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#99c Last Day Sale – The Good Samaritan, by Jolie Mae Miller

Last Days of Sale

Jolie Mae Miller’s Good Samaritan Series

This week, Jolie Mae Miller released the second novel in the Good Samaritan series; ‘The Unlikely Samaritan’. In anticipation, she priced the first novel in the series, ‘The Good Samaritan’ at 99¢. This sale is rapidly coming to a close so you should download your copy of both right now!

The Good Samaritan

Can money really buy you happiness?

What would you do to support your family?

The Macintyre family faces struggles of alcoholism and severe financial hardship after having it all and losing everything. Jeremy is forced into the ranks of the long-term unemployed, destroying his family with his alcohol addiction, and leaving Lizzie Macintyre to provide for the family in a most unconventional way. Just how far is Lizzie willing to go to save her family?

Jack Loving Jr., of the Loving family, is sole heir to Richmond’s most philanthropic family’s Trust. He and wife, Victoria, work hard to honor his family’s long-standing tradition of serving the less fortunate, forcing Jack to sacrifice his lifelong dreams. Jack faces serious challenges when someone close betrays him, turning his world upside down. Can Jack create happiness for himself?

When Jack has a chance encounter with Lizzie, never could they imagine their families would eventually need one another.

“I just pray that our children ultimately learn the real joy and satisfaction you receive from having money can be very comforting, and comes when you can spend it not on yourself, but by making a real difference in someone else’s life.”

By…Jack Loving, Jr.

Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Smashwords | iTunes | Kobo | Page Foundry

The Unlikely Samaritan

TUS-Cover2In book one, the Loving and Macintyre families, faced hardships caused by those closest to them. Left to pick up the pieces, they’re unable to shed the painful experiences, from a life they wish to leave behind. In book two, their entwined histories become the platform for a hopeful future.

Multimillionaire, Jack Loving, Jr.’s romantic obsession with Lizzie Macintyre, was immediate. While present on her darkest day, he vowed to save her, making her part of his life—helping others as good samaritans.

After her exposed secret led to personal tragedy, Lizzie, consumed with guilt, moves on. Taking steps to further secure her future and others, she forms new secret alliances, putting everyone she cares about, at risk.

Forces converge, led by the couple individually, and others with hidden agendas, creating great harm to their future. Will they survive, finding forgiveness for Lizzie’s secrets which have the power to destroy them personally and professionally? Is Jack keeping secrets of his own? Prepare for an unexpected ride to discovering the most unlikely samaritans, in this very explicit, suspenseful, contemporary erotic romance, in Book Two—The Good Samaritan series.

 

Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Smashwords | iTunes | Kobo | Page Foundry

jolieauthor

Jolie Mae Miller is an independent author, living in Prince George, Virginia, with her loving husband and amazing children. Her busy home also includes a Yorkie, a Poodle, and a St. Bernard. Her favorite job is being a Mom and Meme (because she’s too young to be a “GRANDMA!”).

She grew up in Powhatan, Virginia, working in her family’s auto parts business for many years. After her sister received a life-saving transplant, she pursued and was hired by Richmond-based, non-profit, United Network for Organ Sharing (UNOS). She enjoyed thirteen years working in the Accounting department managing various functions. Today, she has the best job, Mom.

In her free time, she enjoys reading and watching baseball. Whether it’s her husband who umpires, her son or the Orioles. Additionally, she’s an ancestry junkie, knowing quite well it’s a never ending project. Jolie Mae is incredibly blessed to have a supportive family behind her while she pursues her love and passion of complex-themed writing. She credits her amazing parents for continuing to be positive, guiding forces in her life. Her love of reading definitely came from her Mom and is constantly inspired by her Dad’s outgoing personality and knack for great storytelling.

Website | Facebook Page | Twitter | Mailing List | Amazon Author Page | Goodreads

You can email her at jolie@joliemaemiller.com

 
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Posted by on March 20, 2015 in Guest Posts

 

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Cover Reveal: Destiny’s Flame, by D.S. Schmeckpeper

