LOST REPUTATION by Kimberly Ann Miller

 


LOST REPUTATION
Kimberly Ann Miller
Romance/Contemporary/Suspense/Young
Adult
Evernight Teen Publishing/237 pages
Casey Hayes has a secret—she writes
the conspiracy theory column for her high school newspaper. As the editor, she
thrives on the thrill of uncovering the facts—until she gets tangled up in a
scandal.
When she exposes a teacher’s shameful
secret, threats start, demanding she stop spreading the vicious rumors. Casey
blows it off and keeps on writing. Even sexy Victor Cruz, the hot senior with
the adorable accent who chases after Casey and tries to protect her, fails to
convince her to keep her mouth shut. But things only get worse as she ignores
the warnings, and soon, Casey must decide if exposing the truth is more
important to her than her life.
Buy Links:   Evernight
Teen
    Amazon
ARe
    

 

Excerpt:
I laughed at the memory as I locked
up the newsroom and rushed to my next class. I still had a smile on my face as
I plopped down on my seat in the back row of calculus. Victor Cruz, my secret
crush, entered the room. My pulse reacted to his presence, but, thank God, no
other part of me did that he could see. I didn’t want to be lusting after
anyone this year because I was planning on working hard toward my college goals
and didn’t need the distraction.
The worst thing was, Charli told me
he gave his ex-girlfriend some rash because he cheated on her. I so did
not do the sexually transmitted diseases thing, and I definitely had zerorespect
for cheaters. Not even for a hunk like him, who obviously screwed around and
didn’t care if he got girls sick.
But damn, did this guy make my
insides quiver. He was totally hot. His parents moved to New Jersey
from Spain during middle school when Vic was scrawny and didn’t speak much
English. When senior year started a month ago, no one recognized him because
he’d grown ten inches, gained fifty pounds—of muscle—and must have taken some
classes in style because, damn, the boy knew how to dress to show off his
build.
Loose jeans with a belt, black boots,
and a black, long-sleeved tee only made him sexier. And the way he walked? It
should’ve been a crime. He had a swagger about him that rivaled any of the good
old boys of Hollywood. Watching it made me quiver in places I didn’t know could
quiver.
But it wasn’t just his looks that
held me captive. He had the values of an old-fashioned guy—holding the door
open for girls, helping them with heavy stuff, defending them when guys were
too rough or mean.
If it wasn’t for that wild partying
side of him … sigh.
As he approached his seat, I couldn’t
help but stare at his thighs, mesmerized by the fluid sway they made with each
step.
He caught me staring and raised a
thick black brow. I diverted my eyes and pretended to be very interested in the
junior’s notebook next to me. But I didn’t even know his name. Ugh.
Vic slid into his seat next to me and
winked at the girls that were staring at him.
They always stared at him.
I rolled my eyes. But when I felt his
eyes on me, I shifted in my seat, fighting the funny tingle in my stomach that
came from looking at him.
The other problem was, besides being
a distraction, Vic knew how sexy he’d become. He acted so cocky and confident,
I wanted to smack the grin off his face and remind him that not long ago, he
could have passed for a ten-year-old boy who couldn’t speak English or speak to
girls.
But, whatever. He had a harem now, so
good for him. And shiny black hair, smooth, bronze skin, and deep brown eyes
that … never mind. Didn’t matter anyway.
Kylie sauntered over to him, swaying
her hips so hard, I wondered how they didn’t dislocate. She leaned over his
back and wrapped her arms around his ample shoulders, pressing her boobs into
his back. I’m sure he loved that. “Hey, Vic. Busy this weekend? My parents are
out of town, and we can go riding if you want. I’ll pack us a lunch.” She ran
her fingernails over his chest as she spoke, clearly enjoying the feel of him.
He pulled her fingers off him and
slipped out of her grasp. “Sorry, I’m busy, but thanks for asking.”
She leaned into him again, making
sure to press her boobs into his neck. I rolled my eyes so hard, they almost
didn’t return to face front. That would suck. What would I tell the nurse? I
was looking at my brain instead of in front of me and I needed an eye
adjustment?
“Maybe another time, okay?”
Vic nodded once. “Si.”
I pulled out my phone to check
messages, done with listening to the vixen and her attempts at charming the
hottest guy in school.
“Hey, Casey,” he said in his sexy
Spanish accent. He had this way of dragging out the end of my name, making it
sound like Kay Seee.
It was both unsettling and adorable,
so I just grunted at him. How else could I get anything done with him around?
About the Author:
Kimberly Ann Miller received
Bachelor’s degrees from Georgian Court University and Rutgers University and a
Master’s degree from The University of Medicine and Dentistry of New
Jersey.  She is an avid reader and particularly enjoys true crime and
young adult novels.  She grew up in New Jersey and currently resides
in Monmouth County with her husband and cats. When she’s not writing, she loves
to travel to sunny islands where she snorkels by day and stargazes by
night. She always takes her Nook with her.
* * * * *

