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review 2018-09-21 11:00
Blog Tour with Excerpt, Giveaway & Release Week Review! Siren's Calling (The Sea King's Daughters #4) Piper J. Drake!

 

 

Amae Waters is a mermaid blending in with humankind. Her mission? Prepare the oceans for the return of her people. But a new predator has entered the Puget Sound, defying human understanding, and Amae must face it and darker dangers lurking in the deep.


Available September 18th – Siren’s Calling, The Sea King’s Daughters IV, An urban fantasy novella by Piper J Drake.


Title: Siren’s Calling
Author: Piper J. Drake
Series: The Sea King’s Daughters
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Release Date: September 18, 2018
Publisher: Independent
Print Length: 22,000 words
ASIN: B07FWSWV5T

 


An urban fantasy novella from Piper J. Drake...

 

Amae Waters will never live up to her father's expectations--she's not a leader and she's not a solider. Rather than live with his disappointment, she's left his realm and built a life for herself in Seattle, a mermaid blending in with humankind. Her mission? To prepare the oceans for the return of her people. But she's not sure she's cut out to accomplish that either.

 

A new predator has entered the waters of the Puget Sound, ravaging orcas and leaving their carcasses to wash ashore for humans to find. Whatever is killing them is beyond human understanding and Amae must find it before it irrevocably damages the complex balance of the ocean ecosystems.

 

But greater danger lurks in the deep. Amae is done evading traps. She'll defend her territory and prove she needn't be a soldier to be a warrior or become the sacrifice used to end her people.

 

 

This novella is short but exciting, I love the plot and the author’s underwater world. The characters are strong and fascinating and easily draw the readers into this vivid world and there are lots of thrilling event that keep readers glued to the pages of this fast paced story that flows smoothly throughout Amae’s story as she discovers that she doesn’t have to be a soldier to keep the balance of the ocean ecosystem. The story is an urban fantasy so while the story hints that there might be a romance in the future, the story is more about forming a new friendship when Amae helps a selkie male. I found the story a delightful read, however I do wish that the story had been a bit longer with more details.

 

 

Add to your bookshelves at –

 

Goodreads - https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/41038913-siren-s-calling?from_search=true

 

 

 

Siren’s Calling is the 4th book in The Sea King’s Daughters series

 

Goodreads – https://www.goodreads.com/series/237157-the-sea-king-s-daughters

 

Amazon – https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B07HFF7H56?ref=series_rw_dp_labf

 

 

Look for other stories in this exciting Urban Fantasy series from Philippa Ballantine, Stacia D. Kelly, Lauren Harris, Katee Robert, and Asa Maria Bradley.


1 Siren’s Tide by Philippa Ballantine
2 Siren’s Serenity by Stacia D. Kelly
3 Siren’s Curse by Katee Robert
4 Siren’s Calling by Piper J. Drake
5 Siren’s Surge by Lauren Harris (coming Oct 15, 2018)

 

 

AVAILABLE in ebook at –

 

Amazon – https://www.amazon.com/Sirens-Calling-Kings-Daughters-Book-ebook/dp/B07FWSWV5T/

 

 

Excerpt from Siren’s Calling:


I tasted blood in the water.

Changing course with a flick of my tail, I swam against the fast-moving ocean current toward the source. There were no vibrations in the water to indicate the thrashing of a living thing in distress and the seas were quieter than usual. Not surprising, with this much blood carried on the currents. Predators would be drawn to it and prey would be wise to leave the area or hide.


Curious, I’d come to investigate, thinking one of the killer whale pods had taken a baleen whale. It wasn’t unheard of, though it didn’t happen often. A big kill like that would draw plenty of ocean denizens, and I hadn’t tasted whale in a long time. I wouldn’t kill one, not when I couldn't finish consuming it myself and not when so many whale species were endangered, but I wouldn’t let it go to waste, either.


When I didn’t find anything in open water, I’d pulled myself up onto the rocky outcropping between islands and found it. The body. But it wasn’t a humpback or gray whale, not a mink or fin whale, either. It was an orca, a killer whale, and that didn’t make any kind of sense.


Before I could take a closer look, the sound of a powerful motor cut through the morning calls of seabirds. Harbor seals lifted their heads and looked around from where they lay on another rock outcropping. A lone Steller sea lion grunted and scratched his head with a huge hind flipper. He turned to stare at me and I met his gaze, unconcerned. He was a prime specimen of a bull, the largest I’d ever encountered, but he posed no threat to me.


The waves slapped against the rocks around my tail fin in a changed cadence. A boat was approaching, and with it, humans. They were probably whale watching, which meant every one of them would be on the lookout for wildlife. Most of them would have binoculars. I couldn’t let them see me in this form.


I dove back into the water, darting through forests of kelp and berating myself for lingering past dawn. There was too much light and I had to dive deep to be sure nothing on the surface caught sight of even a tail flick from me.


As far as humans were concerned, I didn’t exist. I was a myth, a fairy tale.


If they saw me, they might not even believe what they’d seen. In their dreams or after too many drinks, they might whisper, “Mermaid.”
And they’d be right.

 

 

Follow the tour and #enter to #win a Piper J Drake Gift Basket!

 

Enter at: http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/b050ef29572/?

 

 

About Piper J. Drake:

 

Piper J. Drake is a bestselling author of romantic suspense and edgy contemporary romance, a frequent flyer, and day job road warrior. She is often distracted by dogs, cupcakes, and random shenanigans.


Connect with Piper at:

 

Website - http://piperjdrake.com/

 

Facebook - https://www.facebook.com/AuthorPiperJDrake

 

Twitter - https://twitter.com/piperjdrake

 

G+ - https://plus.google.com/+PiperJDrake/posts


Goodreads - https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/13868164.Piper_J_Drake

 

YouTube - https://www.youtube.com/user/PiperJDrake

 

 

 

Follow the tour:

 

9/17/18


Book Sniffers Anonymous - Spotlight

Nicole's Book Musings - Spotlight
Patriotic Bookaholic - Spotlight
Read Your Writes Book Reviews - Spotlight
RoloPoloBookBlog - Spotlight
Sofia Loves Books - Review
Sportochick's Musings - Review
The Bewitched Reader - Review
Natasha's Book Nook - Spotlight
Romance Reviews Today Blog - Spotlight
The Power of Three Readers - Spotlight

 

9/18/18


Becky on Books - Review
red hot books - Review
Reviews in Heels - Spotlight
A Chick Who Reads - Spotlight
Book Lover in Florida - Spotlight
Cat's Guilty Pleasure - Spotlight
Cuz I'm A Nerd - Spotlight
I Need to Read That - Spotlight
OMGReads - Spotlight
Sea's Nod - Spotlight
The Reading Diaries - Spotlight

 

9/19/18


I Smell Sheep - Spotlight
My Book Addiction and More - Spotlight
Tantos Livros Tão Pouco Tempo - Spotlight
We All Make Mistakes in Books - Review
Book Lovers Reviews and Recommendations - Spotlight
Cathy's World - Spotlight
Delish, Devine and All Mine - Spotlight
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The Voluptuous Book Diva - Spotlight

 

9/20/18


Angel's Guilty Pleasures - Spotlight
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Cali Book Reviews - Spotlight
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THE WORLD AS I SEE IT - Spotlight

 

9/21/18


Bibliophile Ramblings - Spotlight
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I Love Romance - Spotlight
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Yearwood La Novela - Spotlight

 

 

 

 

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text 2018-09-20 11:00
Blog Tour with Excerpt! A Highland Emerald (Highland Treasures #3) Brenda B. Taylor!

 

 

ABOUT THE BOOK:

 

Title: A HIGHLAND EMERALD
Author: Brenda Taylor
Publisher: Bethabara Press
Pages: 268
Genre: Scottish Historical Romance

 


BOOK BLURB:


Aine MacLean is forced into an arranged marriage with Sir William, Chief of Clan Munro, yet her heart belongs to a handsome young warrior in her father’s guard. She must leave Durant Castle, the home of her birth on the Isle of Mull, and travel across Scotland in a perilous journey to her husband’s home on Cromarty Firth.

William agrees to a year and day of handfasting, giving Aine an opportunity to accept him and his clan. He promises her the protection of Clan Munro, however, Aine experiences kidnapping, pirates, and almost loses her life in the River Moriston. She doubts the sincerity of William’s promises and decides to return to Durant Castle when the handfasting ends. William determines to win Aine’s heart.

Will the brave knight triumph in his fight for the bonnie lass?

