Interview with Kimberly Frost, Author of Would Be Witch and Giveaway!

 

[Manga Maniac Cafe] Good morning, Kimberly!  Can you please describe yourself in 140 characters or less.

[Kimberly Frost] I’m an author who hails from the Midwest originally, but who moved south to outwit a series of wily snowstorms. Unfortunately, while I never have to scrape ice off my windshield in Texas, it turns out tropical storms and hurricanes are fairly fierce in the region.

I began writing as a kid and could never seem to quit. I should probably have outgrown my love of paranormal stories sometime around college, but it just never happened. Though I haven’t personally had any encounters with supernatural creatures, I suspect they are biding their time, waiting for the day I’m too old to be believed. This is why I’m always on the lookout. If any readers know of a good vampire café or werewolf-infested wood, I hope they will send me a message, preferably with a Google Map attached as I am hopeless at navigation without one.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] Can you tell us a little about Would-Be Witch?

[Kimberly Frost] I’d love to.  Tammy Jo Trask is a small town girl from East Texas who has descended from a long line of witches. The family magic seems to have skipped over her until an heirloom locket is stolen. Now the soul of the family ghost (a 1920s flapper) is in jeopardy, and she has to turn to a gorgeous wizard for advice. Unfortunately, there’s a family prophecy that makes him off-limits. There’s a love triangle, an ocelot, and plenty of comedy and adventure as Tammy Jo’s spells go wrong throughout the story. In her defense, it’s not her fault that her magic malfunctions.

A blurb for the Southern Witch series:

In this “coming of age in the world of magic” story, urban fantasy meets humorous mystery in small-town Texas. Plucky pastry chef Tammy Jo Trask comes into her spell-casting powers unexpectedly, but malfunctioning magic makes her a reluctant heroine. As her adventures continue, she learns the secrets of her supernatural heritage and embraces her butt-kicking destiny. Gorgeous love interests and an ocelot sidekick add to the charm of this bestselling book series.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] How did you come up with the concept and the characters for the story?

[Kimberly Frost] I’d been reading a lot of humorous mystery and dark urban fantasy and wondered what would happen if I merged the two. I always enjoy eccentric characters, so I thought I’d set it in a small town where there could be a lot of them. Tammy Jo answered the casting call in my head when I was searching for a heroine. She popped up fully-formed with an East Texas accent and can-do attitude.

Read more

Review: Seducing the Demon Huntress by Victoria Davies

 

Title:  Seducing the Demon Huntress

Author: Victoria Davies

 

May Contain Spoilers

From Amazon:

 

Trick or treat, survive until the night’s complete.

For most people Halloween is a night of candy, costumes and revelry but for Kerilyn, it’s the most dangerous night of the year. Hailing from a line of demon hunters, Kerilyn’s family has long been hated by the ruling lords of the Netherworld. On All Hallow’s Eve, the deadly brothers are released from their realm, along with their subjects, the spirits and the demons. Like every good hunter, Kerilyn fortifies her home with spells and tricks to keep her safe. But there is one man no spell can protect her heart from.

Arawn, Lord of the Spirits, has appeared at her fence every Halloween for years. While the handsome lord may turn her head with his heated looks and seductive words, Kerilyn knows without a doubt that should she ever invite him in, her life would be forfeit. But when his brother, the Lord of the Demons, kidnaps her niece, Kerilyn must leave her sanctuary. Now she has a choice. Can the man she’s dreamed of for years be trusted, or will the spirit lord help his brother destroy her?


Review:

I have enjoyed many Carina Press novellas, and Seducing the Demon Huntress is no exception.  There are times when I want a faster read, and I turn to this publisher for a quick fix.  I like the variety of stories they publish, so I can always find something to pique my interest.  I was in the mood for a PNR, and after interviewing the author, I wanted to give Seducing the Demon Huntress a read.  I liked this novella, and would read more by Victoria Davies in the future.

Kerilyn is a demon hunter.  She comes from a long line of demon hunters, much to her sorrow.  Her entire family has been picked off, one by one, and now she’s alone.  As darkness falls on All Hallow’s Eve, she retreats into her house, fearful that she’ll be facing this frightening night by herself.  The demons and spirits of the Netherworld are out to get her, and this is the night when Abaddon and Arawn, the rulers of the Netherworld, can freely pass into this realm.  For years, Arawn has waited outside her gate for her to let him in, and for years she has harbored a terrible secret. She’s infatuated with Arawn, and she can’t help but steal a few moments with him every year.  She resists his requests to open the gate and invite him in, but she doesn’t know how much longer she can.  When disaster strikes, and her niece is kidnapped by Abaddon, she has to leave the sanctuary of her wards to rescue Sarah.  Leaving her yard will spell her doom, but Kerilyn has to try to save her only living relative.

