning to the family ranch, he wonders what any woman would see in him now.
His scars and self-doubt run deep, and while feeling desperate, he hires a
prostitute to ease his sexual tension.
has lived a life of horror since the age of seventeen when her pimp lured her
into a life of prostitution and depravity. She wants out, but the last girl who
tried to run ended up dead in a ditch. So, Dacey tries to do what she’s
told—but she has one guilty pleasure, her two nights a week she gets to see
for the day she’s free to love the man she’s falling for, but she knows that
freedom will come at a cost.
kneeled and took her hand in his, his touch gentle. “I know that we only have a
business arrangement, Dacey, and I have no claim on you. That being said,
despite the fact I use your services, I don’t like your job. I don’t like the
thought of other men’s hands on you, or that you have to sleep with random
strangers just to pay your bills. I once offered to help take care of you if
you would just give up that lifestyle. Why won’t you let me?”
problem for you to solve, Tyson. My life may not be perfect, but it’s mine. My
trailer isn’t much, but at least I own it. And my job may not be as glamorous
as it looked on Pretty Woman, but I’m
tightened on hers. “I don’t like it, but I know I can’t force you to quit. One
day, you’ll decide you’re ready for a respectable life, a home, and a family.
What are you going to do when that happens?”
wanted those things, desperately, but how was she supposed to get away from
Carlos? She wasn’t as popular as the other girls, but she still brought him a
steady income, and he wasn’t going to let her go anytime soon. He owned her,
and there wasn’t anything she could do about it. If she went to the police to
turn him in, they’d just arrest her as well for prostitution. And she couldn’t
let Tyson go after Carlos, not with his disability. He might act all big and
tough, but she knew he was still recovering.
going to want a washed-up whore, so I guess I never have to worry about that.
Besides, I don’t think I can have children. Back when I first started working,
Carlos took a few months to get my birth control lined up, and he didn’t always
make the customers use a condom. I think I’d have gotten pregnant if it were a
frequently tested during that period of her life, and she still went every
month. Of course, she also made sure her customers used condoms and refused to
service the ones who wouldn’t. It had been the cause of many fights between
Carlos and her, but knowing she wasn’t doubling her chances of an STD was worth
save me, Ty,” she said softly. “I appreciate that you want to, really I do, but
it’s too late for me. I’ve been working this job since I was seventeen. I’ve
seen things and done things that I’m not proud of, but I’ve done whatever was
necessary for me to survive. You think someone’s going to want a woman who’s
been a whore for five years? Someone who never graduated high school? What’s my
marketable skill, that I can make you come in less than a minute?”
little at that. “I’m not sure I would consider that skill. I like it when
things are dragged out for a while. The anticipation and incredible sensation
of feeling you wrapped around my cock are even better than coming.”
caressed her cheek and placed a gentle kiss on her lips. “I will do whatever it
takes to protect you, Dacey. Anything. If it hadn’t been for you, I probably
would have blown my head off months ago. Knowing I’d get to see you twice a
week has been the only thing keeping me going, and yeah, I know I pay for your
time, but I also know that you enjoy being with me.”
into his touch. Just thinking about him ending his life was enough to make her
cry, and for once she was thankful for her job. If she hadn’t been a
prostitute, they never would have met. He’d gotten Carlos’s number from a
friend and she’d just been lucky to be the girl her pimp sent out that night.
Ty had made her life so much better, even if she didn’t get to spend much time
with him. They’d laughed and talked, and just genuinely enjoyed one another’s
company. He’d been so cute that first night, unsure of himself to the point of
refusing to take off his pants. It had taken her weeks to get him to undress in
front of her, and when he had, she’d taken the time to kiss all of his scars,
including what remained of his left leg.
me whole again,” he said. “You never cared that I only have one leg now, or
that I’ve had more holes in me than a pin cushion. My scars don’t disgust you,
and I was finally able to see myself through your eyes and come to grips with
the body I have now versus the one I had before the explosion.”
tales about alpha male cowboys and the women who love them. There’s nothing
hotter than a man in tight Wranglers and a pair of well-worn boots. You have to
admit, there’s something sexy about a man who knows how to use a rope!
furbaby running around, keeping her company in the wee hours of the morning as
she tries to find just the right way to say “His skin gleamed, the early
morning rays caressing his sun bronzed flesh, as he studied her from beneath
the brim of his Stetson.” Or, you know, something similar.
affection on the furbabies, or slurping down a pot of coffee (Yes! A whole
pot!) so she can get in her daily word count, she enjoys reading and watching
movies – romances, usually.
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
This is one of those great romances that you can’t put down and don’t want to end. I was in love with the hero. A little broken, a little bit macho, and just the right amount of vulnerable. The heroine is that girl that you can’t help but like. I couldn’t stop smiling after putting the book down and I instantly had to find another book by this author.
The premise isn’t exactly new to me, two people lying to avoid family scrutiny. The originality comes in the family and the craziness that ensues. The supporting characters are awesome and give you just enough to feel like you would want to be there with them. The heat and sparks between the hero and heroine is everything you’d want and more. Without giving any spoilers, your heart will be yanked and pulled in all those great ways that true romance can. You are going to LAUGH a lot, cry a bit, and swoon throughout. LOVE THIS
The Reluctant Debutant by Jean Jacobsen
My Rating 3 of 5 Stars. It is *FREE* right now on Amazon
The author has a great way to immerse you into her world of the past. I enjoyed the plot and loved the city scenes. This was a story about a woman during a time that didn’t really see woman as equals. It was refreshing to see Clarissa’s ability to come out on top.
