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review 2017-11-04 19:39
Saving Sebastian
Saving Sebastian - Luna David

“You don’t have to prove yourself worthy of me. You are worthy of me, just as I’m worthy of you."

 

 

For me this was not simply about the acts of a BDSM relationship but was the complete development of a true D/s relationship and one that was done so with such depth, attention and patience.  The character development, including their doubts, hesitancy and questions revolving around their worth to their partner was beautifully captured.

 

While I have read several BDSM books, I have not always been comfortable reading about these types of relationships.  Perhaps it has been more about the acts before, or what I feel can be overly aggressive Dominates and quite weak submissives.  And that is awful to say and certainly is not meant in any way as demeaning but it was just not always something I understood.  There have been a few books however that explain better the power that the submissive holds…that they ultimately hold all the power with one simple word.  And out of all the books I have read involving BDSM, it is this one that I feel has captured the true nature of these relationships best.

 

This is not a quick read.  This is not a read in which involves only the acts, as the majority of the book is not about scenes but about the interactions, the trust building, and the dynamics and ultimate ability to know your partner, their needs and their desires. 

 

I also honestly never before got the level of worshipping that a Dom can have toward their sub.  But this aspect made all the difference for me.  Gideon, while Dominate, is so enthralled by His Boy, so utterly devoted to him, that it was seeing his sheer love expressed in a look, in a gesture or in his thoughts and actions that made me all the more captivated by him.  And it was these moments which made their dynamic stronger for me as partners.

 

“You keep getting on your knees for me.” He sighed and glanced back down at the box. “It feels wrong.”

“Why? Because you’re convinced that as my sub you should always be below me?”

Sebastian shrugged. “Yeah. I mean, I’m serving you, not the other way around.”

“You don’t think I do the same for you?”

 Sebastian tilted his head in confusion and shook his head. “You should never serve me.”

Gideon chuckled at that and said, “Of course I should. We’re serving each other. We just do it in different ways. You’re offering your service to me as my submissive. But I’m also offering my service to you as your Dominant. We’re equals in this, Sebastian.”

“You really believe that?”

“Fuck yes! I absolutely do. I can do nothing with you, to you, unless you have given your express permission. That power is in your hands. You know this.”

Sebastian nodded. “Yeah. I mean, I guess. I just never thought of it that way. That doesn’t seem right.”

“I’m giving you what you need, just as you are doing for me. If that isn’t service, I don’t know what is.”

 

While this book is long, it is not without reason.  Every scene in some way has a point, shows the true character of our main MCs and therefore nothing ever seemed pointless.  Even the scene with Boone and Connell had value and was so damn perfect at capturing the nurturing aspect of Gideon.    

 

 

 

The rope scenes for me were so intricate in their descriptions that I longed to have the imagery from Khaleo’s camera…not only in scene but in aftercare as well.  The images of the marks and indentions left in the skin, just beautiful crafted.

 

“Look at the lines on your body caused by the ropes. They’re beautiful. You’re beautiful."

 

Luna David, I have to say, not only impressed me with her in depth exploration into BDSM but into the health conditions that our sweet Sebastian lives with.  I felt this part of the story to be well researched and thoughtful.  While I am not a physician, it all felt quite accurate and ultimately personal. 

 

 

The story telling aspect of this also worked well for me.  While much of the story is a back and forth POV, there are several key scenes which are told from both POV and it was those that became the most touching of the story.  The New Year’s Eve scene being the most heartbreaking of them all.  I also enjoyed that while at times, it seemed certain scenes were skipped, we later got these told in memories, which I loved.  I am not sure this book would have worked had only one POV been described.  This was a couple and therefore their thoughts, actions and love for the other were of utmost importance in making this successful.

 

Now, I did not read the first 2 books in this series…honestly after hearing the praises surrounding this book and in seeing the cover, there was just no way I could wait.  And while a standalone, part of me does wish I had read the others first.  I was a little confused during the first hospital scene, feeling as though I walked into a family dinner not knowing who was there or what their relationships entailed.  I also feel like I may have gotten some inkling into what Sebastian looked like, having perhaps gotten other's perspectives on this man in previous books.  So again, while it really didn’t matter as this couple goes, it kinda mattered to me.  I will go back and read the others if for no other reason than to see sweet Braden’s story.  He was such a loving spirit and friend and I need more of him.

