Friday, January 31, 2014

Cover Reveal! The Kylie Ryans series by Caisey Quinn

The Kylie Ryans series has all new covers! 

Custom Photography by Lauren Perry of L. Perry Designs
Book Cover Design by E.M. Tippetts Book Design
Cover Model: Teale Murdock


A girl with a dream and a guitar...
A troubled artist struggling to hold onto his career...

What they found was each other.

Girl with Guitar

Girl on Tour

Girl in Love 

Coming February 4th! 

*Titles are also available on iTunes & Kobo. 

*Special DELUXE EDITION paperbacks with bonus content will be available for a limited time at

Want to join the Kylie Ryans Read Along Happening RIGHT NOW on Facebook? 


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Caisey Quinn lives in Birmingham, Alabama with her husband, daughter, and other assorted animals. She is the bestselling author of the Kylie Ryans series as well as several New and Young Adult Romance novels featuring country girls finding love in unexpected places. You can find her online at 

#FREE 1/31-2/1 'Running Stupid' by Morris Fenris & Ezra White

Running Stupid is an intense, slick thriller with a liberal dose of comedy and an injection of suspense. It is a roller coaster of emotions, taking the reader on a high octane journey as the hapless, apathetic protagonist encounters serial killers, sociopaths, liars and fraudsters before finding himself face to face with the ultimate test of fortitude.

Matthew Jester is a lucky man. He has cruised through life on a tide of fortune, succeeding in every aspect of his existence. Now he wants to test his good fortune, to push it to the extreme, and his luck is about to run out -- his world is about to unravel. He becomes the chief suspect in a high profile murder case and discovers that he is public enemy number one. The country hates him, they want him dead, and no matter how far he runs, no matter which direction he takes, he keeps finding himself in the clutches of the darkest and most depraved elements of society. He thinks his luck has finally run out, that his life has hit rock bottom, but what he doesn’t know is that things are a lot worse than they seem.

Amazon Reader Reviews of Mystery, Thriller & Suspense: “Running Stupid” A Classic Organized Crime and Punishment book with Gangsters, kidnapping mystery, a fiction story about serial killers and murder:
"What an awesome story!!! Suspenseful from start to finish. Read this book. Best plot &ending ever!!! You will love it!!!"

"Suspense, excitement, adrenaline, and billionaires' conspiracy. What's not to like? I started reading this morning and didn't stop, this book grabbed me, scared me, and shocked me. I'm sitting here stunned. The ending hit me like a sledgehammer. One of the best psycho thrillers I've ever read. I'm not sure I'll have pleasant dreams tonight..."

"In the superbly crafted `Running Stupid,' Matthew Jester has to be the luckiest man on earth - until the day that his luck runs out. He finds himself framed for murder, and vilified by the public. And, someone wants him dead...lots of someones!

A thrilling web of murder, suspense, and one man's fight for survival that had me reading it in one sitting. It was an excellent, fast-paced, edge-of-your-seat read! A perfect mixture of thriller and suspense.

A lifelong reader of this genre, I have to admit that the book's ending totally surprised me. I WAS NOT EXPECTING THAT!

I give the plot an A+ , the suspenseful storyline is beautifully built-out, and the dialogue awesome. A 9.5 in my book!

I sure hope this is not the last from these two authors!"
"This is one wild, unpredictable ride! The trials of Jester, our protagonist, are detailed with unflinching description so this it a gripping pageturner with ever escalating stakes. It's written in a skillful, direct way so it's easy to put yourself in the hero's point of view and try to imagine what you would do if you ended up caught helpless in a dangerous situation fending off assassin after assassin.

The plot is a crazy game billionaire sociopathy at it's worst, where people hunt and bet on other humans in a high-stakes safari-meets-sports betting-meets-Truman Show inventive drama. This sets up brutal fight scene after scene where our hero has to figure out how to survive cage match style. The authors deliver. It's like an escalating video game where we hope to finally meet the boss level, but know it's going to cost all long the way.

I loved the deadpan humor,including when he outsmarts attackers or like when some of Jester quizzes some not-bright attackers about how they would divide an even-summed bounty 3 ways. The biggest appeal is the cunning twists and turns and the tense actions. Give this book a go if you like intense action scenes, and then buckle up for the ride."