I liked this story a lot. I found the forbidden relationship between Arawn and Kerilyn compelling.  Kerilyn has been drawn to Arawn for years, but exploring a relationship with him will quickly lead to a painful death. Her family has been killing his subjects for years, and it’s impossible to think that he, or his subjects, could ever put that aside.   Yet when she is forced to leave the sanctuary of her home, he is quick to accompany her.  He knows her lame disguise won’t fool anyone, and he’s afraid that facing his brother by herself will sign her death sentence.  I loved how quickly Arawn was willing to follow and defend her, and that he was willing to confront his brother to keep Kerilyn and her niece safe.  I was totally convinced that he was willing to kill his brother, or die trying, to protect her.  I also understood her reluctance to trust him.  How could she know for certain that he wasn’t part of a ply to get her to Abaddon, so they could kill her together.

In addition to being a hot love story, the battle with Abaddon is an exciting, no-holds-barred fight.  If you’re in the mood for a read with a kick-ass heroine, you don’t have to look further than Seducing the Demon Huntress.

Grade:  B

Review copy provided by publisher

Cover Shot! Skulk by Rosie Best

Cover Shot! is a regular feature here at the Café. I love discovering new covers, and when I find them, I like to share. More than anything else, I am consumed with the mystery that each new discovery represents. There is an allure to a beautiful cover. Will the story contained under the pages live up to promise of the gorgeous cover art?

Strange Chemistry unveiled the cover for Skulk, their October 2013 release by Rosie Best.  What do you think of it?  It’s about shifters, so I’m interested just because of that!

 

       

To some, Meg Banks’ life might look perfect – she lives in a huge house in West London, goes to a prestigious school and has famous parents. Only Meg knows the truth: her tyrannical mother rules the house and her shallow friends can talk about nothing but boys and drinking. Meg’s only escape is her secret life as a graffiti artist.

While out tagging one night, Meg witnesses the dying moments of a fox… a fox that shapeshifts into a man. As he dies, he gives Meg a beautiful and mysterious gemstone. Soon Meg realises that she’s also inherited his power to shift and finds an incredible new freedom in fox form.

She is plunged into the shadowy underworld of London, the territory of the five warring groups of shapeshifters – the Skulk, the Rabble, the Conspiracy, the Horde, and the Cluster. Someone is after her gemstone, someone who can twist nature to his will. Meg must discover the secret of the stone and unite the shapeshifters before her dream of freedom turns into a nightmare.

Interview with Lee Roland, Author of Vicious Moon and Giveaway!

 

Please welcome Lee Roland to the virtual offices today! Lee is here to answer some questions about her new book, Vicious Moon, and after, you can enter to win all 3 books of the Earth Witches Series!

[Manga Maniac Cafe] Describe yourself in 140 characters or less.

[Lee Roland] I live in Florida and have the good fortune of being a full time writer. I write every day, though not as much as I feel I could, since I like to spend time reading, too. I’m pretty much an introvert, even if my friends describe me as a bit of a drama queen. I began writing in the sixth grade, but only became serious about getting published ten years ago.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] Can you tell us a little about Vicious Moon?

[Lee Roland] Vicious Moon is the third book in the Earth Witches Series. It follows Viper Moon (2011), Vengeance Moon (2012). The story involves a witch named Nyx, who ran away and joined the army to escape the ridged rules of her family and coven. She’s made a life for herself and eventually ends up in San Francisco working as a private investigator. Nyx is called home by her grandmother and then sent to find her sister Marisol. Marisol has gone to the city of Duivel, Missouri to study with another witch and is missing. Nyx does find her sister, but she also meets her match in Etienne, a man who has walked in the shadowy world of mercenary soldiers and criminal enterprises.

The Earth Witches series is Urban Fantasy with mild humor and a strong love story. The earth witches are keepers of the world’s magic. They are men and women, all servants of their patroness, the Earth Mother, they battle men and monsters to protect the world.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] How did you come up with the concept and the characters for the story?

[Lee Roland] I have been blessed with an active imagination. I have always loved the unusual. Characters come from need to make particular things happen in a story. I usually make them bigger than life, sometimes outrageous, then back them down meet the story’s needs. My inspiration also comes from the first books I read.

I have been strongly influenced by the stories of C.L. Moore. C.L. Moore wrote in the 1930’s and they were published in Weird Tales, a SF/Fantasy magazine popular at the time. They were then collected into a volume titled Northwest of Earth. There was a degree of prejudice against women in the genre at that time, so she had to use only her initials to be published. I have copies on my bookshelf, one an original edition. Northwest Smith could have been an inspiration for Han Solo, and Jirel of Joiry is the original queen of kick ass warriors. Jirel is the inspiration for every kick heroine I’ve ever written.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] What three words best describe Nyx?

[Lee Roland] Stubborn, courageous, sarcastic.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] If Etienne had a theme song, what would it be?

