Tag Archives: fantasy

Author Showcase – Mary Morgan (A Magical Highland Solstice) (A Highland Moon Enchantment)

Laird Cormac Murray has witnessed how love destroyed his own father after the death of his mother, and he vows to never take a wife. Yet, when he comes upon a bewildered lass traveling alone, he finds his heart will no longer listen to his mind. In the end, Cormac risks everything to claim the love of a woman not of his time.

Eve Brannigan loves helping others and baking. After winning a contest, she is stunned to learn that the Clan Murray has requested her assistance to cater to their guests during the holiday season. When a lost path in Scotland leads her to a handsome but gruff Highlander, Eve fights the temptation to allow love to enter her heart for the first time. 

Can the Fae and the magic of the Yule season bring together two souls who have forsaken love? Or will tragedies from the past separate the lovers forever?

 

~~ Excerpt ~~

 

Giving her no time to protest, he grabbed her around the waist and hauled her up onto Fingal. When he mounted his horse and settled behind her, Cormac felt her body stiffen as he placed an arm around her waist. He leaned next to her ear. Her mass of curls brushed his face, and he inhaled her scent—one of different spices. Lust instantly surged forth, powerful and intense. “Relax,” he urged in a hoarse voice. Though he found it difficult to do so himself.

He felt her tremble, but she nodded. Giving a tug on the reins, they moved up the path.

With each steady trot, her body swayed and Cormac tried to focus on the road. The castleFighting in the lists. Bathing in the icy waters of the loch. Anything, but the soft curves of the lass’s body pressing against his own. What was wrong with him? He prided himself on being a man always in control of his emotions—especially his lustful ones. Yet, now he found himself confused, tongue-tied, and his gut twisted into knots.

So deep in his thoughts, he did not notice Fingal veering off the main road until the lass let out a giggle. She had the most musical sound, and he found himself smiling. Guiding his horse back to the path, he could hear his men doing their best to contain themselves. A glance back confirmed William was coughing loudly and Gordon trying his best not to fall off his horse.

“I swear Fingal, I am tempted to trade ye in for another horse. Ye must be going blind, or worse, old.”

His horse let out a large snort.

Eve clicked her tongue in disapproval. “For shame, Mr. Murray. How cruel. I think he’s a kind animal. Perhaps it’s the man holding the reins who can’t see clearly the path in front of him?” 

The lass was quick with the wit, he mused. “I dinnae ken your word, but ye may call me Cormac.” He leaned near her again. “And I can assure ye, I am nae blind, nor old.”

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Irish warrior, Desmond O’Quinlan has never surrendered his heart to any woman. He has no wish to have his soul tortured by love. Yet, the moment he locks gazes with Ailsa, his fate is destined for an adventure he never fathomed. He may have battled alongside a Dragon Knight, but his greatest challenge will come from within his own heart. Ailsa MacDuff, a warrior among her clan, has no desire to have a man chain her to a life of obedience. However, that is before she meets Desmond. The temptation to allow this warrior inside her heart is a risk she dares to take, but one that could lead to a future of emptiness and sorrow. When betrayal looms from within, the battleground of love is no match for these two warriors. Can the power of a Highland full moon be strong enough to unite or destroy them?

 

 

~~ Excerpt ~~

His mind screamed to stay rooted in his chair, but his body betrayed him. Standing, he reached for her hand.“I will escort ye to your chamber.”

She eyed him with curiosity and stood. “Nae. Take me to the north wall. I hear the view of the loch is one that steals the breath from your lungs.”

“Done.” When her fingers slipped into his, Desmond fought the urge to crush her to his chest. Placing her soft hand in the crook of his arm, he led her quickly out of the hall and up the stairs. Bending to the left, he took her along a corridor and up a narrow circular pathway. The torches flickered as he approached the door leading to the north wall.

A cold draft blew by them, and she shivered. Instantly, regret filled him realizing he had not considered to bring a cloak for her.

Desmond paused by the door. “Ye should not venture out into the biting cold without a cloak.”

Her eyes narrowed. “I simply wish to capture a quick look, not spend the night sleeping out there.”