'Samadhi (Light & Love #3)' by Melissa Lummis Release & FB Event


Samadhi – Book Three in the Love and Light Series is available NOW

Wolf and Loti are learning the hard way that karma will not be denied. In their quest for the truth, they've been forced into a blood bond with a powerful witch who isn't so sure she wants to be tied down. But there's one thing they can agree on: it’s time to eliminate the ancient vampire who set off this deadly chain of events--Modore.

Using any means necessary--torture, murder, and even death magic--Modore lures the triumvirate into the show down of their lives. And the consequences will far exceed even Modore's imagination.

In this final installment of the Love and Light Series, the boundaries of love, lust, and even life itself will be tested and the universe as they know it will never be the same.


Join the Facebook Party. Starts at 8pm EST

About the Author
Melissa Lummis considers herself a truth seeker, a peaceful warrior, a paranormal and fantasy writer, an avid reader, a thru-hiker GA├áME ’98, a Penn Stater, a wife, a mother, and a free thinker. She believes the universe conspires to help an adventurer. And if we live our lives as if it is a daring adventure (and it is!), then everything we need will find its way to us.

Her books have been described as new age suspense in a fantasy setting, but they are also straight up, steamy Paranormal Romance. The Love and Light Series is currently available at most ebook retailers and soon to come is the Little Flame Series, a spin off focusing on the character Fiamette from the Love and Light world.

Melissa lives in rural Virginia with her husband, two children, an Alaskan Malamute, and a myriad of forest creatures. The nature of her mind dictates that she write to stay sane. Otherwise, her fertile imagination takes off on tangents of its own accord, creating scenarios and worlds that confuse the space-time continuum.
Namaste, dear friends.

Melissa’s Social Links:
Check out for more about her and her books.
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And watch her and co-host Buddy Gott on the Sunday Night Fiction Club on YouTube.
Get unique content, early access to publications, and exclusive giveaways by subscribing to her newsletter.

Thursday, January 30, 2014

K.F. Breene, author of 'Into the Darkness' on character creation

I get a lot of questions regarding my characters. More specifically, how I create them. This is probably a question every author gets.

I don’t really have a set way of creating a character. Generally what I’ll do first is think about the story concept. For example, I have an idea knocking around my brain about a dystopian book. I have a few elements to the story I want to encompass, and a few social positions within that society that the characters have to fit into. Just like real people, surroundings have a part in making a character.

For my heroine to maintain this top level position in a very sterile society, I get a sort of feeling that she is fiercely smart, stern and efficient. She was basically bred by the government for her role, and the ideal candidate would be a product of the need. So here I have a loose outline for a person, in a gray business suit (for example), that exists in an antiseptic society controlled by larger powers.

I am always very broad at first glance. It’s just a general feeling, like you’d get if you people watch, or met someone for the first time.

I think, then, of key elements around the character. For example, procreation is not a choice in this world. Sexual attraction plays no importance in that equation, which means the characters can suppress the desire if they chose. I definitely think she’d choose to suppress it. She’d have no need for it, and not bother.

She probably doesn’t have a lot of hobbies. I bet she doesn’t even drink a glass of wine with dinner. Just wouldn’t understand the point.

As I make all this up, I have in my head that the hero will like all these things, and will get no end of enjoyment out of ruffling her feathers. He’ll think it’s funny, and she won’t see the humor. (That’ll be a side conflict)

Once I have a basic understanding of her, I start writing. I put her in situations and just…react. I let her make some decisions, like an actor improvising, and let that shape her.

For example, a street guy advances lewdly as she walks into her office building. What does she do?

Well…let’s see (I’m creating her as I write this). Does she step forward with two well-placed punches and drop him? She’s bred for the best, does that include self-defense?

No, I don’t think so. She is a prized asset in the company and closely monitored. I think the female would continue walking normally, chin slightly elevated, and trust one the guards on the sideline to step forward and quell the lewd advance.

This situation will help shape her character. We can also get more definition on the world, too, because when that guard steps forward, he will brutally bash the bum over the head, grab the now bloody, limp body, and toss it across the wet, dirty curb; no regard for lower-tiered human life.

This brutality is commonplace, which establishes that our character is desensitized to this kind of violence. Every little thing affects the character. All you have to do is pay attention to the things you create, and think logically on how it affects the people in the story.

When in doubt, I think of what I would do.

If I was her, and saw a gross, dirty man step forward and try to grab my crotch, I would get a jolt of fear, flinch away, and try to cover myself. If I then saw him brutally bashed over the head, probably killed, I’d be haunted.

