Friday, November 21, 2014

#Giveaway ~ Book Blitz ~ The Expatriates (#1 Song of the Sending) by Corinne O'Flynn ~ #Fantasy


The Expatriates #1 by Corinne O’Flynn
(Song of the Sending)

Publication date: October 15th 2014
Genres: Fantasy, Young Adult


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Synopsis:


They told him his world was destroyed.
And they were the last to escape.
They thought he was safe.
They were wrong.


Jim Wales can communicate with animals, but that’s not why he lives with a traveling carnival. Turns out his family’s been hiding him there since he was little, since someone started hunting all the scholars. Jim is a scholar—someone who can manipulate energy using magic—and he has no idea.

When a message arrives from Jim’s father—who supposedly died twelve years ago—Jim’s whereabouts are discovered, their carnival is attacked, and his mother is kidnapped. On the run with a strange glass map and a single coin, Jim finds himself racing to reclaim the father he thought he’d lost, plotting to save his mother, and discovering the truth about who he is.

But going home isn’t the same as being safe, and trust is everything.

What readers are saying:

"Told in a beautiful, flowing style full of colorful images and adrenaline-pumping action."

"Pop some popcorn, sit back ... and enjoy the thrill ride, right up to the end, which leaves you begging for more."

"Captures your attention from the start and then guides you through a roller coaster of adventure, drama, mystery, magic and young love."



Purchase:



AUTHOR BIO:
Corinne O'Flynn is a native New Yorker who now lives in Colorado and wouldn't trade life in the Rockies for anything. She loves writing flash and experimenting with short fiction. Her novel, THE EXPATRIATES (Oct. 2014) is a YA fantasy adventure with magic and creatures and lots of creepy stuff. She is a scone aficionado, has an entire section of her kitchen devoted to tea, and is always on the lookout for the elusive Peanut Chews candy.

When she isn’t writing or hanging with her family, Corinne works as the executive director of a nonprofit. She is a member of Rocky Mountain Fiction Writers, Mystery Writers of America, and the Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators. You can find her online at her website, Facebook, or Twitter @CorinneOFlynn.



Author Links


Excerpt 1 from
The Expatriates, Book One: Song of The Sending by Corinne O’Flynn
“Well, it’s not dead.” Charlie let out a nervous laugh.
“What should we do with it?” Sam asked.
Hollis took off his t-shirt and proceeded to wrap the bird like a burrito. “We need to protect her wings in case she thrashes. She’ll wake soon.”
I looked at Hollis, stunned. “How do you know that?” I asked. And what else did he know?
“This,”—he cradled the wrapped bird in his arms—“is a very important messenger. It’s called a Sending. They don’t do that sort of thing anymore—change an animal like that.” He shook his head as if lost in thought. “It changes them. Their brain. Something big must be going on back home. There’s only one person who could have sent her to you. And if I’m right, then something’s really wrong.”
“What kind of wrong?” Sam asked, his forehead wrinkled with worry.
Everything in me flashed to attention at what Hollis said. “Back home?” I asked. There was no way.
Hollis stared at me, saying nothing.
“Hollis, what do you mean back home?” I repeated. I’d always known we weren’t from here, from the Modern World—the human world. All of us, everyone in Sweetwater’s, were originally from a place called Bellenor, which used to be connected to this world by some magical force—until the bridge collapsed. Or so I’d been told. “You all said Bellenor was destroyed. Back when my mother was a kid. Before I was born.”
“I’m sorry, Jim,” he said. “We had no choice.”

Excerpt 2 from
The Expatriates, Book One: Song of The Sending by Corinne O’Flynn

 “Shh!” Charlie stepped toward the midway, her head cocked to listen. “What in the world?”
I followed her gaze across the fairgrounds where the big top towered over the smaller event tents. Festive red, white, and blue flags atop each of them blew in the morning breeze.
“Do you guys hear that?” she asked.
“Hear what?” Hollis said, wiping sweat from his face. He held the swaddled bird against his chest.
The peaked canopy of the big top stood tall over the row of concession stands. The old marquee twinkled faintly in the sunlight, its red and yellow light bulbs spelling out Sweetwater’s Traveling Show. Everything was quiet.
“Charlie?” I knew better than to question her ears.
“What is it?” Sam asked.
“Shhh.” She closed her eyes and cupped her hands around her ears.
“I don’t hear anything,” I said. “Actually I don’t hear anything at all.”
Usually, on the day we arrived in a town, the fairgrounds were so noisy you could barely have a conversation without shouting. The roustabouts and canvasmen made a terrible racket erecting the tents and hammering the steel spikes into the ground. Then there was the constant hum of generators and cranes and trucks permeating everything as we all got things ready for the weeklong stay. Not to mention the animals screeching and squawking and the regular people noise. But from where we stood, it was eerily quiet. The whole place felt like a ghost town.
A mushroom of black smoke billowed above the big top in the distance. A rolling boom reached us a moment later.
“Whoa,” Sam whispered.
“Sweet Sisters. They’re here,” Hollis said.

A short interview with Corinne O’Flynn, author of THE EXPATRIATES.

Tell us about your book.

THE EXPATRIATES is the first book in a new YA fantasy series about a teenage boy, Jim Wales, who discovers his family’s been hiding him in a traveling carnival because he’s being hunted for his powers.

What inspired you to write THE EXPATRIATES?

