The Blood of the Infected Series ~ Blog Tour ~ Excerpt

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Blog Tour ~ The Blood of the Infected Series

Author:  Antony J. Stanton

Genre:  post-apocalyptic/vampire/thriller/horror

Tour Dates: 15th – 19th of May

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Blurb:

“Once Bitten, Twice Die” by Antony J. Stanton

The end of the world was just the beginning.

A cure for dementia has disastrously failed. Patients are left crazed, infectious and enraged. The ensuing carnage quickly spreads the disease, and civilisation is decimated.

On London’s outskirts a military base shelters some survivors. The soldiers within must battle against the infected who now roam unchallenged. Tensions are high, relationships fraught, death commonplace.

But if they thought the end of the world was bad enough, their troubles have only just begun…

An ancient menace has long existed in secret alongside humanity – a vampire clan, which has recently encountered the soldiers. Now is their time to emerge from the shadows. First though they have to overcome their own problems. They too have to fight for survival against the infected, and they violently disagree on their approach towards the humans.

Hostilities are rising. It’s only a matter of time now…

Buy Links:

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Book two from ‘The Blood of the Infected’ series: “Once Bitten, Twice Live”

When death is the best option, survival is no longer enough…

With a growing realization that their continued existence bestows upon them a debt to humanity, the survivors look to create a cure for the insanity that has brought civilization to its knees. But that only encourages disagreement and infighting, and comes at a heavy price, bringing various shocks and surprises.

Tensions amongst the vampires are escalating, jeopardizing the very existence of the clan itself. A battle for supremacy seems inevitable and their future is in the balance. How far will Farzin go to achieve his aims – domination of the vampires and humans alike? And how terrible will his vengeance be against any who stand in his path? Their interaction with the humans threatens to increase and not necessarily for the benefit of either group.

Meanwhile the wrathful infected grow ever hungrier…

When every day is a struggle to stay alive, survival of the fittest is never guaranteed.

Buy Links:

https://www.amazon.com/Once-Bitten-Twice-Blood-Infected-ebook/dp/B01EEKFJZ2/

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Book three from ‘The Blood of the Infected’ series: “Twice Bitten, Twice Die”

When there’s no one left to hear you scream…

Deaths amongst the survivors are occurring at an unsustainable rate. Numbers are rapidly dwindling. Morale is plummeting. Soon they will be beyond salvation, yet their real task has only just begun. But will anyone remain alive to complete it? Nothing could have prepared the soldiers for what lies ahead. If they thought life was brutal already, they had absolutely no idea…

The vampires are in disarray. Their relationships are becoming blurred, confused and violent. A titanic clash between soldiers and vampires seems imminent but no one’s survival is assured.

In a world where life is unpredictable, the threat from the infected suddenly becomes even more unexpected and menacing. Hostilities are inevitable. Only one thing is certain: there will be blood!

Buy Links:

Antony

Author Bio:

“Once Bitten, Twice Die” is the debut novel from Antony J. Stanton. The book is the first of ‘The Blood of the Infected’ series, in the ‘post-apocalyptic action thriller’ genre. Stanton was born in London in 1970. Even as a child he always dreamed of becoming a published author, and he started to write a book. But, having watched the film ‘Top Gun,’ he was swayed into a becoming a military pilot. After no more than a glancing blow of a career in the British Royal Air Force he decided that his long term future lay elsewhere and he became a commercial pilot and remains thus to this day. Hence much of this trilogy was written all around the world, generally at unsociable times when jet-lag meant that normal people were asleep.

During a holiday with three friends, a bet was made amongst them. Each had a task to fulfil within the year – Stanton’s was to write a book. A little late, but five years on and his challenge has been completed. Three times.

His period spent in the RAF helped him write the military survival aspects of this book, and a kidnapping incident in Kazakhstan and shooting in Ghana, amongst other ‘adventures’, provided him with a dark well of experience to draw from. Life is, after all, one big adventure. A combination of the aforementioned, along with his love of the darker sides of literature, and the results are this novel and the next two in the trilogy.

And all it took was the impetus of a friendly challenge to spur him on to his creative dream… He still lives in South London and is very much looking forward to watching his friend fulfilling his part of the challenge: demonstrating his (not-so) newly acquired break-dancing skills, surely a sight to behold

Visit him at:

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/14715498.Antony_J_Stanton

Website: http://oncebittentwice.com/

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

Twitter: https://twitter.com/ajsobtd1

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/gp/bookseries/B01M013X6D

 

excerpt

 

Taken from “Once Bitten, Twice Die” …

 

This is the end.

