Release Day Blitz ~ Let Me Be Your Truth

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Release Day Blitz ~ Let Me Be Your Truth

Author: Lynsey M. Stewart

Genre:  Romance

Dates: 17th of April

Hosted by: Ultimate Fantasy Book Tours

thumbnail_LetmebeyourtruthFINALebook

Blurb:

From the outside, Kate Roper has life all figured out—a career as social worker, friends who love her, and a perfectly sensible relationship with a loyal but boring man. She has her life sorted neatly into boxes…until she meets Danny, a tortured artist with a troubled past. They say opposites attract, and Danny’s sexual confidence intrigues Kate. His tattoos enthrall her. He is everything she doesn’t think she needs, yet she craves what he has to offer.

Art therapy sessions at a local therapy centre have saved Danny from his tormented past. But when Kate shows up with her positivity, paint brushes and flirty skirts, Danny can’t seem to escape the grim reminders she triggers of when he needed help the most and was left to bury the past under his addictions.

Danny doesn’t do romance. He does sex. Amazing sex. He can teach Kate the art of orgasms so that his Miss Goody Two Shoes learns the difference between monotonous and mind-blowing…

As their relationship intensifies, their pasts collide. They soon find that they have more in common than they ever would have thought, but can Kate and Danny find their truths in the unlikeliest of relationships?

This novel contains strong language and graphic descriptions of sex; therefore this novel is only suitable for 18+

 

This is the third book in the Music and Letters series but can be read as a standalone. 

↓Buy Links↓

https://goo.gl/czgN7Z

Author Bio:

Lynsey Author Pic.png

Lynsey M. Stewart is a UK based writer. She lives with her husband, also known as her soulmate and muse, along with their gorgeous, precious, ridiculously independent baby girl. Lynsey began writing after being inspired by great books, amazing writers and wonderful stories that left their fingerprints on her heart.

Lynsey’s background revolves around helping, advocating and supporting children, young people, and their families. Her Monday morning mantra is: ‘If no one likes my books, I can always continue with the day job…’

To find out more about Lynsey  M Stewart you can visit her at:

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Release Day Blitz ~ Hunters

HUNTERS 2

Blitz: Hunters ( The Demon Series Part One)

Author: Aoife Marie Sheridan

Genre:  Paranormal/Romance

Dates:29th of March

Hosted by: Ultimate Fantasy Book Tours

HUNTERS 2018

Blurb:

The gates of hell are opening and the demons know her name.

 

Abigail Thornton is a demon hunter. Working alongside Daniel has always kept Abigail safe, but when ghosts start to attack Abigail, she draws the unwanted attention of the REOTE. A secret society who keeps hells gates firmly closed.

Their investigation into the demonic activity raises more questions than Abigail wants to answer. With more secrets than she cares to admit, Abigail comes to realize, that every choice she makes has consequences, and with the man she secretly loves by her side is she willing to risk it?

 

As the lies start to unravel and her past rises from the ashes, Abigail just might end up causing the apocalypse…

 

If you like “The demon trapper” by Jana Oliver or “Sanctum” by Sarah Fine, then Hunters will feed your addiction for the dark side.

 

excerpt

 

We hit the water with such force that it felt like every bone in my body shattered as I hit the dash at full impact. White searing pain tore through me. I screamed only to have my lungs fill with water. I was dying, and I wished it would come quickly. My lungs burned for air and my body screamed for release from the agony. I couldn’t see anything as blackness surrounded me. I needed to see Zee one last time, but my body shook as if electricity were racing through it, then all my pain was gone and a feeling of nothingness consumed me.

Light shone in the distance, like a torch hovering over a well, bouncing off rocks, only blinking mildly. I finally understood what people meant when they claimed to have seen the light before passing. I felt the sensation of floating and yet nothingness. My body moved closer to the light. It was getting brighter and more intense. I wanted to shield my eyes, but the movement wasn’t allowed. I wasn’t whole, yet I felt the same.