This is such a cliché!! But, the truth is the book was inspired by a dream I had almost 14 years ago. It was a little scene where this dark-haired kid is walking through a meadow of golden grass with a tiger and there’s a falcon hovering in the air over him. He’s communicating with the animals telepathically. The whole thing is still so vivid, all these years later.

What can you tell us about the main character?

The main character in THE EXPATRIATES is a seventeen year old named James Wales. His friends call him Jim. He has the ability to communicate with animals telepathically, which comes in handy living with a traveling carnival! The story opens with him training a tiger to do some new moves for their carnival act. It doesn’t go well, and Jim’s concerned the tiger can understand the insults coming from Jim’s best friend, Sam.

Your cover is fantastic! Who designed it and do you think a good cover is important part of publishing?

My cover was designed by Steven Novak at www.novakillustsration.com. He’s super to work with, and I can’t wait to see what he does with my next cover. I think a good cover is absolutely vital to capturing a reader’s attention. I learned something important while working on the cover, and that is to focus on the concept and the theme you want to portray, and not get stuck trying to be too literal in showing an actual scene from the story. Keeping that in mind really helped me get my head around what we needed to do.


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Thursday, November 20, 2014

#Giveaway ~ Stargazer by Sunniva Dee (Halos #2) ~ #Paranormal ~ #NA ~ Excerpt


Stargazer by Sunniva Dee
(Halos #2)
Publication date: November 2014
Genres: New Adult, Paranormal

Synopsis:
I’m Luna, and I’ve been in the Twilight Zone since I moved in with my sister and her boyfriend.
I sense their secrets in every corner of the house.
Gabriel is eerily beautiful, and his personality disturbingly perfect, while Gaia’s inexplicable PTSD and mood swings bounce her between bliss and despair.
Until Gabriel’s brothers pay a visit.
Cassiel…
He’s the night to his brother’s day. He’s sex personified and the devil in one hell of a stunning package. It’s been years since I last saw him, but this man makes me burn. He hooks me with his touch. Enthralls me with those oddly simmering eyes. He pierces my soul with his knowing smirks, and I am losing myself in him.
Ka…
With pearlescent hair and spring green eyes, he crashes into my world. I thought this crazy, beautiful man could mend my bleeding heart. Make things recognizable again—normal. Instead he pulls me from the embers and feeds me to the open fire.
College life. Is this what everyone goes trough?

Purchase: Amazon





AUTHOR BIO
I write New Adult fiction with a paranormal twist and don’t shy away from romance and heart-wrenching passion when necessary.

I moved from Norway to the United States in 2001, and the first awesome five years I spent in the San Fernando Valley, Los Angeles. Then I read “The Book,” aka Midnightin the Garden of Good and Evil, which spurred my husband and me to move cross country to beautiful Savannah, Georgia.

I’m currently on my seventh year in the Deep South, where I enjoy the heat and the humidity. Besides writing, I spend my time with our “petting zoo” as in an opinionated parrot, a herd of cats that are experts on keyboard shortcuts, and puppies that…uh, bark.

I hold a Master’s degree in languages, with concentrations within literature and linguistics. I taught at college level for a decade before settling in as a graduate adviser at the Savannah College of Art and Design.

Writing is my passion, my joy, and my addiction. When I’m not writing, I read.
Shattering Halos is my debut novel, and its standalone sequel, Stargazer, is due out later this year.

Author links:




a Rafflecopter giveaway
Excerpt 1)

The night was grey when the doorbell rang, and I remained in bed for a minute, gathering my thoughts. I’d dreamed about Cassiel, a sweet mix between my regular dream from Spring Hills and the visit in his apartment yesterday.
The ringing became rhythmic. One long, two short. Another long and two short ones. I threw on the clothes I’d laid out for school and stumbled off to answer.
Outside, Cassiel stood with a small smirk playing on his face. Hands buried in his coat pockets, he looked down at me, awake and ready to go.
“Mornin’,” he said. “Rise and shine!”
“What? Why?” I squinted against the parking lights from his car. “Do we have some sort of…appointment?”
As usual, Zeebs wanted in on the fun. He purred, snaking between my ankles and peering up at Cassiel. I frowned, rubbing the sleep from my eyes. We hadn’t agreed to do anything today as far as I knew, much less at such an ungodly hour. I shoved my bed hair away for a glance at my watch, but before I managed, Cassiel replied.
“In my opinion, we do. It’s already five thirty, so we got to get going if you want fresh bagels.”
“Nu-huh, oh you are so kidding me. Five thirty? Dude! I’m not even hungry.”
Amusement made his eyes shine olive-green. “Don’t worry. You will be when we get there.”
“Cassiel? Rain check. What do you know about bagels here anyway—you just moved here. Besides, I can get fresh bagels whenever I want. With a toaster!”
His laughter rang out sexy, indecently awake. “Nope, not like these. You want them fresh from the oven. With…” He bent lazily, hands still in his pockets and his nose almost touching mine, “loads of homemade, sun-dried tomato cream cheese.”
“Cassiel,” I whined, snubbing the heat unfurling in my stomach at his closeness. “I could be sleeping right now.”
He clicked his tongue, ignoring my complaint. “Where’s your jacket? It’s freezing out here. And your shoes? C’mon.”
Oh no, he didn’t. Did he? Yeah, he freaking did. “Hey!” I cried out as he carried me to his Escalade. He opened the door and dumped me on the seat.