 

A Highland Emerald is the third book in the award-winning Highland Treasures series. The novel tells the story of Aine MacLean and William Munro and is the prequel to A Highland Pearl.

 

 

Add A Highland Emerald to your shelves at:

 

Goodreads –
https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/36207443-a-highland-emerald

 


BookBub – https://www.bookbub.com/books/a-highland-emerald-highland-treasures-book-3-by-brenda-b-taylor

 

 


A Highland Emerald is the 3rd book in the Highland Treasures series –

 

Goodreads- https://www.goodreads.com/series/140606-highland-treasures


Amazon - https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B07G8FHJN5?ref=series_rw_dp_labf

 

 

which includes –

 

1 A Highland Pearl
2 A Highland Ruby
3 A Highland Emerald
4 A Highland Bride

 

 

 

in print or ebook at –

 

Amazon - https://www.amazon.com/Highland-Emerald-Treasures-Book-ebook/dp/B073N1VD4V/

 

B&N - https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/a-highland-emerald-brenda-b-taylor/1126682551?ean=2940158821653

 

 


Chapter One

Isle of Mull

 

Isle of Mull

Scotland, 1486 A.D.

 

 

My father sat on his usual chair in front of the crackling fire, staring at the flames with dim eyes, a fur robe wrapped around his broad shoulders, the deerhound curled at his feet.

 

“Where are you going, Aine?” he asked with his back turned toward the stone, spiral staircase where I stood. “Come, sit with me for awhile.”

 

I pushed the arisaid from my shoulders, letting it drop to the floor, then stepped over the wrap, making my way to the stool where my mother's embroidery frame stood. I took a seat and watched the flames.

 

Without turning his head, my father, Lachlan Og MacLean, eighth Chief of Clan MacLean and fourth Laird of Durant Castle, asked, “Where are you going?”

“How did you ken 'twas I?”

 

He never ceased to amaze me with his uncanny knowledge of events around him although his eyes, so dimmed by injury, saw very little.

 

“I heard the rustle of your skirts.” Da extended his hand for me, so I rose and hugged his neck. He smiled, embracing my arms. “And I ken your scent, lass. ’Tis so like your mither's. You use the same scented soap as she.”

 

“Aye, but from so far away and with the smell of burning wood and dog in your nostrils?”

 

“Your odor is a different pleasantry among the usual burning wood and dog. It stands out in my memory as does the pleasant odor of your mither.”

 

He smiled broadly, showing still straight, white teeth beneath a greying beard. I could almost feel his penetrating gaze upon me as in the days before a battle injury took his sight.

 

He asked, “Where are you going this dreary night?”

 

“Here, Da. To sit beside you and talk of the feast on the morrow.”

 

“Don't try to deceive me, lass. I heard the sound of your arisaid dropping to the floor. You are planning a tryst, I feel certain.”

 

His dimmed gaze pierced through to the depths of my soul.

 

“I could see the turn of your head toward him each time he spoke at the eve’s meal.” A line formed between my father’s brows and a shadow darkened his face. “You are to marry the Munro.”

 

“I dinna love William Munro.” My voice began to rise, and I struggled to control the cry climbing from the depths of my heart. “I wanna marry him, Da. You promised I could wed for love, not convenience.”

 

The cry emerged from my lips. I buried my head on his shoulder and sobbed.

Da rose, grabbed my hand and pulled me to face him, wrapping his powerful arms around my shoulders. He stroked my hair and planted a kiss atop my head. Disturbed, the great dog stood.

 

My heart ached to please Da, I loved him so. His tender embrace brought back memories of my childhood when he comforted me after a fall or some aggravation caused by my three older brothers. We stood for a long time.

 

He gently pushed me away, looking into my eyes and planting a kiss on my forehead. “I only want the best for you, sweetling. You’re my heart, you ken. I dinna wish to leave this world without you being in the care of a good mon. The Munro is a good mon.” He hesitated then added, “With wealth and title.”

 

I looked into his faded blue eyes that once shone with the brilliance of the azure sky on a sunny day. He could only see the outline of my face whilst standing close, now. “If you truly desire the best for me, you'll let me marry the love of my heart, not some bloat because of his title. Titles mean naught to me, Da.” Tears streamed from my eyes, wetting my cheeks. I pulled away from his grasp, swiping at the wetness with a sleeve.


“The Munro is a good mon and a fierce warrior. ’Tis nae better for a husband. He’ll be here on the morrow. We’ll have a feast to celebrate your marriage.”

 

“He’s old. I’m only eighteen summers. I shan’t attend.” Sometimes the stubbornness of my nature overtook good sense. I knew not to speak to my father in such a manner.


He also possessed an immovable streak, and his word overruled my desires.

“He’s no’ old, Aine. A few years your senior, but no’ old by any means. When he’s my age, then he’ll be old.”

 

I continued to sniff, wetting the front of his léine.

 

“All right, Aine. If that’s the way this game is to be played. You'll be watched until after the celebration and you depart with the Munro.”

 

The words spewed from Da’s mouth. A sinister, dark shadow cloaked his face. Muscles twitched in his jaws and his hands clenched in tight fists. I stepped back. He abruptly turned, making his way up the stone steps to the upper story bed chambers, feeling the wall for security. When his foot struck the arisaid I’d dropped on the stair, he reached down, seized the garment, flung it with a vehemence I rarely witnessed from him, and continued up the staircase. The large dog followed at his heels. Not knowing what to do, I grabbed the arisaid, wrapped it closely around my shoulders, pulled the hood over my head, then ran toward the door of the great hall. Ellic waited in the garden. I wanted to be near him, feel his embrace, and listen to the sweet words he would whisper in my ear.

 

I pulled on the large oaken door, reinforced with bands of iron, and stepped into the damp, grey air of gloaming. The large figure of Da’s luchd-taighe, Sion MacLean, filled the portal when I tried to close the door. He put up a massive arm, keeping the door from closing. I stared at him, and he back at me.

 

“Did Da send you to watch me?” I asked the huge brute.

 

“Aye,” he answered, stepping out of the keep, but leaving the door open.

“I’m going to meet Ellic Garvie, in case you are wondering. He waits for me in the stables, so be sure to report my tryst to Da. He kens, anyway.”

 

Ellic Garvie, one of the warriors in Da’s slaugh and a member of his luchd-taighe, held an attraction for me and I for him. I turned on my heels.

 

Sion grabbed my arm, jerking me toward the door. “You're no’ going to the stables this eve.”

 

I tried to jerk my arm from his powerful grasp, but he held tightly whilst pulling me toward the door.

 

Pushing me inside, he said with a hiss, “Stay put, lass, or Laird MacLean will lock you in your room.”

 

I didn’t answer, only returned his gaze. The big oaf. The door closed in my face, and I heard him walk away. Giving the guard time to leave the keep’s vicinity and enter the outer bailey housing the stables, I carefully opened the large door to squeeze through so only a slit of light shone on the cobblestones, closed the door, then made my way to the garden enclosure beside the keep. Upon entering the garden, I glanced back to make certain no one followed, then took the rose-lined garden path to the very end. Ellic’s dark form emerged from the shadow of an apple tree beside the stone wall. I rushed into his strong, powerful arms. He pulled me close, and I buried my head on his chest. Tears fell from my eyes, wetting his jacket.


Ellic held me away, my eyes met his in the last light of gloaming. Their dark color grew darker and ominous as his lips brushed mine with a tender caress. I could not help but respond. The kiss grew harder, more passionate until he broke away, holding both my arms.

 

His ale-tainted breath fanned my face. “I love you, Aine. You must come with me to Oban. My aunt works at Dunollie Castle as the lady’s maid. We’ll be married there and I can join the slaugh of MacDougall and perhaps become part of his luchd-taighe. The Laird of Lorne provides well for his people.”

 

My voice hitched remembering Da’s words. “I canna. Da is having me watched now. The Munro is arriving on the morrow for our marriage ceremony.”

He looked around. “Where is your guard?”

 

“I sent him to the stables looking for you, but I feel certain he will come here soon.” His lips hushed my words, taking my breath away. I turned my head from his and snuggled into his broad chest, feeling the prickly wool of the great plaide draped over his shoulder on my cheek. “I love you so,” I whispered.

 

He took my chin, raising my face to his. “Then come with me tonight.”

 

Suddenly, a vision of my life wed to William Munro flashed through my mind. He was an older man and lived a long distance from Durant Castle, my home. I wanted a young, powerful warrior like Ellic. Da may disinherit me and no longer call me his daughter, but my heart could do naught else.

