Meet My Character Week – Lexa Greene – Guest Post by Rebecca Tran #Paranormal #werewolves #dragons #fantasy

An Interview with Lexa Greene by Rebecca Tran

Hunted (Dragons of the South Book 1) by [Rebecca Tran]

The variety of people I interview never ceases to amaze me. Recently I was in Arizona on a business trip. My producer called and asked me to interview a friend of her mother’s. She assured me there would be a story. I was expecting an older woman, that’s not what walked through my door.

“Hi I’m Alexis Greene, you can call me Lexa. Sarah asked me to come in for an interview.” Lexa said politely as she stepped into my room. She was about my height with caramel skin, deep brown curly hair, and large brown eyes. She wore leggings and a blouse that fell off one shoulder. Underneath was a large dragon tattoo. Lexa straightened her top, but part of the head remained visible.

I offered her a seat in the only other chair in my small hotel room as I got situated. “So, Lexa can you tell me a little about yourself?”

“Well like I said, I’m Lexa Greene. I’m a werewolf and my mate is Hunter Silver a dragon and the Enforcer for the Southern Territory. We haven’t been mated very long. Of course I haven’t been out of the witches cage very long either.” Lexa told me like all of it was common knowledge.

It took me a moment to process what she said. Werewolves, dragons, and witches all in one sentence was enough to make your head explode. I didn’t know if I should believe her or laugh. Although, whether true or not, my last interview with Hayden North who claimed to be a dragon was one of my most popular. I took a deep breath and started the interview.

“It certainly sounds like you’ve had an amazing life. I see why Sarah asked you to come by.” I smiled at her, “Would you say Hunter is the love of your life then?”

“Hunter is my life now. You can’t imagine what it means to have a mate until you do. Even as a wolf I didn’t truly understand. He was made for me and the sex… well” She smirked, “everyone should be so lucky.”

“What quality do you like most in a man?” I asked her. It was always interesting to hear what people found attractive in their loved ones.

Lexa didn’t pause yet the answer she gave surprised me. “Honesty, and integrity.” Lexa must have sensed my surprise because she went on. “Hunter is handsome, strong and very capable. But I can get that anywhere and I can take care of myself. It was his personal code that got me. When he gives his word he stands by it. If he can’t it nearly kills him. After being hurt before that’s pretty important.”

“If you could change one thing about yourself what would it be?” I asked her.

Lexa looked troubled. There was a tear in her eye when she answered. “It’s not fair to him. We aren’t equals. I’m not as strong as he is and in the territory he constantly has to protect me. If I could I would be stronger for him.” Lexa swiped at the tear as she looked away pulling herself together.

“What is your greatest regret?” I asked her hoping I wouldn’t make her sad again.

Lexa actually growled which made me jump “I regret not killing the witch that held me captive personally. He kept me there far too long.”

 Her eyes were an eerie golden color and a million miles away.  I had to change subjects before things got out of hand. “On a lighter note; what is your biggest extravagance?”  I asked quickly.

Lexa’s eyes warmed then darkened once more. My doubts about her being fully human were starting to fade.  She smiled again, “My double chocolate caramel cake. I love to make it. Hunter and I could eat the whole thing in one sitting if we don’t watch it. He says I’ll make him fat, but really a fat dragon?” Lexa shook her head giggling slightly at the thought.

“Is there a word or phrase that you use too much?” I asked trying to get things moving again.

“Yes, oh… yes, yes,” Lexa moaned then she laughed some more.

I sighed trying not to think about what she was insinuating. “Alright Lexa, last question. Is there one skill or hobby you’d like to learn?”

“I would love to learn how to sing. My wolf can do it so beautifully, but I sound like crap. Hunter swears I sound like a cat in heat. It really could come in handy in the future.” Lexa looked perfectly innocent. I wondered if she was being serious or somehow referring to her previous answer.

“Well thank you Lexa that’s all I need.” She stood as I did and shook my hand. “By the way how do you know Sarah?”

“Her mother’s friend Rachel and I went to culinary school together. I heard she opened her own restaurant and is doing quite well.” I stared at her openly now. I met Rachel a time or two she was in her early fifties. She went to culinary school over 20 years ago. Lexa still looked like she just graduated.

There was a knock on the door distracting me. “That would be Hunter, was there anything else?” Lexa asked.

“No sorry, thanks again.” I walked her to the door and opened it. Waiting patiently outside was what looked like a male model. Hunter was over six feet tall with blonde hair and moss green eyes. I understood Lexa’s amusement about a fat dragon now. Every inch of Hunter’s exposed flesh was covered in muscle. He didn’t pay attention to me though. All he saw was Lexa. He wrapped his arm around her and said a polite hello and goodbye to me before they left. I closed the door wondering where I could meet a dragon. Then I caught myself. When did I start believing in dragons or werewolves?

Title:  Hunted: Dragons of the South  (Book 1)

Author: Rebecca Tran

Genre: Paranormal Romance

Hunted (Dragons of the South)

Book Blurb:

Hunter Silver was sent to Arizona to clean up the Southern Territory as their new Enforcer. After nearly a year on the job, things are finally falling into place. Life was ideal. That is until a starved female werewolf wanders into his life. Hunter’s dragon says mine before it ever meets Lexa. This has trouble written all over it. Can Hunter save the territory and Lexa or will he be forced to choose?

After waking up in a cage, Lexa Greene runs as far as she can before nearly collapsing from exhaustion. With her memory gone Lexa has no choice but to trust a handsome stranger. Lexa’s wolf wants Hunter before her human half ever realizes what she is. But Lexa can’t start anything until she’s pieced her life back together, or can she? Will Lexa risk it all for a chance at love or will she run again?