 

I do hope we eventually get Killian’s story.  He popped on page only briefly but there is no doubt a story behind this intriguing man.  And while I am no longer a big reader of M/F, I would read Finn and Zoe’s story.  How this doctor came to embrace this lifestyle to be what he needed for the woman he loves. I am on board.

 

There are so many aspects of this story that I have failed to even acknowledge, from their backgrounds, to their families, to the tattoos and Sebastian's love of art, and pets, every aspect was so beautifully and amazingly crafted.  I guess I will just have to reread this at some point and expand on those elements as well.  Until then, I cannot recommend this journey enough.

 

 

Spoilerish Bonus Quote…read at own risk…but it is absolutely beautiful.

 

Gideon leaned down and kissed his head, over and over, everywhere he could reach, paying particular attention to the raised, bumpy edges of his scar. His boy’s sobs were wracking his whole body at that point and Gideon’s heart was breaking.

“You’re so good, baby. So strong. Let it out. I’m so fucking proud of you. So proud. You’re the bravest man I know.”

Gideon touched and stroked Sebastian’s face, his head, his shoulders, and his neck, telling him how beautiful he was, how he’d never been more attracted to anyone in his life, how proud he was to be with him, and finally how lucky he knew he was that Sebastian had chosen him.

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review 2017-07-04 14:57
The Prince (The Sinners Series, Book 3)
The Prince - Tiffany Reisz

Soren and Kingsley.  Damn this book is beautiful.

 

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review 2017-05-30 15:43
Switched
Switched - N.R. Walker

Sooo…I have had this one for what seems like forever.  I mean…it is a Walker book and typically I jump on these but timing wise it just hasn’t worked.  And I hate that!  Geez…this was so fantastic and just quintessential Walker. 

 

 

I adored this.

 

Now, I must confess…and this is not a spoiler at all…because if I had actually read the blurb completely I would totally know this.  The story is about our main character, Israel, learning that he was switched at birth. And guess what??? This story is not about those two switched boys…

 

 

 

Yep…I totally went there in my head. 

 

Not sure why or how or whatever but I am kinda embarrassed by the whole thing honestly.  But, there are many times, especially with authors I love, that I start without reading reviews, or apparently entire blurbs.

 

 

 

Yeah…I am nuts.

 

So what an unbelievable surprise this was to learn that this was a “friends to lovers” story.  And to realize that our beloved Sam would be “the one”.  I fell in love with this character from the moment he entered the page.  How Israel’s family dynamics and gut wrenching experiences impacted their friendship and the strength that Sam gave to Israel was just beautifully portrayed.  There was nothing these two had not shared.  No tears left unshed between them or walls left standing when these two were through. 

 

On top of all that...this has absolutely one of the best first kisses…ever. 

 

 

And then throw in some possessive behavior and I am a freaking mess.

 

I cornered him against the wall. “No one touches you but me.” His pupils were blown out, and his breath was shallow. He was definitely turned on. I put my hand to his jaw and slid my thumb over his bottom lip. “No one kisses you but me.” Then I slid my other hand down his stomach, over the bulge in the front of his jeans. “No one fucks you but me.”

 

Seriously?? 

 

 

There is nothing better than possession and claiming someone as yours.  Phew.

 

This is a must read and one I will be revisiting time and time again!  

 

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text 2017-03-11 06:00
Soul Mates by Nadine Nightingale Release Day Launch and Giveaway
  SoulMates_banner_releaseday Today we have the release day launch for Soul Mates by Nadine Nightingale! Check out the fantastic release and grab your copy today!
Soul Mates
Title: Soul Mates
Author: Nadine Nightingale
Genre: Paranormal Romance
Release Day: March 10th
  About Soul Mates: 
Alex is a righteous witch hunter. I’m a stab-worthy witch. We loved each other once. Now, we can’t stand to be near each other. It’s my fault. We are natural born enemies, after all. I had to help him save his brother from a psychotic voodoo priest, though. What can I say? I like Little Remington as much as I pretend to dislike Alex. Besides, he promised to never bother me again after that.   He kept his end of the bargain. I left my dubious life behind and started over. All is well. Until—   The truth about a deal with hell is revealed. I have to choose between the ultimate sacrifice or losing jerk-face forever. One will live, one will die. Who, solely depends on my selfishness. untitled

Get Your Copy Today :

Amazon US | Amazon UK | Kobo | iTunes | Goodreads

 

Catch Up on the Series:

AMAZON US | AMAZON UK | AMAZON AU | Barnes&Nobles | KOBO | Goodreads

 