 

“Aye. I will come with you. Tell me the way.”

 

“Who is your guard?” He stepped back, rubbing his chin in deep thought.

“The brute, Sion. He will ne’er let me slip by him to meet you.”

 

Ellic grew silent, then backed to the stone wall, pulling me with him and gathering me into his arms. We kissed as a full moon rose in the east, casting white, silvery light into the garden. His brown hair glisten in the moonbeams. Ellic was the most handsome of Da’s guards. The thought of leaving him to marry another twisted the inner most part of me into a tight knot. I knew at that moment, I could never marry the Munro.

 

“Sion will drink and make merry along with the others at the feast. He’ll sleep instead of watch at your door, then you can slip out and meet me by the postern gate.”

 

“What of the guards at the postern gate? Da will have extra posted during the festivities with so many warriors inside getting drunk.”

 

“Fret no’, my men and I will take care of the guards. A birlinn is ready to take us across the Straight of Mull to Dunollie.”

 

The thought of leaving with Ellic made my heart thump until I felt certain he could hear its beating.

 

“Now go. Sion will find us soon, and you shouldn’t be seen with me.”

He gave me one last lingering kiss, then pushed me toward the garden gate. I hastened down the path, glancing back for one last look at my love, but he was gone. The bright moon lit the pathway out of the garden. I emerged, but did not see Sion in the bailey. Suddenly, a large hand grasped my arm, pulling me along toward the keep. I tried to jerk free, but could not escape the clutches of the powerful guard.

 

“So you sent me on a wild goose chase to the stables whilst you kept the tryst in the garden. Laird MacLean will be anxious to hear all about it.” He pulled harder.

“Stop you big oaf! I’m no’ a sack of barley to be dragged about.” I wrestled, yanking at his grasp once more and tried not to budge from the spot, but he kept pulling until I stumbled.

 

We reached the keep’s entrance. He pinned me in front of him, using both hands to open the heavy door, then pushed me through the portal. I tripped on the threshold and fell to the stone floor, bruising my hands and knees. Sion grabbed my arm, helped me up, and pulled me to the spiral staircase. Several of the luchd-taighe milled around the great hall. Some glanced our way, but said nothing. They never interfered with another’s orders. I saw none of my family. Sion followed me up the stairs then to my bed chamber. Opening the door, he pushed me through.

“I’ll send for Breda to care for you, for you'll no’ be coming out until the feast on the morrow.” He stood, eyes stormy. “I’m sorry you fell. I dinna mean to push so hard, but what I do and tell you is for your own good. The laird is determined to keep you away from Garvie or whomever you're meeting.” We continued to stare at each other. Determination rose like bile in my throat. “Do you understand, m’lady?”

 

“Where are my brothers? They’ll no’ let this unfair treatment continue. I wish to speak to Gillian.”

 

“Sir Gillian is telling Garvie of the laird’s wishes. Since the mon is a member of the MacLean’s guards, he’ll be allowed to stay and enjoy your marriage feast. Make nae mistake, m’lady, he will be watched.”

 

The door slammed closed, and my face burned with rage. Where are my brothers and my mother? They would never allow such rough treatment inflicted on my person. Surely, they would come to my rescue if they knew. Surely. I flung myself onto the bed, sobbing. My tears wet the coverlet, so I sat up on the side of the feather mattress, reached for a hand kertch on the small table, and blew my nose. Removing the arisaid and flinging it to the floor, I examined my bruised hands, then pulled up my heavy skirt to look at my knees. A small cut bled on one knee, but they were mostly scrapped and blue. I dabbed at the cut with the hand kertch.

A knock sounded. “Who is it?” I rose and rushed to bar the door if necessary. Sion was not coming back into my room.

 

“’Tis Breda, Lady Aine. I’ve come to help you prepare for bed,” the maid called through the door.

 

“Come,” I answered with a sob.

 

The door opened slowly. Breda entered and observed my cut, bruised knees. She searched my eyes, hers filled with anxiety. “I’ll fetch the healer, Lady Aine. That cut should be cared for.”

 

“Nae, Breda. Washing with a clean cloth is all that’s needed.” I dabbed at the blood. “Rinse this in the basin, then wash the cut again. It’ll be much better with the cleansing.”

 

Breda poured water from the pitcher into the bowl, then rinsed the cloth. She brought it back and began to rub on the cut knee. The cold water felt good and stopped the bleeding. She rinsed the rag then washed the cut once more.

Handing me the cloth, she said, “I’ll empty this bowl and fetch more water. Are you certain you dinna wish for me to call the healer?”

 

“Nae. Bring my mither, and if you see my brothers, send them also.” I needed their broad, understanding shoulders to cry on. My brothers usually took my part in any squabble I had with Da and Mam. Da complained they spoiled me ’til rotten, which in truth they did. One major problem my siblings’ overprotectiveness afforded was their interference with beaus and suitors. No man was good enough for their young sister, and Da encouraged this attitude.

 

The large oak door opened with a bang. My brother, Young Lachlan, strode to the bedside and pushed Breda aside, examining my knee. He took both my hands, turned them over, then looked into my questioning eyes.

 

“I’ll speak to Da about Sion,” he said with shards of light glinting in his eyes.

 

“Nae. Please dinna make matters worse with my father. These are naught but scratches.” I didn’t want my brothers interfering in my relationship with Ellic. They probably knew about our courtship since they knew all the comings and goings in Durant Castle. My brothers were Da’s eyes and ears now.

 

“You ken the Munro is coming to finalize the marriage contract.” Lachie dropped my hands, lifting my chin to search my eyes. “What are your feelings on the matter, Aine?”

 

“I care no’ to meet the mon, much less marry him. He’ll take me away to that godforsaken place on the other side of Scotland he calls Ferindonald.” Tears brimmed my eyes. “Away from my family and home. Away from you, Lachie. I dinna care if he’s titled. I’ll no’ go with him.”

 

“I’ll speak to Da this eve, before the Munro arrives. You're a bonnie woman, Aine. Surely he can find a suitor closer to Durant.”

 

I buried my head in his wool plaide and wept, wetting the garment.

He stroked my hair for a long while, then pushed me away and planted a kiss on my forehead. “Take care of your wounds, now.”

 

Lachie turned on his heels with his sword clanking in the scabbard buckled around his waist. Breda began washing the cut on my knee again. She was a good caretaker and I planned to keep her with me wherever I may go, especially if the object of my journey happened to be Fàrdach Castle on the Cromarty Firth.

 

Mother pushed past Lachie in the doorway. He addressed her, then moved on. She rushed to me, taking the wet cloth from Breda and wiping the wound on my knee. She examined the cut, then turned to the maid and told her to fetch, Màdra, the healer. I tried to tell Mother I did not need the healer, but she would not listen.

“You may get blood on your night shift and bed linens. The cut needs a bandage and the scrapes need plantain salve.” She searched my eyes. “Perhaps willow bark tea for pain, also.”

 

“Mam,” I protested. “The wounds are small. I dinna need willow bark tea or anything else.”

 

Mother told Breda to fetch the healer anyway. The maid left, gently closing the door whilst Mam took a clean shift from the trunk at the foot of the bed and told me to stand. She assisted with the laces of my kirtle, then took the garment over my head. She did the same for the blouse, and hung both from a peg on the opposite wall. I grabbed the shift from the bed and put it on. Although a fire blazed in the fireplace, the air felt cold on my body. I moved closer to the fire. A knock sounded on the door. Mother answered, then Breda and Màdra entered the room. Breda held a mug.

 

I sat in a small upholstered chair beside the fire whilst mother took the other. Màdra quickly examined my hands, opened her leather healer’s bag and withdrew a small glass container of salve. She spread the cool balm over the scrapes and bruises on my hands with nimble fingers, then raised my shift and examined the cut on my knee. Shaking her head, she wiped the seeping blood away with a clean cloth, smeared plantain salve on the cut, then placed a linen square over the wound, tying it in place with another, larger strip of linen.

 

Màdra searched my eyes, then motioned for Breda to hand me the mug. “I can tell by your eyes, you’re in some pain, m’lady. Please drink the willow bark tea.”

I looked at Mother who nodded. I could not fight the three of them, so taking the mug from Breda, I drank the bitter tea. The nasty brew would help me sleep and get the rest required to resist the demands of my father. I rose and walked toward the bed. Breda placed the mug with the remainder of the tea on the bedside table, pulled back the bedcovers, tucked the coverlet under my chin, then pulled the fur blanket on top of me.