Because she is not, what must that mean for her life and surroundings? A hard, desensitized woman, probably.

Ooooor… is she outwardly pretending to be unruffled, so she avoids scrutiny, and inside dread is pinging around her body wildly?

Yes, I think that’s the winner. I’ve just created a conflict, and given her depth.

Well, happy days.

Each little thing that happens fleshes her out until she’s an imaginary friend and I end up in the loony bin waving around a feather quill and bottle of ink.

But anyway, that’s how I work into a character. At the end of the book they’re usually defined, and I go back to the beginning and rework to make sure they are all fleshed out from the get-go.

by K.F. Breene



I’d always been different. I saw objects in the night where others saw emptiness. Large, human shaped shadows, fierce yet beautiful, melting into the darkness. I collected secrets like other women collected bells; afraid to fully trust lest my oddities be exposed.

Until I saw him. He’d been gliding down the street, unshakable confidence in every step. It wasn’t just that he was breathtakingly handsome with perfect features. Something about him drew me. Sucked my focus to him and then tugged at my body. As his eyes met mine, I was entrapped.

No one had noticed him. He’d been right there, just beyond the light, but only I had perceived.

I had to know if he was real. Or maybe I really was crazy. And even when my secret box was blasted wide open, dangers hurled at me like throwing knives, I couldn’t stop until I unraveled his true identity.

I just had to know.

“She was fated to live.”
“Then why must you save her?”
“Often Fate is struck down by dumb luck.”

Read an excerpt:
As I met his black eyes, his puzzled expression deepened. “You’re human…”

“We established that, yes. What I want to know is, if I am human, what does that make you? And why do I notice you when others usually don’t?”

His head cocked to the side. His easy balance, his lethal edge; he was like a blade resting on billowing silk. “Very few humans are able to withstand our pheromones. Fewer still to break a Kolma once it has been placed. You’ve not been trained, that’s obvious, so how is this possible when you’re definitely human? Do you possess the blood of another species?”

I could barely think past the pounding ache of my body, begging to touch him. I needed to get a grip! He was revealing some very interesting factoids that I needed to jot down in my mental notebook.

His nostrils flared. “Charles was right; your arousal is a unique scent. Like a spicy, warm drink on a mid-winter’s night. It rises above other smells, entrancing the mind.”

Buy links

Also available from iTunes

AUTHOR Bio and Links:

A wine country native, K.F. Breene moved to San Francisco for college just shy of a decade ago to pursue a lifelong interest in film. As she settled into the vibrant city, it quickly became apparent that, while she thought making and editing films was great fun, she lacked cinematic genius. For that reason, her career path quickly changed direction. Her next goal was a strange childhood interest, conjured at the dining room table while filling out a form. For some reason, her young self wanted to be an accountant. Thinking on it now, she often wonders how she had any friends. Regardless, it was the direction she finally took.

While she could wrangle numbers with the best of 'em, and even though she wore the crown as the most outspoken, belligerent accountant in the world, her mind got as stuffy as her daily routine. It was here that she dusted off her creative hat and began writing. Now she makes movies in her head, not worried about lighting, shutter speed or editing equipment. Turns out, a computer is much easier to manage than a crowd of actors. She should know, she was an actor at one time.


Twitter: @KFBreene

Facebook for friending:

Facebook author page (for liking):

Prizes for the tour are as follows:

• One randomly chosen commenter will win a $50 Amazon/ gift card.
• Two randomly chosen hosts will each receive a $25 Amazon/ gift card. 

Follow the tour for more chances to win!
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'The Freedman and the Pharaoh's Staff' by Lane Heymont Book Blast!

The Freedman and the Pharoah’s Staff
by Lane Heymont



Jeb, a former slave, rescues his brother-in-law Crispus from the Ku Klux Klan, only to be drawn into a world of Creole Voodoo, racism, time travel, and redemption.

Verdiss, the leader of the Ku Klux Klan has gained possession of the Pharaoh's Staff, a magical artifact from ancient Egypt and concocted a diabolical plan far more insidious than himself.

In the end, Jeb and Crispus must stop an entire people from eradication and each find redemption for their own past sins.