The thought was only fleeting. In reality the end had been and gone a long time before. Sinna had warned him not to do anything stupid, but here he was fighting for his life. What he really should have done was to just give up and let Death claim its prize. If he had known what the future held in store for him he may well have accepted the inevitable. He may have sought a more agreeable means of dying; something a little less brutal. Perhaps something that did not jeopardise the lives of others. Had he been aware that he himself was soon to become a vicious murderer he might not have battled quite so hard. But Abbott was not gifted with foresight. At that moment all that consumed him was trying to stay alive just a little longer. Besides, what kind of death can any one person choose for their first experience of it?

His aggressor advanced with surprising vigour. Abbott was forced back onto the table. He was fit, well-trained and considerably larger than the other. Nevertheless, he found himself unable to contain the onslaught, the triumph of wrathful incognisance over strength and experience. Only certain kinds of demise permit the luxury of reviewing your existence as it flashes in front of your eyes in glorious Technicolor. Some keep you fully engaged and struggling for salvation until the very end. In such cases even a brief perusal of your life in black and white is asking too much. Abbott’s situation fell firmly into the latter category.

He frantically grasped the lunatic’s forearms. His assailant however possessed unnatural surges of power dredged up from his inner demons. A trail of phlegm and a guttural snarl escaped his lips. Hands clawed and teeth snapped. He lunged repeatedly at Abbott’s face. He was virtually within reach now. Abbott dodged his head to the side with a grunt. He tried to get a knee under his attacker’s body but the man was writhing too much. It was just not possible. Yet without doing so he knew he would not be able to hold him off much longer. His strength, along with his hope, was fading fast.

Abbott was flecked with spittle. The stench of warm, rancid breath was overpowering as their heads slowly came together. Some of the man’s teeth had rotted and fallen out leaving open sores in blackened gums. His face was mottled with an unhealthy, purple tinge. It was covered with scabs and flaking skin. Red lines like those of a habitual drinker covered his cheeks. His eyes were bulging and blood-shot, and darted about as though without focus. Yet the most chilling factor was the absolute lack of perception. The pupils were dilated and blank like those of a shark. It was as though he was just lashing out blindly. If the eyes are a window to the soul, then these particular portals looked out onto a vista of pure hell. And then there was the rage; unprovoked yet wanton and plentiful. There was just an overpowering urge to kill.

Abbott’s arms burned. His attacker still showed no sign of tiring. If anything he grew even more frenzied and ironically that may have provided an invaluable reprieve. Death took a reluctant step back and waited, denied its reward for now. As the man thrashed about there was a loud crack. The back legs of the table splintered. The pair were sent tumbling. Abbott hit the floor hard. Pain shot through his shoulder and he was winded but he managed to slip a leg between the two of them. Deftly he launched the man over his head, slamming him against the wall. This was his moment to save himself. This was his one chance to live. If the other reacted more quickly then he would surely be dead. He rolled and scrambled to his feet grabbing at whatever he could reach – a heavy, pewter candlestick discarded nearby. He swung as his opponent started to rise. It struck with a thud across the temple. The force jarred right up through Abbott’s arm, but somehow his adversary did not go down. As he leapt, Abbott backed up and swung, again and again.

Each blow solidly found its mark leaving deep, red gashes. The man sagged to his knees, a trail of blood at his nostril. He flailed forwards with an enraged gargling as the liquid dripped from his chin. Abbott struggled to maintain balance. He desperately hit out once more and cracked the skull right on the top. This time it made a different sound, more hollow and decisive.

This time the candlestick embedded itself.

This time the man went down.

Abbott sank to the ground. The body lay at his feet with one leg twitching, disturbingly. A small pool of viscous blood gradually took shape around the head forming a macabre halo. Abbott gulped down air as his hands started trembling. He was in an upstairs room with bookshelves lining three of the walls. The house was identical to all the others in the street and presumably in most this would have been a bedroom. However the owners of this one, almost certainly dead – or worse – had turned it into a reading room. The shelves were made of cheap, knotted pine and books were lying on the veneer flooring, torn and discarded. He noticed that only one tome remained standing – the Bible.

As he sat trying to regain composure, the violence of the confrontation made it hard to focus. He found himself fixing on irrelevant details, a mist enshrouding his mental faculties. He looked around vaguely for a matching candleholder, as these would probably have come as a pair. The random notion surfaced that it was just like a scenario from Cluedo; Colonel Mustard, or in this case Sergeant Matteo Abbott, in the library, with the candlestick. He wondered again where Sinna was as he should have arrived a long time before. It was most unlike him to screw up. Only now did he start to appreciate that something had gone badly wrong.

 

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Blog Tour ~ Reborn ~ Excerpt

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Blog Tour ~ Reborn
Author: Jane Ederlyn
Genre: Paranormal/Romance
Tour Dates: 27th-31st of March
Hosted by: Ultimate Fantasy Book Tours

Reborn

Blurb:
Marie Josette d’Orgemont, cousin to Louis XVI, watched in horror as a rogue creature took her husband’s life before turning on her. A powerful vampire swept in and spared her life, but she never suspected surviving meant immortality or the price she’d have to pay to protect her surviving son.