Shaking his head, he pushed open the massive oak door. Brittle air slapped at his face while they made their way up along the wall.

“’Tis cold,” she muttered, but chuckled softly and hugged his arm. “But ye are warm.”

“We shall not tarry long,” he assured her and placed a warm hand over hers.

“Oh, sweet Goddess. Look at the moon, Desmond. Her light shimmers over the water. I have now witnessed the charm of the loch in sunlight and moonlight. Though our rivers are stunning on their own, they cannae rival this view. As I have told ye, our island is shrouded in mists, so ye cannae see verra far out into the sea.”

Desmond’s focus was not on the moon, but the beauty standing beside him. To take what he dared not possess. He marveled at her delight of the striking scene.

Ailsa turned toward him. “Thank ye, Desmond, truly.”

Her nearness was overpowering, seducing him in a way he had never known. Desmond cupped her chin. Her eyes widened, and her lips parted in invitation. Moonlight and lust danced within her eyes. No longer did he battle with his mind and body, and he slowly lowered his head.

And under the silent whisper of a full moon, Desmond captured her soft lips within his own. He could taste her sweetness mixed with the wine, and desire shot through his veins. His hands shook as he placed them securely on her waist. As he deepened the kiss, she placed her hands around his neck. Desmond groaned, crushing her body against him.

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Award-winning Celtic paranormal romance author, Mary Morgan resides in Northern California, with her own knight in shining armor. However, during her travels to Scotland, England, and Ireland, she left a part of her soul in one of these countries and vows to return.

Mary’s passion for books started at an early age along with an overactive imagination. She spent far too much time daydreaming and was told quite often to remove her head from the clouds. It wasn’t until the closure of Borders Books where Mary worked that she found her true calling—writing romance. Now, the worlds she created in her mind are coming to life within her stories.

If you enjoy history, tortured heroes, and a wee bit of magic, then time-travel within the pages of her books.

 

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Author Showcase – Judith Sterling (Soul of the Wolf: The Novels of Ravenwood, Book Two)

A Norman loyalist, Lady Jocelyn bristles when ordered to marry Wulfstan, a Saxon sorcerer. She nurses a painful secret and would rather bathe in a cesspit than be pawed by such a man…until her lifelong dream of motherhood rears its head.

A man of magic and mystery, Wulfstan has no time for wedded bliss. He fears that consummating their marriage will bind their souls and wrench his focus from the ancient riddle his dying mother begged him to solve. He’s a lone wolf, salving old wounds with endless work. But Jocelyn stirs him as no woman ever has.

Their attraction is undeniable. Their fates are intertwined. Together, they must face their demons and bring light to a troubled land.

 

 

Wulfstan’s expression shifted faster than the midnight clouds. “Why are you here?” he asked in a low, tight voice.

Keeping her distance, Jocelyn eyed the wolf behind him and willed her voice to sound calm. “Why do you think?”

 Wulfstan’s eyes were like ice. “I think…that you’re spying on me.”

 She held his wintry gaze. “Then you think rightly.”

 “What? No denial? No protestations of innocence?”

 “Would you have me lie?”

 He clenched his fists. “No.”

 “Then you cannot—”

 “Nor would I have you pound your pestle into my private affairs.”

 Heat swept through her. “Pray, what affairs have you that are not private?”

 “I’ve given you a free hand with the servants and the keep. What more do you want?”

 The wolf turned away and padded toward the forest. Her courage doubled. “More.”

 Her mind made up, she strode past Wulfstan and approached Woden’s Stair. She raised her foot above the first step.

 “Stay!” he shouted above the wind.

 She stopped short and turned to him. “Are you addressing me?”

 He tore his gaze from the forest and settled it on her. “No. The wolf.” With powerful strides, he bridged the gap between them.

Her stomach quivered. He stood but a foot away. “Good,” she croaked. Then she cleared her throat. “For a moment, I thought you ordered me to stay, as you would order a dog.”

Humor softened his features. “Now there’s an idea. I must say, it does have a certain appeal.”