 Exclusive Excerpt:

I let go of the phone and press the heels of my hands against my temples. Anxiety is a bitch, and I better pull it together before I turn into the witch version of Holden Caulfield. Not that I have anything against the too smart, self-aware protagonist of The Catcher in the Rye, but I firmly believe teen angst should have an expiration date. I look at the digital clock on my nightstand, and my stomach dips a bit. In a little more than an hour, I’m supposed to sit in Penrose’s lecture. DeLuca will be there too, asking questions like, “Why did you whisper some dude’s name while I had you pinned against the closet?” Good times. Can’t avoid the inevitable. Gathering the last bits of energy buzzing through my numb body, I get up and stumble to the bathroom. I climb in the shower. Dipping my head back, I embrace the hot water pouring down my lethargic skin, but every time I close my eyes, I shiver. The blood, the torn flesh, and the fiery eyes haunt me. I turn the faucet, increasing the temperature from hot to I’m-gonna-end-up-in-the-ER-with-second- degree-burns. Why does shit like this keep happening to me? Did I not pay my karmic dues when I helped Alex save Jesse and those kids? Don’t I deserve a freakin’ breather? Some plus points on the cosmic scale? I rest my head against the shower wall, hoping the heat will burn away all the shit that’s bothering me. It doesn’t. Nothing can wash away the void this premonition has left inside me. The hot spray smears the makeup from last night. The scent of my jasmine perfume is replaced by the harsh smell of sandalwood soap. Hell, how I wish everything else would go away as easily. It won’t. Yeah, and I gotta stop pretending it will. By the time I wrap my hair in a towel and slap on a little makeup, I’m certain of three things: I need to get rid of DeLuca before his I’m-a-lovesick-obsessed- asshole act gets worse, my new life sucks, and I will call Alex, consequences be damned. I just put on my panties and bra when loud banging against the front door startles me. Bonnie is still fast asleep, the Nun has a key, and I’m not expecting any visitors. I step into loose jeans, pull a sweater over my head, and walk out of the bathroom. One thing’s for sure; whoever is knocking doesn’t know a thing about patience. The door vibrates, and if I didn’t know better, I’d say someone’s trying to break it down. “Jesus freakin’ Christ, I’m coming.” I yank the door open, ready to unload a shitload of anger, but when my brain processes what my eyes see, I can neither move nor talk. Blood. Bruises. More blood. Alex.  
 
Excerpt 2
Bonnie aka the thing inside her steps forward, the shadow dog on her heel. “I won’t harm your friend, love. You have my word.” Then it approaches James Dean Wannabe. “You were saying?” 
“We stopped when we saw the mark.”
“Of course you did,” the thing says.
This whole I’m-looking-at-my-best-friend-but-listening-to-a-demon thing creeps me out.
“Can we leave?” Chucky asks. “It was clearly a mistake.”
Mamba-Guy nods. “My bad. Won’t happen again.” “It won’t,” the thing confirms. “Your business in this club draws to an end. Demon-strip-paradise will be shut down.” 
I’m hit by a bolt of lightning. The men upstairs weren’t men at all. They’re all demons. That’s why they stared at me. It’s why my ankh hurt, too. 
Mamba-Guy lifts his gaze. “But—” 
The thing inside Bonnie wiggles her index finger, and the dude’s mouth snaps shut. 
I smell the fear of the other demons. It poisons the air like acid rain. “We never meant to cross you,” James Dean Wannabe whines. 
“I’m afraid...” The ground shakes as if an earthquake is hitting the city. “It’s too late for apologies.” The thing raises Bonnie’s hands in the air, and the demons levitate. 
“Don’t do this,” Chucky begs.The thing laughs. “Rule number one in hell?” “Show no mercy,” James Dean Wannabe blurts out.
 
The thing winks at him. “Exactly.” Then the demons fly against the wall. The impact is so hard I hear their bones cracking. What happens next is a freaking nightmare. The shadow dog jumps at them. Blood splatters. Teeth sink into rotten skin. Screams penetrate the night. Then there’s silence. 
I look over the mutilated bodies. All I see is blood and more blood. They’re deader than dead. “Shit,” I hiss as my best friend approaches me. 
“Sorry about the mess.” It shrugs. “But I hate when someone touches my things.” The shadow dog is by its side. The demon pats its head, and the dog leans in. 
“W-who are you?” I stammer, surprised I still have a voice. 
A sinister smile tugs at its lips. “Your question should be what can you do for me, love.” 
“What the hell is that supposed to mean?” I shouldn’t yell at a demon who just killed six of his kind and has a hellhound as a pet, but lunacy corrupts my brain. 
 