Centuries later, in Miami, with her family on the verge of extinction, Marie is preoccupied with the continuation of her human bloodline. When she meets sexy and persistent Odin Ulfsson, his icy-blue gaze and burning touch are hard to resist. Will a forbidden romance with the Nordic werewolf be the key to her happiness, or will it set in motion a wrath that endangers not only her last human heir but her entire existence?

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↓Buy Links↓

Jane Ederlyn

Authors Bio:

Jane Ederlyn is the alter ego of a writing duo from South Florida.

Jane, a registered nurse by day, by night lives to create havoc and conflict in their stories, relentlessly strategizing ways to kill off one more character.

Ederlyn, a cruise-line professional by day, by night loves to plot meticulous happily-ever-afters for the hero and heroine, often battling Jane to save her favorites.

They can usually be found at their favorite Barnes & Noble sipping lattes and pondering “what ifs?” or at the mall shoe shopping.

Visit them at:

Twitter: https://twitter.com/ediojeda
Website: http://janeederlyn.com/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/janeederlyn/
Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Jane-Ederlyn/e/B01M6USTGM

 

Excerpt taken from Reborn:

“You make me come all the way out here to announce you’re in heat? And that is supposed to be acceptable because of your free pass.”

“Don’t get your panties in a wad. I thought this went both ways.” He pointed back and forth, between them.

Her temper surged because he was right. She did want him. Wanted him so much she was standing on a beach with him despite her better judgment. She could have waited for Etienne’s return. But she couldn’t admit that to him. She barely admitted it to herself. “I think you lack manners.”

“Okay. Look, this is all coming out wrong. I just want to get to know you.”

“You do not know me.”

“Exactly. Forget about how we met and pretend we met at a bar. You know. Boy meets girl. Boy likes girl. Boy buys girl a drink.”

“I do not drink alcohol.”

“What do you drink? Never mind. That was stupid. I know what you drink. I’m nervous. I’ve never met a female vampire before. There can’t be that many of you.”

She cocked her head.

“When you stare, it’s so intense it’s like you can see every breath I’ve ever taken.”

There was a catch in his voice that surprised her. She inhaled and exhaled, smelling the truth in him and the same earthiness of his skin mixed with beach scents, salt, sand, and ocean. “Am I to allow you intimacy just to fulfill your curiosity?”

He chuckled and she found that she liked the deep huskiness of his laugh.

“I promise not to turn unless you want me to,” he said.

“Have you ever been with a vampire?” she asked, trying to sound unconcerned.

“Your smell is driving me crazy and I know you’ll taste as good as you smell.”

A small gasp escaped her lips at the hunger in his voice. “You want to lick my face?” Somehow she managed to keep her voice casual. Could he smell her desire, the way she could smell his?

“I’m not a dog, woman.”

Her hand itched to touch him again, and she reached out, splaying her palm on his chest. Heat burned through the cotton of his shirt.

“No, you are not a dog.”

He dipped his face until he was at eye level with her. Then he growled. The rumble was low and sedate, rolling through his body, as if propelled by a current, and tumbling out on his warm breath.

Marie closed her eyes, losing herself in the heat and the drumming of his heartbeat. He was supernatural but alive. When she opened her eyes, he was staring at her.

She was surprised to see more flecks of gold in his irises. The shimmering color blazed when a beam of moonlight touched his face.

He lowered his face to her neck and inhaled. “You’re so…cool,” he said in awe.

She was instantly reminded of her reality, of her body temperature, and the absence of her heartbeat. Self-conscious, she began to withdraw from him.

“No. No. I like it.”

She blinked.

He sniffed again, his body curling above her and his face a breath away from her neck. He didn’t touch her, but the stubble of his chin and cheek grazed the ghost of her skin, and shivers of excitement rushed down her back.

 

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Blog Tour ~ Souls Discovered ~ Excerpt

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Blog Tour ~ Souls Discovered
Author: Miranda Brock
Genre: Fantasy/Romance
Tour Dates: 27th-31st of March
Hosted by: Ultimate Fantasy Book Tours

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Blurb:

Spin away with young Autumn as she finds a seemingly innocuous gold necklace on her family’s farm and inadvertently uncovers her destiny as “The Keeper.” Autumn’s discovery of the necklace activates “The Window” and alerts both good and evil forces to her whereabouts. Autumn is pulled from everything she knows, and is tossed into a life of unknowns. Enigmatic enemies called Dehmons hunt her at every turn, and if captured the very world she lives in will fall into destruction. With the help of seven Searchers Autumn must learn to use the power she has been given before it is too late. Will she choose to follow the dangerous destiny thrust upon her? Will she be able to withstand the temptation of a relationship that could jeapordize everything? Most importantly, will Autumn be able to find the strength within herself to fight the dead-eyed evil Dehmon souls?

