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Category Archives: Urban Fantasy

Blog Tour: Branded By Fire by Danielle Annett

If you love Buffy the Vampire Slayer then you’ll love Aria Naveed. Kicking butt and saving people is kind of her thing.

Lovers of Urban Fantasy and Paranormal Romance do NOT want miss out on Danielle Annett’s BRANDED BY FIRE. You must see why Cherry Adair calls BRANDED BY FIRE a novel with “breakneck pacing, a strong fierce heroine, and a twist at every corner”!

Synopsis:

Aria Naveed can’t decide what’s worse—being mate-bonded to Declan Valkenaar, the Alpha of the Pacific Northwest Pack, or owning up to the fact that she’s developing feelings for him.
Her bond to Declan is the one thing keeping her grounded and preventing her new power from destroying everything and everyone around her.

If Aria doesn’t tread carefully, especially where her heart is concerned, she’ll learn the hard way that if you play with fire, you’ll always get burned.

Available at: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | iBooks | Kobo | Books2Read

Add Branded by Fire to your GOODREADS TBR pile!

About Danielle Annett:

Danielle Annett is a reader, writer, designer, and the blogger behind Coffee and Characters. Born in the SF Bay area, she now resides in Spokane, WA, the primary location for her Blood & Magic series. Danielle writes about kick butt heroines in volatile settings and like her, most of them have some level of addiction to coffee.
When not writing, Danielle can be found hanging out with her two children whom she fondly refers to as her little monsters, or catching up on the latest episodes of Grey’s Anatomy and Game of Thrones.

Connect with Danielle: Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads | Amazon

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One Week Blitz: OF FLAME AND FATE by Cecy Robson

Join us in celebrating the release of OF FLAME AND FATE by Cecy Robson! Follow the tour for reviews, excerpts, and fun. Plus enter to win a $25 Amazon gift card and three runners-up will win a digital copy of book #1 in the series, OF FLAME AND LIGHT.

It’s time to meet your destiny in OF FLAME AND FATE, the next installment of the Weird Girls Flame series by Cecy Robson. Fans of Ilona Andrews’ Kate Daniels series and the Cassandra Palmer series by Karen Chance, will devour this urban fantasy where the fate of the world lies in the hands of four unique sisters.

Title:  Of Flame and Fate

Author: Cecy Robson

Release Date: September 26, 2017

Publisher: Cecy Robson, LLC

Series: Weird Girls Flame #2 

Genres: Urban Fantasy

Page Count: 422

Synopsis:

Taran Wird, who commands the power to wield fire and lightning, is an oddity in the supernatural world. But neither Taran nor her unique sisters compare to the bizarre entity known as Destiny. And Taran is assigned to protect her.

Born of two witches, Destiny is revered among the supernatural elite for her acute ability to predict the future. Her biggest prophecy involves Taran’s sister, Celia, whom Destiny decreed will bear children strong enough to take on the evil that’s rising. Yet Destiny is not alone in her predictions, or individuality.

When Johnny Fate, a rock star among humans and a male version of Destiny is discovered, his powers and Destiny’s clash, triggering the start of Destiny’s demise and altering the fate of Celia’s unborn children.

Taran, her werewolf lover Gemini, and their allies must determine if it’s Fate who will decide what will become of Celia’s children, or if their lives and the world will perish with Destiny.

Add to Goodreads: http://bit.ly/2y92gex

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 OF FLAME AND FATE Excerpt

Copyright © 2017 Cecy Robson

The doors crash open as a pack of weres in human form stomp in, the exception being an immense, midnight-black wolf with a white left paw who leads them. His lips peel back, exposing a row of pointy fangs as he growls at the vampires surrounding me. But it’s the man storming forward with dark almond eyes and a six-inch dagger in his hand that gives me pause.

“Hi, honey,” I say, giving him a little wave.

Funny thing, he doesn’t wave back. His gaze swoops over my naked body. “Hold her,” he snarls, ramming the knife into my thigh.

Reality shoves aside the shock of having the man I love stab me in the leg. Like a heated blade through butter, he slices through the skin and muscle, creating a diagonal line and spraying blood across the glass shower walls. I expect pain, scorching white-hot pain, and to lose my blood supply in large volumes. But like the creepy crawly beneath my skin, I just feel that wretched pulling and grabbing.

My bleeding trickles to a stop just as Gemini’s hand plunges deep into the incision. The image is so graphic and brutal my stomach lurches. I’m seconds from passing out. The vamps on either side of me are the only thing keeping me vertical. But when my focus latches onto the hilt of the dagger, and I realize it’s a femur—a freaking femur!— my body immediately slumps.

Of course, that’s not the worst part.