It stops a few feet in front of me and tilts its head to the side. “All in good time, love.” 
 
Excerpt 3
 
I pull the St. John’s wort and a couple of fresh gauze pads out of my bag. “I’m gonna take a look at your chest.” 
“You can look wherever you want. I ain’t got nothing to hide.” His voice is smoky. 
I sit down next to him and rub some of the sticky stuff onto his cuts, deliberately ignoring the blackish veins. “How long?” I ask, not meeting his eyes. I’m crazy, not suicidal. 
“How long what?” 
I tape the gauze pads to his chest. “How long since you got laid, Alex?” 
“By you?” He flashes me a sexy-as-hell smile. “Too. Damn. Long.” 
“I’m not going to fall for your shit, Alex.” 
The playfulness in his eyes flickers out of existence. “You sure you and Pony-Boy aren’t exclusive?” 
I untangle my hair tie and put it on the nightstand. “This DeLuca obsession of yours is getting real awkward. Want me to call him and see if he’s up for a date?” 
He leans against the headboard. “What a funny bunny we are today.” 
I turn and look him in the eye. “Cut it out, Alex. I don’t wanna fight.” Not after the news I just got. Not after the shadow I saw. Not five days before he goes to hell.
He raises his brows. “Are you okay?”
I climb under the sheets. “Yes, hunter-heroic. I am. 
Now move to your bed.”
He turns on his side, resting his head on one elbow. 
“Are you really throwing me out of your bed when I only have five days to live? That would be plain cruelty.” 
I pull the blanket over my chest. “Do whatever the hell you want, but make no mistake, this ain’t no invitation for sex.” 
He smiles. “Damn shame.” 
I frown. Sure, it’s dumber than dumb to sleep next to a guy who drives my lady parts crazy, but he’s hurt and I don’t want to sleep alone. Maybe I did hallucinate, and there was no shadow. Maybe the bulb flickered because it was about to burst. But what if my mind hasn’t played tricks on me? What if there really was someone in the hallway? One of the hunters looking for me or worse, the demon from Rick’s Cabaret? 
I reach for the lamp. “You good to sleep?” He nods and I switch off the light, bathing the room in darkness. 
For a while, we’re both quiet, me trying to sleep, him watching me like a hawk. I literally feel Alex’s gaze roaming over me. It makes me all kinds of giddy and restless. 
His leg brushes against mine. “Manda?”
“Hm?”
“What’s with you and your family?”
I dig my nails into the sheets and glare at the ceiling. What is it with him and his sudden interest in my personal life? 
“Manda?” 
Exasperation simmers under my cool façade. “My sister and I, we don’t get along. In case you haven’t noticed, we’re from two different planets.” 
“What about your mom?” 
Why do I feel like I’m being interrogated by Detective Bitcher? I mean, I don’t ask him about the mysterious sister Diana mentioned. “Haven’t seen her since she threw me out of the house four years ago. It’s very unlikely—as in demons-and-angels-make-out unlikely—I will see her anytime soon. Can’t ruin her picture-perfect family for her new rich husband.” 
He sighs loudly. “Wow, she really threw you out of the house?” He pauses, probably wrapping his head around the reality I call life. “What could possibly justify a mother treating her own flesh and blood like that?” 
I don’t want to talk about Mother Dearest or my past. Alex is a stubborn son of a bitch, though. He’ll never let me sleep until he gets what he craves—an answer. “Before I was born,” I explain, voice trembling. “My mom had a vision.” 
“She had the same gift as you?” Alex queries. 
“No.” I’m not sure why the hell I’m telling him any of this. “She only had visions when she was pregnant with me. Anyway, I was some sort of queen of the underworld, bringing upon the end of the world.” I turn, facing the bathroom door, and close my eyes. “Probably doesn’t surprise you, huh?” 
His hand travels from my shoulder down to my fingers. “I’m sorry,” he whispers, his breath warm against the nape of my neck. “No kid deserves to grow up like that.” 
I swallow the desire to conquer his mouth. I ignore the heat rising in my belly. “Get some sleep, Alex.” 
He throws an arm across me, pulling me against his warm chest. I try to resist, but it’s been a while since I felt so good. “Night,” he whispers, his body melting with mine. 
I stare into the darkness and try to get a grip on my heartbeat. Why does he have to be so close? Why can’t he see having him in my bed, knowing I will never have him in my life, is fucking torture? I close my eyes. 
One sheep. 
Alex’s hand wanders over my ribs, down to my hips. 
Two sheep. 
His fingers brush my leg. 
Three sheep. 
He draws tiny circles on my inner thigh. 
Ah, fuck the sheep! 
I throw the blanket to the side and sit up on the edge of the bed, my feet dangling over the gross carpet. 
“Move your ass back to bed,” he orders, patting the free spot next to him. 
“The mattress is too soft,” I lie. “I’ll try the other one.” 