 

Excerpt:

Lexa watched Hunter across the table. She couldn’t take her eyes off him actually. Surely she’d met handsome men before. Why was the attraction to Hunter so strong? She wanted to hold his hand. Feel his skin on hers. Have his hands all over her. Taste his lips. Lexa felt the heat build between her thighs and tried to think about something else.

Lexa asked Hunter about the territories hoping to distract herself. He explained that there were four territories: north, south, east and west. Asher stayed in the east, his brother Chase the North, Mac was here in South and Jacob lead the west. Asher oversaw all the territories though, none of them would challenge him. Then there was Zachary Lee. He led the Asian dragons in the states. He only recently formed an alliance with Asher. Much to his chagrin, his daughter mated one of the northern dragons. Zachary’s daughter and her mate were responsible for killing the witch holding her.

Lexa still wanted to know why she was being held. What purpose it served. Hunter wouldn’t tell her though. He said he didn’t want to spoil the evening. Lexa didn’t either. She let the subject drop. It was the same reason she wasn’t asking about the wolves. Lexa knew she was supposed to be one of them, yet she knew nothing about them. All she felt was fear and anger when she thought about it. A low growl formed in her throat. She caught herself and looked up at Hunter. He only asked if something was bothering her. Lexa waved it off.

Hunter reached across the table and took Lexa’s hand. It was supposed to be comforting. Instead, his touch was electric. Lexa was thinking about things she shouldn’t again and pulled her hand back with a smile for him.

After dinner, it was still early. Hunter suggested a movie and Lexa was relieved. She wasn’t sure if she trusted herself to spend time with him alone at his house. Public places were a much safer option. Hunter drove them to an older theatre just outside town. She was a little overdressed but who cared. Women watched Hunter. It annoyed her. Couldn’t they see he was on a date? The growl was starting again, and Lexa swallowed it down. ‘He is ours.’ Lexa looked around for the source of the voice. She heard someone laugh.

“Something wrong?” Hunter asked her.

“Did you hear that?” Lexa whispered up to him. Hunter said he didn’t.

Only you can hear me, Lexa.’

Lexa jumped. Hunter pulled her close worried. “Why?”

I am your wolf, and Hunter is ours.’

“Shit,” Hunter looked down at her worried. “I thought maybe, just maybe you were wrong about me. But, no. I have some voice claiming she’s my wolf talking to me.” Lexa explained. Hunter chuckled. She smacked his chest. “It’s not funny.”

“At least she talks. Chase’s dragon is wicked smart, yet he refuses to speak. Well, he did until he took a human mate.” Hunter told her.

He paid for the tickets and walked Lexa to the concession line. “You talk about them like they are people,” Lexa remarked.

“They aren’t animals even though we call them our beasts. They are intelligent creatures. Each has their own personality and desires. They think, dream, love and feel sorrow. You’ll understand once you get to know your wolf.” Hunter assured her as they found their seats.

Lexa thought she wanted to see the movie. She paid attention for the first half. Then Hunter took her hand in his, and his thumb drew circles absently on her skin. It sent tingles up her arm. She cuddled in close resting her head on his shoulder. Hunter wrapped an arm around her. She could smell him. The delicious scent made the desire worse.

Hunter must have had the same problem. He bent down and kissed Lexa. She offered her tongue. Hunter’s lips parted for her as his arms pulled her closer. Lexa’s hands roved over the taut muscles under his cotton button up. She loved the feeling of him. He was strong, solid, and covered in muscle everywhere she touched. At that moment Hunter was letting her touch a lot of him.

****

Hunter loved kissing Lexa. It was unlike any other woman. She knew exactly how to tease his tongue with hers. When to tug on his lips. Where to put her hands. How he didn’t know, and he really didn’t care. If he didn’t stop soon though a whole theatre of people was going to get a show that wasn’t meant for public audiences.

Hunter pulled away, and Lexa pulled him back. Her hand pulled his hair just hard enough to prove she meant business. Hunter smiled against her lips. He was so turned on right now it was uncomfortable. She was worth it though. Hunter would let Lexa tease him any day. Her hand ran up his inner thigh. Hunter had to stop her now. He pulled away and resisted when she tried to start again.

Lexa was breathing heavy, and he smelled her desire clear as day even with the butter on the popcorn permeating his nose. She probably smelled his desire too, and it was urging her on. He leaned over and whispered in her ear asking if she wanted to go or stay. Even in the dim light, Hunter saw her cheeks flare red. Lexa said stay her wolf said go. Until they were on the same page, nothing was going to happen.

Hunter took her hand again and watched the movie. She let their hands rest in her lap for most of the movie. Occasionally, though she would move it to his and snuggle in close for a bit. Then she’d snatch a kiss and retreat to her side of the armrest. Hunter didn’t mind. He’d wait for Lexa as long as he needed to.

 

Special News: Hunted is coming to Audible Summer 2020

 

Bio:

Author Biography: I am a mother, author and blogger. I love all things fantasy and sci-fi, throw in a little romance and I’m hooked. I have two little girls and two dogs, so that makes four kids. I am the nerdiest of nerds who can’t choose between Star Wars, and Star Trek. I still think its funny that it took a whole team of Avengers to save the planet when Dr Who just needs his sonic. And for those who don’t know Anime is not cartoons for grown-ups. If you want to learn more about me or my work visit my website https://rttranbooks.net

 

Buy Links:

B&N KOBO Ibooks etc.: https://www.books2read.com/u/b6r7gJ

Amazon Universal Link: http://mybook.to/DOS1

Social Media Links:

Website & Blog: http://rtranbooks.net

http://asmallgangofauthors.blogspot.com

Facebook page: https://m.facebook.com/Rtranbooks/

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email:  rtranbooks.com@outlook.com

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Linkedin: http://www.linkedin.com/in/rebecca-hoelker-tran-3aaab3141

Google+: https://plus.google.com/u/0/105043491920055628616

Independent Author Network: http://www.independentauthornetwork.com/r-tran.html

 