[Lee Roland] I don’t think about Etienne in terms of music, but if I had to pick one I’d say a piece of classical might fit. The Planets, Op. 32, Mars, The Bringer Of War by Gustave Holst.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] Name one thing Nyx is never without.

[Lee Roland] With human beings and human nature, never and always are concepts riddled with exceptions. For Nyx, her magic is her best and worst weapon. It is in her genetic makeup. It never leaves her but often fails her when she needs it most.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] What three things will you never find in Etienne’s bathroom?

[Lee Roland] Etienne is a man who has spent most of his time in foreign lands as mercenary soldier and sometimes successful thief. He’s far more concerned with the condition of his gun than other more personal things. He would never let himself stand out in a crowd. Quite accustomed to exotic and horrific odors of his world, he would never use any type of cologne or perfumed after shave. You wouldn’t find special moisturizing soaps or, unless someone else put them there, soft fluffy towels.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] What is Nyx’s greatest regret?

[Lee Roland] At the time of the story, Vicious Moon, Nyx regrets that she hadn’t kept in contact with her grandmother and sister. She was too busy running away from a staid and constricting life. The need for freedom constantly conflicted with the need for family.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] What are your greatest creative influences?

[Lee Roland] Books I read when I was growing up. A love of myths, legends, epic poetry, set me apart from my peers, but I persevered.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] What three things do you need in order to write?

[Lee Roland] Silence, my computer, my books. I’m most creative in the morning. After one o’clock, my attention wanders. I always envied writers who could sit down a computer at any time of the day and actually produce great scenes.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] What is the last book that you read that knocked your socks off?

[Lee Roland] Sandman Slim by Richard Kadrey. It’s a bit brutal but caught me at the first chapter.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] If you had to pick one book that turned you on to reading, which would it be?

[Lee Roland] That’s difficult to answer because I can’t really remember the name, though I do remember the book. I checked it out of the school library at age twelve. Up until that point, my only reading had been in class as part of the curriculum. I read because I had to. The book was actually funny, laugh out loud funny, and I think that was the first time I realized that I could make the real world go away and live in fantasy for a while.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] What do you like to do when you aren’t writing?

[Lee Roland] I like family gatherings and meeting with my critique partners and other friends. I try to get out and away from the computer on a regular basis. When I start pushing on deadlines it’s important to take breaks.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] How can readers connect with you?

[Lee Roland] I can be reached at lee@leeroland.com

I would love to hear from anyone with comments or questions.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] Thank you!

 

Tour Giveaway

Win all 3 books of the Earth Witches Series (US Only) (June 25 – July 31)

a Rafflecopter giveaway

About the series:

Dynamic Urban Fantasy by Lee Roland

The Earth Witches, the keepers of the world’s magic, find chaos and desire in the hidden ruins of the Barrows.  Servants of the enigmatic Earth Mother, they battle men, monsters and personal conflicts to protect the world. With magic, modern weapons and strong companions, they persevere to save mankind from evil.

The books from this series:

Viper Moon (Earth Witches #1)

ISBN-13: 978-0451233769 (352 Pages)

Cassandra Archer is the huntress. She has faithfully served the earth Mother for years, rescuing kidnapped children from monsters—both human and supernatural—dwelling in the ruins of the Barrows District. But when two children are kidnapped under similar circumstances, all clues point to a cataclysmic event on the next dark moon. Aided by police Detective Flynn and Michael, mysterious and dangerous resident of the Barrows, Cass must race against the clock and prevent a sacrifice that could destroy the entire town…

Vengeance Moon (Earth Witches #2)

ISBN-13: 978-0451236432  (352 Pages)

Madeline Corso can’t rest until she hunts down the three men who killed her father and witch mother. Two of them are now dead by her hand.  Unfortunately, her second kill had witnesses.  Sent to prison, she is rescued Sisters of Justice—a mysterious order of female warriors with ties to her mother. Her fighting skills are honed by the Sisters, and they have tracked the last murderer to Duivel, Missouri.  He is hiding in the dark underworld of the Barrows. Once in the Barrows, she discovers that things aren’t what they seem.  The danger goes far beyond her need for revenge. Can she rely on Michael, a handsome and possibly deadly stranger, to help her navigate a world of men and beasts? Or will she lose her heart before the mission is complete?

Vicious Moon

(Earth Witches #3)

ISBN-13: 978-0451238269  (320 Pages) Expected publication: July 2nd 2013 by Signet

Ex-soldier and Earth Witch Nyx Ianira is working as a PI in San Francisco when she sees the last thing she ever wanted to see: the Sisters of Justice—the mysterious Earth Witch police force.  Three Sisters, a Triad, is usually a squad of executioners.  This time, thought, the Sisters mission is to capture and escort an unwilling Nyx back to Twitch Crossing, Georgia.  Nyx ran away from Twitch Crossing ten years ago to escape the stiff rules and duties of being a true Witch. She wanted a life of her own. Now she’s been dragged back to her swampy hometown because another life is in danger—her little sister is missing, and Nyx is the only one who can go to Duivel, Missouri and track her down.  But the key to finding her may lie with the dark and tempting Etienne—a sinister criminal with a fearsome reputation, a ruthless attitude, and a total immunity to magic…

About Lee Roland

Lee Roland began her writing career in middle school when she wrote a short story for her brother. He turned the story in to his teacher as his own work.  To his amazement and terror, the teacher was so impressed that she read it aloud to the class—and asked him to write another one.