 

Mother stood beside the bed, brushed the hair from my face, and kissed my forehead. “Don’t hesitate to drink the remainder of the tea if you wake and feel pain.”

 

I hated being treated like a bairn. “Mither, I am fine. Please stop treating me like a bairn.”

 

“You'll always be my wee lassie, Aine. No matter how old you are.” She took Breda’s arm, and the three women left my room.

 

I lay in bed searching the plastered ceiling, thinking of Ellic, and waiting for the potion to take effect on my wakefulness. Mayhap I should do as he asked and slip away with him in the birlinn to Dunollie Castle then beyond. Someplace unknown to my family where we could live in peace the rest of our lives. Maybe I would do just that.

 


ABOUT BRENDA B. TAYLOR


The desire to write historical fiction has long been a passion with Brenda B. Taylor. Since elementary school, she has written stories in her spare time. Brenda earned three degrees: a BSE from Henderson State University, Arkadelphia, Arkansas; a MEd from Sam Houston State University, Huntsville, Texas; and an EdD from Texas A&M University, College Station, Texas; then worked as a teacher and administrator in the Texas Public School system. Only after retirement could she fulfill the dream of publication.


Brenda and her husband make their home in beautiful East Texas where they enjoy spending time with family and friends, traveling, and working in Bethabara Faith Ministry, Inc. She crafts stories about the extraordinary lives of ordinary people in her favorite place overlooking bird feeders, bird houses, and a variety of blooming trees and flowers. She sincerely thanks all who purchase and read her books. Her desire is that the message in each book will touch the heart of the reader as it did hers in the writing.


Her latest book is the Scottish Historical Romance A Highland Emerald.

 

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Historical Heartbeats
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review 2018-09-20 11:00
Blog Tour with Excerpt, Giveaway & New Release Review! Tempt the Flames (The Smokejumpers #1) Marnee Blake!

 

 

Tempt the Flames
The Smokejumpers #1
by Marnee Blake
Genre: Romantic Suspense
Pub Date: 9/11/2018

 

 

Someone is bound to get burned…

 

Meg Buchanan is determined to prove she didn’t get the trainer job in Redmond, Oregon’s rookie smokejumper class because of her family’s long history as firefighters—or out of pity. But if teaching one of her own brothers isn’t challenge enough, she’s shocked to see Lance Roberts in the new class of recruits. Once her brother’s best friend, and her first, unrequited crush, he’s also the son of the man responsible for her dad’s death.

Lance is stunned to realize that this confident redhead is the stubborn girl he once dreamed about. There’s no way he can fall for her now. He needs to focus all his attention on his training—and uncover the truth behind the long-ago fire that killed both their fathers. But as the undeniable heat between them threatens to ignite, someone attempts to put an end to Lance’s amateur sleuthing—and his life…

 


The Smokejumper series is off to a great start with the first book Tempt the Flames. All the characters are strong, compelling characters that easily draw readers into their story especially the hero and heroine, Meg and Lance. The best friend’s little sister is all grown up and the attraction is hotter than ever, but their romance is on shaky ground due to the emotional issues that stem from the deaths of their fathers, so while their attraction is hot enough to ignite from the beginning, the relationship has a few hurdles to overcome before it blazes to life.

 

The past causes all the characters emotional strain and the author does a great job of portraying the intense friction as well as the sizzling chemistry between Meg and Lance. The story has a steady to fast paced and smooth flowing plot that keeps readers hanging on to the edge of their seat in anticipation of what will happen as someone tries to keep Lance from learning the truth of that long ago fire. Determining just who the culprit or culprits are is quite difficult as they are several suspects and I have to say that the conclusion to the conflict was quite surprising.

 

 

Add Tempt the Flames to your shelves at:

 

Goodreads - https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/39975473-tempt-the-flames

 

BookBub - https://www.bookbub.com/books/tempt-the-flames-by-marnee-blake

 

 

Tempt the Flames is the 1st book in The Smokejumpers series -

 

Author - http://marneeblake.com/the-smokejumpers/

 

Goodreads - https://www.goodreads.com/series/239196-the-smokejumpers

 

 

which includes -

 

1 Tempt the Flames
& 2 Crave the Heat (coming 1-15-19)
http://www.kensingtonbooks.com/book.aspx/37202

 

 

AVAILABLE in print or ebook at -


Kensington - http://www.kensingtonbooks.com/book.aspx/36742

 

Amazon - https://www.amazon.com/Tempt-Flames-Smokejumpers-Marnee-Blake-ebook/dp/B078LJTYTF/

 

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Follow the tour HERE for exclusive content and a giveaway!
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Chapter 1


Driving from Bend to the smokejumper base in Redmond, Oregon, was like traveling back in time. It only took a half an hour, but the trip set Meg Buchanan back ten years.


As she pulled into the parking lot of Redmond Air Center, the tires of her Forerunner crunching on the dirt and gravel drive, she repeated the pep talk she’d been giving herself the entire ride.


She had the job. She was officially an assistant trainer and safety instructor for this year’s Redmond smokejumper rookie training.
She wasn’t a firefighter, but she was a physician’s assistant with lots of practical medical knowledge. She was qualified. More importantly, she was a seasoned triathlete. She was in tiptop shape, and she definitely could run some rookies through their paces. Add her willingness to do the job for barely any money and her uncle’s glowing recommendation, and she’d been approved.


That was her mantra. She could do this. She had the skills. She’d been approved.

 

She refused to accept that she’d been given this job because of her last name.


Sure, Will, her oldest brother, was an active Redmond smokejumper, and Uncle Joe was the base manager. Her middle brother, Hunter, would be in this year’s rookie class. Together, they made a pretty impressive Buchanan family legacy at Redmond.


But, if she’d received preferential treatment, it was because her father’s name—Jason Buchanan—rested on the memorial wall at the base, along with the other firefighters who’d given their lives in sacrifice to this job.
After shifting the truck into park, Meg dropped her hands into her lap and abandoned that train of thought. No use tempting the universe by spilling doubt and negative energy all over it. She had the experience, and she was going to give this job everything she had.

This was her chance.


She’d never been able to become a firefighter like her brothers. After hours of counseling, she couldn’t overcome her paralyzing fear of fire. But, this? She could do this. These rookies were in for the training of their lives.


And she’d finally feel like she was honoring her birthright.


With a deep breath, she checked her reflection in the rearview mirror. She’d pulled her red hair into a low ponytail and applied light makeup. Dressed in tan slacks and a pale pink blouse, she looked more like she was seeing patients than reporting for a physical trainer position. She was more comfortable, though, professionally dressed, put together.


If things were orderly on the outside, the inside would follow. She’d learned that lesson years ago, after her father’s death. Her mother had cried, and their home fell to pieces. When people showed up with food and condolences, the disaster in the house amplified how broken they were. Dishes in the sink, overflowing laundry baskets. Sleep eluded Meg those first nights, so she washed dishes, did laundry, and dusted until her body gave out. The next day, she’d cooked to fill the silence. The days stretched on, and no one ate unless they were reminded.


Eventually, though, the movements of normalcy made her feel more normal.


Fake it ‘til you make it, her mom had joked. She’d never taken that advice, but it had worked for Meg. Pretend until the lie matched reality.
She exhaled slowly, pursing her lips. With shaking fingers, she smoothed her perfectly tidy hair once more, nodding at her reflection. She had this.


Snagging her wallet and phone off the passenger seat, she tossed them into her well-worn gym bag and zipped it up. Slinging it over her shoulder, she gripped the straps to her chest like a shield and opened the truck door.


Gravel bit into her ballet flats, but she ignored the discomfort. Around her, the parking lot was full of pickup trucks and Jeeps, a few larger SUVs and late-model sedans, and even an Econovan thrown in for good measure. The van had curtains. She wouldn’t be surprised if its owner lived out of it.


There were a few guys unloading their cars, yanking duffel bags and equipment from trunks. Most of them were in their twenties and thirties. All of them were in amazing shape. The uniform seemed to be a mix of camo, Under Armor, and facial hair. A couple of the men paused to watch her walk by.


Maybe she should have put on her running clothes, some track pants. She looked as out of place in her business clothes as a peacock at a rhino tea party.


Her eyes straight forward, she hiked her bag higher on her shoulder and picked up her pace. As she approached the door, her uncle stepped out.


“Meggy.” His smile, buried under a few days of beard growth, was as warm as always. Her shoulders relaxed in response. “You’re early.”


She stepped into his open arms. Uncle Joe gave the best hugs. “They pulled back on my hours last week in preparation for my time here. I finished earlier than expected today.”