 

Vampyre Theatre & Wild Hunt Blog Tour #DarkFantasy

 

Vampyre Theatre
by Nancy Kilpatrick
Genre: Adult Dark Fantasy
New vampire Cheryl and century-old vampire Nightshade both have had a relationship with the one who turned them into otherworldly blooddrinkers. These two are engaged in emotional and physical battles, charged by hidden agendas, laced with attraction and repulsion, all of it amorous, amusing, dramatic and deadly. The crucible that completes the triangle brings them together but also keeps them apart: Aleron, who is MIA, or is he?
**On sale for 99 cents !!**
Wild Hunt: a vampire novella
by Nancy Kilpatrick
Genre: Adult Dark Fantasy
A sassy, legally-blind psychic.
A three centuries-old Transylvanian vampire.
Enemies. Each with their own endgame. Compelled to form a fragile alliance where every encounter crackles with as much attraction as repulsion. This fast-paced, modern vampire novella vibrates with danger, treachery and Dark Romance. The plot twists and turns, the stakes are the highest, and nothing is as it seems.
**On sale for 99 cents !!**
Nancy Kilpatrick is an award-winning author. Her publishing credits include 22 novels, over 220 short stories, 6 collections of her stories, 1 graphic novel, 1 non-fiction book and, as well, she has edited 15 anthologies. She lives in Montreal and her work is published in the U.S., Canada, the U.K., and has been translated into 8 languages. These are the genres in which she has published: dark fantasy, horror, fantasy, mystery, science fiction, erotica. Details can be found on her website below.
5 eBook copies of one of the novels in my series Power of the Blood
Follow the tour HERE for special content and a giveaway!

 

Angels and Demons Bundle

Angels and Demons Bundle – Now available


Angels and Demons7

Angels and Demons – the ultimate custodians of good and evil do battle in the heavens and on Earth and bring in their mortal allies.

Mortals and immortals alike risk life, limb and wing and soul for victory.

11 tales of angels and demons.

https://books2read.com/AngelsDemonsBundle

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B089NHF9SB/

https://books.apple.com/us/book/id1516734867

https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/angels-and-demons-a-l-butcher/1137129517

https://www.kobo.com/gb/en/ebook/angels-and-demons-18

  1. Heaven Bent Robert Jeschonek
  2. The Price of Demons Stefon Mears
  3. Pockets of Darkness Jean Rabe
  4. Rose Swartz Wears Rose Quartz Brenda Carre
  5. Angel’s Demise Felicia Fredlund
  6. Emberstone Karen L. Abrahamson
  7. Chance Damnation DeAnna Knippling
  8. Deviant-Hunter’s Sabbath Harambee K. Grey-Sun
  9. The Troll-Demon War Leah Cutter
  10. A Pact with Demons: The Sprite and The Familiar Michael R.E. Adams
  11. Angel on My Shoulder Russ Crossley

Meet My Character Week – Kaine Martin – #Suspense #Paranormal

CHARACTER’S NAME: Kaine Martin

  1. Who are you? (Give a brief description of yourself)

Hello, my name is Kaine, and I’m an anthropologist. Rarely people notice me, mostly because I don’t like to be in the spotlight.

I’m very shy, and I’m never confident about whether people might like me or not. This side of my character leads me generally to be mistaken for a person who gets above himself, as it happened with Nora, one of my colleagues.

  1. Who are your companions?

Well, first of all, there is Mark. He’s the other side of my sky, the man I love with all my strengths.

He’s completely different from me, self-confident, charming, and sexy as hell. The typical guy who’s always in the spotlight.

We complete each other, and I believe we were just meant to be together.

Then, there is Jason Murdock. He is an anthropologist who was trying to track an elusive and mysterious tribe in Africa. Eight years ago, he was considered missing, until one day, I received an email from him. That message changed my life forever, giving me a precious lead to continue his research and be the one to bring the tribe to the spotlight.

 

  1. Do you have a mentor? Tell us about them.

From the time I reached Jason to Africa, my life reached a sudden turn, and with so many things going the wrong way, I ended up into a curse.

Yes, I know it sounds crazy, and sometimes I find it also hard to believe it myself, but it’s true.

The most important mentor has been also my tormentor, the high priestess Akuna-Ra.

She helped me to release my inner power to communicate with the entities of the underworld, and opened my eyes to a brand-new vision of the Universe.

You won’t believe its complexity, not at least until you start to see the reality from a completely different perspective.

 

  1. If you could live your life again would you make the same choices?

Absolutely, because even the wrong one, the one that cursed me, turned out to be a blessing.

  1. What is the hardest choice you’ve had to make in the course of your adventures? What was the easiest?

The hardest choice was perhaps leaving for an undefined period to search the tribe in Africa.

I just started my relationship with Mark, and I was afraid this long period away from each other could undermine our future together.

The easiest choice was choosing to remain in Africa, and propose Mark to move there with me.

If you are going to read about my adventure, I’m sure you will also be tempted to leave everything behind.

 

  1. Would you die for those you love? Would you kill for them?

I don’t believe in violence, and I don’t believe that dying for someone I love would make things easy. They will mourn my absence and the pain would be unbearable.

I would rather try to solve every situation in a less dramatic way.

The same is for killing; there must be a better way than to kill or be killed by someone.

Maybe I might summon the forces of the underworld.

 

  1. Have you ever loved/been loved?

Yes, I love, and also I am loved.

I fell in love with many guys before, but only Mark made me feel special.

You know, when everybody started to believe I was dead, he ran to Africa even to bring back my corpse. He’d never accept my death without having the certainty.

 

  1. Tell us about your family.

Unfortunately, there isn’t much to be said.

I was raised by my mother alone, and I don’t have any siblings.

My father died shortly after I was born, and I have no memory of him. Many times, I fantasize about how it would have been to have him close to me.