 “Be serious.”

 “A dog can be trained to please its master, but the master also enjoys pleasing the dog. Some hounds are spoiled, in fact.”

She frowned. Something in his tone was…suggestive. “Were I a bitch, I would not be so easily managed.”

He grinned. “That I believe. And I know you’re no animal to be trained. You’re a strong woman with a mind of your own. But even the strong-willed like to be pampered. Wouldn’t you like it?”

“I…I wouldn’t mind being pampered.”

“And pleasured?” His hair looked like spun starlight.

She stepped backward, and the heel of her boot met stone. Flustered, she clambered onto the step.

Wulfstan’s demeanor darkened. “Get down from there.” His large hands invaded her mantle and encircled her waist.

She wriggled free of his hands and backed onto the second step.

He crossed his arms. “Didn’t you hear me? Come down. That’s an order.”

Her body heat flared anew, and she climbed three steps higher. “I heard you, but I’ll not play the bitch to any man.”

“This isn’t a game.”

“No? What would you do if I ran all the way to the top?”

His words, exactly measured, were a promise. “I would stop you.”

“You could try.” She whirled around and started upward.

He grabbed her from behind and hoisted her several inches off the stairs. She struggled and kicked, and her left foot connected with his flesh.

“Woden’s blood!” He hauled her away from the stairs and planted her on the ground.

She twisted in his arms to face him. “Your nerve is unparalleled.”

His face was mere inches from hers. “Trust me, it bows to yours.”

“You’ve a clever tongue, my lord.” The hard, hot length of his body pressed against her.

His eyes were now dark and inviting. Expectant. “Would you care to see how clever?”

 

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~~ Check these out! ~~

The Novels of Ravenwood, Book One

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The Novels of Ravenwood Book 3

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Judith Sterling’s love of history and passion for the paranormal infuse everything she writes. Flight of the Raven, Soul of the Wolf, and Shadow of the Swan are part of her medieval romance series, The Novels of Ravenwood. The Cauldron Stirred is the first book in her young adult paranormal series, Guardians of Erin.  Written under Judith Marshall, her nonfiction books—My Conversations with Angels and Past Lives, Present Stories—have been translated into multiple languages. She has an MA in linguistics and a BA in history, with a minor in British Studies. Born in that sauna called Florida, she craved cooler climes, and once the travel bug bit, she lived in England, Scotland, Sweden, Wisconsin, Virginia, and on the island of Nantucket. She currently lives in Salem, Massachusetts with her husband and their identical twin sons.

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Review of “Death’s Desire: Siren’s Lullaby Anthology” – Tracy A. Ball

Enchanted Anthologies presents Siren’s Lullaby, an intertwined novel told by six authors. 

‘The madness of the eyes is the lure of the abyss.’

Three women are left stranded on a small Island near Sicily, Italy, to starve, but they won’t give up easily. Joining together to fight to survive, they make a deal with a demon of the sea. 

The only catch is they must lure ships to the rocks using their voices and sink the ships along with the men aboard. 

Three pirates–brothers–who haven’t agreed on much since their mother died get back together for a long journey. They long to rid themselves of the curse placed on them by a sea witch. 

An insatiable hunger felt by the seductress sirens and the deadly pirates will join them together in more ways than they could ever have thought. 

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I didn’t know where the others were, but Tristian, Rauel and I were taken to a pen. It wasn’t large or particularly comfortable but a small cave with bars that appeared to have been salvaged from some-long forgotten ship. I imagined lots of things from long-forgotten ships were hoarded in these caves.

Tristian and Rauel belonged to my vanguard. Deadly fighters and trustworthy men. That was, if you considered men who plunder to be trustworthy. I knew enough about them to anticipate what was coming. Tristian was claustrophobic. He hesitated at the cave’s entrance and turned on the siren. 

I drew my sword and turned on him. “We all must die sooner or later. Your choice.”

Rauel went into the cave without a backward glance. He had called me unpredictable on more than one occasion.

“Baldassare, I can’t go in there,” Tristian said.

“You can, and you will.” I nudged him with my sword tip.