The light made my body feel warm, not warm as in fuzzy and nice, but warm as in I needed shade. The signs of a day starting out mild, but the warning that it would be hot. Hot is what I started to feel. Nothing seemed right. I wasn’t floating up or down I just seemed to be still. As the light sent out burning rays and the agony of it pierced me, balls of flames started to lick my feet and I started to scream. I watched my feet and legs appear as the fire burned them. The higher the flames went, the more of myself I could see and the long hands that stretched towards me, pulling me down. My throat let out a scream as I fought to move, but I had nothing around me to grab onto. My skin was burning, melting off my body. The bony fingers of the dead dug into my burning flesh.

I was nearly consumed in the flames before I realized my name was being called behind me. I turned to see Zee with his arms outstretched.  His mouth was moving, but I couldn’t hear as the roars still ripped from my throat. Then his arms were around me, pulling me out of the flames. My body was screaming and then all was gone.

***

I opened my eyes. My body shook with the cold. My vision filled with Zee’s chest as he held me firmly against him, rocking me gently, like a mother would a distressed child. I couldn’t speak as my teeth chattered. My body didn’t burn anymore. I was so cold, so numb. I didn’t look around me, too afraid of what I would see.

“Flames… hands… my flesh… it burned.” I knew I was rambling, words of utter disbelief falling from my blue lips. “Light… then flames,” my words choked on a sob. I was going to hell. I was going to hell. I was a bad person. No heaven. No Sam. Hell. The arms that were wrapped around me, I tried to push away, but he hung on to me, pulling me closer. He didn’t understand; he was good, an angel. I shouldn’t touch him, I was bad.

“Let. Meeee. Go!” My voice shook. “Please…”

Zee’s arms loosened and I could feel his body shift as his eyes fell on my face. I didn’t meet his eyes, but crawled out of his lap. He didn’t stop me. He didn’t look away from me either. I sat on all fours, my hair wet, hanging in front of my face as my body shook uncontrollably. Then I started to laugh I met Zee’s confused stare and my laughter turned hysterical.

“Abigail?” He moved towards me, worry etched on his face, but I let out a roar, making him stop.

“Don’t come near me. You should have let me die.”

He was beside me before I could blink, holding my numb face, his anger making his eyes darken.  “Don’t ever say that. Ever!” he said.

I shook my head in his hands as tears fell from my eyes. “I was going to hell. To hell!”

I was waiting for him to drop his hands, run from me, and understand his mistake of giving up everything to stay with someone like me, but he didn’t. Instead, he moved towards me, his breath visible in front of my face. I could hear sirens in the distance, but my mind was occupied with Zee. I closed my eyes as his face was only an inch from mine. His lips kissed my left eyelid and then slowly, moved over to my right one. The motion was gentle, the kiss so filled with despair and love that the tears rolled from my closed eyes and warmed my cheeks.

“I’m so sorry, Abigail. I truly am.” His words were so sad, so heartfelt.

My eyes opened and I could see tears in his eyes. One fell, and I watched it make a path down his perfect, clear skin. My hand reached out and caught the tear before tracing his jawline. I wanted to tell him that I loved him so badly and tell him how I didn’t deserve his tears, but my own eyes blurred over again with sorrow.

“Are you okay?” The shouts of a man making his way down the bank pulled us apart as I took in the scene up on the bridge.

People had gathered, watching us, some with their phones out taking photos. A fire engine sat on the bridge, its lights flashing. The man reached us, taking in our unmarked bodies, not as much as a scratch. Paramedics arrived. Two of them fell to their knees in front of me, shining a light in my eyes, but everything felt surreal, as they examined me, shaking their heads in disbelief. The tears continued to roll down my face. My body never moved as they searched me for something broken or something torn, but I knew they would find nothing. I felt so empty, so devoid of emotion, even as I cried.

Father Peter filled my vision as he raced down the bank. Two policemen tried to stop him, but he pushed them away.

“She is my daughter,” he said, causing some serious confusion amongst the men. He was a priest; they couldn’t marry and most certainly, couldn’t have children.

He reached me and my body was crushed against his.  He pulled back, his mouth moving, but I couldn’t focus on his words. My mind was filled with images of hands pulling me, flames burning me and Zee saving me, yet again.