Things that didn’t work for me: There were a few areas that seemed weren’t as developed as I’d have liked and left me wanting a bit more as well as a few areas that I don’t felt added to the story. I also don’t enjoy more than two or three perspectives at most. Too many people telling a story can get confusing to me.
Overall this was a good story and I look forward to seeing how the author develops in her next stories.
Happy Book Birthday to Lynn Burke and
Tempered by Her!
Tempered by Her
Risso Family #4
By: Lynn Burke
Publisher: Evernight Publishing
Keywords: Contemporary, Erotic, Romance, BDSM, Light Bondage
Zane Risso, a Dominant unyielding in his desires, is haunted by the one woman he wants and can’t have, vanilla goodie-two-shoes Raquel Hawkins. He knows the only way to flush her from his system is to seduce her and move on, because surrendering the kink club addiction he enjoys is not a demand he’ll accept. From any woman.
Raquel Hawkins has never known temptation like the blue-eyed Italian god who seems fond of whispering naughty things in her ear during office hours. He’s bad news—sin personified—and although she continues to deny him, her body’s responses to his sensual words just might buy her a one-way ticket to hell.
From their first kiss, Zane’s determination to overcome her Pollyanna principles threatens his lifestyle. For Raquel, giving in to temptation would doubtless leave her heart a shredded mess—and unlock sordid secrets best left in the dark.
Click on the image above more information on the Risso Family Series
I found Raquel kneeling in the center of my bed, hands on her lap, head bowed, her high heels placed side by side on the floor at the bed’s foot. She hadn’t obeyed my first command, but fuck me, I didn’t give a shit.
I’d planned on taking her over my knee and reddening every inch of her ass and thighs, but seeing her in such a submissive pose in the middle of my bed had me drooling for a taste. “Take off your blouse.”
She started at my voice, but lifted shaking hands to do as told. With each button slipped free, my arousal returned, and the blue silk sliding off her bare shoulders and revealing a see-through white lace bra and puckered rosy nipples brought a groan to my lips.
“Lay back.” I strode forward as she straightened her legs and complied, the sounds of her quickened breaths heating my blood.
Fuckin’ Raquel Hawkins, sweet innocent, was on my bed, the darkness beneath her knee-length skirt sending my saliva glands into hyper-drive. I slipped leather ties around her wrists and tied her tight to my headboard. She chewed on her lower lip, chest rising and falling enough to make me think she might call out her safe word, but she kept silent.
I kicked off my shoes and climbed onto the bed, pushing up her pencil skirt with agonizing slowness over nylon-clad legs while settling on my haunches between them.
Thigh highs. I swallowed. Fuckin’A.
A sweep of my thumbs from inner to outer thighs, and she lifted her ass, allowing me to push the skirt to her waist. So much for my assumption about granny panties. White lace matching her bra and a scrap of silk hid her virgin curls from me. I leaned down, breathing in the sweet, musky scent of her arousal. “I’m going to taste you, Raquel.”
She gasped, her hands flexing in their restraints.
“You’re not allowed to come until I tell you to.”
I reached up and pinched her nipple, earning another gasp, a groan of pleasure on its heels as she writhed on the bed. “The proper response would be, yes, Sir.”
She licked her lips again and whispered, “Yes, Sir.”
“Yes, Sir, what?”
“I won’t come until you tell me to.”
About Lynn Burke
Lynn Burke is a full time mother, voracious gardener, and scribbler of spicy romance stories. A country bumpkin turned Bay Stater, she enjoys her chowdah and Dunkin Donuts when not trying to escape the reality of city life.
Her current work, the Risso Familly Novellas, revolves around four siblings from Boston’s North End.
All FOUR Risso Family novellas and a
$10 Amazon Gift Card!
- Flashdance from the 1980’s. I love the curly hair and red high heel shoes. I was a dancer in college and the fad was leg warmers and our dance clothes. The tv series Fame was popular during this time.
- How to Lose a guy in 10 days? It’s a romantic comedy that makes me laugh no matter how many times I watch the movie I leave feeling happy.
- Clash of the Titans is a mythological battle between the Gods. I love the heroic journey of the characters.
- Avatar one of my favorite romance stories. The importance of the environment, the acceptance of other cultures and the romance.
- The Outlanders series by Diana Gabaldon, the romance and relationship of Claire and Jamie is a love story that travels over time. I still recall their life together and remember the characters as if they were family.
- Susa Kates, The Savannah Coven Series. A coven of various women come together and create a family of sister, each facing a challenge they must overcome to restore the balance of evil. Love the story line.
- Night Walker, Lisa Kessler. I love reading paranormal romance.
- Ice Magic Fire Magic, Shauna Roberts. The use of magic in our lives and the power we have in ourselves to bring magic to other people’s world.
- Lover Eternal, J.R. Ward. The difficulty of fighting our inner dragons or demons. Learning to control our most base nature and overcome an internal rage at the injustice placed upon one self.
- Angels at the Table, Debbie Macomber. A fun Christmas tale of three angels who constantly find themselves in mischief. The story an enjoyable heart-warming read of how the best laid plans can falter.
A hot attraction ignites between the human and fae as they struggle to accomplish their goals. Lara’s secret threatens to destroy all their lives. Is Rafe’s love strong enough to break evil bonds and bring the darkness to justice?
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