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About the Book

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Author: D.S. Schmeckpeper
Title: Destiny’s Flame, A Land of Destiny Novel (Book 2)
Word Count: 95,000
Genre: Epic Fantasy
Release date: April 21st, 2015 (tentative)
Synopsis:
Repercussions…
What happens after the battle is done? Do you think everyone lives happily ever after?
Lumernia has been left divided, leaderless. The ensuing power struggle cost the city more than just the knightly order, leaving the land and its people unguarded. Is the conquering army content with their prize, or do they have their sights set on more?
Celeste, Tarnelius, Arcus and Siobhan are back. After saving the land of Altierra from the threat of the ultimate evil, they expected life to return to normal and made plans to pay respects to a fallen friend. No good deed ever goes unpunished, though, and their actions have many consequences. Kuunkierto was defeated, but an ancient pact was broken and the first calls of war have sounded. Will they be able to right the wrongs of the world once more? Will they be strong enough to face what is coming?
Through the flames of war, new destinies arise.
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Victoria awoke with a start. She stared up at the ceiling, trying to figure out where she was. Turning slowly toward the center of the room, she was shocked to find herself face-to-face with Joseph, who was sitting on the floor with his back against the wall. He had apparently moved the end table to the side at some point during the night.
“Good morning, beautiful.”
She sat up and stretched. “Morning. Have you been waiting for me to wake up?”
“More or less. I don’t sleep well. Night before last in Kayalost was the most rest I’ve had in a long time.”
“So instead of sleeping, you decided to watch me sleep?”
A ghost of a smile flickered over his face. “You looked just like an angel.”
“I don’t understand you at all. You are full of mixed signals. You kiss me with such passion and you watch me sleep, tell me I look like an angel … but you also push me away when I try to take our relationship further.”
“Give me time.”
“Since when do you need time?”
Joseph turned away. “See? That’s why I need time. I don’t want to make a mess of things. There is no rush. Right now, when you think of me, you only think of the women that came before you. You think of how I didn’t wait. You aren’t thinking of us at all. You aren’t thinking that maybe I don’t want a mere night of passion, that maybe I want something deeper. I guess the question is, what do you want?”
“Joseph, the only thing that I’m thinking of is that I don’t want to wait. You said it yourself: ‘nothing in this life is guaranteed.’ Can’t we enjoy however long we have together?”
Joseph closed his eyes, seemingly lost in thought. For a moment, she was sure she’d won him over, but then he shook his head. “Just give me a little time, all right? I want everything to be special. You’re special. Being with you is special.”
“You’re infuriatingly charming, do you know that?”
He smiled a crooked smile at her. “One more thing for you to love about me.”
She patted the bed next to her. He rose to his feet and sat down. She climbed onto his lap and kissed him gently on the lips.
Joseph deepened the kiss, his hand rising up to cup her face, while his other hand held her in place on his lap. She tangled her fingers in his hair, shifting slightly. He groaned.
Pulling away, she murmured, “I do, you know.”
“What’s that, Vicki?”
“I do love you. You were right, and it is too fast, but something about you calls to me, to my very soul. I–I’ve never felt anything like this before. It frightens me.”
Joseph stared at her, a look of stunned happiness on his face. He didn’t speak a word, and after a few awkward moments, she pressed herself into him once more, kissing him with all the passion she wished she could verbalize. She gave him a little shove and he fell backward, landing on his back on the bed, with her atop him.
“Do you love me, too, Joseph?” she breathed.
Joseph rolled over, sliding her beneath him in the process. He kissed her chastely once, his weight resting on his elbows. “I do, Vicki. I tried to tell you last night. You know what else?”
“Hmm?”
“I think I’ve had enough time now.” He kissed her again, this time with an urgency that made her blood run hot.

Copyright © 2015 by D.S. Schmeckpeper


teaser.jpgAbout the Author

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D.S. Schmeckpeper (a.k.a. Dottie and Steve Schmeckpeper) live in Florida, USA. They are a husband and wife team who work together to create the Land of Destiny series. Both have loved the Fantasy genre for many years and have wasted way too much time playing fantasy-based games. Dottie was a vocal performance major in college, before she decided a liberal arts major was not for her. Ironic, huh? They have two wonderful twin boys, who are three at the time of this publication. They are the light of their parents’ lives. Steve does the artwork and comes up with many of the story concepts. Dottie brings the ideas to life.  When not working, writing or drawing, the pair love to take their children to Florida’s many amusement parks, and can often be found there.

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Giveaway

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Posted by on March 18, 2015 in Uncategorized

 

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New Release, Review and Giveaway: Fire Lust, by R.E. Hargrave

Title: Fire Lust by R.E. Hargrave
Cover Design by: J.C. Clarke (c) Grafix Momma
Genre: Fantasy / Bi-Sexual Erotica / Short Story
Length: 86 pages (~13k words)
Price on Amazon: Kindle $0.99 , Paperback $5.50 , FREE with Kindle Unlimited
CONTENT WARNING:
***Contains explicit adult content meant for mature readers 18+,
including graphic sexual situations and recreational drug use.***
Summary
Heather Marsden and Cody Stevens have been an item since their first year of high school. With their future planned and their college graduation within reach, Cody gets devastating news from his doctor. Heather must now cope with the knowledge that she might lose the man who was supposed to be her forever.
While trying to come up with a grand final birthday surprise for him, Heather ends up befriending the new girl in town. Suzanne Cross lives a hippie life full of color and extravagance, seemingly without a care in the world. In truth, she’s all alone and hides a secret.
Heather’s new friend is something more than human, but how far will she be willing to go to save Cody? Just how much faith in “love” can she muster?
 