I was pulled along until we reached the car. My head was ducked down as I sat in the back of Father Peter’s Car. Zee slid in beside me, pulling me into his side. I didn’t stop him. I didn’t do anything.

Father Peter, started to drive, “Abigail, please!” he said. I could hear the fear in his voice.

“She’s in shock. Give her some time.” Zee’s chest rumbled as the words left his mouth, but I didn’t respond. I stayed silent the whole drive back to my apartment.

 

↓Buy Links↓

https://books2read.com/u/mVZz06

Author Bio:

Aoife

USA Today Bestselling author Aoife Marie Sheridan lives in Ireland, has two leprechauns and a hawthorn tree in her back garden, which she guards day and night against the mischief fairy folk.

When she’s off duty she loves to write, read and drink tons of coffee. Oh, and she eats’ lots of chocolate, LOTS of chocolate!

To find out more about Aoife Marie Sheridan you can visit her at:

Amazon Page: http://www.amazon.com/-/e/B00B5W8SK6

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

Website: http://www.aoifemariesheridan.com

Twitter: https://twitter.com/aoifesheri

Newsletter: https://www.subscribepage.com/AoifeMarieSheridan

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Blitz ~ Saving Grace

Saving Grace Banner

Blitz: Saving Grace

Author: Aoife Marie Sheridan

Genre:  Contemporary Romance

Dates: 22nd of February

Hosted by: Ultimate Fantasy Book ToursUltimate Fantasy Book Tours

Radish Saving Grace

Blurb:

Grace knows that the only way she can survive life is to bury her past.

But nothing stays buried forever…

It’s been two years since she lost so much. Two years since she started a new life, in a new college, with a new group of friends. Two years, and now her troubles are rushing back.

When Derek walks into Grace’s life, he makes her feel things she’d hoped never to feel again. The box she hid all her secrets in is opening, and Grace might not be able to keep it shut this time.

As each of her traumas resurfaces, Grace isn’t sure having Derek at her side is enough to save her. And if he’s not, Grace isn’t sure she’ll come out the other side fully intact.

If you like “The Problem with Forever” by Jennifer L Armentrout or “Hopeless” by Colleen Hoover, then Saving Grace will feed your addiction for a romance with real-life struggles.

 

↓Buy Links↓

https://radish.app.link/Lg1FQJQLEJ

Author Bio:

Aoife

USA Today Bestselling author Aoife Marie Sheridan lives in Ireland, has two leprechauns and a hawthorn tree in her back garden, that she guards day and night against the mischief fairy folk.

When she’s off duty she loves to write, read and drink tons of coffee. Oh, and she eats’ lots of chocolate, LOTS of chocolate!

To find out more about Aoife Marie Sheridan you can visit her at:

e93b9-amazon-buttondownload (3)imagesdownload (6)

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Release Day Blitz ~ Misha Elliot

Banner for Silver Fox

Release Day Blitz: Silver Fox

Author: Misha Elliott

Genre:  Romance

Dates: 5th of Feb

Hosted by: Ultimate Fantasy Book Tours

Silver Fox

Blurb:

Richard Sisk has never been much of a risk taker. At 18 he gave up his dreams for the future to do the right thing and marry his pregnant high school love.
Over the years things change, and he receives a divorce as a birthday present.

Jill Caldwell has spent the last eight years caring for her younger brother being both sister and parent. Now that he is settled well into college, she finally has the gift of freedom.
Years ago, their lives crossed paths and now eight years later, will Richard be able to take a risk for a new love?’

Jill knows that together she and Richard can build a life of everything they ever wanted, that is if he can get over being her silver fox.

↓Buy Links↓

https://www.amazon.com/Silver-Fox-Misha-Elliott/dp/0996108076

https://www.books2read.com/u/b5MBqR

Misha Elliott

Author Bio:

Misha Elliott is a nomadic soul, living all over the US with her Scottish husband. During their travels, she fell in love with the written word and put her hands on the keyboard to romanticize her journeys. When not writing you can find her at Scottish Highland games (she s there for the men in kilts) or at the beach…as long as it’s not hurricane season.

