Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Review: The Last Mission Of The Living By Rhiannon Frater






The Last Mission of the Living
Rhiannon Frater
(The Last Bastion #2)
Publication date: August 28th 2014
Genres: Adult, Horror

Humanity teeters on the brink of extinction…

Vanguard Lindsay Rooney has faced the undead hordes of Inferi Scourge and lived to tell the tale, but she has also suffered horrible losses. Like millions of other civilians, she had hoped that The Bastion would recover after a team of modified soldiers eradicated the undead hordes of Inferi Scourge that infested their valley. Yet the city still crumbles around them, along with any chance of survival.

Lindsey’s growing friendship with Torran MacDonald, an officer with the Science Warfare division, is her only solace as the decline of the city continues. When food riots fill the streets, martial law is enacted, and the upper echelons of government battle for control of the city, Lindsey is conscripted by her superiors to embark on a dangerous mission into the dead world beyond The Bastion. To add even more complications, Torran and the SWD join the squad.

Soon, Lindsey realizes that her mission is more than what it seems, and there are secrets that could both destroy The Bastion and take her life.






The sequel to The Last Bastion of the Living was a great surprise to me and I was super excited to read it once hearing about it. I am not disappointed.
I like how we get better acquainted with a few characters from before and meet a new one to fall in love with as well.
Sorry people but I don't like *spoilers in my reviews.
If you are a fan of zombies, the future and Rhiannon Frater then please pick this book up



























Saturday, December 20, 2014

Review: Unleashed (The Complete Collection)By J. E. & M. Keep



Unleashed by J.E & M. Keep
Publication date: December 13th 2014
Genres: Fantasy, New Adult, Paranormal

Synopsis:

Kanika has just barely entered adulthood when her world is thrown upside down. Her school is magically cut off from the rest of society, and she’s risking expulsion.

She entangles herself in an immoral and erotic sexual awakening with the half-demon administrator in exchange for her continued education, but her life will never be the same.

Devastated by the fact that she callously threw away her virginity to a powerful man she’s just met, she’s easily seduced by her charismatic and tender linguistics professor, Cyril Thackeray.

When she learns that she can’t judge a person by their appearance, and is left uncertain as to whom is lying to her, she spirals deeper into depravity and promiscuity, embarking upon a dangerous exploration of her new sexual desires.

A paranormal fantasy novel for new adults, Unleashed is a powerful and unflinching novel that will leave your morality in tatters


Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/23294956-unleashed

Purchase:
Will be found here come release day: http://www.amazon.ca/s/ref=nb_sb_noss?url=search-alias%3Dstripbooks&field-keywords=Unleashed+keep&rh=n%3A916520%2Ck%3AUnleashed+keep


Kanika is a very unique young woman who has a serious problem. She is an intelligent girl who is unfortunately a poor student at the Academy on scholarship. With a mysterious vail that has ascended on the school and the surrounding land the school is running out of food. She is advised to make herself useful but she's alittle lost and a lot naive.Kani falls under the protection of two professors but she's struggling with all the events and stress.
I like Kani a lot.









J.E. & M. Keep love to combine fantasy, scifi, horror, romance and mystery into exciting and titillating novels.

They are long term, loving partners in a very happy relationship and because of this, they love to torture their characters. Dark romance touches all of their stories in one way or another, from elicit trysts to forbidden love.

Some of their work contains dubious consent and erotic pain, so it’s not for the faint of heart. Their stories are often called twisted and arousing -- at the same time.

All work is 18+, trigger warnings available on the second page of every book. If you want to hear about new releases, sign up for the newsletter!

Website: http://www.jmkeep.com
Newsletter: http://www.jmkeep.com/newsletter
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/jmkeep
Twitter: http://twitter.com/jmkeep | http://twitter.com/jekeep




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Spotlight: The Dusty Cronicles (Haunting and Imprint) By BJ Sheldon


Haunting
The Dusty Chronicles # 1
By- BJ Sheldon
Genre- YA Paranormal

After a family tragedy, 15-year-old Dusty Vermeer has to start her sophomore year in a new town and a new school. Rural Iowa introduces her to Mark, a charming football player. Dusty can hardly believe her heart. Then, to her surprise Dusty meets another guy.

The chemistry between Dusty and Jack could spark a prairie fire on a rainy day. The only problem? Jack’s dead. The handsome soldier comes to Dusty in her dreams and introduces her to the horrors of a foreign battlefield and the enchantments of first love.

While Dusty tries to balance her feelings for the two new guys in her life, Jack steps out of Dusty’s dreams and into her reality. And he wants something. Jack has no memory of how he died more than half a century ago. Dusty vows to uncover the mystery, but her quest for justice puts her in the path of evil, a force that won’t stop until she’s silenced.



    The atmosphere in my room changed the moment I crossed the threshold. I became disoriented, like I’d come down with a sudden case of vertigo. My breath hung in the air like a cloud, and the temperature dropped to near freezing. I wrapped my arms around myself to keep warm. My body tensed, instinctively sensing something wasn’t right.
    A white mist flowed across the floor from left to right. Can this really be happening? My chest grew tight, and I realized I’d been holding my breath. I dashed to the bed, grabbed my cell, and bolted for the door, anxious to escape the room. Again, I sensed movement out of the corner of my eye and saw that my closet door had somehow swung wide open.
    I could barely get it closed before.
    My stomach bounced up into my chest. I rushed over and hastily shoved the door shut, giving the doorknob a good tug to ensure it had latched securely.
    Just a drafty old farmhouse.
    As quickly as it had all started, it was over. The temperature in the room went back to normal, and a sense of calm spread throughout my body. I tried to shake off the entire incident, embarrassed that I had allowed myself to get all worked up over nothing.
    I descended the narrow stairwell that led directly into the kitchen and attempted to banish the mist and closet door incidents to the recesses of my mind. There were other pressing issues to worry about. In a mere two days, Sadie and I were to start over at a new high school.

#2


    He continued to stare out the window.
    “I’ve been gone a long time. Funny thing is, it only feels like a few days. It’s like I fell asleep and woke up from a bad dream.” He finally turned to face me, releasing a long sigh. “Are you doing any better? Not so scary, am I?”
    “I wasn’t scared. Well, maybe just a little. It’s not every day a ghost shows up in your bedroom and starts a conversation with you when you’re half asleep.” I sat on the edge of my bed. “Jack? Why are you here? And I don’t just mean like this. Why are you here - with me - in my house?”
    “Not sure. Something about this place seems familiar, I think. You seem familiar to me, too. But that’s not possible, right?”
    “Well, Alice used to live here when you were still alive. That’s probably why the farm’s familiar.”
    I studied Jack’s handsome face. He must have been a popular guy back in the day. I couldn’t get past the despondency in his eyes. I was so busy trying to wrap my own head around everything I’d been going through that I hadn’t stopped to think about how difficult the whole situation must be for him. One moment he’s young, alive, and fighting for his country. The next, he’s waking up to a strange and morbid reality.
    “What do you remember?” I asked.
    “Korea. That’s it. I don’t remember shipping out. Actually, I can’t even remember my life before that.” He closed his eyes. “Don’t remember dying either. Out of everything, you’d think I’d remember my own death, wouldn’t you?”
 

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Spotlight:Feast of Fates By Christian A. Brown





Four Feasts Till Darkness
Book One
Christian A. Brown

Genre: Fantasy Romance

Date of Publication: September 9, 2014

ISBN: 978-1495907586
Number of pages: 540

Word Count: 212K

Book Description:

"Love is what binds us in brotherhood, blinds us from hate, and makes us soar with desire.”

Morigan lives a quiet life as the handmaiden to a fatherly old sorcerer named Thackery. But when she crosses paths with Caenith, a not wholly mortal man, her world changes forever. Their meeting sparks long buried magical powers deep within Morigan. As she attempts to understand her newfound abilities, unbidden visions begin to plague her--visions that show a devastating madness descending on one of the Immortal Kings who rules the land.

With Morigan growing more powerful each day, the leaders of the realm soon realize that this young woman could hold the key to their destruction. Suddenly, Morigan finds herself beset by enemies, and she must master her mysterious gifts if she is to survive.



Feast of Fates, Excerpt #1

Morigan took the bracelet.
            “I accept your offering.” The Wolf’s face lit and she thought that he would leap at her. “Yet first, I have a request.”
            “Anything, my Fawn.”
            “I would like to see…what you are. The second body that shares your soul. Show me your fangs and claws,” she commanded.
            Perhaps it was the steadiness of her voice, how she ordered him to bare himself as if he belonged to her that made the Wolf’s heart roar to comply. He did not shed his skin but for the whitest moons of the year, and even then, so far from the city and never in front of another. In a sense, he was as much a virgin as she. With an unaccustomed shyness, he found himself undressing before the Fawn, confused for a speck as to who was the hunter. The flare of her nostrils, the intensity of her stare that ate at him for once.
            I have chosen well for a mate. She is as much a Wolf as I, he thought, kicking off his boots and then shimmying his pants down to join the rest of his clothing. No bashful maiden was Morigan, and she did not look away from his nakedness, but appreciated what she saw: every rough, hairy, huge bit of him.
            He howled and fell to all fours. Bones shifted and snapped, rearranging under his skin like skeletal gears. From his head, chest and loins, the soft black hair thickened and spread over his twisting flesh. His heaving became guttural and sloppy, and when he tossed his head up in a throe of agony or pleasure, his beard had coated his face, and she noticed nothing but white daggers of teeth. Wondrously Morigan witnessed the transformation, watched him swell with twice the muscle he had possessed as a man, saw his hands and feet shag over with fur and split the soil with black claws. Another howl and a final gristle-crunching shudder (his hindquarters snapping into place, she thought) signified the end of the change.
            Her dreams did not do Caenith justice. Here was a beast twice the size of a mare with jaws that could swallow her to the waist. Here was a monster that had stalked and ruled the Untamed. A lord of fang and claw. The birds and weaker animals vanished, knowing a deadly might was near. Around her, the Wolf paced; making the ground tremble with power; ravishing her with his cold gray gaze; huffing and blasting her with his forceful breaths. While the scent of his musk was choking, it was undeniably Caenith’s, if rawer and unwashed.
            Morigan was not afraid, and was flushed with heat and shaking as she slipped the bracelet on and knelt. She did not flinch as the Wolf lay behind and about her like a great snuffling rug and placed his boulder of a head in her lap. No, she stroked his long ears and his wrinkled snout. A maiden and her Wolf. Soon the birds returned, sensing this peace and chirping in praise of it. And neither Morigan nor the Wolf could recall a time—if ever there was one—where they had felt so complete.