He murmurs something about me being full of bullshit, but I ignore him because I can no longer ignore the need in my loins. 
 
 
 

soul mates teaser 3 Soul mates teaser 2

 

About the Author:

Author Photo

Nadine aka Dini is a traveler at heart. She considers the world her home and practically lives out of her suitcases. When she’s not glaring at a blank page or abusing her poor keyboard, she spends her time reading, watching movies (preferably horror), pretends to work out, and hangs out with friends and family. Poor girl also suffers from a serious Marvel superhero addiction. So, if you run into her at night, wearing black, know she’s secretly dreaming of being the infamous Black Widow. Her love for writing started in the sixth grade where she annoyed her classmates with a short story featuring Sailor Moon characters, a cemetery, and creepy ghosts. Yes, she’s always been addicted to the dark side. Nadine writes paranormal romance. Her debut novel “Karma” the first book in her paranormal romance series Drag.Me.To.Hell. is published by the Wild Rose Press and will be out in May 2016. She has a serious girl crush on her protagonist Amanda Bishop. Nadine has a BA in Comparative Religions and studied Creative Writing at the University of Oxford.    

Connect with Nadine:

https://www.nadinenightingale.com

https://www.facebook.com/AuthorNadineNightingale/?ref=aymt_homepage_panel

https://twitter.com/dini_caroline

https://www.instagram.com/therealnadinenightingale/

https://uk.pinterest.com/dininightingale/

 

 

Enter Nadine’s Giveaway:

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text 2017-03-03 06:00
Soul Mates by Nadine NightinGale Chapter Reveal & Giveaway !

SoulMates_banner_chapterreveal

Today we have the chapter reveal for Soul Mates by Nadine Nightingale! Check out the fantastic chapter and grab your copy before it comes out March 10thth!

  Soul Mates

 

Title: Soul Mates

Author: Nadine Nightingale

Genre: Paranormal Romance

Release Day: March 10th

 

About Soul Mates:

Alex is a righteous witch hunter. I’m a stab-worthy witch. We loved each other once. Now, we can’t stand to be near each other. It’s my fault. We are natural born enemies, after all. I had to help him save his brother from a psychotic voodoo priest, though. What can I say? I like Little Remington as much as I pretend to dislike Alex. Besides, he promised to never bother me again after that.   He kept his end of the bargain. I left my dubious life behind and started over. All is well. Until—   The truth about a deal with hell is revealed. I have to choose between the ultimate sacrifice or losing jerk-face forever. One will live, one will die. Who, solely depends on my selfishness

Preorder your copy today:

Amazon US | Amazon UK | Kobo | iTunes | Goodreads

soul mates teaser 3 

Catch Up on the Series:

AMAZON US | AMAZON UK | AMAZON AU | Barnes&Nobles | KOBO | Goodreads

 

 

Exclusive Excerpt:

Jerking my eyes open, I’m blinded by the bright sunlight creeping through my chiffon curtains. “Knockin’ on Heaven’s Door,” Alex’s favorite Guns N’ Roses song, blares through the speakers of my digital radio alarm clock. Awesome. As if jerk-face haunting me in my dreams isn’t bad enough. The universe seems to give a shit about the deal I’d made with my ex-lover. Or why else would it torture me with those fucking nightmares? “You’re such a slut!” Chelsea, aka the Nun, aka roommate from church-hell, yells from the living room. The walls of our three-bedroom apartment at Green House are too fucking thin. “Oh yeah? And what are you, Jesus with boobs?” Bonnie, my best and only friend, barks. Pressing a pillow over my head, I try to block their voices out. This isn’t how I pictured my new life at NYU, and it sure as hell isn’t what I had in mind when I’d given up my old, carefree life as a witch. I’m so over their senseless fights. They’ve been living together for a while now. They still can’t ignore each other. Granted, it’s hard to turn a blind eye to the Nun. If she isn’t demonstrating against abortion, or writing a blog post about Evil Women Who Scream Rape When They Practically Asked For It Because They Wore A Too- Short Skirt, she’s determined to make Bonnie’s life a living hell. “That’s blasphemy, Bonnie!” “Sue me.” The fighting continues. That’s it! I’m going to kill ’em. With a headache from hell and still half asleep, I stumble to my door and yank it open. They’re standing in the common room, which consists of an open kitchen and a small living room. “Shut up! Both of you!” Bonnie’s eyes almost pop out. “Did you hear what she just said?” She sounds offended. “The whole freakin’ floor heard you guys,” I snap. They shoot daggers at me. I don’t care. Running a hand through my disheveled hair, I walk to the fresh brewed coffee and pour some into a dirty cup. Why can’t these girls wash up? Chelsea glares at me with an I’m-so-much-better- than-you expression, rolls her eyes, and heads to her room. The girl knows what’s good for her. Have to give her that much. “I want her out!” Jesus! “And I want you to stop yelling, Bonnie. I’m not deaf.” She lowers her voice. “I’m serious. I can’t live with her.” You don’t say? I take a drink of the black gold and pull myself onto the kitchen counter. “We’ve already tried to get rid of her, remember? But like it or not, all residence halls are full.” Bonnie puts a hand on her hip. It’s paradoxical. Usually, I’m the one with temper issues. Lately, I couldn’t care less about bitch fights. “Did you have a good night?” I ask, trying to take her mind off the Nun. Bonnie’s pained expression fades, and she flashes me a bright smile. “I had a date with Cappuccino Guy. He was...” She pauses. “Wow. Just wow. I can totally set you up with one of his buddies. Just say the word.” I knit my brows. “Nah. If I need a date doctor, I’ll call Hitch.” Downing the rest of the coffee, I get on my feet. “I need a shower.” Bonnie throws her cute curls over her shoulder. Her shiny cognac eyes fill with concern. “Did you have another nightmare?” I lean my hip against the counter and close my eyes. The vicious dream pushes through my subconscious. The images are so fucking vivid, it’s as if I’m still trapped in it.

****

The wind rattled the leaves of the massive trees as plants wove around my ankles like poisonous snakes. I looked up. The sky closed in on me. Black wings beat the chilly air. Ravens owned the firmament. Hundreds of them blocked the faint light from the crescent moon. Quickening my pace, I reached an old, savaged cemetery. My pulse jackknifed in my neck as I stared at an inverted cross leaning against the king-sized iron gates. I moved closer and read the inscription carved into the black wood: Lasciate ogne speranza, voi ch’intrate. My Italian was rusty, but I knew Dante by heart. “Abandon all hope, ye who enter here.” With a jarring sound, the gates opened. Don’t do this. Too late. It felt as if a magnetic pull lured me into the cemetery. I passed through the gates of hell. Ravens perched on crooked gravestones, throwing spooky shadows on the burned grass. The tang of sulfur engulfed me, stinging my nostrils. This was insane. Turn the fuck around and walk away. Every cell in my body wanted to listen to the voice in my head. I couldn’t. The place had me under its spell. “Amanda!” Bonnie? I turned, trying to locate her. “Amanda.” Hysteria tinged my voice. “Bonnie, where the fuck are you?” Desperate, I faced one of the ravens. “Where is she?” The bird’s charcoal eyes pierced me. Then it spread its wings and flew toward a shabby mausoleum. A single black candle burned on the steps. There it was again, the magnetic pull. In a trance-like state, I stumbled toward the old tomb and the door swung open. “In here.” Bonnie’s honey-colored skin was wrapped in a white toga. She looked like a Greek goddess, but her beautiful cognac eyes were white and empty. I blinked. “What the hell is going on?” A crooked smile on her lips, she yanked the door open farther. “Come and see for yourself.” “What the—” Peeking over her shoulder, words stuck in my throat. My heart stopped. “Alex?” He laid on a mortuary table. Was he— No! I tried to push past my best friend, but inhuman and terrifying laughter pulsated through the eerie night. “He’s gone, Amanda,” a dark voice whispered. An ocean of black feathers covered the ground. Ravens croaked in agony as a shadowy figure in a dark cloak crushed them with its boots. Dread infected my system and I had trouble breathing. I wanted to run, but the black feathers turned into rattling snakes. The creatures hissed, and I knew they’d attack if I made a wrong move. “W-who the hell are you?” The demon laughed. “Ah, love. ‘What is in a name?’” The snakes crawled left and right, opening a path for the cloaked creature. “‘That which we call a rose by any other word would smell as sweet,’” the black shadow said, advancing toward me. I should have been shocked by the fact a demon quoted Shakespeare, but my gaze drifted back to Alex. “What did you do to him?” The shadow figure stopped inches in front of me and ran its blazing hand over my cheeks. “All in good time, love.” Then Bonnie slammed the mausoleum door shut, trapping Alex’s lifeless body inside.