The tangle of bodies, limbs, and faces, carved around the hilt twitch, as if seizing, breaking free of what’s holding them to slither. Oh, and it gets better. The mouths open, singing one messed up version of O Fortuna.

“Jesus Christ,” I gasp, my body trembling violently as their slowly amplifying voices echo across the room.

Agnes grips my jaw, yanking my face toward her. “Taran, get it together before you set this whole place on fire.”

I wrench my head free. “Don’t you think I’m trying?!”

I bite back a curse, and a few more, when something scampers toward my right butt cheek.

It doesn’t get far. Gemini thrusts his hand deep, wrenching a large, screeching lump from my leg, exciting the minute faces continuing to sing and slide along the hilt. Their voices crescendo and their bodies writhe with glee. I don’t get a good look at the demon impaled by the dagger, and I don’t want to. I only see enough to realize I was right about the spindly legs and pinchers.

Gemini carries the shrieking demon to the sink, ignoring the way the long cluster of centipede legs kick out and clutch blindly at the air. I wish I could ignore it. But those things you can’t unsee? I’ve seen plenty in my twisted, messed up life and this is one more to add to my list.

Gemini holds out his free hand. Without asking, a vamp drops an opened bottle of vodka into his palm. Gemini pours the vodka over the demon, stunning it and causing the legs to fall open like petals—nasty petals covered with blood, pointy grippy ends, and little bits of me.

With a turn of his wrist, he drops the demon into the sink. It falls with a sick plop.

Agnes’s weight abruptly pulls off me when she stands and hurries to the sink. She flicks a lighter another vamp tosses her and drops it on top of the demon. “Ad infernum,” she tells it, sending it back to hell.

The vamps step away from me as the flames spray up to lick the ceiling. The exception is Edith who remains on her knees, clutching my leg between her breasts and sealing my wound with several fast and enthusiastic strokes of her tongue.

Get away from her,” Gemini demands. His voice is more beast than human, setting off an orchestra of snarls from the rest of the pack.

Like a very hungry dog with a bone, Edith doesn’t want to let go. Gemini doesn’t give her a choice. From one breath to the next, he rips me from her, wrapping me in a blanket someone hands him and carrying me away.

About Cecy Robson

CECY ROBSON is an author of contemporary romance, young adult adventure, and award-winning urban fantasy. A double RITA® 2016 finalist for Once Pure and Once Kissed, and a published author of more than eighteen titles, you can typically find her on her laptop writing her stories or stumbling blindly in search of caffeine.

Follow Cecy:  Website | Twitter | Facebook |Newsletter

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Pre-Order Blast: FLAME AND FATE by Cecy Robson

Pre-Order OF FLAME AND FATE by Cecy Robson Today!

“So much action, so much violence and, oh, the lust radiating off of our heroes . . . I definitely recommend this series for lovers of all things paranormal and awesome.”USA Today

“[With Cecy Robson’s] edgy, witty and modern style of storytelling, the reader will be drawn deep into this quirky paranormal world. . . . Strong pacing, constant action and distinctive, appealing characters–including a gutsy heroine–will no doubt keep you invested.”RT Book Reviews

Make sure to pre-order OF FLAME AND FATE and add to your TBR pile on Goodreads! Keep on scrolling for a chance to win a $25 Amazon gift card and three runners up will win a digital copy of book #1 in the series, OF FLAME AND LIGHT.

Title:  Of Flame and Fate

Author: Cecy Robson

Release Date: September 26, 2017

Publisher: Cecy Robson, LLC

Series: Weird Girls Flame #2

Genres: Urban Fantasy

Page Count: 422

Synopsis:

Taran Wird, who commands the power to wield fire and lightning, is an oddity in the supernatural world. But neither Taran nor her unique sisters compare to the bizarre entity known as Destiny. And Taran is assigned to protect her.

Born of two witches, Destiny is revered among the supernatural elite for her acute ability to predict the future. Her biggest prophecy involves Taran’s sister, Celia, whom Destiny decreed will bear children strong enough to take on the evil that’s rising. Yet Destiny is not alone in her predictions, or individuality.

When Johnny Fate, a rock star among humans and a male version of Destiny is discovered, his powers and Destiny’s clash, triggering the start of Destiny’s demise and altering the fate of Celia’s unborn children.

Taran, her werewolf lover Gemini, and their allies must determine if it’s Fate who will decide what will become of Celia’s children, or if their lives and the world will perish with Destiny.