Feast of Fates, Excerpt #2

Menos was darker than usual: its clouds as black as the shadow of fear that haunted Mouse. The city felt more menacing to her. She saw shadows in every corner, noticed the glint of every ruffian’s blade or slave’s chain as though they were all intended for her. The warning of Alastair played inside her skull on a loop of nightmare theater.
            A hand over her mouth startles her awake, and she twists for the dagger in her pillowcase until she recognizes the shadowy apparition atop her, who hisses at her to calm.
            “Alastair?” she gasps.
            The hand unclenches and the willowy shadow retreats to more of its own; she can only see the scruff of his red beard in the dark.
            “Get up, Mouse. Get dressed.”
            Her mentor sounds annoyed or confused; she is each, but finds her garments quickly enough anyway.
            “I don’t like good-byes, so let’s not call this that,” Alastair says with a sigh. “But it will be a parting, nonetheless. You need to go low. Lower than you’ve ever been before. A new name won’t be enough. You’ll need a new face. I don’t know how or who, but the sacred contract of our order has been broken. Your safety has been bought.”
            Mouse knows the who and how, and as she glances up from her boot-lacing to explain to her mentor her predicament, she sees that he is gone. Just empty shadows, echoing words, and the sound of her heartbeat drowning out all the rest.
            She expected the dead man and his icy master to emerge from the dim nooks and doorways of the buildings she passed at any instant. With a hand on her knives and a fury to her step, she swept down the sidewalk; no carriages for her today, as they were essentially cages on wheels—too easy to trap oneself in. With its sooty storefronts and their wrought-iron windows, its black streetlamps that rose about her like the bars of a prison, Menos was constricting itself around her, and she had to get out.
            You’ve survived worse than the nekromancer, she coached herself, though she wasn’t certain that was true. She hurried through the grimness of Menos, dodging pale faces and quickening her step with every sand. By the time she arrived at the fleshcrafter’s studio, she was sweating and stuck to her cloak. She looked down the desolate sidewalk and up the long sad face of the tall tower with its many broken or boarded-over windows. When she was sure she wasn’t being pursued by the phantoms that her paranoia had conjured, she pulled back a rusted door that did not cry out as it should have, given its appearance, but slid along well-formed grooves through the dust. She raced through the door and hauled it closed.
            It was dark and flickering with half-dead lights in the garbage-strewn hallway in which she stood. Mouse picked through the trash with her feet, tensing as she passed every dark alcove in the abandoned complex. Hives, these places were called, and used to house enormous numbers of lowborn folk under a single roof. In Menos, even the shabbiest roof was a desirable commodity, so the building’s ghostly vacancy meant that it likely was condemned by disease at one point. Soon the stairwell she sought appeared, and she tiptoed down it, careful not to slip on the stairs, which were slick with organic grunge.
            Couldn’t have picked a nicer studio, she cursed. I’ll be lucky if this fleshcrafter leaves me with half a lip to drink with. Lamentably, speed and discretion were her two goals in choosing where to have her face remodeled. Such stipulations cut the more promising fleshcrafters off the list and left her with the dregs. She hadn’t put much thought into what she would have done, or even if she would end up hideously disfigured. Monstrous disfigurement could even work in her favor, as she bore an uncanny resemblance to that crow-eviscerated woman whom she suspected was the object of the necromancers dark desire. I’ll take ugly over dead. Over whatever he has in mind for me.






Christian A. Brown has written creatively since the age of six. After spending most of his career in the health and fitness industry, Brown quit his job to care for his mother when she was diagnosed with non-Hodgkins lymphoma in 2010.

Having dabbled with the novel that would eventually become Feast of Fates for over a decade, Brown was finally able to finish the project. His mother, who was able to read a beginning version of the novel before she passed away, has since imbued the story with deeper sentiments of loss, love, and meaning. He is proud to now share the finished product with the world.


HYPERLINK "http://christianadrianbrown.com" http://christianadrianbrown.com

HYPERLINK "https://twitter.com/AuthorChrisAB" https://twitter.com/AuthorChrisAB

HYPERLINK "https://www.facebook.com/ChristianAdrianBrown" https://www.facebook.com/ChristianAdrianBrown

HYPERLINK "https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/8422242.Christian_A_Brown" https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/8422242.Christian_A_Brown

HYPERLINK "https://plus.google.com/u/0/105782095673393074893/about" https://plus.google.com/u/0/105782095673393074893/about











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Monday, December 15, 2014

Review: Purgatory Origins: Power Of Darkness By Darryl Olsen



When Professor Harrison Standish, a bookish young archeologist

inadvertently stumbles upon an ancient burial chamber in Egypt, he is

baffled to find symbolism inside that would appear to date from two

different historical periods, thousands of years apart. Suspecting the tomb

had been tampered with at some point in the distant past, Professor

Standish soon discovers the skeletons of ten half-human/half-canine

creatures lying in a far corner of the chamber and his initial bafflement

now turns to shock. What kind of ancient madman would be conducting

such a horrific experiment?

As Dr. Standish endeavors to explain this mystery over the ensuing days,

he happens upon a news report, suggesting that these same grotesque,

half-human/half-canine creatures have come to life in the remote

mountains of Wyoming and he is immediately on the next flight. By the

time he arrives in Wyoming, a World War II Nazi bomber has

materialized out of the sky and crashed off the coast of France and a Nazi

general named Schmitz has stumbled into the 21st century, leaving behind

evidence of his presence in Professor Standish's ancient burial chamber

back in Egypt, all of which sets the stage for a rollicking, nonstop, modern

day fantasy/sci-fi adventure.

The cast of characters in Purgatory: Origins includes Rachael, a pesky,

auburn haired New York magazine correspondent, who is known equally

for her ability to sink her teeth into a story and her unwillingness to let it

go, Jason Kendall, an escaped rapist and killer who falls hard for Rachael

when they cross paths and turns out to have a past with our half human

creatures, and Harper, the ex-special forces FBI agent, whose primary goal

is finding Jason Kendall, getting him back behind bars and keeping him

there for the rest of his life but soon finds himself sucked into this

mystery woven of ancient symbolism, old Nazi war criminals and

otherworldly creatures.







I just finished reading Purgatory Origins: Powers of Darkness because I

was looking for a change of pace from non-ficiton. I recommend this book

if you enjoy science fiction with a interesting twist to it.

I've been reading a lot of WWII nonfiction. So I'm well informed but here I

get the WWII story wrapped in adventure/travel fictional book harkening

back to Raiders of the Lost Ark. I like this combination. The book is well

written and the characters are developed in such a way that I couldn't

help but be invested. The book isn't predictable. That sort of writing and

storytelling keeps me interested. Also, this isn't a terribly long book. You'll

enjoy this.

I like how there's something for everyone in this book - from time-

travelling nazis to dog-headed monsters. There's a lot going on in this

book and at not time, is it overwhelming or confusing. This book is

engrossing and encourages me to look for more books from the author,

Darryl Olsen.


Darryl Olsen is a Sydney based author of titles including Purgatory

Soldiers of Misfortune, Children of the Gods and Purgatory Origins

Powers of Darkness. Darryl was first introduced to the world of fiction

whilst schooling on the Mid North Coast of New South Wales. After a short

period of school Darryl Olsen found his true calling in life as he enlisted

in the Australian Army.
.
For more information about Darryl and his upcoming books please go to

www.darrylolsen.com or you can contact him on darryl@darrylolsen.com


Sunday, December 14, 2014

Spotlight: Peanut Butter Principles By Eric Franklin


Peanut Butter Principles: 47 Leadership Lessons Every Parent Should Teach Their Kids
By- Eric Franklin

In “Peanut Butter Principles: 47 Leadership Lessons Every Parent Should Teach Their Kids”, entrepreneur, speaker, author, management consultant and parent Eric Franklin has assembled a wealth of wisdom that has stuck with him like peanut butter sticks to the roof of your mouth. One by one, you can serve up spoonfuls of Peanut Butter Principles to the youth in your life and make a profound impact to help them grow into confident, intelligent, and successful adults and leaders who make good choices, build healthy relationships, and cultivate another generation of leaders.

Friday, December 12, 2014

Review:Gravel Ghost (Gravel Ghost Series Book # 1) By Charyse Allan

Gravel Ghost
Gravel Ghost Series Book #1
By- Charyse Allan
Genre- YA Thriller
Expected Publication Date- December 16th, 2014

Seventeen-year-old Payton Morros is a killer. Adopted as a child, and groomed into the profession by her new parents, she longs for a normal life. But lethal assassins at the top of their game can’t exactly quit their day job. Her only escape from her predetermined destiny is spending time with her best friend Conner, if only for a little while.
When Payton is sent to Chile for an assignment, she discovers a devastating truth that challenges everything she knows about herself and her family. Abandoning the mission, and on the run, she must unravel the secrets of her past before she loses all sense of herself. Or worse, before she jeopardizes everyone she cares about.

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Dragon & Flame (Haven City Series # 6) By Zoe Perdita



Rory Sullivan thinks he has it all, until his boyfriend breaks his heart and the new landlord raises the rent on his bar. A chance meeting with Jin Yue, a rich dragon, gives Rory hope. Jin promises Rory he can save the bar and get even with his ex - for a price. All Rory has to do is pretend to be in a relationship with Jin. Rory's bad boy nature, and the desire for some no-strings-attached sex make the idea way too intriguing. Even if Rory's brain thinks it's a bad idea, his cock heartily disagrees. Problem is, Jin Yue might be all kinds of hot, but he's also Haven City's one and only crime boss - sexy, powerful and deadly. Now Rory is tied to Jin until the dragon's mission is complete, regardless of assassination attempts, hunters or the cops. Jin Yue won the gang war, but the battle for Haven City isn't over. Enter Rory Sullivan - the tatted up fire mage who can help Jin lay claim to his rightful territory. However, things don't turn out the way Jin plans. Rory pushes all the right buttons and riles up Jin's dragon instincts. The fire mage is the farthest thing from Jin's type, but the heat between them sets Jin's blood on fire. They're playing a dangerous game that puts both of their hearts and lives on the line. While the passion between Jin and Rory sizzles, can a relationship built on deceit grow into something more?