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↓Buy Links↓

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Author Bio:

From an early age Miranda Brock has always loved fantasy and adventure everything. Since she doesn’t live in a world of enchanting powers, mythical beasts, and things unbelievable she has decided to write about them. (Although, if you happen to see a dragon flying around, do tell her.) Born in southern Illinois, where she still resides with her husband and two children, she grew up running through the woods, playing in creeks, and riding horses. What started out as writing poetry grew into short stories and eventually led to her first novel, Souls Discovered. Miranda lives in the country where she finds inspiration in the simplicity and beauty around her. With the help of a ridiculous amount of coffee and some good music she writes whenever she gets a chance.
Visit her at:

Twitter: https://twitter.com/Miranda_Brock1
Website: http://whimsicalwanderingwords.blogspot.ie/
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/miranda.brockauthor
Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Miranda-Brock/e/B01J5Y44HG/

 

excerpt

Autumn stood up and brushed leaves from her clothes. She started to walk after her dog when she heard a twig snap behind her. She spun around as her heart jumped into her throat.

A man was standing there clothed entirely in black. His loose coat nearly touched the ground, he was wearing heavy boots, and he had black gloves on his hands. What skin she could see was deathly pale, and his long, lank locks hung around his face in greasy strands. Still, the thing Autumn noticed most were his eyes. They were completely black, not just the pupil or even the irises. He smiled, and she cringed. A chill ran up her spine.

“Forgive me,” he said. Autumn was surprised at his normal sounding voice. “I didn’t mean to startle you. I was looking for someone, and I’m afraid I’m lost.”

Autumn took a step back. “Go back the way you came. You’re trespassing.”

Suddenly behind her she heard an explosive cracking and the sound of splitting timbers. It came from the direction of her house. The trespasser fled her mind as she turned and ran toward the noise. Someone grabbed her arm from behind as two more men stepped out from behind some trees.

“Never mind,” said the man who had a hold of Autumn’s arm. “I think I’ve found who I was looking for after all.”

“Let go of me!” Autumn yelled. She tried to jerk away from the stranger. The other men walked calmly over. They were dressed just like the man who held her and had the same cold, black eyes.

“Where’s the Window?” one of them asked in a quiet, breathy voice. Autumn was terrified. One man was holding her arms, and the other two were circling her like vultures.

“The Window. Where is it?” the other one asked.

Autumn jerked, trying to free herself. “I don’t know what you’re talking about. Let me go!”

“Tsk, tsk. It’s not nice to lie,” said the one holding her arms. “We know you have it.”

One of their faces was suddenly all but touching hers. “We can sense it, you see.”

“I don’t have anything!”

“Oh, dear. She’s not very cooperative, is she?”

The one holding her, their apparent leader, shoved her at the others. “Take her.”

The others paused to remove their black leather gloves which Autumn found odd. As each one took hold of an arm, she cried out in pain. Their touch was so cold that it went straight to her bones. In fact, it was moving straight to her heart. Suddenly her heart felt colder than the most frigid winter. She had never felt such pain in all her life!

“She has it. She has the Window,” said the quiet-voiced one. The freezing pain intensified.

Autumn wanted to tell them they were crazy, that she didn’t have anything, but the cold was so bitter and painful she could only shake her head.

“Still denying? Don’t worry. When the Master sees you, he’ll sort you out,” the leader said. After he had spoken, he walked over and stood to the side of the man on her right and whispered something to him. The other man laughed softly.

Autumn felt sheer panic. She had no clue what they were talking about, and now they were waiting for some Master to come and “sort her out?”. Thinking was difficult. The extreme feeling of cold in her heart was overtaking her mind. She forced herself to concentrate on how she might get away.

A man stepped out from behind a tree directly in front of her. He, too, was wearing a black leather coat, the length of which nearly reached the ground. However, his coat was tighter and more fitted. His pants were black leather, too; so were his boots. His coat hung open, revealing a dark crimson shirt. This man was tall with dark blonde hair combed back away from his face. Strapped on his right arm was what Autumn thought must be a crossbow, and he was pointing it straight at her.

 

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Blitz tour ~ Darkstorm ~ M.L. Spencer

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Blitz~ Darkstorm
Author: M.L. Spencer
Genre: Dark Fantasy
Dates: 24th of March
Hosted by: Ultimate Fantasy Book Tours

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Blurb:

Faced with an imminent cataclysm that will destroy the magical heritage of their people, a conspiracy of darkmages resolves to open the gateway to Hell. The only mages who stand a chance of opposing them are Sephana Clemley and her acolyte, Merris Bryar, along with their protectors, Braden and Quin Reis: two brothers with a turbulent past and a caustic relationship.