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Wednesday, November 19, 2014

#Giveaway ~ Afterworld Series by Karice Bolton ~ #Review ~ Excerpt



Afterworld Series by Karice Bolton

Genres: New Adult, Post-Apocalyptic

Synopsis book 1 - RecruitZ:
Review for RecruitZ Here

Scientists are the new rock stars. The infection has been contained for nearly three months, and the world is celebrating. But humans are still dying. Rebekah Taylor has seen it firsthand. Her husband was killed right in front of her by the very creatures that humans were told they no longer had to fear.

Rebekah is determined to find out who is responsible for the death of her husband and the obvious cover-up. Fueled with revenge, she begins to find answers that lead to one frightening conclusion. The apocalypse might be over, but the battles are just beginning.




Synopsis book 2 - AlibiZ:

The outbreak might be over, but the nightmare is just beginning...

Rebekah vows to expose the truth behind the RecruitZ that are killing the innocents. These creatures must be stopped, but so should the people controlling them. When Rebekah uncovers who is behind the uprisings, her own life becomes in danger.

Rebekah knows that she is not alone in this fight but vengeance alone won't help her and the others to victory. It is up to her to uncover the truth for the public before the world is turned over to an elite few.

Regardless of what may happen to her, she knows it's a race against time to destroy these creatures and the monsters controlling them before there is no one left worth saving.



a Rafflecopter giveaway

Purchase:

AUTHOR BIO
Karice received an MFA in Creative Writing from the U of W. She has written fifteen novels and has several exciting projects in the works. Karice lives with her husband and two English Bulldogs in rainy Washington.

Books currently available:
Luke Fletcher Series: Hidden Sins (Book 1), Buried Sins (Book 2) – coming soon
Beyond Love Series: Beyond Control (Book 1) Beyond Doubt (Book 2) Beyond Reason (Book 3) Beyond Intent (Book 4) Beyond Chance, Beyond Promise, and Beyond the Mistletoe coming soon
Afterworld Series: RecruitZ (Book 1) AlibiZ (Book 2) – October 2014
The Witch Avenue Series: Lonely Souls (Book 1), Altered Souls (Book 2), Released Souls (Book 3) Shattered Souls (Book 4)
The Watchers Trilogy: Awakening (Book 1), Legions (Book 2), Cataclysm (Book 3), Taken Novella (Watchers Prequel)
The Camp

Author Links:


Alibiz Review

This series is one of the best Dystopian/zombie series I  have read. I know i do not read many actual zombie books, but this is still one of my favorite dystopian's I have read, and I do read plenty of them.

I wont say alot in this review of book 2, as I sure would hate to spoil anything for you if you have not even read book 1. This book and series is written extremely well, and I highly recommend it to any dystopian fans, this is not your typical gory (though it does have some) zombie book. Its unique in that area.

So try this series out, you won't be sorry.

5 out of 5 stars for me.

I received this book from the author for my honest review.



Below is Chapter One of Alibiz (Book 2) So if you hadn't read yet, read at your own risk... It really doesn't give anything away though, so up to you.



Chapter One (AlibiZ)