He leaned out of their embrace, scowling at her. “You’re sure this won’t affect your position with Dr. Colman, right? They’ll let you return when training is over?”


She grinned at him. “I told you. Dr. Colman is happy that I’m helping. She’s fine.” It had taken a little sweet talking, playing up how good of a community outreach opportunity this was and promising to pick up shifts on the weekends while she was at the air center. Patrice Colman recognized a good deal when she saw it. She’d wanted to start opening on Saturdays for months, so she hadn’t passed up this opportunity. But, Meg wasn’t about to tell Uncle Joe that.


He patted her shoulder. “That’s good, then. I’m not going to answer to your mom if this impacts your career.”


Meg stiffened. “I’m twenty-five, Uncle Joe. I manage myself.” Besides, they both knew her mother hadn’t managed much of anything in years.
Joe nodded. “Right. Well, your brothers should be here soon. Do you want me to show you around?”


She laughed. “It’s been a while, but I think I know where I’m going.” She and her brothers had visited her father here often. Years ago, her mother would bring the smokejumpers cookies, muffins, whatever. She used to love to bake, and it gave her an excuse to see her husband. These days, the only time her mother’s oven heated was for the Sunday dinners Meg cooked for them.


Meg scanned the exterior of the air center. “Place hasn’t changed.” Ten years later, but the air center looked the same. Behind the hangar, the airfield stretched across the open field. The Cascade Mountains filled the horizon. Here, without the multi-story buildings in Bend, the peaks were in full, majestic view.


“Why ruin a good thing?” He chuckled, wrapping an arm around her shoulder. “Come on. Let’s get you settled.”


As he guided her to the door, the rumble of an engine made her pause.
Either the Jeep that turned into the parking lot needed a new muffler or its owner wanted everyone to hear him coming. As it parked, everyone in the lot had stopped to look. Which meant this truck wasn’t a regular fixture at the air center’s lot.


She sniffed. Apparently, the diva of this year’s class had arrived.
The Jeep’s engine died, and its doors swung open. Like the other men in the lot, the one who jumped down from the passenger side was in excellent shape. He was probably six-two or so, and his T-shirt did nothing to hide the cords of muscle on his wide shoulders. But, it wasn’t the passenger that snagged her attention.


The driver slammed his door and strode to the back liftgate. She didn’t see his face, only the back of him, but his gait was familiar, with more swagger than his passenger. He was as tall as the other man, and just as broad-shouldered and slim-hipped. The tilt of his head as he tossed a few bags onto the ground, the set of his shoulders as he closed the back of the Jeep, though…if returning to the Redmond base was a blast from the past, this man was a punch to the gut.


“Lance.”


She didn’t realize she said his name out loud until Joe grunted. “Yes. Lance Roberts.”


Meg hadn’t needed his confirmation. She’d know Lance anywhere. After ten years, her body hadn’t forgotten watching him, wishing he was hers, with the added misfortune of embodying the “little sister in love with brother’s best friend” cliché.


Hard to forget embarrassment like that.


Lance the boy had been the stuff of her girlhood dreams, and more than a few other girls’ dreams, too. As she watched, he grabbed his bags off the ground and the muscles of his forearms tightened. Heat stretched up her spine, warming her stomach.


Lance the man probably occupied more than a few women’s dreams now as well.


Meg spun sideways, not wanting to be caught staring at him. “What’s he doing here?” she whispered. She smoothed the end of her ponytail, and then tugged at her blouse, straightening imaginary wrinkles.


Catching herself, she squeezed her fingers together in front of her, forcing them still.


“Now, Meggy. I need you to be open-minded. And, I need your help with your brothers…” Joe’s head dropped, and he rubbed the back of his head.


“Joe, what have you done?” There were only so many reasons that Lance would be here, at the air center, right now…


“I offered Lance a job, if he makes it through training.” His half grin looked pained. “He’ll be in this year’s rookie training class.”

 

 

My nose has been buried in a book my entire life. My mother would catch me, flashlight in hand, hiding under the covers to “finish this chapter.” A lifelong reader herself, she’d usually sigh, mutter something about how I’d ruin my eyes reading in the dark, and then leave me to it.

 

After all, she often stayed up past bedtime reading, too. She couldn’t judge.

For me, books are magic, so earning a BA in English Literature from Dickinson College was a perfect fit. It wasn’t a big jump from studying literature to teaching it, and I spent a few years as a high school English teacher.

 

When my first son was born, I finally got serious about putting fingers to keyboard, and I haven’t looked back since.

 

I have been humbled to be a finalist of both RWA’s prestigious RITA® and Golden Heart® contests. My writing has been awarded the Daphne du Maurier award, the PRISM award, and the Golden Leaf award. I am represented by the amazing Helen Breitwieser at Cornerstone Literary Agency.

 

And my first born? I caught him recently, up way past his bedtime, trying to hide the book he’d snuck into bed. I sighed and mumbled something about how he’d ruin his eyes reading in the dark.

 

Then, I walked away, grinning. After all, like my mother before me, I can’t judge.

 

 

Website - http://www.marneeblake.com/

 

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text 2018-09-19 11:00
Blog Tour with Excerpt! Azrael (Detective Allira Rose #1) M.T. Ellis!

 

 

ABOUT THE BOOK:

 

Title: AZRAEL
Author: M.T. Ellis
Publisher: Independent
Pages: 340
Genre: Crime Thriller

 

 

BOOK BLURB:

 

Emily thought her ordeal was over after she escaped a brutal kidnapping. She’s wrong. He’s coming for her again.

 

The body Detective Rose is looking at bears a striking resemblance to Emily, a woman who survived a horrific, sexually motivated abduction five years ago. Her fear is confirmed when Emily goes missing again.

 

When another woman, Grace, is abducted, Detective Rose finds herself doubting the instincts that tell her the disappearance is the result of intimate partner violence. She connects the cases and recruits Grace’s partner, Ethan, to help in the search. Together they must find Grace and Emily before it’s too late.

 


Add Azrael to your shelves at –

 

Goodreads – https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/34838367-azrael

 

BookBub – https://www.bookbub.com/books/azrael-by-m-t-ellis

 

 


Azrael is the 1st book in the Detective Allira Rose series –

 

Goodreads – https://www.goodreads.com/series/240939-detective-allira-rose

 


which includes –

 

1 Azrael
2 Dollhouse (coming September 30, 2018)

 

 


in print or ebook at

 

Amazon – https://www.amazon.com./Azrael-Detective-Allira-Rose-Book-ebook/dp/B071L4YC6N


B&N – https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/azrael-mt-ellis/1126941889


Kobo - https://www.kobo.com/us/en/ebook/azrael-10

 

 

 


Prologue

 

“I think I must have scared the shit out of her,” Azrael joked to himself as he opened the van door and smelt the stench coming from the dark brown stain on the back of the girl’s jeans. He laughed, even though he couldn’t be sure if she had defecated from fear or because she lost control of her bowels from his accidental overuse of the stun gun. He’d only needed to hit the woman for a second or two to disable her, but his nerves got the better of him, and he kept shocking her for a good thirty seconds, just to be sure. He could smell burning flesh as he picked up the woman and dumped her in the van. This was his first abduction, and so far the plan was working.


Azrael looked at his victim lying face down on the floor of his white Toyota HiAce. Conveniently, the commercial van had no back seats or windows. As long as the police didn’t pull him over, and she didn’t wake up, no one would be able to see the sprawled petite twenty-something brunette. He wondered whether, when he bought this van five years ago, he had subconsciously known he would end up using it for this type of adventure.


He had picked up the girl from the university grounds around the corner from his house. It was luck, really. He’d been driving past and saw the woman walking by herself, and since there was no one around, Azrael went in for the kill, so to speak.


There had been no traffic nearby when he drove past the woman the first time, or when he doubled back. He stopped and asked her for directions. She leaned into the window to answer him, and a short squeak came out of her mouth as she was hit on the side of the neck with the stun gun. The woman silently convulsed and then dropped to the ground, whimpering in the fetal position and twitching occasionally. Azrael whistled as he casually got out, walked around, and opened the side door. “In you go, love,” he said as he picked her up and dumped her onto the floor of the van.


He drove around town, looking for a place to take her. He couldn’t take her to his one-bedroom apartment. If the neighbours didn’t see him carry her in, they’d certainly notice when he took her out again. He’d have to cut her up so she’d fit in the wheelie bin outside, but the bins were only collected on Mondays, and since it was Tuesday she’d have to sit around for a week. At the very least, he was sure the seventy-year-old woman who lived in the apartment next to him would be nosey enough to rummage through garbage to find out where an offensive smell was coming from.