Will Braden and Quin be able to protect Sephana and Merris long enough to prevent the unsealing of the Well of Tears? Or will they fall victim to manipulation and become darkmages themselves?

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↓Buy Links↓

Author Bio:

M.L. SPENCER
M.L. Spencer grew up on the works of Steven R. Donaldson, Stephen King and Frank Herbert. She wrote her first novel-length manuscript at thirteen. Her debut novel Darkmage won the 2012 IndieReader Discovery Award for Fantasy. She was also awarded 1st Place Prose in in the San Bernardino County Writing Celebration.

Ms. Spencer lives in Southern California. By day she works as a biology teacher; by night she sweats over a beaten-up keyboard. She is now in the process of expanding the Rhenwars Saga into a trilogy.
Visit her at:

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Blog Tour ~ Rise of the Deva’shi ~ Excerpt With Giveaway

 

 

Blog Tour ~ Rise of the Deva’shi (Parthalan #3)
Author: Jennifer Allis Provost
Genre: Fantasy/Science Fiction/ Young Adult
Tour Dates: 20th-24th of March
Hosted by: Ultimate Fantasy Book Tours

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Blurb:

A stolen girl. A legendary champion. A plan that might destroy Parthalan once and for all…

Aeolmar, First Hunter of Parthalan, leads a solitary life. Having long since abandoned his quest to kill Mersgoth—the demon that murdered his family—Aeolmar moves through his days with cold efficiency. Everything changes when he leads a training mission in Brennus, where he’s attacked by Mersgoth himself, and saved by an unlikely heroine.

Latera, first born and heir to Gannera’s throne, is kidnapped and left for dead in Parthalan’s vast forests. A lone human amongst Parthalan’s fae, she makes a home in Brennus, and lives a quiet life—until she finds herself defending a wounded First Hunter from a clutch of demons.

Back in Parthalan, Harek warns Asherah of something called the deva’shi—a warrior loyal only to the demon lord, Asgeloth. Both Aeolmar and Latera suspect that there is more to this deva’shi than what Harek has told them, but before they can learn the truth, Parthalan’s borders are attacked. Will Aeolmar and Latera be able to stop the deva’shi in time, or is it a distraction to hide Harek’s true plans?

RISE OF THE DEVA’SHI – book three of the Chronicles of Parthalan

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↓Buy Links↓
https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/1438978987

Author Bio:

Jennifer

Jennifer Allis Provost is a native New Englander who lives in a sprawling colonial along with her beautiful and precocious twins, a dog, two birds, three cats, and a wonderful husband who never forgets to buy ice cream. As a child, she read anything and everything she could get her hands on, including a set of encyclopedias, but fantasy was always her favorite. She spends her days drinking vast amounts of coffee, arguing with her computer, and avoiding any and all domestic behavior.
Visit her at:

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excerpt

“Will there be women in this village?”

Aeolmar’s gaze slid toward Luth. “Missing Innetha already?”

Luth snorted. “Hardly. She refused to become my mate. Again!”

“Of course she said no,” said Luth’s brother, Bron. “What self-respecting woman would have you?”

Aeolmar almost bit through his tongue; he thought Innetha was many things, but respectable was not one of them.

“I hope there will be women,” Adhaire said, bringing his horse alongside Luth’s. “After I complete my Trial by Stealth, I’ll want to celebrate!”

Aeolmar glanced at the young nuvi, doubtful of his chances. Adhaire recently won the Trial by Combat for a third time, but had only recently mastered calling fire. Aeolmar assumed it would take Adhaire a few tries to master stealth, as well.

“Have faith,” Finlay said. “Adhaire will be a fine hunter.”

“Of course,” Aeolmar agreed, unwilling to say more until Adhaire actually failed. Once that happened, he would petition Asherah to have the useless nuvi removed from the sola and sent far, far away from Teg’urnan.

Not that Aeolmar intended to witness Adhaire’s failure himself. Aeolmar had chosen to hold this exercise outside a village close to his birthplace. Once the Trial was underway, Aeolmar planned to slip away and visit his home. Nothing remained but a charred patch of earth, but it was home, nonetheless.

Aeolmar touched the small bump over his heart. For the journey, he’d taken his mother’s pendant with him, rather than leave it behind in Teg’urnan. He hoped his mother’s spirit rested close to her grave, since he needed her advice now more than ever. He was tired of his life as First Hunter, tired of being alone, of palace life… Gods, he was just tired.

The hunters arrived in the village of Brennus and found the innkeeper, Ingvarr, a man known throughout the west for his hospitality, as his mate, Elma, was for her fine cooking. While Finlay spoke to Ingvarr about boarding the horses, Aeolmar investigated the stables. He’d never left Myrnnhe anyplace he wouldn’t sleep himself, and needed to see his horse’s accommodations.