“Stay where you are. You’re completely surrounded on all sides.”
I froze and looked around the forest. I didn’t see anyone until I looked up into the trees where several sets of eyes watched our every move, shotguns and rifles centered on Preston and me. The woods held a madness I hadn’t felt since the outbreak. It seemed like they’d converted deer stands into people-watching stands. It was creepy and clever at the same time.
My heart rate increased as I slowly lowered my rifle to the ground. Preston did the same. Did we stumble upon some leftover militia members or survivalists or something?
“We don’t do visitors. We haven’t survived the outbreak this long to welcome strangers and the virus into our lives,” the man said, motioning for one of his men to pick up our weapons.
I glanced at Preston as the realization dawned on both of us.
“The outbreak is over,” Preston said, his arms still raised.
“Don’t give me that garbage,” the man replied. “Get on your knees. Both of you.”
How could he not know?
My knees hit the hard surface, a sharp rock digging into my skin. I hoped my ankle holster didn’t peek out.
“It’s true. There’s a vaccine,” I said, staring at the men in front of us. “We’ve been vaccinated.”
“Sure you have, doll,” the man said, his brown eyes dulled by exhaustion and hunger. “But there’s no room at the Inn.”
I let out a sigh and held back a laugh at the craziness of our situation.
“Take them to the barn.” He pointed at the two men who took our weapons.  “I’ll be there shortly to deal with them. Ron, come with me. We need to cover their tracks so no others find their way here.”
“Yes, sir,” a young guy yelled, as he climbed down the tree and jumped to the forest floor. He wore a ratty flannel and a pair of well-worn jeans. There was a strong resemblance between Ron and the man barking orders. Both had dark hair and very sharp features, accentuated by their lack of nourishment. The older man’s hair, however, was speckled with silver.
One of the men pulled zip ties out of his pocket and told us to put our hands together. We both complied as he first tightened the plastic around my wrists and then Preston’s. I really disliked being put in this situation. We didn’t have time for it. The plastic tie dug into my skin, and the more I moved, the tighter it became. The moment we were left alone, Preston would cut us out of these in no time.
“Get up,” the guy in front of me commanded.
I watched Preston who gave a slight nod as I stood up.
“You gonna give us trouble?” the guy asked.
I shook my head. “No need to.”
“Jay doesn’t like visitors,” the guy said, pushing me forward to walk.
“I kind of got that,” I said.
Preston stood up and hid a smile as I walked by.
Looking around, I noticed the men up in the trees were no longer interested in us. They were busy scanning for more intruders. I wondered how many intruders they actually got.
The men led us over to the river that we’d followed into this area.
I ignored the biting cold as we traversed the rocky riverbank. The gushing river below did little to calm my nerves as the rocks crunched beneath my hiking boots. Every so often, pieces cut loose and tumbled to the water below. Not my idea of a fun hike, especially when my hands were tied.
I spotted smoke off in the distance and assumed that was where they were leading us.
“I love the smell of wood smoke,” I said, taking in a deep breath. “It always reminds me of fall.”
“No talking,” one of the men ordered. His breathing was heavy as we trudged along the river’s edge, and I hoped he wouldn’t keel over before we got to wherever we were going. It would be a shame for him to live through the outbreak to die of a heart attack before finding out it was all over.
Letting them call the shots for now, I nodded and walked in silence for what seemed like an eternity. The trail along the riverbank became less severe the longer we hiked, but I still had my worries about slipping into the ice-cold water.
“This way.” The man climbed up an embankment, his foot slipping slightly at the top. I noticed the soles of his hiking boots were completely trashed and worn down.
If any of these people took the time to really examine us, they’d notice that neither Preston nor I were starving, and our clothes and shoes were in excellent condition. Unfortunately, if they thought the outbreak was still active, they weren’t in their right minds. They were still in survival mode. They’d only see what they wanted to see, hear what they wanted to hear, to ensure they’d come out breathing on the other end. It was a tricky situation, but one I wasn’t too worried about. We got past the first part. We were lucky they didn’t blow our heads off when they first spotted us. Now we only had to convince them that the outbreak was over.
A Hemlock branch, brittle from the cold, snapped back from the guy hiking in front of me and hit my face. I spit out the grime and wiped my mouth with the crook of my elbow as we hiked through the woods. I spotted a clearing through the trees and looked over my shoulder at Preston who flashed me a quick grin before I darted my gaze away. They had a little encampment set up with one large building and a few smaller outbuildings of some sort.
“Over here,” the guy said, glancing over his shoulder at us.
I remained silent, following the man’s lead as he hiked us over to a large shed. To call it a barn was simply overstating things. I saw another structure that would qualify as a patchwork residence, new sections built as the need arose. I wasn’t sure how it would last through another winter in the mountains. I doubted it would.
While I stared around the property, the man fumbled with the lock on the shed. The clearing provided a beautiful vantage point of ancient Douglas firs and cedar trees that covered the surrounding mountains. No power lines were visible, which would explain their lack of information.
“You got it, Josh?” the other man asked just as the lock popped off in Josh’s hand. He swung the door open to reveal a cluttered mess of odd finds, ranging from old saws to rusty metal teapots. I spotted an old, stained mattress propped against the back wall, and a couple of plastic buckets placed in between the piles of junk.
I examined the man I could now call Josh and noticed his breathing was still labored.
“Asthma okay?” the other guy asked, looking noticeably worried as he shifted his weight from one foot to the other.
Josh mumbled an answer I couldn’t grasp before he pushed us inside the cobweb-filled building. The musty smell was so thick in the air I could taste it. Preston let out a few coughs, and I pushed the tickle down. Several rays of light poked through the roof of the building, making it clear why it smelled so stuffy. Must be what the plastic buckets were for.
Josh snatched a bucket, dumped out the smelly water, and flipped it over for me to sit on. He did the same for Preston.
“Ron and Jay will be here soon,” Josh said, turning quickly on his heels and leaving us alone in the shed. The click of the lock being fastened on the door made me chuckle.
“They do realize we could just kick out the walls of this place, right?” I whispered to Preston.
He smiled, leaning over to release the knife that was strapped around his ankle.
“Apparently not.” Preston flipped the blade open and motioned for me to move closer. I held out my hands, and he cut through the plastic tie in under a second. Handing me the knife, I did the same for him.
“So do we waste our time trying to explain the outbreak really is over?” I asked. “Or do we get out of here?”
Preston pressed his lips together and nodded. “I think we should give it a try.”
