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Category Archives: Urban Fantasy

Throw Back Thursday……City of Bones (The Mortal Instruments #1) by Cassandra Clare

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This week’s TBT goes to the first book in The Mortal Instruments Series, City of Bones by Cassandra Clare. I have probably read this series/this book more than 10 times. It is one of my absolute favorites. From the story building to the push and pull between Clary and Jace to the rip your heart out angst, this is one series that to this day, I can not get enough of.

When fifteen-year-old Clary Fray heads out to the Pandemonium Club in New York City, she hardly expects to witness a murder― much less a murder committed by three teenagers covered with strange tattoos and brandishing bizarre weapons. Then the body disappears into thin air. It’s hard to call the police when the murderers are invisible to everyone else and when there is nothing―not even a smear of blood―to show that a boy has died. Or was he a boy?

This is Clary’s first meeting with the Shadowhunters, warriors dedicated to ridding the earth of demons. It’s also her first encounter with Jace, a Shadowhunter who looks a little like an angel and acts a lot like a jerk. Within twenty-four hours Clary is pulled into Jace’s world with a vengeance, when her mother disappears and Clary herself is attacked by a demon. But why would demons be interested in ordinary mundanes like Clary and her mother? And how did Clary suddenly get the Sight? The Shadowhunters would like to know…

Exotic and gritty, exhilarating and utterly gripping, Cassandra Clare’s ferociously entertaining fantasy takes readers on a wild ride that they will never want to end. 

Amazon Paperback: http://amzn.to/2uAHNRx

Kindle: http://amzn.to/2tx8ykP

Audio: http://amzn.to/2txhExG

Excerpt Reveal for Kallie Ross’s UNBREAKABLE

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She thought her story was over.

Little did she realize, it had just begun.

From Young Adult author Kallie Ross, comes the first full-length novel in The Cupid Chronicles

UNBREAKABLE!

Filled with action, romance, and an adventure that will keep readers on the edge of their seat…What will the fate of the world be as it balances on the tip of one girl’s arrow? Get ready to fly and fall in love with UNBREAKABLE on November 14th!

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About UNBREAKABLE (The Cupids Chronicles #1):

Dying for the love of your life…

Evelyn Bowden thought her story was over. Little did she realize, it had just begun.

The heavens made her a Cupid– a supernatural with the rarest ability. One that allows her to pierce both mortals and immortals with arrows possessing everlasting love. But Evelyn soon discovers Cupids fight a battle in a long fought war.

A duty to protect the purest form of love…

As Evelyn embarks on her first mission, helping a Gargoyle find his true love, she is exposed to the blurred battle lines between light and darkness. While an unknown threat proves it’s willing to do anything to get their hands on Evelyn and her arrows, the heavens send AndelLambros to help protect her. She finds herself at risk of being distracted by her former mentor, Andel, a stunning Cupid with dimples hard to ignore.

Missing her mark could lead to a supernatural war…

Having no idea how powerful she is, Evelyn is forced to put everything on the line as she balances the fate of the world on the tip of her arrow. But will love conquer all once she hits her mark, or will all be lost in the end?

Pre-order your copy today!
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Add it to Goodreads!

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EXCERPT:

Chapter 1

Heaven should be the end-all-be-all, most epic finale of your life. At least that’s what Evelyn Bowden had assumed.

Evelyn, with her favorite jeans and green T-shirt, rushed across the heavens. She looked like a mall-walker trying to keep up the pace during peak Christmas Eve shopping hours. Inspecting the fluffy clouds she traversed was tempting, but she wouldn’t allow her curiosity to distract her. She had appeared in the heavens once before but was still bewildered by the transparency of the somehow solid air beneath her feet. Clouds weren’t easy to trust, but she was coming to terms with being more than a mere mortal, with being a Cupid.

Flexing her supernatural powers, Evelyn’s gold tattoo glinted along the inside of her forearm. The arrow had appeared on her skin after she had marked her first couple, but it looked different than her mentor’s tattoo. She didn’t know why her tattoo was so much more embellished. Her brilliant arrow donned delicate vines like a maypole wrapped in ribbons.

Around her, Cupids paraded through the gleaming city set on air. Some armed themselves with their bow and arrows as if on a mission. Others strolled along the sidewalks, enjoying the perfect weather. One man passed by her in a pinstriped three-piece suit, leaving Evelyn wondering if she should turn around and change. Her nineteen-year-old college student attire didn’t seem to measure up to the heavenly dress code.

Evelyn had a meeting with the Elders. She didn’t know if the invitation required a more formal Cupid look, so she summoned her bow and quiver full of arrows with a simple thought. Her weapons appeared strapped across her torso. Evelyn grinned, pleased with herself.

“You can put those away. And you can also slow down. The Elders are not going anywhere,” Andel suggested. He’d been following her. As her mentor, he should have been leading the way, but Evelyn’s nervous energy had her bouncing ahead. Her feet stuttered, but Evelyn found herself distracted by the different buildings and Cupids they passed. Each one resembled a different era that Evelyn recognized.

Andel stopped in his tracks, but she kept walking just a few paces more before fully processing what he was saying. “Remember, they called us in for the meeting.”

“Should I be wearing something else?” Evelyn asked with the hint of a Southern accent. She took in Andel’s six-foot-and-change frame. He wore jeans, but they were tailored to fit him perfectly. His boots and belt matched, and his white T-shirt was somehow classic and trendy the way he had the hem tucked in at his hip.

“Of course not. I’m practically wearing the same thing. Our appearance is usually determined by our assignment, but while we are in the heavens, you should feel comfortable being yourself. We are heavenly warriors, not supermodels.” Andel’s constant voice of reason grated on her nerves. Technically they both sported jeans and a T-shirt, but Andel looked like he could grace the cover of GQ magazine.

“Thanks.” Evelyn rolled her eyes.

“What I meant—”

“It’s okay,” Evelyn waved off Andel’s backpedaling. She knew she wasn’t a Kardashi-whoever, and she also knew Andel didn’t really mean anything by it. As her mentor, he had always been focused on the job at hand. He’d welcomed Evelyn when she first woke up in this afterlife and he had never left her side.

She had died. It was still hard to believe.