Giveaway: $10 Evernight Teen GC

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FOR HER SISTER by Lara Sleath and Her Publishing Story

 

            Lara Sleath – My Road to Being Published

It was the trip to India that did it. I drove with my boyfriend from London to Calcutta. On the way, I decided to write a book about it. We’d had so many adventures. We’d hung out with war lords and had bathed elephants in holy rivers. How could the book not be a bestseller?

But when I wrote the thing, something happened. The words kept getting tangled. And I didn’t sound like me at all. I sounded wooden.

I finished the book but it sucked. I was too embarrassed to show it to anyone. I kept promising my friends that soon I give them something good to read.

Next, I decided to write a children’s book. Kids books were easier, right? Or at least they were shorter. I wrote the book then hired a mentor, an extremely kind author called Stephen Measday. He told me gently that the plot wasn’t great. We bounced around ideas and on the back of this, I produced another children’s book – Archie and the Upside Down Circus.

I sent Archie to publishers in Australia where I was living at the time. A woman from Penguin Australia returned my manuscript with a note. She told me that my writing wasn’t quite ready but that she believed that my next book would be published. I cherished this note for years.

Spurred on by this, I wrote two more books but I didn’t finish either of them. All the time, I was going on writing courses, reading endless how-to books on writing and studying the hell out of story structure. I went to writing conferences and joined critique groups.

Next, I finished a romantic comedy, which I was convinced was the one. I hired an independent editor who liked it too. She warmed up some agents about my book. But when I sent it to them, they all passed. One liked the characters but not the writing. Another loved the writing but not the characters. Even still, I felt like I was close.

Some time later For My Sister was born. I sent sample chapters to agents. Five of them asked to see the whole manuscript. But again they all said no. I started to get angry. What more could I do? I’d jumped through all of the hoops and had ticked every box.

I remember the evening when I received the email from Evernight Teen. I was sitting on the beach. It was the first sunny day in ages and it seemed like the whole of the Vancouver had come out of hibernation. The ocean stretched before me in a swathe of blue. To the left of the high rises, I could see the snow-dusted mountains. It was so beautiful. But I was too angry to enjoy the beauty. I was never going to get published. I sat sulkily flicking through my phone.

Then I clicked on the email from Evernight Teen. They wanted my book. I was so shocked that I turned my phone off. Maybe the email wasn’t real. Perhaps it was a sick joke.

Later that evening, I told my husband that someone was going to publish my book.

“Oh wow,” he said. “Finally. Hey, why are you crying?”

“Because I’m so happy.”

And I am really happy. Thank you Evernight Teen for believing in me and in For My Sister.

***

FOR
HER SISTER

by Lara Sleath
YA
Paranormal Suspense
Evernight
Teen Publishing / 61,000 words
Eighteen-year-old
Bresha blames herself for her younger sister’s death. She knew that Arlene was
gullible and fragile. Yet she still let her tone-deaf sister meet with 
Saul Sanderstorm, a record company mogul whose
charisma is as big as his temper.
 
When Arlene is found
floating in Camden Lock canal, the police call it suicide. But Bresha knows
different. She knows that sleazy Saul is somehow to blame. And so does Arlene’s
ghost. Why else would she fog up mirrors and trace the letter S for Saul
through the condensation on the glass? Now, Bresha has to find a way to prove
that Saul’s guilty.
 
When Bresha discovers that
Saul is getting a kick out of mentally breaking singers, she wonders if this
happened to Arlene. The truth has to be ugly and shocking. Because why else
would Saul be prepared to do anything to conceal it?
 