To find out more about Misha Elliott you can visit her at:

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GIVEAWAY

giveaway

LINK: http://tigriseden.com/giveaways/free-books-amazongc-kindlefire-misha-elliotts-silver-fox/

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Release Day Blitz ~ Wicked Me

Wicked Me Banner

Release Day Blitz: Wicked Me

Author: Lindsey Loucks

Genre:  Romance

Dates: 25th of January

Hosted by: Ultimate Fantasy Book Tours

Wicked Me Book Cover

Blurb:

Power, corruption, revenge… Falling in love sure is hard.

Nothing will come between book-lover Paige Sullivan and her dream library internship. That includes her new roommate, the panty annihilator known as Sam Cleary. But a man from Paige’s past reappears with a secret agenda and puts everything at risk, including her growing feelings for Sam.

Blackmailed to protect his family, Sam Cleary is in way over his head. But when his childhood crush becomes his new roommate, old feelings are rekindled, even as his family’s secrets begin to unravel.

↓Buy Links↓

https://www.amazon.com/Wicked-Me-Stacks-Book-ebook/dp/B077WMTGHH

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Wicked-Me-Stacks-Book-ebook/dp/B077WMTGHH

https://www.amazon.ca/Wicked-Me-Stacks-Book-ebook/dp/B077WMTGHH

https://www.amazon.com.au/Wicked-Me-Stacks-Book-ebook/dp/B077WMTGHH

LINDSEY

Author Bio:

Lindsey R. Loucks is a USA Today bestselling author of paranormal romance, science fiction, and contemporary romance. When she’s not discussing books with anyone who will listen, she’s dreaming up her own stories. Eventually her brain gives out, and she’ll play hide and seek with her cat, put herself in a chocolate-induced coma, or watch scary movies alone in the dark to re-energize.

To find out more about Lindsey R. Loucks you can visit her at:

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Giveaway

 

HELL HOLES SERIES ~ REVIEW OF BOOK 1 & 2 ~ BLOG TOUR

HELLHOLES FINAL

Blog Tour ~ Hell Holes Series ~ (What Lurks Below & Demons on the Dalton)

Author: Donald G. Firesmith

Genre: Science Fiction /Paranormal/Fantasy

Dates: 11th – 22nd of December

Hosted by: Ultimate Fantasy Book Tours

Hell Holes - Book 1 eBook Cover - 7Aug2017.jpg

Blurb:

 

It’s August in Alaska, and geology professor Jack Oswald prepares for the new school year. But when hundreds of huge holes mysteriously appear overnight in the frozen tundra north of the Arctic Circle, Jack receives an unexpected phone call. An oil company exec hires Jack to investigate, and he picks his climatologist wife and two of their graduate students as his team. Uncharacteristically, Jack also lets Aileen O’Shannon, a bewitchingly beautiful young photojournalist, talk him into coming along as their photographer. When they arrive in the remote oil town of Deadhorse, the exec and a biologist to protect them from wild animals join the team. Their task: to assess the risk of more holes opening under the Trans-Alaska Pipeline and the wells and pipelines that feed it. But they discover a far worse danger lurks below. When it emerges, it threatens to shatter Jack’s unshakable faith in science. And destroy us all…

d7cb7-addtogoodreads

 

 

 

↓Buy Links↓

 

 

Amazon.com: https://www.amazon.com/Hell-Holes-What-Lurks-Below-ebook/dp/B012IUE14U

Itunes: https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/hell-holes-what-lurks-below/id1076804292

Booklife: http://booklife.com/project/hell-holes-what-lurks-below-12402

Indigo: https://www.chapters.indigo.ca/en-ca/books/hell-holes-what-lurks-below/9781310431210-item.html

Smashwords:  https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/608355

Hell Holes Book 2 - FINAL EBOOK COVER.jpg

Blurb:

When hundreds of huge holes mysteriously appeared overnight inthe frozen tundra north of the Arctic Circle, geologist Jack Oswald picked Angele Menendez, his climatologist wife, to determine if the record temperatures due to climate change was the cause. But the holes were not natural. They were unnatural portals for an invading army of demons. Together with Aileen O’Shannon, a 1,400-year-old sorceress demon-hunter, the three survivors of the research team sent to study the holes had only one chance: to flee down the dangerous Dalton Highway towards the relative safety of Fairbanks. However, the advancing horde of devils, imps, hellhounds, and gargoyles will stop at nothing to prevent their prey from escaping. It is a 350-mile race with simple rules. Win and live; lose and die…

510c2-addtogoodreads

Buy Links:

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Hell-Holes-Demons-Donald-Firesmith-ebook/dp/B01FQA1EFI

Booklife: https://booklife.com/my/project/hell-holes-demons-on-the-dalton-12403

Smashwords: https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/625752

Itunes: https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/hell-holes-demons-on-dalton/id1097614941

Donald

Author Bio:

 


A geek by day, Donald Firesmith works as a system and software engineer helping the US Government acquire large, complex software-intensive systems. In this guise, he has authored seven technical books, written numerous software- and system-related articles and papers, and spoken at more conferences than he can possibly remember. He’s also proud to have been named a Distinguished Engineer by the Association of Computing Machinery, although his pride is tempered somewhat by his fear that the term “distinguished” makes him sound like a graybeard academic rather than an active engineer whose beard is still slightly more red than gray.

By night and on weekends, his alter ego writes modern paranormal fantasy, apocalyptic science fiction, action and adventure novels and relaxes by handcrafting magic wands from various magical woods and mystical gemstones. His first foray into fiction is the book Magical Wands: A Cornucopia of Wand Lore written under the pen name Wolfrick Ignatius Feuerschmied. He lives in Crafton, Pennsylvania with his wife Becky, and his son Dane, and varying numbers of dogs, cats, and birds.

His magical wands and autographed copies of his books are available from the Firesmith’s Wand Shoppe at http://magicalwandshoppe.com.

Visit him at:

download (1)download (6)imagesdownload (3)

BOOK TRAILER: https://youtu.be/amXuTAlKoX0

review

 

Hell Holes ~ What Lurks Below
5-star Review

This book right off the bat reminded me of “The day after tomorrow & war of the worlds” It just had that feel to it and I love both these films.
We all just might get to see Hell Holes on the big screen. Right now scriptwriters are working on it, you can read the first chapter on Donald Firesmith’s website.

I have read the script also it does vary from the book and I can’t say which one I like more as both to me are great. The premise, of course, is the same, its small details minor character changes but overall the same amazing story.
I’m not great when it comes to science or climate change topics, but the way Mr. Firesmith explains the earths movements and reasoning’s for the large holes to open up made sense, and I felt a little more educated. Not that any reason was able to explain the hell holes but the group discussing their theories and then showing the holes within in that theory, I really liked.
I did feel that the start was like real life per say, and the second half was fantasy, magic, and monsters. But it worked very well, the only downside to the whole book was the ending it was a huge cliffhanger so now I’m off to buy book two, to see what happens. I do feel that the second book will be more on the fantasy side than the first, but I will have to wait and see.

Overall a fast and exciting read that I would recommend to all fantasy and sci-fi readers.

 

Hell Holes ~ Demons on the Dalton (Book Two)
5-star Review
We all just might get to see Hell Holes on the big screen. Right now scriptwriters are working on it, you can read the first chapter on Donald Firesmith’s website.

Demons on the Dalton picks right up where “What Lurks Below” left off. There is a difference this time as the book is told through the eyes of Angela Jacks wife, instead of Jack himself At first I wasn’t sure but once I started to read, the story took over and Angela in a sense was as good as her husband.

Book Two is faster than book one, and we get to see more demons and the exact scale of things. Most of the book is staged on the Dalton but it doesn’t take away from the story at all. The danger element is always there and one scene that I found to be written exceptionally well was when they were driving through a wall of fire. I could almost feel the heat while reading it.

Mr Firesmith has a way of not just telling a story but educating us also, which is something I loved. Aileen as always is amazing and we get to learn more about her own secret society and the demons.
The ending isn’t the cliffhanger that book one was, but I wanted book three even more then I had wanted book two because of the way it ends and I really can’t wait to get to read it.