I wonder about what kind of person he was and whether he’d been proud of me like my mother was.

Mom has been for me more than just family, she supported me, and even after her death, she returned as a ghost to help me make the right decision, guiding me to the right path. She also tried to guide Mark when he didn’t know where to search for me.

 

  1. Do you believe in magic?

Of course, I do! My whole life revolves between this world and the underworld. Without magic, I could never keep the balance between them, and believe me, it’s a hard job!

  1. Why should we read about your adventure?

Because it’s so crazy that sometimes I also feel impossible that things like that could happen, particularly to me.

Before this adventure started, I never considered magic being something real.

It was just mumbo-jumbo, something that shamans used because they didn’t have scientific knowledge. Only now, I understand how wrong I was, and I thank Akuna-Ra for introducing me to magic and release those dormant powers in me.

Therefore, if you think magic doesn’t exist, this is a book to open your eyes and entertain you with a fascinating new point of view.

If you, instead, believe in magic, this is going to be a compelling read to find out something more about it.

Together with this, you will discover the powerful beauty of the African Rainforest and the amazing people living around it.

So, what are you waiting for? Come to find me there, I’ll be waiting between one spell and another, trying to stay alive.

 

Mandatory info (author):

Paula J. Mann lives a double life. She is a geologist by day and a novelist by night. She’s best known for writing psychological thrillers and dramas, like ‘A Tale of a Rough Diamond.’
She also writes historical fiction, like the Amazon.co.uk best-selling Aquila et Noctua, and paranormal suspense.
She loves traveling and shares her experiences on her blog:

Author’s name: P. J. Mann

Link to book or books where this character appears:

Thou Shalt Never Tell

Website/Blog/Facebook/Twitter page

Blog: http://paperpenandinkwell.blogspot.com.
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/paperpenandinkwell
Website https://pjmannauthor.com
twitter: https://twitter.com/PjMann2016

*Optional – short piece on why you chose to showcase this character and what draws you to him/her/it/them. Is there a basis in reality for this character – for example.

I chose this character and this particular book because there’s a lot about the places I visited, and for which I fell in love.

Africa is a very diverse continent, and every country has its peculiar beauties that draw me there. Kaine is a bit like me, shy and introverted, although I don’t have any special mediumistic power, I’m attracted by everything belonging to magic rites and supernatural forces.

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Shadow Magic Book Tour – #Paranormal #Mystery #Romance – Sherry Soule

Shadow Magic
Macabre Academy Book 1
by Sherry Soule
Genre: Paranormal Mystery Romance
Ghost summoning? No biggie. Raising the dead? Bring it on. Solving my sister’s sudden disappearance? A bit more complicated…
I’m Serena LeStrange, a necromancer who prefers to hide her freakishly fabulous skills from others. Only my sister makes me feel less of a weirdo, so when she mysteriously vanishes from college, I enroll at Macabre Academy to start my own investigation.
Except this is no ordinary school for the magically inclined, it’s home to all monsters—even the most dangerous ones. And after meeting an incredibly gorgeous vampire and a sinfully hot reaper, I find myself entangled in a passionate, yet forbidden, flirtation. To complicate matters, I get stuck with a ghostly genie sidekick and suspect a sinister sorority of misdeeds.
But to solve the mystery, I’ll need all the help I can get. Someone at Macabre knows what happened to my sister, and I won’t stop until I dig up the truth.
Unfortunately, some dark secrets prefer to stay buried.
Do you enjoy not-so-cozy paranormal mysteries, slow burn romances, and unconventional heroines?
Welcome to Macabre Academy, the first spellbinding book in a paranormal mystery romance trilogy!
PG-13: *No F-bombs, sex (slow burn), or graphic violence, but there are steamy kisses.
Heroine: A quirky supernatural Nancy Drew.
Premise: An older university-age paranormal academy series with mystery and light humor.
Sherry Soule is a Multi-Genre Author, who lives in Northern California with her family and two spoiled rescue cats. She likes to surround herself with positive people and reads daily.
Sherry writes exciting tales of passionate romance, epic drama, and thrilling suspense. Many of her books have been on the Amazon bestseller lists and nominated as top picks in the “Best Paranormal Romance” categories on numerous review sites.
**¨**.♥.**¨**
Subscribe to Sherry’s newsletter to get a free eBook: https://bit.ly/37Jpl8T
$10 Amazon gift card
Follow the tour HERE for special content and a giveaway!

 

Chameleon – Blog Tour – Paranormal

Chameleon
by Zoe Kalo
Genre: YA Paranormal Psychological Suspense
FIVE GIRLS. AN ISOLATED CONVENT. A SUPERNATURAL PRESENCE. A DARK SECRET.
SHORTLISTED for the 2017 Dante Rossetti Awards for Young Adult Fiction!
I can’t believe it has come to this. The way things have blown out of proportion. I only wanted to contact my dead father. Ask his forgiveness.
Seven months.
Seven months isn’t that long, is it?
I’ll go through the motions, no need to make friends that I’ll never see again. When you get close to people, you end up getting hurt.
Puerto Rico, 1973
17-year-old Paloma only wanted to hold a séance to contact her dead father. She never thought she would be kicked out of school and end up in an isolated convent. Now, all she wants is to be left alone. But slowly, she develops a bond with a group of girls: kind-hearted Maria, insolent Silvy, pathological liar Adelita, and their charismatic leader Rubia.
At night, the waterfall’s dark music haunts her dreams of drowning…
When Paloma holds another séance, she accidentally awakens an entity that has been dormant for years. The body count begins. Someone doesn’t want the secret out…
Are the ghost and Paloma’s suspicions real—or only part of her growing paranoia and delusions?
If you love the vibes in “The Orphanage,” “The Craft” and “Pretty Little Liars,” you’ll enjoy this mess-with-your-head, YA supernatural/psychological thriller!
A certified bookworm, Zoe Kalo has always been obsessed with books and reading. Reading led to writing—compulsively. No surprise that at 16, she wrote her first novel, which her classmates read and passed around secretly. The pleasure of writing and sharing her fantasy worlds has stayed with her, so now she wants to pass her stories to you with no secrecy—but with lots of mystery…
She’s had the good fortune of living on 3 continents, learning 4 languages, and experiencing a multicultural life. She holds a BA in Creative Writing and an MA in Comparative Literature. She lives in Belgium with her husband and two evil cats.
$25 cash paypal
Follow the tour HERE for special content and a giveaway!

