Treating Her Right/In the Doctor’s Bed by Lori Foster
Treating Her Right/In the Doctor’s Bed by Lori Foster
SOMETIMES YOU HAVE TO FIGHT FIRE WITH FIRE.
Following a drunken night together, the vampire Michael “Vegas” Tremayne takes off with no explanation, leaving Deziree Davanzati to wonder if they’d made a terrible mistake. Rather than obsess about it, Dez spends most of her time at Onyx, the rock club she owns and operates for the supernatural citizens of New York City. All are welcome-werewolves, witches, and anyone else willing to play nice while under her roof and pay their tab at the end of the night.
After two weeks of radio silence, Vegas returns with alarming news. For the first time in more than four centuries, there is reason to believe a pureblood demon is walking among them. They suspect someone from the the Council may be behind the creature’s return, but to what end?
With the Sentinel Stone missing, they’re down to the wire and don’t know who to trust. Will Dez and Vegas stop the demon in time? Or will Hell itself be unleashed upon the world?
The Devil You Know
by Jena Gregoire
Hellfire Series Book One
June 5, 2018
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DANCE WITH THE DEVIL, the third full-length installment in the Hellfire series is coming soon! To celebrate the upcoming release, author Jena Gregoire is sharing the first chapter!
“Say it again,” Dez purred. She watched his lips as he uttered the words she so longed to hear.
“Hot, dark, Columbian, deep inside you.” His words came out in a sensual whisper causing her mouth to water with anticipation.
“Mmmm,” She closed her eyes and tipped her head back, imagining the level of satisfaction in her near future. “Let’s do it now,” she begged, “come on, it’s been almost four months. I swore I would never go this long without it again.” She leveled a deadly stare at him to make sure her urgency was understood. “I need this, Vegas. My body needs this.”
“You’re desperate, huh?” His reply was playful.
“You have no idea.”
“Alright, but we have to take care of business first.”
“I got this.” A wicked smile crept across her face.
Coffee will have to wait just a tiny bit longer.
Turning her attention back to the task at hand, she fired several shots in quick succession, taking out the three possessed men currently stalking toward them across the wide expanse of the run-down warehouse building. Once, the complex had been home to a series of crystal meth labs, and in a not-so-bright maneuver, a group of demons had set up shop inside a band of tweakers. The condition of their bodies showed the drugs had taken their toll long before the demons came along, their mobility limited to a slow limp. Dez had watched plenty of demons function absolutely fine in bodies with broken necks and signs of advanced decay. Meth, on the other hand, actually did enough damage to limit their motor skills.
“There are two more somewhere here,” she said as she stepped over one of the fallen bodies. She could feel the presence of the other two lurking in the shadows, but the demons weren’t making any moves toward them. They were in no danger. All it would take is one command and the demons would be forced to do as she wished, which included being able to bring them to a complete standstill. However, she and Vegas both enjoyed the hunt to a certain extent, so she didn’t often use that aspect of her demon powers.
They had bounced from one city to another since her little brush with death in the desert. Although spending lots of alone time with Vegas had been fun, she had reached her breaking point and ached for the extravagantly comfortable life she had built for herself in New York. The novelty of sleeping in shitty roadside motels had long worn away, even if she didn’t have to spend it alone anymore.
Her life had changed.
She had changed.
Everything she thought she knew about who she was and where she had come from had been nothing but a pack of lies specifically designed to bring her to that fateful moment in the desert.
After centuries of belief that she had perished at her own hand following Dez’s birth, Catalina, her biological mother, had turned up to complete the charge set forth by the Daughters of Eris. The long-hidden sect of the witch covens had taken it upon themselves to usher in the apocalypse by way of unleashing a demon hoard onto the human plane of existence, and then to play the hero of the day by wiping them all out in one fell swoop. Dez’s blood combined with a heavy dose of celestial magic was the key to the second part of their plan and had it not been for Vegas, they would have succeeded in their mission.