And while taking a deathly blow for her boyfriend had seemed like a good idea at the time, Evelyn had lingered in the second stage of loss: anger. She spent the first few months of her immortality fighting Andel, even though his job was to teach her how to fight. Andel had trained and encouraged her during the process of becoming a Cupid, despite her lack of enthusiasm. Every person chosen to be a Cupid died for someone they loved, and those chosen always had a choice: move on or commit to being a Cupid. The promise of immortality could only be sealed with a perfect shot through two hearts. The only problem was Evelyn had marked an immortal unknowingly, and in the process, found out she had a power distinctly different than any other Cupid.

“You need to keep up,” Evelyn said over her shoulder to Andel. She continued to walk as fast as her legs would take her in the direction of the Elder’s headquarters. Evelyn’s face was new to the meandering Cupids around them, so some staggered and stared like she had two heads. She caught a white-haired Cupid with a combover double take in her direction and didn’t know if she should be more surprised that he wouldn’t need a neck brace or that she’d gotten used to the feeling of shocking others. Unaffected, she hurried right on by the Armory building; its medieval turrets and brick outer walls looked a lot like Dover Castle. And as she passed the Placement Office, she noted it resembled the Parthenon.

The Cupids moved with purpose. As their arms swung at their sides, Evelyn caught a glimpse of a few golden tattoos, but none of them looked like hers. Not even Andel’s incandescent arrow-ink looked similar to hers. In fact, they all looked as if they differed in one way or another. The only thing they all had in common was the point of the arrowhead touched their wrist and the end reached to the inside of everyone’s elbow. The feathers making up Andel’s fletching had hundreds of lines. The other tattoos she caught a glimpse of had fewer lines, but every tattoo was structured and streamlined. Evelyn’s feathers were more chaotic and looser, swirling as if they’d been caught in a breeze.

“The sooner we get there, the sooner I get answers,” Evelyn said, hoping the Elders could tell her why she was different. But she also wanted to get her next assignment, so she could get back to the mortal realm. The staring and glaring she’d gotten from every Cupid up here, excluding Andel, was worse than being the girl who dropped her tray of food in the cafeteria. She had experience being the new kid, even the new foster kid, but the wide berths the other Cupids gave her as they walked around her were starting to make her wonder if they were threatened by her.

“Evelyn, stop.” Andel used his entire six feet and four inches to catch up to his protégé. Grabbing hold of her elbow, Andel forced Evelyn to face him, super-soft cotton T-shirt first. She considered the awkwardness for a moment before being sidetracked by the muscles underneath. There was nothing soft about those.

“Excuse me, but”—Evelyn regained her composure, straightening her smooth, shoulder-length brown hair—“why?” She was fed up with not knowing the truth, and she wanted answers. She was different now. She’d accepted the terms of her immortality, but the agreement felt more like a compromise. Evelyn needed to know why she, of all Cupids, could pierce immortals with love.

“For one thing, I believe we will be better received if we arrive calmly. You are not calm,” Andel said through gritted teeth. He never lost his cool, but it didn’t stop Evelyn from trying to push his buttons.

“And by calm, you mean we should take our orders and be on our way? No fritter way!” Evelyn’s twang emphasized each word with an extra syllable.

Language was yet another change Evelyn was coping with. Evelyn’s fists clenched, sending her nails digging into her palms. You’d think after helping the Cupids out and saving the world, or whatever it was she’d done in her last stint, she’d be allowed to express herself more explicitly. The transformation she had undergone, from human to Cupid, however, required sacrifice. A whole lot of sacrifice. In this case, language. She couldn’t cuss! Ever. “Donut!”

“Thank you for considering my advice.” Andel placed his hands on his hips. “You have definitely captured calm.”

Evelyn tugged at one of her earlobes, trying to relax and keep herself from returning Andel’s sarcasm. She could have sworn it was a reflexology technique, but it didn’t seem to help. “Fine. I’ll channel my inner comatose state.”

“There is no way you could ever stay quiet long enough to be considered comatose. You even talk in your sleep.” Andel’s smile was a scarce addition to their banter, and it hinted that Andel was attempting to joke with her. Everything Andel did, he did perfectly. Evelyn thought everything about the Grecian archer was annoying when they had first met, but his attempt at humor had since been slowly making up for his weird way of speaking and impeccable posture.

A shrill soprano voice sang from behind Evelyn’s personal life-sized action figure. “Andel!”

Evelyn peeked around Andel and spotted a statuesque woman with long silky black curls approaching. The closer she came, the higher pitched her voice got. Her skin was the color of cinnamon, and she wore a red blouse with a sultry, black pencil skirt and stilettos.

“Wowzers,” Evelyn let slip. She wondered what kind of assignment this Cupid had in order to dress that way. After all, weren’t Cupids supposed to wear clothes to blend into their surroundings? But this woman would have stood out in any place she went.

Andel put a hand out to keep Evelyn tucked behind him. “Let me handle this,” he whispered.

“How have you been, Darling?” The Cupid asked Andel. “I’m glad to see you’re still standing after your last assignment. I heard it was…challenging.”

The woman patted Andel’s arm, either choosing to ignore Evelyn’s presence or being completely drawn in by Andel.

“The word ‘challenging’ does not begin to cover it,” Andel said with a grin. Evelyn poked a finger at Andel’s side, and he jumped, revealing his charge.

Evelyn smiled widely, while the woman’s face contorted. First, her eyebrows furrowed in thought, and she pressed her lips together, taking Evelyn in. Then, the corner of her mouth quirked up at one corner.

“Well, hello.” The Cupid stuck her hand out to shake Evelyn’s. “I’m Zora. I’m sure Andel’s mentioned me. We go way back.”

Evelyn slipped her hands into her pockets. “Hi.”

When Evelyn didn’t offer her own hand, Zora waved it off. “Evelyn, right?”

“Right.”

“So, is it true you pierced a witch during your induction?” Zora asked, getting right to the point. “I heard your arrows turn—”

“Zora, hold off,” Andel interrupted.

“Red, yes,” Evelyn finished, ignoring Andel’s interruption. “Yes, it’s true. If your friends really want something juicy, you can tell them I talk in my sleep. At least, that’s what Andel tells me.”