EXCERPT
A few minutes into class, the door opened and a tall, dark-haired beauty rushed in, apologizing to the teacher with an innocent smile. The girl rushed across the room and slid into the seat right in front of Suzanne, who found herself staring and not caring one bit that she was. The purple aura around the newcomer was comforting . . . welcoming.
With a soft sigh, the girl dropped her bag before rummaging around in it for something. She finally found what she’d been after—a hairpiece—and as she straightened up and twisted the satiny lengths of her onyx hair into a messy bun, Suzanne was hit with a wave of sweet scent.
The smell reminded her of the beach—coconuts and limes. Surprisingly, she found herself leaning forward to try and sniff the girl who chose that moment to turn around, her pretty brown eyes widening at Suzanne’s proximity.
“Oh, sorry. Didn’t mean to startle you,” she whispered and though her voice shook, she pressed on. “Hi, I’m Suzanne Cross. I just transferred here and well, I’m having a party on Friday to try to get to know some people . . .” The words rambled out while she pushed a flyer toward the girl, trying to cover her inappropriate sniffing. What the hell? Suzanne didn’t do girls, but something about this girl was calling to her.
The girl didn’t grunt. She didn’t give Suzanne a noncommittal nod either. Instead, she took the flyer, looked it over, and then looked up at Suzanne with a brilliant smile.
She couldn’t help thinking how very beautiful the girl was and her head was having a hard time wrapping around that.
“Nice to meet you, Suzanne,” she whispered back. Her breath was tinted with a minty scent. “I’m Heather. This sounds great, but I need to check my calendar. I might have something going on,” she said politely before turning back around to pay attention to the history professor.
Suzanne had to give the girl credit for at least being amiable. She was the first person to speak to her all day—even if it had been a tactful dismissal. It hadn’t escaped Suzanne’s notice that most of the invitations she’d distributed throughout the day were left behind on seats, or even blatantly wadded up and tossed in the trash when people left the classrooms.
Class ended an hour later, and Suzanne was beyond ready to get home and light up. There was a shitload of homework to tackle, but it could wait a little bit until she’d mellowed. She was gathering her things when Suzanne felt a tap on her shoulder. Looking up, she was met with Heather’s sweet face.
“Hey, Suzanne, I just wanted to ask, if I can make it, is it okay if I bring my boyfriend? Friday’s his birthday and it would be awful of me to ditch him.” Heather let out a cute giggle, and she found herself smiling despite the absurdity of her reaction.
 
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
R.E. Hargrave lives on the outskirts of Dallas, TX where she prides herself on being a domestic engineer. Married to her high school sweetheart, together they are raising three children. She is an avid reader, a sometimes quilter, and now, a writer. Other hobbies include gardening and a love of music. A native ‘mutt,’ Hargrave has lived in New Hampshire, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Alabama, Texas, and California. She is fond of setting her stories—which range from the sweet to the paranormal to the erotic—on location in South Carolina and Texas, but it’s anybody’s guess as to what the genre will be!
 
Current titles on Amazon:
Anthologies
The Crazy Lady Authors Present: Treasured Moments
Novellas
Sugar & Spice
Haunted Raine
Unchained Melody (ebook only)
The Food Critic
Fire Lust
Novels
To Serve is Divine (Bk 1 of The Divine Trilogy)
A Divine Life (Bk 2 of The Divine Trilogy)
Surreal (Bk 3 of The Divine Trilogy) — 2015 Golden Flogger Award Nominee
Coming Soon
 
 
 GIVEAWAY
My Review
The last birthday present he will ever receive is life itself. What a wonderful twist on a paranormal theme while keeping the storyline smooth and real! I’m coming to think R.E. Hargrave can write nothing wrong. Highly recommended.
 
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Posted by on February 27, 2015 in Book Reviews, Guest Posts

 

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The Darkness Comes, by Bruce Blake – 99c Promo Blitz

TDC 99 cents

The quest for the revival of the Small Gods continues.

When shadows fall, the darkness comes…

A disgraced Goddess Mother wanders blind and alone, praying for her agony to end. When a helpful apostle finds her, could it truly be salvation, or does worse torment lie ahead?

A sister struggles to understand a prophecy that may not be meant for her while her brother fights for his life. If the firstborn child of the rightful king dies, will it spell the end for everyone?

Darkness and shadow creep across the land in the form of a fierce clay golem animated by its sculptor’s blood. It seeks a mythical creature whose sacrifice portends the return of ancient evil banished from the world long ago. With its return will come the fall of man.

As the game unfolds, the Small Gods watch from the sky, waiting for their time to come and their chance to rise again. They wait for the fall of shadows, the coming of the darkness.

They wait for night to descend.

This is the kind of epic fantasy that makes you feel as if you are part of the action. Find your escape in this story. This is a world the likes of which you cannot even imagine. No problem, Bruce Blake has already done that part for you. Honestly, you want this book. And you want it now, while it’s on this incredible deal.

AMAZON US

What’s that? You don’t know if it’s for you?

Read an excerpt:

Am I ready to kill?

A cloud of swirling mist sighed out between Kuneprius’ lips, rising into the night to smear the glow of the winter moon. He watched it dissipate, then exhaled another long plume, blowing it out the way he’d seen the Brothers do when they smoked their pipes filled with sweetweed. Instead of swirling like the wreaths he’d watched them create, his breath came out a ragged column.

“Shh.”