And she’d be dead.
After spending some much-needed downtime at Charlie’s house to recuperate, she and Vegas had both become rather antsy, desperate for some normalcy. The pair set out on the road, having already sent Kade back home, and had been hunting ever since. They had come to grips with the fact that hunting demons would have to be part of their daily lives, but it had become their entire life. This last stop━a shitty little New Hampshire town made most famous by its mass production of methamphetamine━had Dez craving the comforts of home and a cup of coffee from the best café the city that never sleeps had to offer.
“I won’t even make you go out and get it for me,” she informed him. “We can just stop on the way home. We’ll stock up on coffee and those little cranberry cake things.”
“Those are good,” he agreed.
“Yes, they really are. See? You’re getting excited. I knew it.”
“Dez,” he replied, “I never said I wasn’t excited about the prospect of going home, or that I can’t be swayed by promises of the smoothest coffee in existence. I’m excited.”
“You don’t sound excited.” Glass smashed in a room down the hall pulling their attention away from a conversation which was going nowhere fast. The small betrayal of their location was all Dez needed to finish the job. She swiftly moved toward a small row of rooms along the southern wall of the structure. The boarded-up windows enclosed what she assumed were small offices once upon a time. As she passed and cleared each one, she could see that as of late, the small rooms were being used as labs, each used to cook meth. All of the rooms contained glass bottles over burners, which were connected by clear, plastic tubing. She recognized the basic setup from news broadcasts about meth labs being raided by police in the city over the last few years. As she crept from room to room, she noticed that none of the labs were active. The overwhelming smell of rubbing alcohol slammed into her with every doorway she stepped to, each room taking her breath away and making her eyes water. She couldn’t imagine living with or anywhere near that odor. Not for the first time, she found herself questioning why anyone would choose this brand of drug production to make their money. The acrid odor aside, the chemicals required to cook meth are notoriously unstable, most meth lab raids either resulting in or a byproduct of the lab exploding.
As Dez neared the end of the row of offices, she pushed her senses out into the ether. She fully expected to find the hate-fueled presence of two demon minds just beyond one of the nearby doors. Instead, she found the same dull hum she had encountered previously. At close range, drug-addled or not, the demons’ psychic energy should have been unmistakable. She started to wonder if demons weren’t the only creatures she was going to bump into in the filthy warehouse building.
Dez signaled to Vegas, indicating she wanted him directly in front of the doorway when they opened the door. She would open the door from the side, and he would be there to cover her, just in case anything particularly nasty decided it was a good day to test its luck.
She reached for the door handle. Loud enough so she was sure the room’s inhabitants heard her, she yelled out.
“Don’t move!” Any demons inside would be forced to follow her command. Anyone else would probably just assume she was a cop. She turned the knob of the door as silently as she could and pushed it. The door hinges creaked as it swung into the office.
“It’s clear,” Vegas said.
“Definitely not empty, though,” Dez replied tapping her index finger to her temple reminding him that she had felt the presence of two minds in the room. She brought her gun up in front of her and crept into the room. She quickly spun around making sure there was nothing hiding behind the door. With the exception of the large wooden desk serving as a table for the cook operation, the room was empty. She was about to close her eyes and reach out into the ether again when a tiny movement pulled her attention downward. The small gap at the bottom edge of the desk revealed a delicate human foot, and whoever it was attached to was trying their best to pull it back in hopes of not being seen. Dez pointed her gun at the wooden panel covering the front of the desk.
“Since the particular people I’m looking for wouldn’t be able to move right now, I’m guessing you’re in the wrong place at the wrong time.” Dez tried to keep her voice calm and pleasant, which sounded completely at odds with the words coming out of her mouth. “I have a loaded sidearm pointed directly at where I assume your head would be, and if I think for one second you’re about to do anything stupid, I’ll pull the trigger. Come on out of there, nice and slow.”