Overall a fast and exciting read that I would recommend to all fantasy and sci-fi readers.

 

UFB ~ Banner 2017

Hell Holes Series ~ Blog Tour ~ Excerpt

Hells holes .jpg

Blog Tour ~ Hell Holes Series ~ (What Lurks Below & Demons on the Dalton)
Author: Donald G. Firesmith
Genre: Science Fiction /Paranormal/Fantasy
Dates: 1st – 12th of May
Hosted by: Ultimate Fantasy Book Tours

hh1-front-cover-2016-09-21

Blurb:

When hundreds of huge holes mysteriously appear overnight in the frozen tundra north of the Arctic Circle, they threaten financial and environmental catastrophe should any more open up under the Trans-Alaska Pipeline or any of the many oil wells and smaller pipelines that feed it. An oil company sends a scientific team to investigate. But when the geologist, his climatologist wife, two of their graduate students, a local newspaper reporter, an oil company representative, and a field biologist arrive at one of the holes, they discover a far worse danger lurks below, one that threatens to destroy all of humanity when it emerges, forcing the survivors to flee south towards Fairbanks.

4d534-addtogoodreads

↓Buy Links↓

Amazon.com: https://www.amazon.com/Hell-Holes-What-Lurks-Below-ebook/dp/B012IUE14U

Itunes: https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/hell-holes-what-lurks-below/id1076804292

Booklife: http://booklife.com/project/hell-holes-what-lurks-below-12402

Indigo: https://www.chapters.indigo.ca/en-ca/books/hell-holes-what-lurks-below/9781310431210-item.html

Smashwords: https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/608355

hell holes 2.jpg

Blurb:

When hundreds of huge holes mysteriously appeared overnight in the frozen tundra north of the Arctic Circle, geologist Jack Oswald picked Angele Menendez, his climatologist wife, to determine if the record temperatures due to climate change was the cause. But the holes were not natural. They were unnatural portals for an invading army of demons. Together with Aileen O’Shannon, a 1,400-year-old sorceress demon-hunter, the three survivors of the research team sent to study the holes had only one chance: to flee down the dangerous Dalton Highway towards the relative safety of Fairbanks. However, the advancing horde of devils, imps, hellhounds, and gargoyles would stop at nothing to prevent their prey from escaping. It was a 350-mile race with simple rules. Win and live; lose and die…

313a6-addtogoodreads

Buy Links:

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Hell-Holes-Demons-Donald-Firesmith-ebook/dp/B01FQA1EFI
Booklife: https://booklife.com/my/project/hell-holes-demons-on-the-dalton-12403

Smashwords: https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/625752

Itunes: https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/hell-holes-demons-on-dalton/id1097614941

donald

Author Bio:

A geek by day, Donald Firesmith works as a system and software engineer helping the US Government acquire large, complex software-intensive systems. In this guise, he has authored seven technical books, written numerous software- and system-related articles and papers, and spoken at more conferences than he can possibly remember. He’s also proud to have been named a Distinguished Engineer by the Association of Computing Machinery, although his pride is tempered somewhat by his fear that the term “distinguished” makes him sound like a graybeard academic rather than an active engineer whose beard is still slightly more red than gray.

By night and on weekends, his alter ego writes modern paranormal fantasy, apocalyptic science fiction, action and adventure novels and relaxes by handcrafting magic wands from various magical woods and mystical gemstones. His first foray into fiction is the book Magical Wands: A Cornucopia of Wand Lore written under the pen name Wolfrick Ignatius Feuerschmied. He lives in Crafton, Pennsylvania with his wife Becky, and his son Dane, and varying numbers of dogs, cats, and birds.

His magical wands and autographed copies of his books are available from the Firesmith’s Wand Shoppe at: http://magicalwandshoppe.com.