It was low, almost inaudible. I felt it before I heard it, snaking its way around my heart. My sword arm went limp. Tristian didn’t notice. He, too, was captured by the siren’s magic. Rauel came forward, enchanted, called by this temptress. The bitch. I didn’t understand what she was doing, but I didn’t want her to stop.

All too soon, she did stop. I was sure we looked as stupid as we felt. 

“Get in the pen.” Her words were cold, but her eyes were black magic. My member stiffened, not for the first time since I’d seen her.

She noticed. 

“There are seven deadly sins,” she said. “I can sing and make you guilty of all of them.” She locked the cage behind us. 

“Wait,” Rauel called before she moved away. He didn’t have anything to say. He just didn’t want her to leave.

She paused.

“Who built this?” He touched the bars.

While he talked, I committed her to memory. I wanted a detailed image when I pampered my erection. 

“You are not the first men to make landfall.” She spoke as if he was impertinent for asking. 

Tristian knelt, pressing his face against the bars, taking deep breaths. “There are other men here?”

“Not any longer.” She thought a minute, then said to me, “Perhaps, you’ll be next.”

“Then I best get busy.” I nodded my head once in the direction of my crotch.

Her exquisite bottom lip dropped open. It quivered like she had something naughty to say. She came very close to me, reached out to touch me…only she didn’t. Damn. I wanted her to touch me. Her fingers were a wisp away from cupping my groin. Oh, please… 

“I can sing all seven sins.” This time, she did not look back.

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(review request of “Death’s Desire” submitted by the author, Tracy A. Ball,  for an honest critique) 

“Death’s Desire” conveyed beautifully the enticing power of a siren’s call, the magnitude of their power, and the lure of their body.

As we know from mythology, sirens are irresistible and bloodthirsty beings. Tracy capitalized nicely on illustrating their seductiveness and their insatiable hunger to feed on victims that cross their path. She also allowed readers to witness their capacity for the emotion – love.

Twist and turns, love and death, “Death’s Desire” could’ve went on to a full-length novel. As “Death’s Desire” came to a close, I came to realize I didn’t want Baldassare and the sirens’ story to end.

 

Heart Rating System:

1 (lowest) and 5 (highest) 

Score: ❤❤❤❤

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Novelist, Reviewer, Content Editor, Blogger, T-shirt Wearer, and Professional Snacker; Tracy A. Ball is a native Baltimorean and a veteran West Virginian whose family is blended from three cultures. She has opened her home to foster children, drug addicts, AIDS victims and anyone who needed an assist. She knows people who have committed murder and people who have dined with the Pope.

Which is why she writes sweet stories about tough love…and takes naps.

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Review of “Hidden Cargo (Alien Captors Book 2)” – Sarah Marsh

Print Length: 133 pages

 

No good deed goes unpunished—or at least it doesn’t for Cassie Decker. Stopping to help someone on the side of the road was the decision that changed the rest of her life, and the one that found her stranded on an alien planet. Lucky for her, she was discovered by two very large, and very green rescuers that offered her a second chance at a new life. All she has to do is find the courage to reach out and grab it.

Deryc and Gage have a comfortable life on the island of Ilya, it may not be perfect, but they enjoy their work and they have each other. When fate reveals an unauthorized female has been hiding right under their noses for over a year, they know they must do their duty to bring her to their government—but can they hand her over to an unknown future when she just might be the perfect female for their clan?

The Goddess works in mysterious ways, but will Cassie and her officers realize what they have found before someone tries to alter their paths forever?

 

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Cassie washed up and changed into a nightgown as Dax settled comfortably at the foot of her bed. She turned out the light and walked over to open a window, letting the fresh air in. She’d always loved falling asleep to the sound of the ocean. Two deep voices entered on the breeze along with the sounds of the surf, causing a shiver to run up her spine, and she realized that Deryc and Gage must still be on the patio enjoying the evening. Cassie sat on the window ledge and waited for her eyes to adjust to the darkness outside. When they did, the sight before her was nothing short of decadent.