Azrael decided to take his victim out to The Common, thousands of acres of City Council-owned bushland about an hour from his apartment. Burnt-out cars were regularly found dumped there. Kids often stole them to go bush-bashing, setting them on fire when they were done. By the time he got there it was nearly 7:00 p.m. Luckily it was spring, so the weather was warm enough for him to wear shorts, a t-shirt, and dirty old Converse sneakers. Springtime also meant the sun went down at about six, so it was dark by the time he got there. The moon was full, so Azrael had no problems seeing where he was going when he turned his lights off. As he drove through the bushland he was happy to note there were no cars on fire tonight. This meant there would be no unexpected interruptions from the local fire brigade.


He settled on a location a few kilometres into the property, where he figured he’d be most hidden. He shut off the van and listened. All he could hear were cicadas clicking outside his window and some muffled whimpers from the back of the van. Ooh, she’s awake, Azrael thought excitedly. He stepped out of the van and looked back towards the clearing he had just driven through. The van was concealed well enough by the dense scrub. He leaned back into the driver’s door to grab the map from the dash and to turn on the light above the rear-view mirror. We are here, he thought as he pointed at the middle of the map. If we go by foot into the bush a few hundred metres, no one will find her.


Azrael walked around the front of the van to the passenger door and pulled out a small backpack that was stuffed underneath the seat. He had been planning this for weeks and had hidden the bag, which contained a hunting knife, zip ties, blue latex gloves, and various other items he might need on his adventure. He took out three zip ties and looped them together to make a chain. He would put an outer ring around each of his victim’s wrists and tighten them to make handcuffs. Azrael put on the latex gloves and zipped up the backpack then shut the driver’s door and pulled the bag onto his back.


As he opened the side door, the woman started to stir. He quickly dragged her towards him by the leg and turned her over onto her stomach. He pulled both of her arms behind her as he attached the makeshift handcuffs.


“Let go of me,” the woman shrieked once she realised what was happening.


“You didn’t have to shit yourself, madam,” he said in his husky voice. “I’m not that scary.”


“W-who, who are you?” she stammered. “What do you want from me?”
“Never mind who I am. You and I are going to have some fun out here tonight,” he said playfully as he dragged the woman by her upper arm out of the van and onto the ground. She landed with a thud. She screamed as he yanked her up onto her feet. “Stand up and start walking. Don’t bother screaming — no one can hear you.”


About ten minutes later, Azrael had pushed her, kicking and screaming, further into the bushes. Once they had reached a suitable location, he kicked the woman’s feet out from underneath her. She crumpled in a heap on the ground and sobbed, “Please don’t hurt me.” He unhooked one arm of his backpack, twisted the bag around in front of him, and took out the hunting knife. The blade was about thirty centimetres long, and when the woman saw the moonlight gleaming on it, she lost it and started shrieking hysterically.


Azrael became impatient with her screaming and yelled, “Shut up,” before kicking her in the face. The woman stopped screaming, and he could see her right eye already starting to swell. She lay with tears silently streaming down her face. He slid the backpack off his arm and dumped it onto the ground beside her, then bent down and pushed the girl onto her back, crushing her hands, which were still bound behind her. He took the knife and held it to the girl’s throat, putting just enough pressure on it to make a small cut. “Are you going to behave yourself?” he asked as he watched blood trickle in a thin red line just below her ear.


When she didn’t answer, Azrael knelt down beside her and slowly used the knife to cut her white singlet. She shivered as he cut each strap just above her shoulder and again as he made a single long slash down the right side of the singlet. He pulled the top out from underneath her, scrunched it up, and put it to his nose. He breathed in the scent of her berry body wash and became aroused. He crawled over her until he was straddling her upper thighs. He was still holding the knife in his right hand but didn’t have any trouble using it to steady himself as he put his hands down on the ground on either side of her shoulders to keep his balance. He leaned in to rub his face on her chest and let his lips rest between her breasts. She recoiled from his touch, and he could feel the friction from his five o’clock shadow scratching at her skin like razors. Suddenly, he turned his head to the right a little and bit down on her breast, just above where her lacy white bra was covering her nipple. He twisted his head and tore away a small chunk of flesh. She let out a blood-curdling scream and started to buck fiercely beneath him.


He sat up and looked down at the bite-sized hole in the woman’s breast. He followed the blood trail down her stomach, onto his groin, and up the front of his shirt. He started to chew on the chunk of tissue, savouring the taste. Just as he moved his knife hand towards his face, so he could wipe away the blood dripping from his mouth with the back of his hand, the girl bucked her hips up and knocked him off sideways. She raised her right leg up to her chest and kicked him in the stomach, which forced him off her. The shock of the woman’s defence made Azrael gasp. It rammed the piece of flesh he had bitten off towards the back of his throat, and he started to choke.


He dropped the knife, lay on his side, and clutched at his neck. The woman used this second of freedom to clamber to her feet and run away through the trees. By the time she had taken her first step, Azrael had coughed hard enough to dislodge the flesh from his throat and spat it onto the ground. He grunted as he got to his feet and gave chase.


*


He’s coming. Emily found it impossible to avoid branches whipping her in the face as she ran with her hands still cable-tied behind her. She had only been running for a few seconds before she could hear her attacker’s breaths behind her. Run! He can’t catch you, she thought urgently. Fear gripped her, and she moved faster than she had ever run before. There was a sharp sting in her wrists as he grabbed the centre of the zip-tie chain that was holding her arms together and yanked her backwards. She was pulled into the air, and just as she thought her shoulders would pop out of their sockets, the middle zip tie snapped. Her arms flew out to her sides just in time for her to land with a thump on her back. Her attacker tripped, fell forward on top of her, and knocked the wind out of her. They both lay for a second, his head near her feet, gasping for breath.


“Gotcha, you little bitch,” he said breathlessly.


His weight crushed the air out of her lungs. Pain seared through her limbs, one by one, as he pressed down on them while he turned his body around until he straddled her again. Then his strong hands were on her throat. She could feel his wild eyes burn into her soul as he started to squeeze the life out of her. She coughed and choked as she struggled underneath him. Emily scratched desperately at his hands. He wouldn’t let go. She reached out in search of anything that could help her and found a rock the size of her hand. She stretched out her arm and tried to grab it with her fingertips but couldn’t get it into her grasp. She had just started to feel light-headed from the lack of oxygen from the short, quick breaths she took when her attacker readjusted his grip. Come on, you can’t die out here. Not like this, she thought as she tried once more to pick up the rock.


Emily stretched her whole body as far as it could go and rolled the rock towards herself with her fingertips. She eventually got it close enough to pick up. She grabbed the rock in her right hand and beat him repeatedly in the temple. She felt her attacker’s warm blood trickle down her arm as he lost consciousness. His full weight fell on top of her as she strained to get out from underneath him. Emily grunted as she pushed him off her and slowly got to her feet. She stood there for a few seconds, bent over with her hands resting on her knees, and tried to catch her breath. In between gasps, she saw her attacker start to stir. Emily stood up immediately and started to run through the dark bushes.


*


Azrael woke to a pounding inside his head. The left side of his face felt hot and swollen. When he touched his temple, he could feel the warm blood oozing through his gloved fingers. Shit, he thought as he started to get up. Where’d the little bitch get to? He was dizzy as he got to his feet and had to stand still for nearly a minute to get his bearings. Once the nausea subsided, he looked around in the moonlight to find the girl’s trail. He noticed some flattened and broken branches on a bush in front of him and figured she must have damaged them as she took off. He started to follow the trail.


*


Emily wandered hysterically. She ran into bushes and tripped over roots for what seemed like hours. She eventually collapsed, exhausted; she couldn’t stop sobbing. Once on the ground, she thought, Slow, deep breaths. Calm down, he can’t find you. You are going to be okay. She looked around for a bush or a fallen tree to hide behind until daylight, when she hoped she’d be able to find her way out of the maze of trees and scrub. She crawled on her hands and knees for another ten minutes and then unexpectedly heard something in the distance. Her heart fluttered as she tried to keep down the rising panic. She kept low to the ground as she crept slowly towards the noises and hid behind a cluster of bushes.
While keeping concealed, she poked her head out from behind a bush and listened intently. She heard laughter and the sound of empty beer cans clinking as they were thrown to the ground. Her stomach lurched as she saw a group of teenagers in the shadows. She crept over to some bushes nearer to them to get a better look. There must be six of them, four boys and two girls, standing around an old red V8 Commodore. Judging by the smashed rear quarter glass, it was stolen. She peeked through the scrub and saw two more later model Commodores sitting back a few hundred metres. Suddenly a fireball erupted around the stolen car, and they all started running towards the getaway cars. Shit, they’re leaving! I have to get their attention, she thought as she ran out of the bushes, directly towards the group. “Help me!” she shrieked. “Help me, I’ve been abducted, let me come with you!”