“So our gold arrows turn red when you point them at supernaturals?” Zora’s smirk tightened. “Interesting.”

Andel looked back and forth between the two women. Gossip tantalized Cupids the same way riddles tasted sweet on the lips of Faeries.

“What’s so interesting about me?” Evelyn asked.

Zora squinted as if searching Evelyn for the answer. “You’re young, new. A sparkly thing that will dull with time.”

“That’s enough, Zora.” Andel reached for Evelyn’s hand and pulled her in the direction of the Elders’ headquarters. “We’ll be late.”

Evelyn turned to look back at Zora, and her smirk had shifted into a grimace. Zora’s eyes honed in on Evelyn’s hand in Andel’s, and Evelyn debated how far she wanted to take the stunt. It only took a few more steps before she felt guilty. She pulled her hand out of Andel’s grip to create some space between them, but she still felt a pang of shame at being so petty.

“What was that all about?” Evelyn asked once she was sure Zora couldn’t overhear her.

“Nothing.”

Evelyn rolled her eyes. “That wasn’t nothing. Zora doesn’t like me, and I’ve never met her before. How’s that even possible?”

“It has nothing to do with disliking you. It is a fear of the unknown.” Andel’s straight forward approach to communicating with Evelyn left her hungry for more emotional explanations. It baffled her that a Cupid like Andel who felt every mortal emotion around him couldn’t express one sentiment verbally.

“That Cupid is jealous. Did you mentor her, too?”

“No, and there is no reason for her to be jealous.”

“Well, it’s not like I was going to shoot her with one of my arrows. And, even if I did, it wouldn’t do anything unless I caught another person in the crossfire.”

“But you are different, and the unknown evokes apprehension,” Andel’s voice grew serious.

“Did you read that off a fortune in a cookie?”

Andel tilted his head to the side, raising his eyebrows. “No, but it would make a good one. You know the fortune I would give you? Welcome the change coming into your life.”

“Whatever. Patience is a virtue unless it’s against a brick wall.”

Andel let out a laugh that caught the attention of a few Cupids passing them. “Speaking of brick walls—” Andel eyed Evelyn and pointed toward an ancient red-brick hall. It reminded Evelyn of places she wished she’d gotten a chance to visit while she was still alive. Growing up in Louisiana, there were some historical sites, but nothing like touring Westminster Abbey or Windsor Castle.

Evelyn sighed. “The Elders could choose to send me out on my own.”

“They might.” Andel slowed his pace. “If they do, you are ready. But I think they will take your request for me to join you seriously.”

Evelyn let hope fill her lungs. “Oh, really?”

She knew Andel wouldn’t give anything away, even if he knew something. He respected the chain of command too much. “Yes, but we must show a united front…and arrive on time.” He had promised to help Evelyn find out if there were more Cupids with her ability to pierce immortals. She didn’t know how long it would take or if the Elders would allow either of them the time they needed.

“You know, I wouldn’t blame you if you’d prefer another partner.” Evelyn used her thumb to point back in Zora’s direction. “She looks like a less complicated candidate. I could even use one of my trusty red arrows to seal the deal.” Evelyn waggled her eyebrows.

“If you shoot her with your arrow, I will—”

“You’ll what?” Evelyn countered, narrowing her eyes.

Andel folded his arms across his chest, creating a barrier to block Evelyn’s implication. “You know Cupids do not technically work in pairs.” As Evelyn’s grin faltered, Andel moved forward. “I am strictly an advisor,” he clarified.

“Why is that? That chick over there is gorgeous. I could send an arrow flying, and you two could have supermodel Cupid-babies.”

Andel’s mouth drooped into a deep frown. “How about a deal?”

Evelyn nodded, curious.

“I will explain why Cupids avoid shooting and consorting with each other, but only after you keep your cool in this meeting.”

“Consorting?” Evelyn slowed down and wrinkled her nose as if the word smelled like souring milk. “Fine, but I want the lowdown on Zora, too.”

Andel moved past Evelyn and she fell into step behind him. Consumed with her thoughts and questions, she tripped over the front steps of the building. Andel caught hold of her shoulder before she bit the dust—or clouds. From afar, the set of structures had resembled those standing on a prestigious, ancient college campus: tall columns, intricate leaded windows, and oversized doors. But the scale was off. These columns made earthly structures look like Lego sets. The brick walls were held together with gold, and the doors were decorated with metallic arrows in a criss-cross pattern.

“I might have believed you sooner about being a Cupid if you’d brought me to see this place. It’s awesome,” Evelyn said. Her mouth fell open and her eyes grew wider as she took two steps at a time to catch up to Andel.

“That is exactly why I avoided bringing you here. You would have gotten the wrong idea. This is not Heaven. It is the heavens. There is a big difference.”

“Close enough for me, for now.” Evelyn didn’t wait for another lecture. Andel had explained when they first arrived that the heavens served as a realm for the Cupids before they eventually moved on to Heaven if they chose to.

She reached for the golden door handles, but the entrance opened before she could take hold. A cozy room, a library, revealed itself. Three walls were lined with dark wooden shelves, and each ledge was covered in leather-bound books. Four overstuffed chairs sat at the center of the room, surrounded by a few tables and chairs. But Evelyn couldn’t quite place the farthest wall. The shelves appeared to stretch infinitely.

It was her dream library.

“Whoa! This is definitely my kind of Heaven.”

“It is a magnificent feature, isn’t it?” A woman with a loose gray bun on top of her head stepped out from behind one of the never-ending bookshelves. Her smile pushed past heavy wrinkles and lit the room. “I do appreciate your idea of the perfect place. I’d like to spend time curled up here, reading each book. Is this room somewhere you’ve been or is it a conjured dream?”

“Wha—? Um…I think a mixture of both.” Evelyn twisted her lips, trying to remember. Time had started to erase some of the pain of letting go of her mortal existence, but it also endangered her most precious memories.

The elderly woman walked across the room with ease, grazing her fingers over the books and rich, stained shelves. Her simple gray dress fell to the floor and created the illusion that she floated over the area rug positioned under the chairs at the center of the room. She wore a blue cardigan that Evelyn envied as it appeared to be as cozy and inviting as the room. But then, the feeling may have been emanating from the woman herself.