One moment, mayhem wracked the market, the next it fell silent. Fallon stopped, so Jeb did. He couldn’t move, the herd seemed to stop stampeding. Footfalls echoed in the street. The crowd spread. Then came the heavy clacks of soldier’s boots on the flagstones. A band of men, too many to tell. But Jeb knew them by the procession’s cadence–Confederate soldiers. Men clad in gray uniforms marching through Baton Rouge. No doubt, they’d be Klansmen too. Shouts of jubilation spread like wildfire among the townspeople.

“Kill them carpetbaggers!” came a woman’s elegant voice.

“Long live the general!”

“The South shall rise again!” shouted a boy.

Jeb felt the panic in Fallon’s hand, his heartbeat racing as he pulled him away. “What general? I know that cadence like I know my field.” Jeb focused on dodging whatever lay in his way, stumbling over garbage and bumping into people.

Fallon stammered over his words, “Not–not–nothing. Nathan Bedford Forrest?” He gasped, tightening his grip on Jeb.

Somehow Jeb overcame his instincts, keeping his head bowed. Not daring to look up in fear that monster of a man would see him. Though blind, Jeb saw Forrest clad in the gray Confederate officer’s uniform, adorned with medals. He’d seen photos of him. Tall, in his fifties, a receding hairline and a curly mane of black hair. A well-kept goatee tinged gray like his uniform.

I can end it all. Fight through the crowd. A single shot to the head. To hell with being blind, I can do it. For a moment Jeb meant it, caressing his pistol. It’d be easy. Instead, he listened to the Ku Klux Klan founder, savior of the white race, and ender of Reconstruction, parade along the street. Celebrated by a throng of who knew how many people. They were closer now, close enough for Jeb to count them. Four guards following him. Plus Forrest, that’s five. Six shot pistol. Just enough for one miss. He gripped his pistol. It didn’t matter that the crowd loved Forrest, even cheered him on. Six rounds is enough. Jeb edged his pistol free from its holster.

Buy links

Also available from Sunbury Press

AUTHOR Bio and Links:

Lane earned a BA in Liberal Arts with a focus on literature and history. He also holds a double minor in psychology and business. He is a literary assistant with The Seymour Agency, and also has several short stories. He is a member of the Horror Writers Association, Historical Novel Society, and International Thriller Writers.


Website (
Twitter: @LaneHeymont ( )
Facebook: www.Facebook/Lheymont

Lane will be awarding a $25 Amazon Gift Card to a randomly drawn commenter during the tour. A $25 Amazon GC will be awarded to a randomly drawn host. Follow the tour for more chances to win!

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

'Story of the Ghost' by Charles Mahoney

Book blurb:

All Gavin knows is that he’s in a new place. He doesn’t know why and he barely knows where. On the first day of the year, his sixteenth birthday, he had to leave everything behind because his mother had said that was what they needed to do. His life in the Sonoran Desert went from a three bedroom house in Sierra Vista to a lonely trailer in a remote campground forty miles to the north. A trailer he lives in by himself for six days out of the week.

To beat his anger and frustration he runs the desert dirt and lonely strips of highway. He runs and runs and runs until his feet burn. And he doesn’t stop running until something stabs at his foot.

Will he run after something tangible for once? Will he tackle his dream? A dream that is as wild as his youthful imagination allows for. He needs to meet with someone that can help. And with the way things are turning out, Gavin is on a collision course. His mother changed overnight. The people around him and scenery changed. And for Gavin, everything is about to get turned on its head. His journey is about to begin.

SOTG is the debut novel for author Charles L. Mahoney. It is a hero’s journey. A story of fate, unconventional in many ways. Like his hero, he has something to say without speaking a word.

SOTG is my debut novel and I am happy to be a part of the growing author/reader community here on Amazon.

The story is a hero's journey. Given my experience at the University of Arizona (1997) and playing football there, I wanted to integrate my knowledge of football into my work. I believe writing about what you know is a great start to crafting an original story.

I also wrote about change, fathers and sons, the hero/sage relationship and fate.

SOTG is something that I was very inspired to write! I look for inspiration in writing because it takes so long and requires such focus that it has to be worth the effort. Writing is hard, but I love it.

Follow Charles

Amber Belldene, author of the Blood Vine series, talks about mixing ministry and the paranormal

Hi there! Thanks for having me on your blog today to talk about my new release, the final installation in the Blood Vine series: BloodReunited!

You asked me a really interesting question: “As a priest and paranormal romance writer, how do I answer my critics?”