****

untitled

“Amanda?” Bonnie’s voice draws me back to the present. “Did you have another nightmare?” I run an index finger over the dark circles beneath my eyes and nod. “They’re getting worse.” “Worse how?” I trace the scar Walter’s bullet left on my chest, not sure how to describe the uncanny feeling. “They’re way too real. I’ve slept eight hours, yet I feel like I was up all night, running a triathlon.” Bonnie grabs the coffee pot and pours me another cup. “Did you call Alex?” Did Cappuccino Guy screw her brains out? Alex, aka jerk-face, is the last person I’d give a buzz. Twenty- one months ago, hunter-heroic barged into my life and made me believe we had a chance at happiness. For the first time, I indulged in the fantasy love wasn’t just an illusion. When the witch hunter learned I was his favorite kind of prey, things turned ugly fast. He threatened to kill me, and if it wasn’t for his brother Jesse, he would have gone through with his threat. Then, three months ago, he walked back in my life with a proposal I couldn’t pass up. His brother had gone missing, and if I helped him, he would never bother me again. We found Jesse and saved a bunch of kids abducted by a bokor and his pedophile asshole friend, Walter. Alex honored his promise and didn’t contact me again. “Why would I call him? Jesse is safe, I paid my dues, and he hasn’t bothered me again. Everything is perfect.” Bonnie arches a brow. “You don’t look so perfect, Amanda.” “Really?” I grin, or at least I try. “I thought I totally rocked this American Apparel underwear.” “Amanda.” She folds her hands over my shoulders. “We both know he isn’t just any guy. He’s the f—” Anger rises through me like toxic smoke. “Don’t you dare,” I warn her. “You promised you’d never bring this up.” She plays with a strand of her rebellious curls. “I’m sorry. It’s just... I’m worried. Ever since you went on that stupid road trip, you don’t date, don’t screw.” She draws a deep breath. “Fuck. You don’t even live.” I’m so not up for this conversation. I put the cup in the sink and stalk to our tiny bathroom next to my room. “Don’t wait on me,” I hiss, slamming the door shut. “You’re such a bitch,” she barks. I couldn’t agree more.

**** Working the dayshift at Lindy’s Diner, I refill the sticky sugar bowls. It’s been three months since I said goodbye to my past. Two months without reading cards. One month of respectable work as a waitress, and two fucking weeks of nightmares. Goddammit, I feel like a freaking member of AA. “Amanda!” Lindy calls from the kitchen. Hands shaking, head thumping, I put the sugar down and turn around. “Yeah?” Deep lines on her forehead, she raises a brow at me. “New customer. Table two.” God, I miss my old life. I straighten my apron and grab a menu. Approaching table two with a half-hearted smile, I put the menu down. “Welcome to Lindy’s Diner.” I point to my tag. “My name is Amanda. What can I get ya?” The sentence is branded into my brain. You wanted this, I remind myself. Yeah, but back then I hadn’t known a normal life was equivalent with becoming suicidal. “What would you suggest?” my new customer asks. He’s about twenty-five, wears a fancy black suit and expensive leather shoes. Not exactly a typical Lindy’s Diner customer. I pull the pen out of my ponytail and reach for my notepad. “Pancakes are nice. Apple pie is great. Everything else pretty much sucks.” Joe, our Italian chef, is freakin’ amazing, but Lindy likes to keep her costs low. Even Joe can’t turn shit into gold. The dude leans back, and his lips curve up at the corners. “Pancakes and pie it is, then.” I jot down his order and walk to the kitchen. After handing the paper to Joe, I nibble on cookies until my phone vibrates in the back pocket of my jeans. Peeking through the kitchen door, I check if Lindy is nearby before pulling it out. Bonnie’s name flickers across the screen. I hadn’t expected to hear from her after our little argument that morning, but the girl doesn’t just love me at my best. She also accepts me at my worst. And in the last couple of weeks, I’ve been nothing but at my worst. Still mad? she texted. Maybe, I sent back, not ready to let her off the hook so easily. Suck it up. Double-date tonight nine. Dress up, he’s hot! Has she lost her mind? I look like one of the zombie strippers. Hot on the outside, rotten and dead within. No! Yes! Bonnie had made up her mind, and the girl is like a pit bull when she wants something. I’m bound to lose a WhatsApp argument with her, so I decide to talk her out of it later. We’ll see. See you in Penrose’s class? Yes. I hit the send button and put the phone away before Lindy catches me texting. I return to the counter and see the guy with the fancy leather shoes holding up his cup. “Table two,” Lindy snaps. “I’m not blind.” “Then move your lazy ass. The coffee ain’t serving itself.” Grabbing the pot, I stalk toward him. “Anything else?” I ask, filling his cup. I don’t mean to sound like a bitch, but I just can’t help it. He studies me with big, arctic-blue eyes. There’s something about them that gives me the creeps. I just can’t put my finger on what it is. I try to read his aura, but the colors are blurred. I haven’t had a clear reading since the damn nightmares started. I’ve tried, God knows I have, but it’s like I’m constantly glaring at a fucking rainbow. What good is it to be a witch if you can’t use your gifts? “I’m Legend, by the way.” Sure, and I’m Jada Pinkett Smith. “Would you, maybe, care to join me?” He sounds casual, not pushy. “Sorry. Can’t,” I grumble. He holds my gaze. Chills ripple through me. Oh no. Not here. Not now.