When they left the restaurant, Jin took him downtown to go shopping.

Rory stopped outside the store and raised his eyebrows at the name. “Armani? Isn’t that last season or some shit?”

Jin chuckled and stepped inside. “The label is all certain people care about. The tux should work for your sister’s wedding as well.”

Rory forced himself not to glower and followed.

His patience came to an end when no less than three sales people walked up and started asking stupid questions. Jin answered, and Rory wondered if these three women spent all their income on designer clothes. What a ridiculous waste of money. They pulled out three tuxedos, which all looked the same to Rory, but the sales vultures insisted they were different in cut or style.

“Do I have to try all three of them on?” Rory asked and shoved his hands into his pockets. Too bad his bartender getup wouldn’t pass at a fancy gala.

“Yes. I want my money’s worth, and you’re the best model I can think of,” Jin said with a delectable smirk and headed toward the fitting rooms.

Heat flared in Rory’s chest, torn between annoyance and lust. Why did Jin always fall right on that line? This weird place between wanting and wanting to punch.

He stalked after the dragon.

“You’re coming in with me?” Rory asked as he walked into one of the palatial dressing rooms. It was the same size as his bedroom and had a damn couch, for fuck’s sake. Yeah, it wasn’t anything like the dressing rooms at the places he usually shopped.

Jin stepped inside after him. “I wouldn’t want you getting lonely in here all by yourself.”

Rory doubted that eventuality, but he didn’t kick Jin out either. “And here I didn’t put on my fancy underwear.”

Jin smirked.

A sales woman brought in the tuxedos and shut the door as she left.

A dare lit up Jin’s eyes as he settled on the couch.

What did he expect? That Rory wouldn’t actually strip? He slipped the leather jacket off his shoulders and set it aside. “You want to watch me take off my clothes?”

“Very much. You’re an attractive man. I can see what Richard loves about you, but I can’t see what you liked about him,” Jin said evenly.

Love. Ha! Dick never loved him. Rory knew that, and Jin used that word on purpose.

Rory yanked his shirt over his head and tossed it on his jacket. Then he stepped forward. “Like what you see?”

Jin’s eyes crinkled at the edges, and Rory wondered how old the dragon was. Older than Rory.

Jin’s dark eyes drank in Rory’s firm chest, the tattoos that wound over his arms and taut pectorals, and the little black rings that pierced his nipples. But Jin didn’t reach forward and touch him, like Rory assumed he would. Hell, from the look of hungry fascination on Jin’s face and the flick of Jin’s tongue over his lips, Rory expected a hell of a lot more.

“I said you were attractive,” Jin purred.

“So take off my pants,” Rory said and moved so close his legs straddled Jin’s thighs. Perfect position for a suck job, and he smirked at that thought. If the sex was on his terms, he sure as hell wouldn’t mind.

“Is this how I earn my kiss?” Jin asked and leaned forward.

“Maybe,” Rory said. How the hell did this go from a power play to flirting? Fuck. He didn’t know. The heat building in his balls told him not to worry about it.

“Hmm,” Jin hummed, and his rough hands wound down Rory’s chest. They flicked and pulled, ever so carefully, at the rings on Rory’s nipples.
Rory bit back a groan.

Jin smiled and roamed lower. His fingers caught on the top of Rory’s jeans, and he undid the top button. His dark eyes burned as he grabbed the zipper, and eased it down like this was all some great big act of seduction.

It worked.

Rory’s breath hitched in his throat as Jin’s fingers brushed Rory’s bulge. It twitched and stiffened, and Rory fought the urge to thrust his hips into those hands.

“You want me to keep going?” Jin asked.

The dare still burned in his eyes, but something else flickered alongside it. The same flame that burned inside Rory – the thing that urged him closer and closer to the edge between what was safe and what was possible.

He didn’t trust himself to speak, so Rory nodded instead.

Jin complied. He hooked his thumbs in the side of the jeans and inched them lower and lower. They slid over Rory’s black jockeys, down his legs and bunched there. He forgot about the boots. Well, since Jin was in the neighborhood.

“Those too,” Rory said, his voice gruff.

“Oh, you’re going to pay for this later,” Jin said with a dangerous smirk.

Rory returned it with one of his own. “Sure thing.”

Jin made quick work of the laces, and Rory stepped out of the boots and jeans with a minimal amount of hopping. The jockey’s hung so low on his hips the dark red curls popped out of the waistband, but he didn’t bother yanking them up.

It gave the dragon a good look at what Rory had in store for him.

“Do I have to dress you too or can you manage?” Jin asked, his voice rich with amusement. A spark shone in his eyes.

“I think I can manage,” Rory said and picked up the first tux.

He put on the pants, shirt and jacket without a problem, but the bowtie was another issue altogether. However, one of the sales women came in and righted it for him. Then there was a whole lot of ‘turn left’ and ‘turn right’ before he finally got to put on the other two.

Even looking at himself in the mirror, Rory couldn’t see the difference. He chose the first one out of spite, and Jin didn’t argue with that decision.

“I’ll box this up for you sir. And I’ll set out some suitable shoes. Size twelve?” she asked.

“Yeah,” Rory said and waited for her to shut the door before he looked at Jin again.

Jin’s eyes lingered on Rory’s bulge. “Do I get to take that off too?”

“Maybe after the gala,” Rory said and tossed the shirt at the dragon.
Jin caught it and stood up in one swift movement.

Right. Shifter. They were fast – faster than he was.

Rory barely registered that thought as Jin’s body met his, pressed him against the wall and took a long, slow sniff of his neck.

“You smell like sex,” Jin purred.

Rory’s heart jumped into his throat, and his cock responded to the sudden proximity. “Do I?”

“Mmm,” Jin said. His lips vibrated against Rory’s flushed skin. “You most certainly do. And I want my kiss. I think I’ve earned it.”

The cuff on Rory’s wrist felt heavier than normal, thick and tight. If he said ‘no,’ maybe Jin would have to stop. He’d need to back off until the situation was all on Rory’s terms. But Rory couldn’t find the words. They bunched up in his throat and came out as a groan.

Jin sucked at Rory’s skin and fire rose across his flesh with it.

“Earned it? Not quite,” Rory whispered. “Get me off, and I’ll consider it.”

Jin’s fingers dug into his shoulders, and he smiled against Rory’s flesh. “You’re going to pay for that too.”

Rory didn’t see how that could be a bad thing.

 



 Zoe Perdita writes gay shifter romance because the only thing better than one hot shifter dude is two hot shifter dudes making out. She lives in the Pacific Northwest with a fluffy orange cat and a lively roommate. When she's not writing, Zoe likes to travel, read and play video games.

Zoe loves to hear from her fans so please send her an email: zoeperdita@gmail.com

Or her Facebook page: http://www.facebook.com/zoe.perdita

Join her mailing list for special updates, contests and sneak peeks to upcoming works:

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Let her know which series you'd like to read more of. Feedback from fans is super important!



Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Spotlight: Of Sentimental Value By Fumi Hancock


ONE EVENT Elects Who You Are; ONE EVENT Molds Your Values & Believes; ONE EVENT Charts the Course of Your Journey... Good, Bad or Indifferent... ONE EVENT Determines Your DESTINY... FOR LIFE! ONE EVENT Will Change Your Life... FOREVER! A Young African Immigrant, SIBERIA TONKA's dream of becoming the next bestselling, globally celebrated Fantasy author in America (Nashville, Tennessee), like her icon, Princess of Suburbia, is quickly eroding! Buried in debt, Siberia's life is turned upside down in America when she is forced to retrieve an African artifact she had unknowingly lost and her life and that of her loved ones in Africa is turned upside down as the recovery of this artifact continues to elude her! She must race to save her sister's life while juggling her feelings between a wealthy African, but Nashville based, Art collector and a simple American consignment store owner. Who wins her heart and will she save her sister in time?


 
Fumi Hancock “Stephanie” Hancock is a walking example of how an ordinary person from a shackled life of broken promises and shattered dreams can live a fulfilled destiny. After twenty years of dropping her pen, she picks it right back up again by releasing the first in the Grimmlyn Series: The Adventures of Jewel Cardwell, Hydra’s Nest.

Though having graduated with a postgraduate degree in communication arts, and undergraduate degrees in English studies and nursing, she ascribes her writing to her life experiences, which were many times challenging. According to her, the protagonists and antagonists in her novels often come from the darkest moments of her life—a tribute to the fact that something good can come out of mysterious and difficult circumstances, if we choose to turn our challenges around. Age is merely a number where success is concerned. She also pulls some of her characters from her travels around the world—in particular, exotic Africa—uniquely weaving her tales.

Fumi loves to write for young adults, particularly urban fantasy, and paranormal fiction with a touch of romance. She aspires to one day write a mystery/detective novel for the adult audience. But for now, she is content with her young adult audience. With her background in nursing, she gently nurses her unusual characters to life for her readers to enjoy.

She lives in Tennessee with her husband, Dr. David Hancock, and her two grown sons, Bola and Demola Thompson. She cherishes her two stepdaughters, who reside in Michigan. 


Monday, December 8, 2014

Spotlight: Real Time By Jeanine Binder







Real Time
By-  Jeanine Binder
Age Group/Genre- Romance 16 +

Twenty-five years of fame comes at a price for Nick, leaving him hard—a machine to produce nothing but his music. True to his British upbringing, he’s very set in his ways. Things are just as he wants them—no deviance.

In steps Kate—a studio musician who, by a strange twist, manages to get hired into his band. Everything starts out with the boundaries firmly placed, and it doesn’t take long for Nick to realize she’s going to change his world. To his surprise, he’s the one who is attracted to her first. She gets under his skin. 

Living by the creed that letting people close gets you hurt, Nick stays driven in his commitments. He is a musician, first and foremost, but a turn of events leads him to investing in the recording company who produces his music. Can he handle this new venture, his music, and keep the woman he now loves?

   

Spotlight: Hunters By Aoife Marie Sheridan


Abigail is nineteen. Her job, she hunts demons.