Lee notes that, other than motherhood, she’s never had an exciting job.  She might have dreamed of being  a lawyer, nurse or police officer, but finding the right person to share her life with changed her plans.  Her only credentials for writing are a terrific imagination, life experience and the love of words in a good story.  She reads voraciously, but particularly loves Urban Fantasy and Paranormal Romance.

Lee lives in Florida and is a full-time writer.  She is a member of RWA National and the Florida based First Coast Romance Writers.

Before being published, Lee won many RWA Chapter contests and garnered a Golden Heart nomination in 2008 with her post apocalyptic novel, LILITH’S CHILD.

Lee is the author of the Earth Witches series published by NAL, beginning with VIPER MOON in 2011.

Contact Links

http://www.leeroland.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Lee-Roland

Twitter: https://twitter.com/LeeRolandM

Read more

Character Interview–Sierra Fox from Yolanda Sfetsos’ On Pins and Needles

Please welcome a special guest today! Through the magic of the interwebz, Sierra Fox, plucky protagonist of Yolanda Sfetsos’ On Pins and Needles, has dropped in the virtual offices for a chat.  On Pins and Needles is Sierra Fox’s latest adventure, so make sure to snap up A Patch of Darkness and Split at the Seams if you haven’t already read them.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] Describe yourself in five words or less.

[Sierra Fox] Always curious, gifted and cursed.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] Can you share a typical day in the life of Sierra Fox?

[Sierra Fox] A typical day in my life includes not getting enough sleep, staying up way too late, dealing with a variety of troublesome spooks, practicing spells and incantations, trying to spend as much time alone with Papan as I can, making sure my sister doesn’t get into the same kind of trouble I manage to attract, annoying Oren, and trying to outrun the Obscurus freaks.

You know, just trying to stay alive.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] What three words come to mind when you think of Jason?

[Sierra Fox] Sexy. Kind. Loyal. Did I mention sexy? ;)

[Manga Maniac Cafe] What do you find most exasperating about him?

[Sierra Fox] His overprotectiveness when it comes to his wolf side. I wish he’d stop worrying about his wolf hurting me, he never will!

[Manga Maniac Cafe] If you could change one thing you’ve done in your life, what would it be?

[Sierra Fox] I wouldn’t have let myself get swept up in the schoolgirl crush I had on Mace Clamber. Getting physically and personally involved with him years ago put me on a path that’s led to one troubled incident after another.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] What’s one thing you won’t leave home without?

[Sierra Fox] Definitely can’t leave home without my trusty silver dagger.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] What do you like to do when you aren’t avoiding a premature death at the hands of demon-obsessed freaks?

[Sierra Fox] I enjoy spook catching, spending time with friends, learning new spells from Oren, hanging out with my favourite werewolf, getting to know my sister, and writing as much as I can in my grimoire. I really do try to stay away from trouble, but seem to attract it no matter what.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] Can you share your dreams for the future in five words or less.

[Sierra Fox] Normal. Happy. Working. Papan. Family.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] Thank you!

[Sierra Fox] Thanks for having me.

AUTHOR BIO:

Wife. Mother. Writer. Bibliophile. Dreamer. Animal lover. Intrigued by the supernatural. Horror freak. Zombie enthusiast. Movie & music fan. Slave to her muse.

Yolanda lives in Sydney, Australia with her awesome husband, lovely daughter, and cheeky cat.

MY LINKS:

Website: http://www.yolandasfetsos.com/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/#!/yolandasfetsos

Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/yolandasfetsos

BOOK BLURB:

All it takes is one freak to turn everything into a demonic ritual.

Sierra Fox, Book 3

Sierra Fox’s relationship with sexy werewolf Jason Papan is going great, but it doesn’t take a psychic to tell her someone’s out to get her. As usual, though, there’s too much else going on to worry about just another assassination attempt.

In addition to the demon-possessed freaks that still want her, a whole new bucket of trouble has been dumped in her path. The half-sister Sierra never knew she had isn’t a typical teenager. Willow comes with supernatural baggage that grows heavier every time someone close to her dies. And the load gets bigger every time the police find the body of another young girl.

Now Sierra’s not only dealing with the target on her own back, but the one that a power-hungry woman has painted on her poltergeist-magnet sister. As she finds herself drawn into the thick of a murder investigation, Sierra must face her deepest fears and embrace the darkest of her powers to overcome the looming threat. Or the prediction of her death might just come true.