She was a horrid sight: blood poured from cuts to her face, neck, and chest. Bruises had formed on her eye, cheek, and wrists. She was wearing only her stained jeans and bra, with no shoes, and was covered in dirt and clotting blood. Her wrists still had zip ties around them, and her hair was full of leaves and clumps of dirt. The teenagers didn’t hear her, and by the time she had reached the burning car, they were in their getaway cars with the engines running. She ran towards the closest Commodore. The driver had just turned on its headlights, and it started to turn away from the flaming wreck.


Suddenly, the Commodore’s headlights swept back in her direction. The car stopped as if it was trying to figure out whether what it was seeing was real. It slowly started moving towards her. The car stopped about ten metres away, and a blonde guy with a southern cross tattoo down one leg got out of the passenger side and came over to her. “Are you okay? Who are you?” the boy asked. He could not have been more than seventeen.


“Please take me with you, he’s coming!” Emily screamed as she limped towards him. “Please.”


The boy looked frightened as he stared wildly around. He focused back on her and said, “Quick, get in the car!”


*


“Fuck!” Azrael yelled. Exhausted from running, he stopped and gathered his wits. I’m never going to find her, he thought after searching for what seemed like an eternity. He looked down at the torn and bloodied latex gloves on his hands and thought, Fuck this shit, I’m out of here. He turned around and headed back towards the van.


As Azrael got to the van, he saw an orange glow from the top of some trees a few kilometres away. Great, the Firies will be here soon. Just what I need. About twenty minutes later, as he pulled onto the main road after leaving the gates, Azrael saw three fire trucks with sirens and lights blaring turn off into The Common.

 

 

 

 

M.T. Ellis is a Brisbane/ Lockyer Valley-based author. Her debut crime thriller, Azrael, won Bronze in the 2018 Independent Publisher Book Awards, Suspense/Thriller Catagory. Her short story, The Ballerina in the Box, was short-listed in the Australian Writers’ Centre Furious Fiction Competition. Two of M.T. Ellis’s stories made it onto a billboard during the Queensland Writers Centre’s 8 Word Story competition.


Her dogs, Opal, Zeus and Matilda, occupy a lot of her time. She would write books about their adventures if she thought people were even half as interested in them as she is.

 

M.T. Ellis is an Australian Writers’ Centre graduate, freelance writer and journalist. The second novel in her Detective Allira Rose Series will be out on October 1, 2018.

 

Her latest book is the crime thriller, Azrael.


WEBSITE & SOCIAL LINKS:

 

Website - http://www.mtellis.com.au/

 

Twitter - http://www.twitter.com/mtellisAuthor

 

Facebook - http://www.facebook.com/mtellisAuthor

 

 


Post by M.T. Ellis, author of Azrael.


I grew up reading the likes of James Patterson and Patricia Cornwall so writing a crime thriller about a despicable sexual predator kidnapping women was probably always going to happen.


The idea for my debut novel, Azrael, came after I had a nightmare about being held captive in an old house. I’ve always been interested in what makes people tick, and especially what makes them murder, so I tried to show the readers what turned Azrael into the monster he is.


Azrael is set in Brisbane, Australia. The killer takes his victims out to an area West of Brisbane where his property is covered with thick bushland. It’s kind of creepy because I ended up moving to the area not long after I released the book.


I decided to make Azrael’s nemesis a woman because I like writing stories with strong, but imperfect, female characters. I love how Detective Allira Rose has the determination to chase down offenders no matter how hard it is and she owns her mistakes. She just gets on with it.


I was pretty excited when I found out that Azrael had won Bronze in the 2018 Independent Publisher Book Awards, Suspense/Thriller category. The award ceremony was held in Times Square, New York, and it was great to mingle with so many other authors.


The second book in the Detective Allira Rose series is Dollhouse. Readers can look forward to reading more of Detective Rose’s story and what makes her tick. In the book, Brisbane's elite are being abducted and murdered. Detective Rose suspects a hoarder named Lillian is the culprit. Lillian is a meticulous killer but her personal life is a mess. Her home is filled to the brim with junk so not only does she have to try and hide her crimes, she has to hide behind the fake tanned and immaculately dressed persona that she has created for herself.


The second book in the Detective Allira Rose series, Dollhouse, comes out on October first, 2018.

 


 

 

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text 2018-09-15 11:00
Blog Tour with Excerpt & Giveaway! Shameless by Cherrie Lynn!

 

 

 

BOOK SYNOPSIS


It’s a vacation Meredith Taylor will never forget. A sunny beach, good friends and good times. But when she overhears a couple having a passionate interlude on the balcony above her one night, she can’t get the man’s sultry voice out of her mind. Especially when she figures out exactly who that man is…

 

Cameron Moore always had an eye on his best friend’s little sister but considered her strictly off limits, choosing to satisfy his lust elsewhere. Now Meri seems to want to annihilate every wall Cam’s put up against her. The beach is hot, the drinks are cold, Meredith is irresistible, and something has to give. Will it only be the walls between them, or their hearts as well?

 

 

BOOK INFO
Shameless by Cherrie Lynn
Series n/a; standalone
Genre Adult Contemporary Romance
Publisher Entangled Amara
Publication Date September 10, 2018

 


Amazon https://amzn.to/2wiIux3
Entangled Publishing https://goo.gl/N8jvB7
Barnes & Noble https://goo.gl/igLnmw
Kobo https://goo.gl/8pehDK
iBooks https://apple.co/2Puxs0B

 

 

 

TOUR WIDE GIVEAWAY INFO


To celebrate the release of SHAMELESS by Cherrie Lynn, we're giving away for a $25 Amazon gift card!

 

 

LINK: http://bit.ly/2N8hCqJ

 

 

GIVEAWAY TERMS & CONDITIONS: Open internationally. One winner will be chosen to receive a $25 Amazon gift card. This giveaway is administered by Pure Textuality PR on behalf of Entangled Publishing. Giveaway ends 9/16/2018 @ 11:59pm EST. Entangled Publishing will send one winning prize, Pure Textuality PR will deliver the other. Limit one entry per reader and mailing address. Duplicates will be deleted.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Chapter One


Meredith Taylor was deep into her third beer when the moaning started.


She narrowly avoided choking on the gulp she’d just taken and wondered if she’d really heard what she thought she’d heard. Seven stories below and perhaps fifty yards in front of her, the Gulf of Mexico was a flat black oblivion in the night, but even with the unrelenting white noise of the waves washing ashore, the sounds of pleasure were unmistakable.


Someone on one of the balconies above her was getting it on. Or they were about to.


Meri set her beer down on the table beside her and stared wide-eyed at the ocean with blind concentration, straining her ears. Ordinarily, she would think of herself as a moral person, one who would, under normal circumstances, discreetly excuse herself and allow the couple above to carry on with their carnal activities without worry for a secret audience. It was after two in the morning, after all—they probably hadn’t counted on anyone being awake and watching waves nearby.
But Meri had muted that inner moral person with more than her usual dose of alcohol. So fuck that. She stood, moved to the railing, and silently cursed the incessant wind for its rushing in her ears. Or maybe that was her buzz. Or whatever.


Even with it, though, she could hear clearly enough.


“Oh God,” a feminine voice purred from above.


Yeah, yeah, Meri thought. You gotta do better than that, honey. Give me something to work with here. She smirked to herself, turning and leaning her back against the railing. Hopefully it wouldn’t give with her weight…she could just see the headlines now: Vacationer Falls to Her Death During Voyeuristic Acrobatics. Were you a voyeur if you could only hear the sexual encounter? She made a mental note to Google that later. God, sexual frustration had turned her into a perv.


More moaning. Male and female. He sounded kind of hot, which was good. The last guy she’d been with—she refused to allow herself to think about how long ago that had been—practically sounded like a woman when he came. That was a thing with her now…she loved manly male voices. Rich, deep, dark, shivery male voices. Since that incident, she judged each and every voice she heard from a potential suitor on its likelihood of sounding like a dying cat in the throes of passion. The one above her now…zero percent chance. In fact, she could close her eyes and imagine that murmuring voice in her own ear, hot breath tickling there, hot fingers trailing down her neck, her breast, to tease her nipple into aching attention, and she didn’t even have a face to put with it.