Evelyn had never known her grandparents, and if this room created her perfect place, she wondered if it included the perfect grandmother.

“It’s nice to finally meet you, Evelyn.” The older woman stopped a few feet shy of the doorway. “My name is Neomi. I’m one of the Elders you’ve been eager to interrogate.”

Evelyn’s eyebrows lifted, anticipating a lecture. Andel was so good at them, she figured it was one of the Cupids’ supernatural powers. Neomi waved her in, and Evelyn caught Neomi nodding to Andel. Evelyn sank into one of the chairs and picked up a stack of books. Perusing the titles, she expected the other two Cupids to get comfortable as well.

“I’ll give you two some privacy.” Andel’s voice had softened in the presence of Neomi.

“Wait!” Evelyn popped up out of her seat as the books on her lap tumbled onto the floor. “Why are you leaving? We need to find out if they’re going to let you help me.”

Andel’s mouth flattened into a line and he dodged eye contact with Evelyn. “I will wait for you outside.”

Before Evelyn could reach him, Neomi placed a hand on her shoulder. Not exactly a Vulcan nerve pinch, but the Elder’s hand suspended Evelyn in place both emotionally and physically. Andel pulled the doors closed behind him. After the snick of the latch catching, Neomi let her hand fall to her side. She moved to the chair closest to Evelyn and sat down.

Evelyn remained standing in a stubborn display of her immortal youth.

“Dear girl, you can relay to Andel what you want after our discussion. Now, please, sit.” Neomi patted the chair Evelyn had vacated.

Evelyn complied and sat, crossing her legs. “Why won’t you tell us if you plan to let Andel keep mentoring me?”

“I have informed Andel, and I’ll be happy to let you know our decision if you will relax.”

“But how? When?”

Evelyn and Andel hadn’t spent much time apart since they’d arrived in the heavens, and at no point had Neomi addressed Andel or the topic at hand while he was still in the room. Evelyn hadn’t heard a whisper, even with her super-Cupid-hearing.

“I will explain if you’ll let me.” Neomi pushed herself back into the cushion of her chair while Evelyn leaned forward to pick up the books strewn on the floor in front of her.

“I’m listening,” Evelyn said.

“As Cupids, we’re able to communicate telepathically.” Neomi grinned as Evelyn attempted to comprehend her. “It is not mind reading, and the communication is allowed with permission.”

“Are you sure you’re not mind melding with me? Because I’m pretty sure you read my thoughts just then,” Evelyn pointed out, and Neomi’s smile grew. “So, why didn’t Andel teach me this earlier?”

“It’s not an ability that shows itself before the full acceptance and commitment of becoming a Cupid.”

“Oh.” It was all Evelyn could bring herself to utter.

Neomi nodded to Evelyn. “May I?”

Evelyn half-nodded, unsure of what to expect. She stilled the moment she felt Neomi’s soft voice tiptoe through her mind. Hello,Evelyn.

Evelyn smiled. The invading thoughts tickled. She thought, Hi, in response. Evelyn stared at Neomi as if her eyes could push the greeting.

Very good, but the more forcefully you press your thoughts, the louder they are in my head. Neomi turned away from Evelyn and walked over to a shelf lining the wall. She appeared to be reading the spines of a row of books. Try it more gently.

Which book is your favorite? Evelyn thumbed through one of the novels in her lap. Shakespeare’s sonnets filled the pages.

Better.Neomi thought. Hmm… It’s been a while since I’ve enjoyed a good story, but I always go back to War and Peace.

“Really?” Evelyn thought and said aloud with a frown. “But it’s so tragic. And the droning on and on about the war. I’m not too sure where the peace comes in.”

Neomi broke out into a bubbling laughter. The airy sound filled the room with joy that could practically be inhaled. “Good point. I hope that you’ve been able to get Andel to laugh like this.”

“Speaking of Andel—” Evelyn shifted in her chair. “Is he going to be able to help me on my next assignment?”

Yes.Neomi’s lips quirked to one side.

Evelyn had a feeling the Elder thought more but held her tongue. She ignored the curiosity bubbling up in her gut because she was flooded with relief at knowing Andel could continue working with her. She had hoped the Elders could also fill in a few blanks about her Cupid status. Was she a Cupid or something else? Evelyn wanted to find out if there was really another Cupid like her.

Someone cleared their throat behind one of the bookshelves, and a child revealed himself at the back of the room. He couldn’t be older than seven or eight years old. The boy wore a white kimono with a blue belt, and his black hair was cut close to his scalp.

“Sheng, I’m so glad you made it.” Neomi nodded to the boy, and they both made their way to two chairs across from Evelyn.

“Neomi.” Sheng dipped his head low in greeting and repeated the action in Evelyn’s direction. “Evelyn, at last, we meet. I would like to express my gratitude. Your selflessness in New Orleans, choosing to let go of your earthly life and serve in love, is an example Cupids will aspire to for centuries.”

“To be honest, there wasn’t much to choose from. Anyone would have done it.”

“Honestly. I don’t believe they would,” Neomi interjected. “You come from a culture that rivals the Golden Age in both material wealth and moral poverty.”

“Oh. Well, thank you.” Evelyn wasn’t quite sure how to respond, to Sheng or Neomi or the Elizabethan Era, but she hadn’t left her Southern manners back on Earth. A list of questions reeled through her brain, so she started with something simple. “Why did you ask me to meet you here if you could have just mind melded with me?”

“Our telepathic abilities have a tendency to unhinge new Cupids.” Neomi leaned forward and placed a hand over Evelyn’s. “We also realize your unique circumstances warrant some special attention.”

“I simply want some answers.” Evelyn slid her hand away from Neomi.

“What kind of answers?” Sheng asked.

Evelyn had to remind herself that this Elder was likely older than Andel. Her mentor looked 24, but he was actually a couple hundred years old.

“Hmmm… Let me think.” Evelyn rubbed her chin. “How about we start with why I’m different than every other Cupid in the heavens?”

“We are not sure,” Sheng replied.

“What?! Why don’t you know?” Evelyn fired back.

Sheng’s eyes darted to Neomi, and she fidgeted, crossing her legs toward the boy-Elder. Evelyn had taken a communications class in college and knew exactly what the two Elders’ nonverbal cues meant. She wouldn’t be getting anything out of them.