Her life so far has been tough. Having witnessed her family’s death and her mother’s suicide, she’s been taken in by a priest, who believes her when she says that she sees ghosts. Father Peter trains her as a demon hunter with three other members, one being Daniel, who isn’t what he seems.
But when a possession goes wrong, and ghosts start to attack Abigail, the tight rope she has on her emotions soon starts to loosen. Abigail draws the unwanted attention of the Reote, and she finds out a lot more than she was willing to learn.
Knowledge is power, but for Abigail, it’s her undoing, and the only thing keeping her together is Daniel




Chapter One



The possession



I clicked my Nokia cell phone shut while stuffing it back into my worn, brown leather jacket pocket. Slamming the door behind me, I bounded down the hard brown tiled steps out the main door. The surface outside my door made me glide and I nearly lost my balance. Ice coated the path in front of the main door, in June? That didn’t make sense. I stepped off the icy path and took the alleyway out of my apartment building. No street lights lit up the small and dirty path, which was wedged in-between the two red large brick buildings. The path was littered with beer bottles and household rubbish, and grass sprang up amongst the cracks in the pavement. It was a run-down dive.

The building on my left was home to me, number 22 is my own place, it wasn’t much, but like I said it was mine, and that’s all that mattered to me. The other building was full of unknown people, who I had no intentions to get to know. I spent fifty percent of my time here and fifty percent of my time at the base, or the headquarters for us demon hunters. In the London area, we were the only group and within it, there were five of us, including Father Peter; the man who took me in and raised me. The man who had saved us all from ourselves. We all had our reasons and stories for becoming hunters, each one as depressing as the next.

The Base became home to most of us, but I spent the least amount of time. Cathy, Zee, and Father Peter lived there permanently, but Simon stayed between the base and his brothers, he was lucky enough to still have people, who cared about him. The rest of us just learned to accept each other as a family, as our own blood relatives were either dead or didn’t want anything to do with us.

I was the only one with no living family and who chose to live by themselves. For me, being around people; having to smile and interact was too hard. I pretended to be normal most of the day, but once I was home, I could let the mask slip and be myself. I wouldn’t be able to keep the pretense up twenty four hours a day, and lately, it was becoming harder to pretend that everything was normal. My pride was becoming my weakness. I needed people really, but I refused to give in.

The noise of my black military boots, splashing in large size puddles that had filled from the recent downpour, pulled me back from my thoughts, my black jeans were tucked neatly inside my boots, keeping them dry. I shivered now against the wind that whipped at my face, pulling strands of my long, straight, black hair out of the bun that I had so tightly wound it in, it never stayed put, its shiny silky tendrils finding an escape route too easily. I pushed some of the strands out of my deep, brown eyes and pulled my jacket tighter around my small frame. The black top, I wore under my jacket, was light and the cold air raced through it, rising goose bumps in its way. I scolded myself for not dressing in warmer clothes, but Father Peter had just called and I didn’t have time to change. The job was urgent, so I would have to do as I was.

 I walked faster, keeping a look out over my left shoulder. One thing Father Peter always told me with a weary look on his face, “Always fear the living more than the dead.” Some days, I questioned his theory, but on nights like these, I had to agree. I glanced to my left as soft moans from two men caught my attention. One had a belt tightened around his upper arm as the other watched with anticipated glee. The man slapped his arm, making the veins rise, before inserting the syringe full of Heroin, More bruises than I could count coated his arm, his body slumped as his drug of choice fuelled his body into oblivion. His companion took the syringe and with greedy eyes, started to prep himself but paused as he saw me pass, I dropped my eyes, and he grunted before continuing. A gunshot resounded somewhere in a distance apartment building, the squeal of sirens soon followed.

 My heart skipped a beat as my phone rang loudly. My hand, now cold and blue, hurt as I reached into my pocket to retrieve it, brushing my knuckles off the steal zip that was like razor blades against my cold pale skin. I pushed the phone to my ear not looking at the caller ID; I already know who it was.

“Zee, I’m kind of busy so you’ll have to make it quick.” I already knew what he was calling for, but I was a sucker for the impossible.

“Me too, funny that is?” I could hear the smirk in his voice. I normally never worked alone, but after the nightmares that woke me up, I didn’t want to see Zee tonight, never mind work with him, he was always centered in my nightmares.

“Hilarious, I am holding my sides.” I said as dryly as possible, hoping he would catch on quick to my bad mood. That was one thing I loved about Zee; I could be myself around him and I didn’t have to pretend to be okay. My silence never bothered him; he never once forced me to speak about what was on my mind. Yet, I often felt that he knew exactly what I was thinking. I turned a corner out of the alleyway and my body relaxed, happy to be out of the danger zone. I had come across a bit of trouble at times and especially at nighttime, when a more sinister scene developed around our complex. But what did I expect? A woman or a girl on her own, well, it all depended on what way you looked at me, I was only nineteen, but I had seen my fair share in life. I was a target for loiters, they never harmed me, just shouted abuse or made suggestive remarks. It didn’t scare me, that’s why I still walked through it and used it as a shortcut, I just hoped I would never regret all the warnings that Zee gave me. However, it did save me a twenty-minute walk through the apartment complex so that was good enough for me.  









 Aoife Marie Sheridan has loved reading from a very young age, starting off with mills and boon's books, given to by her grandmother her love for romances grew, by the age of 14 she had read hundreds of them.

Aoife had a passion for writing poetry or in her eyes her journal entries. It was something she did throughout her teens and into her twenties. Aoife won first place for two of her poems and had them published at a young age of just nineteen. Realising she needed to get a real job (What writing isn't) she studied accountancy and qualified working in that field for many years, until her passion for reading returned and she found Maria V Snyder. Poison study one of her favourite books has been read and re-read countless times.

Aoife's first book Eden Forest (Part one of the Saskia Trilogy) came to be after a dream of a man and woman on a black horse jumping through a wall of fire and the idea of Saskia was born. Now with her first novel published and taking first place for Eden Forest with Writers Got Talent 2013, Aoife continues to write tales of fantasy and is currently working on her third book for the Saskia Trilogy amongst other new works. To find out more about Aoife Marie Sheridan you can visit her at:

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

Website: www.aoifemariesheridan.com

or email her at aoifesheridan101@gmail.com


Blog: aoifesheri.wordpress.com

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Twitter: https://twitter.com/aoifesheri


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Friday, December 5, 2014

Guest Blog:Protect Her (The Druid's Curse Book One) By Sophia Kimble



Golden Alexander is trapped in a nightmare.
Trying to flee her hallucination of a demon, she runs heart first into the brooding alpha male she’s been dreaming about for years, and then her nightmare really begins.
Kris Pietka is done with women...he’s broken. But when he meets Golden, an overwhelming need to protect her tests everything he thought he knew about himself, and the paranormal.
A bond forged centuries ago thrusts them together as they search for a way to break an ancient Druid curse prophesying their demise. Racing against the clock, they travel from Vermont, to the Carpathian Mountains in Poland, and the Scottish Highlands in search of answers and a way to break the curse
But something evil watches—it covets, and time is running out.
Will fate allow love to prevail against unbeatable odds, or will Golden wake to find it was all a delusion? 

Protect Her is the first novel in The Druid’s Curse series.