I’m delighted to have a chance to share my thoughts with you! To tell the truth, I’m a minister in a very open minded denomination, the Episcopal Church, so I don’t get a lot of direct criticism. When Blood Vine released a year ago, I braced myself for the attacks, and they never came. I’m sure there are people who disapprove of my writing for any number of reasons—it might be the sex, the vampires, or just snobbery about romance not being a worthy genre (in their uninformed opinions)! But, because we Episcopalians are used to disagreeing about lots of things, I haven’t been directly attacked by anyone.

I also write with a pen name to protect my privacy and the people I serve. Frankly, they don’t need to be thinking about the sex scenes I write when I’m up in the pulpit preaching or helping them through a crisis. I have a straight-forward personality though, and what you see is what you get, so folks might not be entirely surprised *grins sheepishly* I do try to be discreet. Of course, some parishioners know because they’ve stumbled across me online, and lots of my colleagues have become fans.

I truly believe writing romance is a spiritual calling—from the heartfelt struggle of a hero and heroine to be worthy of each other to the promise of a happy ending, the story of falling in love is holy. More than that, romantic and erotic love are excellent metaphors for God’s love, passionately and freely given to all of us flawed humans. God as Father is a perfectly good metaphor, but for those of us lucky to have been totally adored by a lover, I think that’s an even better one. I know it makes some people uncomfortable to think of God so intimately, but it’s a tradition that goes all the way back to the Song of Songs in the Bible.

The fact that some Christian denominations oppose paranormal fiction just seems strange to me. I simply don’t believe we are being seduced by demonic forces when we enjoy a story about a vampire. I love my characters so much that it pains me to admit this, but vampires aren’t real. Fiction is fiction. So, it can’t hurt us to read about them.

I’ll go even further to say imagination is a critical component of faith. The Bible is proof of that. It’s a collection of stories written to describe indescribable divine mysteries that are by definition beyond words. Of course those storytellers had to use their imagination! To me, reading paranormal fiction is like spiritual training. It stretched my vocabulary, my mind and my heart, helping me to ponder divine mysteries.

When I wrote Blood Vine (Book #1 in this series), one of my editors said “This is very mystical.” I had to think about what she meant for quite a while. Eventually I realized I was reaching for beautiful imagery and symbolic language to describe what I believe about the world, and sex, and love. All of these things are beyond words, and beyond understanding, and yet we are graced with the indescribable experience of them. Paranormal fiction somehow makes me more aware of those mysteries, and the beauty I might otherwise forget to pay attention to in the world.

Blood Reunited 

Blood Vine Series 

Book Three
by Amber Belldene
Genre: paranormal romance
Publisher: Omnific Publishing
Date of Publication: January 28, 2014

Book Description:

Book Three in the Blood Vine Series.

Brooding vampire halfling and biologist Bel Maras is determined to create a cure for the wasting disease that plagues his vampire family. His work becomes essential as the Hunters intensify their global and bloody campaign. When Bel's cure fails, only his ancient and estranged godmother Uta Ilirije can help. But seeing the ice-cold Uta reveals something shocking--she is his bonded mate.

She may be a dangerous warrior, but Uta feels her failures acutely. She has been unable to protect her kind from Hunters, and vampires are dying out. Worse, she tied Bel to her long ago in an accident of blood, then abandoned him for his own good--a choice he has never forgiven. Many days, she is convinced Bel and the vampires would be better off if she just walked into the sun.

Biology has fated them to be mates. Now these old enemies must overcome their past to save the vampires and come to peace with the bond they never chose.

Blood Vine
Blood Vine Series
Book One

Amber Belldene

Genre: paranormal romance
Publisher: Omnific Publishing
Date of Publication: January 6, 2013
Number of pages: 206

Book Description:

In Blood Vine, bites are an inconvenient bliss, exiled vampires are wasting away, and the fate of their kind depends on the perfect PR campaign.

When public relations pro Zoey Porter arrives at an enchanting California winery, she discovers her sexy new client is the almost one-night stand she can't forget. After her husband's suicide, Zoey has vowed never to risk her heart again. But can she walk away from the intriguing winemaker a second time?

Driven from Croatia by his ancient foes, vampire Andre Maras has finally made a blood-like wine to cure his fellow refugees. Now he needs Zoey's PR expertise to reach them. After his wife's death, Andre has a vow of his own—never to risk another painful blood bond. And one taste of the tempting Zoey would bind him to her eternally.