Both men were lounging on one of the large patio chairs. Deryc’s arm was around Gage’s shoulder, and his other hand cupped the other man’s cheek as he took his mouth in a slow and sensual kiss. Her breath caught in her throat as she watched Gage’s hand move leisurely up his partner’s thigh until he rubbed along the thick, hard ridge of Deryc’s arousal.

I shouldn’t be watching this, like some kind of pervert… I’m invading their privacy, but holy hell, I think this is the hottest thing I’ve ever seen.

Knowing it was wrong and willing her eyes to close were two very different things, and Cassie had to bite her lip as Deryc’s deep voice came to her on the night breeze.

“I believe you owe me a proper show of gratitude, my mate.” Deryc growled as Gage’s fingers freed the thick cock from the confines of his partner’s pants. “Or did you forget you promised me that this morning?”

“Hmm.” Gage lazily kissed along Deryc’s jaw, his hand now slowly stroking up and down his lover’s cock. “Did I say that? I can’t remember now…”

Deryc’s response was immediate, and it made Cassie gasp as he pulled away and moved to cover the other man until Gage’s wrists were held above his head in each of his strong hands, and Deryc was now straddling his mate’s hips. In the moonlight, Cassie could see his cock jutting straight from his body, the thick length an even darker shade of grey than the rest of him. He towered over Gage like an avenging god.

“Keep your arms above your head, boy.” Deryc’s tone was unforgiving now, and by the look of the large bulge in Gage’s own pants, he enjoyed this game of dominance as much as his mate did. Cassie had never experimented with any BDSM play with Peter, but that didn’t mean she hadn’t thought or fantasized about it before, and now that she had a front-row seat, her body flooded with heat at the idea of being on the submissive end of Deryc’s firm authority just like Gage was now.

Deryc’s hands released Gage and began to undress, revealing his muscular body, the dark skin seeming to almost sparkle in the moonlight. Then he began the same process of removing Gage’s clothing, and the other man bit his lip, but left his arms where they were.

“Cassie could still be awake.” Gage’s words turned into a groan as Deryc’s hand now closed around his shaft, rubbing a glistening bead of moisture over the plump head. “What if she sees?”

“Mmm, think about that, my love.” Deryc’s hand moved faster on his lover’s flesh. “Just imagine those stunning blue eyes, her gaze roving over your hard and aching flesh like a caress. Perhaps she would like to join us even? I see now why you were so enamored with her when you first spotted her. She is quite remarkable.”

Gage only moaned louder at Deryc’s words, his hips pushing harder into the other man’s grip, causing a warm chuckle to escape his mate’s lips. “I see how much you like that idea, love. I can feel your cock buck in my grip as if it were trying to get inside of her even now.”

Holy fuck! Were they fantasizing about her? This time Cassie couldn’t stifle the groan as her pussy flooded at the idea of being out there on that couch with them, and it was so loud she startled herself, jumping back from the window in case her hosts heard it as well.

She needed that shock back to reality. “Jesus, Cassie, what is wrong with you?”

She didn’t want to think she was the kind of person who couldn’t control her own urges, but the fact that she hadn’t been able to help herself from watching Gage and Deryc’s intimate display meant they had much more power over her than she’d thought. Good grief, all she could hope for at this point is that they hadn’t heard her at all.

Pervy, sex-starved human … table for one, please.

 

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(review request submitted by the author for an honest critique) 

 

Hidden Cargo is an erotic sci-fi tale revolving around the budding romance between a human female and two alien counterparts. Unlike other aliens Cassie (human) met, the two men she fell in love with (Deryc and Gage) didn’t have 4 arms (species: Kakxis) or 6 legs (species: Gooshoo).

Deryc and Gage’s skin coloring was more charcoal and pewter. Luckily for her and us, they didn’t have shark-like teeth or snake eyes (like her first abductors) because, if so, I don’t think the intimate scenes would’ve been as steamy. 

Sarah chose the right partners for Cassie and for us readers.