There was a rustling noise under the table and a small hand gripped the edge. The dirt-caked fingernails were chewed to the quick. The delicate pixie face peering back at her, framed by disheveled brown and honey-blonde streaked hair, was not what Dez had expected. The girl’s eyes were bright blue, not that different from her own, and clear of any demons, supernatural or otherwise. Aside from her clothes being covered in dust, she was clean. Whoever she was, she didn’t appear to be the type to frequent a meth lab. Not anymore, at least. The girl’s slender arms hung at her sides, tiny pale scars the only remaining evidence of long-since healed track marks betraying her past addiction.
“Heroin?” Dez asked. The girl self-consciously grabbed her arm, covering the scars, and nodded her head slightly, never taking her frightened eyes off of Dez’s gun.
“But you’re clean, right?” The girl nodded again, a nervous twitch to her movements. “Then what are you doing here?” The girl opened her mouth to speak, but before she could get a word out, Vegas interrupted her.
“You’re not alone.” The girl turned her attention to him, her eyes widened with alarm and recognition, and she nervously shook her head. She hesitantly glanced down and waved her hand to someone unseen. More rustling and another set of tiny hands led the arrival of another girl. The new girl’s hair was dyed black, her lighter brown roots grown out far enough for Dez to know it’d been a long time since she’d seen the inside of a salon. She was in far worse shape, her gaunt appearance assuring she wouldn’t be a poster child for walking the rocky road to sobriety any time soon. Her hands twitched and she started lightly scratching her neck, probably without even thinking about it. She was younger than the first girl, but not by much if Dez had to guess. She lowered her gun and nodded to Vegas for him to do the same. Both girls relaxed but only slightly.
“How long have you been clean?” She posed the question to the older girl, knowing the question was wasted on the younger one.
“I just got my one-year chip,” the girl replied, referring to a milestone for many in addiction recovery programs.
“What are you doing here? A meth lab isn’t exactly a good place for a recovering addict to be spending their time.”
“This is my little sister’s best friend. I came here looking for her. I knew this is where she comes to buy. When no one had seen her in a few days, I figured this is where she had ended up. We’ve been stuck here since yesterday morning.” She paused for a moment, then her tone completely changed, as if she were just waking up. “Were they zombies? I didn’t believe zombies were really possible, but those were zombies, right? Those things definitely looked like zombies. We hid in here when we saw them. Her mom would kill me if I got her turned into a zombie. Did you know zombies were a thing?” Her words came out in a rush, the tangle of thoughts spilling out of her.
“They’re gone,” Vegas answered.
“But that’s what they were, right? Zombies?”
“Not exactly,” Dez replied, “but arguably similar. How many of them did you see when you came in here?”
“Three, I think.” Dez turned toward Vegas and flipped the switch. She let her demon senses take over. She felt once more for any other presences in the building. She blinked her eyes, returning them to their normal icy blue, and an excited smile spread across her face.
“That’s all of them. You know what that means.”
“Time to go home,” Vegas responded, his own smile matching hers. Dez turned back to the girls.
“So, what’s the plan here? Are you taking her back to her parents?”
“Yes but I know someone who might be able to secure her a bed at a good rehab center up north. They helped me sober up and my counselor there might be able to help her. I’ll get her home and make some phone calls.” Dez pulled her cell phone out of her pocket, opened her address book, and selected the icon to add a new record.
“What are your names?”
“Tessa,” the older girl replied, her voice shaking, “and this is Kaitlyn.”
“Nice to meet you both. I’m Dez and this is Michael. Tessa, what’s your phone number?” Dez typed in the digits as the girl read them off and clicked the save button before tucking her phone back in her pocket. “I’m going to check in with you soon, just to make sure you’re okay. If you ever need anything, anything at all, look me up at Onyx in New York City. Can you remember that? Onyx?”
“Yes, Onyx. Got it.” Her reply was polite, but the look in her eyes said she wasn’t quite sure what to make of it.