I stood up and stretched, noticing some of the items this group had collected. Most of the found objects had probably been left over from camping trips before the outbreak. There were tent poles, skillets, netting, tarps, and even a car headlight. It was an eclectic assortment, but I recognized the mentality. Grab anything and everything a person could get their hands on. It was the MacGyver method that got most of us through the outbreak.
Preston leaned over my shoulder and pointed out a tennis shoe. “Clothing always creeps me out.”
“I don’t know why in the world it never occurred to me that there could still be people out there that didn’t know it was over. I thought our government did a better job of notifying everyone.”
“It’s a big country,” Preston said.
I nodded. “True. I wonder how many more pockets of these guys exist?”
“Probably more than we think.”
Footsteps crunched outside the shed, and we both took our seats on the buckets again.
“Did they give you any trouble, Tim?” Jay asked.
Tim must have been Josh’s buddy.
“Not at all, sir. But Josh’s asthma is flaring up. I sent him inside.”
I heard a sigh and then a whisper, “We only have enough medication for another month and that’s if he uses it sparingly and suffers the rest of the time.”
“Yeah, and that will only work if he doesn’t have any big attacks that could kill him.”
The door creaked open, and a blaze of light shone through the opening. I looked away to let my eyes adjust, hearing Jay’s footsteps circle around us.
“Who freed you?” Jay asked.
Neither of us answered his question. Instead, we were focused on getting him to listen so we could get out of here.
On the drive up here, we passed through several small, vacant towns that still showed signs of the outbreak. Merely convincing them to go to the nearest town would do nothing. They’d see the devastation, sense the isolation, and would assume everything was as it had been. There was no sign of life in those towns, only death. The horrors of the outbreak lived on in rural America, and it hadn’t occurred to me what that meant for people who were still in hiding. We had to convince him to go to a bigger city, and the closest one was over four hours away.
“We aren’t here to cause any trouble,” Preston said. “Let us go, and we’ll forget we ever saw you.”
“You’ve already caused problems for us. Giving my people false hope. I’m sure what you said has already gotten back to everyone at the house. I can’t let you go because others will follow and then they’ll die. We’ll keep you in the shed for forty-eight hours, and if you aren’t infected, you’ll join our community.”
I shook my head and turned away. Jay’s odor was really strong in this small space. I covered my mouth and nose with my hand. “We don’t want to stay here. That was never our intention. We hadn’t expected to come across anyone out here. Since the vaccine most people have centered around—”
“Enough,” Jay shouted, taking a step back.
“We can get Josh new medicine.” I tried a new tactic.
Jay’s eyes flashed with anger. “I can take care of my people.”
“They aren’t your people,” Preston said. “People aren’t property. Maybe you should let them decide what they’d like to do, see, or hear.”
The anger I felt rolling off Jay made me nervous. I didn’t want to get shot trying to do something nice for someone. No good deed goes unpunished and all that.
“What can we do to make you believe there really is a vaccine?” I asked, softening my voice.
“Dad, maybe we should listen to what they have to say?” It was Ron. He took a step into the shed, but none of the tension dissipated. Instead, it heightened.
“Nothing could stop those creatures,” Jay said in a clipped tone. I couldn’t tell if he was annoyed with his son or us.
“You are absolutely right,” Preston replied. “It’s a vaccine, not a cure. Those who were infected weren’t saved, but people like us, we’ve been vaccinated.”
“We need to hear them out,” Ron said, his voice more urgent. “We’re running out of food and winter hasn’t even hit. If we’re out here for no reason…”
“Don’t be foolish,” Jay replied. “I will not put my people in harm’s way.”
“You are doing that very thing,” Preston said. “Honestly, what would we have to gain by telling you the outbreak’s over?”
“He’s got a point, dad.”
“How dare you.” Jay’s anger was getting too volatile. It was the hunger. I recognized it from when Gavin and I were on the run. When days had turned to weeks without a substantial amount of food, our comprehension became faulty and our tempers flared for no reason. He probably did mean well for his community. In fact, he probably ate the least, giving his son and others his rations, which would explain why his son was willing to listen to reason and he wasn’t. Unfortunately, the instability of his father made me nervous.
“Did you forget we killed two zombies last week?” He turned to his son.
Shoot! The stragglers. I hadn’t counted on how to explain those away.
Preston let out a deep sigh. “Which is exactly why we need to get you all vaccinated—”
“Is it really over?” a woman’s voice cried outside, distracting Jay.
“Praise the Lord,” another woman sobbed.
A crowd was congregating outside the shed.
Jay’s eyes connected with mine. “See what you’ve done and you…” He turned to face Preston pointing a shaking finger.
A few children began singing as men’s voices cheered outside the shed.
“Let them feel the happiness, Jay. It’s true. It’s over,” I whispered. “We can help.”
I glimpsed a few of the women standing outside the shed. Their hands and faces were caked with dirt as they firmly held onto baskets of freshly picked roots. This had to stop.
“Let us talk to them,” a woman shouted.
“Look at what you’ve started,” Jay growled.
“Stop it, dad. They’re here to help,” Ron said, placing his hand on his dad’s shoulder to calm him down.
“They’re liars. There’s probably more of them hiding in the woods… ready to strike, ready to steal everything we have. Don’t you trust them for a minute. You hear me, son?”
Ron took a step back and looked us both over. His eyes narrowed on Preston, and my heart sunk, realizing he’d succumbed to his father’s suspicions.
“Then why are they so well dressed?” Ron asked, surprising me.
Jay wasn’t going to let his son or anyone tell him what to do. Not now. Not while his stomach was empty.
I watched through the doorway as the crowd of men, women, and children grew. The collected sounds of excitement, anger, and worry filled our tiny space, and it was clearly getting to Jay.
“Send the group back to the house. All of our supplies are ripe for the taking. We’re falling perfectly into these two’s plans,” Ron yelled at his son. “Don’t you see it?”
“I won’t, dad,” Ron said. “It’s time we all got to hear what they have to say.”
A small hum outside turned into a chant, “Cure. Cure. Cure.”
My heart pounding, I glanced at Preston who was studying the two men in front of us.
“I will not be responsible for my family’s death,” Jay said quietly to his son.
“We can get your family vaccinated. This can all be over,” I tried one last time, hoping the energy of the group congregating would persuade Jay to give us a chance to help.
I noticed a few of the women’s expressions suddenly change just as the chants turned to screams, shattering my hopes of delivering the truth. My blood chilled as I heard the familiar grunts of the undead—the stragglers, but I wasn’t scared of the undead. I was frightened of what Jay’s fear and delusion would push him to do.
The crowd scattered completely, leaving only the undead in view. Ron spun around and aimed his shotgun at the first of the three stragglers. Taking down the first, second, and third within seconds, I glanced over at Jay whose eyes were filled with an unyielding fury as he reached for his pistol.
“You brought them here. They followed your scent,” he snarled.
I heard the click of the trigger, but it was too late.