Now in regards to the intimate scenes, which were plenty: Let me first state, if you have read any of Sarah Marsh’s stories before, you already know her love scenes are never dull. Sarah delivered erotic moments involving M/M, M/F, and M/M/F. There was an act of voyeurism, oral gratification, anal pleasure and mé·nage à trois. In case readers of my review are wondering… YES, each sexy encounter was more arousing than the last.

Even without those explicit scenes, I found this novella very entertaining to read. Of course, I wouldn’t dare ask Sarah to omit a single sexy moment. When these three get together, in pairs or in a threesome, it was kinky as hell.

For dog lovers out there, Cassie had a companion named Dax (German Shepherd) who literally came to her rescue. I fell in love with this furry character and I’m a cat person. 😀

My final thought…… Everyone should and must read Hidden Cargo!

 

Heart Rating System:

1 (lowest) and 5 (highest) 

Score: ❤❤❤❤ 1/2

 

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~~ Also check out Precious Cargo (Alien Captors Book 1) ~~

Precious-Cargo-evernightpublishing-jayaheer2016-finalimage

(Under 100 pages)

What would you do if you woke up to a nightmare, complete with monsters? Alison Baker deals with it the best way she knows how—one day at a time. When it comes to her future, she’ll need to learn to open up her mind and her heart if she hopes to survive.

When Clan Drogan’s ship gets attacked by pirates, their spoils of war come in the most unexpected of packages. They’ve never met any female like Ali before, and her sweet, caring nature draws them to her like moths to a flame. But they have commitments of their own. Will the three of them be able to decide once and for all if the woman they’re promised to is right for them? Or will they risk it all on their attraction to Ali?

Ali knows that Conn, Kal, and Tannen are spoken for, but she can’t seem to help herself. They introduce her to pleasures she’s never even imagined, so how could just a taste ever be enough? Will Ali find the strength to stand up and fight for what she wants, or will she lose Clan Drogan altogether?

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Sarah Marsh was born in British Columbia, she’s only recently began her writing career finding it the perfect outlet for taking the edge off a nine to five job. She’s a science fiction and romance junkie and when her imagination started to take the characters she’d read about even further in their adventures she decided to try writing something of her own.

Her biggest weaknesses are animals of any kind…she even loves the ones that wake you up at four in the morning because they can almost see the bottom of their food dish. When it comes to life in general she’s a big believer that laughter is the best medicine and that there’s no such thing as too much love, which is why she’s such a sucker for a happy ending.

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Author Showcase – Tricia Copeland (Kingdom of the Damned: Kingdom Journals series)

Volume 1 (Kingdom Journals)

Alena’s story -$0.99 in ebook, Free on Kindle Unlimited)

He wouldn’t understand. He didn’t live in a pretend world. In truth, he did. Most beings, pure humans, walked around thinking they were the only type of people that existed.” –Alena

As a creature forbidden by both vampire and witch cultures, Alena is forced hide her identity. Her mother moves them from city to city searching for answers. When Alena finds Hunter everything changes. She believes their bond may be the. But her mother finds Theron, an equally handsome and mysterious suitor. Will the truth of his intentions be uncovered before it is too late? Or will her Mother’s kingdom be reduced to embers?

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 Volume 2 (Kingdom Journals)

Camille’s story – Free on Kindle Unlimited

“… the previous night’s vision, or whatever it was, ended with a name I heard clear as day, as if the people were in my room. Ivy, the girl and boy recited together.” – Camille Could her dreams be real? Is she the key to freeing witches from their curse? Of course not, right? Thinking that her only chance at a normal life lay in a new treatment, Camille joins Dr. Antos and a group of teens for a month long camping trip in Iceland. There she meets Jude, a fellow schizophrenic. Dr. Antos invites Camille and Jude to extend their work with him on the island of Sardinia. Camille is suspicious of Dr. Antos’s intentions but her dad goes missing, leaving her no choice but to travel to Italy. Is she walking into a lion’s den or has her illness invaded her reality?