“I’ll help you out in any way I can, you just have to promise to keep that shit out of your veins. It kills people. There are much better things you can be doing with your time than pumping your body full of that shit. If you find yourself in a rut, I can give you work. There is no situation you don’t have a way out of. Consider me your get-out-of-jail-free card. Use it if you need it. Are you okay to get home or do you need a ride?”
“Um, no, we’re okay. I can get us home, I mean. Can I, um, ask a question?”
“Of course.” The girl turned her attention toward Vegas before continuing.
“Are you a vampire?” She stumbled a bit on the last word.
“I am,” he answered, no point in attempting to hide his true nature. His golden eyes instantly gave him away, but the girl had to ask.
“He’s not what you pictured?” Des asked.
“I don’t know. I thought you’d be paler or something.” She stared at Vegas for a moment before speaking again. “And, if they weren’t zombies, what were those guys?”
Dez looked to Vegas for guidance. Without any words necessary, his eyes conveyed his feelings. He felt the same way she did. How much she knew was up to Tessa at this point. The girl had seen and been through enough. If it earned her anything, it was the truth.
“How much do you want to know?”
“Just the basics, I guess.”
“They were demons. Well, people possessed by demons.” The girl stared in thought for a moment before responding.
“Demons?” Dez nodded, surprised by the girl’s lack of panic. “Wow. Bummer. Alright, well, we’re going to go home now. I’m starving and I’ve had enough weird for one day.” She quickly looked to Vegas. “No offense.”
“Before you leave, what’s the name of my bar?”
“Onyx, and it’s in New York.”
“Good. Okay, be safe.” Tessa took Kaitlyn by the arm and guided her out from behind the desk. The pair hurried out the door toward the exit of the building. Dez watched them go as she and Vegas strolled toward the same exit. She couldn’t imagine losing herself to an addiction, but over the centuries, she’d watched it happen to countless numbers. She watched it ruin lives and tear families apart. But there was something in Tessa’s eyes, a spark she didn’t want to see extinguished like so many before her. Tessa had hope. She’d recovered from an addiction that could have taken her life at any time, and now her path could lead anywhere.
“Are we taking in strays now?” Vegas cocked his eyebrow at her as he wrapped an arm around her shoulder.
“No strays, smartass.”
“I know, I’m just playing with you. I think what you offered is sweet. I just don’t know where it came from. You don’t like people.”
“I don’t know. There is just something about her. Call it a gut feeling.”
“Good enough,” he replied, pulling her closer briefly to place a light kiss on her forehead. “So, dark roast?”
“For starters, I am thinking a perfect cup of medium roast. Then, maybe a mocha latte or a classic cappuccino.”
“You’re going to be bouncing off the walls of the penthouse,” he said as they strolled toward the exit.
“I can think of a few ways to burn off the extra energy.”
Bestselling author JENA GREGOIRE was born and raised in New Hampshire, USA, and despite her abhorrence for any season which dares to drop to a temperature below seventy degrees, she still currently resides there with her two children and several furbabies. Always a passionate reader, her love of urban fantasy books inevitably morphed into a love of writing them. She is currently working on two series – the Hellfire series and the Executioner series.
Run To You by Lara Adrian
Lass by Harloe Rae
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The biggest fight for the new Lycan King is convincing his Queen that he is committed to her forever. Darren has already fought to convince Cass to give him a chance, but a new Monarchy is just the beginning of the changes to the Lycan Kingdom. But as secrets and challenges to Darren’s crown emerge, his inner circle must close ranks to protect their Kingdom, and to make sure the newly-returned Lycan King keeps his crown. Candace Blackburn returns to the world of the Lycan King in this epic, edge of your seat third installment!