 

Excerpt 1:

I cannot clearly say how I had entered

the wood; I was so full of sleep just at

the point where I abandoned the true path.

–Dante Alighieri, Inferno 1. 11-12

 

Chapter 1

 

Puerto Rico, 1973

 

Oak trees dripping with Spanish moss embraced us from both sides, but not enough to shield us from the prison that would be my home for the next seven months. The high stone walls and neo-Gothic bell tower loomed over us as my stepfather drove his Mercedes through the spiked iron gates and into the sloping, curving driveway.

A spider of dread crawled up my back. Prison indeed.

I couldn’t believe it had come to this. The way things had blown out of proportion. I’d only wanted to contact my dead father. Ask his forgiveness.

My mother reached for my hand from the front seat without turning around to look at me. I stared at her perfectly polished red nails and the glittery square cut emerald on her ring finger. Her fingers flicked, silently pleading for my attention, but I was frozen inside. Her hand retreated.

I stared at the convent, my eyes studying the dark arched windows, the worn, age-blackened stones. The place looked haunted. Perfect for my state of mind. What was my mother thinking?

Something moved behind one of the windows. A face. For an instant my pulse raced at the sheer paleness of it, at the two dark holes that made up its eyes.

“What are you looking at?” Sara, my six-year-old half sister, asked.

I pointed. “A girl.”

She followed my line of vision. “Where?”

“There. High up. In the window.”

She dipped her head so she could have a better look. “I don’t see anything.”

            I felt a shiver, but not from the cold. It’s white. It’s watching us.

Then the car moved too close to the building, and the face vanished from view.

“Is this your new school, Paloma?” Sara asked.

I nodded. Sara was the child, female version of my stepfather. Her bottomless dark eyes, framed by velvety lashes, stared at me with misery. “I don’t like it,” she whispered, grabbing my hand.

“It’ll be okay,” I whispered back, and gave her hand a little squeeze.

“You promise?”

“I promise.”

“Well, here we are,” Domenico said in his strong Castilian accent, stopping the car in front of the entrance. He climbed out and opened the door for my mother. Then he proceeded to take out my suitcases from the trunk.

My mother was silent. She stepped out like a wooden mannequin, her eyes shimmery with unshed tears.

I climbed out, followed by Sara, the gravel crunching under our shoes. The early morning air was cool and a blanket of mist still lingered—not surprising, since the convent was on the outskirts of El Yunque, the island’s rain forest. More Spanish moss hung from the oak trees and rippled in the breeze like long, shivering memories. I could smell the dew on the leaves and the rich perfume of moist earth, redolent of open graves.

I glanced at the ominous clouds. “Beautiful morning.”

An ongoing distant hum resonated all around us. One, two beats passed, before it struck me: Waterfall.

Something within me shut down—or exploded, I couldn’t be sure.

I shut my eyes for a second, wiping out memories of chilled water searing my lungs.

I repeated the eighth multiplication table in my head.

“After you,” Domenico said, interrupting my thoughts.

I wanted to loathe him. Tried to, anyway. I could see what my mother saw in him: a powerfully charismatic, handsome man with the infinite skill to make people do his bidding. My mother, with her small delicate features and petite frame, looked invisible beside him. A mere spectre. But that was just a façade. I knew better.

The big oak door opened and a nun clad in black habit and a wimple came down the steps to greet us.

Sara wrapped her arms around my waist. Her gesture both comforted me and heightened my anxiety. Nuns in habit made me think of great black birds.

“Bienvenidos,” the nun said. Like my stepfather, she also had a Castilian accent. “I’m Madre Estela and I’m second in charge to Madre Superiora. You must be Señor and Señora de Aznar.”

They exchanged small talk. Madre Estela sounded polite enough, but she didn’t offer to shake hands with my parents, which I found strange. Maybe nuns weren’t allowed to shake hands. I wouldn’t be surprised. I noticed the wedding band on her ring finger. Married to God. Absurd.

“You must be Paloma,” she said tonelessly.

“Yes,” I said. Wasn’t it obvious? I didn’t know what else to say.

The cross on her chest caught my attention. It had a crucified Christ on it and I noticed the thorns cutting Christ’s forehead, the little drops of blood glistening on His fragile body.

“Welcome to our school, Paloma.” Her critical gaze scrutinized my makeup, my tight jeans. “I’ve heard much about you.”

I didn’t miss the hint of cold disapproval in her voice. I wasn’t sure how much my parents had complained about my behavior, but considering I had been kicked out—well, actually, kindly asked to leave—my previous school in the middle of October, it couldn’t be good.

“Are you ready to resume your senior year of high school?” Stress on resume.

“I can’t wait,” I said. There was no point in being nice—or pretending to be. That just wasn’t me. I felt miserable and couldn’t hide it. Besides, I could tell from our short exchange that she’d made up her mind not to like me long before meeting me, and I had the sinking feeling that no matter what I said or did, her opinion wouldn’t change. I had already been stamped in her Inquisition book, tagged a criminal.

Madre Estela’s stony eyes moved to Sara. My little sister’s arms clutched my waist even tighter. From the nun’s expression, I could tell she was wondering if I had infected Sara with whatever plague ailed me. She dismissed us and turned back to my mother and stepfather. “Madre Superiora is expecting you in her office.  Let’s not keep her waiting, shall we not? Don’t concern yourselves with the suitcases. Someone will come for them shortly.”