Kuneprius cocked his head toward the urgent sound, an apology teetering on the tip of his tongue. At the last instant, he remembered himself and said nothing, pressing himself flatter against the side of the hill. Fildrian lay less than ten man-lengths away, but the Brother’s black hood and robe hid him in the darkness; despite his proximity, empty loneliness ached in Kuneprius’ chest.

The lad grasped the short sword’s hilt tighter, testing its uncomfortable weight. Though he’d seen the seasons turn but twelve times, he’d trained with this very sword for six of them. The temple blacksmith formed it with him in mind, the grip molded to the shape of his fingers. Its length and weight had proved too much for him when he first held it, but he’d grown into it, its size ideal for a boy of his age. He shifted minutely, searching for comfort and understanding that the prospect of swinging the weapon to wound rather than in practice caused his unease, not the sword itself.

Will I be able to wield it when the time comes? Can I kill if I need to?

He’d never been sent on a hunt, so the sword’s edge hadn’t tasted blood other than his own when he got clumsy or distracted while sharpening the blade. He shifted his grip on the leather-wrapped hilt, hand slipping with the slickness of the sweat on his palm. For so many seasons, he’d trained for this moment; he knew he’d kill if the need arose.

I hope it doesn’t.

The rattle-clunk of wooden wheels on dirt track rolled along the shallow valley and up the hill to Kuneprius’ ears. Soon, he’d need wonder no more.

The apprentice angled his head to peer down the weed-clogged road, squinting as he attempted to pick out the wagons in the darkness. The lanterns hanging at the front of each, bobbing and swinging with the horses’ gaits, made it easy. He counted them silently.

One, two, three…four?

His heart lurched. Brother Fildrian had said to expect three—two carts and a covered wagon. Kuneprius’ gaze flickered to the spot where he expected to find the expedition leader’s dark shape, but he saw nothing. He glanced back to the track, the horse-drawn vehicles drawing closer and, in the glow of their lanterns, he counted two covered wagons.

Which one?

A horse nickered and a high-pitched voice spoke words to calm the animal, their meaning lost in the rumble of the wheels, but the intent clear in their timbre. This must be the tone of a woman’s voice, the first he’d heard.

Kuneprius wiped his slick palm on the front of his coat, hand pressing against the hard, smooth surface of the leather chest piece hidden beneath. When he breathed in through his nose, he inhaled the tang of the oil used to keep it supple.

“Psst.”

Brother Fildrian faced Kuneprius, his pale cheek a faint smudge beneath the dark hood. Moving precisely, carefully, the expedition leader stood and gestured for the apprentice to do the same. Kuneprius obeyed. Around them, cloth stirred against skin and sandals scuffed in frozen grass as the others rose, as well.

Fildrian descended the hill deftly, traversing from one narrow tree trunk to the next, leaving Kuneprius to wait as the other Brothers followed. A thrill of fearful excitement stirred in his gut. He tightened his grip on the short sword’s hilt, licked his lips, and swallowed the excess of saliva flooding his mouth.

Tonight I become a Brother. Tonight I become a man.

When the last of the ten robed men passed him, Kuneprius followed, concentrating on the placement of his feet, moving with the stealth he’d learned from Fildrian during training. Truthfully, the racket made by the clatter of horses’ hooves and wheels on stones and dirt would have hidden the tuneless din should he break into song and dance a jig. He’d do neither, but the thought made him stifle a nervous chuckle.

Brother Fildrian arrived at the bottom of the hill and crouched in the tall weeds beside the cart track. The others arrayed themselves on either side of the leader and Kuneprius stopped well back, secreted behind a tree. He hefted the sword, ready to fulfill his role to catch any who got through his companions in an attempt to flee.

But which wagon contains our prize?

He shouldn’t concern himself—Fildrian knew. Twelve turns of the seasons before, the expedition leader had been involved in the raid which brought Kuneprius himself into the Fatherhood; one of many times he’d liberated male children from a Goddess’ caravan. If anyone knew the ways of the Mothers, Brother Fildrian did. Kuneprius passed the time by counting his heartbeats.

Eight. Nine. Ten.

The lead cart drew close enough for him to see the sleek lines of the horse pulling it. Beyond the animal, the lantern hanging beside the cart’s driver shone on her face, reflecting in the woman’s eyes and outlining her features in its warm glow. Kuneprius swallowed hard.

He didn’t expect a woman to be so different from men.

Her hair—the deep red-brown of a chestnut in the moonlight—hung well past her shoulders in a manner not permitted of a Brother. Many of the apprentices, like Kuneprius himself, wore their hair longer, but not so long as hers. Small nose, smooth skin, full lips. The sight of her caused a flutter in the lad’s gut he’d never experienced.

What’s wrong with me?

His inexplicably dry lips parted and his sandpaper tongue brushed their surface. As he gazed upon the woman—girl, really; she didn’t appear many turns older than Kuneprius—the stirring in his gut spread. It spilled into his chest, speeding his breath, and crept into his loins. His man-thing began to harden, the way it often was when he woke in the mornings, prepared to make his offering to the Small Gods. He glanced at his breeches, then back at the girl, who was closer now, and noticed gentle curves hidden beneath her smock. His confused feelings grew. He crossed his legs to hide his confusion, but doing so increased his discomfort.