Bresha faces a choice. Risk
her life to unearth the facts. Or drop the case and be forever tormented by her
sister’s ghost. 
Buy Links:  Evernight
Teen
    Amazon    ARe   

 

 
Someone was
screaming. She realized that it was her. She found herself on her feet. She
took off down the path, her breath jagged, her shoes pounding over the gravel.
Fire flashed against her legs, as the nettles stung her.
She ran a
few more steps. She had to be faster than him. Surely, she was faster. He was
paunchy old man. Her feet hit a boulder and she stumbled. She felt his hands on
her back. Slam. He pushed her down. A burning pain shot across
her cheek, as her face smashed into the gravel.
She scrambled
up and ran on. He sprang on her from behind. Again, he brought her down. She
twisted around. He threw himself on top of her, his weight crushing her. She
reached up and tried to claw his face, but he caught her hands and pinned them
down by her sides onto the path.
“You
will not to do this to me,” he snarled. “You will not ruin
me.”
Bresha tried
to speak, but her tongue was frozen. She gazed into his eyes, hoping to reason
with him on an unspoken level, human to human. She’d read somewhere that eyes
were supposed to be the view point into people’s souls. Now she saw his soul.
It looked like the photograph of a cancerous organ on the side of a cigarette
packet, black and festering.
He brought
his head toward her lips. Was he going to kiss her like he might have been
trying to do that day on the couch? She turned her head away, pushing one side
of her face into the grit. He’d never kiss her. She’d die before he kissed her.
She felt him
bite into her neck. He was giving her a love bite, the sick pig. She screamed
as he drew blood. 
***

 

British born
Lara Sleath has been writing stories – on paper and in her head – for as long
as she can remember. But gave up on the idea of becoming a writer because she
believed that the idea was too far-fetched. Instead she took the only slightly
more sensible option of working in the music industry.
But even that
proved too dull for Lara. In her mid-twenties, she set off from London with her
boyfriend in a battered VW van. Their aim was to drive to India. They arrived a
quarter of a year after adventures with warlords and after having seen many
mind-blowing sights.
Today, the
boyfriend in the beaten-up VW van is Lara’s husband. She lives with him and
their two children in Vancouver, Canada close to the ocean and the mountains.
Lara writes every day surrounded by an army of cats. For Her Sister is
her debut novel.
***

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BATTERED not broken by CHARITY WEST

 

****

10 Random Things about Charity West

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. My favorite YA authors are Chris Cannon and Lisa Brown Roberts.
  7. 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.
  8. My favorite Tim Burton movie is Corpse Bride. I watch it at least once a week, usually when I’m writing.
  9. 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.
  10. 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.

****

BATTERED
not broken
by CHARITY WEST
Contemporary/Romance/Young
Adult
40K,
Evernight Teen Publishing
Who knew falling for a
man in Khaki could cause so much trouble?
Battered and
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 town,
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
trouble?
Buy Links:
Evernight
Teen
    Amazon    ARe
14+ due to violence and
adult situations
Excerpt:
The shadows crept closer as a deep
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.
My palms grew slick as I heard my
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.
An iron grip closed around my arm,
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.
“Thought you could hide from me?” he
slurred. “Stupid little bitch.”
The slap across my cheek made tears
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
throat.
“Worthless. That’s what you are.” He
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
ungrateful shit.”
Yes, because thanking him for the
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.
“You think I don’t see the way you
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.”
Like I didn’t already wish that every
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
answer.
He stomped out of the room, and I
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.
I zipped up my bag and then grabbed
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.
About the Author:
Charity West is a young adult romance
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.
By the time Charity was twelve, she
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.

Giveaway:

$10 Evernight Teen GC

 

Book of Angels (Night Angels Chronicles, 2) by K.H. Mezek

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?”

****
Book
of Angels
(Night
Angels Chronicles, 2)
by K.H. Mezek
 
Evernight Teen Publishing
Romance,
Fantasy, Suspense, Urban Fantasy
All Sera ever wanted was to solve the
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. 
To thwart
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
well?  
Buy Links:  Evernight Teen / Amazon  / ARe
 