“This is baklava!” Evelyn attempted to cuss, but her sweet tooth got in the way. After piercing her first couple with an arrow full of love, Evelyn had transformed fully into a Cupid. Andel had explained their immortality and described their abilities. Cupids can poof anywhere on Earth, cloak themselves or glamour the way they look, and they had super speed, hearing, and sight. But not once had he mentioned that their human vices would bounce back and bite them in the ambrosia. “Good Lord! Just tell me why I’m here!”

Both Cupid Elders froze in their seats. Evelyn couldn’t tell if they were stunned by her use of Lord or by her outburst. One thing she was sure of was that they were having a telepathic conversation about her. The eerie silence threatened to push Evelyn over the edge.

“Since your transformation”—Neomi carefully began. She’d obviously lost a mental match of Rock, Paper, Scissors—“the Cupids have received several threats from other immortal races.”

“What does that have to do with me?” Evelyn threw her arms out in question.

“At first, many supernatural races requested your assistance.” Neomi winced at the words. “Then, as rumors spread about your ability, some Nox started bullying other Cupids for answers. They wanted to find out if the rumors were true—if you really gave a witch eternal love.”

Evelyn sat dumbfounded. She didn’t know which Nox were involved, but it couldn’t be good since Neomi looked like she swallowed a bag of Sour Patch Kids. “What kind of Nox?”

“Small factions of dark supernaturals are planning attacks. We understand the groups include Fairies, Witches, Shifters, and Vampires.” Sheng explained. “Even Lux, our allies, are threatening to withdraw from peace treaties.”

“And, what am I supposed to do about it? I don’t know why I am the way I am, and I don’t know what my crazed red arrows will do if I shoot again. What if I can only use them on certain immortals? Or what if I pierce a werewolf-couple and it kills them?”

“One step at a time, my dear.” Neomi’s soft voice had a calming effect on Evelyn’s racing heart. “We have an important assignment for you. Your mark will include a Gargoyle named Roscoe.”

Evelyn stood to her feet and placed her hands on her hips. “Wait a Ding Dong minute!”

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Meet Evelyn in EVELYN, a Cupid Chronicles Novella now FREE

iBooks | Barnes & Noble | Amazon

Evelyn Bowden, at nineteen, sacrificed herself for the love of her life. Her act inspired the heavens to deem her immortal as a Cupid. Piercing two hearts with true love takes more than a bow and some arrows. That’s where AndelLambros comes in, he’s a handsome, experienced Cupid in charge of her training. While trying to prove herself worthy, Evelyn is challenged to deliver her first arrow, let go of her first love, and trust her mentor with her existence.

kallie-ross-headshotABOUT KALLIE ROSS:

Writing unique adventures with heart.

Kallie Ross has a passion for writing that has become an adventure in itself. She desires to create unique young adult fiction that incorporates legend, conjecture, fantasy, and conviction.

In addition to loving her life as a writer, Kallie adores being a wife, mother, friend, and teacher. She began her creative journey with books, a blog, podcast, and lots of caffeine. Ross never imagined her own adventure would be filled with so many wonderful people or words!

 

 

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Release Day Blitz with Review: Forevermore (Darkest London #7) by Kristen Callihan

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Title: Forevermore

Author: Kristen Callihan

Series: Darkest London, #7

On Sale: June 28, 2016

Publisher: Forever

Formats: Mass Market & eBook

Price: $7.99 USD

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Miss Layla Starling, the young, beautiful, and extremely wealthy heiress, is the talk of London. Until now, she’s managed to evade the marriage noose. Despite the fact that she is unfortunately American, she’s received a staggering number of offers. And turned down every one.

St. John Evernight does not want to admit the relief he feels every time he hears that she has rejected one of her suitors. Which is unfair of him. Layla deserves to be happy. But he can not offer her happiness. He will never be normal, never be anything but a freak in her world. So St. John resolves to keep his distance, until he is recruited by the Society for the Suppression of Supernaturals to guard Layla. For she is in grave danger, and he is about to learn the full extent of his powers.

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My Review

One of the first things that drew me into this book, was the cover and the synopsis. After that, I just knew I had to get my hands on this book. Forevermore is the 7th book in the Darkest London Series and most people will probably tell you that it is meant to be read in order. However, if you know me, then you know that I do have the worst habit of reading books out order. Sometimes, you just come across a book that sounds so good, that you can’t stop yourself from diving in. And let me tell you, I am so glad that I did! I didn’t have any issues following along with the story and have discovered a whole new genre that I have been missing out on.

Forevermore is the exciting conclusion to the Darkest London Series and it will take you on one thrilling ride. I absolutely loved the characters and the world that the author created. I love, love, love a good paranormal romance and this story definitely hit all the marks for me. And then if you add in some good action, suspense, the historical romance factor and sexy good times…..well that’s the recipe for a really good read; in my opinion.

I enjoyed everything about this book from beginning to end. The paranormal aspects combined with the historical setting were just amazing. I loved Sin and Layla together. The two of them had amazing chemistry and you could tell that what they had was real and the type of love that was meant to last. I loved how pure Layla’s love for Sin was. She was strong and refused to give up on Sin. She made him break down his walls. She made him open his eyes and feel things again.

Forevermore was a fantastic read. As I previously stated, I have not read any of the previous books in this series, and had no issues following the story-line. If anything, it has me more excited to check out pick up the whole series!

*I was provided an ARC copy of this book, in exchange for an honest review*

EXCERPT

One might think being an immortal was a blessing, never grow old, never grow sick, never die. At one time in St. John Evernight’s life, he considered it a blessing too. He would be around long after the simple humans who surrounded him were nothing but dust. They could stare all they liked at his “strange” hair and frosty green eyes. They could gossip and speculate about him until they lost their voices. It didn’t matter. He was untouchable, and they were but fragile sacks of blood and bone.

How naive he’d been. Because living forever merely meant a lack of escape from the desolation of regret and loneliness. He knew now that he could walk down Jermyn Street endlessly, see the sands of time shift and rearrange before him, and never be a part of life.

“Brooding, Mr. Evernight?”