****

The way too familiar scent of rusty iron and death hung in the air as Legend stood in the living room of the comfy family home. He’d been told by the first responding officers the scene was barbaric, but the word couldn’t adequately describe what he saw. Vicious crimson stains covered the walls, part of a liver lay on a white leather sofa, and a bloody hand print decorated the large flat-screen TV. Legend drew a deep breath and focused on the disfigured corpse. The weird symbol carved into his head bugged Legend a lot. Four people slaughtered, and all wearing the same mark. “Sir,” a young officer said to him. “The coroner is here.” “Give me a sec,” he ordered, scanning the crime scene. No sign of forced entry, no murder weapon, and he’d bet his ass there’d be no DNA or fingerprints. The young officer glared at the corpse. His face slightly green, he looked sick to his stomach. “What animal would do something like that?” Animal was the keyword. The rib cage of the poor bastard was torn into pieces, most of his organs removed, the body had been twisted in an unnatural way, and the victim’s face unrecognizable. “I don’t know,” Legend said. “But whatever killed him won’t stop.” “Whatever? You mean whoever, right?” Legend pulled a pack of cigarettes out of his jacket and went to the door. “No. I meant whatever.”

****

My knees are like jelly as the sickening vision fades. The symbol carved into the man’s head had been a sigil. In other words, a demon’s calling card. Every demon has its own. But this one, I had seen before. It had been carved into the chest of Mister Sinister, the guy who’d attacked me in an alley. The dude Alex thought I’d iced. “Are you all right?” Legend sounds genuinely concerned. My hands tremble. “Just a little dizzy.” He loosens the collar of his shirt. A weird tattoo crawls over his neck. Looks like some sort of symbol. “Sure you don’t want to join me, Amanda?” Before I can answer, Lindy shouts, “Amanda!” For once, I’m glad my boss is a freaking tyrant. “Sorry. Gotta go.”           Soul mates teaser 2 

About the Author:

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Nadine aka Dini is a traveler at heart. She considers the world her home and practically lives out of her suitcases. When she’s not glaring at a blank page or abusing her poor keyboard, she spends her time reading, watching movies (preferably horror), pretends to work out, and hangs out with friends and family. Poor girl also suffers from a serious Marvel superhero addiction. So, if you run into her at night, wearing black, know she’s secretly dreaming of being the infamous Black Widow. Her love for writing started in the sixth grade where she annoyed her classmates with a short story featuring Sailor Moon characters, a cemetery, and creepy ghosts. Yes, she’s always been addicted to the dark side. Nadine writes paranormal romance. Her debut novel “Karma” the first book in her paranormal romance series Drag.Me.To.Hell. is published by the Wild Rose Press and will be out in May 2016. She has a serious girl crush on her protagonist Amanda Bishop. Nadine has a BA in Comparative Religions and studied Creative Writing at the University of Oxford.    

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