14+ due to adult situations
Excerpt:
The next thing I knew I had leapt
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
apart.
As if it were a part of my very
being, I held myself together, “remembered myself”, and traveled through the
Passage.
Within seconds, I was floating down
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
cliff.
“All looks peaceful,” observed Peter.
“Maybe too peaceful,” said Blanca.
Together, we jumped over the fortress
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
deep sockets.
He greeted us with a humble bow and
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.
On either side of the table stood two
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.
The Abbot motioned for the Bedouin to
stand at ease.
Bowing low to us, the guards said in
unison, “Assalamu alaikum.” It meant, “peace be upon you.”
Along with Peter and Blanca, I
responded, “Alaikum assalamu.” This meant, “upon you be
peace.”
Like everything else in my crazy life
these days, I had no idea how I knew to say that, but I did.
The Abbot didn’t speak, just gestured
for us to gather around the box.
“He has taken a vow of silence and
hasn’t spoken in thirty years,” said Peter.
My attention was drawn to the box. I
realized it vibrated and hummed in an almost undetectable manner. Only when I
remained completely still and stared fixedly did I notice it. 
“This it does without stopping and
just today, it gained in force,” said one of the Bedouin.
Sure enough, as we watched, the box
jumped slightly, shuddered, and jumped again before falling back into its
continual vibration. It hummed a little louder now.
As I watched in fascination, I slowly
became aware that the key around my neck was growing heavier and beginning to
burn.
The box vibrated more violently and
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
apart.
The key was searing my skin and I
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.
Blood was pouring from my eyes. Tears
or something worse, I didn’t know.
“Take me away!” I cried out to the
others. “She’s grabbing at me. Take me away. Please!
The Bedouin had drawn their swords
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.
He turned to face the box, bracing
himself as if against a great wind, and raised his hands to heaven in prayer.
Peter and Blanca were then able to
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.
“Fuck this key! Why am I cursed with
it?”
My entire body was bathed in red
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’s getting stronger all the time.
She’ll get out. Maybe soon. And I was ready to help her!” I shuddered.
“But you didn’t,” said Peter.
“At least now we are sure she is
still inside,” said Blanca.
“She won’t stay there.” I could see
my fate, as I had already seen it in my Turning, and it was clearer than ever.
One day I would face the Queen. 
And I would fail! How could I not,
when she was so easily able to deceive and confuse me?
One of the Bedouin exited the
chamber. “The Abbot wants you to know he is now sure someone is channeling
power to the Queen, but he cannot see who.”
“It’s just not possible,” said
Blanca. 
The Bedouin bowed respectfully. “I
only tell you what the Abbot believes.”
“Thank you,” said Peter.
The Bedouin continued. “The Abbot
further believes that you must discover who is doing this. You must stop them
or she will escape.”
He bowed again and returned to the
nave.
“He’s right,” I said, as we walked
out of the sanctuary and into the vestibule. “She and her sons will kill me and
take the key.”
“Coward.” Blanca kicked the church
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!”
For the first time, Blanca’s words
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.”
“Well said,” said Peter. “Let’s get
back to the castle and tell the others.”
We were outside of the basilica now
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.
“What’s that?” I asked.
Peter and Blanca looked up to the sky
and I did the same. A gathering storms of wispy black tendrils snaked across
the sky, mirroring the moving shadows on the ground.
“What the hell…” I said.
“Wind demons,” said Blanca.
I looked at Peter inquiringly.
“Seventy-two demons were captured by King Solomon and then released by mistake.
Up there you see maybe twenty of them.”
The Abbot and the two Bedouin had
joined us in the courtyard.
“We have never seen them here
before,” said one of the Bedouin.
“And so many,” said Peter. He sighed.
“I hate wind demons.”
The Abbot was motioning us to follow
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.
“They will pray,” yelled one of the
Bedouin above the din.
This was not making me any happier. I
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?
The Abbot led us into the Fatimid mosque
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.
Peter and Blanca unsheathed their
swords and I did the same.
Peter pointed with his sword. “We
must fly straight up. They don’t dare come too close to the minaret.”
The Abbot nodded, making motions that
we should hurry.
“Put your sword away,” Peter said.
I began to object, then obeyed. This
didn’t seem like the time to argue.
He gripped my arm. “Listen carefully!
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.”
I nodded, terrified.
I jumped onto his back and held on
tightly.
The Abbot raised his arms, while the
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.
All was chaos in the tunnel through
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
encircle them.
I was sure we had almost made it when
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.
I was falling!
The snaky thing had my ankle now. I
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
exploding.
And then, the Passage was achieved
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. 