Chapter 1

Golden Alexander hated interviews. She hated the fact she might be insane worse, but she had to make a living regardless. She smoothed her black pencil skirt and stared at the side door of a white, Victorian house in Poultney, Vermont.
Welcome.
The word etched above a moose on a purple, slate plaque hung on the dark stained door, beckoning her. It promised security, a homecoming, but she wasn’t coming home. No, she was as far from home as she could get.
Three thousand miles, and a week had slid by since she’d last seen the demon, and she still woke up in a cold sweat every night, heart thumping, a scream on the tip of her tongue. But when she opened her eyes, all she found was the ceiling above her bed.
She prayed it would stay that way.
The sun heated the top of her head and beads of sweat tickled her armpits. She stepped back and waved her arms, trying to cool herself before she got on with this necessary evil.
A light tapping startled her. Her hand shot to her chest while her gaze darted to a big picture window between two hanging pots of red petunias.
A woman with plump cheeks, salt and pepper hair, and a motherly face peered out and smiled. Crap, she couldn’t wait until she stopped jumping at every noise. She blew out the breath she’d been holding and attempted a smile. The woman probably thought she was an escaped mental patient. Her smile felt like a grimace and she was sure she looked like she was trying to fly away, which didn’t sound like a bad idea at the moment.
Not the image she was going for at an interview.
The summer heat combined with the cloying sweet fragrance of the flowers left her slightly nauseous as the woman raised a finger in her direction before disappearing from view. She took a deep breath, now or never. She glanced back at her car, wondering if she should . . .
The door opened with a thump. “Golden? I’m Mary Pietka.”
Golden turned back, her opportunity for escape gone.
Mary wiped her hands on a faded red apron, which covered a navy housedress. Her short, round figure and rosy, unlined cheeks reminded Golden of the German nesting dolls her mother had kept on the windowsill in the kitchen. The only thing missing was a scarf around Mary’s perfectly coifed hair and she’d be the mother doll. That doll, the tallest of the set, had always been her favorite, the one her eyes were drawn to whenever she stood at the sink, and the similarity eased her urge to flee somewhat.
“Call me Mary. Is it Golden or Goldie?”
“Golden.” She hated Goldie. Her sister, Izzy, was the only one who called her Goldie and only because Izzy refused to stop. But then her sister always did whatever she wanted. Izzy had left home shortly after the accident and was never subjected to their other sister, Maggie’s, constant meddling.
She shook Mary’s outstretched hand, hoping her palms were no longer sweaty. Mary gave her hand a pat before releasing it. “Come on in, dear.”
She followed the woman up a short flight of stairs to a small kitchen. Frying onions and butter scented the air, her stomach clenched as though about to rumble. She hadn’t smelled home cooking since the accident, frozen food and take out were the staples back home.
She handed Mary her now crinkled résumé, but Mary barely glanced at it before setting it aside and waving her into a chair next to a beige Formica kitchenette. Cherry stained, twelve-inch moldings and trim, ancient looking appliances, and a deep country sink gave the place an old world charm that made her feel as if nothing much had changed since Poultney had become a town at the turn of the nineteenth century.
Nervous energy caused her hands to twine in her lap, and she found herself really wanting the job. Mary’s warmth, and the house, made Golden feel as if she’d come home. To a real home, not just a house with people living inside going through the motions of life, but a genuine home. She was suddenly desperate to spend more time here.
“My mother’s sleeping now, and I don’t want to wake her,” Mary said. “Why don’t you tell me about yourself?” She picked up a piece of cabbage and palmed it, then scooped a spoonful of rice and ground beef mixture from a large silver bowl and dropped it onto the cabbage.
Let’s see . . . I inherited a house from relatives I didn’t know. I traveled across the country to this foreign little town to get away from my overprotective sister and the weird things that keep happening to me. I’m trying to be a grown up while part of me wants to get in my car and run back home. I now live isolated in the middle of nowhere, and I really want this job so I don’t totally lose it from lack of human contact. Oh, and I might be insane.
She decided on the abridged version instead. “I grew up in Southern California and just moved into town. I have two years’ experience caring for the elderly.”
Mary wrapped the cabbage leaf around the filling. “My mother-in-law, Jadwiga, is one hundred and three. She was in perfect health, until a few months ago, and now requires more care. I no longer feel comfortable leaving her alone. I have a nurse coming in a few days a week, but I need someone to keep her company so I can run errands, clean the house, and have a break once in a while.”
Mary’s gaze never left her as she placed the oblong food into a casserole dish and reached for another leaf. Her brow creased ever so slightly, and her head tilted as if she were listening to something. “It must be hard moving into a new town, being as young as you are without any family around, living in that big house in the middle of the forest.”
A tingle of unease pinched her shoulders and straightened her back. “Ah . . . ye . . . yes it is.” Had she said all that aloud? How did Mary know about her house?
Mary smiled, her crow’s feet deepening. “Small town, dear. Are you going to take some classes at Green Mountain College?”
Golden eased back in her chair. “Yes, I’ve signed up for some core classes this fall.”
Mary went over the details of the job while she ladled tomato sauce over the top of the cabbage rolls and put the dish into the oven. “Have you ever had Golumpki? Are you Catholic?” Mary turned in her direction. “Can you start Monday morning at nine?”
“Um . . . no, yes and yes.” Golden chuckled at the rapid succession of questions, warming to Mary’s offbeat personality and so relieved she wouldn’t have to go back home a failure and listen to Maggie telling her she wasn’t ready to leave home.
The side door to the house opened behind her.
Matka? Dzien dobry? Ma? Hello?”
The deep male voice filled the kitchen. Filled her. Her muscles tightened, her arms vibrated like she’d been doing yard work for the last hour and had just turned off the weed whacker.
Mary raised an eyebrow in her direction before looking past her to the door. “Kris, proszę meet Golden. Come, come.”
Heavy boots sounded on the wooden steps. The loud thumping stopped as if in mid-step and an invisible electric current slammed into her back. Heat spread through her and settled in her belly.
Matka, what’s going on here?”
“Golden is your Babci’s new caregiver.” Mary enunciated as if she were speaking to a five-year-old. “I told you last week she answered the ad and was coming today. She’ll be starting on Monday.”
Mary glared at Kris and then turned to Golden with an apologetic smile on her face. Kris moved around the table and stood next to his mother.
Her mouth fell open.
He narrowed his piercing blue eyes at her, and a lock of sandy brown hair fell from behind his ear.
Holy shit.
He looked exactly like the man she’d been dreaming of for years.
The once cozy kitchen felt tiny. Airless. Too hot. Using the table as a lever, Golden forced herself to stand and shot a glance in Mary’s direction, worried she was hallucinating her dream man and looked delusional. It wouldn’t be the first time she’d acted crazy. Okay, Mary didn’t act like her new employee was tripping her ass off. Good to know.
Words in a language she didn’t understand flew out of his mouth, his unfriendly gaze fixed on her. Wow, angry much? He was obviously talking about her in a not so nice way, which pissed her off. Combined with her confusion, she was a hot mess. And all the while her emotions were ping ponging, her body pulsed, begging for this jerkoff to touch her.
His brows furrowed, and he ranted as though she weren’t in the room. Rude. New plan. She’d figure out how she’d dreamt of him later. First, she wanted to know what he had against her and why she reacted to the jerk like he’d brought her a dozen roses while hanging out the sunroof of a limo.
Mary cut him off with a single word. “Dosyć!” She closed her eyes and whispered, “Enough.”
Kris sucked in a breath, and without another word, pivoted on his heel and walked deeper into the house.
What was wrong with him? Ever hear of anger management classes? And what was wrong with her Benedict Arnold body? Pick an emotion and stick to it. Anger, that’s what was called for here. Not, gee you’re hot, I’ve been dreaming of you for years. Want to hook up?
Figures, the one guy that finally made her wake up and say hell yes was a total turd.
“I’m so sorry about my son. I don’t know what’s gotten into him. Will you still take the job? I really need the help.” Mary’s cheeks flamed red.
“I’ll see you Monday morning.” Golden grabbed her purse, thanked Mary, and rushed out the door.
Monday morning? What had she been thinking? That man didn’t want her anywhere near his family.
Perfect, meet man of dreams—check.
Man of dreams turns out to be an asshole—check.
Just freaking awesome.
Golden banged the car door shut to her light green, VW Bug and started the engine. She looked in the rearview mirror and cursed. A huge, silver pickup truck was parked right behind her on the single strip of black asphalt that ended at a detached garage, in the rear of the property.
Asshole Guy.
There was no way she was going back inside and ask him to move his truck, so she pulled toward the garage before throwing the car into reverse. She tried to keep two wheels on the asphalt so she’d do the least amount of damage to the lawn, but in doing so, she was close as hell to the truck. With her luck, she’d hit it and have to deal with Mr. Nice Guy again.
Sun glinted off the truck and she slammed on the breaks. She blinked a few times and could have sworn she saw the metal edge of a sword in the back window of the truck. Her vision cleared, and the blade disappeared. Weird. She shook her head and backed the rest of the way out of the driveway, her hands in a death grip on the steering wheel.
Two blocks over, she passed an old train depot. Weeds sprouted beside the rails and it looked as though it hadn’t had a train roll across its tracks in years. A couple walking by waved and she glanced around making sure they were waving at her before peeling a hand from the steering wheel and raising it. Wow, people barely acknowledged someone they knew back home, let alone strangers.
At a stop sign, she tried to relax and put the meeting behind her. To her left, a white spire of an old church slashed into the blue sky and to the right, at the end of Main Street, Green Mountain College stood proud. God, other than a Dunkin Donuts, Vermont Country Store and some other small business’, there wasn’t much else.
Nestled in a valley within the Adirondack and Green Mountains, the town looked like a jigsaw puzzle she’d begged her mother to buy and never finished. She’d been bored with the puzzle, just as sure as she’d be bored with this Podunk town, but going home was not an option in her mind.
Her stomach grumbled, she sighed and headed to Shaws.
Grocery shopping when she was hungry was a bad idea. She tossed a box of Lucky Charms into a cart filled with frozen dinners, Ho Ho’s, and chips, before moving across the aisle and reaching for a loaf of bread. Her fingers slipped, and the white plastic rectangle with blue, yellow, and red dots did a summersault before sailing onto the worn linoleum floor five feet from where she stood.
She stared at the bread as exhaustion hit her like a Mack truck. God, she felt like a zombie with the brain capacity of a gnat. A large pair of hiking boots stepped into view, and her body hummed as if she were still in the car going seventy down the highway.
She closed her eyes and took a deep breath. Stepping back, she caught her hip on a display of rolls. Crap. She grabbed the heavy cardboard and set it to rights before the whole thing toppled to the floor.
A man chuckled.
She looked up.
Asshole Guy stared back. Any humor he may have had at her expense wasn’t evident on his hard angular jaw, high cheekbones, and slashed eyebrows. The murmurings and background noise of the store faded. Heat spread through her and pooled between her thighs.
Golden checked him out. She couldn’t help it. At Mary’s, she’d been so caught up in the fact he looked exactly like her dream man, her gaze hadn’t wandered below his thick neck.
A skintight, black T-shirt stretched over a ripped torso, tapered waist, long muscular legs in faded jeans—holy crap he was huge, and delicious, and standing in front of her.
He continued to stare.
She couldn’t believe the nerve of this guy. Babe or not, he was a giant A-hole. “Could you get out of the way?”
A delicious musky scent reminding her of woods and spice surrounded her, confused her.
She blinked several times, hands fisting the cart. His frown deepened above eyes so blue, she lost herself. It seemed as if they stood staring at each other for an eternity, though she knew it was more like seconds. She tried to swallow the lump in her throat, but couldn’t—no words—no movement—nothing.
He shook his head as if trying to clear something away, then in one graceful move, he lunged, picked up the bread, and held it out to her. A half-grin transformed his face into supermodel gorgeous and a dimple sank in his cheek. His eyebrow rose as he glanced at her basket of junk food.
“Your Wonder Bread—my lady.”
The deep timbre of his voice caressed her skin, and she wondered how it would feel to have his tongue flicking the sensitive flesh of her throat with feather light kisses, tickling her collarbone. Heat flooded her face.
What was wrong with her? Her lascivious thoughts made her cheeks and inner thighs burn. God, he made her think of words like lascivious. She needed to get away from him. He was trouble. As she clasped the bread, her hands shook like she’d drank two pots of coffee.
His head tipped, and a confused expression washed over his face before he turned and walked away.
She pulled the loaf to her tightening chest. How could he be real? She never thought he’d be real. She looked around the aisle in a daze.
He was gone.
Had she hallucinated again? She held her breath and sweat beaded her upper lip as she considered the idea.
Shit, she really was crazy.
***
Anxiety bunched Kris’s shoulders as he prowled from room to room in his house. He couldn’t stop thinking about Golden and it was driving him nuts. His heavy footsteps echoed on the hardwood floor as he passed through the sleek lines of his house. The sparse décor; black leather furniture, glass topped tables, and black and white prints on the walls, usually calmed him. Not today.
He stopped in front of a wall of windows comprising the entire back of the house, but didn’t see the manicured lawns in the backyard. Instead, a petite blond with emerald eyes stared back at him.
My lady? Had he actually called her that?
The words had rolled off his tongue as though he’d spoken them for years, when in fact he’d wouldn’t be caught dead saying anything so romantic.
He’d made an even bigger fool of himself sniffing her like some animal trying to figure out why her lemony scent seemed so familiar. Shit, she probably thought he was some creepy Hannibal Lecter guy. Not that it mattered what she thought of him, because he would never see her again. If he had to avoid his mother’s house while Golden was there, so be it.
It didn’t matter that both times he’d seen her a shockwave of electricity rocketed through him, straight to his cock. He wouldn’t be able to do anything about it anyway.
Fuck.
Why couldn’t he stop thinking about her? With a groan, he tried to push her image out of his mind, and headed down the short hall off the living room toward his office to get some work done.
Stopping in front of the chrome and glass desk, he picked up the reports from the quarry. His job was the only thing that kept him sane these days. His father had risked everything to buy the quarry from Cameron Alexander, and at first, that was the reason he’d worked so hard to keep it going. But now, it was all he had. All he’d ever have, really.
He had work to do, but her face kept interrupting his thoughts.
Protect her.
Great. Not only was he incapable of having a normal relationship with a woman, now he was hearing strange voices in his head.
This had been one fucking weird ass day.
He answered the ringing phone with trepidation. He’d snuck out the back door of his mothers to avoid this conversation. Of course, that was after he’d watched Golden leave, loving the angry expression scrunching her face. Adorable. And then he’d followed her to the store.
“Krzysztof Pietka, what the hell is wrong with you?”
Shit. His mother sounded upset.
He tossed the reports on the desk and sat in the chair, settling in for what was sure to be a long conversation.
“Ma—”
“You will go over to Golden’s house and apologize for your behavior. She is an Alexander. You make this right.”
He hadn’t heard his mother this mad since he’d broken the neighbor’s window playing hockey when he was ten. “Ma—”
“I didn’t raise you to be so rude. How could you treat her that way?”
He gave up trying to get a word in, he knew from experience it was a waste of time to try, and he wasn’t about to tell his mother the real reason he’d acted that way.
“Make this right, Kris or so help me God . . .”
“I’ll do it tonight.” He would regret it, he was sure, but it was the only way to get his mother off his back.
Chapter 2