Add to Goodreads: http://bit.ly/2y92gex

Pre-order Now: Amazon | B&N | iBooks | Kobo

Amazon → http://amzn.to/2uxD2V1

B&N http://bit.ly/2vqsslM

iBooks → http://apple.co/2vWNNoj

Kobo → http://bit.ly/2uy3Jsx

OF FLAME AND FATE Excerpt

Copyright © 2017 Cecy Robson

I’m shoved into a cold room where a band of bloodsucking fiends tear off my clothes. Their long nails graze my skin as their master watches, his cold gray eyes glinting with malice.

“Son of a bitch,” I say, smacking Edith Anne’s hand away when she cops a feel. “The demon’s in my leg, not my tit!”

There’s something you don’t say every day, but then that’s why humans are safe in the world and weird gals like me are stuck with demons burrowing under their skin.

“Just making sure,” Edith adds with a wink.

I’m ready to punch her in the face, except I’m too busy cringing at the thing crawling beneath the length of my shin, its spindly insectoid appendages stretching the skin as it curls up and over my knee cap.

“Get it out of me!” I screech, growing nauseous with each numbing tug it creates beneath the underlying tissue.

“We’re trying,” Agnes Concepcion snaps, like I’m somehow inconveniencing her by having an evil being claw its way through me.

Her tiny plaid skirt smacks against my hip as she shoves me into a massive glass and tile shower. Three other vamps, dressed like naughty Catholic schoolgirls (don’t get me started) follow us in, bottles of champagne tight in their grips.

“What the hell?” I ask, kicking as if I can somehow shake this thing loose, and certain the booze is to celebrate my grisly death.

Bottles of champagne open with a pop, the naughty Catholics pouring the bubbly over my breasts, back, and ass. This isn’t real. This is something out of a bad porno and somehow I’m the star.

But as the fluid reaches my thigh the lump with the creepy legs bounces, pulling at the muscle it’s crawling over, squirming to the left then right, trying find its way around the torrent of liquid they’re pelting me with.

“Don’t let it reach her heart,” Master Vampire Misha Aleksandr orders from the opposite side of the bathroom.

“What’s it going to do to my heart?” My head whips back and forth when none of the vamps answer. “It’s going eat my freaking heart isn’t it?”

“Don’t be ridiculous,” Agnes mutters, adjusting her tiny librarian glasses as she angles the bottle she’s holding.

“Okay . . .” I begin.

“It needs your heart to nest and lay its eggs,” she explains.

What?”

“But yeah, then the hatchlings will munch on your heart like raw steak,” Edith adds. She reels me around when additional vamps swoop in with cases of wine, drenching my chest with more alcohol.

She seems to be having fun. I’m mostly trying not to hurl and wondering how the hell this happens to me.

Agnes is more focused. She drips the wine just above the demon, forcing it back down my leg. “Quiesco,” she says, her tone as sharp and commanding. “Quiesco.”

My body shudders as the demon scurries downward. Its movement doesn’t hurt, surprising since I think it has pinchers, but the yanking motion is unnerving, like getting stitches while under anesthesia. My head flops forward and my vision starts to swim.

“I don’t feel good,” I mumble.

Agnes slaps me, the sting of the strike causing my eyes to whip open. “Don’t fall asleep.” She slaps me again when my eyelids flutter and close. “Taran, the poison the demon is spewing is numbing your skin and making you drowsy, if you succumb to it the alcohol won’t work and the demon will take you.”

Again, her palm whips across my face. “Stay awake so we can cut this thing out of you.”

I slap her back, knocking her glasses askew. “I’m awake, damn it.”

She smirks because she hits harder and maybe because she likes it, too. She returns to my leg when the vamp behind her hands her another bottle of champagne. “Quiesco,” she whispers against my leg, her breath hot against my cooling skin.

My head falls forward as I start to go under. This time, Edith smacks me.

“God damn it,” I hiss, my right arm quaking and threatening to release my flame.

“I was just taking my turn,” she replies defensively.

Her gaze locks on my arm. She eases away as a spark of blue and white escapes from my fingertips, giving me and my power ample space as the surrounding vamps shower me with alcohol.

“Master,” Agnes says, ignoring us as she concentrates on my thigh. “It’s settling. I need the knife.”

“The wolves are bringing it,” he replies.

“The wolves?” I ask. Okay. Now I’m wide awake.

Enter to win a $25 Amazon Gift Card and (3) Digital Copies OF FLAME AND LIGHT from Cecy Robson!

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About Cecy Robson

CECY ROBSON is an author of contemporary romance, young adult adventure, and award-winning urban fantasy. A double RITA® 2016 finalist for Once Pure and Once Kissed, and a published author of more than eighteen titles, you can typically find her on her laptop writing her stories or stumbling blindly in search of caffeine.

Follow Cecy:  Website | Twitter | Facebook |Newsletter

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. 

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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!”

evelyn-cover

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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❇  COVER REVEAL  ❇

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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