Key of Mystery, Book 1,  is also available now:  Amazon   Evernight Teen    ARe
About the
Author:
Karen
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
Evernight Teen.  
* * *
Giveaway:
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Manifesting Destiny (Changers) by M Pepper Langlinais


 

****

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: 

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. Without his writing the original Sherlock Holmes stories, I wouldn’t have a career.
  6. 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.
  7. Jane Austen. Speaking of clever language. She’s so smart and funny and I can read her over and over.
  8. Kate Morton. Her books have a definite formula to them, but I still find myself entranced and unable to put them down.
  9. 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.
  10. 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.
****
Manifesting DESTINY
(Changers)
M Pepper Langlinais
Romance/Paranormal/Fantasy
65K, Evernight Teen Publishing

Sixteen-year-old
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
complicated. 

Marcus urges Cee to go to the Magi to have Livian
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?
Buy
Links:  ARe   Evernight
Teen
   Amazon
Excerpt:
Heat spread through her. Cee’s face elongated, her
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.
Throughout, Cee fought the urge to resist, though her
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.
How big was she? Cee realized she was at eye level
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.
Yes, we’re very pretty, said
Livian impatiently. But we don’t have time for showing off just now.
The massive wings began to move, slowly at first,
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.
It was equal parts thrilling and petrifying, bursting
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.
* * *
About the author:
M
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. 
M holds a Master of Arts in Writing, Literature and
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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Happy Book Birthday!

GetAttachment[1]THE DARKNESS WITHIN (The Monster Within #2)

After dying of cancer at seventeen and being brought back to life by an evil witch who turned her into a monster, Samantha Thompson thinks she’s finally gotten past all the tragedy in her life. Now she’s part of a coven of good witches who are helping her and her boyfriend, Ethan Anderson, learn to use the powers they received from other witches. Aside from the fact that Sam and Ethan are still in hiding from their old lives–the ones they had before Sam was brought back to life–things couldn’t be better. Sam and Ethan are inseparable. What could go wrong? Magic. Ethan’s magic came from a witch who’d turned as evil as possible, and though his coven thought he’d be fine, the more he uses his magic, the stranger he starts acting. The magic inside him is changing who he is. One minute he’s Sam’s sweet, perfect Ethan and the next, he’s a complete stranger. Even with all her witchy power, Sam is helpless against the magic corrupting Ethan. Can Sam find out what’s wrong with him before she loses him to dark magic forever?

TDW teaser 7Buy Links:

Amazon – http://amzn.to/1FSNAzX

B&N – http://bit.ly/1QigXgk

iBooks – TBA 

 

Meet Kelly! the author!

Email: khashway@hotmail.com

Website: www.kellyhashway.com

Blog: http://kellyhashway.blogspot.com

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

Twitter: https://twitter.com/kellyhashway

Google+: https://plus.google.com/u/0/+KellyHashway

Pinterest: http://www.pinterest.com/kellyhashway/

Amazon Author Page: http://www.amazon.com/Kelly-Hashway/e/B004B3W3CU

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/4528793.Kelly_Hashway

YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/user/kellyhashwayb5454-khauthorphoto

TDW teaser 1

Did you miss book one? 

About THE MONSTER WITHIN:

 

The moment seventeen-year-old Samantha Thompson crawls out of her grave, her second chance at life begins. She died of cancer with her long-time boyfriend, Ethan, by her side–a completely unfair shot at life.
GetAttachment[1] (2)
But Ethan found a way to bring her back, like he promised he would. Only Sam came back wrong.

She’s now a monster that drains others’ lives to survive. And after she kills, she’s tortured by visions—glimpses into her victims would-have-been futures had she not killed them. Barely able to live with herself and trying to make things right, Sam ends up a pawn in a vicious game of payback within the local coven of witches.

But when the game reveals what Ethan had to do to save Sam, she must make a choice that will change all their lives forever.

 

Perfect For You Releases!

Perfect for You

Release Date: September 2014

Swoon Romance

Summary from Goodreads:

Seventeen-year-old Meg Flannigan isn’t very self-confident, but what girl would be after her sophomore-year boyfriend dumped her by making out with another girl in front of her locker? 

Now a senior, Meg catches the eye of not one, but two gorgeous guys at school. Sounds good, right? What girl wouldn’t want to be in Meg’s shoes? One cute boy happens to be her boyfriend, and the other? Well, he wants to be. And Meg? She’t torn between Ash, the boy she’s been with for nearly five months, and Noah who is pretty irresistible. 


But Meg is playing with fire. Pitting two boys against one another, even if she doesn’t intend to, could end badly if she isn’t careful. PERFECT FOR YOU is a teen romance from bestselling author Ashelyn Drake, where one girl will risk everything to find her perfect match.