“Get it together,” Golden said to herself, pulling off the deserted road onto a gravel drive. She’d already made two wrong turns. Granted, she’d only been in town for a day, but that wasn’t the reason she kept getting lost.
It was Asshole Guy invading her every thought.
Her stomach flip-flopped.
She couldn’t stop thinking about what happened at Mary’s and the store. The way she figured it, she had two choices. Somehow he was real and she’d dreamed of him without ever having met him, or she was crazy and hallucinating.
Her options, as usual, sucked.
If she were imagining him, it was far better than her California hallucination. She could definitely get down with Asshole Guy version of crazy, but still, she had to wonder if she’d fallen down Alice’s rabbit hole.
Maybe she should find a psychiatrist here . . . just in case.
Huge maples, spruces, and oaks lined the drive and sunlight filtered through their heavy boughs hanging over the road in an arc. The tree line broke after the last curve of the driveway, and she slowed her car. Nestled up on a small rise, surrounded by lush green grass sat her house. Her father’s house, but now it was hers. A colonial with yellow clapboard siding, green shutters, and a green slate roof. She smiled. She couldn’t believe she was here.
After putting away her groceries, she changed into some old jeans and a T-shirt. She grabbed a chocolate Pop Tart from the kitchen and went to explore the thirty acres of forest surrounding the house. Nature always cleared her head and she could definitely use some clarity.
Following an overgrown trail, snaps and crunches erupted as she broke dry twigs underfoot. The forest was quiet yet full of sound. Small animals scurried, birds sang, and insects buzzed. Peaceful. She stopped and closed her eyes, taking a deep breath through her nose.
Mmmm, woods and spice.”
Her lids popped open. It smelled like him. She tried to ignore the instant heat coursing through her as she pictured Asshole Guy.
A small trickle of sweat ran down the side of her neck and she envisioned his finger following the trail. A strange shiver of anticipation tickled its way down her spine.
God, she hoped he was real. She felt like a torch whenever she thought of him, which never happened when she’d dreamt of him. In the dreams he’d only stared at her with longing and she’d felt safe, it was never some erotic, hot and bothered kind of thing.
Her psychiatrist told her she’d invented him to help with the traumatic loss of her family, and she’d always thought he was right about that even though she hadn’t wanted to believe any of the other diagnoses.
She’d never wanted anyone touching her the way she wanted Asshole Guy to. Real or imagined. She tried to shake him from her mind and failed miserably.
The trail ended at a stacked, stone wall surrounding a small cemetery. Gray marble headstones looked ancient in the sunlight. Darkened with age, lichen covered much of the engravings. She walked around the small space and read the names, most were Alexanders.
The family plot.
Sun glinted off a flat stone with an arched top on the far side of the cemetery, and she made her way over the mole-softened ground toward it. A Celtic-knot design followed the curve on the stone and she whispered the inscription carved below the knot. “Gus am bris an là, agus an teich na sgàilean.”
Her parents had always spoken Gaelic to each other at home and she was pretty sure it meant, ‘Till the day breaks and the shadows flee away.
Rough lichen clung to the lower part of the stone’s surface and obscured part of the name, but she could see enough of the lettering to know it was an Alexander, and the date of death read, 22 June, 1922.
Under that, in small lettering, 21 years. She knelt and picked away the crusty fungus from the given name. After uncovering four of the six letters, she plopped her butt on the ground, and traced her finger in the grooves.
G. O. L. D.
A chill settled on her skin despite the warm day as she stared at the last two letters of her name. Pressing her finger against the N, a trickle of fear closed her throat and made it hard to take a breath.
She pulled her hand. Stuck.
She yanked harder.
Still nothing, like she’d touched her wet tongue to a frozen pole.
Heart hammering, cold sweat on her brow, she couldn’t get away. She pried her fingers against the stone, trying to release whatever held her hand firm.
Her cell phone rang in her pocket.
Grabbing her forearm, she yanked. The force it took to dislodge the connection sent her flailing backward. She landed on her back and crab-walked away from the stone.
Her phone stopped ringing.
She ran to the other side of the wall and narrowed her eyes at the stone. It felt like a million spiders crawled over her skin. She glanced at her bare forearms and swiped away the invisible creepy crawlies while running toward the house.
When she reached the rhododendrons bordering the back courtyard, she skidded to a stop and stared at the empty path. Tucking her shaking hands under her armpits, she gulped in air. The birds no longer chirped.
An eerie silence permeated the woods. She shivered.
Her phone shrilled.
She jumped and almost fell into the shrubs. Never looking away from the trail, she fumbled to pull her phone from her back pocket.
A bird cawed. The forest and all its sounds came back to life.
Her hair fell forward and tickled her forearm, and it was all she could do not to scream. She rushed into the sunroom and locked the door. Peering out the windows, she tried to slow her breathing. The phone started ringing again, and she tapped the screen to connect the call with her sister.
“Goldie, what’s wrong?” Izzy asked before she had a chance to say hello.
With a last glance into the backyard, she convinced herself it was her imagination, checked the deadbolt, and walked into the kitchen. “Nothing, why?”
Izzy sighed. “Not sure. Um . . . no reason, forget it. How do you like the house?”
No reason, my ass. Izzy never did anything without a reason. Maggie probably put Izzy up to it, knowing Golden wouldn’t tell Maggie if things weren’t going well, and rightfully so, it’d been Maggie who’d made her see a psychiatrist for five years and treated her like she was crazy.
Golden tried to sound excited, but a niggling fear rested heavy on her shoulders. “You would love it. It’s a huge rustic farmhouse. Lots of wood, red walls, brown furniture. Very cozy. Living room and dining room in the front on either side of the staircase, family room and kitchen in the back, and four bedrooms upstairs.”
“Ooh, I can’t wait to see it. I’m coming for your birthday next week. I’ll text you my flight info when I get settled back home.”
“Hey, Iz? Did Mom or Dad ever say who I was named after?”
“Someone in Scotland, I think, why?”
She told her about the tombstone and the other Golden, leaving out the weird part.
“I’m pretty sure it’s someone else, but who knows. They didn’t even tell us about relatives in Vermont, let alone them leaving Dad a house.”
They spoke for few more minutes, Izzy doing most of the talking, before Golden hung up.
The house was quiet, but her mind went a mile a minute as she stared at the green slate countertops in the kitchen. It was almost as if the phone ringing had broken whatever hold the stone had on her.
Unless it had all been in her mind. No, she wasn’t going there.
What could have caused the other Golden to die so young? God, was it genetic? If she were named after the woman, why didn’t they ever visit Vermont? Why hadn’t her parents ever mentioned these relatives? Or the house?
A thump on the front door echoed through the house. She jumped.
“Coming, hold on.” She set the rooster saltshaker she’d been playing with next to the pepper on the breakfast bar side of the center-island and cut through the dining room to the front door.
She pulled it open. A black SUV with dark tinted windows headed down the drive. She stepped onto the porch waving her hands, but the SUV never slowed and soon disappeared around the bend of the driveway. She turned to go back in and kicked something.
A small cardboard box.
She carried it to a wide-planked, pine table in the dining room, the wood’s discolorations giving a hint to its age. She could easily see a large family having many animated discussions around the table’s scarred surface, the same as she used to have back home before the accident ripped her life to shreds. She sighed.
The box was bare except for one word written in black curly-cue lettering: Alexander. Okay, no post markings meant it wasn’t from her sisters. She went to the kitchen and grabbed a knife.
Before making her way back to the dining room, she clicked on her favorite Celtic CD, not wanting to jump at every little noise the old house made. And with how strung out her nerves were, that’s exactly what she’d do.
She sliced through the clear tape securing the top of the box and folded back the flaps. Nestled in tissue paper, lay her father’s black leather journal.
Her throat tightened at the sight of his initials and she remembered the words he’d spoken so many years ago when she’d tried to look at what he’d been writing. ‘When you’re older, my Golden warrior, these will be yours. Be patient, but vigil. When the time comes you will need to see, but not yet.’
She’d searched everywhere after he died and never found any of his journals. How had one of them wound up in Vermont? And who had left it for her? She opened the front cover and stared at her father’s distinctive penmanship.
My dearest Golden warrior,
Would you be willing to take up a blade to save yourself and all those you hold dear? Would you my Golden lass?
Don’t ever forget where you came from. Life is a circle. You must remember this Golden, if you are to be the one. Always search for the truth. Fight with honor until your last breath on Earth for what is right and good.
I hope you’re still my Golden warrior. You will need to be when the time comes.
I love you, lass.
Da.
She swiped a tear from her cheek and set the journal down with shaking hands. This was too much. Why had he written that? He used to tell her stories of knights, and ladies who’d lived in castles in Scotland. It was something just the two of them shared, but this was written a week before he died. Two years after she’d told him she was too old for such stories.
A haunting melody of bagpipes, flutes, and drums filled the house with melancholic sounds of her youth. She scrubbed her face and sighed, staring at the journal. She was almost afraid to pick it up again, she felt like if she did something bad was going to happen.
With a pressing weight on her chest, she traced an arm dressed in silver armor embossed in the lower right hand corner of the journal. It pointed upward holding a sword, and above it, gold letters shined in the overhead light. Per mare, per terras.