But that was the beauty of the situation, wasn’t it? He could be anyone she wanted him to be.


Cameron’s face floated through her thoughts, never an image to be muted by alcohol. God forbid she have any respite from that one. Even on this trip, Cameron Moore was an ever-present fixture. As her brother Dane’s lifelong best friend, he’d been that fixture further back than her memory could reach.


She didn’t want to think about him.


Except for a murmur here and there, she couldn’t hear much anymore. What were they doing now? Was he inside her yet? Maybe they were only in the foreplay part of their lovemaking session. Meri imagined clothes being pushed aside for teases and kisses and caresses. The woman still mewled her approval of whatever he was doing to her, but her sounds weren’t the staccato moans of fucking. No, they were still playing, by Meri’s guess, not having made it to the good stuff yet.


Long-term couple or onetime hook-up, they were lucky. Meri swigged her beer and stared sightlessly at the patio door leading into her bedroom. They weren’t out here alone in the middle of the night, letting the waves lull them into a melancholy that really had no place on a fun-filled, friend-packed summer vacation at the beach. But insomnia was a familiar if unwelcome companion of hers, no matter the occasion. And she’d figured it would be better to stare at the waves than the ceiling above her bed. And maybe a little self-medication wouldn’t be unheard of, hence the beer. Who knew she’d have some unsuspecting company?


Despite not wanting to think about Cam, he invaded Meredith’s thoughts anyway.

It was a vicious cycle. Having been friends with her brother for so long, her brother with whom she was very close, Cam was simply always there. In just about every conversation, at every get-together, and now, this summer at least, on vacation, too. The man was inescapable.


But who’d want to escape that? He was built like a god. A personal trainer, he all but lived at the gym. Tattoos meandered down his shredded arms and torso. Dear God, she kept up her gym membership just to be able to ogle him, and he often stopped by as she huffed it on the elliptical to chat or give advice or convince her to let him train her.


She always turned him down. He would probably kill her.


Okay, so she had a crush on the guy. It wasn’t a big deal. She’d always kept him at arm’s length, but sometimes gave in to temptation and let her darkest fantasies out to play. Fantasies starring Cameron Moore. He was hot, so who could blame her?


And why did her thoughts keep going to him and not to the goings-on above?
“Yes. Oh yes, baby.” That was distinct. The woman again. Then, two long, loud moans harmonized and stole Meri’s breath away. Oh. If he wasn’t in her before, he’s in her now. Sliding in slowly, by the sounds of it, savoring it, making her feel every inch. And judging by the woman’s little cries of “More, more, oh God, more!” there were many thick inches to feel. Jesus. Meri swiped at a trickle of sweat at her temple, then trailed her cold beer bottle down the side of her neck. It left a shivery trail in the sticky summer heat clinging to her body.


Her thighs trembled. Those sounds…the man…his rough, primal groaning, his growling, more groaning, damn, his dirty-sweet sex talk. She couldn’t actually decipher any of his talk, but it had to be dirty and sweet. She would not allow herself to believe otherwise. She caught a few of his guttural curses, though, and her knees grew so weak she dropped into one of the chairs and crushed her thighs together, unsure if she was trying to encourage the building ache between them or fight it. It just seemed so…so wrong, so naughty, to get off on someone else’s pleasure when they didn’t even know she was there.


But she couldn’t leave. Couldn’t stop listening. Had she no damn shame?


Just one time, she thought desperately, be wrong. Be naughty. Her body didn’t need any encouragement, her pussy clenching regardless of her permission. With every sound that guy uttered, it clenched harder.


Hell, it seemed the hottest sex she’d ever had was someone else’s. She didn’t think she’d ever been this responsive, not with the three lovers she’d taken in her life. Not with their flesh-and-blood hands on her. But these hands, these phantom hands she only imagined, that disjointed male voice coming from above…oh God. Her blood felt like thick lava in her veins, and it was pooling, weighing her down in her pussy and her nipples and a few other erogenous zones she hadn’t known she had. Even her mouth felt numb and tingly. She tasted something sweet and forbidden at the back of her throat and swept her tongue across her needy lips.


Her hand trailed down the thin cami she wore, noting how tight and peaked her nipples were, down farther, toward her boxer shorts. Inside, she was so wet.


Should she? No. She shouldn’t.


But she was so wet. So needing to feel what that woman was feeling, even though her hand would be a poor substitute.


She parted her legs.


Would she let someone fuck her out here where anyone could hear? Would she even want that, knowing there were creeps like her around? Listening, invading her and her lover’s privacy, getting hot, getting themselves off to her pleasure…
Would she let Cameron, if he ever decided to show the slightest bit of sexual interest in her?


Meri opened her eyes, not even realizing she’d closed them. Her fingers brushed her thigh and, imagining it was Cam’s fingers, that small contact sent a jolt through her. The waves went on forever out on the beach, oblivious to her moral quagmire. Her sharp arousal. The Gulf was as black as Cameron’s hair. The sky was as dark as his eyes—the sky, yes, because of the stars, because she could swear that his eyes had lights in them…


She’d let him. The more she thought of it, the more certain she was.
The couple fucked on, the woman’s cries sharp and quick. Meri slid her fingers into her drenched panties. Talk to her. Talk to me. Let me hear you.


The rumble of the man’s voice reached her above the cacophony of the waves and her own pleasure, almost as if he had heard her thoughts. “Do you want to come?” A shiver went through Meri. Her pussy clenched helplessly. Yes. I want to come.


“Yes,” the girl pleaded. “Yes, make me come, make me come, make me come…”

The chant died out, blown away by the wind. Did he have her against the wall? On the floor?


“The wall,” Meri whispered to herself. That’s how she would want it. Against the wall, because she’d never had it there. Cam was definitely strong enough. Yes, he could put her back to the wall and fuck her silly, that hard, muscular ass pumping into her while she clung helplessly to him. Like a rag doll. Invaded. Overwhelmed.

God, she wanted that. With someone who sounded like the man above her, not someone who caterwauled.


Her fingers slipped easily against her slick, swollen clit. Ohhh. Did the guy up there go down on his lady, by any chance? Out here with the wind and the waves and the moon and stars as witnesses, did he spread her open wide and lick and suck her? Was that what Meri had heard earlier? As her finger drew lazy circles on her clit, she dreamed of Cam’s mouth on it. Hot, wet, making her hotter and wetter.

She would drip for him before he would take her. Yes.


This was so fucked up. But thinking it only made her burn more brightly. She wanted to bare her skin to the wind. She wanted to taste the salt of the ocean as the dark waters engulfed her naked body. She wanted the moon to cast her skin in silver light and black shadow.


And she wanted someone to share that with, to taste those shadows. It wasn’t so much to ask.


No longer lazy, no longer soft. She worked herself feverishly, building the ache, giving over to it, even allowing a whimper when the woman’s cries were high. Yes, he was getting her there. He was getting Meri there. So close. So close. Her pulse throbbed thickly throughout her entire body. Coming. The wave peaking, cresting, starting to curl deliciously in her belly…


“Cameron, Cameron! Oh yes, yes, yes…”


Meredith Taylor’s eyes shot open. Her orgasm burst inside her, wracking her with cruel, guilty pleasure, but her heart crashed and burned in a fiery death.


Cameron.


She’d been imagining him, but he’d really been there. Only not with her.

 



ABOUT CHERRIE LYNN

 

NY Times and USA Today bestselling author CHERRIE LYNN has been a CPS caseworker and a juvenile probation officer, but now that she has come to her senses, she writes contemporary and paranormal romance on the steamy side. It's *much* more fun. She's also an unabashed rock music enthusiast, and loves letting her passion for romance and metal collide on the page.

 

When she's not writing, you can find her reading, listening to music or playing with her favorite gadget of the moment. She's also fond of hitting the road with her husband to catch their favorite bands live.

 

Cherrie lives in East Texas with said husband and their two kids, all of whom are the source of much merriment, mischief and mayhem.


AUTHOR LINKS


Website https://www.cherrielynn.com/


Facebook http://facebook.com/cherrielynnauthor


Twitter http://twitter.com/cherrielynn


Goodreads https://goo.gl/PHc4df


Amazon https://amzn.to/2PxxLI2

 

 


http://puretextualitypr.com

 

 

 

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