His secrets stall her PR plans. Her jealousy is stoked by the blissed-out beauties leaving his bedroom. At every turn, he utterly fails to resist her. When she discovers he is a vampire, will she be lost to the golden-eyed Hunters, or lose herself to the emptiness in her heart, before she can help him save his kind?

Available on Amazon

Blood Entangled
Blood Vine Series
Book Two

by Amber Belldene

Genre: paranormal romance
Publisher: Omnific Publishing
ISBN: 9781623420437
Number of pages: 318

Book Description:

KOS MARAS’s orderly life is in shambles—he must distribute Blood Vine to a population of ailing vampires, but Hunters block him at every turn. To make matters worse, each night he watches over a temptingly beautiful woman sleeping in his bed. He is convinced love cannot last a vampire-long lifetime and an entanglement will only cause them grief, but he doesn’t have the heart to send her away.

From a long line of blood servants, LENA ISAAKSON is destined to serve a vampire, but a string of humiliating rejections thwarts her pleasure. When Kos shows her kindness, she hopes he will claim her. Instead he proves himself a coward in the face of love and sends her to serve another.

Will the dark seduction of a rakish new vampire finally bring Lena the pleasure she desires or deliver her into the hands of Hunters who want to destroy everything the Maras family has worked for?

Available on Amazon

About the Author:

Amber Belldene grew up on the Florida panhandle, swimming with alligators, climbing oak trees and diving for scallops…when she could pull herself away from a book. As a child, she hid her Nancy Drew novels inside the church bulletin and read mysteries during sermons—an irony that is not lost on her when she preaches these days.

Amber is an Episcopal Priest and student of religion. She believes stories are the best way to explore human truths. Some people think it is strange for a minister to write romance, but it is perfectly natural to her, because the human desire for love is at the heart of every romance novel and God made people with that desire. She lives with her husband and two children in San Francisco.
Twitter: @amberbelldene

Tour wide giveaway 

One Print book with magnet and wine glasses- open to US Shipping
One ebook pack with magnet and glasses –open to US Shipping
4 ebook sets of the series

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'The Minaldi Legacy' by Courtney Cole Excerpt Blast!

TML Excerpt Blast Banner

We are extremely excited to be able to share an excerpt from Courtney Cole's new book THE MINALDI LEGACY! THE MINALDI LEGACY is a dark, contemporary romance and will be released on February 6th, 2014!!!  

The Minaldi Legacy Cover


“I’m a monster, Eva. There’s no saving a monster. But I love that you want to try.”

Luca Minaldi is rich, powerful and mesmerizing. He’s also a reclusive enigma. He lives in Malta, a fairy-tale place filled with sunshine and sea, beauty and secrets. And Luca’s darkest of secrets is the best-kept of them all.

Eva Talbot moves to Malta to finish her doctoral dissertation in Psychiatry. When she meets Luca, there is a very real and instant attraction that she has never felt before. But even still, she senses the darkness that lives within him.

Eva is hired to care for Luca’s mother, a woman who suffers from dementia. It is Luca, however, that Eva will eventually risk everything to save… as the legacy that plagues him continues.

As the darkness swirls ever more tightly around her, Eva realizes that no matter how hard she tries, she might not be able to save Luca without losing herself.

Eva and Luca are thrust into a world where their love is tested and darkness reigns. Amid chaos and treachery, love and hate, Luca and Eva learn one important thing.

Love is dangerous.

But it also might be the one thing that can save them all.


The Minaldi Legacy consists of two parts, part one: Of Blood and Bone and part two: Of Darkness and Demons. It contains adult themes and content.

Minaldi Legacy-Kissing behind fountain

Luca is gone.

I know it before I open my eyes. The weight of his body next to me is absent, the scent of him gone from the air. I sigh, reluctant to begin this day because I know what it holds for me. I know that if Luca is truly gone, I will spend every hour frantically searching for him.

Gazing around, I find my large suite empty. Everything is neat and tidy and exactly in place. Each lavish piece of furniture is polished with lemon oil, each extravagant painting on the wall carefully dusted. Each expensive vase, each crystal lamp, each woven rug is perfectly aligned and exactly how I left it. Something is different, though, somehow changed in this room that I fell asleep in last night.