Rafflecopter for Return of the Lycan King: Book 3: Darren and Cassandra Blog Tour Giveaway:
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About Return of the Lycan King: Book 3 Darren and Cassandra:
Title: Return of the Lycan King: Book 3 Darren and Cassandra
Author: Candace Blackburn
Genre: Paranormal Romance
Release Date: December 11, 2018
Publisher: Candace Blackburn
Series: Return of the Lycan King #3
Format: Digital eBook
Digital ISBN: 1-7328151-0-0
Darren chases Cass to Ireland, determined to make up for his mistakes. When they return to North Carolina to build their lives together, nothing is the same. Darren has already fought to convince Cass to give him a chance, but a new Monarchy is just the beginning of the changes to the Lycan Kingdom. Secrets and challenges to Darren’s crown emerge, and his inner circle closes ranks, to protect their Kingdom, and to make sure the newly-returned Lycan King keeps his crown.
Copyright © 2018 Return of the Lycan King: Book 3 Darren and Cassandra
Liam’s completion of flight training had rather fortuitous timing. Liam was one of the members of Lex’s security team before Darren moved in. Darren snagged the other Lycan on the way to the airport with the subtle threat to “move your ass and don’t breathe a word to anyone.” Darren looked out the window of the Konstantine jet and didn’t see ocean, but he didn’t know how close they were to Dublin Airport.
Reading Liam’s thoughts would have been easy enough, if Darren hadn’t happily discovered that he could block that ability. So, he hadn’t been subjected to the “have you lost your fucking mind” lecture that Liam likely received from Lex. Or the “you let anything happen to him, I’ll kill you, myself” that undoubtedly followed said lecture.
Darren spent the entirety of the flight thinking of his mate. The pain in her voice, on her face, and the tears in her eyes, all as a result of Darren not claiming her. Pain, he had his own. Not claiming her was a physical, mental hell–it was pain from head to toe. But, he had reasoned that he’d rather live with that pain, than put Cass through one second of his impressive–or not–collection of screw-ups. Not to mention, all the bullshit that came with being King.
I’d rather cut off my own head than cause her pain like I saw that day.
Which is why they were over European airspace, because Cass was in Ireland. She left to escape him.
Because seeing me hurt her.
“Darren, we’re ten minutes out from Dublin.”
Liam’s voice cleared his guilt-filled thoughts. He ran his hands through his hair and realized he needed to go splash some water on his face. “Thanks.”
A minute later, he stood in front of the mirror and frowned. One of his buddies in college looked like he was in a perpetual hangover. Darren’s roommate used to tease the guy, telling him that he looked like he’d been ridden hard and put away wet. That saying pretty much summed up the reflection in the mirror.
Maybe I should stop off and get a haircut, buy a new shirt and jeans.
He probably would do that, if it didn’t take much time. His primary objective was to find Cass and get them back to the plane as soon as possible. Hell, he might as well tell Liam to file a return flight plan for, what, five hours from now? Yeah, that should do it. He hated the thought of claiming his mate in the bedroom on the plane, but damned if he was going to wait to get back to Raleigh. And, they wouldn’t be in Ireland for very long. Oh no. In and out, that was his plan. They’d be back in no time.
Liam kept up with Darren’s footsteps, barely.
“Still don’t understand why you wouldn’t want another beer. That may have been the best I’ve ever had. We should take a European beer tasting trip, just for comparison, though. German ales are pretty damned good.” They’d only gone in the last bar because Darren caught Cass’s scent.
“Not interested.” Glancing around the crowded Temple Bar section of Dublin, Darren wondered why Cass would be there. She was private, definitely not the type to hang out in tourist spots.
“Or we could just stay here and sample whiskey. All the whiskey.”
Technically, that didn’t sound like too bad of a plan, if he weren’t searching for his missing mate. “You should get on your knees and thank God that you can’t get cirrhosis.”
Liam snorted just as Darren thought he’d, again, picked up on Cass’s scent. He froze mid stride and almost took out a group of people. Peering inside the closest bar, he inhaled deeply and looked for her glossy black hair. Nada.