Sin almost jumped at the sudden sound of Augustus’s voice by his side. Damn, the blasted man loved to startle him. He gave Augustus a passing glance. Dressed in conservative brown tweed and a bowler hat, the angel appeared every inch the English gentlemen, save for his dark coloring that marked him to be from Southern climes.

“It’s really quite the trick, popping up like a soap bubble whenever you choose, Augustus. You must teach me how one day.”

The man’s mouth twitched. “With your luck, you’d pop up in the middle of a parliamentary session.”

Yes, Sin had abominable luck. Or perhaps it was more a matter of making abominable choices.

“You’re brooding again,” Augustus remarked.

“I’m not brooding. This is simply my face.”

Augustus snorted but remained silent as they walked along, past Trafalgar Square and down Whitehall.

“Care to tell me why you called me here?” Sin asked, when they came upon the grounds of Westminster. For the past year, Sin had been in Rome, soaking in the warmer temperatures, drinking espresso in cafes along the Piazza della Rotunda, under the shade of the ancient Pantheon. He’d eaten simple but delicious food, and listened to the rapid fire of Italian, and felt…well, not peace, but a measure of contentment.

Until Augustus had sent for him. Returning to England sat like a stone in his gut. But he would obey. Augustus was his mentor, and the man who’d given him salvation. The price was a lifetime of servitude. To be fair, his role was for justice, not evil, which was a nice change of pace.

A massive dray rattled past, kicking up dust and sending a fug of stale manure into the air. They hurried past the cloud and headed for Westminster Abbey. Sin hadn’t planned on visiting today, but here they were all the same. He wondered if Augustus somehow had led him to their usual meeting place or if Sin had merely headed that way because of the man’s sudden arrival.

He’d like to think the latter. It did not sit well with him having another control his actions. Not since a certain evil fae had kept Sin as a blood slave for years. Even now, the memory made his stomach turn.

Not a soul acknowledged them as they walked through the abbey and into the cloisters. Here, a rare bit of sunlight peeked through the constant cloud cover and cast lacy shadows along the walkway. The sound of their boot heels clacked out a steady rhythm as they strolled along.

“Layla returns to London tonight.”

At the mention of her name, Sin’s heart stilled within his breast. He’d tried his best to ward off all finer feelings, to remain numb, detached from life. And yet he could not, for the life of him, remain immune to Layla Starling. His childhood friend. The one woman who could take his breath, his reason, simply by laying eyes upon her.

Stuffing his shaking hands into his trouser pockets, Sin forced himself to keep an even tone. “So then I am to begin watching over her?”

God, but he did not want to. It would be agony, staying so close to her and never being allowed to show his true feelings. And yet a thrum of anticipation went through him at the mere prospect of seeing Layla once more.

“Are you ready?” Augustus asked, though his expression told Sin he fully expected an affirmative answer.

So Sin told him the only truth left to him. “I will not fail her.”

THE FULL DARKEST LONDON SERIES

Darkest London Series

Firelight, #1

Moonglow, #2

Winterblaze, #3

Shadowdance, #4

Evernight, #5

Soulbound, #6

Forevermore, #7

Series Page on Goodreads

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AUTHOR INFORMATION

Kristen Callihan

USA Today bestselling author Kristen Callihan is a writer because there is nothing else she’d rather be. She is a three-time RITA nominee and winner of two RT Reviewers’ Choice awards. Her novels have garnered starred reviews from Publishers Weekly and Library Journal, as well as being awarded top picks by many reviewers. Her debut book, Firelight, received RT Book Reviews’ Seal of Excellence, was named a best book of the year by Library Journal, best book of Spring 2012 by Publisher’s Weekly, and was named the best romance book of 2012 by ALA RUSA. When she is not writing, she is reading.

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Cover Reveal: The Witnessing of Matlyn Wren by Jennifer Lynn January

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Urban fantasy, debut novel by Jennifer Lynn January, coming May 14th! The art work is by Andrea M. Michel, a talented illustrator from Toronto. You can find her at http://www.drawingdroid.com/
Come find me on social media:
Twitter: @JenLJanuary 

Review: Sweet Ruin (Immortals After Dark #16) by Kresley Cole

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An immortal assassin is caught between desire and duty…

A foundling raised in a world of humans

Growing up, orphaned Josephine didn’t know who or what she was—just that she was “bad,” an outcast with strange powers. Her baby brother Thaddeus was as perfect as she was flawed; protecting him became her entire life. The day he was taken away began Jo’s transition from angry girl… to would-be superhero… to enchanting, ruthless villain.

A lethally sensual enforcer on a mission

A threat to the Møriør has brought archer Rune the Baneblood to the mortal realm to slay the oldest living Valkyrie. Whether by bow or in bed, he never fails to eliminate his target. Yet before he can strike, he encounters a vampiric creature whose beauty conceals a black heart. With one bite, she pierces him with aching pleasure, taking his forbidden blood – and jeopardizing the secrets of his brethren.

A boundless passion that will lead to sweet ruin…

Could this exquisite female be a spy sent by the very Valkyrie he hunts? Rune knows he must not trust Josephine, yet he’s unable to turn her away. Despite his millennia of sexual conquests, he can’t ignore the unfamiliar longing she arouses deep within him. When Jo betrays the identity of the one man she will die to protect, she and Rune become locked in a treacherous battle of wills that pits ultimate loyalty against unbridled lust.


My Review

Sweet Ruin is my first read by this author and certainly won’t be my last. I have been looking for something new to read in the paranormal world and after reading this book, one thing is clear, I have been missing out on this author’s writing. Now, I know this is the 16th book in this series, and yes I have a habit of reading books out of order, but I will tell you this, I did not feel lost at all. From the moment I picked up this book, I wanted to know more. I was intrigued by the characters and the world that Ms Cole has created. I easily got lost in the plot and sensuality of the story. Yes, there is a lot and I mean a lot of sexy good times in this book, but there was also a really great story-line; one that had me on the edge of my seat waiting to see what would happen next.

I honestly loved everything about this story, from start to finish. It was fun, sexy, entertaining and intriguing. I found the story-line to be very refreshing and it was exactly the paranormal book I was looking for. There is so much to love about this book and I can’t wait to see where this series will go next. In fact, I’m really looking forward to going back and reading this series from the beginning. I can’t wait to see what else I’ve been missing out on. This author has definitely made a fan out of me!