Visit him at:

Website: http://donaldfiresmith.com
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/FiresmithAuthorFanPage
Twitter: https://twitter.com/DonFiresmith
Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/-/e/B001HQ006A

BOOKTRAILER: https://youtu.be/amXuTAlKoX0

 

excerpt

 

Hell Holes: What Lurks Below

Excerpt In The Hole

“Professor, take a look at this,” Mark said, squatting down and pointing at the nearest mound of dirt. He held his hand a few inches over it. “There are small holes, and I can feel gas escaping from them. That’s weird; it should be freezing, but it’s actually warm.” He leaned over and sniffed the air just above the hole. “Jesus, that reeks,” he cursed as he stood up and rubbed his eyes.

I reached down. There was a surprisingly large flow of gas coming out of the hole. I looked around at all of the other mounds of dirt dotting the ice on which we were standing. “Shit,” I exclaimed. “We’ve got to get the hell out of here.”

“Why?” he asked with a confused look on his face. “We just got here.”

“Prudhoe Bay natural gas is about three fourths methane. One eighth is ethane, propane, and other heavier hydrocarbons, while the remaining eighth is carbon dioxide. I’m not worried about the methane and ethane; they’re lighter than air and will drift up and out of the hole. But carbon dioxide, propane, and hydrogen sulfide are all heavier than air and build up in low areas.”

“Like the bottom of this hole,” Mark said as the nature of our danger dawned on him.

“Like the bottom of this hole,” I agreed.

Although I was breathing rapidly, it was becoming increasingly harder to catch my breath. Both were early signs of carbon dioxide poisoning. Meanwhile, my eyes were really watering, my nose was running, and my lungs were starting to burn. Hydrogen sulfide combined with the water on their moist surfaces to form hydrosulfuric acid. I had a dull headache and was becoming increasingly nauseated. Worse, the stench of sulfur had begun to disappear: a classic symptom of hydrogen sulfide poisoning. “We have to head back up and strap on oxygen tanks and full face respirators before we come back down.”

“Okay, Professor,” he replied, looking at me with concern. “You’re definitely not looking so good.”

Weak and increasingly clumsy, Mark had to help me reach the rope and secure it to my climbing harness. Then he said into his walkie-talkie, “Angela, there’s hydrogen sulfide and excessive carbon dioxide down here, and we need to get out of here right now. It’s made the professor sick, so I’m sending him up first.”

“Understood, Mark,” Angie replied, her voice indicating her concern. “Is he ready?”

“Yes, all hooked up,” Mark replied.

A second later, the rope began pulling me up. It sped faster and faster until I was practically running up the side of the hole. Soon, I was up to where the permafrost gave way to damp dirt. I slipped going over the boundary, and the rope dragged me face first over the short muddy slope. Bill helped me climb over the ridge of dirt surrounding the edge and unhooked my climbing harness.

Coughing and unable to catch my breath, I stumbled into Angie’s arms. The caustic gasses at the bottom of the pit had set off one of my ordinarily rare asthma attacks, leaving me gasping for air. I fumbled through my pockets, found my rescue inhaler, and had to give myself three puffs before my breathing became easier. Meanwhile, my eyes were still burning and watering so heavily that I heard rather than saw Bill throw the end of the rope back into the pit and use the winch to lower it rapidly into the hole. After helping me wipe the mud from my face, Angie wrapped me a bear hug, totally heedless of the muck she was transferring to her own face and clothes.

“It’s down,” Jill said, her voice amplified through our walkie-talkies.

Bill stopped the winch, and we waited for Mark to tell us when he was ready to come up.

“Okay, I’m ready,” Mark said. “Bring me up.”

Bill restarted the winch, and the rope began winding itself back around its spinning shaft.

Feeling stronger, I let go of Angie and turned back towards the pit so I could watch Mark being raised over the edge. It was at that moment, through eyes still somewhat blurry from tears, that I saw Kowalski. He was standing near the edge of the hole, a few feet downwind so that the smoke from his cigarette wouldn’t bother us. He took a final puff and carelessly flicked the still smoldering butt into the pit.

“Stop!” I croaked, my voice raspy and painful from coughing.

Kowalski turned towards me, and our eyes met. Unaware of what he’d just done, he was completely confused by the expression of horror on my face.

After seconds that seemed to stretch into eternity, the cigarette butt tumbled past Mark and eventually reached the depth where the concentration of methane and hydrogen sulfide reached explosive levels.

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