Warning: Spook catching: never gets any easier, neither does trying to avoid being killed by a shadowy organization. Always expect the unexpected—dangerous vampires, poltergeists and demon-obsessed freaks. At least the werewolf is pleasurably safe.

ON PINS AND NEEDLES will be available from Samhain Publishing on June 18.

EXCERPT:

“Thank you.” Willow flashed a pretty smile and headed for the door. She stopped just outside, turned and said, “I’m really glad I found you. I’ve always wanted a sister and you’re even better than I imagined.”

I smiled back and felt a warm glow inside. She might come with a few otherworldly problems, but who didn’t have some kind of baggage nowadays? “I’ll see you tomorrow, Willow.”

She strolled out the door and I turned back to my office.

After picking up the folders and stacking them where they belonged, I decided there was no way I would get any work done now. Besides, it was almost time to meet Papan in the city.

I shut the window, put on my mostly-dry jacket and made sure my dagger was still secured between sock and boot. I loaded up with keys, wallet, and phone before heading for the door, wishing Oren would hurry up and teach me the incantation to make my pockets deeper than they really were.

After closing the door behind me, I made sure it was locked before rushing for the stairs. I might have walked into my office in a morose mood, but I was now filled with a sense of hopeful energy.

I’d helped poltergeists before without being able to see them. I could handle this for my sister.

Wow, it feels good to say sister.

As soon as I stepped out of the building, I smacked right into someone. When strong arms wrapped tightly around my midsection, I struggled to squirm out of the vice-like grip.

Oh crap, not again!

Purchase links:

Spotlight: Once Upon a Twist by Aimee Duffy and Michelle Smart Part Two

Thanks to Aimee Duffy and Michelle Smart, I have some excerpts to share from their Once Upon a Twist Anthology. If you enjoy the excerpts, please use the order link to purchase a copy.

 

Excerpt: Glass Slippers and Combat Boots by Michelle Smart

Ella pulled the last of the rollers from Izzy’s thick auburn hair and scrutinized her work. She had not succumbed to the temptation of turning Izzy’s hair into a frizz-ball. That particular temptation had been tempered by Christell’s pet cat Domino, the ugliest, nastiest feline to have ever walked the land, guarding Izzy like a sentry. If Ella had made the slightest error, Domino would have gone tearing off to his mistress.

In any case, she didn’t want to sabotage Izzy’s night. Izzy might treat her as if she was a bad smell but she didn’t have the innate viciousness of her mother or sister. Somehow, her beatings were gentler too, rarely marking Ella’s skin. There were times, when it was just the two of them, that relations between them were almost friendly.

“What do you think?” Izzy asked.

Ella smiled. “I think you look beautiful. Prince Charming won’t be able to resist you.”

Izzy sniffed. “Rumour has it the prince has already found a bride.”

“Really? Then why go ahead with the Ball?”

“Who knows? It might be only a rumour. Still,” she added, suddenly cheering up, “I’ve heard that his Knights are very pleasing to the eye and there will be plenty of them in attendance. There is nothing more attractive than a man with an air of danger about him.”

So long as you keep your mitts of James, you can do what you like. Or do who you like.

An unexpected wave of compassion for her stepsister suddenly swept through her. She clenched her hands into fists to stop herself from squeezing Izzy’s shoulders and telling her she didn’t need to be the bike of the land; that true love was waiting for her.

The moment was lost when Ana came bursting into Izzy’s bedroom. “Are you ready? Mother says the carriage will be with us in five minutes.”

Unlike her sister, Ana had not trusted Ella with her hair or makeup, having not forgiven or forgotten the time when Ella had deliberately made her look like a clown.

Compared to Izzy’s willowy beauty, Ana looked like a man in drag. Of course, in Ana’s eyes she looked like the Belle of the Ball.

“Come, Cinderella,” said Ana, smiling malevolently, “We can’t have you missing any of the fun. I insist you wave us off.”

In a whirl of sickly perfume, Ella followed them downstairs to where Christell was waiting.

“Girls, girls, you look beautiful.” Her cruel pale-blue eyes then fixed on Ella. “Just think, by the time we return, one of your stepsisters may be betrothed to the Prince. I suggest you spend the evening practicing your curtseys. Now get in your cellar.”

The cellar door was soon locked shut, leaving Ella trapped alone in the bottom of the huge house.

When her father had been alive, a fleet of staff had catered to their every need. Christell had fired each and every one, unwilling to risk Ella blabbing to any of them.

Sinking onto the cold, stone floor, Ella hugged her knees.

Despite all her fears about the imminent arrival of the undead, she was feminine enough to feel a large dose of envy that the people of the land were gathering together for the party of the century.