As Aeolmar approached the stables, he spied movement at the far corner; a small form clad in a tunic and leggings, and a flash of bright hair. Intrigued, he followed the person toward the back of the yard…and almost bumped into a girl coming the other way. She gasped and dropped the saddle she was carrying, then scooped it up an instant.

“May I pass?” she asked, balancing the saddle on her hip.

Realizing that she was the person he’d followed, Aeolmar took a long look at her. Her hair was flame red, bound up in a braid that did a poor job restraining her curls. Her eyes were pale blue, and her skin was golden and a bit burnt across her nose and cheeks. What amazed Aeolmar most was her size. She was hardly larger than a child, yet she had a woman’s curves. And she held that saddle as if it were weightless.

“May I pass?” she repeated, tapping her foot. Aeolmar stepped aside. She stalked past him and placed the saddle on the workbench. After watching her for a moment, Aeolmar joined Finlay and the innkeeper.

“Who is that?” Aeolmar asked, indicating the stable.

“My stable girl, Latera,” Ingvarr replied. “She has a way with horses, you know. Some of my patrons only stop by for her services.”

“We’ll need her to accompany us,” Aeolmar said. Finlay raised an eyebrow, but Aeolmar ignored him. “If we stable our horses here and walk to the location, it will add days to our journey. I’d prefer to take the horses as far as we may.”

“Of course,” Ingvarr said, looking at Latera. She saw the innkeeper’s gaze, then busied herself with the saddle. “Latera is a willful girl, and may refuse just for the sake of refusing. Let me send my mate to speak with her, my lord.”

“I’ll ask her myself,” Aeolmar said, striding toward the stable. Finlay and Ingvarr followed.

“Do we really need to bring her?” Finlay asked.

“How long do you want to be out here, days from Asherah?” Aeolmar countered. When Finlay grunted, Aeolmar assumed his second agreed. Aeolmar entered the stable and confronted the girl behind the workbench.

“I am Aeolmar, First Hunter of Parthalan,” he announced.

“I’m Latera, and I brush the horses,” she replied, her gaze on her work.

“Please excuse her, my lord,” Ingvarr said. “She’s a human who was lost here and is still learning our ways.” Ingvarr glared at Latera and added, “She claims she was royalty in her homeland.”

Aeolmar looked at Latera, noting her slanted eyes and pointed ears. “Why do you look like one of us if you’re human?”

“I didn’t always,” she replied. “I’m told it’s the effect of the realm.”

Aeolmar had known many humans, and none had taken on fae characteristics. In the midst of wondering who had told Latera such lies, he realized he was frowning at her. He lightened his expression and continued. “My hunters and I will make camp a short distance from here for two nights. We will need someone to care for our horses. Ingvarr tells me that you have a way with them.”

“Hunters or horses?”

His eyes narrowed. “The latter.”

“Yes, I do,” Latera replied. “Will you stable them here?”

“No. You will travel with us.”

Understanding dawned in her pale eyes and she glanced at Ingvarr. “Won’t I get in the way of your hunt?”

“We aren’t hunting,” Aeolmar replied, “This is a training mission. My hunters have scouted the area, and there are no demons nearby. You won’t be in any danger.”

Latera was silent for a time. It was an unusual request to take a young woman into the forest with five hunters, but Aeolmar believed it was a necessity. Her presence meant that the hunters wouldn’t need to worry about their mounts, and therefore get the Trial over with sooner. Then the hunters would be safe at Teg’urnan, and Latera back in her stable.

“Very well,” Latera said. “When do we leave?”

 

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Blog Tour ~ The Gaia Effect ~ Excerpt

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Blog Tour ~ The Gaia Effect

Author: Claire Buss

Genre:  Fantasy/Science Fiction/ Post-Apocalyptic

Tour Dates: 20th-24th of March

Hosted by: Ultimate Fantasy Book Tours

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Blurb:

In City 42 Corporation look after you from cradle to grave. They protect you from the radiation outside the wall. They control the food, the water, the technology and most important of all, the continuation of the human race. Kira and Jed Jenkins were lucky enough to win Collection but when their friends start falling pregnant naturally, everything changes. How long has Corporation been lying to them? Is it really toxic outside the wall? As the group comes to terms with the changes in their lives they discover there is a much more powerful and ancient force at work, trying to bridge the gap between man and nature.

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↓Buy Links↓

https://www.amazon.com/Gaia-Effect-Claire-Buss-ebook/dp/B01N7KT80X

Author Bio:

Claire Buss

Claire Buss is a science fiction/fantasy writer currently based in Barking, Essex. She wanted to be Lois Lane when she grew up but work experience at her local paper was eye-opening. Instead Claire went on to work in a variety of admin roles for over a decade but never felt quite at home. An avid reader, baker and pinterest addict Claire won second place in the Barking and Dagenham Pen to Print writing competition in 2015 with The Gaia Effect and set her writing career in motion.