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Monday, November 17, 2014

#Giveaway ~ Book Blitz ~ Blood Chained by Eden Ashley~ Excerpt


Blood Chained by Eden Ashley
Publication date: November 18th 2014
Genres: Paranormal Romance, Young Adult


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Synopsis:

Sometimes great evil is necessary to keep what you love most.
After centuries on the run, Rhane can avoid justice no longer. Primes have called him home and now he must finally answer for the sins of his past. But the situation in Rhane’s homeland is far worse than anyone could have imagined, and the judgment Rhane faces is a brutal one. Even relying on the strength of the immortal Banewolf, the man he has become may not survive.
Kali and the other kin work tirelessly to secure Rhane’s freedom, but many obstacles stand in their way. Wesley offers a solution that hinges upon resuming a dangerous search for the Siren’s Heart. Trusting him, she and the kin set out once again to find the elusive artifact, believing Rhane and Warren’s freedom can be bartered in exchange for the statue. But other creatures are searching for the Heart. And with greater resources and a head start, their enemies may reach it first.


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AUTHOR BIO:
I'm Eden Ashley and I was born and raised in a small, sunny town in South Carolina. However, it's the thunderstorms that inspire my best ideas. There are few things I love more than curling up with a good book and a cup of coffee on a rainy day, (except maybe chocolate cake. I love cake.) often reading into the wee hours of morning when something really grabs me. I pretty much love anything with supernatural elements, so writing paranormal romance and fantasy romance seems to be a natural fit.

My first novel, Dark Siren, is best described as paranormal romance artfully wrapped within a plot chock-full of action, adventure, and edge-of-your-seat suspense, while the series has evolved to become a journey of redemption and second chances as two characters understand that sometimes committing evil is necessary to protect what is loved most. I took the siren from Greek mythology (and borrowed a little from mermaid lore), creating an entirely different creature, with its own mythology, and one that Publisher's Weekly praised for its passion and complexity. This is not just another werewolf/shapeshifter romance or vampire romance. I think this is a story that both adults and teens can enjoy, full of characters to fall in love with!

I love getting feedback! For the latest news on upcoming sequels and other novels, find me on my website: http://edenbynite.blogspot.com
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/EdenAshleyAuthor
Twitter: Eden_byNite, for writing tips, publishing help, and daily updates.



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Excerpt from Blood Chained
The Beginning