The girl’s cart rumbled past the spot where Brother Fildrian and the others hid, and the men remained secreted in the tall grass, waiting. The wheels of the first covered wagon clattered past; the second drew even with them. Brother Fildrian raised his hand, signaling the attack party, and they sprang out of the weeds.

Horses whinnied, one of the drivers screamed—not a shriek of fear, but a signal, Kuneprius realized. At the sound of her call, two armed warriors of the Goddess burst out of the first covered wagon, four more out of the second, catching the Fatherhood’s raiders by surprise.

Kuneprius’ eyes widened as he watched the women pounce on his companions. Metal clanged against metal, horses pranced and neighed. A tall Goddess warrior with a shaved head knocked Brother Imir’s sword from his hand, then skewered him. She pulled her blade free and a gout of dark blood spilled from the young man’s gut before he slumped to the dirt.

Hand gripping his sword’s hilt tighter than it should, Kuneprius took one step toward the fight, then hesitated. In his head, he heard Fildrian’s instructions: guard the flank; let no one pass; do not desert your post. But did he foresee the women bearing weapons? Was this the way it always happened?

Kuneprius slid forward another step. A woman screamed and fell, a gash on her leg; Brother Xeoru swung his sword two-handed and split her skull. Kuneprius flinched and looked away, found the cart driver’s gaze upon him. She climbed out of her seat, pulled a long dagger from a fold in her smock.

Panicked, Kuneprius returned his attention to the fight and realized the other drivers had abandoned their seats, too. Weapons filled their hands as they stalked toward the skirmish. Their addition to the warriors of the Goddess evened the numbers, swung favor away from the Brothers and squarely to the middle.

Until an axe separated Brother Xeoru’s head from his shoulders and a spear poked a hole through Brother Ategar’s chest.

For a space of heartbeats he forgot to count, Kuneprius watched, feet acting as though frozen to the ground. Blood spilled on the frosted dirt, painted the weeds beside the track the color of rust. One after another the fighters fell, Brothers and women alike, until three remained: Brother Fildrian; the tall, bald warrior woman; and the pretty cart driver.

The two Sisters stalked Fildrian, spinning him in a tight circle. One lunged, setting him off balance. He flailed and the tip of his sword caught the young one, opening a slash across her forearm. Kuneprius gasped. The girl dropped her dagger and clutched the wound, a pained expression creasing her smooth brow.

Finally, Kuneprius wrested control of his feet back from the grip of fear. He took a step toward the fray as Fildrian engaged the bald woman, his back turned toward the injured cart driver.

The warriors’ swords met, the clang of their blades reverberating in the chill night air. Kuneprius forced himself another pace, his sandal-clad feet whispering in the tall grass. His heart pulsed in his ears, loud and painful, distracting. He blinked hard to dispel the discomfort. When his eyes opened, the cart driver had retrieved a sword from the ground and crept up behind Brother Fildrian.

“Brother,” Kuneprius called, but his voice caught in his dry throat, cracked and fell to pieces.

Fildrian parried an attack from the warrior and lunged, running his blade through her gut. They stood frozen for a heartbeat, the two combatants staring into each other’s eyes as though sharing a final moment, a sliver of respect, then he wrenched his sword free with a twist. The woman’s knees buckled, spilling her to the ground. Fildrian turned, a smile on his lips.

And the cart driver slashed his throat.

“No!”

Kuneprius rushed forward, realizing he’d waited too long. When he needed it most, his courage failed him, and now ten Brothers lay dead with no one to blame but him. He gritted his teeth and growled in the back of his throat as he raced for the girl, using anger to drown his fear.

She spun at the sound of his approach, Fildrian’s blood dripping from her borrowed blade. Kuneprius swung for her head, driving her back, and the girl’s feet tangled. She stumbled, heel catching on dead Brother Ategar’s arm, and she went to the ground.

Kuneprius growled again, the end of it fading to a squeak of sorrow and loss. The girl scrambled away, hands and feet digging furrows in the dirt track, but the bodies cluttering the road trapped her from getting far. The young lad caught up to her, put the point of his short sword to her throat. Staring up at him, she froze, the fear of death shining in her eyes.

He hesitated, blinked. A tear ran along his cheek and he sniffed back the snot threatening to spill out of his nose.

“You killed him.”

“Please,” the girl said. It surprised him she spoke the same language as he did, though he knew of no reason for her to speak any other. “Please.”

The point of the short sword wavered and Kuneprius struggled to keep it from drooping. The anger burning within him after watching Fildrian, Ategar, and the others die melted away, dissolved by the blue of her eyes, the smoothness of her pink cheeks. Kuneprius’ mind flashed away, wondering why Brothers were permitted only to spill their seed on the ground when such beauty existed in the world. An out-of-place sound brought him back to the moment.

They both heard it—a mewling from within the first covered wagon. The girl’s eyes flickered toward it; Kuneprius raised his head. The small sound grew—a whimper to a whine, then to the full-throated cry of a tiny mouth that reminded Kuneprius why he was there.