Darren turned, making a complete circle so he could visualize everything around him. His frustration was growing. Cass was so close, and he needed to see her. Feel her. Wrap her in his arms. Drop to his knees and apologize for being a colossal ass. Spend the next century begging her forgiveness. Then spend the rest of his life making her happy.
The sounds of barf splattering the pavement shook him out of his thoughts.
“This”–he pointed down at the moaning human in front of him–“is what all the whiskey gets you.”
Liam glanced down with disdain as they stepped around the human. “Not me.” He waved a negligent hand. “Higher tolerance and all that.”
“Mmm hmm.” Looking around, again, Darren barely restrained a growl. Cass’s scent grew fainter, and he was no damned closer to finding her.
Going to lose my motherfucking mind.
Material brushed his arm, and Darren snarled as his head snapped around. “Hey, do you mind holding my jacket while I tie my shoe?”
What the fuck? Darren snatched the jacket and Liam bent, after casting a pointed glare toward Darren’s hands. Claws had already punched through the tips, and if he were a betting person, he’d put money on his eyes glowing. Taking a deep breath and closing his eyes, he slipped on his polarized Ray Bans, covered both fists with the jacket and willed himself to calm.
Biggest white lie ever. If Darren spent two more seconds out there without Liam’s assistance, he’d likely have shifted and torn a bloody path through the Temple Bar district.
They needed to get out of public, check into a room and Darren needed to sleep off any jet lag. Then come sunrise, he’d try again.
Liam stood and cast a worried glance at Darren. “Okay?”
Not in the slightest. “Fine. Let’s get something to eat, go find a room, and search again tomorrow.”
Liam almost seemed to slouch in relief. “Sounds good. We’ll hit the roads in the morning.”
He confirmed that with a small nod. And I’ll spend another sleepless night without her.
Other Books in the Return of the Lycan King Trilogy:
Return of the Lycan King: Book 1 Nicholas and Kristen
One life, one mate. Nicholas Konstantine has been waiting over a thousand years for his mate. But when he finds her, she’s completely unaware of her Lycan biology, and she’s battling her own personal demons.
Kristen O’Connor is a recovering addict, with some major trust issues. By not letting anyone get close, she won’t get hurt. Yet after one meetiing with Nicholas, her walls are crumbling, and she wants more with this man.
But Nicholas reveals his Lycan side, and hers as well. In addition, ghosts from both of their pasts come back to haunt them. Will they face everything together, or will Kristen’s fears be stronger than her love?
Return of the Lycan King: Book 2 Lex and Elizabeth
Lex thought he’d lost her, but Elizabeth is back and she is his mate. But between her getting used to life as a Lycan, threats from dangerous elements looming over their heads and very odd changes in the Lycan kingdom happening all around them, nothing will be easy. Lex and Elizabeth’s love has to be the strength to pull them through.
About Candace Blackburn:
Candace makes her home in North Carolina with her high school sweetheart husband and their two sons. She’s an indie author who has published two previous romances (with a bit of fantasy in each), Tristan’s Redemption and Nate’s Forgiveness. Her current works are all paranormal romance (her favorite genre to read!) and are set in her home state. She loves coffee, cold weather, the Boston Red Sox, the Carolina Panthers, and hearing from fans.
About A TASTE FOR A MATE
Jasper Jameson has spent his life caring for others, knowing that one day he might be blessed with his mate. He’s fought alongside his family and Pack for over a century but it isn’t until he meets a human who makes his wolf growl, that he knows that there’s something more than fate worth fighting for.
When Jasper walks into Willow Delton’s bakery she knows there’s something different about him. But every time he walks back out again, she doesn’t know what to think. When he finally finds the strength to ask her out, a new enemy in Jasper’s life has other plans.
A dangerous Pack is on the prowl and they’ve not only threatened the Redwood Pack but brought a demon into the fold as well. Forced into a new way of life, Jasper and Willow must fight not only for their lives but their weakening mating bond. Trust takes time but the two of them might not have as much as they need.