The sound of her screams reached him as he neared the dorm. Pausing at the threshold, the man stepped inside. Death and the wind were at his back. Dozens of hollow-eyed students turned to observe his presence. Fear had twisted their youthful faces into horrific masks. A few of them wept. Others clung together as another scream echoed into the night. The man flinched. Then he steeled himself against all emotion. His kind was supposed to feel nothing.
He made his way through the crowd, students eagerly shuffling aside to let him pass. It was as if somehow they sensed in him the power to end her suffering. When a young man dressed only in boxers and a lettered shirt stepped forward from a cluster of solemn dorm mates, the man stopped. He recognized the boy.
“You are William. You are the one who called.”
“Yes, sir,” the young man said while nodding. His eyes were wide and frightened as he pointed ahead to a closed door painted prison grey. “She’s in there, sir.”
The man looked at the door, and then back at the boy. “Is she alone?”
William’s shoulders slumped with embarrassment. “I tried to stay with her but…” his voice trailed, dropping to a hoarse whisper. “She looks bad, sir. She wouldn’t stop screaming for me to get out. I got scared. I’m sorry.”
“It’s alright, son. You have done well.” The man laid a hand on the boy’s shoulder with an encouraging smile that reflected none of the sadness he felt. “She’s going to be okay.”
But her cries were becoming more tormented by the second. He quickly continued down the hall to the grey door. Behind it, he found her all alone. Her thin, pale body was curled on a beaten sofa in the center of the room. She was drenched in sweat. Dark hair plastered against her face, framing a beautiful canvas contorted with anguish. He placed a hand gently on her forehead. 
Her eyes fluttered open. “Daddy?”
“I’m here, sweetheart. Everything is fine now.”
Sobbing in relief even as another surge of agony ransacked her strength, she gritted her teeth. “It hurts.”
Squeezing her hand, he spoke in a voice thick with regret. “I know. I’m sorry. Letting you come here was a mistake. I’ve waited too long.”
She was lost in the pain and didn’t seem to hear him. “I see horrible things. I did horrible things. There was so much blood.”
It hurt him terribly to see her in such distress. No matter what the others said, this girl had truly been his daughter. But right now, his love for her could not matter. He had a job to do. There were things he needed to know. There were questions he had to ask.
“What do you see?”
Bodies, hundreds of bodies littering the ground…” The words broke off as she rolled with another wave of misery. “They’re burned…old and young, women and children.” She sobbed again. “I think I burned them.”
“I’m going to give you something to stop the pain. It will help you sleep.”
“Please hurry, Daddy. Make it stop.” Her body shuddered. “I can’t take any more of this.”
She lifted her head, giving him a good look at her face. Surging veins had crept like black spiders from the corners of her eyes, transforming the surrounding skin into dark pools. She was deteriorating rapidly. If the process wasn’t slowed, the human form would soon be lost. He kicked himself for making such a foolish mistake, for letting emotion get in the way of duty. It could have jeopardized everything. He hurried into the kitchen and returned a few minutes later carrying a red mug filled with steaming liquid. “Can you sit up?” She nodded and struggled upright. She took the mug. “Drink all of it,” he said and helped steady her hands.
The liquid smelled awful. But after the first sip, her violent trembles began to subside. She downed the rest without hesitation, draining the mug until the last drop was gone. The grey tint that had taken over receded as the color of her skin returned to normal. The girl peered at her hands. They no longer shook.
An uncertain smile spread across her face. “It’s over.”
He shook his head. “No. We must start over,” he said sadly.
“I don’t understand.”
He stood from the couch and held out a hand. “Come with me.”
“What?” She yawned sleepily. Everything about her was like a normal teenager again. “Dad, I can’t. I have finals tomorrow.”
“Come with me,” he repeated.
She took his hand and let the empty mug fall to the couch. He led her out into the hall where everyone waited anxiously, some visibly grateful to see the young woman leave. Averting her gaze to the floor, she avoided their eyes. “Everyone’s staring,” she muttered.
“They were worried about you.” He reached back and drew the girl forward to his side, planting a kiss atop her hair. As they reached the front door, he saw her try to stifle another yawn. Even the crisp night air couldn’t shake the veil of drowsiness that would lower over her mind.
“Dad, I’m really tired.”
“You can sleep on the way.” He smiled again. To him, the reassurance felt forced and painful because on the inside, his heart was breaking. He hoped his daughter wouldn’t know it.
Wrapping her arms about him, she hugged him tightly and buried her head into his shirt like she had when she was little. On this night, he couldn’t hug her back. Afraid that if he did, he wouldn’t be able to let go. What he had to do was cruel. He wished he didn’t have to. To have so much power and still be powerless was a wretched existence.
#
It was daylight when she awoke. The car wasn’t moving and the girl was alone inside. She recognized nothing of the surroundings, had no idea how far her father had driven. It wasn’t unusual for him to whisk her away on a spur-of-the-moment weekend getaway to the beach. Her father’s spontaneity was one of the things she loved most about him. But this wasn’t the beach. And the girl was positive she’d mentioned to him that she had a final to take—she glanced at her watch—in three hours. Sighing, she opened the door and slid out of the car. The sound of a child’s laughter came drifting through the trees. Joined with it was another voice she easily recognized.
With growing curiosity, she started up the hill. Her feet sank into the moist carpet of undergrowth as she walked beneath trees of brightly changing foliage. Fallen heralds of orange, red, and yellow hues blanketed the ground. Not far away, on the other side of a patch of dense forest, the girl found her father. Oddly enough, he was entertaining a small child. The two of them sat in an amply filled sand box, busily constructing a castle with the aid of a small bucket and plastic shovel. The little girl’s hair was like her own, as black and shiny as a raven’s feathers. She was four years old at most.
Looking up, her father saw her. No emotion crossed his face. “Hello.”
She stopped a few yards short. “Hi.” After the mostly uphill hike, her reply was somewhat breathless.
“Hi,” the child greeted her happily. Deep brown eyes and a winning smile made her truly a rare beauty, even at such a young age.
The young woman turned to her father, her entire face a question. She waited for some sort of explanation.
His golden hair ruffled in the breeze as he nodded toward the child. “I found her for you.”         
She shook her head. “I don’t understand. Where are we?”
“Please come and sit,” he said quietly.
Hesitant at first, her feet didn’t move until the little girl echoed the man’s words, “Please come and sit with us.”
She accepted the invitation and sat in the sandbox. Her legs automatically folded to mirror the child.
“Did you dream last night?”
“No.”
“Good. I’d hoped the tea would help.” He took her hand. His grasp was both tender and desperate. “I promise you, this will be the last time.”
“What’s going on?” Although she trusted her father with her very life, his behavior worried her.
As they conversed, the little girl had never paused at play. “And this is the tower for the princess,” she announced proudly, while molding a lopsided chunk of sand.
Her father gazed down at the child fondly. “Why does the princess need a tower? Shouldn’t princesses be allowed to be free?”
The child paused thoughtfully. Then she shook her head, sending a mass of radiant curls bouncing in the morning sun. “No. The prince can’t find her unless she’s in a tower.”
He smiled and turned to his daughter again. “Yes…it is time for the prince to find her.”
He took the child’s hand and pressed it into his daughter’s. The young woman stared in bewilderment as a warm glow filled her inside and out. Then, as if someone had flicked a switch, everything went dark. She slumped forward. The man caught her lifeless body, easing it down gently onto the sand. Then he leaned over and kissed the child’s forehead softly. “I will always be close.” Not moving, the child sat wide-eyed, staring blankly at nothing.
Hoisting the body of the young woman into his arms, he quietly strode away with tears streaming down his face. The trees hid him from view as the little girl blinked twice and resumed building the tower in the sandbox.