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Volume 3: (Kingdom Journals)

Jude’s Story: Free on Kindle Unlimited

Jude only knows one thing: he must rescue Camille. It doesn’t matter what must be done to save her from the evil coven, he will do it. But once she’s recovered, what will his role be? How does he fit into the trinity’s prophecy? Find out in this urban fantasy adventure novel that finds the Kingdom Journals characters traversing the globe in search of Camille, and the key to breaking an age-old curse.

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~ Newest Release! ~

Volume 4: Anne’s Story

Kingdom of the Damned is a stand-alone prelude to the Kingdom Journals Series.

“…he that believeth not shall be DAMNED” – Mark 16:16

In 1557, witches burn her home and family. She escapes with the help of a family friend and they hide among humans. At seventeen, another atrocity ignites Anne’s passion for justice. Circumventing the globe, she seeks to unite the vampires and build peace. Powerful enemies amass against them, but her friends number many, including a surprising and mysterious hero. In a war for survival, love feels extravagant, and heroes don’t always prevail. Can she best her enemy and find happiness at last?

 

 

Foreword

The LORD God said to the serpent,

“Because you have done this,

cursed are you above all cattle,

and above all wild animals;

upon your belly you shall go,

and dust you shall eat

all the days of your life.”

Genesis 3:14

 

The Edict of Châteaubriant, signed 27 June 1551 by King Henry II of France, censored Protestant rhetoric and enabled seizure of funds for punishment. The Edict of Compiègne, of 24 July 1557, allowed the death penalty for crimes of heresy. The witch community, garbed in the Catholic faith, hunted and killed vampires under the guise of bringing the pagans to justice.

 

CHAPTER ONE

Mabon – The Fall Equinox – 21 September 1557, France, during the reign of King Henry II

 

A vampire has memories from the time they are born. I recall my mother’s face and her warm skin, the sound of her voice. I’ll see you tonight in your beautiful red dress. I love you. She kisses my forehead.

In the evening, I slide the garment over my head, and Elizabeth curls my hair with a hot iron rod. She fits the sash around my waist and into a large bow on my back. I sit in a chair, waiting for the sun to set as she dresses her children for the party. Her daughter Elle twirls in a circle, making her skirt fan out. Even though Elle is older, I am as tall as her, because she and her brother, Hank, are halflings.

Hank is two like me, but not as big or smart. He fiddles with his collar buttoned tight around his neck. As the sky grows dark, I climb atop the chair near the window, impatient to be united with my family and to begin the festivities. An orange glow rises over the hill where my house lies in the next valley. The color looks different than any sunset I remember.

I run to Elizabeth. “Elizabeth, the sky.”

“What child?”

“Come see.” I grab her hand and pull her to the window.

As I push up on my toes to look out the glass, I see flames shooting above the ridge. Men carrying torches summit the hill and race towards us. At one’s signal, they circle the house, making a ring around Elizabeth’s cottage.

“Finn!” Elizabeth yells.

“There’s no way out.” Finn’s eyes dart around the room. I can smell the fear rolling off his skin.

Elizabeth points out the window to a tall tree. “When we open the door, run.”

Wide-eyed, I nod. Elizabeth scoops up Elle, and Finn grabs Hank. Opening the door, they sprint towards the forest. I dart off in the opposite direction. A large dog barks on my heels, but I am fast and reach the tree before the animal overtakes me. Low branches form stairs, and I jump to the first. I feel a tug at my skirt and hear it rip as I reach for the second limb. I catch it and swing to a higher branch. The beast jumps and yelps, but I focus on the limbs above. The branches become thinner, and the space between them shorter as I climb, hand over foot, until I feel the trunk sway with my weight.

Looking down, I see the men with the torches have surrounded Elizabeth and her family. Flames close in on them, engulfing the group in smoke. A bitter smell assaults my nose. The men douse the flames, and when the air clears, I see forms lying on the charred ground. I watch as the men retreat, leaving Elizabeth and her family lying atop the charred grass.

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Tricia lives in Colorado with her family and four-legged friends. She writes young and new adult fiction including fantasy, paranormal, dystopian, and romance titles. If not out on the trail, you can find Tricia on your favorite social media!
Find Tricia and her books at www.triciacopeland.com or on your favorite social media.

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