My sleepy eyes do another quick sweep, and this time I notice the balcony doors standing wide open while the bright morning sun streams onto the mahogany floor and the white sheer curtains on either side flutter in the sea breeze.

This is the difference and it slams into me like a concrete wall. I didn’t fall asleep with those doors open. I would never do that now, not since I know what dangers lurk in the world, the darkness that can find me.

Immediately after I notice this inconsistency, I also see that across the room, my bedroom door is tightly closed and the bolt is still slid firmly in place.

Just as I left it last night.

My heart stutters as I realize what this means.

While I slept, Luca must have climbed from my balcony ledge to escape. But the drop is well over thirty feet and there are sharp rocks at the base of the house. There are gardens directly behind, but beyond that, there is a cliff with a hundred foot drop to the sea below.

I leap naked from bed and rush to the balcony’s edge. My bare breasts press against the cold railing as I peer down at both the gardens and what I can see of the pristine sand beyond that. Luca is not lying broken and bleeding there, so I try to still my racing heart. I search the beaches and craggy landscape on both sides of my periphery and I still do not see him.

He somehow survived the fall.

A hundred different things run through my mind, but the one that stands out in the forefront is the image, the possibility, that he managed to drag himself, broken and bleeding, to a different location, somewhere where he is even now waiting for me to help him.

Because I promised.

I promised him that I would help him, that I would keep him from the darkness that plagues him, that I would heal him.

That I would save him.

I swallow hard and as I do, I realize that my throat is tender from Luca’s hands last night. I know that if I look into a mirror, there will be a bruise in the perfect formation of his long fingers around my neck.

As I softly touch it, I remember his face from the night before. It was shadowed in the moonlight and like always, he was beautiful. Luca is handsome in a very classic and beautiful way, dark hair and cut cheekbones. His bangs are long and almost hide his magnificent dark eyes until he shakes his hair away. And when he does, the sadness that dwells there is apparent to anyone who knows him.

But last night, I didn’t need to look into his eyes to see that his darkness had returned. I knew it from the moment he stepped into my room.

I can always see it. It changes everything about him, even the way he walks and moves. The way he stands. The way he speaks. The way he feels.

He is an entirely different person when the darkness comes.

These are the moments that he dreads with every breath when he is himself; the moments when he is no longer Luca. In these moments, he is filled with thoughts that are no longer his own.

He cannot help it, he cannot control it, he cannot stop it.

But I promised him that I would.

And I have failed him.

I scramble to my wardrobe and pull on clothing, choosing a shirt with a collar, hoping to somewhat hide the bruise on my neck. The only other people here at Chessarae are servants, except for Luca’s mother in her lonely wing. But she is locked in so she never comes into the main part of the house. No one will see me but the staff. And they are used to seeing strange things.

I rush through the house, through the extravagant corridors and over the marble floors, the rich and polished surroundings that I would never have dreamed I would find myself in. I don’t notice it now though. It has faded into an insignificant corner of my mind. All that matters now is Luca.

I make my way out the back of the house, through the gardens, through the English maze that is perfectly manicured and challenging to maneuver. I manage it with ease, however. I memorized its twists and turns on a happier day.

The weather is stormy today and the normally cheerful and bright Maltese sky is gray and thunderous. I can feel the electricity in the air, snapping the ends of my long hair with static. This day looks as foreboding as I feel, which I hope is not a sign.

I search through the maze. I search the beaches as my feet sink into the cool sand. I search the gardens with their exotic and sweet-smelling blooms and then I search the garage. His car, a shiny black Jaguar, is still in its slot and its hood is cool to the touch. Luca has not driven it today. I search the front lawns and the back. And just when I begin to panic, to fear that he has not returned to Chessarae after all, I search the stables.

As I walk through the heavy wooden doors, the smells of the horses and the hay and the saddle-soap and leather assail my nose and I breathe them in. I’ve always loved this place. It is peaceful here. And I suddenly know, because I can feel it, that Luca is here.

I walk quietly down the main corridor, staring into each stall as I pass.

And finally, finally, when I come to the very last stall on the left, Luca is there and my breath hitches in my chest, freezing on my lips.

Luca is slumped on the ground, in the corner, his expression desolate. He is beautiful even here, even in this condition, and I cannot help but stare down at him as tears fill my eyes.

He is dirty and his clothing is torn. There are smears of blood on his shirt, dried now to a rusty dark brown. I swallow hard, trying not to imagine where the blood has come from.