Excerpt from Blood Chained
(The Hunger Excerpt)


When another presence entered the locker room, Kali halted her pacing. “You’re late,” she said without turning around. He hadn’t made a sound, but somehow she felt him. That was happening a lot lately.
“Sorry. But I seem to have my own classes to attend. And they’re across town, at the university.” Callan’s blue eyes seemed happy to see her. His voice was light and teasing, a stark contrast to the sharpness in hers. Scowling, he glanced around the small space that smelled of female hormones and sweat. “Tell me again why you insist on meeting here.”
She folded her arms. “You know I can’t sneak away from the boys. It wouldn’t be fair to them. And it could be dangerous.”
“Okay. I accept that.” He took a step closer. “But you can at least stop being so uptight.” He fingered a stray curl, only making her heart ache even more for Rhane. “Everyone is working together to keep you safe.”
She didn’t move away. “I know.”
“It’s always good to see you.” He came even closer, invading her intimate space as if it were his to claim. She could tell he was hungry to touch her, to be touched. To be used.
She hated it when he got like this. He was a tool, an object of convenience. Nothing more could ever evolve of their situation. But sometimes, it was like Cal had forgotten the terms of their arrangement.
Taking a seat on the bench put more distance between them. She hoped the move would help remove some of the heat from Cal’s eyes. Unfortunately, it also meant he now towered over her. The position of dominance only elevated the tension.
She needed to change the subject. “Why are you attending classes? Surely, Gabriel the mastermind has better things to do than study English 101. Scheming for world conquest sounds more up his alley.”
Cal smiled. “Oh he’s scheming alright.” He took a seat next to her, watching her face earnestly. “I still have a life of my own.”
“No.” She closed her eyes. “You forfeited your life to Gabriel.”
“I’m here now.”
“And so is he. His fate is your fate. You can never be without him.” She didn’t understand how Cal failed to understand that.
“We’ll have to agree to disagree, babe.” He reached for her, stopping when she pulled away. His brow wrinkled. “Are we doing this or not?”
“You know I have to.”
“Then stop being so cold.”
“I don’t enjoy this.”
“I think you do, sometimes.”
A knife of pain stabbed into Kali’s chest and twisted. Was it guilt? Did Cal’s words hold some truth? She bit her lip. The hurt it brought grounded her thoughts to the task at hand. “Let’s get it over with.”
Cal rolled his eyes. “That’s better.”
She frowned. “This is strictly business.”
“Right,” he agreed, but didn’t sound convinced.
Kali didn’t care if he agreed. She only needed him for one thing. Still, his hands were eager as they beckoned her closer, held her so tenderly against him. His lips closed around her mouth, cool to the touch. He remembered well and sought to please her, stroking everywhere she liked. Her ears, the back of her neck, the swell of her breast—his gentle caresses found the most sensitive parts of her, coaxing Kali into heightened arousal. She had felt more with him than with any other before Rhane. But with Cal there was always darkness. Feeding from him left her with angry thoughts and violent urges almost too compelling to resist. Daily matches against the kin helped channel those powerful inclinations, giving her rage an outlet.
But when Kali reached for his spark…this time things were different.
Threads of light had woven into the darker pitch of his aura. Intense purples and royal blues replaced black and gray emptiness. Something had tempered the savage coldness, cultured his humanity.
Cal was different.
Nearly losing the moment when his hands slipped beneath her blouse, Kali redirected her focus. She had to take the necessary energy hard and fast. The more he touched her, the deeper he fell. The more things got confusing. She needed to get this over quickly for both their sakes.
Pressing her hands on either side of his face, Kali drank deeply, urgently. Cal’s lips grew colder. His fingers chilled against her skin. Still, she drank. His spark dimmed and darkened, almost recoiling from her touch. But she pulled it back, sating her thirst. His fingers tightened, dug painfully into her skin. A tremor rippled through his body. Cal shuddered, sagged against her. Then she released him.
Cal sat dazed for several long moments. Then his eyes cleared and he jerked as if suddenly emerging from deep sleep. He was panting as he stood up, wobbling unsteadily on his feet. “Shit, Kal.” He moved away from her, to the corner of the room. “Did you have to take so much?”
“Sorry. The hunger is getting worse.”
“I can’t say I haven’t noticed. What are we up to, twice a week now?”
“Sometimes three.” Her reply was absent. She straightened her clothes, busy considering something weighing on her mind for a while now. “I need to figure out how to do this without making out with you. I’ve fed without intimacy once before. I know it’s possible.”
“You don’t have to.” Though he still sounded a tad breathless, Cal moved close to her again. “I prefer things this way.”
“And you know I don’t.” Hurt written plainly in his expression, she regretted her words. There was no sign of the arrogant and selfish boy she dated a year ago.
“He left you, Kali.”
“He’s coming back.”
His fingers squeezed her wrist, and those piercing blue eyes locked onto hers. “But what if he doesn’t?”
“Callan, don’t.” Fearing what holding that gaze would to do him, she pulled away to gather her things. It was time to go.
But Cal wasn’t ready to leave yet. “If things were different…we could have a chance.” His face was hopeful, imploring for something Kali couldn’t give. “I can make you happy this time. I know it.”
“I appreciate all you’ve done for me…everything you keep doing.” She averted her eyes, unable to look at him. It seemed that she was destined to hurt him. Her very design made it unavoidable. “But Rhane is my soul mate. I will find him. And I will bring him home.”



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