“By sea, by land,’ she whispered as she gazed at her family crest and motto.
She brushed her finger over the tip of the sword, felt a sharp twinge, and jerked her hand to her chest, rubbing it.
She was losing it.
Pushing her hair out of her eyes, she ignored the nagging doom stabbing her brain and picked up the journal. She ran her hands over the soft leather avoiding the embossed corner. The CD changed pieces, and a rhythmic drum beat as a Gaelic chanting song thumped.
“Oh, Da.” She opened to a random page.
And froze.
On the white page, her father had drawn in intricate detail, a familiar winged creature. Heat spread into her fingertips as if the journal were a living thing, breathing fire. Terror sucked the breath from her.
Her hands shook. The beast began to move, undulating across the page. Red eyes bored into her. Her pulse thudded in her ears. Saliva dripped from the creature’s short pointed teeth. Mold and fire tainted the air.
The same as when it’d been in her bedroom—when she’d hallucinated the demon.
With exaggerated slowness, the beast’s forked tongue moved across its teeth. It taunted her with innuendo. Her breathing erratic, iridescent wings beat in time to the increasing rhythm of drums. She squeezed her eyes shut as the crescendo in the piece reached its peak.
The image remained. Seared into her memory.
The music stopped.
Her eyes popped open.
Kris stood at the other end of the table, a casserole dish in his hand. “You okay?”
She dropped the book on the table and stepped back, narrowing her eyes. Was he real? She should probably be afraid if Kris had just walked into her house, but after seeing her father’s drawing and what had happened in the cemetery, she was glad she wasn’t alone. And really glad he appeared to be real.
He placed the dish on the table and walked toward her. “You didn’t answer my knock.”
“That doesn’t usually mean walk on in, you know.”
She turned and wiped the tears from her cheeks. What was he doing here anyway? She barely knew the guy and what little she’d seen of him, she didn’t like. Sure he was hot, but he’d been completely rude and obnoxious when she’d seen him at his mother’s, and then out of the blue, called her my lady in the grocery store.
Maybe he had a split personality and she should be afraid.
She wasn’t.
Of him, anyway.
He stopped right in front of her, too close. He glanced at the table where the journal landed, and did a double take before scrunching his brows at her.
Why was he glaring at her, in her dining room?
A loud thump sounded from the back of the house. In perfect unison, they whipped their heads toward the kitchen. Kris looked back in her direction and his brows arched.
She shrugged and mouthed, “I don’t know.”
He motioned for her to stay put, as if he owned the place.
Ignoring him, she followed into the kitchen where he grabbed a butcher knife from the wooden holder on the counter. He paused long enough to shake his head at her presence before they crept toward the family room.
When he stopped suddenly, she almost ran into him and had to stop herself from thinking how much she wanted to wrap her arms around his waist and feel safe. Instead of embarrassing herself, she stepped around him.
Her mouth fell open.
Leaning against the armchair sat a huge framed kilt across the room from where it used to hang. She wiped her moist palms on her hips.
“That was on the wall over the fireplace,” she whispered, and pointed.
Her nerves were on sensory overload. Her pulse throbbed, mouth dry. Why did her life have to be so . . . creepy?
After searching the house and yard, they made their way back into the family room and Kris frowned at her. “There’s no one here, and with the exception of the front, all the doors are locked.”
“Then how . . .” She couldn’t finish her sentence. Without any explanation for how the frame moved itself across the room, more questions arose and she wasn’t sure she wanted the answers.
The frame moved itself. Not likely. Or she was now going into some kind of fugue state and rearranging the house. Acid burned her esophagus with the worry she was so much more than slightly nuts.
Wringing her hands, she walked over to the fireplace. On the mantle sat two heavy-duty screws and two wall anchors balanced on their heads. They pointed toward the ceiling, and the last quarter-inch near the tip was covered in a fine powder of wood and drywall dust. Raising her gaze to the wall, her breath hitched.
No holes marred the smooth surface.
Kris came up beside her. “I thought you said this was hanging here?”
Standing on her tiptoes, she reached up to where the holes should have been, but couldn’t reach. “I was in here a few minutes ago and it was on the wall.”
Kris ran his hand up the wall, almost to the ceiling, and tilted his head, studying it from different angles. “It doesn’t look like there’s ever been holes here. You’d be able to see or feel the drywall compound if they’d been covered.”
She glanced around the room, looking for tools of some kind. A drill? Paint? Shit, she wouldn’t even know how to cover holes in a wall if she had to. Calm down, breathe. You’re not crazy.
His gaze narrowed in her direction. “Are you sure it wasn’t just resting on the mantel and leaning against the wall?”
She bit her lower lip, shaking her head. “No, it was hanging. I was thinking of getting candles to put on the ledge because there was about eight inches of wall above it.”
He walked over to the chair and lifted the frame, his triceps bunched with the motion. “It’s heavy as hell.”
He turned in her direction, sizing her up. “I’m not sure you could even lift it, let alone get it down from there.”
She wanted to scream in frustration, but measured her tone. “I didn’t move it. Didn’t I just tell you that?”
His mouth pressed tight, he set the frame on the hardwood floor. Thump. She jumped at the same sound that had led them into the room.
He tilted his head. “Then how did it get here?”
That sure was the question of the hour. She shrugged and met his gaze. Like in her dreams, his blue eyes calmed her; she felt floaty and relaxed, the same as when Dr. Rosenthal had prescribed her Valium for stress.
He broke eye contact first and raked his hand through his hair. “I’ll be right back.”
She stared at his back as he disappeared into the dining room and an overwhelming sense of loss hit her. “Don’t leave me,” she whispered.
Her throat thickened and she swallowed.
What the hell?
With a sigh, she shook off the strange feelings, chalking it up to anxiety, and walked over to the red checked kilt. The huge, shadow box frame leaned against an arm of a brown velour club chair, and she crouched to get a better look. She grabbed the top of the frame and pulled it toward her. There had to be another explanation that didn’t involve her sanity.
Or lack thereof.
A small breeze blew her hair into her face. She bushed it back and frowned at the still blades of the ceiling fan, then glanced at the closed windows and the baseboard heater. The heat was off and the house didn’t have air conditioning. She wanted to scream, what the hell is going on?
The frame heated in her hand as if it rested on a bed of hot coals. She yelped, let go, and jumped back. Losing her balance, she landed hard on her ass. The frame fell onto the chair with a soft thud. Something fluttered underneath.
Oh God, was she hallucinating again?
Her gaze darted around the room, but nothing had changed, and there was only one way to find out if she was completely screwed in the sanity department.
She crawled to the other side of the chair, avoiding the kilt, and inched forward on her stomach. She reached her hand into the darkness.
This is most definitely a bad idea.
Her fingertips grazed whatever had slipped from the backing of the frame. It was real.
She stretched her fingers forward in a walking motion, trying to get a better hold while her face pressed against the side of the chair. She trapped it under her palm and slid out a single sheet of old parchment paper. It looked as though it’d been ripped from the pages of a book. Sitting back on her butt, she read the elegant faded black script:
21 June, 1922
It all began with Lailoken, the Druid High Priest, the Trickster. The destinies of three, forever altered by one. The curse began upon the altar of the old ways. Two bound by love, one by honor. Two destined to repeat the sacrifice, and one to forever bear witness.
There must be a way to end this. Time is short. I have seen the demon, and fear its fiery breath awaits Krzysztof and me, but I scarcely know what to do. At midday tomorrow, we will meet the priest at the church. I pray he can help us.
Acid coated her tongue, and she tried to swallow it down.
“Golden?”
She jumped.
“Look at this.” She stood and handed him the paper with shaking hands.
He read it, then looked at her with a crease between his eyebrows. “The day after this was written, the old Catholic church in Poultney burned to the ground. My great uncle Krzysztof, a local woman, and the priest all died. My grandmother was just talking about this the other day. This must be the woman—she must’ve been an Alexander.”
“There’s a headstone in the family plot dated June 22, 1922. The name on the stone is Golden Alexander.”
She wanted to tell him about the demon she’d seen, but knew he’d think she was crazy. Hell, she thought she was crazy.
She pressed her hand to her forehead and rubbed the dull throbbing pain.
“I have to show you something.” He set the note on the chair and handed her father’s journal to her.
She held it, but couldn’t take her eyes off Kris as he pulled his T-shirt over his head. Her pulse quickened.
She devoured his torso with her eyes. Smooth chest, tapered waist, jeans hugging hips, his corded six-pack disappeared below the faded blue material. A river of fire shot between her legs.
She’d never felt anything like it.
His arm waved in her line of sight. Embarrassed beyond belief, she was sure she was six shades of red.
“Why is my name next to this drawing?”
She had no idea what he was talking about. She tracked his hand as he pointed to a faint pink mark above his right pectoral, clearly visible against his tanned skin.
She sucked in a breath. Her hand shot to the left side of her chest, her inability to stop staring at him had nothing to do with desire anymore.
Fear turned her blood to ice.
Three lines originated from a central point, evenly spaced, and slightly scrolled at the ends. She pushed her pink V-neck shirt and bra strap off her shoulder exposing an identical mark.
Kris pulled the journal she held down by her side up to her face, and pointed.
A sketch of their birthmark blackened the white page. A triple spiral.
A triskelion.
Penned in her father’s hand, beside each of the scrolled ends of the symbol:
Goldhain—Krzysztof—Curse.
Chapter 3