Visit her at:

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excerpt

 

 

‘What are you two doing here?’ Kira whispered as Jed and Pete followed the Infant Growth Assessor lady into the apartment and closed the door behind them. Pete pursed his lips and Jed frowned as they both saw the activated cocoon. The IGA ignored it and pulled out a touchscreen.

‘Later,’ Jed murmured.

‘Good afternoon, I’m your IGA,’ announced the woman. ‘Who are the parents?’

‘We are.’ Jed pointed at his wife and put on his best smile as he ushered the IGA into the kitchen area and offered her a beverage. Pete looked at the cocoon again. Kira nibbled her fingernails, turning towards the cube when Grace began to cry. She teetered, not knowing whether to go to her or speak with the IGA. In the end the plaintive noise decided her, and she scooped the baby up, rocking Grace gently, and humming as she walked over to the others.

 

‘I’m here to carry out an infant suitability assessment not drink synth-caf, but I suppose one would be nice. It’s not often we get time to indulge while at work. I’m surprised you even have the drinks machine given your requests.’

Jed and Kira looked at each other in confusion.

‘Requests?’ Kira asked.

‘Ah, sorry, we thought you’d be non-conformers you see, because of the no technology request. I mean almost all parents have a NanNan these days and we just thought… well, you know.’ The IGA coloured slightly as she sipped her synth-caf. ‘No offence.’

‘None taken,’ Kira said smiling. ‘We’re not pure naturals but we wanted to try the natural approach with the baby. After my studies I was curious….’

The IGA interrupted.

‘Oh I see, hobbyists then. Well each to their own. I’ll leave the paperwork for the NanNan as well as our latest brochure and then when you want to order, everything will be there for you.’

‘If,’ whispered Kira under her breath.

The agent frowned as she walked around the lounge area.

‘What’s that?’ she asked, pointing at the lit candle in the corner of the room.

‘Oh. Mm, that’s mine. I was just meditating before you arrived.’

‘Meditating?’

‘Yes. You never heard of it?’

‘No. I mean not in real life.’ The IGA patted her neat bun. ‘I read history at Higher Academy you know, I remember some of the strange customs.’ She moved closer peering at the candle on the small table. ‘So what do you do with it?’

‘Well,’ Kira had followed the IGA into the lounge and she sat down with Grace. ‘I believe in balance, so sometimes when I feel stressed or out of sorts I like to try and focus my energy on releasing the things that made me feel out of balance. It’s easier to think of it in terms of light and colour, moving from dark to bright,’ Kira paused, searching for something else to say. ‘Controlled breathing helps….’

The IGA interrupted again and pointed at the small blue statue.

‘And who is that?’

‘That’s Gaia. She is the spirit of the Earth, dedicated to keeping the life force of the planet in balance. She can be used as a focus point.’ Kira could see the IGA was looking troubled. ‘I work in the Archives so I have approved access.’

‘Ah, well I guess that makes sense. Not sure how I would write this up anyway. Probably best not to mention it to anyone. I expect it’s quite a personal thing and let’s face it we don’t tell everyone about everything we do behind closed doors do we?’

The IGA glanced at the cocoon before turning to look at Kira and smiling, not realising how offensive she sounded. Kira agreed, in disbelief yet relief that the topic would be dropped. The IGA finished her drink and fished out her paperwork.

‘Right, here’s my checklist. Neural jack’s in use?’

‘No’.

‘Nan-Nan installed – no. Scent patches activated?’

‘No’.

‘Cube ordered?’

‘Yes.’

‘Type?’

‘Standard sleeping, able to move around our apartment.’

‘Hmm,’ the IGA looked down her list. ‘I don’t think there’s much point in me going through the rest of the options. They are all classified as high-tech and you’ve clearly decided against that kind of help. I don’t think there’s anything else I can do for you today.’

‘Don’t you want to look at the baby?’ Kira queried.

‘Do you mind a health probe?’

‘Is it non-invasive?’

‘It can be.’

‘Alright then.’

Kira watched suspiciously while the IGA brought out a handheld, pressed some buttons and then directed the scan towards Grace laying in her cube. Several bleeps later the IGA handed Kira a readout.

‘It’s all good. Remember to visit your local Med Centre if you have any queries. Do you have a medical handheld?’

Kira shook her head.

‘Well, you might want to look into that otherwise how will you know if the baby is okay? Contact your local Agent, they’ll have what you need. I’d recommend a health check at six weeks but obviously get in touch beforehand if you have any worries. Babies are tough little things.’

The IGA gathered her things. After a cheery goodbye she left the apartment.