*I was provided an ARC of this book, via NetGalley, in exchange for an honest review*

 

Release Day Blitz: Get Real (Get Real, #1) by Tellulah Darling

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Title: Get Real (Get Real, #1)

Author: Tellulah Darling

Genre: Contemporary Romance

Release Date: September 25, 2015

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Synopsis

Magic and Mayhem in Manhattan

Francesca Bellafiore comes from a nice Jewish family — one that happens to have magical powers. Underneath her good-girl exterior, though, she’s a wannabe badass with dreams of becoming a paranormal detective.

Party boy Rafael Muñoz does everything possible to publicly disappoint his high profile father. Privately, it’s a different story. His carefully crafted bad boy reputation masks the fact he’s a master illusionist, forced into solo covert ops. The role is wearing thin and Rafael longs to be part of a team.
When Francesca and Rafael meet, it’s love at first sight… For about five minutes. Rafael is spectacularly attractive—and, Francesca discovers, fully aware of the fact. Rafael knows from experience that girls like Francesca are more trouble than they’re worth.

So it sucks big time when they’re caught in a web of magic, minions, secrets, and enough sexual tension to power NYC. Their only chance to save the city and survive is to team up, trust each other–and maybe even fall in love.

Provided they don’t kill each other first.

Get Real is a romantic comedy, urban fantasy whirlwind with sass, sex, and swoon.

Buy The Book

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Excerpt

POV: Francesca

The moon was full. I’d lost my cardigan somewhere in the house but this late in June, the night before the summer solstice, it was warm. The thump of bass and tinkling laughter from the party kept me company, but I was alone until a familiar weight crushed my lap.

The swing jolted sideways.
“Give us a sip,” Devi said, sprawling across me. “I’m parched.”
I half–heartedly shoved her. “There’s this amazing old–school technology called a tap. It pours wa-

ter to quench your thirst.”
“It’s too crowded in there. And some obnoxious ass is juggling kegs. This does not bode well for

the rest of the evening.”
Great. I’d probably end up on healing duty.
Devi slid off me and swung her legs onto my lap, nestling against the green cushions resting along

our backs. She held out her hand imperiously.
I handed over my soda. “Any sign of the target? Or his friends?” I asked.
“No sightings yet.” Eli slumped down on my other side. He flicked my knee to get me to move my

leg from under his, since he’d sat on it. Then he snatched the bottle from Devi before I could grab it, and took a long swig.

Eli sputtered at the taste of it. “Coke,” he said with the same disgust reserved for “herpes.”
I wiped off my arm with a grimace. “Where’s Byron?” I asked.
Eli set the bottle down between us. “Last I saw, she was pretending to hostess but really watching
the front door like a hawk waiting for her boy toy to show.”
Byron gracefully sat down into the teak chair to my left, placing her own drink on the low table in

front of us with a gentle clink of ice. She’d changed from her more casual sundress into dark skinny jeans and a sparkly black top, her hair curled in gentle waves. What a good–looking bunch we were. “Hardly a hawk,” she said.

“A lady hawk.” Eli leaned forward to inspect the dark liquid.
“Rum and coke,” Byron said, sliding her glass away from him. “And off limits to boys who insult.” I leaned my head on Eli’s shoulder. “This is nice. Who knows how many more moments we’ll have

like this for a while?”
Eli slung his arm around me. Devi reached up to take his hand, while Byron swung a foot onto

his lap, as we all watched a couple dance in lazy turns on the lawn to the dubstep pounding from the living room.

I was really lucky to have them, these friends who loved me for who I was, pointless boiler aspira- tions and all. I sighed, all warm and snug.

Then some guy stepped into the back doorway, framed by the soft light over the door and I forgot these people existed. Hip braced against the wood, he lounged all cocky arrogance. He wore dark straight–leg jeans, hanging low on his lean hips, and exposing a glimpse of hard abs under a T–shirt reading More Issues Than Vogue.

I laughed softly, even as my stomach clenched in swoony delight.
I couldn’t tell his eye color but he had black hair, cut short on the sides and longer on top.
He flexed a hand, rubbing it roughly over the top of his head. It left his soft–looking strands all

mussed up. Even his fierce scowl didn’t detract from his looks. Though he wasn’t my usual pretty boy type.The more I watched him from my cover of the shadowed swing, the more his smoldering dark looks made “pretty” kind of boring. “Figo,” I sighed. “Who is that? But don’t—”

Every single pair of my friends’ eyes swung toward him.
“… Stare,” I said.
“Hey.” Byron bounced on the seat at the sight of him. “That means Jones must be here.”
She glanced around.
Eli clamped a hand down on her as she tried to get up. “Play it cool.”
She grumbled but stayed put.
Devi swung her head between the unknown beautiful boy and me. “Do tell. I’m intrigued by any

male who gets Frankie so hot and bothered.”
“Am…” I started to protest, but got distracted by the view as he turned around.
My friends snickered.
“Not,” I finished.
“Yeah you ‘am,’” Eli said. “Name him already Byron, so that Frankie may harness his body for
unspeakable acts.”
I waved a flustered hand at him. “Shut up.”
Devi half–raised her hand. “Wait. I want her to speak them. The acts.” She took my hand and

placed it on Eli’s leg. “Or just point out on Eli where you’d like to touch this guy.”
I snatched my hand back with a long–suffering look. “Who is he?”
Byron lowered her voice. Not like he could hear us. “You must have heard of him. Rafael Muñoz?” Devi’s eyes widened. “That’s Javier’s infamous kid, Rafa?”
I deflated. Only because of his reputation and not at all because he now chatted with a supermod-

el–gorgeous blonde. “Could he invade her personal space any more?”
I guzzled down the dregs of my Coke.
“Don’t think of Rafa as marriage material, more like ‘for a good time call,’” Byron said.