Luca’s face is tortured as he stares up at me, his head in his hands. There is blood on his fingers.

“It happened again.”

His words are low and husky and rough, yet elegant at the same time. He is always refined, always perfect, always Luca.

His self-loathe is apparent and it breaks my heart.

I nod mutely because there are no words for this moment. I bend to help him to his feet. At 6’3”, he towers above me. He is slender and strong and masculine. He is lithe and powerful, beautiful and graceful.

And sometimes, on his very darkest days, he is a depraved killer.

But I have gotten ahead of myself. I should begin at the beginning.

If I don’t, you will never understand.


Courtney Cole is a novelist who would eat mythology for breakfast if she could. She has a degree in Business, but has since discovered that corporate America is not nearly as fun to live in as fictional worlds. She loves chocolate and roller coasters and hates waiting and rude people.

Courtney lives in quiet suburbia, close to Lake Michigan, with her real-life Prince Charming, her ornery kids (there is a small chance that they get their orneriness from their mother) and a small domestic zoo.    

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Tuesday, January 28, 2014

'Seeking Her: A Finding It novella (Losing It)' by Cora Carmack Release Day Blitz

We are so excited to share in the Release Day Launch and giveaway for Cora Carmack's SEEKING HER!! SEEKING HER is a novella in Cora’s bestselling Finding It Series, published by William Morrow (an imprint of HarperCollins)! Go out and grab your copy today!  

Seeking Her   


Jackson Hunt gets his turn in this Finding It prequel novella …

Jackson Hunt hasn't been out of the military for long, but he needs to get a job and find a sense of normalcy if he is going to keep his demons at bay. The job that falls into his lap, though, is anything but normal.

Becoming bodyguard (and babysitter) to spoiled rich girl Kelsey Summers isn't exactly what he had in mind, but it's a chance to travel, to get away. The catch: Kelsey's father doesn't want her to know she's being followed.

She's vibrant and infuriating, exciting and reckless, mysterious and familiar. When Jackson sees her falling into the same patterns he suffered years ago, he decides it's time to stop watching and help her instead. But getting to know Kelsey is more difficult than he thought, especially because the more he knows her, the more he wants her.  

I was going to have to find some way to cope with this. If not, I was better off calling Mr. Summers and suggesting he find someone else to take over his daughter-watch.

I felt a pang of something at that thought. It was a general kind of discomfort, and I wasn’t sure whether it was the thought of returning home or something else that made that thought so unappealing.

After the cooling walk earlier, and now standing under the cool, calming rush of water, it was easier to think that I could control myself, but I knew better. It always seemed easier in my head than it really was.

I wiped the water from my eyes, and tried to think of some other way to deal. There was always the hope that Kelsey would get bored. That she would mellow out. If she only partied a couple nights a week, I should be able to resist. But that seemed unlikely.

All that restless energy; the way she’d soaked up the attention from the people around her. I couldn’t see her giving that up. And it was working for her. She was still in the phase where partying made her feel good. That was the one thing that helped me stay clean. The few times I’d slipped up since I started the program had left me miserable and angry, and even more frustrated than when I started. I’d found new ways to chase the high. And maybe that wasn’t any healthier, not when one way involved being in the midst of flying bullets.

It wasn’t the same kind of rush, but it did the trick. I pictured Kelsey again, laughing with her head thrown back, her shirt falling off her shoulder and displaying the gentle curve of her neck. It reminded me of the way she’d tossed her head back that first day out in the woods.

The memory of that caused a different kind of rush in me, and I groaned, pressing my forehead into the tile. Before I could help myself, I pictured her long legs straddling that guy in the gardens. The bright green material of her bra, and the way it conformed to her perfect chest. She leaned back, her fingertips trailing from the bark of the tree to his shoulders.

In an instant, the memory shifted into fantasy, and those were my shoulders she clung to, not his.

That was my undoing. There was only so much resisting I could do in one night.

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HeadshotAbout Cora Carmack:

Cora Carmack is a twenty-something writer who likes to write about twenty-something characters. She's done a multitude of things in her life-- boring jobs (like working retail), Fun jobs (like working in a theatre), stressful jobs (like teaching), and dream jobs (like writing). She enjoys placing her characters in the most awkward situations possible, and then trying to help them get a boyfriend out of it. Awkward people need love, too. Her first book, LOSING IT, was a New York Times and USA Today bestseller.


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