Available from:

 

Excerpt

I hop in the shower and sing this old sappy love song Mom likes to belt out while she’s vacuuming. I’ve always laughed at her for liking the song, but today it seems like the perfect thing to sing. I’m different today. I’m the girl Ash is in love with.

Still smiling, I go downstairs and grab some coffee, which is cold from sitting for hours. Mom and Dad left for work a long time ago. I toss a few ice cubes in my mug and decide to go for iced coffee. Why fight it? My cell rings while I’m pouring myself a bowl of cereal. A quick glance at the screen tells me it’s my best friend Grayson calling.

“Hey, Gray!” Yes, I’m Little Miss Sunshine this morning.

“Well, someone woke up on the right side of the bed. Should I ask if Ash was in that bed?”

“No! But I do have news.” My voice is so bubbly I barely recognize it. “Ash told me he loves me.”

“No way! He said the L-word?”

“Yup!”

“When? Where? Tell me everything.”

I melt into the stool at the counter and tell her everything. The pool, the stars, the amazing make-out session, and of course Ash saying he loves me. When I finish she’s silent. “Gray? Did I lose you?” I pull the phone away from my ear and check the connection. Seems fine. “Gray?”

“I’m here.” Her voice is small, not happy at all. “Why aren’t you jumping up and down with me? You’re my best friend. You’re supposed to be almost as excited about this as I am.”

“Did you say it back?”

“What? Yes, of course. Would I be this happy if I didn’t?” Something’s up. “What’s going on?”

I can practically hear her shrug. “I don’t know. I guess I’m just confused. I mean, you’re hanging out with Noah behind Ash’s back. I kind of thought…Do you even know what you want?”

“You thought what? That I’m into Noah? That just because he started talking to me, I’d break up with Ash?”

“I don’t know. Maybe.”

How can she say that? “Noah and I are just friends. We both play tennis, we think alike…” I’m not sure how much to tell her without making her more suspicious.

“That’s all?” she presses. “I know you better, Meg.”

“Fine. So, maybe at first I was excited he was paying attention to me. I’ve liked him for a long time. But I love Ash. Noah talking to me doesn’t change that.”

“Okay. If you say that’s all it is, then I believe you.”

“Do you? Because it would really suck if my best friend didn’t trust me.”

“I said I believe you. What more do you want?”

 

About the Author

Ashelyn Drake is a New Adult and Young Adult romance author. While it’s rare for her not to have either a book in hand or her fingers flying across a laptop, she also enjoys spending time with her family. She believes you are never too old to enjoy a good swing set and there’s never a bad time for some dark chocolate. She is represented by Sarah Negovetich of Corvisiero Literary Agency.

 

Author Links:

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Book Blitz Organized by:

The Monster Within Giveaway

Squee! There’s one month until the release of The Monster Within! That means it’s time to celebrate! And what better way to celebrate than by having a giveaway? But before we get to the giveaway, check out the cover and blurb for The Monster Within.
 
The moment seventeen-year-old Samantha Thompson crawls out of her grave, her second chance at life begins. She died of cancer with her long-time boyfriend, Ethan, by her side—a completely unfair shot at life. But Ethan found a way to bring her back, like he promised he would. Only Sam came back wrong.


She’s now a monster that drains others’ lives to survive. And after she kills, she’s tortured by visions—glimpses into her victims would-have-been futures had she not killed them. Barely able to live with herself and trying to make things right, Sam ends up a pawn in a vicious game of payback within the local coven of witches.


But when the game reveals what Ethan had to do to save Sam, she must make a choice that will change all their lives forever.
Publisher: Spencer Hill Press
ISBN:  978-1-937053-85-7
Release Date: 6/17/2014
Formats: Paper, e-book 

Add it on Goodreads.
Pre-order on B&N or Amazon. 
 
So, what can you win? 

 

 

  • 1 signed copy of The Monster Within
  • The Monster Within bookmarks
  • a mask (winner’s choice of purple, green, or gold)
  • a mood ring (winner’s choice of small, medium, or large)
  • a triquetra necklace (not shown in picture)
  • a paperback ARC of Cold Calls, a YA thriller by Charles Benoit
  • a hard cover copy of The Magnolia League, a witchy YA by Katie Crouch
  • a $10 Amazon or Barnes and Noble gift card (winner’s choice; gift card not shown in picture)



Sound good? Enter by filling out the rafflecopter below.

 

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