A yell broke from the girl’s lips and she swung the sword tainted with Fildrian’s blood. Her grip slipped, the weapon twisted. The flat of the blade bounced off the leather chest piece hidden beneath the apprentice’s robe.

Time stopped for an instant, the baby’s siren cry filling the night. They stared at each other, each knowing what must come next. Kuneprius gulped around a lump solidifying in his throat and leaned forward on his sword. The tip sank into the girl’s neck.

She gasped, coughed. Blood burbled over her lips, ran along her cheek and into her ear. Her eyes found the young lad’s, a last plea shining in them, quickly fading. He turned away, unable to gaze upon her sorrow.

When her body went limp, he released his grip on the sword and stumbled away to retch on the ground beside the covered wagon. The baby wailed, beseeching him to come to it, take care of it. Kuneprius knew he needed to do just that, but his heaving gut and clenching throat prevented him.

Bent at the waist and breathing hard, he leaned against the wagon wheel. Sweat and snot and tears dripped from his nose and cheeks, the droplets pattering on the frozen dirt the same way as the blood of the Brothers as they lost their lives.

I should have aided them.

He coughed and spat bitter chunks of spew, wished for water to wash the horrid flavor off his tongue. The baby’s crying continued, assaulting his ears and rattling in his head until he could bear it no longer. With a shuddering breath, he forced himself upright and dragged his aching body to the back of the wagon.

Kuneprius pushed the flap aside a crack and peeked inside.

The babe lay on the wagon’s floor, a blanket tucked under its chin. Alone.

He clambered up, arms and legs exhausted as though he’d crawled here from the temple. On his second attempt, he struggled his way in and flopped on the deck beside the child. The baby ceased bellowing, eyes wide with wonder finding him. A few seconds passed as Kuneprius stared at the child’s tear-stained cheeks, its plump lips, and thin wisps of hair, then the wailing began anew.

Kuneprius wrestled himself to his knees and pulled the blanket off the baby, revealing a cloth wrapped around its groin and tied on either side. He fumbled with the knots, his numb fingers slipping until one knot came undone. If it wasn’t the right child, Fildrian and the others had sacrificed themselves for nothing. The thought weighing on him, Kuneprius hesitated a half-dozen heartbeats before pulling the diaper aside.

The stink of the baby’s soiled cloth made him gag. He raised his arm to cover his nose and undid the other knot. Beneath, he saw the baby’s tiny man-thing, and Kuneprius breathed a sigh of relief.

The Brothers were dead, but he’d accomplished what they’d come for: the babe was his.

***

Kuneprius attempted slinging each Brother over their saddle, intending to lash them in place and return them to the temple for burial, but they proved too heavy for him. He struggled Brother Fildrian up, the effort leaving him drained and panting, and worried that, if he took the time to do the same for the others, he’d be discovered. So it was the young Kuneprius rode through the gates of Teva Stavoklis with a child in his arms, four horses on leads, and a dead man lashed to a saddle.

Brothers and priests were already gathered in the square, though the leading edge of sunrise had just grazed the horizon. The sky perched on the cusp of the earth was crimson as the blood he’d seen spilled; the Small Gods swam in the ocean of darkness above that, waiting to surrender to the light of day.

Hands took control of Kuneprius’ steed, offered him help out of the saddle. He accepted, his sore and weary backside sliding off the smooth leather. When his feet hit the ground, his knees threatened to buckle, and another hand grabbed him by the elbow, helped him keep his feet. He glanced from one man to the next, realizing he knew each of them, but not recognizing any. A priest with his face hidden by a drooping cowl stepped forward and Kuneprius extended his arms, ready to hand over the child. The priest didn’t take the babe. Instead, he led the apprentice away from the throng of Brothers occupied with unlashing Fildrian from the saddle.

Three priests followed as the man led Kuneprius on a winding journey through the streets, past stone abodes and empty fountains, to a low building with no windows. To those unfamiliar, it appeared more storehouse than place of worship.

They crossed the threshold, as Kuneprius did every morning to pray for the return of the Small Gods, but didn’t stop to kneel on one of the threadbare prayer carpets. The hooded priest led him through the sanctuary room to a wide, stout door at the back, where they paused.

Kuneprius’ head spun and his belly churned, though his body had taken steps to ensure nothing remained inside it during his return. The scent of melting fat hung thick in the sanctuary room, given off by the squat tallow candles flickering and hissing on stands in each corner. For an instant, he thought his stomach might rebel again at their odor, but he forgot his beleaguered gut when the priest raised his hand and rapped on the door.

The baby, who’d been miraculously sleeping, shifted in Kuneprius’ arms, as though sensing the lad’s discomfort. He’d often wondered what lay hidden behind the short, wide door but now, as he stood on the precipice of finding out, he decided he’d prefer not to know. Unfortunately, the choice didn’t belong to him.

“Enter,” a voice within said, and a shiver ran along Kuneprius’ spine.

The priest pushed the portal open. Beyond, the chamber appeared similar to the sanctuary room, except much smaller. Bundles of herbs hung from spikes driven into the beams supporting the ceiling and thin tapers flickered in the corners. A table sat in the center of the room, a roll of yellowed parchment atop it. Beside it knelt Kristeus, the high priest.