More than anything, she longed to see James. She hated the idea of all those beautiful women at the Ball who were bound to spend the evening flirting and making eyes at him.

It had been only three days since she had seen him but she missed him dreadfully. She closed her eyes. She had known him barely a fortnight and already it felt as if he were a part of her. If she had been free she would be at the Ball with him, dancing with him, his hard body pressed tight against hers…

A wave of fury suffused her at all she was being forced to miss out on. Getting back to her feet she kicked the solid wood door.

“Damn you, Christell,” she howled. “Damn you to hell for killing my father. And damn you too, fairy godmother, for leaving me to cope with all this on my own. Where the hell are you?”

As if by magic – which of course it was – a puff of light appeared in the room. Seconds later, a plump, fluffy white haired elderly lady materialized before her.

Chapter Three

It took Ella a few moments to comprehend what had just happened. She blinked to make sure her febrile mind hadn’t just conjured up her fairy godmother.

“Hello, dear,” Linda beamed. “You called for me?”

“I’ve been calling you for a year and a half,” Ella said, her initial joy quickly turning into petulance.

“Have you, dear? Did you shout? My hearing-aid’s been on the blink.”

“It’s what?” She shook her head in disbelief. “You said you’d be calling in to see me.”

Linda bristled. “Well, dear,” she said, an edge creeping into her voice, “I did have the small matter of ensuring Princess Rosamund didn’t actually die when she pricked her finger on that spindle – I did warn her father it was pointless banishing all spindles from the land but would he listen to me…?”

“You’ve got a suntan,” Ella accused, taking in the golden hue of Linda’s skin.

“Well, yes dear. After making sure your stepmother couldn’t kill you and then sorting out Rosamund, I was knackered so I took a nice little cruise.” Before Ella could voice her outrage, Linda hurried on, “Still, I’m here now. No harm done. What can I do for you, dear?”

Ella threw her hands in the air. “I’m sorry for sounding like a brat but Christell has put an enchantment around the cottage that keeps me trapped here. She’s sacked all the staff so I can’t blab about what she did to my father, she’s making me live down here in this horrid cellar and treating me like a slave, and tonight there’s a Ball in the palace and, and…” Her voice thickened. Before she could prevent it, a large tear fell down her cheek, landing with a loud plop on the concrete floor.

“I’m sorry for being such a drip,” Ella muttered, furiously wiping the ensuing tears away, “But there’s an invading army of undead heading for this land and I don’t particularly fancy being trapped and defenseless when they arrive.”

Purchase Link:

Blurb:

Glass Slippers and Combat Boots

Once upon a time in a land far, far away, the creatures are coming…

In a land run by misogynists, where fair maidens are deemed liable to fall in a dead faint at the sight of blood, Prince Charming is worried – the creatures that have destroyed their neighboring kingdoms are coming for them. He judges it imperative to get all the females to safety, but first he needs to break the enchantment enslaving his One True Love to her hateful home. Oh, and there’s the small matter of the Ball to get through too.

But when the creatures reach them ahead of their expected time, all plans are foregone. Can Ella break her wicked stepmother’s enchantment? Can she save her handsome Prince and the kingdom before midnight strikes? And can she show his soldiers what it really means to kick  a monster’s butt? The clock is ticking…

Reunited With Red

Many, many years later…

When Ruby visits her grandmother in the deep, dark forest, she stumbles into a nightmare. Her grandma’s been attacked by a wolf-like creature, and an ancient disease that turned people into monsters is back… and so is the cold-hearted ex she walked out on a year ago.

Now she has to either accept Jeremy’s help or face becoming a monster herself. Fighting alongside the man she once loved isn’t easy, especially when she discovers there’s more to Jeremy than the cheating bastard she took him for.

As they fight to survive the disease and save those they love, can they keep from falling for each other all over again?

Michelle’s Links:

Website / Twitter / Facebook / Goodreads

Aimee’s Links:

Website/Blog / Twitter / Facebook / Goodreads / Pinterest / Google +

Spotlight! Once Upon a Twist by Aimee Duffy and Michelle Smart Part One

Thanks to Aimee Duffy and Michelle Smart, I have some excerpts to share from their Once Upon a Twist Anthology.  If you enjoy the excerpts, please use the order link to purchase a copy.  Check back tomorrow for an excerpt by Michelle.

Excerpt: Reunited with Red by Aimee Duffy

A shot sounded just as the door behind her groaned in protest at the force of the creature’s attack. She could give in. Best case scenario, the thing would kill her, but she knew if the man-like creatures got anywhere near her she’d become one of them.

Another shot echoed in her ears. The men were close and the bullet took them both out. She closed her eyes against the sight of brain and blood and yuck. Once had been enough.

“Now!” he demanded.

Without thinking, she took off down Grandma’s garden path, ignoring the bodies on the floor. The sound of the wood splitting made her push her legs faster as she headed for the forest.