Get your hands on A TASTE FOR A MATE for .99C
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About TRINITY BOUND
Hannah Lewis, a rare earth witch, is taken from the only life she’s ever known. Held at her will by a sadistic wolf, she almost gives up hope that she’d ever see her real life again. But as her fellow captive, a werewolf named Reed, tries to calm her fears, she begins to feel a spark of something she never thought she’d feel ñ love. But is Reed, alone, enough to get her out of this dark basement so she can move on with her life?
Reed Jamenson, the artist of a werewolf Pack of Alpha males, knows instinctually that Hannah is his mate. Thus, despite their imprisonment, he will do all to protect her and then worry about their hearts. But is he strong enough to find a way for both of them to escape? And why does he feel as though something else is missing?
Josh Kolb, an ex-military human, stumbles upon Reed and Hannah and finds he must trust this new world of supernatural beings to survive. But that desire will lead the three to a triangle of attraction that will test the boundaries they all possess and its consequences in defeating the enemy. Can they all trust one another to save themselves and life as they know it? Even at the cost of their own hearts?
Get your hands on TRINITY BOUND for .99C
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Google Play: http://bit.ly/2EhghMC
About Carrie Ann Ryan
Carrie Ann Ryan is the New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of contemporary and paranormal romance. Her works include the Montgomery Ink, Redwood Pack, Talon Pack, and Gallagher Brothers series, which have sold over 3.0 million books worldwide. She started writing while in graduate school for her advanced degree in chemistry and hasn’t stopped since. Carrie Ann has written over sixty novels and novellas with more in the works. When she’s not writing about bearded tattooed men or alpha wolves that need to find their mates, she’s reading as much as she can and exploring the world of baking and gourmet cooking.
All signs point to Davina being the witch of the catastrophic prophecy, but she’s not so sure.
Out Now! – The Witch of the Prophecy by Victoria Jayne
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Title: The Witch of the Prophecy
Author: Victoria Jayne
Genre: Paranormal Romance
Publisher: Young Ink Press
Length: 64,000 Words
Release Date: December 4, 2018
Divina’s had it with the prophecy.
The vampire whose heart beats for a witch that belongs to a wolf shall save us all. He shall take his throne and rule over all kinds. If not, the vampire who belongs to the witch will end all kinds.
Divina’s not convinced the prophecy is about her. Her manipulative vampire ex-boyfriend, Rori, is reluctant to give up his love for her to pursue the throne. Meanwhile, the wolf shifter meant to claim Divina doesn’t believe in the prophecy. However, he does believe Divina is his mate.
With the pressures of the prophecy and the most powerful coven in the present-day United States, Divina is left to choose between complying with the prophecy and mating with Aric—or leaving it all behind to allow the catastrophic possibility of supernatural beings getting exposed to humans.
“Pay attention,” she snapped. “You don’t need power, just Divina,” she spoke simply. “You don’t need the council seat, just your witch.”
Tightening his mouth into a firm line, Rori considered her words. The witches could be testing him. Through this manipulation, this appearance of Ines, they could be testing his resolve to sacrifice love for the throne, for the good of all kinds.
“If I do that then I will be the one to end us all,” he said, wary of Ines’ intentions.
Ines shook her head. “You have no desire to do such a thing,” she pointed out. “How could you end us if you don’t want to?”
She coughed again harder and longer this time. She looked at her hand and cursed before wiping it on the woolen blanket she held close around her.
“They are forcing you into a place you’re not meant to be, Roricus. You have to follow your heart, now that it beats. Don’t let the witches make you a puppet,” she said urgently.
He regarded her with a sideways glance. Her sickly form shivered under the blanket.
“What did they do to you?” he asked again.
With words in direct conflict with not only Esmine’s but Ines’ own words, Rori questioned her motive. Add her withering appearance, and it felt wrong.