Kris’s nerve endings singed and tingled. A live electrical wire snapping within him as he stared at Golden’s chest.
With her shirt pulled off her shoulder, the creamy swell of her breast pushed up from the visible edge of her pink bra. The color almost matched her flushed cheeks and he wondered if she looked as beautiful when she climaxed. She raised her gaze from the journal to his chest, and his cock jumped in his jeans.
Jamming his hands in his front pockets, his heart thudded with anticipation. Right, anticipation of what? Nothing was going to happen in that department, except embarrassment and pitying looks.
No thanks, fuck me very much.
She scrunched her brows and slowly shook her head as though confused. The journal fell to the floor. She swayed.
Oh, Shit.
He scooped her into his arms before she followed the journal down. Her head wobbled and fell against his forehead. He stiffened.
Arms wrapped around her waist, torsos flush, her feet dangling, God, she was tiny and felt so damned good against him, smelled wonderful too. Citrus and ginger. He closed his eyes and concentrated on keeping nausea from crawling up his throat.
It would come. It always did.
The nerve endings on his chest lit up. Golden tensed and let out a small cry. He looked at his birthmark, now practically on fire. Golden’s markings perfectly mirrored his own.
Protect her.
Protect her? He seriously had some genetic defect of some sort. Impotent from a woman’s touch and hearing voices. There had to be some named disorder covering everything wrong with him. He was a walking side effect from some drug. May cause uncontrollable nausea, vomiting, impotence, and strange voices.
He sucked in a breath and tried to figure out a logical explanation as to why this beautiful woman had an exact replica of his birthmark painted on her skin.
His mother.
She’d been trying for years to get him into a relationship, said he worked too hard. And she’d insisted he come over here tonight. She must’ve concocted the whole thing. God, what did it say about Golden that she went along with it?
Stay away. That’s what it said. No problem there, he would just skedaddle his ass right outta here and not look back.
He looked up.
Her gaze bored into his.
Time stopped. The house and everything in it, faded. Intense heat caressed his penis and took his brain from his skull. He wanted her. To hell with the fact he’d end up embarrassing himself when he had to run to the bathroom to lose his lunch.
His lips brushed hers. Sweet and plump. The feather light touch reminded him of something he couldn’t quite remember but desperately wanted to.
Her full breasts pressed against his chest. She sighed against his mouth. Cock hard, throbbing with need, he didn’t stop to analyze why that was; he’d just enjoy it while it lasted. Tentative and soft, their mouths moved. His tongue flicked across the seam of her lips, and she opened for him. He groaned and took the invitation, delving inside.
As if they’d kissed a million times before, their tongues twirled. He tightened his arm around her waist, palmed the back of her head, pressing her more fully to his mouth.
A torturous scream resounded behind him.
He jerked away from Golden and turned toward the sunroom. A black shadow blocked the ceiling fan light before disappearing.
“What the . . .” Spell broken, instantly alert, a sliver of unease tensed his muscles.
She wiggled from his hold and slid down to the floor. When she stepped away from him, his chest tightened with loss as though surrounded by an invisible vice grip.
“I’ve seen that shadow in California, Pennsylvania, and now here. I think it’s following me.” She looked terrified.
Raking his hair while walking into the sunroom, he looked everywhere. He ran his hand in front of the light trying to replicate the shadow. He couldn’t. An overpowering need to protect Golden sucker punched him, and he jerked his attention back to her. She stood in front of the kilt, dancing back and forth on her toes, biting a fingernail, staring at him.
“I don’t want you staying here tonight. Grab some things, you’re coming with me.” Another bad idea, he knew the moment the words were out of his mouth.
He was sure there was a logical explanation for everything, but hell if he knew what it was. He knew what it wasn’t though—unexplained shadows, demons, or curses.
More likely, an overactive imagination, conniving Polish mother, and Golden, new in town with stalker tendencies. Whatever the fuck it was, he had to get them out of the house. The place totally creeped him out.
He walked back into the family room and picked up the journal from the floor next to Golden. She looked like a waif standing there. “Okay?”
She nodded and he followed her to the stairs.
He would let her crash at his place tonight and then figure out what to do with her and his mother tomorrow.
***
Thirty minutes later, they were sitting at an end of his glass dining room table with plates of Golumpki and glasses of wine while Golden stared at the untouched journal on the far side of the table.
The wine had put color back into her cheeks and he was glad. She’d looked so pale on the ride over. So fragile. They hadn’t spoken on the short trip, he’d been lost in figuring out what to do with her, and she’d probably been lost in his mother’s plan.
But he refused to analyze what he felt when he was around her. He wasn’t going to get involved with anyone, it never worked out. End of story.
He pushed aside the sudden ache in his chest and cleared their plates. After refilling their wine glasses, he urged Golden to the sofa in the living room and went to start a fire. He liked to keep the thermostat set at freezer mode in the summer, but he wanted to make sure she stayed warm.
With the fire now blazing, he grabbed the journal and sat on the other end of the couch from her. “You mind?” He held the book out in her direction.
She shook her head and covered her face with her arm, probably embarrassed. He skimmed through the journal until he came to a drawing of a demon. So lifelike, it watched him. Dread hit him hard.
Shit, too much wine.
He quickly turned the page and stared at the drawing of his birthmark, running through explanations in his mind. Either she or his mother had drawn the triskelion, and Golden planted the note behind the frame for him to find. Made sense. Someone must have been hiding in the house, moved the frame, and made the screeching noise and shadow. He could have missed them when he searched the house.
The only thing he couldn’t explain was why. He was far from a great catch. He understood his mother planning the whole thing, she wanted him to settle down with someone. He was pissed as hell, but he understood.
But why this gorgeous woman would feel the need for an elaborate plan like this didn’t make sense. She could have anyone she wanted with the bat of a single eyelash. Well, except him, but he was broken.
As he thumbed through more pages, he was completely aware of how far she sat from him. An invisible current tugged him toward her. Resisting the urge of his unreliable libido, he leaned forward and rested his arms on his thighs.
“Why did you write all this?”
She moved her arm and hit him with a glare. “I told you, I didn’t write that. It’s my father’s journal and was left on my doorstep today.”
God, she was cute as hell when she was angry.
“It went missing after he died. I have no idea who left it.” She continued to scowl at him. “I don’t understand how my father knew you, or that we share a birthmark. I was reading it for the first time when you showed up.” She sighed and rubbed her forehead. “Why did you come over anyway?”
“Ah, I came to apologize for being a dick at my mothers.”
“Oh.”
In the silence that followed, he returned his attention to the book. He really wanted to believe she was telling the truth, but if that were the case, things just got a whole hell of a lot weirder. He turned the page, deciding to give her the benefit of the doubt for the time being.
“Listen to this.
‘Golden Alexander, b. 21 June 1901, Poultney, Vt.—d. 22 June 1922 in church fire in Poultney, Vermont with Krzysztof Pietka, b.1894 Chocholow, Poland.
Golden MacAlexander, b. 22 June 1811, Menstrie, Scotland—d. 21 June 1832 in fire at home in Krakow, Poland with Krzysztof Pietka, b.1804 Chocholow, Poland.
Goldhain McAllister, b. 10 June 1721, Tarbert, Scotland—d. 10 June 1742 in fire at Barmore House, Tarbert, Scotland with Krzysztof Pietka, b.1714 Poland.
Goldhain Alexander, b. 11 June 1631, Menstrie, Scotland—d. 10 June 1652 at Balquharn Mine, Menstrie, Scotland with Krzysztof Pietka, b.1624 Poland.’”
A cold chill ran down his spine. “There are four more with variations on your name and they all died with Krzysztof Pietka.” What the fuck was going on? Had she made all this up? God, this was crazy, but it somehow rang true.
She sat up and scooted over next to him. Their bodies touched as she looked around his shoulder at the journal, a low-level hum coursed through him.
“Kris, June twenty-first, my birthday, is six days from now. All these women died the day before or the day after their twenty-first birthday, with the exception of the one in 1742 who died on her birthday.” She looked at him with pure terror on her face and whispered, “I’ll be twenty-one this year.”
She jumped from the couch and paced in front of the fire. “How can this be possible? Do you believe any of—” She stopped long enough to stare at him with her wide emerald cat eyes while frantically gesturing to the journal and their birthmarks. “This?”
His thoughts scrambled as he attempted to reason things out.
“I don’t know what to believe.” He wanted to believe her, he really did. And by the look of it, she believed it and was scared to death. “Can I see your mark again?”
She walked over and pulled her shirt off her shoulder, he peered at it. It looked real. He wet his fingertip and scrubbed it. Fuck, wasn’t paint. It couldn’t be a new tattoo, it would be scabbed and puffy, and she’d only just met his mother today so an old tattoo made no sense.
Okay, he was starting to freak out a little. Something strange was going on here, and coincidence didn’t begin to cover it.
His grandmother’s warning popped into his head as Golden pulled her shirt to rights and began to wear a trail on his hardwood floor. “When I was a kid, my grandmother spoke of a family curse. She said I would be the one to slay the demon. I always thought she was telling tales of Polish superstition mixed with folklore to scare me into doing what I was told.”
He stood and blocked her pacing. Shoving his hands in his front pockets, he analyzed her face. Shit, she was so familiar.
“I think tomorrow we need to pay a visit to my grandmother and see what she knows, and try to figure out who left the journal at your house.” He didn’t like it, but he was starting to believe something bigger than the both of them was going on, and it was bad.
“Do you think it could be true? Do you think we’re going to die?” She spoke in a whisper, almost to herself.
An overwhelming need to comfort her pushed aside any fear he may have had. He braced himself for the nausea and wrapped his arms as tight as he could around her.
Protect her.



Sophia Kimble has always wanted to be an author, but for years, life got in the way. She wouldn’t change a thing about how her life turned out, though. Her family keeps her laughing and loving. Her wonderful husband and two extraordinary children stand beside her every step of the way and make this journey called life worth living.

 

Sophia has worked as a nurse for twenty years, but has put that career path aside to devote her time and imagination to writing down the stories that keep her up nights.

 

She takes her love of the paranormal, history, and genealogy, and weaves them into tales of family, fated love, and supernatural occurrences.