A muffled curse sounded to her left. She turned in time to see him running toward her, a shot gun aimed directly at her head. Her heart missed a few beats. She stopped immediately.

“I’m not…I’ve not been bitten. I—”

“Behind you!”

She spun around. Another few of the infected were at the edge of the forest. He let off another shot and her ears rang with the sound. It didn’t muffle the crack of more wood splintering, or the snarl that came from the creature which had managed to make a hole in the door big enough for its head to get through. Snapping jaws gnawed at the gap, trying to create a way out.

He caught her around the waist and picked her off the ground with one arm, pressing her close to every hard, unrelenting muscle of his body. His scent engulfed her, and his rough skin comforted her.

Anger and gratitude rippled through her, as well as something she didn’t want to think about. She bit her tongue to distract herself, but the tears streaming down her face reminded her that Grandma was gone. Her breath choked out on a sob. His arms squeezed tighter around her.

Ruby pushed at his chest. “Don’t touch me, put me down!”

He lowered her to the ground, his jaw tense, his sharp features so severe she probably imagined the flash of hurt in his black eyes. Eyes she’d once happily fallen into. Eyes that had once made her forget everything else in the world. Eyes she’d wanted to gouge out for betraying her in the worst way possible.

“We need to get out of here.” His voice tore her back to the present. She heard the creature tear another chunk of wood from the door. “Now.”

She reached for his outstretched hand, but hesitated. “Grandma.” Her voice broke around the word.

They had to go back, what if there was still a… Ruby stopped the thought dead. Even she knew hoping was ridiculous. Still if they could get her to a hospital… She snatched her hand away and turned back to the house.

His strong, constricting arms banded around her waist and he picked her up again. She kicked and screamed, unwilling to go easy, her mind a haze of grief. The bastard didn’t even flinch, didn’t loosen his hold. And then they were moving. She tried another kick, aiming for his knees.

“Red, quit it.”

Her limbs froze, but her chest ripped out sobs with every breath. “Stop…calling…me…that.” Her hair was more blonde than red, especially now she’d had it highlighted, and the nickname took her back to a time she wanted to forget.

The ground met her feet and suddenly he was in front of her, wiping her eyes, her cheeks. The severe expression on his face had been replaced with wide eyes and a frown.

“She’s…” He cleared his throat. “We can’t save her. It’s too late.”

Rage boiled through her veins, wiping away rational thought. After all, what was the point? She had nothing left. No family. Not even him. “No.”

His teeth snapped together and he grabbed her hand. She tried to pull it away but he was too strong; his grip almost crushed her bones. He turned and tugged her hard. It was either fall or follow, though she was sure if she fell he’d drag her along anyway. Any man who could lug around trees didn’t worry about the weight of a hundred and thirty pound woman. The bastard broke into a sprint, leading them into the thick of the forest in the opposite direction of his home. She tried to push the grief down, concentrate on following him through the darkness.

“Where are we going?” she asked, pushing her legs faster to keep up with him.

She couldn’t see a foot in front of her. Darker shadows than the night around them gave no indication of where they were. The moon hid beneath clouds above, somewhere through the trees. If he crashed into something she was going down with him.

“We need to mask your scent.”

If stranger words had come out of his mouth, she hadn’t heard them. But then it clicked. “The thing can smell me.”

And it did get a good whiff at the house. She swallowed against the tears in her throat. It wasn’t the time to grieve. Now she could think rationally and, although she grudged it, she was grateful he’d come when he did or she’d either be an infected monster by now or the thing would have eaten her.

He didn’t answer, just ran faster. She kept up, but her calf muscles burned and her lungs heaved with the effort. Over her ragged panting, she heard the sound of the river, but she knew they were too high up. He must be taking her to…

Ruby slowed, tried to yank her hand free. “You’ve lost your mind!”

His grip didn’t ease up as he dragged her closer to the ledge. “There’s no other way.”

“It’s at least a ten foot drop. You know I can’t swim!”

He stopped at the ledge and launched the gun into the darkness. She thought for a second he’d thrown it into the river, but it landed in the distance with a thud. The moonlight broke through the clouds, illuminating the scary jump and rushing water below. Her heart sped.

“You’ll be fine. I won’t let you drown.” His lips quirked, like he found her terror entertaining.

All the pent up anger, grief, and fear fought for supremacy inside. She couldn’t control what came out of her mouth. “And I’m supposed to trust you? Are you kidding me?”

His arms banded around her, holding her arms down by her sides in a steely grip. “You could always trust me, Red. I told you everything I was allowed to.”

Before she could argue, or before she could wonder what he meant by allowed, he picked her up and jumped off the ledge.