They thanked her and followed her up the steps.

“I don’t want to go in,” Sara said.

“It’ll be okay,” I said. I glanced at the window. I wanted to see the pale face again. But there was nothing.

A drop of rain hit my cheek and I wiped it off. Then I held Sara’s hand and together we walked up the steps and through the arched doorway.

I felt my throat closing up.

            Seven months.

Seven months wasn’t that long, was it? Besides, Thanksgiving break was just around the corner. Six weeks, to be exact. I had already marked my calendar. I couldn’t wait. I would go through the motions, no need to make friends that I’d never see again. When you get close to people, you end up getting hurt.

 

Excerpt 2 (from Chapter 9):

Madre Estela remained standing by the door. “Get a bucket and fill it with water.”

Her hypercritical eyes sliced through my self-worth as I grabbed one of the metal buckets, lifted it into the sink, and turned on the faucet. I watched, transfixed, as the water gushed like a torrent spurting from an open artery. The cold spray raised goosebumps on my arms.

Madre Estela snapped her fingers. “Move.”

As I hauled the bucket to the door, some of the water slushed over the edge and splattered to the floor.

“Add the detergent,” she said stiffly, irritated by my clumsiness.

I chose a green bottle, twisted the cap, and poured. The acrid pine smell stung my nostrils.

“Get a sponge and a brush from there. Get going. We don’t have all evening—unless you want to work in the dark.”

I gritted my teeth, but pretended not to be bothered. I suspected that the one thing that this nun couldn’t stand was indifference.

Outside, it was almost dusk. In spite of the intense screeching of the coquíes, the drum of the waterfall hit my ears. It was louder now than the last time I’d been here. How was that possible?

I felt a drop of rain. Great.

Madre Estela put one hand out, palm up. “My, my. What’s this?” She looked chagrined, and I suddenly realized why. If it rained, I would have to go inside, ruining her plans. “What are you standing there for? Start scrubbing.”

I was tempted to throw the bucket of greenish water at her face. Instead, I prayed for rain as I walked across the rose garden. Once at the gate, I glanced back at her.

“You’ll work until I come for you, understood?” she said, hands on hips in her usual stance. She pointed to one of the second-floor windows. “I’ll be watching from there.”

And that was it. She was gone.

For a moment I just stood there. If only my friends could see me now. They would never believe it.

I opened the gate and walked into the graveyard. The statue of Gabriel greeted me, its face fiercer in the dusk. The temperature must have been in the low seventies. I was glad I had my cardigan.

Suddenly, the garden lamp post lit up. I turned, startled. I wasn’t sure if it had automatically switched on or if someone, maybe Madre Estela, had done it from indoors. I glanced up at the second-floor window, expecting to find her face. I had the chilling sensation of being watched. There was nothing. The windows glowed with yellow light, a multitude of feral eyes keeping guard.

However, behind one of the ground-floor windows on the right, a figure appeared. Tall, blurred. Madre Superiora? I was sure that was her office. Yet, something about the shape of the head and the shoulders made me think of…Rubia. What was she doing in Madre Superiora’s office?

Just as abruptly as it’d appeared, the figure vanished from view.

The incident left me strangely unsettled.

Focus.

I splashed some of the water on one of the tombstones and got to work. The sound of hard bristles against stone blocked the hum of the waterfall. Almost.

Go away, damn it. 

As I crouched to work on a second tombstone, doing my best not to get wet in the process, something shifted at the edge of my vision. I jumped to my feet, my heart thudding. Gabriel. Its wings had rippled with movement.

Dear God…what’s happening to me?

I rubbed my forehead and grimaced, my fingers shaking.

I felt another drop of rain. If it was going to rain, why didn’t it? The sky was playing with me, too. Mocking me.

I cursed the clouds and started scrubbing again.

I had another sensation of being watched and this time, yes, it was Madre Estela behind the window. I pretended I hadn’t seen her and tried to keep focused on the task at hand.  The water had turned blackish with grime.

I don’t know how long I scrubbed. I lost track of time. But it was dark. My back and shoulders were sore and my hands stung from the harsh detergent.

Madre Estela was long gone from the window.

Half panting, I sat down on the edge of the tombstone and tossed the brush aside in disgust. I looked at the statue again, but it was motionless. I turned to the windows again, my eyes slowly moving from one to the other.

From one to the other.

Expecting to see the face. Wanting to see it.

Nothing.

Yet, that weird sensation of being watched, again.

My gaze shifted to the woods, to the exact place where the cemetery ended and the forest started. There was a path there. Narrow, obscured by the trees. For a long moment I sat, mesmerized. Then I stood up and began to approach it. The breeze picked up as I got closer, carrying with it the cool, slightly pungent smell of the waterfall.

I stopped at the very edge, the darkness enveloping me, the dampness seeping through my clothes.

The wind sighed, rustling the leaves and fluttering my hair.

Icy breath, on the back of my neck.

I’m in here… a voice whispered from the shadows.

I spun around in terror.

Then I hit something hard.

 

Excerpt 3 (from Chapter 11):

 

The foliage swallowed me. Sodden leaves gave under my shoes. Twisted limbs and giant ferns reached out to scratch my arms, my legs.

“Adelita!” I called, hastening my pace.

Flash of white ahead.

“Adelita!” No response. “Damn it. It’s getting freaking dark!”

Voices? I halted, panting.

Then broke into a run again. The mist, carried by the waterfall, clung to my lashes, my cheeks, my lips. I tasted its bitterness on my tongue.

Giggling.

“I’m here!” Adelita called.

I slowed my pace. Toward the end of the path, fibrous vines hung from branches like a curtain of snakes. I pushed them aside and staggered forward. Slowly, I looked up.