With a tight-lipped frown Rori pondered his previous idea of her presence being a test by the Ember Witches; a test to his commitment to the throne. The more she talked, the more Rori felt the witches were pushing him toward the sacrifice.
She turned away from him. She tried to get up, but the witch lacked the strength and fell back down.
“Love, Roricus. Love is what you need to fight the prophecy,” she rasped.
Rori clenched his teeth. The manipulations needed to stop. His nostrils flared as his frustrations grew. The incessant games of the Ember Witches, of this witch, was enough to drive a lesser man crazy.
“They cast you out,” he surmised. “Did they strip you as well?” he asked.
She said nothing.
However, her trembling increased and the blanket slipped from her shoulder revealing her state of emaciation. She bowed her head and displayed just how thin her once lush red hair had become. She refused to lift it to him or, perhaps, she lacked the strength.
“Divina is to take your seat isn’t she?” Rori further concluded.
“You went against the witches knowing that it was your seat up for grabs,” Rori said.
He breathed in sharply with the belief he knew Ines’ true intentions. He closed his eyes, trying to push down the bloom of rage growing and spreading in his chest. When he opened them again, the world was tinged red.
“You are here to sabotage—”
Ines sprang up interrupting his words. The blanket fell to her feet and exposed her skeletal body with clothing dangling from her. Sores covered her gray skin. Her eyes lacked the shine and youth they had the first time she promised him power.
Cold radiated off her and crept over Rori’s skin.
“I went against my coven for what is right!” she hissed. “I went against my coven for love,” she declared. “For your love, for Percival’s love! For Divina and Selene!”
Her bony fingers gripped his forearms. The sharp digits dug into the muscular flesh of Rori’s arms, threatening to pierce through with a strength he didn’t realize she possessed. She shook as all her energy appeared concentrated on her hold on him.
“You are not fit for the council, Roricus,” she seethed. “You lack the age and the commitment. It is meant for Percival. The coven fears Selene’s devotion to her vampire.”
“You were the one who said I could have power,” Rori said through gritted teeth.
The chill forced its way through his body stemming from her hands wrapped around his arms.
“I lied,” she said. Releasing Rori’s arms she hung her head and shrunk back into her blanket. “I’m not proud of it. I did it for my coven. But, my coven is wrong.” She peered up at him with wide eyes. The fury gone from them, sadness took its place. “They can’t tamper with what is meant to be. And what is meant to be is you and Divina, your love,” she said as her voice cracked.
She took a deep breath, obviously tired from the energy it took to speak of such things in her weakened state.
“You can have love. You will, if you chose Divina. The throne is meant for Percival. The seat is meant for Selene. The coven wants to change that but they shouldn’t.” As she spoke, she collapsed into a heap between the two planters.
Crouching, Rori reached out for the arms of the witch. When he gripped her, she howled in pain. Rori held her frail limbs and shook her. The tortured woman wailed as the skin on her arms ripped in his hands.
He pulled back, letting her go. His eyes widened and his mouth fell open in horror seeing the bits of flesh stuck to his fingers and palms.
Rori flicked his attention to the pained witch. She crumbled flat to the floor.
“Go to your witch, Roricus. Chase your love. Don’t let them strip you too,” she sobbed.
Growing up on the Jersey Shore, Victoria was an insatiable reader. She adored getting lost in the worlds others created for her. During her early teen years she enjoyed the works of R.L. Stein and S.E. Hinton. As she got older, she drifted into the worlds provided for her by Anne Rice, Suzanne Wright, J.D. Tyler, Joanna Wylde, Cherise Sinclair, Dianne Duvall, and Elisabeth Naughton, to name a few. These writers spawned her love affair with both the romance genre and the world of the supernatural.
Victoria started writing as a hobby while still in high school. Now her days are spent writing, enjoying time with her husband, and her two children. She still lives in New Jersey. Victoria is a New Jersey Devils Hockey fan, an avid SecondLife Roleplayer, and a Netflix binge watcher.
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