About The Author

tellulah

Tellulah Darling
noun
1) YA & New Adult romantic comedy author because her first kiss sucked and she’s compensating.
2) Firm believer that some of the best stories happen when love meets comedy and awkwardness ensues.
3) Sassy minx.
Both a hopeless romantic and total cynic, Tellulah Darling is all about the happily-ever-after, with a huge dose of hilarity along the way. Her romcoms come in a variety of heat levels and flavors; straight up romantic comedy, shaken with Greek mythology or stirred with urban fantasy.
Sassy girls. Swoony boys. What could go wrong?
 
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Release Day Launch and Review: The Forgotten Mountain (The Collectors’ Society #3)

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We are so excited to bring you the Release Day Launch for Heather Lyons’ THE FORGOTTEN MOUNTAIN! THE FORGOTTEN MOUNTAIN is an Adult Romantic Fairy Tale, full of adventure and fantasy and the third book in Heather’s The Collectors’ Society Series! Grab your copy today!

The Forgotten Mountain - coverAbout THE FORGOTTEN MOUNTAIN:

After years spent in Wonderland, Alice Reeve learned the impossible was quite possible after all. She thought she left such fantastical realities behind when she finally returned to England.

Now Alice has become a member of the clandestine Collectors’ Society, and the impossible has found her again in the form of an elusive villain set on erasing entire worlds. As she and the rest of the Society race to bring this mysterious murderer to justice, the fight becomes painfully personal.

Lives are being lost. Loved ones are shattered or irrevocably altered. Each step closer Alice gets to the shadowy man she hunts, the more secrets she unravels, only to reveal chilling truths. If she wants to win this war and save millions of lives, Alice must once more embrace the impossible and make the unimaginable, imaginable.
Sometimes, the rabbit hole leads to terrifying places.

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My Review

“Not all fairy tales have happy endings, this much is true. There are times when the innocent suffer, the good are defeated, and evil and wickedness reign supreme. I refuse to allow such an ending to this fairy tale, or my own. I cannot fail in this quest. None of us can.”

Once again, Heather Lyons has managed to leave me speechless. I am sitting here, struggling to put my thoughts and emotions into words. This is one of those books that I knew when I got it in my hands that it was going to be EPIC! And The Forgotten Mountain does not disappoint. To say my mind has been blown is a complete understatement…..

The Forgotten Mountain picks up right where The Hidden Library left off. The quest to find their loved ones is critical. Finding the evil mastermind who is destroying the timelines before it’s too late, is of the up-most importance. Alice will stop at nothing to find the answers she seeks. She must trust in her self and what her instincts tell her.  “Hear me now: I am coming for you. If you think I will not hunt you down and extract payment for your sins, then you don’t know my story well enough.” The wind howls incoherently around me. “Your head,” I shout, my voice is loud and clear in the insanity of the crumbling cave, “IS MINE!”  As the mystery slowly unravels, unbelievable truths will be discovered, questions will be answered. Just when I think I’ve figured things out, Heather Lyons throws in a twist that has me questioning everything that I thought I knew.

The Forgotten Mountain was a fantastic read. The writing so unique, so captivating. I literally felt like I was right there in the story with these characters. I got lost in the words and the world that Heather Lyons created. I didn’t want to put it down. I was on pins and needles waiting to see what would happen next. There were so many twists and turns. Nothing and no one was safe.

The Forgotten Mountain introduced a lot of new characters and timelines. I loved the way that Heather Lyons flawlessly connected the stories together. I felt that the story was perfectly paced. It was full of action, suspense, romance, and adventure. There was never a dull moment.

Finn and Alice…I have been in love with those two for such a long time and they do not disappoint. Their love, connection and strength are so strong. “Hold on, love. Even if it requires me moving heaven and earth, I will find a way to fix this. All I ask of you is to hold on.” “Finn is my family. He is my heart, my north star.” “We are partners. We are equals. We are, as he is so often to remind me, binaries of the very best kind.” -These quotes are the perfect representation of their love for one another. And you know what they say, true love is the most powerful of all love.

The end….I have no words. Seriously. My mind has been blown. Did this really just happen? Has this been the truth all along? Is this just twist in the Pied Pipers game? I have so many more questions and I can not wait to get my answers.

The Forgotten Mountain takes you on such an incredible journey. You will be captivated from start to finish. The writing and storytelling is just brilliant. Honestly, there aren’t enough words. I can not recommend this book/this series enough. I am so excited to see how everything will come together in the end!

* I was provided an ARC copy of this book, via InkSlinger PR, in exchange for an honest review*


Excerpt:

The van door behind us slides shut. A click signals Marianne’s adherence to my wishes, and then we three descend upon the front door, the crunch of dead leaves and twigs beneath our feet cutting through the uneasy silence the gloom sunrise has brought. In a surprising show of gentlemanly manners, the A.D. moves to open the door. When the handle does not depress, a half smile curves his lips. “It’s locked. But no worries. I can have it picked open in no time.”
“There is no need.”

Darkish-blonde brows scrunch together. “But—”

“Stand to the side, please.”

When he fails to move at my thinly veiled order, Mary not so gently yanks our companion away.

The door before us is thick. The handle is ornate. It is a beautiful door, no doubt chosen specifically to adorn a building as fine as Bücherei. It takes me three strong, measured swings of my war hammer against the handle and its surrounding area to break it apart and permanently scar its beauty. Picking a lock is kind, respectful even. A picked lock can be relocked. I do not wish this door to close behind me. I do not wish to be respectful of Bücherei.

The time for genteel manners is gone.

The A.D. is in danger of catching flies with his mouth as he ogles the door’s remnants. For someone who professes to be so clever, he certainly underestimates ladies far too often.

Stale darkness, oppressive and opaque all at once, looms before us. I am unafraid, though. I am not even taken aback. I believe in the impossible, after all. I have seen, lived the impossible.

I step past the wreckage into the house.
The Forgotten Mountain - Off With Their Heads

Don’t miss the first two books in this series…

The Collectors' Society front cover

THE COLLECTORS’ SOCIETY!

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The Hidden LIbrary Cover

THE HIDDEN LIBRARY

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The Forgotten Mountain - Available Now

Author PhotoAbout Heather Lyons:

Heather Lyons writes epic, heartfelt love stories and has always had a thing for words. In addition to writing, she’s also been an archaeologist and a teacher. She and her husband and children live in sunny Southern California and are currently working their way through every cupcakery she can find.

 

 

 

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