Against the blackening sky, the monster roared, cradled by twisted, stunted trunks and wisps of fog, looming over me in all its brutal magnificence. Its crystalline waters gushed ferociously, cascading into a murky, swirling pool that spiraled into a descending rock-studded stream gurgling with white iridescent foam.

A cloud of spray enveloped me, cold and impersonal like the wings of some giant bat. Had it not been for one of the vines, I would have fallen to my knees.

Cold water, sucking me down, searing my throat, my eyes. Can’t see, can’t breathe; his hands grab me; blackness, like tar, steals its way down my lungs, spreading its web and filling every corner, every crevice; utter agony before oblivion settles—  

The sight of Adelita, standing at the edge of the pool, shook me out of my trance. She was very still, her skirt puffing from the thundering falls.

“Step back!” I shouted.

Slowly, Adelita lifted her arm and pointed to the center of the waterfall. “She’s in there.”

“Who?” When she didn’t answer, I answered for her. “The ghost? Your invisible friend?”

Adelita lowered her arm. She seemed to have fallen into one of her sudden spells.

“Is that who you were speaking to?” I said urgently.

She was silent.

“Adelita,” I coaxed. She was about ten yards from me. I took one step toward her, my toes curling. “Please… step back.”

“She wants to speak to us,” Adelita said, moving closer to the edge.

“What’s wrong with you? Stop!”

She turned her head to look at me. When she smiled, her teeth looked unnaturally white, as if the iridescence of the foamy water reflected on them.

I edged a little closer and extended my hand. “Please.” I clenched my teeth. “I can’t come any closer,” I said, stressing each word. I squeezed my eyes shut, willing reality to go away, willing it all to be a nightmare. But when I opened my eyes, Adelita’s toes stood just over the edge. For an instant, as if suspended, she seemed to sway, before she opened her wings like an angel about to take flight.

“No!” I sprang forward and seized her arm. She twisted, lost her balance and clutched at my gold chain—“No!”—The gold snapped. I grabbed her shirt and jerked her toward me. We staggered in a drunken embrace before stumbling to the ground. My hand groped wildly around my neck, but my pendant, the most precious object I possessed, was gone. I searched for it on my hands and knees, my flesh sinking into the cold, wet earth.

Then I stood and stared hard at her.

Smudged with dirt, she sagged against a moss-covered boulder. “It’s in there,” she said, her gaze lowered, pointing to the water.

“How do you know?”

“I saw it fall,” she said.

A jolt of nausea hit me and I held my stomach. “That can’t be.”

I stared at the swirling pool and thought I saw it twinkling in the depths. I squeezed my eyes shut—for an eternity, it seemed—before I spun and grabbed Adelita and shook her violently. “You’re lying! That’s what you do. You lie.” I kept shaking her. I wanted to hurt her, hurt her. That was the only way to ease my pain.

She started whimpering, in a manner not unlike my sister Sara. “I’m sorry, I’m sorry,” she kept saying.

I shoved her away and reeled backwards. I felt breathless, delirious.

I glanced one more time at the swirling pool, before I grasped her muddy hand and we headed back. She didn’t resist, an obedient, repentant little child.

By the time we got back to the graveyard, it was already dark. The lamp post cast an iridescent glow on the white roses and tombstones.

To my dismay, Madre Estela had just stepped out of the garden gate and was marching in our direction. With the light behind her, her face was a black mask. But her chin was high and her stride purposeful.

As if out of habit, she went for Adelita first. “What are you doing here? You haven’t done any of your chores.”

I stepped forward and shielded Adelita with my arm. “This isn’t her fault,” I said quickly. “I told her to come and help me.”

She bared her teeth. “Help do what?” she said, her eyes sweeping over our dirt-covered hair and clothes.

“We heard voices coming from there,” I said, gesturing. “We thought one of the girls had gotten lost, so we decided to take a look.”

This made her pause, but only for an instant—before her hand came down, hard and brutal. I staggered backwards, more from shock than pain. No one had ever slapped me before. I touched my burning cheek and just stared at her.

“Voices here, voices there,” she said, disgusted, as if she couldn’t stand to hear more of it. “There are no voices, do you understand? No voices,” she repeated, as if she were trying to convince herself of the fact. “You should know better than listen to Adelita’s lies.”

Adelita didn’t even flinch when Madre Estela twisted her ear. I thought she was going to wrench it off her head right in front of my eyes.

“Pick up the things and go change immediately, both of you,” she ordered, “before you catch pneumonia.”

Before we went inside, I glanced back at Madre Estela. The vegetation rose up behind her, dark and menacing. Her eyes seemed strangely unfocused. She was clutching her wooden cross and murmuring a prayer. A gust of wind rattled the branches.

 

 

 

Dark Tales and Twisted Verses – New Release #Darkfantasy #Horror #Poetry

Dark Tales and Twisted Verses

A Fire-Side Tales Collection

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https://books2read.com/DarkTalesTwistedVerses

Available in e-book, coming soon in print.

https://www.amazon.com/Dark-Tales-Twisted-Verses-Collection-ebook/dp/B07ZXM7TYH

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Dark-Tales-Twisted-Verses-Collection-ebook/dp/B07ZXM7TYH

https://books.apple.com/gb/book/dark-tales-and-twisted-verses/id1486156953

https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/dark-tales-and-twisted-verses-a-l-butcher/1134703807

https://www.scribd.com/book/433380947/Dark-Tales-and-Twisted-Verses-A-Fire-Side-Tales-Collection-2

https://www.kobo.com/gb/en/ebook/dark-tales-and-twisted-verses

Dark tales of ghosts of war, blood from the Autumn of Terror, the wrath of nature, an unusual murder and a cynical vampire. Twisted poetry of loss and mayhem.
Some adult themes and language.
Stories:
The Secret of Blossom Rise – A Ghost Story
The Watcher – A Tale of Jack the Ripper
The Last Forest – A Tale of the Wrath of Nature
The Last Dance – An Autumnal Flash Fiction
The Sleeper – A Yoyo Murder
So Many Nights, So Many Sins – A Vampire’s Tale

Poetry:
We Must Remember
Giving It All
Enigma
Yours Truly
End of Days
Empty Classrooms
The Glass-Eyed Monster

New Release – Blood Moon #Bundle #Shapeshifters #Paranormal #Fantasy #GatheringofBeasts

Now on Preorder – Blood Moon Bundle – Out 1st October (Already released on Amazon).