In his twelve turns as an apprentice, Kuneprius had never laid eyes on the man or even heard of the door being opened. Seasons of wondering if someone truly lived behind the door had come to an end.

He hesitated in the doorway, gaping and waiting for the priest who’d led him there to enter, but he didn’t. A moment passed, expectation hanging in the air, before one of the other hooded priests behind Kuneprius laid his hand on the lad’s back and ushered him across the threshold.

The door clunked closed and the apprentice turned to find the others had left him alone with the high priest. The baby wriggled in his arms, then settled. Kuneprius gulped.

“This is the babe?”

Kuneprius knew the hooded figure spoke the words, but they seemed to float down to his ears from the ceiling. Before answering, his eyes flickered around the barren room, noting the lack of honey pot or personal items—only herbs, tapers, table, scroll, high priest.

“Y…yes.”

The hood moved minutely, as though the invisible head inside nodded.

“And the others are dead? Killed by the women?”

The words dropped on Kuneprius flat and monotone, except the last: women. It came out twisted and skewed, spat more than spoken. Kuneprius’ throat tightened with the urge to sob, forcing him to nod rather than attempt speaking. A dozen heartbeats passed and he thought the high priest might not have seen the gesture.

“Yes,” he said, his tone quiet.

Kristeus tilted his head back, revealing a chin and mouth, but nothing further. Lips pale to the point of transparency moved, the yellow teeth behind them clicking together twice before he spoke again.

“Bring him to me.”

The High Priest held out his arms, the sleeves of his robe falling away as he extended his hands. Skin as pallid as his lips; nails long, curved, yellowed, and cracked. Kuneprius hesitated. The baby stirred again, squeaked in his sleep.

“Come, boy.”

Kristeus gestured with his fingers and Kuneprius found his feet carrying him the short distance to the middle of the room, despite not having asked them to do so. He passed the baby into the High Priest’s hands and the child’s eyelids fluttered open. Kristeus regarded the babe for a moment, then lay him on the floor and bowed his head, words whispering from within the hood. Kuneprius resisted the urge to fidget.

Time crawled. The apprentice glanced away from the child, saw the herbs hung on the spikes were fresh, the floor swept, the walls free of soot from the tapers’ greasy smoke.

Someone comes in here.

The baby gurgled and the air in the room grew warmer on the lad’s skin. Kuneprius snapped his gaze back to the High Priest and found the man looking at him instead of the baby. He shivered despite the rising temperature.

“You have done well, apprentice. I have seen the coming of this child and you have done what needed to be done to make it so. Henceforth, you are Brother Kuneprius.”

The boy’s eyes widened and a flutter of pride pushed aside the nausea gripping his midsection. Never had an apprentice been named Brother before reaching their fourteenth turn. Eight seasons yet remained before Kuneprius reached that age. He thought it must be expected of him to respond, so he parted his lips to thank the High Priest, but Kristeus raised a hand, stopping him before he spoke.

“You will no longer be part of the liberating expeditions.” He slipped his hands under the baby, his long nails scraping on the wooden floor. “From this time forward, you have a much more important role to fulfill.”

Kristeus picked the babe off the floor, held him up as though examining a ripe melon rather than gazing on a living thing. Kuneprius wondered if the High Priest viewed everything in this manner, but put the thought from his mind. The air in the room prickled against his skin, standing the short hairs on the back of his neck on end. His sight wavered and, for an instant, he saw flames raining from the sky, trees burning, a river boiling. The hallucination disappeared as quickly as it came.

“Henceforth, you will be caretaker to the child,” Kristeus said, raising the baby into the air. “For you have brought to me Vesisdenperos, the sculptor. The one born to ensure the return of the Small Gods.”

The sweat on Kuneprius’ brow went cold.

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WHEN SHADOWS FALLTHE DARKNESS COMES

 
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Posted by on February 23, 2015 in News, Paper Gold Publishing

 

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Cover Reveal – Romancing the Paranormal

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Romancing the Paranormal
by Brandy L. Rivers, Claudy Conn, Cynthia St. Aubin, Dakota Cassidy, D’Elen McClain, Gena D. Lutz, Julia Mills, Kym Grosso, Melanie James, Robyn Peterman, Stephanie Rowe, Teresa Gabelman, Victoria Danann
Publication Date: May 19, 2015
Genres: Paranormal, Romance

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13 BRAND NEW paranormal stories from your favorite USA Today, New York Times, and Amazon Bestselling authors.

Passions ignite in 13 dangerously hot romances

Stephanie Rowe – Shadows of Darkness

Haunted by a tormented past that has come to reclaim him, a former assassin must choose between saving the world, or protecting the one woman who can touch his heart and redeem his soul.

Robyn Peterman – Fashionably Hotter Than Hell
Book 5 of the Hot Damned Series

Victoria Danann – Konochur: Wolf Lover

In the middle of a war with dragon shifters, a human widow of a werewolf may get another chance at love, but feelings of guilt threaten a blossoming attraction to the one wolf everyone thought was untamable.