Purchase Link:

Blurb:

Glass Slippers and Combat Boots

Once upon a time in a land far, far away, the creatures are coming…

In a land run by misogynists, where fair maidens are deemed liable to fall in a dead faint at the sight of blood, Prince Charming is worried – the creatures that have destroyed their neighboring kingdoms are coming for them. He judges it imperative to get all the females to safety, but first he needs to break the enchantment enslaving his One True Love to her hateful home. Oh, and there’s the small matter of the Ball to get through too.

But when the creatures reach them ahead of their expected time, all plans are foregone. Can Ella break her wicked stepmother’s enchantment? Can she save her handsome Prince and the kingdom before midnight strikes? And can she show his soldiers what it really means to kick  a monster’s butt? The clock is ticking…

Reunited With Red

Many, many years later…

When Ruby visits her grandmother in the deep, dark forest, she stumbles into a nightmare. Her grandma’s been attacked by a wolf-like creature, and an ancient disease that turned people into monsters is back… and so is the cold-hearted ex she walked out on a year ago.

Now she has to either accept Jeremy’s help or face becoming a monster herself. Fighting alongside the man she once loved isn’t easy, especially when she discovers there’s more to Jeremy than the cheating bastard she took him for.

As they fight to survive the disease and save those they love, can they keep from falling for each other all over again?

Michelle’s Links:

Website / Twitter / Facebook / Goodreads

Aimee’s Links:

Website/Blog / Twitter / Facebook / Goodreads / Pinterest / Google +

Review: River Road by Suzanne Johnson

 

Title: River Road

Author: Suzanne Johnson

 

May Contain Spoilers

From Amazon:

 

Hurricane Katrina is long gone, but the preternatural storm rages on in New Orleans. New species from the Beyond moved into Louisiana after the hurricane destroyed the borders between worlds, and it falls to wizard sentinel Drusilla Jaco and her partner, Alex Warin, to keep the preternaturals peaceful and the humans unaware. But a war is brewing between two clans of Cajun merpeople in Plaquemines Parish, and down in the swamp, DJ learns, there’s more stirring than angry mermen and the threat of a were-gator.

Wizards are dying, and something—or someone—from the Beyond is poisoning the waters of the mighty Mississippi, threatening the humans who live and work along the river. DJ and Alex must figure out what unearthly source is contaminating the water and who—or what—is killing the wizards. Is it a malcontented merman, the naughty nymph, or some other critter altogether? After all, DJ’s undead suitor, the pirate Jean Lafitte, knows his way around a body or two.

It’s anything but smooth sailing on the bayou as the Sentinels of New Orleans series continues


Review:

I enjoyed Royal Street, the first book in Suzanne Johnson’s Sententials of New Orleans, with a few reservations.  I was disappointed with the lack of romance, and wondered why DJ constantly made such bad decisions.  The lack of common sense drove me bonkers.  I’m happy to report that River Road is a stronger book overall, and even when DJ made some not so wise choices, she really didn’t have any choice in the matter.  Keeping two warring clans of merfolk from killing each other, and getting normal humans caught in the crossfire, kept her busy and kept her putting herself on the line.  It’s hard to argue about doing the smart thing when the smart thing is going to cost people their lives.

DJ and Alex are both working as sententials now, and the story picks up three years after the events of Royal Street.  DJ is more comfortable in her own skin, with her powers and her elvin wand.  She complains about the same things we all do; being overworked, working for a bunch of guys who expect results no matter what, not getting that raise she thinks she deserves.  Her relationship with Alex has settled down and they have decided that they make great friends.  When the merpeople start feuding,  Dj and Alex have to put an end to their territorial disputes, which are complicated by Jean Laffitte.  He’s buddies with two of the mer, Rene and Robert, and he has a vested interest in seeing a treaty between the clans.  Rene and Jean have many shady business dealings, the less DJ knows about, the happier she is.

I enjoyed all of the characters this time around.  They all make DJ’s life a trial.  The merpeople hate wizards because of how they were treated after a large group of paranormals attempted to set up shop in the mundane world years ago.  They are suspicious of her motives and treat her like crap, to be frank.  I really felt bad for DJ; she is trying so hard to come to a fair solution to their dispute, and they just keep on giving her grief!  Even her own employers don’t give her any respect, and she is constantly at odds with the Elders because of her methods, which are basically act now and ask for permission later.  They are putting a huge amount of pressure on her to get the situation fixed, and when wizards start turning up dead, they are even more unrelenting that she fix it.  Fix it now!  I felt that the only person to give her any credit was Jean.  He turned out to be a fun, well-rounded character, and I enjoyed the courtship between them.  I can’t see them setting up house together, but there’s a lot of fun chemistry between DJ and her immortal pirate.

River Road kept my interest from beginning to end.  The mystery was compelling, and DJ’s methods were entertaining as she raced against the clock to put a stop to the war brewing between the merpeople.  I am looking forward to DJ’s next adventure, Elysian Fields, in August.

Grade:  B+

Review copy provided by Bewitching Book Tours