Amazon, Kobo, I-books, Nook and Bundlerabbit.

Blood Moon Coverfan

When the sun has set, when the moon is full, the shapeshifters gather—wolves, cats and totemic creatures, nightmares and revelations.

Seeking answers, seeking revenge, seeking a cure to affliction, seeking blood, seeking answers or seeking love—a gathering of beasts abounds. Dare you walk beneath the moonlight?

Blood Moon Box set

Blood Moon – Universal Link

Blood Moon on Bundle Rabbit

Blood Moon on Amazon

Blood Moon on Kobo

Blood Moon on I-books

Blood Moon on Barnes and Noble

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By Howl and Claw – Rebecca M Senese

Spirit Dancer – Douglas Smith

Big Bad Wolf- Annie Reed

Badlands – Michelle Lang

Family, Pack – Michael Jasper

Serpent’s Foe – J.M. Ney-Grimm

The Night Mischief Became a Real Cat – Annie Reed

Silver Light – Rita Schulz

Wolf Warlock – Meyari McFarland

Stolen By The Werewolf – AJ Tipton

Beware the Easter Moon -De Kenyon

Moon Spell – Rita Schulz

Eclectica – Short Story Bundle – On Preorder Now

Eclectica A Short Story Bundle

On Preorder – available from 13th April 2019.

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From fantasy to space adventure, pirates, mystery, horror, historical fiction, romance and coming of age you’ll find short, snappy reads herein. There is something for everyone in this lucky dip.

19 short stories and collections from multiple authors.

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07NWQ4YTP/?tag=kydala-20

https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B07NWQ4YTP/?tag=kydala-20

https://www.kobo.com/gb/en/ebook/eclectica-1

https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/id1458246383

https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/books/1131078746

https://bundlerabbit.com/b/eclectica

Blown – Diana Deverell

Socks and Pins and Aliens – Thea Hutcheson

Tales of Blood and Ink – Kate MacLeod

Tales of Tomorrow – Debbie Mumford

Shaken, Not Stirred: A Dawna Shepherd Short Story – Diana Deverell

City Shadows – Chuck Heintzelman

Outside the Walls – A.L. Butcher and Diana L. Wicker

Tales of an Altered Past Powered by Romance, Horror, and Steam – Donald J. Bingle

Dear Brother – Felicia Fredlund

The Cache and Other Stories – Sherry D Ramsey

Sword Oath – Jackie Keswick

The Hooded Man – Barbara G. Tarn

S F & H – Harvey Stanbrough

Resonant Bronze – J.M. Ney-Grimm

Hitomi’s Path – M.L. Buchman

Children – Kristine Kathryn Rusch

Jhyoti Planetside – Marcelle Dube

Petra and the Blue Goo – Kristine Kathryn Rusch

Tears and Crimson Velvet – A. L. Butcher



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NN Light’s October Giveaway

Ooops late again…. but here we go.

October is here and it’s one of my favorite times of the year. The weather turns chilly, the leaves change color and I get an excuse to binge-eat Halloween candy/chocolate. As the wind shakes my windows, I love to curl up with a good book. N. N. Light feels the same way and they’re hosting a spooktacular giveaway. Sorry, couldn’t resist the Halloween pun. No tricks, just treats for booklovers! Everything from romance to paranormal to fiction is being given away. You can even enter to win one of mine. Go on, indulge your inner kid and enter this giveaway.

Trick or Treat Binge-Read Giveaway: https://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/92db775020/

Literary Giveaway Portal:  https://www.nnlightsbookheaven.com/literary-giveaway-portal

Here are some of the prizes

signed print copy of Hacking IT by Kimberley Dean

e-copy of Spirited Attraction by Ashantay Peters

e-copy of Heart Healer by Leslie Bowes

e-copy of A Kiss and a Promise by Tricia Schneider

e-copy of Three Lessons in Seduction by Sofie Darling

print copy of Horu’s Chosen (An Alternate Egypt) by Janet Lane Walters (US/Canada only)

print or e-copy (winner’s choice) of Emmie of Indianapolis by Kay Castaneda

e-copy of Pearlman by David Russell

e-copy of Too Good to be True by Livia Quinn

e-copy of Oath of a Warrior by Mary Morgan (US/Canada only)

e-copy of The Secret of Hillcrest House by Melanie Robertson-King

e-copy of Debriefing the Dead (Book 1 of The Dead Series) by Kerry Blaisdell

e-copy of Tied Up With Strings by Madeline McEwan

e-copy of Arresting Mason by Amber Daulton

e-copy of The Queen of Paradise Valley by Cat Dubie

print or e-copy of one of C. C. Bolick (winner’s choice)

e-copy of The Mystery of Flight 2222 by Thomas Neviaser

e-copy of Once Broken by D. M. Hamblin

e-copy of Lovers by Midnight (Monster Ball) by Ashantay Peters

e-copy of A Debt to the Devil by D. M. Hamblin

e-copy of Other Dark Tales by A. L. Butcher (Smashwords voucher)

e-copy of The Colony and The Last City by RM Gilmour

5 e-copy of The Adventures of Harry Morgan, Volume 1 by Clabe Polk

October Giveaway 2