Kym Grosso – Lost Embrace

Dominant vampire leader, Kade Issacson, is devastated when his fiancée, Sydney Willows, is nearly killed by a demon and her transition into the supernatural tests the limits of their bond. Deep in the heart of New Orleans, they struggle to keep her alive while searching for an escaped killer who promises to end Sydney’s life once and for all.

Dakota Cassidy – What Not To Were

Claudy Conn – Harley-Awakening

Harley is a Hybrid that doesn’t want to serve revenge up cold. She wants to serve it up now and she wants serve it up HOT.

Teresa Gabelman – Forbidden Hunger

A shifter without a pack, Janna Lawson goes in search of the man who her mother died trying to protect. What she finds is Garrett Foster, a man who has the power to decide her fate and causes a hunger inside her that is forbidden to them both.

Melanie James – Gertie’s Paranormal Plantation

When you run a shelter for paranormal creatures, you can’t afford to let your guard down. When carefree—and quite naïve—witch Gertie O’Leary welcomes an enchanting new guest to the plantation, she finds herself caught up in an ancient struggle. Marie Laveau and the gang will have to pull together once again to save Gertie’s love life. Love, lust and laughs await on the Paranormal Plantation.

Gena D. Lutz – Sonnet Vale: Paranormal Hunter

Paranormal hunter, Sonnet Vale, has the unique ability to hunt and kill vampires. But a chance encounter with a handsome stranger is about to change everything, teaching Sonnet what it’s like to be hunted and possessed.

D’Elen McClain – Fang Chronicles: Tyboll

A grumpy bear shifter, a stubborn she-bear shifter, and more growls than a bear clan can possibly handle. Will the two kill each other or discover they make the perfect mated pair?

Julia Mills – Her Dragon’s Heart

Jace MacQuaid, the youngest Dragon Guardsman since the original knights has just found his mate, Melanie Whelan…the one the Universe made for him…the light of his soul. Of course, to claim her he will have to fight a force so dark not even the oldest of dragon kin has the answers. Fate really stepped in it this time.

Brandy L. Rivers – Seductive Solutions

When Toryn’s trusted friend begins failing, he’ll search for a way to free him of the destructive bond. Isa might have a solution for Scotty’s problem, if Toryn can help her find the courage.

Cynthia St. Aubin – From Hell to Breakfast

He’s a supernatural bounty hunter with a broken heart and a loose zipper. She’s a succubus with a smart mouth and a long rap sheet. When her crimes become his problem, they’re in for one hell of a ride.

Here’s a list of all 13 paranormal anthology authors and where to find them!
1. Stephanie Rowe – Facebook
2. Robyn Peterman- Facebook / Twitter
3. Victoria Danann – Facebook / Twitter
4. Kym Grosso – Facebook / Twitter
5. Dakota Cassidy – Facebook / Twitter
6. Claudy Conn – Facebook / Twitter
7. Teresa Gableman – Facebook / Twitter
8. Melanie James – Facebook / Twitter
9. Gena D. Lutz – Facebook / Twitter
10. D’Elen McClain – Facebook
11. Julia Mills – Facebook
12. Brandy L. Rivers – Facebook / Twitter
13. Cynthia St. Aubin – Facebook / Twitter

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Posted by on February 21, 2015 in Guest Posts

 

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#Free Book Alert

NucorAmazon US

Amazon UK

I heard good things about this series, so I’m getting it. I thought you might like it, too.

Description:

Nucor – Season of the Moons Book 1 

Nucor – a vast wasteland of ice and snow with a six hundred mile belt of jungle around its equator. Its inhabitants consist of genetically modified humanoids set on killing one another until an army of lizards invades.

Thomas Hardwick – On the run from the law finds himself caught in the middle, at the same time discovers his past, and discovers who he really is.

 

 
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Posted by on February 17, 2015 in Guest Posts, Just A Thought

 

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PAPER GOLD PUBLISHING – NEW RELEASE

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The quest for the revival of the Small Gods continues.

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When Shadows Fall – – – The Darkness Comes

A disgraced Goddess Mother wanders blind and alone, praying for her agony to end. When a helpful apostle finds her, could it truly be salvation, or does worse torment lie ahead?

A sister struggles to understand a prophecy that may not be meant for her while her brother fights for his life. If the firstborn child of the rightful king dies, will it spell the end for everyone?

Darkness and shadow creep across the land in the form of a fierce clay golem animated by its sculptor’s blood. It seeks a mythical creature whose sacrifice portends the return of ancient evil banished from the world long ago. With its return will come the fall of man.

As the game unfolds, the Small Gods watch from the sky, waiting for their time to come and their chance to rise again. They wait for the fall of shadows, the coming of the darkness.

They wait for night to descend.

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One-click to Amazon.

Follow the series on tour via https://www.facebook.com/events/1601882920046730

Find BRUCE BLAKE on the Guild of Dreams, Amazon (give him a Follow while you’re there), and the PGP site

 
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Posted by on February 16, 2015 in News, Paper Gold Publishing

 

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