 

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Blog Tour ~ The Missing Heir of Mandralay ~ With Giveaway

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Blog Tour ~ The Missing Heir of Mandralay
Author: Braden Bell
Genre: Young Adult/ Fantasy
Dates: 20th – 24th of Feb
Hosted by: Ultimate Fantasy Book Tours

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Blurb:

A heartless monster. An innocent girl. He holds her life in his paws, but she holds his soul in her hands.

Thirteen-year-old Tallie has a strange new power. While experimenting with this power late at night, she is discovered by Mother Kyraisa, the ancient nun who runs the orphanage where Tallie lives. Terrified of something, Mother Kyraisa evacuates the orphanage and burns it to the ground. The pair flees into the desert with only a wagon and a lead-lined coffin to protect the girl from the unspoken danger that pursues her.

With no memories, no heart, or even a name, X is a monster. Fiercest of the Bestials, his predator’s instincts are controlled only by powerful spells binding his life to the regent’s will. When a flash of apostate magic betrays the hiding place of the late queen’s daughter, the regent dispatches X to kill the child—her niece and the long-hidden heir to the throne.

Following the child’s magic, X tracks Tallie to her hiding place. He prepares to kill her, until Tallie surprises him with a sincere request for help.

Tallie’s innocence and trust awaken a small spark of humanity inside X, and he tries to help her. But he remains a monster, bound by instinct and unbreakable oaths. Helping Tallie triggers a ferocious battle, as X fights his primal nature for her life—and his only hope of redemption.

Meanwhile, Tallie grapples with the tragedy of her past and her identity as crown princess. As royal heir, Tallie finds access to immense power—enough to destroy her enemies, but possibly her own soul as well, turning her into a monster far worse than X.

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↓Buy Links↓

Amazon.com: https://www.amazon.com/Missing-Heir-Mandralay-Soulbound-Book-ebook/dp/B01MU7V87Z/

Author Bio:

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Braden Bell (who writes Young Adult novels under the name Brandon Gray) holds a Ph.D. in educational theatre from New York University. He and his family live on a quiet, wooded lot in Tennessee, where he teaches middle school theatre and music. An experienced performer, Braden enjoys reading, gardening, and long summer afternoons writing in his hammock. To read about his YA novels, check out: amazon.com/author/brandongray

Visit him at:

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excerpt

Shouts from below rang out. The sound of metal clanging against metal. Too late. Her warning came too late; a loud lament tore from her throat.

“Please, Your Majesty —you must act now!” The guilty fever swelled, and hot, burning sweat flowed beneath her habit.

The queen looked at her, growing fire struggling against the exhaustion in her eyes. “How do you know?”

“Forgive me, but I helped plan the coup.”

The prince consort did not hesitate. He took the infant from the midwife then placed her back in Taliesin’s arms. Taliesin the false prophet. The blasphemer. The heretic. “Protect her,” the prince consort said.

“I swear,” Taliesin said. “With my life, my heart, and my whole soul.”

The prince consort unsheathed his sword and ran from the room, followed by a handful of guards. He did not know the force that awaited him, had no idea of the trap the queen’s sister had laid.

More shouts escaped from down below. More clanging—then a scream.

The queen looked at the high priestess with an anger approaching hate. “I do not know what you have done, and there is no time to find out. Is my child in danger?”

Tears rolled from the high priestess’s eyes. “Yes. She was to be killed.” Her throat squeezed shut. “By my hand.”

The queen shook in rage. As she stared at the high priestess, all her maternal softness had faded. Even in her weakened state, she projected the fearsome power of Mother Earth. The queen’s fingers jerked through the air. Particles of metal appeared, swarming the high priestess like flies in the summer. She screamed as the flecks of metal spun around her, faster and faster. The delicate, royal fingers squeezed into a fist, and the metal followed, melding into twisting spirals of iron that encircled the high priestess in a curving cage that pushed sharp spikes up just under her chin.

The metal twisted tighter, pressing in to her flesh, squeezing the breath from her body. “Murder. Infanticide. Regicide. Treason,” the queen whispered. “You have committed enough crimes to die five or six deaths.”

A terrible scream came from the courtyard—the scream of someone who had been stabbed, but not yet killed. The kind of scream that meant blood and suffering.

The flames of conscience roared even hotter now. The high priestess knew those sounds all too well. She had been responsible for too many cries over the past year. With the pressure of the metal outside her body, and the fire inside her soul, the high priestess thought she might die.

“Your Majesty?” Taliesin stepped forward, holding the baby to his chest. “The high priestess did not go through with the crime. Indeed, she gave warning at great personal risk.” His eyes met hers now. Piercing, bright as quicksilver, they seemed to flow through her in a way that opened her soul to him, leaving it bare and uncovered. She had the certain knowledge that he was reading her heart as easily as she might read a book. “I see great darkness ahead. Great difficulty.” He winced, as if what he saw caused great pain. Then he continued, “It may be that only she can save the princess.”

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